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  2. Hello and welcome to the Lux Optima website! What is Lux Optima you're probably asking. "Lux Optima" means the best light and it's usually what we want when we are taking photographs. The Lux Optima website is here for photographers of all experiance levels to use, from the begginer to the seasoned professional. We will do our best to keep Lux Optima from becoming a place where it is too intimidating to post and images (which is what happens on many photography websites) while at the same time encouraging our members to produce their best works. There is still a lot of work to be done to the Lux Optima website but you are encouraged to join now, this website will always be a work in progress with your contrubutions helping it grow. We hope you enjoy visiting the site and we look forward to meeting all of you through your posts in the Lux Optima Forums.
  3. The subject for the January, 2020 photo competition is the color red. The competition will run until 23:59 (11:59pm) on January 31st. Lux Optima members can enter the competition here: https://luxoptima.com/competition/
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  13. In an age where digital cameras are more affordable than ever, many people aspire to become wildlife photographers. From hobbyist photographers who enjoy capturing the wildlife in their own backyards to seasoned photographers who love capturing wildlife during international travel, the right photography advice will make your wildlife photos really pop. With a few tips up your sleeve and lots of practice, you'll learn to create stunning images of your favorite wildlife in their full element. Learn your camera settings The ideal opportunities for amazing wildlife photography happen quite rapidly, often in a five to 20-second time frame. If you're relying on your camera to choose the correct settings in auto mode or you're busy fiddling with your camera settings, you'll miss your opportunity. Understanding ISO, aperture, and shutter speed and learning how to shoot in manual mode will help you dial in the settings to create a desired aesthetic with ease. For example, if you want to freeze the fast action of a cheetah running, you'll need to select a high shutter speed and then set your ISO and aperture accordingly. Familiarize yourself with your focal points as well, so you can change and select them as needed. Pay attention to the light The golden hour takes place during the first hour of light and the last hour of light in the day. When the sun is low, the light is soft, which is very flattering for your subjects. Bathed in golden light, a natural scene takes on a magical quality. While it's possible to create stellar wildlife images in any lighting, many wildlife photographers strive to shoot during the golden hour as often as possible. When you're shooting in more harsh light, work to create balanced images with rich colors and minimal shadows and blown out areas. Get to know your subjects The majority of wildlife photography revolves around capturing tiny moments of natural history. As such, being able to predict your subject's behavior often proves beneficial for getting the much-sought-after shot. While some species are more predictable than others, every animal species has ingrained behavior patterns. Learning these patterns will help you predict and capture that behavior. The best way to get to know your subjects is to spend with them. When you expect to spend a few minutes in a given location and get a great shot, most of the time, you'll wind up disappointed. Return to favorite spots over and over again to get to know the wildlife there or allow several hours, or even several days, to spend in a new location. Be patient There is a common misconception that the photographers for National Geographic and other popular photography publications get great wildlife shots quickly because of their extensive experience. In reality, most of the time, wildlife photographers spend hours, if not days, waiting to get the perfect shot. You may return to the same spot for several days in a row until you see the mother lion out with her cubs or the impala bounding across the terrain after its prey. Enjoy your time waiting, soaking up the beauty of the natural environment. Shoot from varying perspectives An amateur photographer will approach a scene, snap a picture of something interesting, and then move on to the next subject. The angle at which you portray your subject makes a huge difference. When you shoot wildlife, strive to bring your viewer right into the scene. In many instances, the best way to achieve this effect is to shoot from the perspective of your subject. Move to create a more intimate shot that tells a story. Pay attention to the background Shooting against a cluttered background is distracting and unprofessional. In a natural setting, you have little control over the background, particularly in the midst of an exciting moment. However, being aware of the background will help you adjust your position to minimize distractions. For example, if you notice a large tree branch right behind a cardinal, take a step or two to the right, so the branch isn't directly intersecting with the bird. Learn the rule of thirds Understanding the rule of thirds and other common photography techniques will help you improve your skills in any segment of photography, including wildlife photography. The more comfortable you become with the rule of thirds, the more you'll be able to use it unconsciously. Composing images properly on the spot is key for wildlife photography when the ideal moments for great shots often pass very quickly. Be unobtrusive Most wildlife photographers are passionate about animals and would never dream of intruding on a wild animal's habitat. However, even the most well-intentioned individuals sometimes get caught up in creating the perfect shot and get closer than they should. Be mindful of the natural habitat and strive to take great pictures without encroaching on an animal's home. Don't get hung