Category Archives: Tutorials

I photograph for a living. Here are some things I have learned along the way.

Use Zacuto, Manfrotto and Arca-style heads without changing your camera’s base plate

The Problem

When I began shooting video more regularly, it did not take me long to figure out that in order to get smooth shots I needed a fluid head for my tripod and a shoulder mount for ‘run ‘n’ gun’ situations. The fluid head I am currently using is the Manfrotto 502 (HERE) and my shoulder mount of choice is the Zacuto Marauder (HERE). Two things that slow me down when switching from video to stills (or vice versa) are changing the tripod heads (which I found a solution for HERE) and re-mounting the camera to the various base plates for every system. For still photography, I have been using Arca style base plates for over a decade, and figured there must be a way to adapt the Zacuto and Manfrotto camera mounts to the Arca-style plate on my camera.

There is… Continue reading Use Zacuto, Manfrotto and Arca-style heads without changing your camera’s base plate

How to use the same tripod for video and stills

The Problem

I shoot both stills and video which often requires me too carry both a fluid head and a ballhead in the field.  Not wanting to carry two tripods, I very quickly realized that it took far too much time and frustration to swap the fluid head for the ballhead under any sort of time pressure (as is often the case in the field) and guessed there had to be a better way.

The Solution

I have always been a fan of Really Right Stuff’s products.  They are the photographic gear equivalent of a high-end german car – engineered to perfection.  As soon as I realized my problem swapping tripod heads in the field, I began combing their product lineup for some ideas.  What I found is a solution so elegant, I wanted to share it.   Continue reading How to use the same tripod for video and stills

The Garmin fēnix for Photographers

A perfect moment for a little help from my Garmin fēnix. Sunrise in a fog bank in the middle of the inside passage, somewhere in Alaska.  The watch has saved me hours of work in post production thanks to the GPX tracklog it stores.

How I use the Garmin fēnix and Adobe Lightroom to automate the process of geotagging my images

The Problem

When I decided to pursue photography as a profession, little did I know I was also signing up to become one part librarian and one part IT professional.  Every day spent in the field, results in at least one obligatory day in front of the computer color correcting, cataloguing, and captioning photographs – all necessary evils that add value to the final image for my clients.

One of the key pieces of metadata clients request is the photographs location information.  While easily added by hand to one or two images, the fun level quickly drops to zero trying to remember where a specific image was taken after a multi week assignment on another continent covering an assortment of locations and potentially thousands of frames.  Compounding this frustration, $300 point and shoot cameras come with built in GPS that automate this process, but $6000 pro DSLR cameras do not!

Needless to say, when I found a way to automate the task of entering location information into my photographs, I jumped at the opportunity as it meant less time in front of the computer, and more time doing ANYTHING else.

The Solution

Continue reading The Garmin fēnix for Photographers

How to use your histogram as a digital light meter

A few years ago I had the pleasure to record a title for Dean Collins Software Cinema on Photoshop CS4.  While  much of that information is getting a bit long in the tooth, Softare Cinema has been kind enough to post some of the more relavant training videos on You Tube.  Below is some fine instruction (if I do say so myself) on understanding what a histogram is, and how to use it as a digital light meter.

How to Photograph Star Trails with a Digital SLR (+ Video!)

A time exposure at Mauna Loa Observatory, lasting a little over an hour, produced star trails as Earth rotated. (Jonathan Kingston/Aurora Select for the New York Times)


What are Star Trails?

Simply stated, star trails are the streaks in a photograph left by stars during a time exposure as the Earth rotates.  Objects in the foreground of the photograph remain sharp as they are not moving relative to the camera, while the stars, depending on which cardinal direction the camera is facing, will form concentric circles or streaks in the sky.

Why does Photographing Star Trails require a different technique with a Digital SLR? Continue reading How to Photograph Star Trails with a Digital SLR (+ Video!)

How to batch delete photos from your iPhone


I recently ran into a rather big problem in the iOS world.  I completely filled up my phones 32 gigs of memory with photos, and realized to late that it is not terribly efficient to delete them manually on the phone.  I have had my iphone for a couple years and have always chosen the “keep photos” option after downloading the images into iPhoto – which I use solely to manage my iPhone images – preferring Lightroom to manage the library for my ‘big boy’ cameras.

Delete photos from your iphone
iPhoto gives you the option to delete photos after every download, however if you press the “Keep Photos” button as I often did, it will not give you the option to delete those specific images ever again.


When my iphone indicated that its’ memory was full, I figured that I could simply plug the iphone into my computer, browse to the iphones photo library in iPhoto or Finder, and delete the photos as a batch.  As it turns out, the iPhone’s iOS is set up in such a way that you cannot browse the iphone’s photo library like you would a digital camera’s memory card using the Finder.  Because the Finder cannot see the iPhone’s photo library, apps like Adobe Bridge and Lightroom also cannot see the iPhones photo library making it impossible to leverage these apps to batch delete the images on my phone.  Not wanting to take the time out of my life to manually delete the images in the iphone’s photo library, I set out looking for another solution to the problem.

THE SOLUTION Continue reading How to batch delete photos from your iPhone