Thin Air Photography: Blog en-us (C) Thin Air Photography, All Rights Reserved (Thin Air Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:39:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:39:00 GMT Thin Air Photography: Blog 120 80 Serious Photography Meets the Family Vacation - Part 2 - A Few Techniques Tulum BeachTulum BeachTulum is an area of ruins about an hour's drive from Playa Del Carmen. I liked this small patch of beach that opened up to the ocean, as some threatening clouds moved overhead. The water really was this unbelievable blue color. It was like looking at a sea of Gatorade :o)

I experimented with the post processing by making a pseudo HDR shot using 1 original capture that I made under and over exposed copies from. The HDR was done using Photomatix.


Serious Photography Meets the Family Vacation - Part 2

So in part 2 of our blog post about shooting scenics while on a family trip, I want add some more comments on being prepared as well as cover a few techniques that can greatly enhance your chances at coming away with those shots you can be proud of.

First here are a few more comments on extra items to consider bringing along:

  • Memory cards - These days memory cards are very cheap, so there is no good excuse not to make sure you have enough along with you to allow you to shoot as many shots as you like WITHOUT having to erase any cards during your trip. This solves one other issue too - it gives you one backup of your images (more about backup later.)
  • Extra battery - Many modern digital cameras use proprietary batteries, so having 2 batteries plus a charger with you is a good idea. If you are going to a foreign country also make sure that you have the necessary adapters/converters to plus your battery charger into the wall too.

Here then are a few suggested techniques to get the most of of whatever photo opportunities you have on your trip

  • Learn To shoot RAW if your camera supports it - While RAW mode may only seem like a way to create much larger files that are harder to look at on your computer, in fact RAW mode has some distinct advantages over the jpeg output mode that many cameras default to. A RAW mode file contains all of the information that your camera can capture. Think of it like a digital negative. Using this format allows you more latitude in adjusting your image later, either to correct problems (exposure, white balance) or to add cool effects. In many cases, cameras that support RAW mode shooting can also shoot in both RAW and jpeg mode. This gives you both a quick and easy image to see and share, but also a digital negative to do critical enhancements to later if you wish.  With today's inexpensive memory cards the extra space used is not typically significant.
  • Use your histogram to evaluate exposure - Almost every digital camera today has the ability to show an exposure histogram. This is a more accurate way to tell if that shot you just took is properly exposed to avoid blown out highlights or lost detail in the shadows than simply looking at the LCD display on the back of the camera, especially if you are outdoors in bright light. Details of what a histogram is and how to read one can be found online, here is just one such link:
  • Bracket exposures when shooting in challenging lighting conditions - As stated above, memory card space is cheap, so if you are unsure of your exposure for a shot, or if the scene has too much dynamic range to capture all details in a single exposure, take a few additional shots with exposures both above and below the exposure settings recommended by your camera. This is called bracketing' your expsore. At the expense of as few as an 2 additional shots this technique allows you a better chance to get the exposure right, especially if you are rushed in setting up your shot. Bracketed exposures can even be combined in post processing to recover highlight or shadow detail that the camera couldn't capture in a single frame (a technique called High Dynamic Range processing, or HDR - more about that in a future blog!) Often, bracketing can be easily accomplished automatically using the appropriate camera settings.! 

So that's it! gather up your gear for your next family trip and come back with some great images! 


Best Regards, 





]]> (Thin Air Photography) Vacation Photography Tips Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:21:45 GMT
Serious Photography Meets the Family Vacation Santorini SunlightSantorini SunlightThe late sun makes the white buildings glow along the caldera edge, near the town of Oia on Santorini.  

Serious Photography Meets the Family Vacation - Part 1

So how many of us have had great expectations for getting that incredible set of unforgettable images on that long planned vacation trip to a scenic wonderland, only to feel thwarted at every turn by the inevitable demands made by travelling with others whose agenda for the same trip may be understandably very different? While trying to combine scenic photo taking opportunities with a family trip can require a number of compromises for the photographer, with a little forethought and planning you can still have the opportunity to take some great shots while enjoying all of the other aspects of a family get together at an exotic locale as well.

In part 1 of this blog post I'll highlight a few of the typical problems facing you on a general purpose trip followed by a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way – see if you can apply any of these approaches to your next outing:


  •  ProblemFinding time to shoot – Impactful images almost always require some time on scene to be able to successfully bring together the technical and aesthetic aspects of an image idea together. This can be hard to come by when travelling with a group of non-photographers.
  • Some Solutions:
    • ​Get as many in your group into photography as you can :)  Having even 1 more person in the group with a camera and an interest in taking pictures can really help.
    • Learn your gear so that you can quickly set up and take a shot when the opportunity presents itself
    • Include other trip members in your pictures
    • Take less stuff to minimize lens swapping or other fumbling with gear
    • Know when it’s time to put away your camera and move on (an essential survival skill… )
  • ProblemMinimizing your gear requirements – Taking a large amount of gear on a general purpose trip often is counterproductive, as it increases the time you spend organizing, moving, and setting up your gear for a shot. This often can increase the impatience of the rest of the group and make the stopping to take pictures more problematic as the trip wears on.
  • Some Solutions:
    • ​Determine what type of camera to take - maybe you have a smaller camera that still takes pictures of sufficient quality?
    • If taking an interchangable lens camera, take a minimum compliment of lenses
      • ​Get lenses from alternative sources especially if it helps you downsize
      • Borrow from friends, rent!
    • Take a multi-purpose bag
      • ​ Helps with ‘security’ too
      • Helps limit gear you take
    • ​Find lighter/smaller alternatives for your gear where possible (lenses, tripod, bag)
    • Be responsible for just your own gear (don’t be the ‘mule’ for everyone’s camera stuff!)
  • Problem: Being Able To Shoot The Scenes You Want - Stopping everywhere in case you might find a picture increases group frustration and is inefficient
  • Some Solutions:
    • Know what type of pictures you are hoping to take prior to leaving
    • Know where to go before you go
    • Make desired locations known prior to leaving
    • Be realistic; pick a small number of ‘gotta-visit’ sites
    • Be ready to shoot at locations chosen by others.

​Stayed tuned for part 2 where I'll cover a couple more general suggestions to help you enjoy that family trip AND come back with some images you can be proud of!

Best Regards,


]]> (Thin Air Photography) Vacation Photography Tips Thu, 08 May 2014 03:57:33 GMT