Pinhole photography, Photographic Genres – Photography Course, Lesson 43

Pinhole camera by Viacheslav Slavinsky

This article is part of the online digital photography course.

The stenoscopia is a photographic technique that takes advantage of the process of the darkroom to reproduce images. Everything is based on pinhole (from the greek "stenos opaios" = narrow hole), most often practiced with a pin, from which the English word "pinhole" to describe this type of photography.

With this process we can obtain blurry images, because the light rays coming from the subject create small circles. The sharpness increases by decreasing the radius of the hole, the exposure time and the probability of diffraction problems increase as well.

The element of particular interest in this type of photography is to have sharpness extended to all framed objects, with a consequent unlimited depth of field.

Photo by Matt Callow with pinhole camera

This is a slow type of photography, with long exposure times, which may vary from seconds to hours, depending on the subject you want to shoot.

It therefore creates an awaited, desired and sought picture, which contains elements impalpable due to/thanks to this missing clarity. 

Article written by Claudia Prontera

How To Make a Pinhole Camera

How to Make a Room-Sized Pinhole Camera

Quote about Photography

Taking pictures is fun. 
 If you get bored or you’re tense or angry, you’re doing it wrong
Marco Crupi

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Man and the Sea (L’Homme et la mer) - Photographic Project

Video and Photo by Marco Crupi

Photo Gallery: Man and the Sea

Tumblr: L’Homme et la mer

Man and the Sea

Free man, you will always cherish the sea!
The sea is your mirror; you contemplate your soul
In the infinite unrolling of its billows;
Your mind is an abyss that is no less bitter.

You like to plunge into the bosom of your image;
You embrace it with eyes and arms, and your heart
Is distracted at times from its own clamoring
By the sound of this plaint, wild and untamable.

Both of you are gloomy and reticent:
Man, no one has sounded the depths of your being;
O Sea, no person knows your most hidden riches,
So zealously do you keep your secrets!

Yet for countless ages you have fought each other
Without pity, without remorse,
So fiercely do you love carnage and death,
O eternal fighters, implacable brothers!

— Charles Baudelaire

Landscape photography, photographic genres – Photography Course – Lesson 42

This article is part of the online digital photography course.

Landscape photography is a photographic genre that depicts portions of the world, no matter if the immortalized spaces are natural or urban. It's probably the more practiced photographic genre by professionals and amateurs. Instead of just talking about it, I’d find more interesting and instructive introducing you to some of its main exponents.

One of the pioneers of landscape photography and whom you can’t not know about is Ansel Adams, I suggest you to google him, while below you can find one of his most famous photos.

In addition to Ansel Adams there are so many of them to be named, so I’d suggest you to look at the pictures of Galen Rowell and Edward Weston.

What you need to know about Tumblr

What you need to understand is that I don't take myself very seriously. I made this video almost as a joke, not expecting it to blow up and go viral in such a short amount of time. Tumblr DOESN'T have rules. And even more so, it IS open to everyone. The tips I explain in this video is more so to poke fun and indulge in the typical mindset of those of us that are Tumblr addicts. People are viewing it in a way I wasn't intending. They seem to think that I believe that anyone that steps outside of these points is not deserving of a Tumblr. Again, that is not the case.
Like anything in life, be it the internet, friends, music, ect... there are trends that seem to develop. The 12 points I mention, are the trends that have developed for this particular website.

To those of you that think I am breaking the 1st "rule" by making this video:
It's okay if new people join Tumblr. At one point or another, we were all newbs. What I'm saying is that when you share Tumblr with people you know, it often leads to regret. Tumblr is often used as a diary of sorts. Often people vent because no one knows them personally, which means they can be open about their thoughts & feelings without a fear of being judged. When someone you know starts following you, this defeats the whole purpose of being able to blog freely.
Not to mention the only reason I uploaded this to YouTube was because the file was too large to upload to Tumblr.

Naturalistic macrophotography, Photographic Genres – Photography Course, lesson 41

This article is part of the online digital photography course.

With "macrophotography" is usually indicated the picture whose subject is captured on a sensor in scale 1:1 up to 10 times its original dimensions, this means that 1inch of the subject equals 1inch of the sensor. Macrophotography is usually linked to insects and flowers, but any subject can be interesting and original seen from a very close point of view. Close-up photography is a picture in which the subject is captured on a sensor big from 1/10 to 1/2 of the original dimensions of the subject, while pushing the focus over 10x you get into the field of macrophotography.

