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Active D-Lighting

Active D-Lighting optimizes high contrast images to restore the shadow and highlight details that are…

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4.7 Rating
Using Auto FP High-Speed Sync to Illuminate Fast Sports Action

Dave Black on using high-speed flash sync for sports…

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4.3 Rating
Shooting Wirelessly with Nikon’s WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller System

Learn how easy it is to shoot wirelessly with the…

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4.4 Rating
How to Take Pictures of Water Using Long Exposures

Getting that "silky" look when photographing moving water isn't…

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4.4 Rating
Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Suggested Lens choices, exposure settings and focus modes

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3.6 Rating
Learning How to Use Your Camera's Histogram

The histogram is a useful tool that analyzes tonal range and helps in…

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4.5 Rating
Capturing or Freezing Motion in Photos

Learn how to freeze the motion in an action scene or capture a blur to show…

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4.6 Rating
The Challenge of Bird Photography

Moose Peterson tells why photographing birds in the field is well worth the challenge.

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4.3 Rating
Polarizing Filters Add POW to Pictures

An Easy to Use Accessory, Polarizing Filters Bring out the Color and Definition in…

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4.0 Rating
Remotely taking photographs

Flexible wired & wireless remote shooting options expand your photo taking capabilities

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4.5 Rating
A Basic Look at the Basics of Exposure

The relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO is the basis of every…

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4.7 Rating
High Speed Sync: A Flash Technique To Add a Pro Touch to Your Photographs

Kevin Kubota on auto FP high speed sync flash…

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4.8 Rating
Create and Publish Your Own Photo Book

A photo book is a great way to share your images with the world.

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Speaking For Themselves: The Veterans Portrait Project

The power of portraits

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4.4 Rating
Fast Frames: A Quick Guide to Bird Photography

Matt McRay discusses how to get birds to visit your yard so you can…

Beginner

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4.7 Rating
Extra Added Attraction: How to Boost the Reach of Your Nikon 1

Mark Alberhasky on using the FT-1 and NIKKOR lenses on…

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Mothers' Days: Good Timing and Great Locations Result in Memorable Maternity Photographs

Beth Wade discusses tips for…

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4.4 Rating
Flash Points: The Control of Light

Color temperature, rear sync, slow sync: Three key elements in flash photography.

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4.4 Rating
Reflex Action: A Surf Photographer's Top Tips

Surf shooter Jay Watson offers tips for getting great surfing action photos

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Taking Pictures of Fireworks

Learn how to get great fireworks shots this summer.

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4.7 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Bounce Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights wirelessly for pleasing portrait illumination

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4.3 Rating
One Shot: After Image

Jack Dyking on seeing in color and thinking in B&W

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Speedlight Tutorial: Artificial Sunlight Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to add a late afternoon look to a scene

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2.8 Rating
Scene Auto Selector

A COOLPIX feature that recognizes the type of scene or setting and automatically selects the…

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Exposure Bracketing: The Creative Insurance Policy

Once upon a time—in the days when we shot film—bracketing was an insurance policy. It was a technique we learned from professional photographers, and they did it because it was their business to come back with the shot every time, no excuses. So when they faced tricky lighting conditions they'd bracket the shot; that is, they'd make two, three or more exposures below the meter reading and two, three or more above it. Most of the time they'd do it by varying the shutter speed to keep the f/stop and thus the depth of field (the zone of sharpness in front and behind the subject) constant. They could also bracket by using the camera's exposure compensation feature.

Lindsay Silverman, Nikon senior product manager, is quite succinct about his reasons for bracketing: "Once in a lifetime shots," he says. "A sunset in Venice, a graduation ceremony, a multiple flash setup down under the Brooklyn Bridge. I couldn't come back to shoot those and, with film, I couldn't see my results immediately as I now can with digital photography, so I couldn't fine tune my technique on the fly." So he'd use his best metering know-how and technique. Then, because of "the paranoia factor," he'd shoot a one-third stop exposure bracket.

Today, with digital, we see our results right away and make adjustments on the spot. Does the image look too light? Make a -1/3 exposure compensation adjustment and shoot the scene again.

These days, why bracket?

Several reasons, actually. First, because of time. Maybe the situation doesn't give us the luxury of checking our results. We've got to shoot quickly, so we set our Nikon D-SLR for auto bracketing and we've got the tricky lighting covered.

Second, for creative control. Simply, the "over" or "under" image might be the one that best captures the mood of the scene.

Third, because we can choose to bracket not only exposure, but white balance and flash. White balance bracketing changes the color temperature to effectively cool or warm a scene by adjusting its blue and/or amber tones. Flash bracketing will quickly  and automatically bracket the output of a Nikon Speedlight while maintaining the camera's settings; most importantly, the amount of ambient light reaching the camera's sensor remains constant.

Flash bracketing will quickly and automatically bracket the output of a Nikon Speedlight while maintaining the camera's settings; most importantly, the amount of ambient light reaching the camera's sensor remains constant.

Finally, bracketing is essential to high dynamic range (HDR) photography. HDR is a method of capturing in a single image the wide range of tones in a high contrast scene by taking a set of exposures, usually three, five or seven, at different exposure values; then, using software programs, combining the images into a single image that reveals the entire tonal range of the scene. "For my HDR photography, I use autoexposure bracketing," Lindsay says, "and set the camera for aperture priority to insure a constant depth of field."

The specific settings for these bracketing techniques will vary depending on the Nikon camera and Speedlight you're using, so it's best to check your instruction manual to familiarize yourself with the menus and steps.

These days bracketing is a lot more than insurance—it's another example of digital photography's creative opportunities.

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