I have just recently returned from a six-week trip to Europe. I wish I could write an entire blog post just about my trip because there were so many beautiful and amazing moments. But this is a blog about fashion photography so I must keep to the subject at hand. Out of the six weeks overseas, two weeks were spent in Berlin. I can’t even begin to describe the place. It was so amazing, so much fun, that I literally could’ve spent another 2 months there. My Berlin was trip was not only about pleasure, though, as I ended up doing quite a bit of work there as well. I prepared and printed some large scale prints that were to be shown at an exhibit in my name in Amsterdam after my Berlin trip. I also held another epic Fashion Photography Workshop in Berlin. I also shot another editorial for Kurv Magazine.
I have the good fortune of naming Yoram Roth as one of my dearest, closest friends. Along with being just an amazing person in my life, he also helped produce my Kurv Editorial. Yoram is responsible for making me aware of a location on the outskirts of Berlin called Beelitz. Beelitz is an abandoned mental hospital that was occupied by the Germans during the second world war and then taken over by the Russians after the war ended and Germany was divided in to East and West Germany. The place now stands empty with it’s history, charm and alluringly jaded past. I knew I had to shoot there. I saw picture of Beelitz in Yoram’s portfolio two years prior to this and the images had just stayed with me over the years. I knew before I left NYC I was going to try and shoot in Berlin at this location. So my prep for this shoot started about 2 months before I actually shot.
The first thing I did was reach out to Kurv to ask them if I could shoot an editorial for them at this location. Once I got the approval, I reached out to a couple of agencies that represent hair, make up and stylists to see who they represent and who would be in town and available for this editorial. Once I landed in Berlin, Yoram and I drove out to the location so I could take some location shots of the place and start compiling a shot list. Just using my iPhone, I shot about 40 pictures of the hallways, balconies and guest rooms. I then reconnected with one of the agencies that I had reached out to while still in NYC, Perfect Props, because I liked the team they put together for me. We had a meeting with the team at the agency . I showed them the mood boards, the location stills and some of my ideas for the models. I reached out to many modeling agencies both in Berlin and Hamburg and I finally settled on Lina Spanenberg from Mega Models in Hamburg and Medea who is a trained ballerina and model who is living in Berlin. I wanted a lot of emotion and movement on this shoot, and I felt with Medea’s trained background in dance, she could give me some amazing movements.
We got to the location a little past 9 AM. We rented a mobile make up/location van because we needed to have a space with electricity (Beelitz does not have any available electricity) and also room for the clothes to be hung. While make up and hair was being done on the two models, Anja Niedermeier, the stylist, and I walked through the property and I showed her the exact locations I would be shooting in so she could formulate which outfits would fit best with the corresponding location.
The place is a little creepy, with it’s background and subsequent abandonment. There were some rooms I just didn’t have the nerve to go into. There was a bathroom that was just downright frightening. And the whole day I kept having the feeling that someone was watching us, someone was behind the walls, following us through out the day. Thank God we were a team of 9 people! Safety in Numbers, I always say!
And speaking of the team, they were just awesome! Karla Neff was our make up artist. Karla is a California girl living in Berlin so it was great having that Cali energy on board. Acacio Da Silva works with Karla a lot, so they were the perfect duo for hair and make up. Anja and I had spoken so many times before we the shoot that we were completely in synch with each other by the day of the shoot. So once again, I obviously couldn’t have pulled off this type of shoot without the entire team working together to make great images.
For technical aspects, I used available light. I pushed my ISO’s on my D3X to 1,000 or more. Or less, depending on the light in the space. I didn’t want any artificial light on this shoot. I wanted to capture the natural, decrepit, dark, moody available light and really pick up on the textures on the walls and floors.
I FTP’d the images to my retouch artist back in NYC and then spent the next two weeks leaving my Skype on so I could get those 4 AM skype calls from her because we were on a tight deadline and in two different time zones!
I’m back, I’m busier than ever and have some big surprises in store in the upcoming month for this blog. So stay tuned! Also, for those of you joining us in NYC for the Fashion Workshop, we’ll see you soon!
Elizabeth Skadden did the great Behind The Scene Video on this Kurv shoot. A very special thanks to her! She has since moved to NYC and we have some exciting news to share with you in the upcoming weeks but in the meantime, check out her work at www.elizabethskadden.com !! Also a very special thanks to Yoram Roth! Check out his photography website: http://www.roth-photo.com/. Also, last but not least, a very, very special thank you to Proyecto Oniric for letting me use his music one more time. I can’t tell you how much this man’s music has inspired me over the years. Go to his website, show your love. Feel his genius: http://www.proyectooniric.com/
Adobe’s Photoshop is an immensely complicated and multi layered program that can seem daunting to new users. In this short series of articles we are going to have a look at some of the less used, but highly useful tools in the seminal editing program
Highlights and Shadows Tool
This tool is possibly one of the most powerful and under utilized functions in the Photoshop armory. It is found under Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights. The Shadow tool can be used to add detail to shadow areas. Use it carefully as it can introduce noise. The Highlights slider does the opposite and can be used to darken highlights such as an over exposed sky. Again be careful using this as if you push the slider to far, you may start to introduce a halo effect around your subject. The more options checkbox expands the window to reveal adjustments for tonal width and radius in both the Highlight and Shadows sections as well as controls for color correction and mid-tone contrast.
If you have ever wanted to align text or work at the pixel level then the grid function will be of major use to you. Grid is found in the View > Show > Grid menu hierarchy. Selecting it will overlay the image with a fine grid, the size of which can be defined in the Photoshop Preferences.
Rulers are enabled from the View > Rulers menu. This places a ruler at the top and left of the canvas area. Again the Ruler units can be defined in the Photoshop preferences from pixels, cm, mm and inches amongst others. Rulers can be extremely useful for laying out elements of a montage or for text.
With Rulers enabled you can use guides. Guides are extremely useful for dividing up your image or creating positions for text or overlays to sit on. To position a guide, simply click and drag from the ruler at the top or left. The guides appear as blue lines and can be dragged to new locations.
