Upcoming Photography Classes – October

Here are Bergen County Camera’s upcoming classes for this October:

Tickets may be purchased online, or in store.  
Basic Photoshop – October 2nd – $50 – Join BCC’s John Tworsky for a two-hour class introducing Adobe Photoshop. This course is for first time and beginner Photoshop & Element users and will cover computer & program requirements, acquiring images, image formats, storage considerations and a basic overview of the capabilities of Photoshop. Examples include opening images, rotating, preparing images for email, preparing images for printing, image adjustments (brightness, contrast & color), fixing crooked images & scans and printing multiple images on a single sheet of paper. Although this class is presented on a PC, all information will carry over to the Mac. 
Lightroom 1 – October 17th – $50 – Learn the basics of Lightroom and get started creating a workflow. This course will cover organizing and importing in the Library module as well as keywords and collections.
Basic Digital Photography – October 24th – $50 – Join BCC’s John Tworsky and Paul Carretta for a 2 hour introduction to Digital Photography. This class is designed to provide the basics of digital photography regardless of the type of digital camera you are shooting or even if you are looking to buy your first. Topics to be covered include basic camera operation, batteries, storage media, card readers, choosing a resolution, compression, limitations and advantages of digital photography, making prints & enlargements, and storing & archiving images. Of course there will be plenty of time for questions at the end of the presentation.
Intermediate Digital Photography – October 25th – $50 – Join BCC’s John Tworsky and Paul Carretta for a 2 hour continuation of Basic Digital Photography. This class is designed to provide the next step in your digital photography learning. Topics to be covered include exposure (f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO), using shutter speeds to control motion, using f-stops to control depth of field, and ISO to control sensor sensitivity. We’ll talk about composition, tripods, monopods, self timers, keeping your images safe and more. Suggested Pre-requisite: Basic Digital Photography. Of course there will be plenty of time for questions at the end of the presentation. Course handouts include test your knowledge assignments, basic class reminders, special offers, computer tips and helpful programs.

 

Eventbrite - Bergen County Camera Classes 2017

Fall Foliage: Tips and State Foliage Websites

Foliage Photography: Tips for Great Pictures

Foliage Maps:

The Foliage Network Maps – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

Filters

A polarizing filter is really the only “must have” filter to bring along for great digital fall foliage pictures. A polarizer creates dramatic fall foliage pictures by darkening the sky, increasing contrast and deepening colors and removing the sheen from the leaves. Most other filter effects such as enhancing reds and oranges, sepia and graduated effects can be easily created in Photoshop. Your standard protective UV filter should be removed before putting your polarizer on – never stack filters. Also, don’t forget to remove your polarizer when you move back inside, as it reduces light by one to two f-stops. Shop Polarizers in our online store.


Click to see image with and without a polarizer.

A second type of filter is an enhancing filter which does just what the name implies – enhances. This filter is especially effective with the bright primary colors of autumn (reds, oranges and browns). A third filter is a Color / Neutral Graduated filter which utilizes a color (or gray) that gradually diminishes from dark to light across the filter. These filters are often used to deepen the sky or to balance the exposure between foreground and background, which helps you keep the sky blue rather than washed out.

Tips

  • Nothing takes away from foliage more than a bright white overcast sky. In these situations, try to reduce the amount of sky in your images or use a Neutral Graduated filter.
  • Dramatic storm clouds of autumn thunderstorms interspersed with blue sky make a stunning backdrop for the brilliant colors of fall, especially when the vivid colors are brought out with a polarizer filter.
  • Use a tripod for the sharpest possible image. This will allow an ISO of 100 or 200. Remember to use a remote release or self timer to prevent motion when pressing the shutter.
  • Colors are warmer and can be more dramatic closer to sunrise and sunset. The hour before and after sunrise and sunset are considered by many to be the “magic hours” where you get an amazing quality of light.
  • Experiment, take lots of pictures and above all have fun!
  • Since you are shooting more with your digital camera, be sure to edit out some images before showing off your work to family and friends
Once you’ve assembled your camera and a few filters, all you’ll need is foliage at the peak of color. We’ve assembled a list of state hotlines below to help schedule your trip. Need some ideas for places to shoot, be sure to visit Bergen County Camera’s Where to Take Great Pictures page. Have some suggestions of your own? Please send us an email or comment on this post.

