Wednesday, October 31, 2007

10/31/07: Happy Halloween! Don't forget to...

Happy Halloween! Don't forget if you are photographing your trick-or-treaters to over-expose ghosts and underexpose vampires!

That's a quick little lesson in exposure compensation. Your DSLR meter wants to make everything 18% gray...by nature, that means very white subjects (like brides, snow landscapes, brides playing in the snow, etc.) will be UNDERexposed by your camera meter; very dark subjects (like grooms in black tuxes, mud pits, grooms playing in mud pits, etc.) will be OVERexposed. SO...over-expose the high-key (very light colored subjects / backgrounds), underexpose low-key (dark colored subjects / backgrounds).

Have fun!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10/30/07: Two things people look for in a picture of themselves...

This is a tip I picked up from Clay Blackmore on his recent "Capture and Creativity" tour. Clay worked with legendary photographer Monte Zucker for over a quarter of century -- I found him to be a wealth of knowledge on interacting with your photo subjects.

Clay mentioned that there are two things people look for when they see pictures of themselves...

-- what is / how good is my expression?
-- how does my body look?

As photographers we need to always, always, always keep these two things in mind when we capture images of people. Great expression...flattering presentation of their body.

Clay also said something pretty humorous about people who look at pictures of themselves and think they look old. He says in reply "well, in 5 years you're gonna love this picture." Seasoned photographers in the room (and older people in general)...got the joke. :)

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Monday, October 29, 2007

10/29/07: Brand new Lightroom book!

My October book recommendation is:



Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.1 - by David Huss and David Plotkin. This book was just released by the publishers on October 27th -- I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I just ordered it. I like that it has been updated for LR 1.1 -- many of the early Lightroom books had to have PDF supplements for the 1.0 to 1.1 updates...such is the price of being an early adopter. :)

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10/28/07: New Prototype Canon Lenses...

At the recent Photo Plus Expo in New York City, Canon introduced two lenses that are currently being developed:

-- a 200mm L f2.0 IS (image stabilization) USM lens
-- an 800mm L f5.6 IS USM lens

Both of these pro level lenses were introduced only as prototypes -- but they show great promise. Read more about these lenses on the Canon news release.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

10/27/07: Yeah, it's Halloween...

I'm not really into all the Halloween stuff -- it's really a kid's thing as far as I'm concerned. However, since it is Halloween...I thought I'd present a new twist on landscape photography. Sometimes you can get some pretty amazing images while photographing in a cemetery. The grounds are usually well-kept, you can find old trees and headstones, etc. Give it a try. But try not to look too much like you are there to take pictures. And be reverent in your presence of other peoples' lost loved ones.

Here are some images I shot recently in a small-town cemetery...


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Thursday, October 25, 2007

10/25/07: Fall pictures...


What photographer doesn't enjoy taking pictures of the explosion of color in fall foliage? And what photographer / parent (or grandparent) doesn't enjoy taking pictures of their kids at play?

Fall is a great time to get good pictures of kids playing in those falling / fallen leaves. You should try taking a variety of images using both fast and slow shutter speeds, as well as try backlit images (where you are shooting toward the sun...BUT DON'T LOOK AT IT! :) )

Here are some samples...

slow shutter & backlit
fast shutter and front-lit

fast shutter and backlit


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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10/24/07: Reward if found...

It still amazes me when I shoot with other photographers who do not put their names / phone numbers on their removeable media / compact flash memory cards. If you have cards that don't have your name on them...go get a fine point Sharpie marker and put your name on your cards RIGHT NOW! And if you ever have paying clients that are relying on you to capture precious memories on your memory cards...you might consider putting "Reward if found" on the cards. A blank 4 GB memory card is probably only worth $50 or so...but if you have wedding or event pictures on a card and that card gets misplaced (or stolen, perish the thought)...you'd probably consider paying a reward to a person who would be kind enough to return that card to you.