Simone Tossani, NPS (Nikon Professional Service) photographer,, wrote a wonderful article about Naturalistic Macrophotography.

The pictures and the text below are exclusive copyright of Simone Tossani.

The butterflies, the bees and the mantises are fascinating colorful inhabitants of a world that only photography can explore. But which is the lens most suitable for macro? Better a long or a short focal? Is the autofocus necessary? And the image stabilization? Is it better a flash or the natural light? Here are some useful advices not to stay trapped in the spider net.

I wasn’t lucky enough to attend photography courses or specialized courses; I had though the privilege to have as master a great photographer that would have given a lot of work to do to the so-called specialists of the field, making them talk a lot about him.

My dear master (my Father) even before teaching me how to hold a camera in my hands, transmitted me the sense of the immortalize the great richness that is Nature, teaching me to respect it in all its forms, to observe it and classify it.

It’s thanks to the training I received that I decided to undertake the adventure of naturalistic photography (macro in particularly), with which I have literally fallen in love.

Unfortunately a beautiful picture doesn’t only come from emotions and technique; there aren’t many elements participating to a good result. The framing, the focusing, the exposure, the depth of field can’t be just sterile notions but have to be researched and experimented on the field, where we don’t always find the best possible shooting conditions.

This way I understood I had to renew my way of photographing, keep although the basic institutes I initially received. Digital photography brought more commodities compared to the film, which you can appreciate best during shooting.

The simple fact of being able to control the focusing and the exposure isn’t a little thing, especially in macro that requires the maximum clearness and legibility of details. All this without considering the saving and the control of waste: it’s not rare to be forced to discard all the 36 shots of a film because the result isn’t the wanted one.


It’s the first question we ask ourselves when we decide to take macro photographs. The first consideration to make for the choice of the lens is about the possibilities of our wallet: in Italy prizes go from 300 to 1900 euros depending on the brand and the focal length. For starters it’s good to look for medium-low range one, aiming, why not, for the second hand market, that offers greedy occasions. Besides, going for an economic category isn’t the worst solution considering that for those who are approaching this technique for the first time it’s hard to find a macro that doesn’t suit for the situation.

Optics built specifically to work at high ratio of enlargement are never lacking, and sometimes we can get a few nice surprises. Apart from the costs, another consideration to make before any purchase is the result we want to get with our shots.

Shooting with a macro with a 60mm focal give as result a scene different from the one you’d get with a 200mm one; apart from this it’s possible to obtain very similar results using specific accessories like extension tubes; later we’ll see how this can be possible and what problems could we have.

In a macro scene, the luminosity of the lens, as it maximum aperture capability, isn’t very important since it hardly ever happens to have the entire diaphragm opened, on the other hand a luminous optics helps with the operations of focusing giving us a brighter image in the viewfinder, even if at reproduction ratio close to 1:1 we’ll lose approximately one stop.

On the market we can find zoom lens with the Macro denomination. Without doubting of their quality, we’d feel like saying: everyone should stick to its own job, they aren’t real macro lens; they let us reach a lower working distance compared to the normal usage, so to generate enlargements with reproduction ratio of 1:2, but it’s not enough to compare them to an optics designed for such purpose.

The best thing for all potential macro-photographers is not to look for an optics that can do everything, avoiding inappropriate investments.

Let’s use Live View

Almost all the digital reflex are equipped with the so-called LiveView that offers the possibility to frame through the backside LCD screen of the camera. This function, adopted very much on compact cameras, was introduced for the first time on digital reflex cameras by Olympus and became a standard for many constructors. A lot of people think it’s just a commercial trick and in many cases it’s true: can you imagine a sport photographer dealing with the slow focusing of LiveView? But in Macro, where the speed is relative, the unappreciated LiveView lets us focus manually with high precision, otherwise impossible to get: the focusing, in fact, is made directly on sensor’s plain appearing this way crystal clear.

Moreover, it saves us from back and rheumatic pain making us avoid uncomfortable positions while shooting and making us save money since there won’t be any need to buy specific accessories to arrange the eye position like angular viewfinders or similar.