Fall foliage Websites and Hotlines

The Foliage Network – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

State by State foliage websites – click on your state of interest below.

New Jersey 
mid to late October 
Connecticut
 Late September - mid October 
Maine 
Early September - mid October
Massachusetts
October 
New Hampshire 
Late September - mid October
New York
Late September - late October
Pennsylvania 
Early October
Vermont 
Early September - Late October
Virginia 
September - Late November
Delaware 
Late October
Maryland 
Late September - Late October
Rhode Island 
Late September - mid October 

Remember to visit Bergen County Camera for filters, tripods, lenses, cameras and prints.

Photographing National Parks After Dark with Ken Hubbard

Ken Hubbard, an avid Tamron shooter, shares some of his tips for photographing the night sky in our National Parks.

Pack wide-angle lenses.
This is a no-brainer, since you want to get as much of that jaw-dropping night sky as possible in your photos. The lenses I typically use: the Tamron SP 24-70mm VC G2, the SP 15-30mm VC, and the SP 35mm F/1.8 VC. That prime lens is especially useful because of its fast F/1.8 aperture—it’s desirable to use fast apertures for night sky photos, as you want to reduce the amount of time your shutter is open to reduce star movement. With a 1.8 lens, I can shoot a 10-second exposure instead of 20 or 30 seconds.

There’s a magic number for any focal length you may be using and how long your shutter can stay open before you start getting those streaks in the stars. Although there are some complicated equations, let’s keep it simple. A basic guideline to get you started is the 500 rule: Divide the focal length you’re shooting at into 500; that resulting number will give you the number of seconds your shutter can stay open before you start seeing star movement. So if I’m shooting at 15mm, I can keep my shutter open for roughly 33 seconds. If you see movement in your stars, shorten your exposure.

Determine the optimal time to head out.
Our group tries to venture out during the blue hour, an hour or two after sunset, when there’s still some ambient light to create that beautiful indigo color. You can see an example of that in one of my Sedona photos shown here, where the featured rock formation was also lit up by the quarter-moon that had already risen.

© Ken Hubbard

If you’re going to try for a money shot like the Milky Way, you’ll want to check apps like Sky Guide or PhotoPills to see where and when it will be rising. You don’t want to head out somewhere with a group of people and discover there’s no Milky Way overhead. Capturing it when the skies are darkest—typically between midnight and 2 a.m., depending on the time of year— is ideal. Between April and September provide your best looks: During other parts of the year, the Milky Way either never makes it above the horizon, or it’s too close to sunrise or sunset and will be completely washed out. You’ll barely see it, if at all.

© Ken Hubbard

Research the park you’re going to.
I often start this process months ahead of time, so I’ll know the best times of year to visit, depending on what I’m planning on taking pictures of. Our group will also head out at least a day before a workshop, so we can scout the landscape to make sure it’s everything we were anticipating. You also want to get the lay of the land during the day so when it’s dark you’re not stumbling around with no sense of place.

It also helps to know which parks are rife with light pollution and which aren’t. You can check the International Dark-Sky Association website to see which communities have pledged to preserve the night sky by keeping lighting to a minimum. As far as the national park areas I’ve visited, Sedona is a designated dark-sky community; Zion isn’t too bad, either, and Acadia in Maine is pretty dark, as there aren’t too many towns around throwing off a lot of light. If you do have a park that’s lit up from afar, you can use that light to your advantage (or at least mask it) by using some creative techniques. More on that a little later!

Bring the basics …
A couple of things you’ll definitely need: a tripod, as you’re going to be taking very long exposures (20 or 30 seconds long in some cases). And you’ll want to bring a shutter release cable or some sort of shutter remote. You don’t want to be hand-firing the camera and risk losing images that way.

… and also a flashlight.
One, to see where you’re going, and second for light painting. That’s a terrific way to accentuate your images, like I did in my photo of Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park. One tip I have for this type of creative endeavor: Don’t simply throw the light from behind your camera—your subject will tend to look flat. Because I’m usually taking 20- or 30-second-long exposures in these cases, what I’ll do is hit the shutter release, then walk to one side or the other of my camera and throw the light in from an angle, so it adds a little more dimension with shadows and highlights.

© Ken Hubbard

Sometimes other photographers’ light-painting adventures can work their way into your own photos. This image I took of one of the arches in Arches National Park was a happy accident. I was about 20 seconds into a 25-second exposure when someone who was sitting underneath the arch decided to blast it with light. I didn’t know it was going to happen, but it turned out to be a cool picture anyway.

© Ken Hubbard 

Before you start flashing lights everywhere, know the rules of the park you’re visiting.
Workshop leaders need permits no matter what to host groups in most national parks. The group that ran this year’s night sky workshops for us was National Park Trips Media, which took care of all of the logistics.

Some parks outright prohibit the light painting I mentioned earlier, especially from large groups. I can understand that: It can be annoying to individual photographers or nature-gazers in a park, trying to check out the night sky, only to have a bunch of people show up all at once and start blasting light everywhere. Individually, you often can light paint without a hassle, though check with your destination park before you go, as each has its own rules.

Seek out elements in your landscape to enhance your composition. 
Here’s where landscape photography during the day and at night doesn’t differ too much, because you always want some kind of landscape elements to create compelling visuals. That could entail some sort of silhouetted area or foreground visual—either a manmade one, like a building, or a natural one, like a rock formation. 

More often than not, I’ll try to keep those foreground elements in the lower third of the frame, as I’m using them mainly to enhance the night sky I’m trying to show off. And since I’m typically using a wide-angle lens in my night photography, I get up real close to whatever I’ve decided my subjects will be, as those elements will appear very small in a wide-angle photo otherwise. 

Tap into the leading lines of the landscape. 
I use natural lines to draw the viewer’s eye to where I want it to go. For instance, in my Milky Way photo taken in Zion, I positioned myself so the Milky Way descends straight down into the rock formation with the tree sticking out of it. 

© Ken Hubbard

I’ll also use the shape and structure of the landscape to either enhance the photo or mask issues that might be threatening to distract from what I’m trying to show. For instance, in my other photo here from Zion, I used the lights of the town of Springdale in the distance to silhouette the trees in that gap. And in my image of Balanced Rock taken in Arches National Park, the horizon was really lit up from Moab. To work around that, I stood in a spot so that when I took the photo, the Milky Way streamed down toward the horizon—making it appear as if the Milky Way was lighting up the horizon, not the neighboring city.

You can find more of Ken’s work here.

Solar Eclipse – August 21st

The next total solar eclipse will occur on August 21st 2017. The path of totality is scheduled to be seen from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Those who are located outside of this path of totality will be able to see portions of the eclipse, in a partial eclipse, with the moon covering a section of the sun’s disk. 

Path of totality, courtesy of NASA

Though New Jersey is not within the zone of totality, we are still located within the zone for a partial eclipse. At the height of the eclipse here, we should see the sun covered approximately 73%. The best time to look out for the eclipse in New Jersey is going to be around 2:45 pm. 

Regardless of a partial eclipse or not, it is extremely important to use eye protection when viewing the eclipse. Looking at the sun at anytime can damage your eyes, especially during an eclipse. Special glasses are produced for the solar eclipse, and should be ISO certified to ensure your safety when viewing this special sight. The only time it is safe to view the sun without glasses is at totality, when the moon completely covers the sun’s disk (this will not occur in New Jersey).