Most photographers at some point will take an image that requires perspective correction. Not too many of us can afford a PC lens, but fortunately there is a software approach to aid PC problems.
Select Filter > Lens Correction. A new window will appear. From the window on the right, at the top, select the Custom tab. At the bottom, you will see sliders for Vertical and Horizontal Perspective. By moving the the Vertical slider you can correct the vertical errors, and by using the Horizontal tool you can correct the rarer horizontal plane errors. These corrections will cut into the image so you will need to us the scale tool at the bottom to crop the image back to what you want.
Quick and easy borders
The last tip for today is a quick and easy way to add a black border and white key-line to create that finished look for your image.
Select Image > Canvas Size. From the New Size box, change the size value to your choice, inches, mm or cm. Enter a figure relevant to the size of your image, in the example we have added 10mm. Make sure the Relative check box is ticked and that the Anchor direction is in the center. From the bottom select Black for the Canvas extension color. Press ok. We will now repeat the procedure using 5mm as our size and white as our Canvas color. Lastly we repeat the exercise with 20mm and Black as our choices. The end result is a nice black border with subtle white key-line. Feel free to experiment with the border sizes to get the best effect for your own image.
So that wraps it up for today, in the next article we will take a look at some more hints and tips for this incredibly versatile program
Jason Row is a British born travel photographer now living in Ukraine. You can follow him on Facebook or visit his site, The Odessa Files. He also maintains a blog chronicling his exploits as an Expat in the former Soviet Union
Today, we are going to take a look at perhaps, one of the world’s most photogenic countries – Norway. From modern and thriving cities, to pretty timber house villages and onto the majestic Fjords, Norway is a photographers playground, a veritable smorgasbord of visual possibilities.
Practicalities – For most people, flying into the country will be via Oslo, the country’s main hub. Getting around is best done by the excellent domestic air services. Driving is possible but because of the terrain, journey times and distances will be long. Another excellent way to see the country is by ship, this can be either on a cruise ship sailing the Norwegian coast or by using the excellent Norwegian coastal ferries, a sort of long distance maritime bus service for the Fjords.
Oslo: Norway’s compact yet pretty capital provides a surprising amount of photographic opportunities from the Neo-Classical buildings of the University and National Theatre to the modern offices and Trafikanten tower. The center is full of parks and sculptures, often with great backgrounds, for a great view over the city and its bustling port, take a walk to Akerhus park near the cruise ship port. For pomp and pageantry, try the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace, itself a photogenic and interesting building. Because of its compact size, much of Oslo can be covered in 1-2 days allowing another day or two to shoot in the surrounding suburbs.
The Fjords: Norway’s defining landscape feature is of course it’s Fjords and the best way to see them is by ship. In the south west of the country the Fjords are perhaps the most impressive, the impossibly steep sides, gushing waterfalls, and snow capped mountains make for wonderful images. Care with exposure is needed, the deep cuts of the Fjords can cast dark shadows and the dark green of the foliage can throw off meters. Spring is the best time to visit – the weather although never entirely predictable may spawn more days of sunshine and the melt water from the mountains makes the waterfalls immensely impressive.
Perhaps the most well known and most beautiful Fjord is Geirangerfjord, one arm of the huge Storfjord. A walk up the hill from the pretty village of Geiranger, brings you to a pretty timber framed church and a viewpoint with stunning vistas. Enter the Fjord by ship and the big shot is that of the Seven Sisters, a series of waterfalls that plummets down an impossibly steep cliff and which on sunny days can reveal beautiful rainbows.
Norwegian Villages: The villages of the Fjords are wonderfully photogenic, white timber framed houses with spectacular mountain scenery. In most villages the local churches make for great photographic opportunities, both outside and in. The hills around the villages are often home to colorful barns and other agricultural architecture.
The Arctic North: To the north of Norway, the Fjords become softer, and lower but the scenery is still spectacular. The Lofoten Islands feature stunning fishing villages set on rugged coastlines with unusual high yet rounded mountains as a backdrop.
Here wildlife photographers will encounter Arctic Terns, Buzzards and White Tailed Eagles. Arriving by sea, you could encounter Sperm Whales, Orca and White-beaked dolphins. The two things you will need are a good telephoto lens and lots of patience. A pair of binoculars will help with the initial spotting. When the weather plays ball here, the light can be nothing short of spectacular with a clarity rarely seen in lower latitudes.
North Cape: The northern tip of Norway and indeed Europe is marked at the North Cape on the island of Mageroya, deep inside the arctic circle. Perched atop a 1000ft cliff looking toward the Arctic, a large monument in the shape of a globe marks the spot. Here, in the summer, the sun never sets, and you can take photographs in bright sunshine at one o’clock in the morning. The monument makes for a great silhouette to the midnight sun.
Further back , you can get great shots of the steep cliffs and the monument on top. If you get lucky you will be able to get shots of the clouds below the tops of the cliffs, creating an entirely mystical look.
The Norwegian summer is a short and fickle thing. It is impossible to know if you will get good weather or not but if you adapt your shooting style to the weather, it’s virtually impossible not to get good shots in this stunning country.
Jason Row is a British born travel photographer now living in Ukraine. You can follow him on Facebook or visit his site, The Odessa Files. He also maintains a blog chronicling his exploits as an Expat in the former Soviet Union
This week your photographic challenge is to take and share a picture taken with the widest available focal length to you.
This challenge builds upon our recent tutorial – 7 Ways to Get More out of a Wide-Angle Lens which gives some practical tips on shooting this way. While not everyone has a true wide-angle lens to shoot with we challenge you to use whatever you have available. If your camera has a zoom lens – resist the temptation to zoom in this week and shoot as much as you can at the wider end of the zoom.
A few other posts that might help you tackle this wide angle challenge include:
- Using Wide Angle Lens Distortion Creatively
- 17 Amazing Wide Angle Images
- 6 Winning Ways to Work Wide
- How to Get the Best Results from Ultra-Wide Lenses
- Wide, Wider, Widest – Wide Angle Photography
Once you’ve taken and selected the ‘Wide Angle’ image that you’d like to share – upload it to your favourite photo sharing site or blog and either share a link to it or – embed them in the comments using the our new tool to do so.
