Monday, May 7, 2012

Fisheyes & Sun Flare

In Yosemite National Park there are plenty of reminders to look up.  Half Dome, Glacier Point, and numerous waterfalls just to name a few.  There is also, of course, the forest and the trees.  Using a fisheye lens (in this case a 10.5mm) while looking straight up creates a unique view.  Since the lens will cover most of the sky there is also the likelihood that the sun will be in the frame. 

By stopping the lens aperture down to a high number (small opening) and hiding most of the sun's light behind a tree, you will create a natural sun star without the need of any special filter.  You may also find some extra, colorful reflections across the image (notice diagonally down toward the lower left corner of the image there is a green circle).  This is a result of the bright light directly into the lens.

Sometimes you may wish to avoid this, other times enjoy the unpredictable nature, of nature.  Another advantage of finding a subject where you are pointing the camera directly up; you won't photograph your feet!  If you have ever thought about the possibilities a lens like this can bring to your photography, but you don't want to invest in such a special purpose lens, consider renting one for a few days or even a week.  That's what I did before I decided the investment was worth if (for me and my style of images). There are several local dealers that rent lenses and even cameras.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Different Perspective

A Different Perspective
When we think of portraits, the visual is of someone’s face, a group or perhaps a profile.  There are times, many times, when a compelling image is actually captured from a far different perspective, from behind the subject. 

While enjoying the Chinese New Year celebration at the Huntington Library and Gardens I found that, while the fronts and profiles of many of the performers were interesting, the view from behind often made even a more compelling image.

By not showing the face you add mystery to the photograph.  This can work exceptionally well if you are telling a story with a series of images.  While some may show the face or faces, others can just show details or, as we have above, just the back of your subject.  Okay, I understand the portrait studios would not do too well if they showed a set of proofs to eager parents and none of them showed their precious baby’s face!  But after you get your great facial expression images, move around and show something different; like your subject from behind. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Memories of a different time
How our photography creates memories in a curious way

In 2003 I took a road trip, driving my 1988 Chevy S-10 Blazer, across the country to Vermont.  I was attending a photography business workshop and could have flown, but decided on driving across the county alone to see some new sights.  And of course take some photos along the way.

It’s hard to believe this was nearly ten years ago.  Sometimes if feels like it was a very distant time.  Other times the memories are quite fresh.  It was a great trip, great workshop and an all-around fantastic experience.  Shortly after this trip I donated my Blazer, with 444,000 miles, to a friend whose car had been stolen.  It was a nice farewell trip for the 15 years we shared together on the road.

There was one sight I spied while nearly home, just across the border in Arizona.  At the time it was quite humorous… dark humor about the price of gas.  Now we might see something similar now in 2012, but the fuel price would be substantially different…and higher.  How I wish for the 2003 version of what an arm and a leg looks like now!

Photographs provide great memories for our families, vacations and other events.  Sometimes the memories seem a bit twisted, like this sign, but they still are fun.  I think the lesson for me here was to stop and take the picture.  It was great coming across this image in my files recently.  Momentum could easily have gotten the best of me as I passed by this photo opportunity in the desert.  I had just traveled through more than two dozen states and was just one border crossing away from home.  Yet I overcame inertia, stopped the car and captured a memory.  Don’t let too many of these chances pass you by when you have easy access to a camera.

Friday, February 17, 2012

One goal down...getting started

Well, I set a goal to start a Blog in the first part of the year.  Here it is!  I'm looking forward to sharing stories, lessons learned and other bits I learn while behind the camera.  It looks like much of my learning will be sorting out the Blog controls for the first few posts so please hang with me for a while. 

Any insight you would like to share is always welcome.  I've been out with the camera quite a bit over the past few weeks and I'm looking forward to sharing some of the experiences I've had while looking through the viewfinder.  Thanks again for your patience and more to follow...soon.