The Sensor Plane Photography Podcast: Episode #1

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Welcome to my latest project, a video blog called The Sensor Plane. In digital photography, the sensor plane is where light rays interact with technology. Starting today, I’ll be hosting a regular segment where I’ll talk about the technical and creative sides of digital photography.

In today’s episode, I’ll start off with a review of the two Nikon 70-200mm zoom lenses:

Here my thoughts on the practical aspects of these lenses in the video episode below. If you have suggestions for future topics, please feel free to leave a comment!

Update Jan. 7, 2014

Some viewers have requested an audio-only version of the episode. I’ve posted a MP3 version here: Sensor Plane #1 (Audio Only) 

Landscapes with Longer Focal Lengths

Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.

Daybreak in the Rockies, Cottonwood Pass, Colorado. Image captured with a Nikon D800e and 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII zoom Nikkor lens.

When you go out to photograph landscapes, what’s the first lens you reach for? For many of us, it’s a midrange (24-70mm) or wide (16-35mm) zoom lens. Those lenses are great, but there are lots of times when a longer focal length is ideal, even in wide-open spaces. By using something like a 70-200mm zoom, you can make some really compelling images.

Why should you use a telephoto zoom for landscape photography?

  • Telephoto lenses help you isolate the subject and cut out distracting elements from the scene, especially empty foreground space.
  • Telephoto lenses create subject isolation by softening backgrounds, especially when used with wide apertures.
  • Telephoto lenses compress the scene, enhancing the look of layers in a landscape and adding depth.

With all these creative benefits, it’s no wonder that my 70-200mm lens is something I find very enjoyable to use on my landscape photography trips.

Here are some more landscape images I captured with my 70-200mm lens: Continue reading

Channel-Swapping: Download Free Photoshop Actions

Independence Pass, Colorado. Digital Infrared image captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera 590nm conversion.

Independence Pass, Colorado. Digital Infrared image captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera 590nm conversion. Blue-sky effect created by Lab channel swapping in Photoshop CS6.

In yesterday’s post about channel-swapping, I mentioned two techniques for Adobe Photoshop. I created actions for both the RGB channel-swap (red-blue) and Lab channel swap (a-b).

Download this action set here (ZIP archive): Infrared Actions.atn