 

Some Tips to Help Photograph the Solar Eclipse

  • Use a telephoto/zoom lens and a tele-converter
  • Never look at the sun through your camera’s lens without proper eye protection
  • Use a solar filter for safe viewing at all times UNLESS the eclipse is at totality
  • You want a focal length under 2000mm on a full frame camera, or 1300mm on a crop sensor (this is to ensure you get the entire sun within your shot)
  • Get a sturdy tripod, and manually focus the camera to infinity
  • Practice, take a ‘test’ shot on a day before the eclipse, shoot various shutter speeds with a fixed aperture (between f/8 and f/16), and look for optimal exposures
  • Show what the solar eclipse does to the environment, find shadows, natural pinholes, and try some wide angle shots

More tips can be found online, like on Nikon’s website here

Where to Photograph Fireworks – Locations and Tips 2017

North Jersey’s parade, fireworks and celebration map

List of North Jersey fireworks, times and dates

Here are some basic starting points

Please let us know if you get some great shots we’d love to see!
Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Have a great 4th of July Holiday weekend from all of us at BCC.

Find a fireworks display on NJ.com‘s 4th of July celebrations page.

  • Use a tripod
  • Electronic release, 2 second self timer to eliminate shake or by carefully pressing the shutter button to minimize shake.
  • Manually set your camera ISO to 100 (You do not want Auto ISO)
  • Lens Choice – Wide Angle Zoom to frame what you’d like to capture
  • Auto White Balance or Daylight
  • Set your lens to manual focus then focus to infinity (take a test image and make sure things are sharp) Don’t forget to switch back to auto focus when done shooting
  • Method 1 – Set your camera to Manual exposure – Try 5 seconds at f/8 – 16 – this will allow you to capture several bursts
  • Method 2 – Try setting you camera to the “B” setting in manual – keep the shutter depressed at f/ 8 – 16 for several bursts
  • Carefully release the shutter if not using a release to capture from one to several bursts

**Evaluate your exposure – Shorter exposures (or smaller apertures ) will darken the image and capture shorter trails, Longer exposures (or larger apertures ) will lighten the image and capture longer trails.** If necessary make adjustments and take some more shots

If you are using a point a shoot, check your camera’s manual to see if you have a fireworks mode.

Improving Fireworks photos

Shoot with a tripod – it will give a more natural cascade of light.

Shooting the Finale!

The finale is many times brighter than rest of the show. Be ready to choose a shorter exposure or smaller aperture to prevent overexposure. The exposure you need is dependent on the number of simultaneous bursts. In some really incredible finales you may find yourself shooting at 1/4 or 1/8th of a second. Experiment for best results.

Why use a tripod?

Hand-held image above shows motion from camera shake in the burst of light.

The image below is steadied by a tripod, 5 seconds, f/16 at 100 ISO

Other Techniques

Set your camera to B and lock open your shutter – keep the lens covered with a dark hat and remove the hat to capture a burst then recover and repeat to capture several bursts. Just be careful not to bump your camera.
You can even zoom the lens during exposure for some interesting effects

Experiment and best of all have fun.

Happy Independence Day!

Preventing Memory Card Trouble – Best Practice

Preventing errors:
The main preventable causes of digital camera disasters are:

  • Continuing to shoot past the cameras low battery warning. If the battery goes dead while the camera is saving an image to your card or transferring images to your computer more than likely, your card will become unreadable. Using a card reader (powered by your computer) rather than your camera cable (powered by your battery) reduces risk. 
  • Never shoot until the card is full – reading 0 pictures left
  • Ejecting the memory card while the camera is saving a file (light still flashing).
  • Opening the card access door before turning the camera off especially if still saving (light still flashing)
  • Switching to view mode while the camera is saving an image or
  • Improper storage leading to Physical Damage
  • Using the same card in multiple cameras – this may cause unpredictable results
  • Using cards after they exhibit errors – replace cards after you experience trouble

Reducing your risk in the future:
There is no guarantee that you can prevent all errors or will be able to recover files but there are some things you can do to MAXIMIZE your chances of recovery before you run into trouble. The best approach is to archive your images on the memory card to Cloud, DVD or Blu-Ray or other safe media. Once you’re certain the images are all copied, you should FORMAT your card.  

