Picture Methods Podcast #7

Picture Methods Podcast Art Featuring Scott Bourne

Welcome in – you’ve stumbled upon the flagship podcast of the PictureMethods blog where we deliver free insights and inspiration for photographers. Effective this episode, we will be publishing on the first Friday of each month. Please make a note of it.

I appreciate the fact that you tuned in. I am grateful for all the positive feedback I’ve received over the past six months and I hope to just keep it going for as long as I can.

On today’s show I have a special guest. PhotoJoseph is here. (https://photojoseph.com) Joseph and I go way back – he’s an old Aperture guy. He’s a photographer, filmmaker, YouTuber, content producer, educator, and all round great fellow. You’ll enjoy our interview, I guarantee it.

I’ve got some photo news for, and of course a Q&A segment. In the insights segment I’ll show you three things that you can do which will make you an incredibly better photographer in a year and you can do it without spending a dime. I’ll end with a word of encouragement.

Hey if you missed last month’s show – visit the podcast archives on PictureMethods.com or on your favorite podcast player – I had a great interview with portrait artist and Nikon ambassador Matthew Jordan Smith that you must hear.

Let’s get to this month’s photo news.

Sigma has announced the launch of the Sigma fp – what they are calling the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless digital camera.

Sigma also announced three dedicated lenses for the new camera which are:
Sigma 35mm F1.2 DG DN Art
Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art
Sigma 45mm F2.8 DG DN Contemporary

Pricing and availability for the Sigma fp full-frame mirrorless digital camera will be announced fall 2019.

Sony announced the Sony A7R IV full-frame mirrorless camera with a 61-megapixel sensor and IBIS. The price will be $3500 in the USA.

July marked the 50th anniversary of the US Moon landing and Hasselblad is celebrating its role in the iconic event with a special edition camera called the 907X.

Upon landing the Eagle during the moon landing mission, Apollo 11, the team selected a silver Hasselblad Data Camera (EHDC) fitted with a Zeiss Biogon 60mm lens to photograph the surface. This camera was attached to Neil Armstrong’s space suit. A second Hasselblad Electric Camera was used to photograph images from within the Eagle lunar module.

The HEDC was amongst several pieces of hardware left on the moon’s surface. After removing film magazines from the camera body, the body and the lens were left on the surface so that the mission could make sure as possible their take off and safe return to the surface of the Earth.

By the time Apollo 17 left the surface, there’d be twelve camera bodies on the surface of the moon. They’re still up there now, as far as we’re aware.

A third black Hasselblad was used on the Command Module Columbia in lunar orbit during this same mission. That camera, handled by astronaut Michael Collins, was safely returned to the Earth’s surface.

If you have news that you think would be of interest to the Picture Methods audience, send me an email – scott@picturemethods.com. If I think it is a fit I’ll add it to next month’s news rundown.

As promised – I have a great guest segment today. None other than YouTube star and Panasonic Ambassador, PhotoJoseph is here.

My thanks to Joseph for coming on the show. Next month, I’ve got the guy who helped launch my podcasting career and he’s the host of the number one technology podcast in the world. His name is Leo Laporte and we’re going to chat about cellphone cameras and computational photography. He’s one of the nicest guys in the world and it will be lots of fun so mark the date – first Friday in September.

Today’s insight segment is simple. It’s three things you can do right now (without spending money) to up your photography game. These are things ANYONE can do and I hope you will give them a try.

If you’ve been hanging around with me for the 20+ years I’ve been offering free, online photo education or if you’ve attended one of my workshops or seminars, you might have heard this before. But either way, it may be helpful to you.

I want to preface this with one single sentence. If you do these three things every day, religiously, without fail, for the next year, your photography will dramatically improve, no matter who you are, what your skill level, or what kind of gear you use!

Now that’s a bold statement but I have been teaching these concepts for decades and I have heard from literally hundreds of photographers that this system worked for them – that means it can work for you.

Ready? Here we go.

Number one. It’s simple. It’s easy. And you may moan when you hear it but it really will help you. Read your camera manual! EVERY DAY! Now I am not suggesting you read the ENTIRE manual every day, just read one page or about one feature your camera offers. Then – and this is where this starts to pay off, go test that feature on your camera – no matter how simple. If you read the page on how to set the autofocus point on your camera, go grab the camera and set the autofocus point, according to the instructions. Yes – I know you already know this. That isn’t the point. The point is you’ll be associating what you read with immediate action which will tattoo this topic on your brain and it will become second nature. If you come to a section on something like rear curtain shutter sync and say, “But Scott I have never used a flash and never will and don’t need to learn how to use rear curtain shutter sync,” I will reply with – YOU DON’T KNOW THAT! Your situation may change, your photography may change, but in any event, just do it.

Over the course of the year you should be able to read your entire manual and if you finish early, start back over on page one and keep going for the full 365 day commitment. If you do this I can absolutely guarantee that you will become a wizard with your camera and when something special happens, you won’t panic. Your training will kick in and you’ll instinctively know how to make the camera perform exactly as you need it to be. EVERYONE who’s ever tried this technique and who has talked to me about it after has agreed it’s insanely helpful. Read the manual. That is step one.

Step two is also very simple. Go make a photograph of SOMETHING every single day, seven days a week, 365 days in a row – NO MATTER WHAT! If you are in the hospital-have a friend bring the camera by and snap their portrait. Take a picture of a beer can for all I care. BUT GO MAKE A PICTURE! Handling your gear on a daily basis will improve muscle memory. Many of you only use your “nice” camera on weekends or holidays or for special occasions. If that is the case, you aren’t always going to be as quick on the draw as someone like me who handles his camera every day, no matter what, come rain or shine. Period. Make a picture every day. If you want to make it interesting, come up with a 365 project and go with a theme but no matter what, press that shutter button. You will absolutely NOT improve if your camera just sits in a box on the shelf. You have to go use it!