If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites with Tagging tag them as #DPSWIDE to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.
Also – don’t forget to check out some of the great shots posted in last weeks challenge – Green challenge where there were some great shots submitted.
I’m looking forward to seeing your shots!
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
A guest post by John Davenport
Photography in general is easy – right? You pick up your camera, point it in the direction of what interests you, and depress the shutter button. However, there are many levels of photography, and I’m sure many of you are aware of the basics.
Today I’m going to focus on something a bit more advanced, photographing the star filled sky, also known as astrophotography.
For astrophotography you will be delving a bit deeper into the use of some of the manual controls of your camera like shutter speed, aperture, and ISO control. I also highly recommend shooting in RAW for night photography, as it will allow more control when editing the final image. If you’re not sure what RAW is and why it is important I wrote a bit about RAW photography here.
Let’s Start With What You’ll Need
- Tripod – We’re going to be dealing with exposures in the tens of seconds and I don’t care who you are, you’re going to need something to stabilize your camera.
- A Camera With Manual Controls – Manual control of your ISO and shutter speed are going to be essential for photographing the stars.
- A Wide Aperture Lens – You’ll need a lot of light and f/2.8 seems to be the butter zone for astrophotography. Combine this with an ultra-wide lens and depth of field won’t be a problem.
With these three pieces of gear you’ll be off to a great start, but of course, there’s a lot more out there that you could potentially add down the line, which I’m sure you can discuss in the comments below.
Location, Location, Location
Now, it’s not enough to just get all the gear, you need to find the right places to photograph the night sky as well. Light pollution is a serious problem for astrophotography and if you’re anywhere near a large city you’re going to have to travel at least an hour to get away from the lights.
I live just outside of Boston MA and am pretty much locked into one of the most light polluted areas of the United States – southern New England.
However, as seen in this image below, even a town of only about 30,000 people and over ten miles away can still result in some obstructive light pollution.
On top of finding the right location on Earth, you’ll want to have some idea of the location of various stars and constellations for your photography. I use an app called Starwalk for my iPhone to track these down as well as locating the core of the Milky Way, which can be amazing when photographed.
The Basic Set-up
When photographing these tiny pinholes of light you will need as much light to hit your sensor as possible. Therefore it’s important to use combination of high ISO, wide apertures, and long shutter speeds.
For the Kayaks Under the Stars photo above I used an ISO of 1250 an aperture of f/2.8 and an exposure of 30 seconds. As you’ll notice in the bottom right of the photograph there’s a bit of light pollution from a city about 30 minutes away.
One thing to do to try and minimize the light pollution is to find out where it is in a timely manner. To do this I typically will fire off successive shots all around the horizon using an absurdly high ISO (typically the highest my camera will go) simply to limit the time it takes for each shot to expose. These shots won’t be used in the final process, but they are valuable in letting me know which parts of the horizon are off-limits.
As far as exposure time goes, it’s better to keep it as short as possible, otherwise you’ll end up with movement in your stars as the Earth rotates. As an example, my kayak photograph was shot at 30 seconds, which was actually a bit long and if you look closely you can see some movement in the stars.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this can be an extremely cool style of photography in and of itself, referred to most often as creating star-trails like this shot below.
There’s a great post here on dPS about shooting star-trails, which you should check out for more information if you’re interesting in creating this kinds of photographs.
Processing the Photo
Processing these night sky photographs can be a bit intimidating, as at first they won’t look like much. As I mentioned above, I’d highly recommend shooting in the RAW format if your camera offers it, as it will allow you to do a lot more when it comes to this step.
For the shot featured at the top of this post I broke up the photograph into two zones to process, the sky and the foreground. I used LR4′s adjustment tool to selectively tweak each region until I was satisfied with the end result.
For more on how I edited this photograph watch this quick video walkthrough I made of the process.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
Toad Hollow Photography has been searching high and low all over the internet for the very best links to tutorials, great photography and interesting blogs to share as another week passes us by here. This comprehensive list of some of the very best pictures and posts found is sure to keep the photography enthusiast busy. The Toad hopes you enjoy perusing this list as much as he did in curating it and bringing it to you.
Be sure to follow the Toad on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute details in the world of photography. The Toad is active all week online and his sites are always full of the very latest tidbits related to the field of photography.
TIPS & TUTORIALS
Innocence Lost, Attitude Gained: Using Juxtaposition To Strengthen Your Portrait Photography – this article from Sandra Hale gives us some really fabulous insight into portrait photography and locations. Sandra takes us deep into her rationale for selecting certain venues for her work in this very well written piece, and in doing so helps to expand our mindset in the field of portrait photography.
10 Studio Photography Tips For the Best Portraits – this is a very comprehensive list of tips and tricks for studio based model photography. Everything from lighting, lenses and posing is discussed in this article, delivering a well-rounded piece that contains very useful information.
Dark Sharks – Karen Glaser delivers a stunning series of very grainy black-and-white images captured in the depths of the ocean. Karen’s images, often surreal in nature, share a compelling and dramatic story of life in the depths. The high level of grain in these images accents the drama of the set, and her compositions really convey the stunning seascapes that exist under the cover of deep water.
2012 Porsche Boxster S – if you love cars, you will cherish this series of photographs from Rick at Hansrico Photography. The latest rendition of the fabled Porsche Boxster S is featured against an old industrial backdrop, making for the most amazing images of this stunning red roadster. These shots are all second-to-none and are well worth the time to visit and view for yourself.
Photostory: A taste of Prince Edward County – Sherry Galey brings along as she explores the beautiful wine country found in Ontario, Canada. Sherry’s use of wonderful photography is brought to life with her great blog post here, making for a great way to have a fabulous experience all from the comfort of your home.
