Cameras & Light

Light is an incredible “force” in creation, and just in case you do not believe me, study the effects of light on plants (Photosynthesis), or the ability to permanently transfer the image of an object onto paper with light-sensitive photo paper. Even more so our fragile camera sensors demonstrate just how easy it is to get too much light in a shot, reminding us of the awesome power that we often take for granted.

I should have begun to realize just how powerful light is when most if not all of the camera settings and accessories work to shade the camera from full light or regulate the amount of light so as to properly expose the object in focus. The purpose of photography is not to fight light, but to work with it. Now I am not talking about anything zen or mysterious, I am talking about practical actions and changes to technique so that you will not feel as if you are swimming up-stream but letting the river carry you to your destination.

So how do I work with light? Slow down you exposure settings. Bring your ISO down from 1600 or 800 down to 100 or 200. Raise your aperture from f/1.8 to f/13 and breathe. Yes, it is true you will not be shooting very often at 1/250 of a second anymore. On the other hand, you will begin shooting higher quality photographs and have the opportunity to see possibilities for new shooting styles! When I started making this switch, I began getting more compliments on my pictures than ever before.

Quality is not something someone will always point out as a reason they like one photo over another, but when higher quality means the difference between eyes being out of focus or in, I am certain we all would choose higher quality and in focus!

Keep learning! It is the best way to grow.

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Snap shots – Part 2

Have you ever had one of the best snap shots ever, but something in the photo distracts you from what you originally saw? You are not alone! At the end of this post I will show you two of my images, one original one edited. However it is not completely on our topic today.

As we talked about in the original “Snap shots” post, anticipating the action will give you a ┬áhead start on getting the camera up and ready or even as much time as getting a different perspective on your subject. Be careful of too much enthusiasm by “over composing” the candid snap shot. I suggest being able to take a different perspective on the snap shot; if you are able to anticipate that far in advance; to avoid photographing undesired objects.

My next suggestion is, if while reviewing your snap shots you see a distracting object surrounding the subject or in the background, crop the photo to exclude the distraction.

Crop definitions:

Passive cropping – is removing an undesirable object from the photo without cropping out any part of your subject.

Aggressive cropping – to remove part of your subject from the photo to direct attention or remove distraction without removing vital elements.

Please never be afraid of cropping “too close” to your subject. You camera only sees a small portion of what you see. So take advantage of it by getting in even closer! The less surrounding your subject, draws more of your viewer’s attention to your subject. Aggressive cropping can be bad, but I have not seen anyone over crop their own photo, because they know their intended subject.

So the two suggestions being:

  1. Get closer to you subject physically or with a zoom lens.
  2. Crop the digital image.

Now for my little “mess-up”:

Oh well! We cannot win them all! Those we lose, we just edit. Right?

Safety in Numbers

It is always best to have a back-up plan for any course of action! Do not worry, this is not to confess a lack of confidence in your own preferred plan, but rather an insightful precaution to ensure a productive outcome. What is the old adage? “There is safety in numbers.”

There are so many ways that we communicate and each method requires an ability to communicate with numbers. Even in the simple phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” numbers are used to express the strength of the picture’s composition.

Creatively speaking, there are two numbers in the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand word”, whether obvious or implied. Did you catch them? Those words are “A” and “a thousand”. Yes “A” is repeated but the second usage is to specify how many “thousand”. “A” is to refer to a single image or “1”. I bring this up in an attempt show that it is not necessary to “shoot” literal numbers, but looking creatively at our surroundings for the number we are looking to find.

Numbers can be a fun way of taking some “time off” and focusing on a totally different subject rather than the same subject day after day. I have mentioned “stay-cations” before in this series of posts as a way to “get away” and relax from the daily routine; so enjoy your stay “away” from your “routine”.

Perhaps three is your number, you could start your adventure with a picture of three fingers on one hand, three leaves of a tree or three people walking on the beach. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy and remember the safety rule, “There is safety in numbers!”