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Field Notes

by Tom Bol

Tom Bol is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Colorado. His career started with a degree in journalism and background as an outdoor guide. After school he led multiple Himalayan climbing expeditions, kayaked two months straight in Patagonia and guided wilderness expeditions around the world, always with camera in hand. He specializes in adventure sports, portraits and travel. His editorial assignments have ranged from photographing mountaineering rangers on Alaska’s Mt. McKinley to sea kayaking in Honduras. He is a contributing...

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Promote Control

Promote Control

This remote opens up new possibilities for photographers

By Tom Bol | March 11, 2014

With HDR and time-lapse photography being so popular these days, the biggest challenge for photographers is figuring out how to shoot these images.  Many DSLRs (but not all!) have automatic bracketing functions that allow some frames to be bracketed for an HDR shot.  And... Read More

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Which macro lens is best?

Which macro lens is best?

Choosing the right macro lens depends on your shooting style.

By Tom Bol | January 20, 2014

I've been shooting a lot of macro lately, from flowers to butterflies to frogs.  But I don't always use the same lens, because macro shooting requires different equipment depending on the situation.  Here is the condensed guide to help you choose which macro lens is best for... Read More

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15-Stop Singh-Ray Mor-Slo Filter

15-Stop Singh-Ray Mor-Slo Filter

Use this filter for creative effects in midday light.

By Tom Bol | January 13, 2014

A little while ago I reported on the 10-Stop Mor-Slo filter from Singh-Ray.  This ND filter was great at blocking light for creative effects; if you wanted 30 second silky water shots this was the filter to create it. Now Singh-Ray has gone a step further with their 15-Stop Mor... Read More

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aquatech

AquaTech underwater flash

Waterproof housings for your TTL flash

By Tom Bol | December 20, 2013

After my earlier post on underwater wireless speedlights, many readers have been asking me if there is a dedicated underwater TTL flash housing, and the answer is yes.  I have long been a user of Aquatech products (see underwater shooting in my book, Adventure Sports Photography;... Read More

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Maximum Speedlight Performance

Maximum Speedlight Performance

How to get fast recycle times and more power from your speedlight.

By Tom Bol | December 13, 2013

I teach a lot of lighting workshops, and many of these classes are on speedlight photography techniques. Today's speedlights are affordable and advanced; having one speedlight in your camera bag opens up endless creative possibilities. Better yet, today's speedlights have... Read More

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Nikon 1 AW1

Nikon 1 AW1

A blazing fast mirrorless camera that is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof.

By Tom Bol | November 20, 2013

I used to carry the indestructible Nikonos V with me on many of my adventure sports assignments. Shooting stories for Canoe and Kayak, I ventured from the iceberg-choked waters of Alaska to the steamy tropics of Honduras.  One piece of gear that never failed was my waterproof... Read More

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Singh-Ray IR Filter

Singh-Ray IR Filter

Shooting infrared without converting your camera to IR.

By Tom Bol | November 13, 2013

I recently saw a photography exhibit that had an infrared section.  Some of the IR shots were just plain cool.  So that naturally led me to researching how to create IR images.  The first solution that was mentioned was converting an 'old' camera to IR.... Read More

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Imagenomic Noiseware

Imagenomic Noiseware

This updated software reduces noise with one click.

By Tom Bol | October 21, 2013

Noise has long been the dread of digital photographers.  It creeps into shadows, night skies and even skin tones when you crank up the ISO. Luckily, every new DLSR that arrives seems to better handle noise from shooting at high ISO. Remember when ISO 800 was a big deal? Then came... Read More

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AAXA P4-X Pico Projector

AAXA P4-X Pico Projector

Palm projectors offer small size and great results.

By Tom Bol | September 18, 2013

Every year I manage to maintain my Gold status with United Airlines, easily logging over 50,000 miles. Much of this travel is related to teaching photo workshops. I've streamlined my equipment to minimize weight, but one obstacle I couldn't work around was my big, heavy LCD... Read More

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Better Bokeh

Better Bokeh

Techniques to improve your bokeh.

