Filter vs Brackets

Photographers are often faced with a choice to make. It might be aperture or shutter speed, or it can be something out of the hypothetical ballpark.

In this photograph I was faced with the choice of capturing it using neutral density filters or simply bracketing into a HDR. I decided on the HDR route so I could travel lighter than normal.

Filters vs BracketsAs you can see, I was able to get the sky to become nearly black and still keep the texture and tone of the beautiful building.

This was made using 3 bracketed photographs at 1 stop increments. I then used the Merge to 32bit plugin from Photomatix (save 15% off using the coupon code ScottWyden15) within Adobe Lightroom. This enabled me to have complete control over the merged HDR with the most realistic processing result and still have the advantage of Lightroom edits.

This is actually one of the 3 reasons why Matt Kloskowski says he doesn’t use a graduated neutral density filter.

In this case I agree with Matt because filters were not necessary. However, in other cases I disagree. I will talk more about that in another article later on.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


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Let’s Talk About Tripods

I am happy to share that my first article at Digital Photography School has been published. For my first article at dPS I wanted to write about a topic that many photographers are interested. However, I wanted to do it in a very different way.

So I went for the tripod topic as a start. Instead of just talking about what tripods are or providing a review of a tripod, I decided to write about the many differences in tripods and how some can work better for certain situations like landscape photography, portrait photography and more.

Here is a preview of the first paragraph. (don’t mind the strange characters as something was going on at their website when I grabbed the screenshot).

talking tripods at dPS

After the article as published a few comments were submitted about monopods and bipods because I did not mention them in the article. I do not use either so I can’t really comment on them anyway.

But I wanted to dig a little deeper into my own tripod setup. So I recorded this video to show you my workhorse tripod.

As mentioned, the tripod I use for the majority of my professional work is from Really Right Stuff. It’s a heavy-duty, yet lightweight, carbon fiber tripod made in the USA.

However, also as mentioned I use a 3 Legged Thing tripod as my always on hand ( throw in the back of the car) tripod. I also have Manfrotto and Promaster tripods which are used when teaching.

If you have any questions about my setup please comment below to ask. Please also check out the article over at Digital Photography School to learn more about tripods.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


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Exploring New Territory

I recently spent a day wandering around New York City with my friend Gevon.  We met up with Quentin of fotoclasses at Brooklyn Beans Roastery, talked for a bit and then kept walking and shooting.

One of the beautiful things about walking around places you spend little time at, is that feeling of seeing and experiencing something for the first time. It’s like growing up all over again.

For example, tasting an amazing maple coffee or getting down low on cobblestones and then come across what you see in this photo.

Graffiti in the streets of Brooklyn. the Brooklyn Bridge, beautiful light and so much more.

Exploring New Territory

While Brooklyn may not be the same without my friend Brian around, shooting around the area makes for an awesome time.

After spending some time in the area, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan and then continued towards Animoto for a meetup that night. It was during our Manhattan part of our day that we happened upon another story.

It’s not too often where I find myself speechless. However, Gevon and I we happened upon Jay Maisel’s building. If you don’t know, Jay has photographed many iconic images including the cover of the Miles Davis album “Kind of Blue”. We walked to the front of the building and Jay was going inside. The introvert in me was in true shock and the only words that I could get out… “Hi” and eventually “Jay”.

Fortunately Jay is a nice guy and the interaction wasn’t as awkward as it could have been.

Jay Maisel's Building

In addition to learning a lot of unrelated information at the meetup at Animoto’s offices, I also learned that no matter how old you are, you can still be speechless when you meet someone you admire.

Explore new territories. Even if you think you’ve been somewhere, you may not have really been there. Things change, people move, stores come and go.

So keep exploring.


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