10 Helpful Guidelines for Creating Better Landscape Images

10 Helpful Guidelines for Creating Better Landscape Images

Landscape photography can be a deceptively difficult genre to master, but with a lot of practice of technique and refinement of your creative vision, you can make big strides in the quality of your work. This helpful video will give you 10 guidelines to help get you on the right track sooner.

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Ep. 325: Is the Sony a7R IV Underwhelming or Not? – and more

Episode 325 of the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.
Download MP3 –  Subscribe via iTunesGoogle Playemail or RSS!

Featured: Photojournalist and author, Steve Simon

In This Episode

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Show Opener:
Photojournalist and author, Steve Simon.  Thanks Steve!

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Sony announces the a7R IV and reaction is mixed. (#)

Tamron’s great problem to have. (#)

Canon’s new 10x zoom in RF mount. (#)

Sony’s long-awaited 35mm f/1.8 is released. (#)

Yongnuo is at it again. (#)

Nikon’s D6 and the relevancy of aspirational flagship bodies. (#)


Connect With Us

Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on TwitterInstagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we build this community.

We’d love to answer your question on the show. Leave us an audio question through our voicemail widget, comment below or via social media. But audio questions are awesome!

You can also cut a show opener for us to play on the show! As an example: “Hi, this is Matt Smith with Double Heart Photography in Chicago, Illinois, and you’re listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast with Sharky James!”

What’s the Difference Between the Main Character and a Protagonist?

The main character of your story will attract the most star power when it comes to casting. But are they the same as the protagonist?

When you’re writing or researching your screenplay you come across lots of different definitions. People want to assign all sorts of monikers to the characters within your story. You’ll no doubt hear about the main character, protagonist, and hero. Frequently, these are all the same person inside the story, but they are not interchangeable definitions.

Today we’re going to show you what sets apart each of these terms and give you a few main character examples to show you how it differs from the other people in the story.

So without further ado…

What’s the Difference Between the Main Character and a Protagonist?

Yes, there’s a difference between these terms. Let’s break them down:

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Download The ‘Breaking Bad’ Pilot Script

The Breaking Bad pilot script is widely considered one of the greatest of all time. So what can you learn from this screenplay download?

The Breaking Bad pilot debuted on January 20, 2008 on AMC. It was a modest production that had some ardent fans. The writers’ strike of 2007 limited the first season to seven episodes. It had modest ratings. The show was on the bubble. But then everything changed. How?

One summer millions of people found the show on a platform called Netflix.

They caught up with Breaking Bad and tuned in for the next season. The show was a hit, became part of the pop culture lexicon, and the rest is history.

Today we’re going back to where it all started, the pilot, to look at how Breaking Bad crafted the perfect start to their story.

But before any of that, you should…

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Netflix ‘Glow’ DP on ‘Embracing the Imperfection’ of ’80s-Style Cinematography

On Season 2 of Netflix’s “GLOW”, Adrian Peng Correia upgraded to an 8K RED Helium to capture the dimensionality of the show’s vibrant colors.

You don’t have to know a thing about wrestling to appreciate the aesthetic grandeur of Netflix’s GLOW. The series, which airs its third season on August 3, revolves around the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (G.L.O.W.), a women’s professional wrestling promotion that began in 1986 and featured vibrant characters and performances, including over-the-top comedy sketches and choreography. The Jenji Kohan creation (Orange Is the New Black), which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron, was lensed in Season 1 by Christian Sprenger, who set the tone for its ’80s-fueled cinematography, featuring bright lights and flashy colors.

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The 3 Best Completely Free Stock Footage Sites

One of the keys to making the video or movie you want to make is staying within your budget, and one of the best ways to do that is by making use of stock video footage.

Even cheap stock video footage can make your project look great. But if you are on a shoestring budget, it’s far more ideal to get that great stock footage without paying anything at all.

With that, we broke down your best bets for free stock video footage.

It’s worth mentioning first that sites like Shutterstock and iStock can be extremely useful, but their store of free stock footage clips is often limited, and you need your free stock footage with no watermark.

