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Thread: Photo Tips

  1. #1
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890

    Photo Tips

    Since there's a break in the action, we'll slip this in today and tomorrow:

    I thought it might be helpful to post a few photo tips. Most of the time, we just shoot, and hope for the best. A little thought, beforehand, should help improve the quality of your photos.

    1- The Horizon Many of our beach photos involve the horizon. I see 2 major problems in many of the photos I see. The first is an angled horizon. I often find myself, when seeing an angled horizon, tilting my head, to straighten it. Second, when the image is photographed using a wide angle lens, the horizon will bow. To minimize the effect keep the horizon in the center of the image.

    2-Distance to Subject More than half the photos I see, at Art Festivals (and elsewhere) would be improved if the photographer moved closer to the subject. After setting up my camera, and focusing, I examine the edges of the image. More often than not, I end up moving closer. Sometimes it?s only a foot, or two. A small adjustment will eliminate superfluous elements, and make the image more successful.

    3-Watch the Edges of the Frame For most amateur photographers it is normal to look at the subject only, in the viewfinder. Attention to the other areas, in the photo, is extremely important. We?ve all seen outdoor portraits where a tree appears to be growing out of the subject?s head. By looking carefully, this sort of mistake can be eliminated.

    4- Sunrise & Sunset The most dramatic lighting is at Sunrise and sunset. I regularly shoot at both times, but prefer sunset. Over the years I?ve found that, at sunrise, I have about a 15 minute window of ?magic light?. At sunset, the window expands to 30-45 minutes. The extra time allows me to capture more images.

    5- Successful Portraiture It is almost always beneficial to use fill flash, when shooting portraits, in sunlight. The lighting is usually harsh, creating shadows in the face. Using fill flash will open up the shadows, creating a more pleasing portrait. I also like doing this for sunset portraits. The subject?s face will be well lit, and the sunset hues will be muted. A beautiful pastel background will result.Most cameras will allow you to override the auto setting, and use fill flash. Alternatively, try shooting the portrait in diffused light (under a tree canopy, for example). This will also tame the harsh contrast.
    For photos of children, get down to their level. It will create a more satisfying image than shooting down on them.

    6- Inclement Weather Many people don?t shoot when the sun isn?t out. For me, it?s often the best time to create images. Overcast skies will lower contrast but increase color saturation. If I get an overcast day, I usually decide to shoot plant life. I also like to shoot flora after a rain. The wet leaves, and flowers, will also saturate the colors. Beads of water, on the leaves, will act like a magnifying glass, making for interesting compositional possibilities.

    These are just a few tips which work for both digital & film. I certainly didn?t cover every possibility, but these are the basic rules I keep in mind while shooting on St Barth. If anyone has any other questions, please don?t hesitate to ask.
    www.stbartsphotos.com
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  2. #2
    andynap is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,097

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Good tips Mystery Man.


    Andy

  3. #3
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    I'm not the Mystery Man. As his whereabouts are unknown, I'm just trying to fill a void.
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  4. #4
    Midwest Mike is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Hawkeye Heaven Posts: 1,055

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    What is this so called magic light? Just prior to sunrise and shortly after sunset or some other time... just after sunrise and before sunset? Thanks....

  5. #5
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Mike- For me, the "magic light" occurs just after sunrise, and just before sunset.
    In the morning, I look for the sun as it begins to clear the horizon. For sunsets, it is the moments before the sun dips below the horizon. I want the sun to be at an extreme angle. This is when the sky is it's most colorful, due to the light rays being bent as they hit the atmosphere. My personal preference is for shooting at sunset, because the "magic light" seems to last a little longer. I think it's because, at sunset, the earth cools, and there is more moisture in the atmosphere. The moisture has a "prism" effect, and we get noticeable color changes- the pinks and violets we associate with sunset skies. At sunrise, the moisture is burned off, so the effect is of shorter duration. My explanation may be completely wrong, but it is based on lots of experience shooting at those times of the day.
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  6. #6
    JEK is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jan 2004 In the ether . . . Posts: 51,666

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Thanks for filling in during Newbie hiatus! You also made observations/suggestions/critiques on the winners of the last contest.
    The Marius 100th Birthday Party -- June 5, 2023

  7. #7
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    The photos, by Ricky and Libby, are great examples of using diffused lighting. Notice how the white flower shows detail, in Libby's image. In harsher, more contrasty light, the subtlety of the flower would have been lost.
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  8. #8
    RickyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2006 Naples, FL Posts: 2,827

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Eddie - Loved your explanation of "magic light"...sure makes sense to me. Its funny, my personal preference for shooting is the morning. Something about the warmth / gold in the light. (Plus the fact that I'm usually toasted by the time evening rolls around)
    One thing I do in the morning is turn my back to the sun. I try to
    think/remember) what photography is about....capturing light that is bouncing (reflecting) off stuff. Low, golden light can make the most mundane objects pop.
    I have 18 shooting days coming up shortly and I'm going to make a strong effort to include evenings in my schedule. It could happen.....

