History Records

Recording history via photography is something that may seem as a profession for the unskilled, however consider taking the challenge of recording the events of your family alone. The difference between recording the events for a city records and those of which concern a family are more quickly understood in an experience to which we can relate. A family’s social calendar maybe busier than a city’s but things occur on a greater scale in a 24 hour period within the city limits than a family.

Take the challenge of recording the events your family encounters through photography. It is may not be as easy as anticipated. Events may involve one person or multiple. Please also take notice of everyone’s right to privacy. I have heard stories of families taking snapshots of other at times that are extremely personal. The purpose of this challenge is not black-mail gathering but learning to discern between photo emphasis.

Every family I know has pictures of the firsts in the lives of their children or wish they did. I wish that I had more photos that surround my memories of the last few months I had with my grandparents. You see, there are many levels in photographing history than appears on the surface.

We have covered some basics to photographic records and I will take some time to list these levels (perhaps not in the best order).

  • Physical event and motion
  • Elements included and worn during the event
  • Emotions, communication and facial expression
  • Overall event (purpose and reason for gathering)
  • Accomplishments
  • Experiences (from a personal perspective)

There really are a lot of things to fill your time with family events. Now consider the skill required to put your talent in such a time crunch on a scale of 18,000 families. I think we just discovered a fascinating career!

Lighting

This is all rather basic, although it is something key to remember when making the lighting more even. Surfaces range from being flat to randomly corrugated.

Just some examples of varied surfaces include but not limited to clothing, walls, faces, sporting equipment, grass, plastics and tree bark.

All of theses surfaces pose a great challenge when working to control the shadows. Please notice that I used “control” instead of “end” or “remove”. We do want some shadow for contrast, but we do not want the shadow to be uncontrolled.

The light spread in your direction is important for the fact that shadow a created at a low angle is going to be “darker”. Changing the angle should allow the light to spread more evenly across the surface. Lighting illustration Experience is one of the best ways to learn what is occurring and how to resolve the issue.

A large illustration of this topic is the sun against any semi-solid object. The shadow is cast  because the object stands in the way of the sunlight’s pathway to the ground. The direction and depth of the shadow changes as the earth travels its pathway around the sun.

This change of shadow depth and place is effectively the same as moving the light. I have said there is one good way of learning what is happening and how to resolve it, by experience.

Experimenting in available time will help. Give yourself some projects that emulate the same problem. Work out other lighting difficulties without over working yourself. I often will push too hard and run out of creativity when I should stand back asking questions. Questions should lead to answers, answers can lead to solutions and solutions make the way (specifically for us) to better photos.

Enjoy.

Reflection – Part 4

Reflections are not always  a display of  the room and what is in it. Sometimes reflections are not as much reflection as projection. A projection is a whole new world to explore and will give you a riddle for a challenge.

Remember the glass trophy I wrote of in “Reflection – Part 3” as a story on myself? That trophy was actually giving a projection not reflecting. While it really happened to me, it is a great illustration of what I am writing about.

Blocking reflections should follow the same pattern as other forms of troubleshooting. Work from the basic to the most advanced issue.

Friends of mine who work in the IT field can tell me story after story of how they worked on a problem for hours only to find out something as simple as a power outage was caused by an unplugged power cable.

I find myself often embarrassed by asking for help only for the person coming to my aid, see my difficulty to be a basic one. This is not to say that you should never ask for help. The most productive people I know choose to ask multiple times a day for help! I have found the best time to ask is after covering the basics.

Projection is one of those difficulties that we discover is not reflection after we have eliminated all possible reflections. There was something in the glass trophy I thought was a reflection but it would not go away no matter where I put a fill card! That was when I began asking the question “What is this glass trophy showing me?” instead of “Where is this reflection coming from!”

My answer came after I stopped assuming it was a reflection. Unfortunately this glass trophy was a solid piece so I could not open it and stop the projection shown in the edges of the trophy, but I did learn more about what I should watch for next photo shoot.

Asking a question that matches the right answer is very helpful! Keep asking questions!

Reflections

Have you seen something that makes your mind race with questions and anticipation to record what you see in photograph? I have and spent the last 4 years attempting to fashion in my photographs the wow factor that I see with my eyes. It is a challenge!

If you are like me, it is the challenge that gets me excited. I am motivated by my perception of reward and that reward is learning how to compose the shot. I am not satisfied with just getting the shot. If I cannot reproduce the shot in some form or another, I did not learn the composition and structure of the shot well enough.

I recently photographed reflective objects. It is by experience in photographing these objects that I learn how to better expect the reflection placement.

For an illustration, the reflective ornaments in the linked picture sat in a bowl in the display window of Neiman Marcus. After taking the image I cropped the photo and displayed it; a friend asked where I was in the reflection because there was “no way I could not be in the photo!”

Truly, I did not edit myself out of the photo. I am sure that crossed many minds who looked at the photo, but in this case I found the one place where I could blend into my background with my black jacket and black camera body. Being in the city at night shooting a reflective object can have its advantages.

It is interesting however, literally every thing else is reflected in the ornaments!

I also want to include this statement; I knew reflection of myself was “inevitable” so I did my best to compose the shot as best I could and deal with my reflection. I was blessed to have taken this placement for shooting and learned from my own “accidental genius”. *Grin*