Golden Gray – I have come to have a deep love for the world as seen through the lens of Gost ∞ Ridr. This shot of the city of Dubai tells an instant story of the famous city below taken at night, and also delivers some of the most stunning details you’ve seen in this genre of imagery.
Kite photography – oh wow, you just have to stop what you’re doing right now and click this link, you’ll thank us later! Edin Chavez does something I’ve never seen before, nor have I ever considered it. He uses a kite that floats about 500 feet above the ground to create some of the most stunning imagery found in this week’s list. This entire set is absolutely amazing!!
At Home With The Dutch Angle – I just love to celebrate unique things, especially when they deliver something that is unusual. Mark Garbowski goes through quite a lot to capture this image, facing many challenges to his day. As it turns out, through an act of discovery, he finds that he used a popular compositional technique that in the case of the picture posted here really adds a huge element of interest and tension.
Backyard – reflections created by composing still waters into a scene can provide for very compelling photography. Jacky CW captures a shot of a beautiful lake in California with a commanding volcano present in the backdrop.
Renwick House – Wayne Frost does a stunning job of creating painterly styled images from his photography works, delivering really unique and captivating pieces to view and enjoy. This picture of a classic heritage home is colorful and beautiful to see, a real gem in this week’s collection.
The Owl Club – I’d strongly recommend you give a hoot and fly on over to see this image for yourself. Bob Lussier captures a shot of an iconic building in Nevada, making for a far better post to view and enjoy than my poor attempt at punning the place up.
Henry Fords “Hideaway” – we get two distinct images for the price of one in this post from Mike Criswell. The first shot, processed in black-and-white using a long exposure technique, delivers an almost mystical feeling piece full of great drama. The second image is a HDR of the shoreline of the same lake, creating a beautiful landscape to view and enjoy.
Mornings First Kiss – a gentle seascape piece is beautifully accented by lovely flowers growing on the shore. Andy Gimino creates a truly beautiful picture here, sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Do my eyes deceive me? – if not for photography, we may never have seen this incredible sight ourselves. LensScaper (Andy Hooker) photographs a store window in London that is just so different, you just have to see for yourself. This picture delivers many layers with interesting reflections, creating a bit of visual confusion that in all actuality is totally magnetic.
Les Invalides – Tim Stanley takes us along to see an iconic building in France officially known as L’Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids). This is a gorgeous architectural study that reveals all the wonderful details in the edifice as well as the surrounding beauty of the gardens.
Fauquier Co. Courthouse, Warrenton, VA – a famous historic courthouse in Virginia is photographed and shared in this shot by Perry Bailey. The strong architecture that comprises this facility creates an enduring scene that Perry does a top-drawer job of capturing.
last light before darkness – as dramatic light beams in through the openings in an abandoned structure in Berlin, markus s. is at the ready to capture this scene and create a sensational picture guaranteed to delight and amaze everyone. The surreal magic of this scene is augmented with the rich textures from the inherent decay.
Fotos Ruta La Ventana del Nublo , la Agujereada.Gran Canaria by El coleccionista de instantes, on Flickr
City View – this is an epic night capture of the Manhattan city skyline. Rich details in the architecture and city are all highlighted with the vibrant colors streaming from the sleeping city. This is a fabulous picture, one that is well worth the time to visit and view.
Obersee ! – I believe this is a boathouse, sitting nestled on a still body of water surrounded by gorgeous hills and mountains. —Jan — composes the scene in a way that brings out all the reflections of the setting in the waters, adding further interest to the textures and tones of the old boathouse itself.
Northern Harrier – incredible details in this harrier are all exposed and shared in this wonderful photograph by Jay Taylor. Jay’s extremely shallow depth of focus in this shot really makes the bird stand out in this picture, making for something that is special and is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Sangan River Blues II – gorgeous hues of blue, fabulous textures and wonderful natural leading lines all come together in these photographs posted by Ehpem. The abstract complexion of the images created by Mother Nature and captured here by Ehpem combine to convey beauty that can only be found through the artwork of nature itself.
Biker Dog – some things we encounter in life are so unreal they sometimes defy description. How about a really cute dog sitting on the back of a motorbike, sporting a pair of goggles? Yep, you read that right. Robert Berry does a fabulous job in capturing this scene that is full of character, forever immortalizing the spunk and spirit of this wonderful dog.
The Tree of Life – a wondrous Japanese Maple Tree poses for Jim Nix who creates a special and unique image from the scene. Great natural lines, shapes and geometry are exhibited by this beautiful tree, and Jim creates a stellar picture from the setting presented to him.
St Mary’s Fawkham – vibrant colors presented by the natural vegetation are accented here by an utterly fascinating old church. This picture reveals secrets to the viewer as you spend time taking in all the details, making for a very compelling picture to visit and view as presented here by Tony Matthews.
The Tall Ship Dewaruci – historical large sailing vessels make for the best photography, and Jimi Jones showcases why in this great post. Known as Tall Ships, these classics are full of character and romance, and in this case Jimi captures a great shot and shares it in his post in both color and black-and-white.
Orange Duo – gentle lines and vivid colors are expressed in this picture that is host to a classic old hot rod and a beautiful woman. Both are dressed in their best orange outfits, and Wayne Frost uses this chance to compose and create an image that is sure to delight everyone.
The Gorner Glacier – we get no sense of scale, no sense of context and certainly no color in this set of photographs from LensScaper (Andy Hooker). Yet this entire series is some of the most compelling abstract pieces I have ever seen. The natural wonder of a glacier is explored from high above in this sequence, making for a must-see post in this week’s list.
A Rabbit Blowing A Raspberry – laugh and say awww, everyone! This is a pretty cute picture! Steve Creek manages to grab a shot of a very spirited bunny doing what bunnies do best.. pose and entertain! This is a wonderful image, guaranteed to be the source of joy for everyone who visits.
Stone House – great colors and tones found in the sky converge with the wonder of the old stone building to create a compelling piece of imagery here from Steven Perlmutter. There is a strong symbiosis between the drama in the sky and the inherent drama found in the old stone facility, creating a great balance that makes for an image that is sure to be a source of delight for all.