We must say that there are no other digital reflex cameras with interchangeable prisms like the glorious Canon F1, Penrax LX or the Nikon F3 that had a series of interchangeable viewfinders depending on the type of shooting. The LiveView replaces then become kind of a digital ground glass without the disadvantages of the straight framing with inverted sides like in the cockpit. Besides we can also focus the framed subject up to 40x, choosing a precise point in our scene and observing this way with extreme precision the focusing and the depth of field depending on the aperture we set.


We must forget about all the multipoint and sophisticated autofocus modules, assisted by ultrasonic motor incorporated into the lens, because they don’t reach the precision required in macrophotography. The manual focusing is the best choice when we have a static subject; unlike for dynamic subjects we we’ll need to be equipped with a good autofocus, without pretending the same accuracy of the manual focusing. For the stabilized lens we have the same situation: their utility will give greater satisfaction in other applications.

Pay attention instead to the minimum distance of focus of which the camera lens is capable, whereby the distance is considered as the one between the subject and the film plane or sensor. Consider that in equal ratio, the more the focal length is shorter the smaller this distance is, and vice versa, the same will increase with a longer focal length, thereby increasing the probability of capturing the decisive moment. A greater working distance allows you to not have the person glued to the front of the lens causing scare, avoiding the risk of getting an empty perch!

The macro kit I used for all the shots that you see in these pages is composed of four different focal lengths: the Micro Nikkor AF-D 60mm f / 2.8, the Micro Nikkor AFS 105mm f / 2,8 VR, the Sigma 150mm f / 2.8 EX DG HSM Macro and Micro Nikkor AFD 200mm f / 4. Although they all are autofocus lenses to maximize compatibility with digireflex generation, I run the focus always on hand. Among these focals my favorites are the 60mm and 200mm which I consider personally the champion in the field of macro lenses for their excellent sharpness and the excellent micro contrast that helps return the minute details of insects.
Given the cost of about three times lower than the Micro Nikkor 200mm f / 4, 150mm f / 3.5 Sigma is a superb lens in terms of sharpness, it has nothing to envy to the original image but returns with a significantly colder gradation, forcing a post-production to find a more accurate color rendering, faithful and brilliant.


The use of a Tele has its advantages but it forces to put and on our wallet, we consider that a Micro Nikkor 200mm f / 4 costs new around 1800-1900 euro, looks very far from our resources. But do not despair: we can get very good results by combining a special 50-60mm extension tubes putting them in front the camera and the lens to increase the draft. That means removing the lens from the rear focal plane / sensor by increasing the ratio and getting the blurred effect in the second floor like using a long lens.

To better understand the effect of the draft of a lens it’s enough to perform a practical test. Take a sheet of A4 paper (about 20x30cm) and a flashlight for illumination.

The sheet will be our sensor, the torch our goal and the light beam the projection of the captured image. Light the torch and put it with the lamp facing the paper at about 10cm, you will notice that the projection of light forms a circle of diameter X, now gradually move away from the torch more about 5cm from the sheet. We observe that, by increasing the distance between the torch and the sheet of paper, the size of the circle formed by the light projected increase. So we see that by increasing the distance between lens and sensor, consequently increases the ratio.

The extension tubes are commercially available from the originals of some of the best known manufacturers of reflex to various manufacturers of photographic universal accessories. Among these, my choice fell on Kenko for the possibility to maintain all the automatisms of the machine. The pipes are not the worst thing in the world, but they have their pros and cons. In favor of the tubes it must be said that reducing the minimum distance of focus of the lens in relation to the draft, you do not degrade the image quality and maintain all the automatic exposure and focus. On the other hand you lose infinity focus, brightness in the viewfinder decreases and the depth of field is reduced drastically.


The shallower depth of field, following the adoption of the extension tubes proves to be a double edged sword: on one hand increases the focus, eliminating distracting elements in the second floor and giving the background a blurred appearance in order to bring out the subject, on the other forces us to pinpoint accuracy in focusing to showcase all the details.

That's why the manual focus is so important.

Also forces us to use small apertures. But be careful, do not overdo it! There is a limit beyond which each objective suffers of the phenomenon of diffraction, which manifests itself in a loss of sharpness and a softening overall image, sworn enemies of the macro.

It is important to specify that the depth of field increases at large values of f / stop (for example f/11-16, etc..) and decreases setting small f/ stop values (for example f / 2.8 to 4 etc..). If we try to take a shoot with a very closed aperture (f/22), we’ll have a very large depth of field that would suggest a sharper view of all the elements that make up the subject. Actually this is not true, because we have diffraction. Unfortunately when we close the diaphragm to values between f/16 and f/32 the resolving power of the lens decreases.