Formatting the card sets the card up to receive new images sequentially written to the disk. This means that the picture is stored in one complete area on the memory card. Over time if you frequently erase and retake many pictures, the camera is unable to save the files in one complete piece and needs to store the image in many pieces called FRAGMENTS on the memory card.

Should the media become corrupted; the recovery process can only recover the first portion of a fragmented file. An example of an image recovered from a fragmented file is shown below. 

         

The next image was recovered from a media card with CONTIGUOUS files affording you the best chance of a full recovery.

What to do after disaster strikes:
When you get the scary message “CARD ERROR” or (CH) there is a very good chance that images can still be recovered from your media card. First, don’t do anything with your card. Remove your card from the camera. Don’t run Windows Scandisk or any other utility on your memory card. Don’t format the card in your camera or computer. It is essential you don’t do anything with the problem card in order to maximize the chances for a good recovery. This is why we suggest carrying multiple cards in your camera bag.

 

The Promaster Advantage:
If you purchased a Promaster memory card from Bergen County Camera, your in house standard recovery is Free + media charges, a Promaster advantage! (does not include DriveSavers). In the event your Promaster card has any electronic damage, the card will be replaced at no charge to you!

DriveSavers Recovery Services

Any memory cards that are not recoverable by our standard file recovery service can be sent for advanced recovery from DriveSavers. Although this can be expensive, they may be able to recover images when we are unable to. All jobs sent to DriveSavers through Bergen County Camera receive a 10% discount off their regular prices.

 

Fall Foliage: Tips and State Foliage Websites

Foliage Photography:
Tips for great pictures

Foliage Maps:

–>> The Foliage Network Maps – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

Filters

A polarizing filter is really the only “must have” filter to bring along for great digital fall foliage pictures. A polarizer creates dramatic fall foliage pictures by darkening the sky, increasing contrast and deepening colors and removing the sheen from the leaves. Most other filter effects such as enhancing reds and oranges, sepia and graduated effects can be easily created in Photoshop. Your standard protective UV filter should be removed before putting your polarizer on – never stack filters. Also, don’t forget to remove your polarizer when you move back inside, as it reduces light by one to two f-stops. Shop Polarizers in our online store.


Click to see image with and without a polarizer.

A second type of filter is an enhancing filter which does just what the name implies – enhances. This filter is especially effective with the bright primary colors of autumn (reds, oranges and browns). A third filter is a Color / Neutral Graduated filter which utilizes a color (or gray) that gradually diminishes from dark to light across the filter. These filters are often used to deepen the sky or to balance the exposure between foreground and background, which helps you keep the sky blue rather than washed out.

Tips

  • Nothing takes away from foliage more than a bright white overcast sky. In these situations, try to reduce the amount of sky in your images or use a Neutral Graduated filter.
  • Dramatic storm clouds of autumn thunderstorms interspersed with blue sky make a stunning backdrop for the brilliant colors of fall, especially when the vivid colors are brought out with a polarizer filter.
  • Use a tripod for the sharpest possible image. This will allow an ISO of 100 or 200. Remember to use a remote release or self timer to prevent motion when pressing the shutter.
  • Colors are warmer and can be more dramatic closer to sunrise and sunset. The hour before and after sunrise and sunset are considered by many to be the “magic hours” where you get an amazing quality of light.
  • Experiment, take lots of pictures and above all have fun!
  • Since you are shooting more with your digital camera, be sure to edit out some images before showing off your work to family and friends
Once you’ve assembled your camera and a few filters, all you’ll need is foliage at the peak of color. We’ve assembled a list of state hotlines below to help schedule your trip. Need some ideas for places to shoot, be sure to visit Bergen County Camera’s Where to take great Pictures page. Have some suggestions of your own? Please send us an email or comment on this post.

Fall foliage websites and hotlines

The Foliage Network – website with frequent updates and color maps of the northeastern United States.

State by State foliage websites – click on your state of interest below.