Molten Clouds – there are so many fabulous elements that make up this picture from Chris Frailey. A dark, brooding sky is accentuated by great tones found both in the clouds and the city far off in the distance. The added bonus of a stiff downpour in the distance helps to converge in this picture to deliver something that is truly exceptional.
2012 Perseid Meteors from Cannon Beach – the lights from civilization add a huge element of wonder to this great photograph by Scott Wood, which serves to emphasize the beauty of the stars at night and a streaking meteor in the night sky. This is a great juxtaposition of mankind and the universe we find ourselves living in.
Untitled – Heather Neil captures and shares a gorgeous landscape scene that contains many layers to ponder and enjoy. Wonderful still waters sit in the foreground of her composition here, adding a touch of interest by way of a fascinating reflection.
ciudad de las ciencias Nº 7 – a wonderful study in architecture at night is highlighted here by a mirror like reflection. miguel zambrana molina magically creates two images in one with his composition, making for one of our must-see shots in this week’s list.
Futuroscope by night – a futuristic structure is perfectly photographed and shared in this awesome HDR image from David Tavan. There are so many contrasts and details to be enjoyed in this shot, which is just perfectly post-processed to bring all the mystique found in the setting to life for all to enjoy.
Sunset on the Medway – a gorgeous sunset is reflected back subtly and gently in the lapping waters in this captivating piece from Tony Matthews. The wonderful, rich tones from both the sun and the surroundings skies converge in this piece to deliver a drama that can only be found in nature.
Pacific Tree Frog – there is nothing more beautiful than a frog or a toad, in my humble opinion. Anne McKinnell exercises her photography skills to capture a great image of a tiny frog going about its daily business here, creating a wonderful image that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone.
No Brand Required – a classic old hot rod that is exquisitely designed and built is featured in this post from Tim Stanley. The rich tones of the car reflect back the depth surrounding it, creating an image that leads the viewer’s eye naturally through the frame to take in the wonderful details.
Seeing Double – fabulous natural light drapes the surrounding scenery as Jason Hines captures a photo that exhibits two images in one. The wonderful reflection cast back from the still lake in Yosemite makes for a picture that contains many separate scenes in one.
Evening Walks – our own @astaroth here on Light Stalking goes for a walk in the evening and brings us along with him. Ultimately, we are the winners in this equation as he shares a breathtaking series of images taken as the sun makes its trek below the horizon.
the morning after – an early morning exploration of an abandoned building in Berlin nets a truly amazing image to view and enjoy. markus s. captures a shot here that expresses great tension through the capturing of awesome light beams making their way through the openings of the facility.
Haircut for the school – this picture features the cutest little kitten you’ll see today, guaranteed. As its mother tends and cares for it, Zoran Milutinovic grabs this emotional and wonderful photograph to share with everyone, making for a great picture that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
August Sunset on the Lighthouse – a gorgeous series of images is presented on the forums here on Light Stalking this week, from @mikell. As the sun sets behind a stunning lighthouse, the bright and vibrant colors paint the skies and surroundings in beautiful tones.
125sec at Bare Island – this is a beautiful blue hour image, composed with a perfect leading line in a pier that takes the viewers eye naturally through the frame to a tiny island. Noval Nugraha delivers a fabulous shot, taken using a long exposure technique, that is both surreal and intriguing at the same time.
Rome….buildings and their beauty – Erik and Kathleen Kerstenbeck take us along on their journey to Rome where they come away with this epic shot of classic Roman architecture. The beauty in the details and textures in this picture are truly unsurpassed, creating a compelling piece that is sure to be enjoyed by all.
Morning on the Mon – the beautiful Pittsburgh city skyline is revealed in this shot that finds the interesting architecture reflected back to the viewer. Rich McPeek captures this shot with so many different elements of interest at work, it’s a picture that you just have to see for yourself to fully appreciate.
Come Dine With Me – the elegant dining room at the Greenbrier Resort is captured in this photograph from Jay&Jacy Photography. The elegance of the beautiful chandeliers that hang in the room is complimented perfectly by all the wonderful little details that converge to create the most perfect setting to photograph.
St. Mary’s [Immaculate Conception] Church, Yonkers, Rose Window North Side – the beautiful colors intrinsic to the stained glass that makes up the main subject in this shot are all perfectly accented by the gentle light that adorns the edge of the balcony overlooking the main area of the church. Mark Garbowski creates a lovely image with this composition, one that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
Fogust: Love It or Loathe It – the natural mystery found in a fog-enshrouded environment makes for wonderful photography, as discussed here by Laurie MacBride. As she explores the coast by boat over the summer months, Laurie finds shots like the one posted here to share that really express the special beauty and magic found on the west coast of Canada.
Gathering – Scott Frederick delivers another one of his epic pieces in this post, and compliments it with some profound personal thoughts. This picture of a room in an apparently abandoned facility has a set of disparate chairs in it, all surrounded by some of the most incredible textures and details that are exposed through the natural decay.
Early Morning Calm – a lovely nautical piece is displayed here from Edith Levy. As the sun begins to rise in Maine, Edith finds an almost magical composition with small boats bobbing in the morning sea tied to very quaint docks, producing a very fascinating photograph to view and enjoy.
kinsol trestle – one of our very favorite spots on Vancouver Island is photographed and shared here by local photographer dragonflydreams88. This wooden trestle is widely believed to be the largest free-standing structure of it’s kind in the world. Our blog post “A Bridge Of Hope” details the history and efforts that went into refurbishing this bridge to make it one of the key treasures we hold dear on the island here.
Path to the Light – a wonderful little wooden building sits seaside with a walking path that leads the viewer through the frame to rest upon a romantic lighthouse. Len Saltiel’s magical composition with this scene really does wonders in conveying the natural beauty and intrinsic interest found here.
The beauty in the simplicity of a stamped flower – A Beleza estampada na simplicidade de uma flor – a gorgeous yellow sunflower is explored visually in this piece by Novais Almeida. The absolutely incredible colors captured here are all emphasized by the rich details in the center part of this flower.