While you're at it...put your name and phone number on your compact flash card wallet as well.

Hopefully you'll never have to thank me for this tip...but if by chance you do...you're welcome. :)

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

10/18/07: Quote of the day (1 day early!)...

So

Happy

It's

Thursday


as we used to say in college!

Here's a funny quote from Clay Blackmore's seminar earlier this week...

"Beauty is in the eye of the checkbook holder."

:)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

10/17/07: Check out the Boda bag...

If you are looking for a nifty lens bag for active "change on the fly" shooting...check out the Boda Bag. The Boda Bag is not inexpensive...but it gets rave reviews and appears to have everything a photographer would want in a compact bag. (Disclaimer: Those who've shot with me know I'm not the compact bag type...but...I aspire to be!)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10/16/07: Affordable camera / gear cases...

If you are anything like me...you've got more than a 1979 Chevy Malibu Classic station wagon worth of camera gear. And you're probably always looking for optimal solutions for transporting gear to shooting locations. You might consider checking into used "road cases" from AV supplies and on ebay. Road cases are the hard sided cases that musicians, audio-visual companies, and other media professionals use to transport gear safely. Just do a search for "road cases" on ebay and you might find exactly what you are looking for to store / transport camera, lighting, projection or other gear. You might have to do some searching to find the right size...and the case may have some road scars...but I'm a fan of putting gear in less than the fanciest cases when it comes to airline travel! It's function over finesse in my book...and a beat-up old case less obvious to would-be thieves than the latest camera manufacturer embazoned gear bag! LOL

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Monday, October 15, 2007

10/15/07: Capture & Creativity Tour

Tonight I attended the "Capture and Creativity" tour in St. Louis. Capture and Creativity is a four hour seminar hosted by Clay Blackmore and Jane Conner-Ziser. I highly recommend this seminar -- it's very affordable and jam-packed with great information. Clay discusses his creative posing and lighting techniques while Jane demonstrates her prowess at retouching in Photoshop, Painter and Lightroom. There are still a number of dates / cities left on the tour...if you have the chance...go!

Check out the Capture and Creativity web-site for more information.

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10/14/07: Answer to yesterday's question...

Yesterday I asked "what is this?" about the picture below. I was looking to see who could tell me as much about how I shot the picture as possible. Thank you everyone who responded! :)


Here's the answer...

I was at a wedding reception "playing." ("Play time" at a wedding reception occurs after all the formal stuff is complete -- formal dances, toasts, cake-cutting, etc.) The camera is a 5D hand held, bulb setting at f8.0 with about a 3 second exposure. The light is a Quantum T5D trigged by pocket wizard. I have the camera in my right hand, pocket wizard in the left...I popped the flash off a number of times while the shutter was opened...and I panned the camera while popping the flash. There was a dimly lit chandelier to my left and the band's amplifier lights (which gave the glow stick look someone mentioned) -- those are the squigly lights. The dance floor was pretty crowded for the shot...but everyone was moving around in addition to me moving the camera so it makes everyone look kinda ghost like.

Here is what it looked like when I moved the camera in a circle during the exposure. For this exposure, the dance floor was empty...not nearly as cool (IMHO)...but still worth the look.


Stay tuned for more "play time" posts!

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

10/13/07: What is this?


What is this and how was it done? Take your guesses in the comments section -- see if you can tell me what I did to make this image. I'll reveal the answers in tomorrow's post.


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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

10/02/07: Just in time for Halloween...

Every once and a while I have to release some built-up creative energy. LOL

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Monday, October 01, 2007

10/01/07: A little of Jessica Claire's "magic"

Dane Sanders' CutFrame TV features a number of awesome videos by Dane and other fantastic photographers. At Pictage Partner Conference in 2006, Jessica Claire made this short video demonstrating how she takes an image from "blah" to "wow" in Photoshop. I may have posted this previously...but it's worth repeating! :)

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