By Tom Bol | August 29, 2013

Have you ever been to a photo tradeshow and listened to people talk about their lens bokeh? To a non-photographer, this sounds a little suspicious. First question, how come everybody is saying bokeh so many different ways...how do you say bokeh? And second, more importantly, what is... Read More

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manfrotto

High Lights

How to position lights really high for creative effects.

By Tom Bol | August 16, 2013

You know how it is after you have photographed a particular subject for years? Maybe it is senior portrait after portrait, or college basketball game after game. It seems like you have explored every creative idea you can muster, and things get a little too familiar. This is the point... Read More

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The new Airport Extreme

The new Airport Extreme

Apple's latest Wi-Fi base station offers better performance and a slick new design.

By Tom Bol | August 03, 2013

Wi-Fi is how the world works these days. Sure, you can wait for things to download on your phone using a 3G network. Or you could stop by your local Starbucks and log onto their Wi-Fi network to check mail while you sip your latte. For many photographers you don't have to go to... Read More

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Shooting in the Jungle

Shooting in the Jungle

Use these tips next time you photograph in hot, humid conditions.

By Tom Bol | July 25, 2013

I just returned from a trip to Costa Rica, and of course I had my cameras in hand. The ocean, wildlife and landscapes were spectacular! I spent time scouting for a workshop I will be teaching next February in Costa Rica, and wrote down some tips for the first time 'jungle... Read More

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Alien Skin Exposure 5

Alien Skin Exposure 5

The new version of Exposure is a major upgrade with many new features.

By Tom Bol | July 07, 2013

In the early years of my photography career, I shot volumes of Velvia 50 and Provia 100. I knew any landscape I shot with Velvia 50 would be saturated and rich, you could also feel the tones and textures in the shot. Naturally when I started shooting digital, I attempted to duplicate... Read More

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Figures in a Landscape

Figures in a Landscape

Adding the human element to a landscape can improve the shot.

By Tom Bol | June 21, 2013

I teach a lot of photo workshops in national parks and scenic locations around the globe.  One challenge we often have are 'tourists' standing in our shot.  A few months ago I was hiking up to Delicate Arch in Arches NP in Utah.  I was sure there would be only a... Read More

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Pocket Wizard Hypersync Improves

Pocket Wizard Hypersync Improves

The latest update to Pocket Wizard Hypersync greatly improves performance.

By Tom Bol | May 24, 2013

I have been a big fan of Pocket Wizard's Hypersync ever since it came out.  In a nutshell, this utility allows shooting at faster sync speeds than the standard 1/250 with strobe packs.  Hypersync recalibrates the shutter/flash burst timing, allowing for much faster sync... Read More

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Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-4.5G ED

Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-4.5G ED

First impressions of the latest wide angle zoom from Nikon

By Tom Bol | May 10, 2013

Nikon has been busy lately.  Almost every month it seems like a new lens is being released.  The 800mm F5.6, the 70-200 F4, the 80-400mm F4.5-5.6.  Of course, I want them all!  Another lens was released recently that didn't get as much fanfare, but may be the... Read More

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Topaz Detail 3

Topaz Detail 3

This useful plug-in gives you more control than ever of your sharpening.

By Tom Bol | April 25, 2013

Bottom line, if your shot isn't sharp, then nothing else matters...delete, delete, delete.  I spend countless hours working on my images after a shoot, and sharpening is one of the most important parts of my workflow.  Sharpening takes some time to master since not all... Read More

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Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L AW

Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L AW

A great pack for carrying gear on the run.

By Tom Bol | April 01, 2013

I am always on the lookout for better ways to carry my photo equipment.  It seems I am finally buying less camera gear (probably not true!), but searching for more efficient ways to carry it.  One day I might be photographing skiers in the high mountains, the next day... Read More

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lensbaby

Lensbaby Edge 80 Optic

The Edge 80 allows precise focus control in images.

By Tom Bol | March 05, 2013

I have been using Lensbaby lenses since they first came out.  How cool was it to create wild out of focus images using this compact lens?  It reminded me of shooting my Holga camera; you never knew exactly what the image was going to look like.  But then Lensbaby... Read More

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