Blue hour at Haystack Rock – a massive and well-known rock formation is the main subject in this stunning blue hour photograph from the studio of Jim Nix. The sharp contracts found in this scene produce a wonderful silhouette effect of the formation, all brought together with the wispy and subtle reflections cast in the ocean.
Alone – incredible blue hues drape the remains of a sunken ship in the water. The remains of the ship itself resemble the skeleton of a whale, making for a very surreal scene to be captured and shared here by Wilfredo Lumagbas Jr.
Reflejos en B/N (reflex in B/W) – a truly awesome reflection is cast in the water of the local architecture composed in this picture from Juan Carlos Simón. The black-and-white processing used to create this image serves to create a strong sense of drama and the crisp reflections bring a lot of interest.
Setting Sail – the deck of a luxury cruise ship as night sets is photographed and shared by Metro DC Photography. The luxury accoutrements beckon the viewer with soft gentle lighting creating a picture that is sure to be the source of amazement for all who visit.
Dirty Dancing – the pure force and power of mother nature is exposed in this shot of an incredible lightning strike from Christopher Eaton. The fabulous tendrils of energy captured in this shot create a scene reminiscent of a pair of dancers, and the black-and-white processing used brings all the natural drama of the scene to life.
The Golden Gate Bridge! – simply wonderful golden tones bathe this iconic bridge that is poking out from a shroud of fog in this epic shot by Jim Ross. Incredible details in the bridge itself are full of points of interest, which are punctuated by the silky smooth water effect created by the use of long exposure.
Decay on Chestnut Street – wonderful details and textures are explored in this photograph from the studio of Mark Garbowski. The building shot here is most certainly abandoned, and all the windows and entrances boarded up. This is definitely one of those pictures that shares more with the viewer as you spend time taking in all it’s secrets.
Without You I’m Dust – a very abandoned room is carefully photographed and presented here by Scott Frederick. The wonder of decay is explored in this great shot, and Scott pulls the post together with some very profound thoughts that serve as a metaphor for life.
Solitude – wonderful natural light exposes a bench in a clearing in this great photograph from CJ Schmit. CJ’s use of black-and-white to express his vision in this photo brings a great sense of drama to the picture, making for a shot that is sure to be enjoyed by all who visit.
See The Light – the romance of lighthouses is well recognized, and this fabulous shot from John Sotiriou brings this concept fully to life. Great colors and tones are captured in this scene and shared here with the viewer.
Austin – From The Hip – Jim Denham has many talents in the field of photography, one of them being portraits. This is a great, great black-and-white shot of this young man, full of character and spirit. Definitely a shot well worth the time to visit and view.
Eastern Point’s Other Side – we get to enjoy another great lighthouse photograph in this week’s list with this post from Steven Perlmutter. This unique composition exposes a different view of these iconic facilities, creating a mesmerizing photo that is sure to be really enjoyed by all.
Welcome to Istanbul – the wonderful ancient architecture and wonder of Istanbul is shared in this gorgeous photograph from Giuseppe Sapori. This is most definitely a historic location in terms of the world, and the unique details in the structure here really make for a compelling photo.
Blue on Blue – lines, shadows, shapes and colors are all examined in this wonderful photograph from Bob Israel. Bob creates an almost abstract piece with his unique composition of this building, delivering an almost monochromatic image that is full of inherent drama.
Awaiting Boats – a great set of colorful boats sits tied to the dock of this beautiful lake in Alberta. Len Saltiel composes this top drawer shot with the majestic mountains as a backdrop, and finds a truly special reflection in the still lake to mirror the image.
When the Wind Blew – Rachel Cohen shares a beautiful image of a river with a subtle reflection in it and finds herself amidst an adventure as the wind blows away some of her photography gear. Rachel finds help in the kindness of strangers, and as such she shares a story full of inspiration and hope along with her incredible photograph.
Super Chevy Show – if you love classic hot rods, I’ve found a post here that is guaranteed to take care of the next hour of your life. Rick from Hansrico Photography brings us along as he enjoys attending a car event, and comes away with a huge set of absolutely breathtaking car images.
Lilies – beautiful water lilies sit atop the water in this great photograph. Great colors are captured in this image, and the picture-perfect composition Robin used to capture this brings a mesmerizing quality to the picture.
Pointed Petals – gorgeous and colorful flowers are perfectly photographed in this shot by Kat White. Her shallow depth of focus brings the natural beauty of these flowers to the forefront for everyone visiting to truly enjoy.
So Happy TWO-Gether – as a pair of the most beautiful butterflies play about, Kerri Farley is there to capture this detailed and colorful photograph to share. The incredible colors and hues in both the butterflies and the surrounding vegetation come together just perfectly to create an alluring image to view and enjoy.
News on Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photomatix Pro – Keith Cuddeback shares some great insights and thoughts about how to create first-rate imagery with the least amount of expense. As HDR technology continues to advance and improve, the creation process simplifies and the output gets better. Keith discusses the current and evolving state of the art, presenting a piece that is sure to be of interest to everyone in the field.
Learn to be a better Photographer the Old Fashioned way… – Doug Pruden writes and shares a great post here that discusses at a high level the importance of taking manual control of your camera in terms of it’s exposure settings. This is a well written piece that concludes with a great challenge that forms the basis of an important exercise.
The Beautiful Sphinx Observatory in the Swiss Alps – a wonderful observatory is explored in this post, featuring a very thought-provoking series of photographs of the facility and its surroundings. A drop of over 11,000 feet presents the viewer perched high atop the world with a view that can only be had here.
Photographer of the Month – August 2012 – this is a great interview with award-winning and acclaimed photographer Rebecca Litchfield. This in-depth piece gives us a behind the scenes peek into her work, and shares a great set of her images. She definitely has a personal and unique style, one that I love very much. This is most definitely a must-see post in this week’s list.
Hitting Missouri’s Back Roads In Search of Hidden Treasures: A Visit to Historic Blackwater, MO – Sandra Hale takes us along as she explores the hidden gem of a town known as Blackwater. This great post delivers some really wonderful photographs, all of which are accented by the in-depth and thought-provoking article that Sandra has written.