This phenomenon will be visible only when looking to the photos on your computer or via the monitor of our cameras, so be careful because the reflex’s sight can’t perceive any deterioration in quality.

Do not be alarmed though. If it is true that the diffraction is inevitable it’s also true that a macro lens worthy of the name comes designed to give maximum apertures, unlike the rounder objectives who showed a dramatic drop in quality for smaller apertures. The right light, as it may seem trivial, is the essential element of any photograph whatever is kind of recovery in which we are venturing.

There is no noble goal or super stratospheric SLR flagship in the world that can save a shot captured with the wrong light. My experience has led me over the years to experiment with lighting techniques based on the use of multiple flash units. But I have always obtained the greatest satisfaction with natural light, mostly grazing, the best to enhance the shapes and beautiful colors of the tiny inhabitants of the woods and meadows.

Not using the flash means raising the ISO sensitivity. If the film is unthinkable to take a picture macro 800-1600 ISO because the results are poor, with the latest generation of digital SLRs we can take revenge on the grain buckshot and mushy details. I am fortunate to use a Nikon D3 but there are in commerce reflexes mid-ranged that can boast a containment of disorder that competes with this super flagship. We take into account also that the printing photographs forgive many of the flaws that we see on the PC monitor, so we can sleep tight.

Although I consider the subjective choice of shooting modes, I work constantly in aperture priority, but the most difficult cases or when I want to give special effects I switch to completely manual one. The automatic priority aperture allows you to set the desired aperture and let the camera automatically calculate the best time according to the available light. There is a special diaphragm which could be used constantly, however, there is a precise value for which the aperture usually gives its best regardless of the situation in which we find ourselves.

This value ranges from an aperture of f / 8 and one of even f/16. A smaller apertures will give problems related to diffraction, even if we increase the depth of field. The choice to work in ambient light imposes a rule: wake up early in the morning to be on the spot to photograph before sunrise. An advice: always carry with you a small flashlight that while waiting for the sunrise will be useful to find subjects among the vegetation. Keep in mind that early in the morning, following the lowering of the temperature occurred during the night, we could take advantage of the complete immobility of insects due to the slowdown of their metabolism. As the air warms up we will have more and more difficulty to approach them.


The rough and micro rough are the biggest enemies, in macro sharpness and clarity is everything.
There is no discussion: we need to buy a tripod. Constantly carry it around as a burden, having to position it each time you will have to take a picture, it’s not easy to bear, but the experience will teach you that the tripod is the only friend that allows you to perform any footage that would be impossible to make by hand.

If you are thinking of something as light as carbon fiber tripods you are wrong.

Apart from the very high cost, in macrophotography they weren’t proven useful because they are unstable and subject to vibrations. The function of the tripod is to constitute a solid support to avoid occurring phenomena of micro moving and only its weight can overcome this drawback.

In short, the more the tripod is heavy, better it fulfills its function. For a compact digital camera a light and versatile tripod as the Manfrotto 055 Pro will do the thing. But with the reflex it’s better not to compromise. Everything depends on the weight of the equipment but if you want to make a good investment you should pick one that weighs around 4.5 kilograms: the tripod is not subject to fashions and stay ours for many years to come.

In addition to a good tripod it’s necessary to have a head that guaranties the necessary stability of your camera / lens.

It’s better to avoid the ball heads because if it is true that they are quick to perform a recovery, they don’t facilitate the accurate control of the frame being in free movement in all directions. One of the many solutions, although not the most effective, is constituted by the heads to 3 movements, even if they have the defect to move the image in the direction of rotation of the knob while we provide the clamping of the axis of movement. Of course, you can always crop the picture with Photoshop, but if we want to have absolute control of the frame the best alternative is represented by the expensive rack heads for the Manfrotto 410. The latter allows by rotation of knobs to perform accurate shots without having to intervene in the tightening of the axis. It also allows movements in 3 directions with micrometric displacements so as to make easier the search of an effective parallelism with the subject.

If you like to go overboard like me, you can add a slide micrometer like the Manfrotto 454, which ensures the micrometric movement across the field of view allowing us to make the focus by moving the entire optical unit. Weight, size and cost are high, but still proportionate to the level of sharpness obtained.

