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Posted 08/11/21
In this photography tutorial, you will learn how to photograph the night sky in a way that stands out. Sony Alpha Imaging Collective member and travel photographer Autumn Schrock shares her photography composition tips to improve your astro photos. Visit Explora’s Night Photography site for more astrophotography content. And share your own astro photo tips in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 04/20/21
Sony has just announced the fourteenth lens to join its coveted G Master lineup: the ultra-compact, ultra-fast, and ultra-wide 14mm f/1.8 GM Lens. Ideal for capturing landscape, architecture, and astronomical subjects, as well as creative portraits and close-ups, this low-distortion prime delivers the optical quality that has come to characterize Sony’s top tier of lenses while remaining impressively compact and lightweight. The new lens is Sony’s widest G Master prime to date. Combine its expansive reach with a fast f/1.8 aperture and you have a lens that is perfect for low-light capture—and especially well-suited for wide-field astrophotography. In total, it consists of 14 elements in 11 groups, with special design consideration paid to combatting the types of distortion that can plague ultra-wide-angle lenses. First, there are two XA (extreme aspherical) elements and one aspherical element to minimize aberration and sagittal coma flare, ensuring accurate image capture. Super ED and ED glass are used to suppress chromatic aberration, and Nano AR Coating II takes care of ghosting and flare. Resulting images exhibit very little distortion and maintain corner-to-corner sharpness, reducing time spent in post. Although most will choose this lens for capturing distant subjects, it can focus as close as 9.8" for creative close-up applications. Two XD linear motors ensure quick and quiet focusing for stills and video. G Master veterans will be surprised by how small and light this lens is. Its design becomes even more impressive when compared to Sigma’s 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens, which weighs a whopping 2.6 lb, more than double that of Sony’s lens, which comes in at just a hair over 1 lb. Similarly, its 3.3 x 3.9" dimensions make this a lens that is equally easy to carry on-camera or in a bag. Such a compact and lightweight design makes this lens easily adaptable for gimbal or tripod usage for achieving steady footage. Many of the tactile controls of past G Master lenses are also incorporated into this one, including a customizable focus hold button, a de-click switch for the aperture, and a manual/autofocus switch. A built-in lens hood serves the dual purpose of blocking flare and protecting the bulbous front of the lens from accidental damage. A protective lens cap that goes over the hood is included for when the lens is not in use. Since the shape of the lens is not suited to front filters, a rear filter holder is included and a template provided for cutting custom filters. Like previous G Master lenses, the 14mm f/1.8 is dust and moisture resistant, which makes sense because this is a lens that begs to be taken outdoors. Although you cannot rely on a front filter for protection, a fluorine coating has been applied to repel dust, dirt, and liquids from its surface. Are you excited about Sony’s latest G Master lens? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below!
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Posted 12/26/20
Night photography has become increasingly popular and accessible in recent years, and the experience of photographing the landscape under a starry night sky is incomparably rewarding. In this seminar, Lance Keimig of National Parks at Night shares his techniques for light painting, light writing, and low light landscape photography. Are you a fan of night photography? Share your experiences with us in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 12/08/20
Lost Horizon Creative is proud to announce the release of its latest project:  Light Side Up. More than a year in planning, the highly anticipated film documents the journey of three adventurous photographers as they attempt to become the first film crew ever to capture cinema-quality footage of the northern lights from the edge of space. The full film will premiere on December 8, at 7:00 am PST, on Nate Luebbe’s YouTube channel. The YouTube Premiere will feature live Q&A with the filmmakers, as well as interactive chat during the screening. A few rare photos of the northern lights have been shared from the International Space Station, but options for high-altitude photography are very limited for civilians. Professional photographer Nate Luebbe has spent his career chasing new perspectives, but it wasn’t until late 2019, while watching a hot air balloon launch that he realized he could use a weather balloon to send a camera directly into the stratosphere—thereby utilizing a relatively unexplored avenue for nature photography. High-altitude balloons are launched every day for scientific research, but Luebbe wanted to push the envelope by using a professional camera system. With a highly specialized, full-frame camera designed specifically for ultra-low-light imaging, Luebbe and the team were able to capture higher-quality footage than ever before. After a full year of research, engineering, and fabricating custom stabilization systems, the first successful flight happened on September 26, 2020. Quick stats: Balloon size: 10 feet on the ground, 38 feet diameter at bursting altitude Flight duration: 3 hours and 15 minutes Maximum altitude: 122,600 feet (37,369m) Ascent velocity: 1,000 feet/min Air temperature: approx-100ºF The payload consisted of the brand-new Sony a7S III (a new camera designed specifically for ultra-low-light applications), redundant GPS tracking systems, additional batteries, and chemical heat packets. Once filled, the payload ascended for just shy of 2 hours and, at 122,600 feet, the balloon burst, sending the payload back to earth under a parachute, to be recovered by helicopter the next day. The first flight by the team was unsuccessful when an unforeseen cold front caused the balloon to stop ascending and float sideways for multiple hours, at which point the GPS systems failed.
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Posted 01/27/20
Hiking through the snow, nature photographer Martin Bailey shows you Hokkaido's beauty through minimalist black-and-white photography. He offers a look inside his Hokkaido Winter Landscape Photography Adventure Tour, which is sure to inspire you to travel! If you had to choose anywhere for your adventure photography, Hokkaido, Japan should be on your list. More Adventure Week
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