Hidden in the Wallpaper: A Camouflaged Body of Art – great optical illusions are created and photographed in this wonderful post that serves as a metaphor for modern life for women. Cecilia Paredes is critically acclaimed for her work, and this post showcases both her acute artistic vision as well a keen skills in photography.
Iceland Saga VIII – the continuing story of the adventures of the Quimper Hittys continues as they explore the vast lands of Iceland. This series of images and stories is both wonderful and quaint in nature, as well as highly educational. We are presented with incredible photos in this post that showcase the deep history of the land as well as some of the fascinating features found on the trek.
Theme: “Motion” 134,000 mph Perseid and the Milky Way – this is a wonderful blog post full of breathtaking imagery. Howard and his family head out into the cold desert night to photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower, and in doing so he creates a series of presentations that are without peer. This post is host to two videos and a series of great images, coupled with some behind-the-scenes technical details that are interesting to read.
New to DSLR photography and want a good basic lesson in focusing? This video by Phil Steele gives a good introduction to five different focusing techniques.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
This article was written by Andrew S Gibson, the author of Understanding Lenses: Part I, and is the second in a series of lessons about camera lenses. You can read the first article link to first article here.
If you were to only ever use one lens a wide-angle would be an excellent choice. For many years, before I switched to digital, I used a 24mm lens almost exclusively with a simple film SLR. I loved that lens because it helped me take many beautiful and dramatic images.
The good news is that you can do the same with your wide-angle lenses, or the widest focal lengths on a kit lens. All that’s needed is an understanding of how to make the most out of that wonderful piece of glass attached to your camera.
What is a wide-angle lens?
A wide-angle lens provides a wider angle of view that what you can see with your own eyes. On a full-frame or film camera that’s any focal length wider than about 40mm. On an APS-C camera that’s focal lengths wider than around 25mm, or 20mm with the micro four-thirds format.
Wide-angle lenses have a couple of characteristics that you can exploit to take better photos:
- They exaggerate perspective, making things close to the lens look nearer than they are, and things in the distance look smaller. This stretches the sense of distance and scale. The shorter the focal length, the greater the effect.
- They have more depth-of-field at any given aperture than longer lenses. This helps you keep everything within the frame, or at least the most important elements, in sharp focus. It also means that accurate focusing isn’t so critical.
Making the most out of wide-angle lenses
Here are my tips for making the most out of your wide-angle lenses. If you’ve got any tips of your own, why not add them to the comments? I’m curious to see how readers use their wide-angles, and I’m expecting some links to some amazing images.
1. Foreground interest
This applies primarily to landscape photography. It’s a good idea to make sure there is something interesting in the foreground for the viewer to look at. Otherwise there may be too much empty space and the image becomes boring. The photo above is a good example. Can you imagine how it would look without the people in the foreground? Without the human figures, there is no photo – just a monotonous expanse of white.
2. Environmental portraiture
Wide-angle lenses let you take portraits and include the model’s surroundings at the same time. It’s a technique used by portrait, documentary and fashion photographers to tell a story. The setting is just as interesting as the person in the photo. It’s the opposite approach of using a telephoto lens and a wide aperture to blur the background.
3. Take photos inside your car
It’s been done dozens of times before, but I couldn’t resist trying it for myself. To create this photo I attached my camera to a tripod, leant the whole thing against the passenger seat and wrapped the tripod and camera straps around the seat to hold it steady. I drove around our local area at dusk using a remote release to take photos.
Wide-angle lenses are idea for taking photos in any enclosed space, where it would be impossible to capture an image with a longer focal length.
4. Using lines
Lines are a powerful compositional tool. The lines in this image take the viewer’s eye from the front of the image to the back and the mountains on the horizon. The wide-angle lens exaggerates the sense of scale and adds to the power of the lines. Training yourself to look for lines, and exploiting them in your photos with a wide-angle lens will help you create more dramatic images.
5. Converging verticals
In a similar way to exploiting line, you can tip your camera backwards when taking photos of buildings to utilise the effect of converging verticals to add drama and interest to the image. You can tip the camera back a little, like I’ve done here, or a lot to get a snail’s eye view and really take advantage of the effect.
6. The human element
Wide-angle lenses help you place a human element in a landscape photo. Here, the people in this seascape are small in the frame, adding a sense of scale and mystery. I asked my model to remain still throughout the 30 second exposure, so the sea and the children playing on the rocks in the distance were rendered as a blur.
7. Documentary photography
Finally, wide-angle lenses are also useful for documentary photography. I took this photo during a parade in a remote town in South America. The wide-angle lens helped me capture the scene by fitting lots into the frame. The lens was fairly small, so I was able to take photos without anybody taking any notice of me. I stopped down so accurate focusing wasn’t critical which gave me the freedom to concentrate on composition and capturing the moment.
Understanding Lenses: Part I
If you liked this article then take a look at my latest eBook, Understanding Lenses: Part I – A guide to Canon wide-angle and kit lenses. If you hurry, you’ll get a discount – scroll down for details.
In the next lesson I’m going to look at lens aberrations – what they are and how to correct them in-camera or in Raw processing.
Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.
Children are one of people’s favourite subjects to photograph, but like any subject they present their own photographic challenges. Let’s take a look at a few ways to get the best possible results with photographing children in outdoor conditions.
Why Natural Light is Best
Children, like anybody, look their best when photographed outdoors in natural light. Soft, natural light gives the face a more natural and pleasing shape, makes the skin appear softer and removes ugly harsh shadows.
Firing a flash will often make babies and younger children blink or even cry. Also, flash will generally flatten the skin and eliminate the subtle shadows that give a face depth and realism.
When looking for suitable outdoor light to take photos of children, keep in mind that the midday sun is very harsh and will cast unflattering shadows. The best times of day for outdoor portrait photography are the early morning hours and the last hour before sunset (golden hour). The sun will be low in the sky which will be very flattering to your subject, since the light will create a soft, golden glow. Find soft light coming from one side and you can hardly go wrong.
