Ten Myths About Nature Photographers
For Part 2 click on "Next post" at top right of the page.
What do you think?
I came across this interesting opinion piece. Worth a read!
Ten Myths About Nature Photographers
For Part 2 click on "Next post" at top right of the page.
What do you think?
A few interesting things have been posted on the web recently. I thought they were worthy of being shared.
This one is an excellent description of critiquing photos.
Check to see if you have any of these bad habits.
This is a great video that takes you into a traditional dark room and shows you how the old-fashioned processing techniques that predate Photoshop were done; dodging, burning, feathering, etc.
From one of the masters of Lightroom, Scott Kelby, comes "10 Things I Would Tell a New Lightroom User"
Here's the link to #10 but at the bottom are links to all the previous tips.
I follow Mollie Isaacs' blog via email. I highly recommend it. Email postings talk about individual images or occasionally include the newsletter. Image capture, composition and processing tips are detailed and very helpful. You can sign up here http://awakethelight.blogspot.com
Top 10 Pro Photo Tips
There are many tricks of the trade when it comes to creating better photographs. I subscribe to the KISS Principle - Keep It So Simple. Using working methods that are consistent and uncomplicated will go a long way toward improving your final results. The first 5 tips listed are technical, and the last 5 are esthetic.
1. White Balance - ALWAYS leave your camera set on Auto White Balance. It works well nearly all the time, AND it avoids the problem of forgetting to change the setting when the lighting situation changes. The rare off-color image is easy to fix with image optimization software like Lightroom.
2. Deleting Images - NEVER Delete or Trash images from your memory card when you are out shooting. Instead, leave everything you've shot on the card, download all images onto your computer when you return home, and then delete the images you wish to discard from the computer. When you are ready to go out shooting again, format the memory card in your camera. That will clear all images from the card. Why this method? Memory cards are designed to be a one-way street. Images enter the card and are then processed. When you use your camera to delete or trash an image, you are asking the card to essentially go "in reverse" which can damage the card's functions over time.
3. Cable Release Substitute - To minimize camera vibration when shooting long exposures on a tripod, use your camera's 2-second delay shutter function if you don't have a cable release or remote shutter trigger. The delay will allow the camera to settle down after you have pressed the Shutter Button.
4. Back Button Focus - Without question, this is the most foolproof way to get sharp images AND improve battery life. Most cameras have a Custom Function setting allowing you to remove the autofocus function from the Shutter Button and move it to a button on the back of the camera.
5. Camera View Screen - Don't be fooled into thinking that if an image looks good on the view screen, the exposure is adequate. Only the Histogram can give you that information. The view screen can be lightened or darkened for ease of viewing and is not an indication of proper exposure.
6. Look For The Light - Train yourself to see the quality of light and its direction. Learn to recognize hard light with strong shadows, and soft light with gentle gradations. Determine where the light is coming from - front, side, or back. The more you know, the better your pictures will be.
7. Sunrise / Sunset - For beautiful, rich sky colors, the best time to shoot is when the sun is below the horizon, usually 20 to 30 minutes before sunrise or after sunset. Arrive early and stay late to watch the sky change minute by minute, and shoot all the changes.
8. Be A Stalker - When you can, walk all around the subject to find the best light direction and the best shooting angles. Try different lighting directions, and use a combination of high angles and low ones. Often you won't know what will work best until you view it on your computer screen at the end of the day, so shoot all you can.
9. Walk To Your Own Beat - Try to tap into your own creativity, rather than copying what you have seen others do. Find what moves you, photograph what excites you. While there will be many rejects, know that all pros reject a majority of what they shoot. So don't expect each image to be a winner. But rejoice in the ones that sing.
10. Travel Light - Nothing kills the creative spark more than struggling with heavy and unwieldy camera gear. Try not to carry every lens and accessory you own when you are out shooting. Carry only what you need for the outing in a camera bag or backpack that you can access easily, and that is not too heavy. You want to be free to create, and not be struggling with a huge bag and an overabundance of gear.
We had the opportunity to have Jesse Thompson of Milford Photo for a return engagement on April 15th this year to talk about Portrait Lighting. We took him up on the offer. There's a rumor that this may be a workshop with a live model. More info on that as it comes to me.
This will replace the Painting with Light talk/workshop originally scheduled for this date.
Please make this change on your schedule.
I want you all to be aware that CCC gets a complimentary registration to the annual New England Camera Club Council conference each year. We may choose one CCC member who has never attended the conference to get free registration. This year the conference will be held July 17-19. It is always at UMass in Amherst. The latest details can be found here http://www.neccc.org/p/2015-conf.html
This is the 70th anniversary of the conference. Highlights include speakers Tony Sweet and Lindsey Adler.
All eligible CCC members who would like to be considered for the free registration (worth $187) should contact me. A name will be drawn at random from the pool of interested members. I would like to do this before March so please submit your name ASAP.
Registration does not include your room and board. Two nights in an AC suite (4 private bedrooms/suite) and meals (dinner Fri., 3 meals Sat. and breakfast and lunch Sun.) typically runs about the same cost as registration.
The 2015 conference is not fully put together yet but you can get an idea of what it may include if you look at the posting for the 2014 conference on the NECCC web site (There's a tab at the top).
The conference is well worth your time.
Thanks to all the members who braved the cold last night for the Hi-Jinx meeting. It was a great opportunity to interact with other members and help each other. I think everyone had a good time and maybe even learned something. We'll be asking for a few of your best shots to show at a future meeting. Special thanks go to those who created the set-ups and especially to Archie for his well written "lesson plans" on exposure and ISO. Also thanks to Jesse Thompson from Milford Photo http://milfordphoto.com/website/publish/home/homeList.php for the loan of some very nice professional lights.
