For photographers, creativity is the distinction between a good photograph and a NICE photograph. But what occurs in the event you’re not feeling very inventive? That’s after I prefer to dive into what I name my “photographer’s inventive package,” a bunch of various things to strive.

This may imply utilizing equipment, taking benefit of my digital camera’s distinctive menu choices, attempting totally different publicity strategies (like shallow depth of subject), or just one thing I keep in mind one other photographer doing properly. Here are a few examples of how I used that inventive package in the course of the four-day workshop I not too long ago led in northern Georgia.

Sometimes, being inventive means with the ability to see past apparent issues. When we hiked into Cherokee Falls at Cloudland Canyon State Park, it was fairly contrasty because of the full solar on one aspect and heavy shade on the opposite.

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 64, 1/2 second at f/22 in Matrix metering, +0.3 EV, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 16mm.

However, as I advised the group, most of immediately’s cameras can have great dynamic vary when used at low ISOs. That means in the event you expose to guard the highlights, you could have a good probability of overcoming that problem afterward in modifying.

Here’s that very same picture, edited in Adobe Camera RAW, recovering overexposed highlights on the higher proper and bringing again element at the hours of darkness areas:

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 64, 1/2 second at f/22 in Matrix metering, +0.3 EV, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 16mm.

This tree in shade, in opposition to a sunlit background, caught my eye. But to make it actually stand out, I wanted a fast-aperture lens. That’s why I usually carry a quick, “regular” lens with me. The f/1.4 fashions may be pretty giant (and costly), however the f/1.8 or f/2.0 are a lot smaller (plus cheaper).

Nikon Z 9, Aperture Priority, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 64, 1/2500 at f/2 in Matrix metering, -0.7 EV, Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 lens.

If I’m attempting to journey gentle, however suppose I would need to do some close-ups, I’ll carry alongside one or two extension tubes. They’re small, light-weight, and cheap, and may flip nearly any common lens into a close-up lens. You’ll have a extra restricted vary of focus, however for occasional use, they’re nice.

This Iris was at Finster’s Paradise Garden, the second cease on our first day.
This is the pair of Meike extension tubes, for Nikon Z cameras, that I introduced alongside to Georgia.

I are likely to shoot (or course of) black-and-white if the scene in entrance of me has an old-timey look or the colour is dangerous. This was additionally at Finster’s Paradise Garden:

Nikon Z 6, Aperture Priority, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 100, 1/200 at f/11 in Matrix metering, -0.3 EV, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 15mm.

My cameras provide an in-camera a number of publicity function, which I typically use whereas zooming the lens as I shoot. This is a seven-frame publicity the place I did simply that, of a ribbon at Myrtle Cemetery:

Nikon Z 9, Aperture Priority, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 1000, 1/320 at f/4 in Matrix metering, -0.3 EV, Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens at 63mm.
Here’s my Multiple publicity menu, which lets me shoot from 2-10 frames and in addition provides me choices on how the digital camera merges these pictures.

Here’s one other a number of publicity photograph I made at Barnsley Gardens and ruins, this time utilizing the “Overlay” function my digital camera gives (the choice “ghosts” the primary shot into the viewfinder, to assist me higher compose whereas creating the picture):

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 200, 1/800 at f/8 in Matrix metering, -0.7 EV, Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens at 75mm.

About fifteen years in the past I had one of my cameras transformed to infrared, and have carried out that to a few different cameras since then. When I purchased my Nikon Z 6 II, I despatched my unique Z 6 in for conversion so I make do “false colour” infrared photographs like this, at Barnsley Gardens:

Nikon Z 6, Aperture Priority, Preset white steadiness, ISO 100, 1/160 at f/11 in Matrix metering, +1.0 EV, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 17mm.

We spent about 4 hours at Old Car City USA, and I knew that one photograph I wished to make could be from a excessive angle. Not having a drone, or tall ladder, I merely mounted the digital camera to my fully-extended tripod and held it up within the air.

To shoot the photographs, I set the self-timer for ten seconds, then went additional within the settings to have it take 5 frames at three-second intervals. That means I might transfer the tripod between photographs to ensure I bought at the very least one with the composition I wished.

