10 things to try right now

Capture the curl of a distant wave from the safety of the shore Adventure photographer Michael Clark took this shot of pro surfer Mason Ho at the famous surf break, Bonzai Pipeline, from the shore in Oahu, Hawaii. He often photographs surfers from a variety of angles, on and in the water, but unless you re a pro, he says you should stay on dry land. "If you re standing on the shoreline all day in front of big crashing waves you re going to need to protect your camera and lens from the salty spray," Michael advises. "I use a Gore-Tex cover for my camera, but if you don t have something similar you can simply use a small towel. Also, have a lens cloth to hand, because you ll need to continuously wipe the front element clean.

10 things to try right nowTo get this shot, Michael observed the surfers for a while. "Waves break in a consistent pattern, so I had already composed this shot in my head before the event had happened," he says. "I left some space on the right-hand side of the frame, because I knew the surfer would drop in on the left-hand side and make for a pleasing composition.! also selected an autofocus point near the bottom-left of the frame, so the surfer would be sharp."

When taking action shots like this you ll neec a fast shutter speed. "Not only dd you want the surfer to be completely in focus, but you ll also need to compensate for any movement of your telephoto lens," Michael says. "For this shot, my shutter speed was set to 1/2000 sec, with an aperture of f/6.3 and ISO of 400." Get started today... * Check the forecast, because the bigger the waves, the better the chances of getting a great shot. Go to www.magicseaweed.com, which —will provide you with details of wind strength and direction, plus swell levels. * Set up your camera on a tripod that has a flexible moving head. This will help you compose your shots and keep the camera still, for sharper results. * Select your camera s focus-tracking autofocus mode to ensure sharp shots of moving subjects. Set the Drive mode to fire off frames at the highest continuous burst mode without compromising on quality. * Use a camera with a crop factor sensor so your lens will get that extra reach. Michael usee a Nikon AF-S 200-400mm at 400mm, but because of the DX sensor on his Nikon D300 _ the lens had an equivalent reach of 600mm. Take natural outdoor portraits Capture a sequence with a documentary feel Why not try something different this summer and shoot a sequence of portraits? London-based photographer Oily Burns shot these images in a Shoreditch Park in London one evening. "The weather was beautiful," he says, "so we waited until the end of the day and shot like crazy for an hour as the sun went down." Oily used a couple of prime lenses with his Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. "The prime lenses produce great image quality, and handle flare from direct light really well," he says. Oily prefers to use natural light when possible, and to fill in any nasty and distracting shadows he simply bounces the ambient light back towards his subjects using a reflector. "I try not to direct people too much, allowing a situation to develop organically," says Oily. "At the same time, you have to communicate with people to make them feel at ease and react to them at the key moments. Having a relaxed set and friendly team is important when it comes to getting the best out of your subject. Playing music on the shoot definitely helps to create the right atmosphere." Oily doesn t like to over-process his images, so will only tweak the results a little at the editing stage. "I m always looking to keep my shots natural and believable," he says. "I use warm colours and light to create an aspirational and ethereal quality." Get started today... * For a modern feel, pick a location such as an open urban area or a park for your shoot. * Pack a prime lens in your kit bag. The wider the aperture the better, so try a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or wider. * Shoot into the light, or with light coming from the side, so you can capture some lens flare. However, be careful not to blow the highlights or over-expose the scene. Add some movement Twist and zoom your lens to achieve dynamic in-camera effects Twist the barrel of a zoom lens as you fire the shutter, and you can produce what s known as a zoom-blur effect. This can be a great creative tool, resulting in dynamic, abstract shots with a real sense of movement. When it comes to composition, the rule of thirds goes out the window for this type of photography. You want your focal point to be in the centre of the frame, and the effect will work even better if you re shooting a colourful object or scene. You ll find it easier to produce a zoom blur if you set up your camera on a tripod. Once you ve composed your shot, switch your camera to Shutter Priority mode. Start by setting the shutter speed to 1/8 sec and press the shutter as you simultaneously twist the lens s zoom barrel. How fast you twist and what focal length the lens is will make a difference to the outcome. Shoot infrared landscapes Capture the world in a light that the naked eye cansee There are two ways to shoot an infrared image. The first is to convert your camera s sensor permanently, but this isn t practical if you don t have a spare camera body to use, and it s expensive too. The second, and far cheaper, option is to use an infrared lens filter. You ll need to use a tripod and long shutter speed when attempting this technique, so it s best reserved for landscape photography rather than moving subjects. Christian Lim took this shot of an island by the shores of Padre Burgos in the Philippines with his Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a Hoya R72 filter. "When shooting with an infrared filter you need to know your gear," he says. "You ll have to work out things like how long your camera needs to expose through the filter, so take a variety of images with short and long shutter speeds to see which works best." "You should also be aware of hotspots, which are over-exposed areas that are created when combining filters with long shutter speeds," Christian continues. "Some lenses are worse then others, so you ll need to experiment. Look for a scene with lots of contrast, cover your viewfinder to stop stray light entering the camera, and use a lens hood to minimise direct sunlight hitting the filter." Get started today... * Pack your tripod, infrared filter and a few lenses, because some are more susceptible to producing hotspots. You ll need to experiment with your equipment for the best results. * Make sure you check the histogram on the rear LCD as you shoot. The graph should peak towards the