  9. #9
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    the "magic light" which is produced on the outer Cape is truly beyond belief.....if you walk around town around sunrise to a few hours after.....you will see dozens and dozens of artists set up and painting throughout the town as well as photographers clicking away...all trying to capture the essence of that very light on canvas or film.....eddies explanation is pretty spot on although it has a little more to do with the light being bent as the angle of the sun to the horizon changes, than humidity in the air.......some of the best colors of magic light I have ever seen occured following a cold, bone dry Canadian northwesterly front coming through
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  10. #10
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Ricky- I agree about warm morning light. I think I prefer sunset because I have time to do more. With large format, it takes a long time to set up. By the time I set swings & tilts, focus, and determine exposure, I can only get in a few exposures. I do try to set up before the light's right, but to do that in the morning, I'd be trying to focus in the dark. I always bring an alarm clock, though!
    www.stbartsphotos.com
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  11. #11
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    ...eddies explanation is pretty spot on although it has a little more to do with the light being bent as the angle of the sun to the horizon changes, than humidity in the air....
    Well, I knew it had something to do with bent light rays....
    I love the light on the Cape. Check out Joel Meyerowitz's book, "Cape Light".
    www.stbartsphotos.com
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  12. #12
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    I already own it......
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  13. #13
    JoshA is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Annapolis Posts: 4,106

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    I heard the term 'magic time' for photography applied to sunset this past weekend on CBS' "Sunday Morning" program. It was used by photographer Gregory Crewdson who stages a single photograph with a production crew similar to what Hollywood film makers use. I know eddie also takes lots of time with his photographs. Crewdson's work is on display now in NYC at the Luhring Augustine gallery until May 3.


  14. #14
    RickyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2006 Naples, FL Posts: 2,827

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Crewdson is a wildman.....I'm thinking I may upgrade to his setup.....he and the crew can stay with me....
    check it out

  15. #15
    Eddie is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2004 virginia Posts: 6,890

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    I like his work, but it does beg the question: If you don't focus the camera, set the lighting, snap the shutter, or print the negative, are you the photographer?
    www.stbartsphotos.com
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  16. #16
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    eddie just think of the amazing things you can do with all this light!!...and you got a free place to crash






    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  17. #17
    JoshA is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Annapolis Posts: 4,106

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Then again, did Michaelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel?

  18. #18
    RickyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2006 Naples, FL Posts: 2,827

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    This stanky NJ light might be workable as well....



  19. #19
    JoshA is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Annapolis Posts: 4,106

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Great sunset shots, Miker!

    Sunsets: Blue light bends more than red (you can see the spread in rainbows) and blue light scatters more (why the sky is blue).

  20. #20
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    yeah I suppose on the rare day when the ozone level is low and the wind shifts all that air pollutant and soot west to Pennsylvania...you get a good one every now and then....LOL
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  21. #21
    JoshA is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2005 Annapolis Posts: 4,106

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    A beauty!

  22. #22
    RickyG is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2006 Naples, FL Posts: 2,827

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    I like his work, but it does beg the question: If you don't focus the camera, set the lighting, snap the shutter, or print the negative, are you the photographer?
    The 50$ dollar question. Lots of painters have "assistants" who do the bulk of the painting. I inked for a pretty big guy for a bit. While I easily did most of the drawing....he was the artist for sure.

    I think if you concieve the image and manage it...you are the artist, it doesn't matter whether you tell someone to push the shutter or if you push it.

    Having said that, I think I want total control (focus the camera, set the lighting, snap the shutter, post processing) for my images.

    If I had all the stuff that Eddie has to lug around and set up....I'd probably have to get some talented college girls to snap the shutter.......

  23. #23
    Voosh is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2007 Detroit Posts: 13,112

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Nice. But, C'mon up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and sit around on the beach and watch the lights, Northern Lights that is. Lake Superior always. Lake Michigan can be surprising too.

    I'm sure Petri can beat those views, but, hey, I'm just a Michigan boy.
    Yeah, Yeah - IMHO

  24. #24
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Nice. But, C'mon up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and sit around on the beach and watch the lights, Northern Lights that is. Lake Superior always. Lake Michigan can be surprising too.

    I'm sure Petri can beat those views, but, hey, I'm just a Michigan boy.
    You get northern lights "down" there? Up in the northern part of the country they are pretty amazing, most people who see them for the first time just don't believe what they are (a good set at http://www.revontulitaulut.com/english/etusivu.html). Here in south we don't get many, and there's too much daytime during the summer. After the 3-month trip, the biggest suprise at home was the long days, and it's only april..

    We call them "revontuli", fire of the fox.

  25. #25
    MIke R is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2003 Stinson Lake - New Hampshire & Provincetown - Cape Cod Posts: 52,003

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Nice. But, C'mon up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and sit around on the beach and watch the lights, Northern Lights that is. Lake Superior always. Lake Michigan can be surprising too.

    I'm sure Petri can beat those views, but, hey, I'm just a Michigan boy.
    we get northern lights up here in New Hampshire, not often but it happens from time to time, and the best northern lights I ever saw were actually in Colorado above 10 thousand feet....also the sunrises and sussets above 10 thousand feet can, at times, make everything we see st sea level look pale and washed out
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace" Jimi Hendrix

  26. #26
    Voosh is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2007 Detroit Posts: 13,112

    Re: Newbie info- photo tips

    Amazing, but we do get some spectacular "revontuli" on Lake Superior (some of the best I've seen were in November) and the biggest surprise were the incredible light shows on Lake Michigan (around Sleeping Bear Dunes) in August. Wish I knew how to do night photos, then I could share.
    Yeah, Yeah - IMHO

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