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You can’t shoot handheld HDR, sure you can!.

Hi everyone,

I’m a long term fan of High Dynamic Range or HDR photography, I think that it’s one of the most exciting things to have happened in photography for some years. There’s a lot of stuff out there that one can read that say’s that one can’t shoot HDR handheld and that use of a tripod is obligatory. Well I have never subscribed to this as virtually all my shots taken over the last five or so years have been shot as HDR, handheld without a tripod in sight!.

What one needs to routinely reliably capture HDR images without using a tripod are three things.

  1. A camera with excellent image stabilisation like my OM-D and PEN-F cameras. This is an absolute must have, a real game-changer. One must of course always keep as still as possible whilst taking the shots both to avoid camera shake at slow shutter speeds and to promote good image alignment.
  2. Good HDR software like Skylum’s Aurora HDR 2019 with its great alignment and ghost reduction features. I very rarely have to set the ghost reduction to more than medium and typically to less.
  3.  Keep in mind what the slowest shutter speed is going to be in the HDR bracketed series of shots if one is going to avoid camera shake. This where my camera’s image stabilisation really pays huge dividends.

Recently I’ve gone back to shooting an average of 5 frames, rather that 3 frames, now that I’m using the camera’s electronic shutter in silent high speed drive mode (11 FPS), the faster the FPS the better, and thus I don’t have to concern myself with the number of mechanical shutter activations and any possible shutter-shock-induced vibrations. It also gives me a bit more scope in post processing. I’m not totally decrying the use of tripods as there are times in low light situations, night shots etc. where a tripod is necessary but this is true regardless of whether or not one is shooting HDR.

A few recent post COVID-19 lockdown example shots, all shot as 5-frame HDR handheld and processed in Aurora HDR which, if one cares to believe what one reads, I shouldn’t have been able to shoot handheld!. 🙂

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After all, some rules are just “made to be broken”. 🙂

Kind regards





5 great devices for the travelling photographer.

Hi folks,

Five invaluable bits of kit that I wouldn’t want to be without when travelling. Most of these are useful when travelling whether you’re into photography or not and you need to charge or power multiple USB devices and perhaps need a travel router to share a hotel WIFI or a portable NAS to share movies or music etc..

Travel gear for blog

  1. Jonkuu Two port USB 10000mAh Quick Charge 2.4 A Power Bank as one cannot have too much power for on-the-go USB powering and charging. I chose this one specifically  for its high capacity, ultra compact size, light weight and its handy charge level readout as it’s nice to know how much one has left in the tank.  Link.
  2. RAVPOWER FileHub, Travel Router AC750, Wireless SD Card Reader,  Photo Backup, Data Transfer, Portable NAS, 6700mAh Battery. A very versatile, multi-purpose, bit of kit. This is great for, amongst other things, SD card backups to flash drive or hard drive, it has a one key backup function which copies files directly  from the SD card to the attached  storage device and it also doubles as an extra power bank. It’s also handy as, on one’s return,  one doesn’t have to download files to the computer from multiple SD cards, only from the portable hard disk. It makes a new time and date-stamped folder for each backup. Note: the model that I have, unlike my other devices, takes a USB Type C charge connector. To give you an indication I did a speed test and copied 498 RAW files (approx. 28 GB) from a class 10 SDHC card to my portable USB 3 hard disk drive in a little over 30 minutes. I’ve taken to using smaller capacity SD cards and backing the card up at the end of the day before storing it and fitting a new one ready for the next day.  Link.
  3. Anker 5 port USB charging hub. This little gem has travelled hundreds of miles with me and is great as you don’t have to pack multiple mains USB wall chargers. It is capable of charging/powering up to 5 USB devices simultaneously up to a maximum of 2.4 A per port from one mains wall socket. This is such a useful bit of kit that some time back I bought a second one for everyday use at home and also as a spare. Link.
  4. Neewer USB camera battery charger, the only 100% dedicated bit of photography kit. I usually travel with two of these to charge my OM-D/PEN-F BLN-1 camera batteries and a  similar model to charge my TG-5 camera batteries. Although the TG-5 has USB charging I like to have an additional charger allowing me to charge a total of two batteries at the same time. They’re very small and lightweight and immensely more useful when travelling than the camera manufacturer’s considerably bulkier and heavier mains-powered chargers and of course, hooked up to a power bank or other mobile USB power source,  one can charge a battery on the move. 🙂 I have, on occasions, had one of these chargers in a jacket pocket connected to a power bank charging a battery as I’ve been walking around, cool huh!. Tip: I use a re-usable adjustable cable tie to make sure the battery doesn’t get dislodged when moving around. Link.
  5.  Western Digital Elements 1 Terrabyte portable USB hard disk drive and cable for SD card backups when connected to the RAVPOWER file hub. As I very rarely shoot any video I don’t think that I’ve ever returned from a trip with anything approaching 1 TB of image files but it’s better to have more capacity than needed rather than less. It’s also nice to use it to store and access files like equipment manuals and music etc. which otherwise take up space on my phone. Link.

Throw in some USB charge cables and a suitable figure-of-eight type mains lead for the charging hub and I’m good to go. 🙂 . Just as I’m continually refining my choice of travel camera gear to absolutely minimize size and weight and maximise versatility,  I have also given a lot of thought to my other travel gear. I neither want to carry heavy gear around all day nor do I want to have to wait around for hours until my various device batteries have all finished charging and/or I want to backup my photos.

At the end of the day I want to get these things done as quickly as possible and to relax and chill with a nice meal and a cold beer (or two) 🙂 , travel ultra-light and switch over to taking some shots with my pocket-sized TG-5.

TG-5 green screen macro

I have no affiliation to any of these manufacturers, all links to products on Amazon provided solely for your convenience.

Kind regards




6 years of blogging, where’d it go?


Hi folks,

It doesn’t seem possible but today is the 6th anniversary of my blog. Thanks to all of you who follow my blog. I hope that you continue to find it interesting. It’s been an up and down six years, never more so perhaps than this year but, here’s to the next six years.

Best wishes,