So what do you do if you need great video stock footage that you can easily plug into your film or video, saving your cash for the big-ticket items?

We recommend these options:

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DPReview TV: Sony a7R IV preview

Sony just announced the a7R IV, its new high resolution flagship camera. DPReview TV was on hand for the launch and Jordan is here with a preview of the new model. Unfortunately, Chris picked this week to go on a big fishing trip, but we know a great website where he can learn more about the camera when he gets home.

Get new episodes of DPReview TV every week by subscribing to our YouTube channel!

How to Take a Photo of the Moon

How to Take a Photo of the Moon

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, everyone has moon fever. There has never been a better time to grab your camera and head outside to take a shot of our moon, and this excellent video will show you everything you need to know to do just that.

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Underwater Photographer Encounters Incredible Human-Sized Jellyfish

Underwater Photographer Encounters Incredible Human-Sized Jellyfish

An underwater photographer has posted images of a huge, human-sized jelly fish swimming alongside his wildlife biologist colleague. The pair were caught by surprise when the giant, colorful creature swam alongside them.

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Slideshow: The winners of the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards

2019 Audubon Photography Awards

The National Audubon Society has announced the winners of its 2019 Audubon Photography Awards, showcasing some of the most incredible bird photography from around the world.

In its own words, ‘The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.’ Audubon consists of 23 state programs, 41 nature centers, almost 500 chapters and partners around the world.

Audubon has posted a full collection of the winning images on its website with an accompanying blog post, but we’ve gathered the winning images, with permission, in each category in the following slideshow.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Grand Prize Winner

Red-winged Blackbird by Kathrin Swoboda (Vienna, VA) | Audubon Photography Awards

Category: Amateur
Species: Red-winged Blackbird
Location: Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria, Virginia
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens; 1/800 second at f/6.3; ISO 2500

Story Behind the Shot: I visit this park near my home to photograph blackbirds on cold mornings, often aiming to capture the “smoke rings” that form from their breath as they sing out. On this occasion, I arrived early on a frigid day and heard the cry of the blackbirds all around the boardwalk. This particular bird was very vociferous, singing long and hard. I looked to set it against the dark background of the forest, shooting to the east as the sun rose over the trees, backlighting the vapor.

Bird Lore: Red-winged Blackbirds are some of the most abundant and conspicuous birds in North America. Beginning in early spring, males perch above marshes, pond edges, damp fields, and roadside ditches, flaring their red shoulder patches and belting out arresting songs to announce their claims to breeding territories.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Amateur Winner

White-necked Jacobin by Mariam Kamal (New York, NY) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: White-necked Jacobin
Location: Dave & Dave’s Nature Park, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Camera: Nikon D3300 with Tamron SP AF 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens; 1/250 second at f/6.3; ISO 200

Story Behind the Shot: On my fifth trip to Costa Rica, my favorite birding spots produced a few measly sightings. So I drove six hours to a reforestation site, which turned out to be well worth the trip. For an hour I photographed a valiant troop of White-necked Jacobins consuming nectar from heliconias that swayed and bobbed in a forceful wind. I could barely breathe as I snapped—I felt that I, too, was fighting to hang on!

Bird Lore: Of the 350-plus species of hummingbirds, most have small geographic ranges. Bucking the trend is the White-necked Jacobin, common from southern Mexico to southern Brazil. It succeeds by being adaptable, occupying a wide variety of tropical forest and edge habitats.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Professional Winner

Greater Sage-Grouse by Elizabeth Boehm (Pinedale, Wyoming) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Greater Sage-Grouse
Location: Pinedale, Wyoming
Camera: Canon EOS 6D with Canon 500mm EF f/4 L IS USM lens; 1/1500 second at f/5.6; ISO 800

Story Behind the Shot: I spent a number of cold spring mornings photographing the courting display of the Greater Sage-Grouse from a blind on the perimeter of the lek. Along with the strutting, I watch for the dominance fights between males. The two contestants sit side by side until, upon some invisible cue, they suddenly throw blows, hitting each other with their wings. This photo, captured on hard snowpack, shows the power they exhibit when they are fighting for mates.

