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Technical tips

This is an image from a job the company took before we left for Africa. I once had someone give me the advice: “if you really want to learn how to be good at lighting in all situations. Try lighting a black bowling ball on a reflective surface.”

It’s true, it’s difficult and teaches you all the angles, leaves you no room for failure or minor mistakes. We however uncovered another good teaching tool through experience.

Try lighting a glass bowl on a black backdrop, with carvings on the bottom that need to be visible.

Shockingly simple: take a picture of a bowl. Fast forward three hours later to a broken glass bowl.

[just kidding, totally in tact]

Ashley tabletop

Photo by: Edwin Remsberg

Long exposures can be frustrating, time-consuming and technically challenging shots to get right. But worth it in the long run. Being able to accurately portray where you are and what you are seeing isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Funny enough, the more beautiful the place or face, the more difficult it is to do it justice.

So let’s break this one down.

Camera: Nikon D3s

Lens: 17-35 mm f/2.8 Nikkor

No Flash

Tripod… absolutely.

(consider this, anything longer than 125th of a second might start to show motion blur from either the subjects motion, or your hands and body moving as you try to hold the camera steady. You can still get a sharp shot at that shutter speed, but to help steady yourself, try bracing your camera on something, or if nothing is around, brace your upper arm and elbow against your ribcage, breathing in and exhaling completely. At the end of the exhale, take your shot)

Exposure: 30 seconds at f/2.8

(What a lot of people don’t consider is that adjusting the f-stop on your camera doesn’t only let in more or less light, it creates a variance in the images depth. f/2.8 for instance is wide open and only keeping a small portion of you image in sharp detail. Closing it to say f/22, lets in far less light, but also keeps everything in focus AND can give you richer colors. Your sky can come out bluer or your forests greener.)

Focal Length: 17 mm

ISO: 3200

(The higher the ISO, the more light particles of a landscape are picked up. The term comes from film days, different films have different speeds. The higher the number, the more silver particles are coating the film and thus able to record information onto. However, the more particles, the more visible they become. This is where you get film grain, or that pixelated look in dark spots of your image, you start seeing all those extra coatings of silver. We also call this “noise”)

Sani Pass, Lesotho

At the end of the Sani Pass, just over the Lesotho border, Photo by: Edwin Remsberg

Like most jobs, the back-end work takes up the majority of our time. For every hour we spend shooting, there are hours more spent uploading, applying metadata, processing, exporting, and essentially not moving until we realize we haven’t eaten in 12 hours.

The Reality:

What people think of when they imagine a photography career:

Maybe 20% of how time is spent.Sani Pass, LesothoThe part that people don’t imagine.

60% [Not that this is a bad place to set up shop for a couple hours] Lesotho, Africa

Sometimes the perfect shot is as easy as walking up and asking to take a photo. Being a photographer gives you this strange superpower; you always have a reason to be overly involved and overly curious.

Lesotho, Africa

All photos taken in a small mountainous village in Lesotho, Photo by: Edwin Remsberg

Sometimes the reward is in the photo itself and what you’ve made permanent.

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Photo by: Kady Dulny

Sometimes the reward is the person you get to meet that you otherwise wouldn’t have had a reason to approach.

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Photo by: Kady Dulny

Sometimes the reward is in the moment after, when they get to look at a permanent impression of their face. I [Kady] had a photo teacher tell me once that every photo you are able to take is a gift from the person allowing you to; so never take a photo, but give a moment.

Lesotho, Africa

Photo by: Edwin Remsberg