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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Explore Before

So many a time I've gone out to photograph a place without preparing by exploring it first. I use to think the best photos were those taken from immediate impressions. That if i thought to long on the scene, I would loose the freshness of the location and somehow lose the element of interest. As I got older I'd get tired and thus get sloppy. But now I plan time and energy into my trips. If the outing is solely to shot, I'll make a trip out to walk the sight. I explore the location and take notes. Things I look for are obstructions, light directions, clutter, traffic flow (pedestrian, motorized, large herds of wild goats), barriers both physical and legal. Additionally, I look for places to take a break. It could be a cafe or eatery close by (heated or cooled), walls or benches to sit on, or where I may park my vehicle if no other resting place is available. Whatever will serve as a place of rest to let my old body recharge or keep from getting too exhausted. Young folks may think this ridicules but even if you are in good physical shape, mental fatigue shows itself as impatience and sloppy shortcuts and lost interest and are only made worse by physical exhaustion.

When you sit back to do your planning think about the best time of day for the type of light you want, equipment you need as opposed "might" need, and configuration of you camera settings for what you envision or expect to run into. Presetting those configurations in advance will save you time and frustration once you are clicking away.

Knowing more about the place you plan to shoot lets you plan for a more enjoyable and gratifying experience as well a get the shots that put you above the completion.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Learning Tool for the Holiday Season

I alway like to recommend photographers take pictures of Christmas tree ornaments on the tree this time of year.  There are several reasons for this recommendation.  The obvious is the colorful shots are fun to see, but for photographers, we get to practice several different aspects of photography.

1.  Lighting and color control
2.  Scene manipulation (precursor to model posing)
3.  Control of depth of field (aperture  and shutter speed practice)
3.  Composition
4.  Close-up photography
5.  Post capture manipulation 

All that and more when you put your mind to it.  This time of year you can have a variety of Christmas trees to work with.  As mentioned in previous post, Cracker Barrel has many trees set up.  There are many places of business that would appreciate the attention given to their decorating efforts.  Your friends will not mind you using their tree as long as you don't invade during dinner or step on the packages.  Expect to get roped into taking some family photos for free but hey tis the season for giving after all.  And of course you own tree gives you complete control of all aspects to work with.   Be sure to look the tree over from top to bottom and explore many angles and depth options.  Warning, you may find yourself looking for some unusual ornaments next time you are out shopping.

Afterwards experiment with post production manipulation - boost color, increase drama with ambiance and contrast controls, adjust composition with cropping tools,  tryout different picture edge controls by light or dark vignetting or stylish
framing, play with focus control, the list of ideas to try go on and on.

Don't over look the porcelain figurines this time of year either.  You will learn a lot from this exercise.  It just may be the gift you give yourself that keeps on giving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

DOORS What Is It They Hide?

I have a thing for Doors.  I never understood why but doors have always interested me.  Could be they hold a mystery, could be they open to opportunity, could be that when ever I entered one I always found warm, friendly people - both known and unknown. 
They make good practice for photographers since they present a lot of issues to be overcome through good lighting and good composition. 

How inviting is your door?  If it isn't, what does it say about you?  Bet you never gave it a thought.

Not all doors lead into someone's home.  Some lead into barns.  Or through them.  I have lost of those too but that is probably better saved for a day of Barn photos.
Whatever the draw to doors is for me, it usually includes the snap of a camera shutter button.  I've captured them from all over the globe.  Tell me what you think.

Yes, Europe has been a favorite location for door pictures.  They have such an interesting approach and that usually fits in with thousands of years of architectural experimenting.
Then I also have an thing for windows.  But I'll save that for another day. But not without a teaser.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Street Photography - some thoughts

I've been exploring Street Photography with my  Photo Club friends and have found that shooting people or activities without their knowing it, is more challenging than expected.  

Take the above picture.  What in the world was I thinking when I took this shot?  Yea, pretty girl but so what?  The background is cluttered with telephone lines, junk and an other person.  There is no story a viewer could glean or imagine from this shot.  Is she squinting behind those Foster Grants?  Who knows or who cares.  This picture is a total failure.

Now this shot is still cluttered in the background with other people and objects but these girls have something to say.  One's imagination can go in many directions with these unique female representations.  Clearly they are not sisters but they did choose to style their hair the same.  Why?  Camouflage and Boots for two and short shirt and flip flops for the third; is she making a statement that she isn't butch like her friends?  Pregnant or just early beer bellies?  These three are different and as such interesting.

That is the essence of Street Photography.  There needs to be something going on in the image to fire up the observer's interest.

You don't have to have faces to help stir the imagination either.  If the clothing doesn't get you to thinking about this couple, how about the unusual affection being displayed by a couple you would think would prefer to chug beers in public.  Or how about those finger nails?  Could be what he likes best about her?

Just food for thought.