Bird Lore: On a Greater Sage-Grouse dancing ground, or lek, the stakes are high. Many males may display there, but most females that visit will mate with one of the few dominant males at the center of the lek. As a result, genes passed on to the next generation will tend to be those of the strongest males.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Youth Winner

Horned Puffin by Sebastian Velasquez (Menlo Park, California) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Horned Puffin
Location: Alaska SeaLife Center (accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums), Seward, Alaska
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel t7i with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens; 1/800 second at f/11; ISO 1600

Story Behind the Shot: Traveling through Alaska I saw Horned and Tufted Puffins from afar, always hoping to get closer. I got my chance at the SeaLife Center. Amid the chaos of native birds swimming, fishing, and zipping past me, I waited for hours for the perfect shot. At last I spotted this secluded puffin in a moment of stillness, preening its feathers, providing a glimpse into a seemingly private moment.

Bird Lore: Unlike the Atlantic and Tufted Puffins, which dig tunnels in soil for their nests, the Horned Puffin usually lays its single egg deep in a crevice among rocks. Such nest sites are harder to access for study, and the habits of this North Pacific species are not as well known as those of its relatives.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Plants For Birds Winner

Hooded Oriole on a California Fan Palm by Michael Schulte (San Diego, California) | Audubon Photography Awards

Hooded Oriole on a California Fan Palm by Michael Schulte (San Diego, California)

Caption: Petronella Chigumbura (30), a member of an all-female anti-poaching unit called Akashinga, participates in stealth and concealment training in the Phundundu Wildlife Park, Zimbabwe.

Story: Akashinga (‘The Brave Ones’) is a ranger force established as an alternative conservation model. It aims to work with, rather than against local populations, for the long-term benefits of their communities and the environment. Akashinga comprises women from disadvantaged backgrounds, empowering them, offering jobs, and helping local people to benefit directly from the preservation of wildlife. Other strategies—such as using fees from trophy hunting to fund conservation—have been criticized for imposing solutions from the outside and excluding the needs of local people.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Fisher Prize Winner

Black-browed Albatross by Ly Dang (Poway, California) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Black-browed Albatross
Location: Saunders Island, Falkland Islands
Camera: Nikon D850 with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED AF-S VR lens; 1/4000 second at f/8.0; ISO 400

Story Behind the Shot: On a steep, windy slope of Saunders Island, several breeding colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses were tending their chicks and squawking at the neighbors to urge them to respect the territories. As I sat watching the birds conducting their daily activities, I started to notice the simple, elegant beauty of the adults’ eyes. After several positions looking for a clear view and a good light angle, I took this shot.

Bird Lore: Spending most of their lives at sea in southern oceans, Black-browed Albatrosses are masters of the air, soaring and gliding effortlessly on incredibly long wings. On the Falkland Islands they share nesting colonies with penguins—the opposite of albatrosses in flying ability, but birds also supremely adapted to a life at sea.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Amateur Honorable Mention

Great Blue Heron by Melissa Rowell (Vestal, New York) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Great Blue Heron
Location: Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 ED VR lens; 1/1250 second at f/5.6; ISO 640

Story Behind the Shot: A storm was on the horizon when I arrived at one of my favorite wetlands. These herons immediately grabbed my attention: The male, obviously attempting to entice the female, was doing a stretch display. I love this mating ritual and decided to spend some time with them. When serious bill duels erupted between the pair, I was fascinated by their intense expressions as they sparred. The drama was further heightened as, thunder rumbling in the distance, the wind picked up, accentuating their long, flowing plumes.