up on shooting in an exotic location You don't have to shoot wildlife in a romantic setting to create great images. While it's always fun to travel, you can work on your skills and get some great shots in any setting with wildlife. Make the most of the opportunities you have in your own neighborhood, and seek out other opportunities for nearby wildlife photography. A weekend trip to a state park an hour away will prove inspiring and fulfilling without breaking the bank. Don't get hung up on having the perfect lens Many wildlife photographers insist that owning a certain, high-end lens is key for great wildlife photography. An expensive lens is not critical for wildlife photography. There is also no one single lens that will produce great results for every photographer. Some wildlife photographers love to use a telephoto lens while other photographers prefer to shoot wide-angle wildlife scenes. Start with the lenses you already own. As you improve your skills, you'll be able to determine your next lens purchase based on your shooting preferences. Most importantly, enjoy your wildlife photography. Even when you don't see a lot of animals or you aren't able to get the exact shots you want, embrace the process. Spending a day at your favorite local park or out in a bird sanctuary with friends or family is still an enjoyable day, regardless of the photos you take. Written for Lux Optima by: Rose Clearfield | Photos by: Trison Thomas, Leonard von Bibra, Niilo Isotalo and Jonatan Pie
  14. Camera manufacturers are constantly developing and releasing new models. This is due to a number of reasons, including improvements in technology and a desire to keep up with competitors. Some photographers are obsessed with picking up the latest models as they appear, and this has created a market in used cameras and equipment. This is good news if you are happy to buy a camera that isn't brand new from the box, and there are great bargains to be had in used photographic equipment. The differences between camera models in the same range can be very small. For example, Wi-Fi enabled versions of popular digital SLR (DSLR) cameras have been released in the last couple of years. If this feature isn't something you need, you could pick up a used model at a bargain price. By comparing the specification of new cameras with previous versions you can decide whether the compromise of buying a used model is worthwhile. There are some pitfalls to look out for when buying a used camera, and the following tips will help to ensure you don't regret your purchase.1) Check what's in the box. Assuming you're buying a used camera that's boxed, check that all the accessories are included. If it's been looked after, you should find a manual detailing what was included when it was sold. At the very least, you'll need the battery charger and the leads for connecting the camera to a computer. 2) Check for damage and corrosion.Give the body of a used camera a quick once over to check for wear and tear. A few scratches are nothing to worry about, but excessive signs of wear can indicate a camera hasn't been looked after. Open the battery compartment and check for corrosion. If the dials and switches feel loose or worn, it's a warning sign of heavy use 3) Check the lens and mount. If a used camera comes with a lens, look for scratches on the front element. If you're looking at a DSLR, remove the lens and check that the fittings are in good order. The contacts should be clean with no signs of corrosion or water marks. If you have your own lens that will fit the camera, try fitting it and make sure it works as you would expect it to. 4) Fire off some test shots.The real test of the condition of a used camera is to shoot some pictures. If the shutter mechanism is noisy, it could be a sign of serious problems. There are apps and websites you can use to check how many times the shutter on a camera has been fired, and it's worth using one of these if you're buying a used DSLR. Replacing a shutter mechanism can be very expensive, and it may limit the life of a camera. Take a picture of a plain wall or white sheet of paper to check for spots on the sensor. Zoom into the image and look for lines, spots and dark patches. These could be signs of dust, fungus or other physical damage. It's possible to clean a camera's sensor, but it's not an easy job.5) Compare the features and consider the value of potential savings. Buying used photographic equipment is one way to save money and pick up a better camera if you're on a budget, but it's important to understand how it compares with newer models. Having to invest a few hundred dollars more may be worth it if the latest model has had a significant upgrade. For example, a higher resolution sensor or a faster focusing system would produce better quality pictures and offer greater flexibility. Check the technical specification of older camera models and make comparisons with newer models before purchasing. As camera manufacturers update their models and ranges, there are opportunities to find a bargain. Always check a used camera functions correctly before buying, and look for the warning signs of excessive use and poor care. Writen for Lux Optima by: Kaizen Marketing | Photo by: William Bayreuther
  15. Paul

    Our Border Collie Mix

    I haven't taken very many proper photos of our dog, Ace as of yet, they've mostly been smartphone photos. This photo was taken before our backyard was fenced in and it is the reason for the leash being on him, which I wish wasn't.
  16. Paul

    Ace

    Our dog, Ace.
  17. Hello, my name is Paul and I am one of the Lux Optima owners/administrators, the other owner/administrator is my lovely wife, Ada. We live in upstate, NY with our son and many pets. Photography has always been a big passion of mine and that is the reason I have created this website. I also enjoy the outdoors, travel and good wine. You will learn more about me through my posts here in the Lux Optima forums. I hope you will enjoy visiting the site.
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