One of the exercises I give to all of my photo class students is to find a subject and photograph it from different viewpoints. The idea is to expand creativity and explore new ways of seeing a subject. You can apply this concept to almost anything you’re photographing.
Last month Natalie and I spent a week vacationing on the wet side of the Big Island of Hawaii. The weather was mostly overcast, with periods of heavy rain, not the brilliant sun most people think of for Hawaii. We spent a lot of our time exploring for plants and birds, including a couple of days at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Almost all the plants we saw were new to us. A lot of them blended together — mid-sized broadleaf evergreen shrubs and small trees that didn’t have showy flowers. But a few stood out and I made several photos of them with my pocket camera. Continue reading →
A few days ago, during our recent cold snap, I stuck my Canon G12 compact camera in my pocket and headed out the door for a walk around our block. Where we live, that means walking at the side of the road for about a mile and a half. It was crisply cold and the late afternoon sun was low in the sky as I left the house.
I found several nice photo subjects along my route, but spent the most time lingering over a single frozen puddle, exploring the patterns and textures in the ice. It’s an intriguing and ephemeral subject, one temporarily frozen in time as well as temperature. I was reminded of the patterns in the sand from waves washing ashore, or the waves themselves when caught by an instantaneous exposure. There were figures, akin to the what you might see in the clouds while laying on your back on a warm summer day. And there was this luminous quality to the late afternoon light as it caught the ridges and textures in the ice. In short, I was entranced by this simple frozen tableau and lingered until the knees of my Carharts were soaking wet, my fingers frozen, and the sun had dipped too far below the horizon for a reasonable shutter speed. Continue reading →
One of my readers asked me recently, “How do I control depth of field and get a fuzzy background in my photos?” It’s a technique I use a lot to help create contrast between subject and background. This month I’m sharing the secrets to this professional tool.
First, a definition of the term. Depth of field describes the area in front of (closer to the camera) and behind the subject that appears acceptably sharp when the lens is focused on the subject. We often describe it as “shallow” when only the plane of focus is sharp, and “deep” when more elements in the photo in front of and behind the subject are sharp.
I love long northwest summer days with clear blue skies and warm sunshine until late in the evening. I just don’t like photographing under those conditions. Bright mid-day sun isn’t flattering to people, pets, plants, or landscapes. Yet there are times when schedules dictate working under these challenging conditions. Here are seven tips for making great photos even in the middle of the day. Continue reading →
You’ve got a digital camera, or perhaps you take a lot of photos with your iPhone. But maybe your photos don’t turn out as well as you thought they would. I can help. Sign up for one of the classes I’m teaching this summer and learn to take control of your camera and make better photos. Continue reading →
One of the complaints I get most frequently in my pocket camera flower photography classes is “my camera won’t focus where I want it to” when shooting close-ups. It doesn’t matter which brand of compact camera people have, it’s a universal problem. I deal with it, too, and I use a nearly top-of-the-line Canon G12. So what’s the solution?
Many of the better compact cameras allow you to switch to manual focus. That puts you, the photographer, in complete control of what’s sharp and what’s not. Continue reading →