Bird Lore: Equipped with sinewy necks and spear-like bills, Great Blue Herons can lunge with fearsome speed to strike their aquatic prey. Adults will also employ rapid stabbing motions as one aspect of their complex courtship displays; they’re seemingly dangerous moves, but fitting to the intensity of mating season.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Professional Honorable Mention

Bald Eagle by Kevin Ebi (Lynnwood, Washington) | Audubon Photography Awards

Bald Eagle by Kevin Ebi (Lynnwood, Washington)

Caption: An unidentified man tries to hold back the press on 15 October, as Saudi investigators arrive at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, amid a growing international backlash to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Story: A critic of the Saudi regime, Khashoggi had been missing since entering the consulate on 2 October to obtain documents. After weeks of rumor and false information, Riyadh announced that Khashoggi had been killed accidentally during an altercation. Turkish authorities and the CIA claimed he had been murdered by Saudi intelligence operatives, working under high Saudi authority.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Youth Honorable Mention

Bobolink by Garrett Sheets (St. Louis, Missouri) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Bobolink
Location: Dunn Ranch Prairie, Lincoln Township, Missouri
Camera: Canon EOS 60D with Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens; 1/1250 second at f/6.3; ISO 400

Story Behind the Shot: At sunset the Dunn Ranch Prairie becomes a field of golden grasses, which provided a perfect setting for this male as he perched briefly for a curious glance at my camera. The robotic tone of his song was echoed by dozens of other Bobolinks as they flew overhead. I was almost too excited to take the photo, but I secured a burst of photos before he took off, flying far out over the grasses.

Bird Lore: Most songbirds nesting in grasslands of the United States and Canada are short-distance migrants at most. The Bobolink is a striking exception, vacating North America entirely in fall, spending mid­winter south of the Equator in South America. Bobolinks molt before migrating, the male trading his snappy summer plumage for subtle buff-brown tones.

2019 Audubon Photography Awards Plants For Birds Honorable Mention

Purple Gallinule on a fire flag by Joseph Przybyla (Lakeland, Florida) | Audubon Photography Awards

Species: Purple Gallinule
Location: Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland, Florida
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VRII AF-S ED lens; 1/1000 second at f/5.6; ISO 1800

Story Behind the Shot: The normally elusive Purple Gallinule comes into the open when fire flag blooms, climbing the plant to feed on its flowers. I spotted this one making its way up the plant mid-morning on an overcast day, eating as it went. I set up with my monopod and camera, watching, waiting. When it reached the top, I captured images as it moved from stem to stem, moving quickly, side to side, up and down, choosing the best angle, and ultimately getting this photo of the bird mid-snack.

Bird Lore: The Purple Gallinule seems to combine the best traits of its rail relatives. Like true rails, it slips through dense marshes; like the coots, it swims and dives expertly on open water. When food beckons, it uses its garish yellow feet to clamber higher, even into trees.

Lightroom Trick: How to Pick Colors from Anywhere on Your Computer

Earlier today, photographer Matt Kloskowski shared a very useful little tip for Adobe Lightroom users. When making local adjustments, he shows you how to use the color picker to select any color from within Lightroom. Actually any color on your computer screen.

It’s super easy, but not at all intuitive to use this feature. All you have to do is open up the color picker, then click and hold within the color picker to bring up the eye dropper. Without un-clicking, you can then move that eye dropper over any part of your image in lightroom to select that color.

In fact, it goes beyond that. Klaskowski found that you can even drag the eye dropper outside of Lightroom and select a color from anywhere on your computer screen. In the screenshot below he uses another photo open in Photoshop, but we were able to make it work with anything, even a desktop background:

It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s a simple tip that can really help you dial in your local adjustments so that you don’t stray from the color palette within your image.

Check out the video up top to see how it’s done, and then head over to Kloskowski’s YouTube channel for more great post-processing tips, tricks and tutorials.

(via Reddit)

Behind the Scenes at Ilford Photo’s Factory

Behind the Scenes at Ilford Photo's Factory

Far from dying out, film photography still has a place in many people’s hearts. One of the companies which has warmly occupied this space is Harman technology Limited, which has been trading as Ilford Photo since 2005. This lovely short film documents what still goes on in their factory today.

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Ranger: RED’s Cinema Rental Camera

RED comes full circle with the Ranger: a non-modular, rental-only, high-end cinema camera.

Lensrentals has just published an interesting take on the new RED Ranger and how it fits into the RED product line. After a long wait, the Ranger should soon be appearing at RED authorized rental houses, so let’s dive into its configuration and when you might consider using it.