I recommend you to read the related article: How to choose a macro lens - Photography Course

How to choose a macro lens – Photography Course

This article is part of the online digital photography course

Picking a lens is always a sort of taboo for those who lack of practice.

Is it short focal better than a long one?

It’s important to say that besides the technical and practical aspect, the financial one is fundamental too.

For example, talking about Nikon cameras, the difference between a 60” and a 105 is 300 euros, with a starting price of 500 euros for the 60, while between a 60 and a 200micro it’s almost 1000 euros and it’s obvious that the investment is getting higher and it must be taken into serious consideration.

But which are the differences between the focals?

Mainly there aren’t big differences, both the optics allow reproduction ratios of 1:1 and the same extension on the depth of field.

The prospective (field angle) and the minimum distance of focusing are the main difference but the elements that we’re going to frame will have the same extension of the focused areas.

To better understand the matter I took a caliber and I put it at 45 degrees from the focal plane of the camera, this inclined position allows me to simulate a hypothetical depth visible on the millimeterical scale of the measuring instrument.

Let’s see the examples.

If you notice any difference in the reproduction ratio between the three lens it’s because all of them at minimum working distance actually reproduce from 1:1 to 1.09:1




The pictures in the example above, show how between the three focals at the same aperture set value and at the same reproduction ratio, the depth of field has the same extension.

Then why should we chose a longer focal, more expensive and less manageable, if with a 60 we get the same result?

The solution is both simple and complicated.

Let’s start first of all to understand which are our photographic needs and with that I mean to understand the kind of framing that we like doing, contextualized subjects, subjects shot including their natural environment or artistic or didactic details.

Mainly, the highest amount of our shots are almost never at reproduction ratios that we could define macro (by macro we consider those reproduction ratios that go from 1:2 to 10:1), instead we do a Close Up, in other words we reproduce our subjects with a ratio of 1:2 or lower.

If for example we frame a butterfly and we want to put it in the frame operating a graceful composition, we’ll actually notice that our distance of shooting and the value displayed on the helical focusing, no matter which focal are we using, is far from what we’d define a Macro ratio.

What actually influences the shooting is the field angle or better it’s prospective that will give a more or less blurred background.

The example I’m showing is the same of another article I wrote, in which you can see how the same framing with different focals keeps the same reproduction ratio contextualizing the subject to obtain a quite pleasant result.

In all the four examples the butterfly was framed at the same reproduction ratio but what changes is the working distance, closer for the 60 while with 200 the distance is bigger.
A bigger distance for a long focal, if on one hand allows to use this particular practice to extend the depth of field, it’s also true that it forces us to close more the aperture because the prospectic angle or the field angle won’t have enough perspective needed for the same parameters of a short focal.

Using a long macro focal demands the help of a good tripod and a solid head, but with a short focal you can frame freehand relatively small subjects using the prospective to include in the frame particular details important for a document we are interested in to file, for studies on the habitat of the subject.

Canon EOS 6D Review

Click here to see other reviews

You've been asking for it. Repeatedly. And now we have finally got our hands on Canon's latest, "cheaper", full-frame DSLR. With the name "6D", it fits in slightly below the 5D Mark III. But is this Canon's answer to the D600?

The price of the Canon EOS 6D is £1,799 (UK)/$2,099 (US), or £2,519.99 (UK)/$2,899 (US) for the Canon EOS 6D body + EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens.

Canon EOS 6D key specifications:

  • 20.2MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 5+ image processor
  • ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102800 expanded
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting
  • 'Silent' shutter mode
  • 1080p30 video recording, stereo sound via external mic
  • 11 point AF system, center point cross-type and sensitive to -3 EV
  • 63 zone iFCL metering system
  • 97% viewfinder coverage; interchangeable screens (including Eg-D grid and Eg-S fine-focus)
  • 1040k dot 3:2 3" ClearView LCD (fixed)
  • Single SD card slot
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Single-axis electronic level
Canon EOS 6D Hands-on Review

Studio Photography: how to shoot tethered using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Click here to see the lessons about studio photography.

This article is from the Lightroom Course

In this episode Mark explains how to shoot tethered using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Shooting tethered allows you to connect your camera to your computer and capture your shots in realtime.

Tethering with Lightroom 4

This video explain on how to use Lightroom 4 as a tethering tool for your DSLR, this video was made using a Nikon DSLR but this can also be done with Cannon camera.