New Jersey 
mid to late October 
Connecticut
 Late September - mid October 
Maine 
Early September - mid October
Massachusetts
October 
New Hampshire 
Late September - mid October
New York
Late September - late October
Pennsylvania 
Early October
Vermont 
Early September - Late October
Virginia 
September - Late November
Delaware 
Late October
Maryland 
Late September - Late October
Rhode Island 
Late September - mid October 

Remember to visit Bergen County Camera for filters, tripods, lenses, cameras and prints.

Where to Photograph Fireworks – Locations and Tips 2016

North Jersey’s parade, fireworks and celebration map

List of North Jersey fireworks, times and dates

Here are some basic starting points

Please let us know if you get some great shots we’d love to see!
Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions. Have a great 4th of July Holiday weekend from all of us at BCC.

Find a fireworks display on NJ.com‘s 4th of July celebrations page.

  • Use a tripod
  • Electronic release, 2 second self timer to eliminate shake or by carefully pressing the shutter button to minimize shake.
  • Manually set your camera ISO to 100 (You do not want Auto ISO)
  • Lens Choice – Wide Angle Zoom to frame what you’d like to capture
  • Auto White Balance or Daylight
  • Set your lens to manual focus then focus to infinity (take a test image and make sure things are sharp) Don’t forget to switch back to auto focus when done shooting
  • Method 1 – Set your camera to Manual exposure – Try 5 seconds at f/8 – 16 – this will allow you to capture several bursts
  • Method 2 – Try setting you camera to the “B” setting in manual – keep the shutter depressed at f/ 8 – 16 for several bursts
  • Carefully release the shutter if not using a release to capture from one to several bursts

**Evaluate your exposure – Shorter exposures (or smaller apertures ) will darken the image and capture shorter trails, Longer exposures (or larger apertures ) will lighten the image and capture longer trails.** If necessary make adjustments and take some more shots

If you are using a point a shoot, check your camera’s manual to see if you have a fireworks mode.

Improving Fireworks photos

Shoot with a tripod – it will give a more natural cascade of light.

Shooting the Finale!

The finale is many times brighter than rest of the show. Be ready to choose a shorter exposure or smaller aperture to prevent overexposure. The exposure you need is dependent on the number of simultaneous bursts. In some really incredible finales you may find yourself shooting at 1/4 or 1/8th of a second. Experiment for best results.

Why use a tripod?

Hand-held image above shows motion from camera shake in the burst of light.

The image below is steadied by a tripod, 5 seconds, f/16 at 100 ISO

Other Techniques

Set your camera to B and lock open your shutter – keep the lens covered with a dark hat and remove the hat to capture a burst then recover and repeat to capture several bursts. Just be careful not to bump your camera.
You can even zoom the lens during exposure for some interesting effects

Experiment and best of all have fun.

Happy Independence Day.

Free Saturday Focus Sessions February – March

Focus sessions are Free and take place in our store from 9:30 am – 10:15 am. Focus Sessions are mini classes and discussions and classes about photography. All sessions will allow for questions and answers. Please bring your camera and any images along that you have questions about. Please share your thoughts for future focus sessions in the comment box below. No RSVP – Free for everyone – Please bring a friend!

focusbanner1Hit the “Like Button” to let your friends know. Have suggestions for future focus sessions? Feel free to leave a comment.

 

Here’s our upcoming Focus Sessions:

 

February 20 – f2.8 vs f5.6 – Learning to control focus and gaining higher shutter speeds

February 27 – Print formats, from square to panoramic – how to showcase your images

March 5 – Parade Photos + Billy on bagpipes

March 12 – Photo Exchange – Trade your photos – Bring one take One – 8×10 only

March 19 – Food Photography

March 26 – Easter Flowers / Easter Egg Hunt for the Grown-Ups (discounts a freebies hidden around the store) Limit 1 egg per customer

These are free events – bring a friend along if you’d like. Share with your friends on Facebook – Click the Like button below. Hope you can join us!

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