The Ranger is available for rental only, a first for RED. Currently, the camera alone is available for a $4335 weekly rental. By making it available for rental only, the Ranger is in the company of heavyweights like the Arri ALEXA 65 or Panavision’s Millennium DXL2. The Ranger shares the same 8K Monstro sensor with the DXL2 and RED has been working closely with Panavision on developing their most recent cinema cameras.

This is not your daddy’s owner-operator Red One.

It is a camera designed for demanding, higher budget studio work. RED has focused their design fully on these users. Let’s take a quick look at how that shakes out practically.

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Instagram Will Now Warn You Before it Disables Your Account

Yesterday, Instagram announced two changes to its “Account Disable Policy.” The first will enable Instagram to disable offending accounts more easily; the second means you’ll now get a warning before your account is shut down.

Instagram’s previous “Account Disable Policy” kicked in only when an account had crossed some threshold of “violating content.” Once you crossed that percentage, your account would be disabled, no questions asked or warnings given. Over the years, we’ve seen photographers of all stripes fall on the wrong side of this policy for various reasons.

The new policy keeps the old percentage rule, but expands Instagram’s rules by adding the ability to disable your account if you’re reported for having “a certain number of violations within a window of time,” even if your overall percentage is still in the clear. The good news is, if you’re getting close to that number, Instagram will now also warn you with a pop-up notification:

The new notification tells you that your account is “at risk of being deleted” while giving you the chance to appeal the decision if Instagram happens to be in the wrong. The appeals process will initially be open to “content deleted for violations of our nudity and pornography, bullying and harassment, hate speech, drug sales, and counter-terrorism policies,” but the site plans to expand that option further “in the coming months.”

They’ve also added the ability to appeal your already-disabled account through the company’s Help Center, and plan to bring that ability into the app itself “in the next few months.”

According to Instagram’s announcement, the point of these policy changes is to empower the social network’s moderators “to enforce our policies more consistently and hold people accountable for what they post on Instagram.” As Instagram continues to make changes with the goal of fostering a “safe and supportive” environment, expect more announcements like this to come.

Listen to the ‘Spider-Verse’ Filmmakers Talk about How They Pulled It Off

A BAFTA chat with the minds behind 2018’s breakout hit, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was an incredible breath of fresh air for a genre that desperately needed it. The film flipped superhero movie conventions on their head, showcased a new style of animation, and delivered the perfect combination of action, emotion, and visual flair. If you haven’t checked it out, do so after you read this article.

A new video from BAFTA Guru features an interview with the creative team behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, in which they discuss how they managed to bring you one of 2018’s best movies.

Check it out below:

So what can we learn from producers Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman? Let’s find out:

1. Work Together

Phil Lord and Chris Miller make up one of the premier writer/director partnerships in the studio system today. Their credits include 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Lego Batman, and more.

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New Exhibition Shows How a Look at the Dark Side Can Show a Photographer the Light

New Exhibition Shows How a Look at the Dark Side Can Show a Photographer the Light

An amazing new exhibition has just opened, depicting images once lost to history and giving us a behind the scenes glimpse at some of the greatest mysteries of our time.

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‘What is This?’: Polanski to Tarantino on ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

Roman Polanski recently reached out to Quentin Tarantino to ask about “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Sharon Tate’s role in the story.

Quentin Tarantino has had a lot of heat on him after announcing his 9th film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, especially since Sony planned to release it on August 9th, 2019, the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate’s murder. Sony has since moved the release date to July, but there’s a large contingent of people wondering how Tarantino treats this sensitive subject.

One of those people is Roman Polanski, who was married to Tate at the time of her death.

To understand this story, you have to understand just the impact that Sharon Tate’s murder had in the late 1960s.

Sharon Tate’s murder

In August of 1969, the Manson Family cult left their ranch and went on a two day killing spree in Los Angeles. It was an intense time in the city, and when the dust had settled seven people were dead. Among them was 26-year-old actress Sharon Tate. Tate was pregnant at the time and lost the baby as well. They were buried together.

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