Leave it be­hind and do with­out!

NPhoto - - Feature -

When opt­ing to travel light on your hol­i­day, there are a few skills and tech­niques that will make up for the lack of cer­tain key items. There may be a qual­ity im­pli­ca­tion at times, but that may be the sac­ri­fice you have to make. Af­ter all, the main rea­son that pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers carry so much heavy glass, tripods, flash, re­flec­tors and fil­ters is to get the ut­most qual­ity, even when images from a 36Mp cam­era are viewed at 100%. Not all pho­tog­ra­phers need this qual­ity, es­pe­cially if images are to be viewed on­line, or printed to rel­a­tively small sizes. Ul­ti­mate qual­ity in all cir­cum­stances might take time and equip­ment, but you can still shoot imag­i­na­tive, en­gag­ing and creative pic­tures with the min­i­mum of kit.

Two legs not three

The sin­gle big­gest item that you can leave be­hind is your tri­pod. These have tra­di­tion­ally been seen as vi­tal for night pho­tog­ra­phy and even panora­mas, but with a lit­tle care over your tech­nique you can avoid the weight, and of course the time to set it up. There are some shots that you won’t be able to shoot with­out a tri­pod – star trails and su­per-long, wa­ter fall-blur­ring ex­po­sures, for ex­am­ple – but with the ex­cel­lent high-ISO ca­pa­bil­i­ties of mod­ern cam­eras you should be able to pho­to­graph in even the gloomi­est in­te­rior.

Work hard on your tech­nique as well, to min­i­mize the chance of cam­era shake. Use Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion (VR) if your lens has it. Squeeze the shut­ter re­lease gen­tly, brac­ing your­self against a wall or pil­lar if you can, and take a few shots in suc­ces­sion, ready to pick the best one – in ef­fect brack­et­ing against cam­era shake.

The ac­tual max­i­mum ISO that you can use will de­pend on which Nikon you have, so run a few tests at home to see where you

draw the line. Re­mem­ber that cam­era shake will ruin a shot far more than high-ISO noise, es­pe­cially at smaller re­pro­duc­tion sizes.

If you’re shoot­ing panora­mas with­out a tri­pod, you may need to mod­ify your tech­nique. As it is harder for the soft­ware to line up the shots, you should shoot quite a bit wider than if you were us­ing a tri­pod, and over­lap each frame by at least 50%. This gives you a greater mar­gin for er­ror. Shoot with the cam­era ver­ti­cal to max­i­mize depth and min­i­mize dis­tor­tion, and take a cou­ple of ver­sions, so you can keep the one which works the best.

Night pho­tog­ra­phy is es­pe­cially pop­u­lar when pho­tograph­ing a city break, but even this can be done with­out a tri­pod if you pho­to­graph at dusk, when there is still some light in the sky. Pho­tograph­ing in this so-called blue hour can ren­der skies a deep blue, or even shades of pink and pur­ple fol­low­ing the sun­set. If you are hand­hold­ing at a rel­a­tively slow shut­ter-speed then avoid us­ing the tele­photo set­ting as this will mag­nify any cam­era-shake. Us­ing a higher ISO will re­sult in slightly nois­ier images, but this can be min­i­mized by ap­ply­ing noise re­duc­tion when post­pro­cess­ing your images.

ABOVE LEFT Pop­ping your Nikon on a bal­cony can en­able you to use slower shut­ter speeds for night pho­tog­ra­phy

ABOVE RIGHT Shoot dur­ing the blue hour, and there’s enough light in the sky to get away with hand­held shoot­ing

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