If you absolutely have to do your photo-session during the middle of the day, there are a few ways to make it work. First, do your best to stay out of areas with bright, direct sunlight. Instead, look for places with open shade to shoot in. Position the child to have open sky in front of them to properly illuminate their face. You can also use a fill flash or a portable reflector to fill in shadows that are a bit too dark.
How to Make it Fun and Spontaneous
Children have a short attention span and most of them will simply be unable to sit still for very long or follow complicated posing instructions. The environment of an indoor portrait studio can be intimidating for the child and ultimately a frustrating place for the photographer during a child photo-shoot. So a fun outdoor setting such as a park, beach, their own back-yard or a beautiful garden can instantly help put a child at ease.
Some parents will have given their child some very strict coaching prior to the photo session to be on their best behavior. While well-intentioned, this might actually backfire and cause the child to need extra time to relax and just be themselves. Stiff poses and cheesy smiles are not what you are going for, so it is imperative that the child feel relaxed and view the shoot as a fun event. Bringing treats, with the parent’s permission, can be a great way to motivate a child that is bored or frustrated with the photo-session.
An outdoor portrait session can allow you to get some great action shots such as the child joyfully running in the grass, digging in the sand at the beach, playing with a colorful toy and even with other children. In some ways, a great and spontaneous photo of a child is more of a documentary than a portrait.
Kids, like adults, are individuals and one of your goals should be to capture their uniqueness in your photographs. One way to help facilitate this is to take some time to get to know them prior to the photo-session. You will quickly learn if they are shy, outgoing, serious, studious, especially active or funny. You can then brain-storm fun ways to portray these traits in your photos.
Babies in particular can’t fake a pose or a smile, which is not what you want anyway, so simple games of peek-a-boo from behind the camera, or talking in a silly voice, will usually bring out a beaming natural smile. Keep in mind that babies are almost always at their best in the early part of the day. Fatigue at the end of a day will usually make a baby fussy. Also, if the mother feels comfortable with it, capturing a photo of a baby nursing in a beautiful outdoor setting can be especially touching.
What Are the Best Camera Settings for Photographing Children Outdoors?
In order to really draw focus to the child as your subject, it is a good idea to set your camera to aperture priority mode. A good aperture to start with is f5.6, since the background will be out-of-focus but will allow the child’s entire face to be in focus.
Generally, the lowest ISO you can get away with is going to produce the best results. In lower light situations you can go up to ISO 800 if you find that your shutter speeds are just too long. However, going over ISO 800 can start to cause a lot of digital noise in your portraits.
A fast shutter speed is essential if the child is in movement at all. If you are shooting in aperture priority mode and your shutter speeds are too long, you will have to make adjustments. A shutter speed of 1/500th or even more may be necessary to capture a sharp image. If you are having a hard time finding a good shutter speed, you can always set your camera to ‘sports mode, since this setting is designed to freeze motion.
A zoom lens in the 70-200mm range is a good all-purpose lens for shooting portraits of children. This will allow you to have some distance from the child but still fill the frame. If you’re shooting in a poorly lit area, the fastest lens you have will likely work the best.
Additional Tips and Tricks
- Always pay attention to distracting elements in the background of your shots, as well as any other unwanted details. For example, a branch that appears to be growing out of the child’s head will ruin the shot and might not be noticed until later. Also, paying attention to details will pay off later. For example, make sure that the top of the child’s head isn’t being cut-off and that their hands and feet are visible in whole-body portraits.
- The child’s clothing is an important consideration. A loud, patterned or striped shirt might distract the eye and take attention away from the subject. However, there may be times when the child’s personality can be creatively highlighted with eye-catching clothing. Whatever your ultimate creative goal, keep in mind that kids feel more relaxed in casual, comfortable clothing rather than formal wear.
- Since you will want your outdoor portraits of children to be relaxed and spontaneous, carrying around minimal gear is a good idea. Keep in mind the weight and bulk of your lenses and other camera equipment so that you can follow your subject around freely.
- Finally, always take lots and lots of pictures. If you simply wait camera-in-hand for the best moment you will likely miss it! Keep on taking lots of shots and vary angles and distance throughout the session. There will definitely be some out-of-focus or undesirable shots, but you will certainly end up with at least a few gems in the end.
Light Stalking has grown into a thriving community with close to a million people following us or seeing us online in one form or other, every month. In all of the hullabaloo, it’s easy to miss the core of what’s happening in photography on Light Stalking. So that’s why we decided to sum it up for you. Here’s what you missed recently on Light Stalking.
The Most Popular Stories from the Last 7 Days
• 5 Tips, Tricks, & Mods to Spice Up Your Lomography – Spice up your love affair with analog and improve your toy camera photography skills.
• Amazing Photographs of Tracks and Paths – Follow the great compositional tool of leading lines…or don’t!
• The Art of the Local Photo Safari – How to Find Interesting Photo Subjects When There Are None – You don’t have to travel to exotic locations to find interesting things to take photographs of. Train yourself to hunt down great photographs wherever you are.
•More Photography Links That Are Made of Win– Toad Hollow Photography’s weekly collection of great photography and interesting links .
What You Missed in the Light Stalking Community
Submit your photographs for this week’s photography challenge – Transportation. Show us your creativity with shots of trains, boats, planes, cars, buses, subway, taxis, bicycles and more. Also, check out the fantastic images from last week in Better Your Best Shot From the Last Month.
Other Weekly Photography Challenges:
View this week’s Mobile Monday Challenge.
We’d love to chat with you! Add your opinions here:
What Are Our Members Up To?
We have some amazing members here at Light Stalking that runs the gamut from career professional photographers through to beginner enthusiast. Here’s what a few of them are up to in photography.
Great Shots Uploaded to the Light Stalking Community
Photo by Richard Taylor.
If you’re not already part of the Light Stalking community then come and join the fun. We promise not to bite!
Rachael Towne is a photographer and the creator of photoluminary.com.