Understanding ISO Settings in Photography

ISO, like exposure and aperture, is one of the three fundamental components of the exposure triangle. Of the three, it tends to be the photography setting that most confuses people. This is a real shame since it’s really not a difficult concept to understand. In fact, the ISO effects two things:

  1. The amount of light in a scene that’s required to produce a given exposure.
  2. The image quality and amount of noise in the image.

By the end of this guide, you will have a solid understanding of what the ISO is and how to properly control it to obtain the best possible exposure for your images. Let’s jump right in!

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The Definitive Guide to Aperture and Depth of Field

One of the fundamental concepts of photography is that of aperture. Along with the shutter speed and ISO, aperture is part of the exposure triangle that controls the overall exposure of an image. In addition to this, aperture also affects the depth of field in an image. In short, the aperture (which is measured in f-stops) controls two factors:

  1. The amount of light that is able to reach the image sensor, which in turn controls the image’s overall exposure.
  2. The depth of field (DOF) of the image. The depth of field is simply how much of your image is in focus. Don't worry, there will be more of this later on :)

By completing this article, you'll understand what aperture is, how it affects an image's depth of field and how to select the correct f-stop settings to achieve the optimal depth of field for any given scenario. 

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Topographic Map Basics

The Basics of Reading a Topographic Map

In this tutorial, I will be teaching you the basics of how to read and understand a topographic map. This is a skill that is critically important for anyone who plans on venturing out into the backcountry. Not only is it important that you always carry a paper, hard-copy map of where you will be going, it’s also important that you know how to read it!

This article will teach you the basics, but reading and understanding topographic maps is a skill. Like any skill, it takes practice to fully master it. Simply reading a guide or watching a video will not be enough to fully understand it, so, make sure you practice!

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Calculating the slowest shutter speed for milky way photography.

Calculating the Slowest Shutter Speed for Milky Way Images

When photographing the Milky Way, we want to let as much light hit the sensor as possible. With this in mind, it's only natural to assume that we want to use a slower shutter speed. This is certainly true, but the fact that the Earth rotates can make things a little more complicated.

If we choose a shutter speed that is too slow, we will end up with blurry, trailed stars. Make it too fast and we won't capture as much detail as we could otherwise. The trick is to find the correct balance. There are a couple of ways to go about calculating the slowest shutter speed you can get away with. I'll be covering two of these methods here.

So, let's quit talking about it and get to it!

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Stacking Milky Way Images in Starry Landscape Stacker Tutorial.

An Introduction to the Secret Weapon for Amazing Milky Way Shots - Stacking

You've spent countless hours planning and obsessively checking the weather to go out and capture what you hope will be an epic Milky Way shot. You've got a great location, a killer composition and took the time to carefully dial in your focus and camera settings. You get them home and realize that there is just too much noise for there to be a good image. What went wrong? How do people get these epic, low-noise Milky Way shots?

Well, one option would be to use a star tracking setup, but this is expensive and complicated to learn. An alternative, however, would be to use a method called stacking. Using this method, we can shoot the Milky Way at extremely high ISOs and end up with a final image that has little to no noise.

The best part? This works regardless of rather or not you're shooting on a low-end, crop-sensor DSLR or a multi-thousand dollar pro-body!

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What is Caltopo

A Gentle Introduction to CalTopo

Today I was talking to one of the fine folks over at the Rustic Red Hostel over on Facebook when it came to my attention that he was unaware of CalTopo. This individual in question is an avid off-trail explorer in The Red River Gorge. It absolutely blew my mind that he had never heard of what is probably one of the greatest mapping utilities ever made for the backcountry explorer! So, today we are going to right this atrocity and take a look at just what CalTopo is and how we can use it.

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