And thanks to those who stayed to help us break down the set-ups and load them back in our cars.
These hands-on type meetings are quite a bit of work to put on. If you want more of this type meeting please volunteer to do some of the work.
The same kinds of interactions can happen at meet ups if we get enough people involved.
Those who may still be struggling with camera settings can get some one-on-one help when Archie (and others) offers Camera Basics workshops in the Spring.
Observations and tips:
1. I am guilty of this as much as anyone. I tend to use my zoom out to its fullest focal length. If you look at the lens test data for virtually any zoom lens you will see that image quality drops sharply at maximum focal length. It's something to keep in mind. If you can, get closer to the subject rather than zoom to full length.
2. If you paid attention to the set ups you saw that most were put together from non-professional equipment like clamp-on work lights and sheets or tablecloths or poster board backgrounds, cardboard stands for school presentations, a tripod as a light support and even a music stand for a light support. So you can put together these type of set-ups at home. Consider doing your own set up this winter when it's just too cold to get out and shoot. Also, window light is wonderful to use instead of artificial. You might need to soften it with a sheer curtain. Don't forget to try some type of reflector; foil covered cardboard, a shiny pot lid, a pie pan, white poster board or a purchased reflector (small ones are about $10 I think).
3. When working with black backgrounds you would be wise to set up your scene with the background as far as possible from your subject and at an angle where the light doesn't shine on it. You'll get far better deep blacks.
4. Likewise, when working with a white background, besides light on your subject, you should try to have a strong light hitting the background to blow it out. And the further away the background is, the less likely you'll see any wrinkles or textures if you use only a small enough aperture to keep the subject sharp throughout.
5. Besides using your manual and the help of fellow members, there are books devoted to all the different camera models. They generally go into much more depth on all the functions and features and settings available on your model. If your camera manual leaves you still puzzled, consider getting one of these.
Our first competition night for the new year is January 21st. I thought I’d share with you how I make choices to submit.
With over 10,000 image files from 2014 alone (doesn’t count hundreds that were discarded! More need to GO!), I couldn’t possibly go through them all in the next 2 weeks. The decision process begins back when I upload files to my computer. As I edit and cull the bad ones I also mark the ones I like. I concentrate on these first; I edit them and I give them a rating. One of the best features of Adobe Lightroom, is the ease of assigning a rating. You can set it up any way you like; 1-5 stars, one of five colors, or simply flag it. A good rating doesn’t necessarily make it a competition worthy image. It just means I like the shot and think it might have potential. So over the year or so, I have quite a number of “good” images (roughly 2%). I’ve set up a Smart Collection in Lightroom that automatically compiles all the “good” images into a virtual folder. When competition time comes around I go to that folder to look for some to submit. I run through them looking for impact: clear subjects on uncluttered backgrounds, eye-catching color, unique subjects, eye-catching compositions or points of view. Now I look more closely. How’s the focus? How’s the histogram look? What might the judges pick on? Does it make a statement; is there an emotion conveyed; will it draw the viewer’s attention? Because they were taken maybe several months ago, I’m more emotionally distant from them now and can view them with fresh, critical eyes. I decide on a few. I come back another day to look again. With trepidation I make final decisions. Sometimes the judges agree and sometimes they don’t.
Another factor to consider is whether an image will be better as a print or projected. Will a print be good for club exhibits, fitting one of the categories? I try to imagine it blown up on the screen. Will that enhance the impact or emphasize minor flaws? Does it have general interest as fine art? I use these criteria to decide what to print and what to submit for digital projection.
Bravo to all who submitted their work for this exhibit! And congratulations to the ribbon winners! I've been told that the judges thought our work has improved significantly in the last 5 years. I'm sure the judges had a difficult time since I saw many images worthy of an award but didn't get one. With a different set of judges in the Spring at Gladeview they may rise to the top so feel free to resubmit your work then [as long as it hasn't been seen at Gladeview before].
The judges also said that the exhibit layout was impressive. We are fortunate to have had Allison's artistic eye directing the installation. Thanks go to Dave, Nick, Deanna and Robert for assisting with the hanging with additional help from Archie, Laima, and Julianne. Well done!
If you have not looked at the work yet, please, please get to the library to see what your fellow members are doing. The images are inspirational. And you have the added bonus of being able to talk to the makers about where/why/how they made their images. One of the great things about being in a camera club is that we can share our work and our knowledge.
Next up is our Portfolios Exhibit at Connecticut Hospice. It's a great opportunity to show us what you are passionate about because you choose the topic for your own display. Hanging is January 17th so now is the time to start thinking about what you will submit.
Member Sally Perreten shared this with us. Worth visiting, particularly if you felt discouraged with the results of judging at our Scranton Library exhibit.
I am extremely pleased to report that CCC members had 6 images accepted into the OSI! Congratulations go out to Deanna Broderick, 2 images accepted; John Paton, 2 images; Kerry McCarthy, 1 and Len Farrell, 1! We had 11 participants (43 entries). Several members missed acceptances by only 1 point! Our overall club score was respectable too considering this is our first crack at this competition. A slide show of the award winners and all the accepted images is forthcoming and I hope we'll all get a chance to view it later in the club year. One of the best ways to learn is by example! I also hope more members will enter the next time around. Bravo Deanna, John, Kerry and Len for your accomplishment!
President, Coastal Camera Club