left-hand side, but make sure your shot s not under-exposed. Check for blown highlights too, because they ll look strange in your finished shot. * In Photoshop, switch the blue and red channels over to get the classic infrared effect. Go to lmage>Adjustments>Channel Mixer. With Output set to Red, set Red to 0% and Blue to 100%. Now do the opposite with Output set to Blue. Go to lmage>Auto Colour to finish. Play with perspective Shrink reality to give your landscapes a toy-town effect By deliberately blurring the top and bottom of your image, you can make your subjects look much smaller within their environments, changing the perspective so your images look like they were taken in a model village. The effect works best if you shoot from a high viewpoint and include a point of interest in the frame —like the boat above. Traditionally, this effect is created in-camera by shooting with what is known as a tilt-shift (or perspective control) lens, which allows you to physically shift or tilt the lens up or down, or from side to side, to alter perspective. However, many SLRs come with a tilt-shift lens filter that will simulate the effect in-camera without the need for expensive kit. If you re going to use a specialised lens, you ll need to set the tilt function to angle up or down. Shoot downwards and angle the lens upwards to accentuate the shallow-depth-of-field effect. A tilt-shift lens is expensive, but the image quality will be very high. If neither of these methods works for you, fake the effect in Photoshop. Photoshop CS6 includes a faux Tilt and Shift feature that can be found in the Filter menu under the Blur tab. Get started today... * Look for the right subject matter. Shoot the scene from above, but not directly overhead. * Take the image in good, directional light —eg, bright sunlight. Ensure the main focal point running central in your image is sharp. * Avoid wide-angled shots and try to minimise the elements within the frame. In this image the focal point is the boat, and the river and cliff edges bring the scene together. * Download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop CS6 from www.adobe.com/go/tn/photoshop and give the Tilt and Shift filter a go. Let there be light! Get up early to capture a sunlit woodland scene To capture this landscape, George Johnson headed out at first light. "You need to be in the forest and ready to shoot when the sun starts coming in at just the right angle," he says. George set a narrow aperture of f/18. "By shooting at f/18 I was able to capture the diffraction of the sunlight hitting the aperture blades," he says. "So the star-burst effect is kept intact as it cuts through the tree trunks." The difference in exposure between the highlights and shadows in a shot like this can make it difficult to expose correctly. For this reason, George used a two-stop graduated Neutral Density filter to balance the light. 10 things to try right nowGet started today... * In a forest you ll lose a couple of stops or more of light, so use a tripod to get sharp shots during long exposures. * Select an outer patch of forest where the light can filter though the trees. The added light will also help to illuminate the forest floor. Take pavement portraits Pluck up the courage to photograph a stranger on the street Photographer Danny Santos II took this portrait of a complete stranger on Orchard Road in Singapore. "It s not at all easy to approach people you don t know," he says. "I ve done it for a year and I still get nervous. But try and shoot through your fear, because it will definitely be worth it." For his  Portraits of Strangers  project, Danny managed to get 104 portraits in total. "Look out for interesting people," he advises. "This guy is a street busker who plays percussion. When someone has agreed to pose for me, I ask them to look directly into the lens, and I rarely encourage them to smile!" Once you ve plucked up the courage to get a stranger to pose, you need to consider the ambient light. "I prefer shooting with natural light late in the afternoon under overcast skies," Danny says. "If the sun is strong then I shoot in the shade. This way, I get big, soft, directional light that falls nicely on the subject s face." For this shot, Danny used a Nikon 85mm f/1.4D lens with his Nikon D300 camera body. "I set the aperture to f/1.4 to completely blur out the background, but focused on the eyes to ensure they were completely sharp." Capture light and shade Use a simple lighting set-up to shoot still lifes indoors Photographer Ally Byrom took this shot of some cala lilies on his dining table. "I used one studio light without a modifier to create the intense light-and-shadow effect. The backdrop was a wall in my dining room, painted dark grey just for this purpose." Ally shoots his still-life set-ups using the theory that in order to create interesting light you have to create interesting shadows. "When setting up a still-life shot I use the modelling lamps on my studio lights to see where the shadows are falling." Get started today... * If you don t have access to a studio light, try using an external flashgun, an angle-poise lamp, or even natural light from a window. * Convert the final result to monochrome for arty-looking results. Take our latest photo challenge Enter our seaside-themed shooting challenge and be in with a chance of winning a handy Lowepro rucksack worth ?150... When it comes to getting great shots on the coast, there are many approaches you can take. If you opt to shoot a classic seascape, try using long shutter speeds to capture moving tidal waters and include some foreground interest such as rocks to balance the composition. If you want to try something different, set up a summer portrait shoot on the beach. Head to the coast for the afternoon with a model, then shoot on as the evening light develops. Take some floaty scarves so you can photograph your model in a vast open space trailing a long scarf in the wind. If neither technique takes your fancy, why not try dragging the shutter? To do this, sweep the camera across the scene during a long exposure to get an abstract result. Finally, take a Martin Parr-style approach to the challenge and document people and life at the seaside. Look out for beach huts, bold brash lights and colours to use as a backdrop. Get started today... If you re shooting seascapes, the light at dawn and dusk will yield the best results. If you re shooting at midday, pack a diffuser to soften harsh, overhead light. For portraits, use a flash or reflector to throw some light back into the shadows on your subject s face. Shooting with the light behind your model will create a halo effect.

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