“All aboard!” Part 2

Continuing on at our present location…when shooting on location it is important to keep in mind your objectives.

Here are two photos I took by way of illustration.

The image on the left is my attempt at creating a feel of an older train station set in unavoidable elements of our modern age. Something by which can recall memories of a by-gone era. On the right is an affect I have been working on for a little more than a year. This technique is unique because of intended motion blur on the photographer’s part. As this commuter train passed me I faced the direction it was headed and opened the shutter as I looked over my shoulder and panning with the train as it moved. This affect left everything a blur but the lights and number of the middle train car.

Lest I leave without a word on how these methods and principles can be used in all photography, I would like to point out that simplifying your objective to something achievable is the basic message. The second emphasis is learning how your imagination works and beginning to organize the pieces of the shot with the focal point and the elements. Yes, it can get complicated quickly, but it only has to be as complicated as you want.

Let me share a hint with you. I began in photography as a hobbyist who would look for “shots”. That means that if I saw something of beauty that I wanted to capture in photograph, I would bring out my camera and find a way that best captured what I saw in my mind’s eye. Take your camera with you everywhere you go and ask yourself questions; What attracts me to this scene or object? How can I express what I see in my mind in this picture?

Take one thing at a time and observe how it is used in other works of photography.

Until next week, take each photo opportunity as an adventure, exploring the ways of expressing yourself via photography!

High Dynamic Range

Almost everyone has something to “show off” or say about HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos. Well, I am like everyone else in that I have played with HDR photos, using it and many other techniques to draw out the beauty of each photo’s subject. However, I can not say that I am completely enamored with HDRs more than any other technique.

So why write about HDRs on your blog if you do not like them more than other techniques, right? Ah, well that is the beauty of appreciating each tool that is at our disposal without over playing any one of them!

Please do not misunderstand my position. I like HDR photos, but I do not want the HDR technique to be so commonly used that it is no more amazing than any ordinary thing! A lot of things should be used in moderation. For example, would you add a tablespoon of salt to your bowl of soup? No! Salt is best used in moderate amounts, often spoken of by saying “add salt to taste.” It is this same principle by which I wish to use the HDR technique.

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HDR photos can be used in several ways. Again, I do not wish to disparage the use of HDR or call it “cheating”, because many things are required in shooting HDR. Just a few examples are:

  1. An in-depth knowledge of lighting.
  2. Vast experience in camera handling.
  3. Pointed expertise with image editing.
  4. Measured speed and timing of the shutter releases.
  5. Knowledge of how your camera sees the scene.
  6. Specific settings for each captured image.

So in no way is it cheating! Certainly some who may speak less of shooting High Dynamic Range photos would be correct to say it is not worth the effort because their ‘niche’ does not cater to the technique. Since I am a “minimalist” photographer, I love HDR for the fact that I can get 3+ photos, edit them together and “voila!” the photo has all of the detail we can naturally see!

Yes, I know that there are good reasons to use flashes and studio strobes; but why, with so many other techniques at my disposal, would I sacrifice the artistic ambiance for using flashes? It seems to me, to use such logic would be the same as saying “I cut my nose off because I run into the stone pillar.” Well okay, Cyrano,  but I would rather utilize all of my standard equipment than remove it because I tried to make it occupy the same space as a solid mass!

One other use of an HDR is to draw out the color of the scene creating a “wow” factor unsurpassed in any form of natural art I have ever seen. I have mainly seen the HDR used in this way for landscapes, seascapes and city scenes.

Thank you for reading!