All posts by Jason Odell

Five things you can do today to improve your photography

Lincoln Memorial at twilight, Washingon, DC.
Lincoln Memorial at twilight, Washingon, DC. This shot would be impossible without a tripod.

Want to get better at photography? Then here’s a quick list of some things you can do right now to start getting better.

  1. Step away from the gear forums and the endless debates over what the best camera/lens is and just use the gear you have. All the online advice in the world is no substitute for getting out there and capturing images.
  2. Get a good tripod and ball head, and use it. Yes, the tripod can be cumbersome at times, but the degrees of freedom it offers you in terms of creative options are worth it. With a tripod, you can capture long exposures that would be impossible to do hand-held. Plus, using the tripod will force you to slow down and think about your shots more.
  3. Learn to shoot RAW. Even if you aren’t a master of post-processing, shooting RAW today means that you’ll be able to have maximum flexibility with your images down the road. Since RAW editing software continues to improve, you’ll be able to use new tools on your old shots and get great results.
  4. Practice zooming with your feet. Use either a fixed focal length lens, or put some gaffer’s tape on your zoom ring. You’ll get a feel for perspective and composition, and it will force you to try new angles.
  5. Get out of Program Mode and tell your camera that you’re in control. Try using Aperture-priority metering to control depth of field. Compare images captured wide-open (low f-number) with those captured while stopped down (high f-number). Use auto ISO if you’re shooting hand-held so that you can get sharp images, or use your tripod for the best results.

Happy shooting!

Sensor Plane Podcast #14: Choosing the best lens

As mentioned in my earlier article, the best lens is the one that fits your needs. Sometimes that means having the best optics and fastest aperture, but other times other factors can trump pure optical quality. In today’s episode I take a look at some of the Nikon lenses in my kit and discuss how often I use them.

Click here for the audio only version (MP3 format)


My photographic year in review 2014

2014 was another busy year for me. I logged a lot of miles this year traveling to both new and familiar locations, and I’m incredibly happy that I got to meet some of you in person along the way! With that, here’s a little recap of the past year and some of my favorite captures. Enjoy.

April 2014: Digital Underground Las Vegas

I kicked off the year with the inaugural tour in a new series of workshops, called Digital Underground, that I’m co-hosting with Deborah Sandidge. We took a small group of photographers to Las Vegas, where we explored creative techniques and got to see some pretty cool places like the Neon Museum Boneyard and the Nelson Ghost Town.

Neon Museum, Las Vegas, NV
Neon Museum, Las Vegas, NV
Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV
Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV

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Choosing the glass that’s best for you

The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AFS G lens is part of the “holy trinity” of FX lenses. Should it and its brothers be in your bag?

It’s shopping season again, and I want to talk a little about that obsession we have with camera lenses. Often times, you’ll hear, “get the best glass, you won’t regret it.” This is certainly the case in terms of total image quality, but is it practical advice? I mean, there are entire websites devoted to the minutia of MTF charts and brick-wall photos trying to convince us which lenses are the best, and which are marginal. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately, especially when going through my images and examining my gear needs as they have evolved. Continue reading

Kauai Daybreak

Sunrise on Kauai, Hawaii.
Sunrise on Kauai, Hawaii (click to enlarge).

I recently returned from a family vacation. Although I mostly took snapshots, I did bring my Gitzo 1-series tripod for the occasional sunrise photo. Here’s the eastern shore of Kauai at sunrise, captured with my Fujifilm X-T1 and 10-24mm f/4 OIS Fujinon lens. The combination of the 18-135mm and 10-24mm lenses made for a great travel kit. Most of the time I shot with the 18-135mm, but in this instance I used the wider zoom to get the great perspective of the sky and ocean. Because I had my tripod, I was able to stop down to f/11 and get a 1/30s exposure, causing the motion blur in the waves. I really like the way the water blurs just enough to give this image a dynamic feeling.

Check prices on Fujifilm gear: