After a close encounter with the grim reaper, I’m back with more photo tips, links to my favorite photo-tip sites, favorite quotations often related to photography, and technology photo news.
Choose a Theme, any Theme
Photographers who pick a theme are most successful, like Dorothea Lange who documented poverty in the U.S. during the depression years. The theme can be anything you want. (Right now, the most popular online themes are cats and pretty women.)
“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion…….It must be something you truly love or truly hate.” Dorothea Lange
If you like landscape photography, now is a good time to choose an Autumn theme
Poem: Across the Bank
“Across the bank, maples have spread silken cloth.
The leaves are busy sprinkling autumn into the yard
A wild goose screams onto the edge of the sky.
The night chums up a longing for home.” Hamwol (1691-1770)
Smartphone technology has created more than a billion new photographers. With a camera always at hand, (the best camera is the one you have with you), this highly democratic development has increased the possibility of everyone capturing “stunning” images. Not everyone is happy about the democratization of photography. After all, it took more than a hundred years to elevate it to an art form. Photographers complained when Kodak put a camera in almost every American home in the 1940’s. I had a photography professor who complained that David Hockney had ruined it for photographers by taking snapshots for his collages like the one below (Pear Blossom Highway) and developing them at local one hour photo shops instead of in a darkroom.
Professional photographers admit that chance is often an element in great photographs. So with a camera always with you, you’re posed to capture “decisive moments” that make great photography. It is just an opportunity, however, and not a substitute for intentional study and honing of the craft.
Conserve your Energy for What Time is Left and Follow these Tips
It’s better to know what you can’t do than what you can do. Don’t attempt the impossible.
Gravity isn’t easy, but it’s the law. Don’t hang from cliffs or tree branches trying to get a shot. Leave “extreme” photography to the young. If you must try out action video/photography, strap a GoPro Camera to your head before you go out for your morning stroll or find a quiet lake to Kayak or canoe and record your trip.
Don’t hand hold your camera while driving. Your children might report you to the authorities or worse.
When I die, I want to die like my grandmother who died peacefully in her sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in her car.
Festivals and Rock Concerts are way Too Noisy and Exciting so look for Quieter Scenes. Park yourself beside waters that can be stilled with a fast shutter speed of 1/120 second or higher. Or create a running water effect while relaxing beside a rushing stream, a waterfall or ocean waves. Set your shutter speed between 1/30 sec. and 1 second.
Even Flowers can be Too Lively. Don’t bother with flower photographs on a windy day unless you’ve set up a windbreak or have an assistant to hold them still. Instead, head for the nearest park bench and wait it out or change the subject to stationary objects such as walls and buildings. If you must photograph those gorgeous flowers in the wind, use a fast shutter speed of 1/250 second or higher. I like backlit flowers where the sunshine comes through the petals from behind.
“The trouble with Dawn is that it Comes Too Early in the Day.” Susan Richman If you’re not a morning person, forget the “Golden Light” at dawn and catch it at sunset.
For the most part “Keep your face in the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.” Walt Whitman