Nikon Z 9, Manual, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 200, 1/250 at f/5.6 in Matrix metering, +0.3 EV, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 18mm.
Here I’m utilizing my Peak Designs Travel Tripod as a poor man’s drone. Photo by Michael Schwarz.
The self-timer menu of my digital camera lets me select a delay from two-seconds to twenty, shoot from 1 to 9 frames and have a delay between these frames of as much as three seconds.

I’m a large fan of taking pictures hand-held since I can work sooner and get the precise framing I need with much less hassle. But even with wonderful picture stabilization, after I need to shoot at a small aperture and low ISO, leading to a very sluggish shutter pace, I’ll take the time to place my tripod in simply the correct spot.

Nikon Z 9, Aperture Priority, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 64, 1/2-second at f/16 in Matrix metering, -1.7 EV, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 15mm.

After a couple of hours wandering the acres of Old Car City USA on our personal, we met for an non-compulsory flash class that I offered. To have much less gentle within the sky (for the flash to compete with), I’d paid further for our group to remain later. That, mixed with a Godox AD200 flash off to the aspect, allow us to create photographs like this:

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 100, 1/200 at f/9, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 14mm.

Here’s what that scene regarded like a jiffy earlier, utilizing solely out there gentle:

Nikon Z 9, Aperture Priority, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 64, 1/80 at f/7.1 in Matrix metering, -0.3 EV, Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens at 24mm.

And right here’s some of the group, attempting a totally different angle with the sunshine in a new place:

While exploring the New Echota State Historic web site, I made a decision to take benefit of my digital camera’s focus stacking function (“Focus Shift,” as Nikon calls it). With the digital camera on a tripod, I then have it shoot a collection of photographs from close to to far, and assemble them later in Helicon Focus software program. This provides me a sharper picture with extra depth of subject than I might get in any other case, even taking pictures on the smallest aperture.

Nikon Z 9, Aperture Priority, Auto white steadiness, ISO 125, 1/2-second at f/5.6 in Matrix metering, -0.3 EV, Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens at 84mm.
Here’s the “Focus shift” menu I used to create the photograph of the padlock.

On a panorama journey, I at all times carry a few filters. Here, on the identical location, I made a decision to make use of the ten-stop impartial density filter. That, mixed with my tripod, let me make an publicity that confirmed each the motion of the clouds and the tree limbs blowing within the breeze.

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 64, 60-seconds at f/22, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 26mm.

We organized some personal time within the cave at Rolater Park in Cave Springs, GA. That gave us the liberty to arrange a couple of Lume Cubes, flip off the put in lights, and make photographs like this as half of a gentle portray demonstration I led.

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Natural Auto white steadiness, ISO 500, 10-seconds at f/5, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 21mm.
This is what the cave regarded like below the lighting that was there. Turning them off allowed us to do one thing particular.

We’d additionally deliberate to be on the Old Mill at Berry faculty after sundown for one other session on gentle portray. I used a Lume Panel, hidden behind a tree, to gentle the water wheel. Then one Lume Cube on the bottom in entrance of the home to gentle it, one off to the left to gentle the inexperienced tree close to it, and one other small panel behind the constructing to separate it from the background.

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 4000, 30-seconds at f/4.5, Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens at 19mm.

Our final morning was spent at Gibbs Gardens, a giant and spectacular botanical backyard. Again trying for one thing a bit totally different, I settled on this reflection, which had an Impressionist really feel to it.

Nikon Z 9, Aperture Priority, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 100, 1/100 at f/5.6 in Matrix metering, -0.7 EV, Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens at 103mm.

The remaining shoot of our week was at Amicalola Falls. Finding this scene with a good focus (the rock) and a bit of colour, I once more broke out the tripod and the ten-stop impartial density filter for a basic “cottony water” look.

Nikon Z 9, Manual publicity, Sunny white steadiness, ISO 100, 2.5-seconds at f/8, Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens at 94mm.

About the writer: Reed Hoffmann is a photographer and pictures teacher who has been within the photograph business for many years and who has used each Nikon DSLR (and taught most of them). The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the writer. Follow together with Hoffmann’s newest workshops right here. You may discover extra of Hoffmann’s work and writing on his web site, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This article was additionally printed right here.


Image credit: Header illustration based mostly on photograph from Depositphotos




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