Monday, June 10, 2013

Spring Flowers

Finally the weather is nice.  It is Spring.  And with Spring comes flowers...

Late this afternoon my camera and I went out looking for flowers...

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Composition!  The photographers' bane.  How we all struggle with composition.  Fear not.  Once you know what composition is, it isn't hard to understand at all.

Say you want to make a photograph of something, anything... you have an idea for a picture you want to make.  That is, you have a concept.  Composition will be those tools you use to bring that photograph, as you pre-conceive it, or in other words, as you see it in your mind's eye, into being.

Subject placement, its size and relation to its surroundings

These are some of the tools, off the top of my head, that you need to use to bring your picture idea(s) into being.

What kind of light?  Bright light with plenty of shadows, subdued light without any discernible shadows.  Well that depends upon the effect you want.

Colours?  Bright or subdued?  Maybe black and white, or toned sepia.  Again it depends on what you want your picture to portray.

You get the idea.  And how you learn to use these tools is by using these tools.  There is a saying about writers who want to get better as writers:  They write, and write and then they write some more.  This way they will learn how to use their compositional tools:  Verbs, adjectives, nouns, etc.

Lines, shapes, textures... these are the compositional tools (and a few more) that I was given to understand to be those used to make photographs.  Yes, indeed each of those elements are within the picture, and there are more.  But I believe the list of light, colour, focus and subject is the compositional elements out of which the others are built upon.

Taking pictures, lots of pictures, you writer with light, will help you understand better how to use compositional tools in your pictures.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I'm attracted to you... why??

Sometimes a subject speaks to me and says:  Photograph me.  And so I do.

The subject is very beautiful.  But the pictures are less than what I thought they could be.


I forgot to photograph what drew me to the subject initially... It is as simple as that...

For example, recently I was photographing a white lily given to me by friends...

This picture is okay, but it does not show what I initially saw.  I tried remembering what is was that caused me to jump up and get my camera.

Ah yes!  It was the light shining through the window and illuminating the lily's flutes.  There were so many different shades of white...

This light was what attracted me.  I shot a few more frames... and voilĂ ...

Sometimes when I am having difficulty capturing 'that' picture, I must remember what attracted me to the subject initially...

I find that this is very helpful...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Backgrounds can make or break your photos.

Spent the day taking pictures?  Got them onto the computer?  Looked at them?  And then looked again?  Disappointed with the results?  The subject was interesting, but these pictures are not interesting at all.  Okay what went wrong?


And after it was straightened and cropped.
This is closer to the picture I had originally been looking at.  Some of the distractions were cut away. Some of the background was cut away.  Using an editing program is one way to control a picture's overall look.

Though it is still not a great picture, it is a better picture, but the best picture would have been the one snapped omitting the distracting background altogether.

Only Rule:  Take the time to: Be aware of what you see through the view finder.

I remember taking that picture.  I was standing on the east side of Main Street.  There was no traffic coming from either direction, but I knew that was soon to change.  Quickly I aimed my camera at the sign, focused and snapped.  I was in such a hurry that, with this picture, I did not take enough time to check the whole scene through my view finder.  I saw the sign, and that was all I saw.

When you look at your pictures what do you notice about their backgrounds?  Clutter?  Distraction? Do the backgrounds add to the pictures?  Do they take something away?  Are the backgrounds interesting, boring, or simply too busy?

You are telling a story with your pictures.  Helping you is the background.

Backgrounds can make a picture pop.  They add context.  (Are you at the beach or sledding down Garbage Hill?)   Backgrounds are compositional aids, adding interest and thereby strengthening the picture overall.  They add perspective. (I'll talk more about perspective in a much later post... it is a big topic, IMHO - lol...)

The subject, usually, is the most important part of a picture.

Look through the viewfinder at the subject.  Now, look at what else is there.  Wires?  Half a car?  Trees growing where no tree should?  What can you do?  Taking a couple of steps in any direction will change your view point.  This may have fixed the problem.

Look through the view finder again.  If you notice that there still are background distractions?  Come closer to your subject.  Look through the view finder.  Better?  Come a little closer... don't be afraid to fill the viewfinder with your subject.  Even if there still are wires or poles or tree branches these won't be so distracting in your picture.

Have the background contrasting with the subject:

In the above picture, notice how the flower is almost indistinguishable from the background.

If you can, blur the background.  This works very well for photographs taken of smaller objects, such as flowers.

These are just some of the ways to tame the background in your pictures.

Remember that the background adds to the picture's subject, it should not overpower it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Do You Love Taking Pictures of Cars?

Taking snaps of cars isn't difficult.  It is taking photographs of cars that is difficult.

How does one get photos, not just snaps.  From the book, The Photographic Eye by O'Brien and Sibley:
"A photographer's job is to make an interesting photograph of an interesting subject..."

Explaining how to do this will be one of this blog's focuses (excuse the pun).

Within this blog I want to show how to get photographs.  As a by-product, I hope to explore and show what photography is.  Quoting from:  An Introduction to Photography by Rhode and McCall:
"(photography is the) translation of an individual's way of seeing." 

Here I've posted a few pictures of cars and a duck taken last October in Roland, Manitoba during its Pumpkin Festival:

This is a duck (in case you didn't know, LOL). 

Are any of these photographs?

What I will be doing in this blog is sharing things I've learned about photography.