Step three is also simple. Look at lots published pictures. These are pictures that somebody paid to use so they are a good starting point for the state-of-the-art. If you look at a minimum of 10 published photos (not your own) every day for a year. I promise you will improve your photography. My friends who are professional writers all agree – the way to get better at writing is to read. Same goes for photography. The way to get better at photography is to look at professional pictures. Not to copy them, but to be informed and inspired by them. You can go to the library – grab current popular magazines or travel books or whatever interests you and look at the pictures. Really look at them. Don’t just glance at them and call it good. Study them. Ask yourself questions about these pictures. Where was the light? What was the camera angle? Is the camera close or far away from the subject? What’s the distance between the subject and the background? What about the quality, intensity and color of light? You get the idea. Do this every day with at least 10 pictures. You will raise your own game as a result.

So there you have it – three simple things you can do every day for a year to improve your photography and that do not cost money. I hope you’ll commit to trying this and please keep me updated on your progress.

Okay – it’s time for everyone’s favorite segment of the show – photo Q&A.

The insights section of the show went a little long today so I only have time for a few questions, but they are good ones.

Question number one:

What are techniques that you use to not scare away skittish animals, especially birds? This morning, I was in Fundy National Park (Canada) and I spotted a gorgeous Red Tailed Hawk, perched on a tree, and the light was hitting him perfectly. I parked my car on the side of the road, quietly got out, did not even shut the car door, walked slowly a few feet to get in position (which is still considerably far from the bird) with my 50-500mm lens… but the simple sound of my feet walking on the paved road was enough to scare the bird away. Never even got to click that shutter button once before the bird left. So do you have tips to avoid wasting opportunities like this? Should I be wearing slippers? 🙂

I’m Andre Audet, from Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada)

I am pretty new to shooting video on my digital camera. It seems that I need to have a certain aperture to get the look I want because I need shallow depth-of-field. But in video, shutter speed depends on the frame rate that you’re shooting at. Most of the time I will be at 25 frames-per-second (fps) and because of the 180-degree shutter angle rule, I have to set my shutter speed to double your the frame rate or 1/50th. So how do I control exposure if that combo doesn’t yield the proper exposure?

Alex Waterman
New Orleans, LA

Last question is a short one – my favorite kind.

Scott – what’s more important – the camera or the lens – I realize that it’s probably a salt and pepper question and always a matter of opinion, but I want to hear yours.

Winston Simmons
Buffalo, NY

If you have questions for the Picture Methods Podcast, send them to me at Scott@picturemethods.com. I only add questions to the show if they include name and town and come in via email. I cannot promise that every question I receive will end up on the show, but I do read them all and appreciate the emails.

As I get ready to wind up this month’s episode of the podcast, I want to remind you that if you subscribe to my free quarterly newsletter, you get more great content that I do not share publicly and you also get to enter exclusive contests for photo gear. You can use the link in the show notes to sign up and you can unsubscribe at any time. I only send out four emails a year. PERIOD. So don’t worry, I won’t spam you and I will never sell or share your name with any third party. PERIOD.

I want to sign off as I always do with a word of encouragement.

If your dream is to be a professional photographer or to at least get published, win a photo contest or receive some other sort of recognition for your work, don’t be detoured from that dream.

When I was young and starting out, I used to tell my friends and family that I wanted to make a living as a professional photographer and got laughed at. These were the people who were closest to me, laughing at my dreams. It can be a very hard world if you want to be a creative. Most people cannot fathom a world like the one I am lucky enough to live in, so they simply refuse it is possible for anyone else. Don’t let their lack of faith in themselves, stop you from finding the courage to step out and go for your dreams.

I came from a terrible background, a broken home, kicked out by my parents at age 14, on my own ever since and had zero support from anyone. Yet, I still managed to make it. I got a chance to do exactly what I said I would do which is make a living from photography. Believe me, if I can do it you can do it. Now not everyone wants to be a professional. Most of you are smart enough to have other professional pursuits and are lucky enough to enjoy photography as a hobby. I have never had that luxury. I have always had to think about who will pay for the next shutter press. But I am okay with that because it’s what I signed up for. If you think you want a career as a professional photographer or in any creative pursuit for that matter – be bold. Claim it. Let everyone know. You’ll find out who does and does not have your back, but more importantly, you’ll find out if you have the courage of your own convictions. It won’t be easy but you can do it. I am rooting for you.

Wrapping up…

Don’t forget that next month I’ll have Leo Laporte as my special guest on the podcast. Leo is a legend. Tell your friends.

Also, please do me a favor if you like the show. Please subscribe (for free) to the iTunes version of the show – even if you listen somewhere else. It helps us gain traction. Please consider subscribing (for free) to the blog – you can use the little black box that appears in the sidebar of every post to do that. It will give you updates every time there’s ANYTHING new at Picture Methods. And lastly, please consider signing up for my free quarterly newsletter – you can do so at http://bit.ly/picturemethodsnewsletter

If you do sign up for either blog updates or the newsletter you are automatically eligible to win cool prizes during the regular giveaways I do for the show and the blog. You must be 18 years old to participate. Open worldwide except where prohibited by law.

I really hope you enjoyed episode number seven of the Picture Methods podcast – see you next month.

And while we’re all waiting for the next episode, let’s root for each other!

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