Tag Archives: photography

The Power Of Being Creative.

Today started a little cold and slow. At 4 degrees, not even my Husky mix dog wanted to venture out much.

Dog looking out the door at snow.
Hunter peeking out at the 10 degree snowy day.

I ventured out and scraped the windows while my junk Dodge warmed up.

Scraping the ice from the car window.
Scraping the windows this morning.

I am trying to write more. There’s only one way to get better at it and that is practice. Even on a cold, mundane winter day. Sometimes I think about how I wish I was more creative, but then I consider the competition. What they’re up to is awful.

I watched a horrible movie not long ago. I won’t name it to give it one bit of publicity. It was popular and mainstream.

A tired plot of a troubled young person who is selected by military, law enforcement group, super-hero, etc. who makes them into a hero who does wonderful things. This movie made fun of itself for picking up on a tired plot.

Hollywood throws in making fun of the disabled, promoting every bit of the Liberal agenda you could shove in a movie, demonizing Christians, and  killing a church full of people. At the end, the hero received anal sex from royalty for a reward. I am serious.

This is mainstream now. This is what everyday people watch. It’s not creative and it’s subversive to a healthy culture.

So how does creativity fit in here? If you are a creative person, you don’t have time for this stuff. It is the first full movie I’ve watched in many years. I was happy to see that independent creative people have a good chance at success. Their competition from Hollywood is dead.

Write about your mundane life. It’s exercise for other works. You start to realize if you’re out of material to write about, you need to change this by doing something worthy of a story. Share it too! It’s more interesting than the fakery major media outlets are producing. Take the photos. Make the YouTube videos. There is a  chance you can come up with a content that’s better than these few media giants. Royalty giving out anal sex favors as a prize? That’s what they’re coming up with. Just about anything is much better than that.

We have all the tools. Just quit feeding your mind garbage and start creating something. If nothing else, it keeps you busy and removes the power they have over you when they get your attention.

Balloon Chasing From A Year Ago

Facebook has it’s good and bad. Far, far more bad than good, but occasionally it’s useful. It reminded me that a year ago I was chasing balloons and took some cool photos of what happened.It also reminded me that I had intended to put it in my blog, but never did. I only posted it to Facebook. That made my story their story. I don’t like that.

So what happened that day? Tami and I were on our way home from The Shelby Mall. We were close to Mansfield when I noted this beautiful hot air balloon. I wanted photos of it, so we started following it.

Rainbow colored hot air balloon flying.
A hot air balloon spotted over Richland County in Ohio.

I didn’t want just any photos, I wanted a photo of a hot air balloon with a farm or any other part of the landscape. I got the shot!

Hot air balloon flying over a farm.
Hot air balloon over a Richland County, Ohio farm.

After I got the shot and we were thinking about heading home, it looked like the balloon was out of control. It would start going down for a landing, then taking off again. It did this quite a few times until it looked like an attempt had ended in disaster.

Another car had been following it too and thought they had witnessed a crash into the woodline too. Myself and a faster, younger passenger of that vehicle ran through the woods. I was afraid of what I might find. A few times, I had to stop to catch my breath.

Once I reached the “crash” site, we realized that it was a baby soft landing in a field just beyond the woodline I had ran through. I was so relieved. It was actually a celebration with champagne and all. Their chase vehicle was there too. The farmer who owned the land gave them permission and drank champagne with the young couple and pilot.

Hot air balloons.
Happy landing of a hot air balloon.

I learned a few things that day.

  1. I smoked to much and I was to fat to run like that. Since then, I’ve quit smoking. The fat problem is next.
  2. Canon SX50 cameras(and other superzoom cameras) are great. I was able to get the zoom shot, the farm shot, then make the run through the woods and get the final celebratory landing with 1 camera.
  3. Hot air balloons are at the mercy of the wind and landowners. If the farmer had decided that he didn’t want the balloon to land, they would have been forced to take off again and try a landing elsewhere.

What I’ve learned today is that I shouldn’t be lazy and post things I intend to write about on my Facebook page. I own this site. This will be around. Who knows what Facebook will do with it?

Light Underground

Light in an underground parking garage.
Light in an underground parking garage.

The patterns of light coming through the opening in an underground parking garage stunned me with the pattern. It’s like finding an unexpected treasure when you find interesting light in unexpected and mundane places.

I’ve learned that black and white is a great way to represent these types of photos where patterns and textures are an important part of the composition. It brings them out. The problem is that I cannot get black and white printed.  At least, I cannot get black and white printed easily and affordably. If I can’t do that, it doesn’t fit in well with my enjoyment of photography.

I am using this one to try out some other techniques that include color, but to a lesser degree.

Convergence

One of the joys of photography is that you notice the world around you in a different way. You see details you never noticed before. You anticipate things happening before they do. This week, I came up with a few photos of things I noticed converging.

The first I found humor in.

Factory smoke makes a clock appear to be on fire.
Burning time.

The factory smoke about a 1/2 mile away makes the clock appear to be smoking. Photos like this are one of the reasons I carry a superzoom camera. Cameras like the Canon SX50 are a budget solution for massive and expensive telephoto lenses for my DSLR.

The next is the convergence of transportation and communication.

Trucks, cars, rail, airplanes, cell phones, and telephones converge.
Transportation and communication converge.

Foot tracks, rail tracks, trucks, cars, aging telephone poles, a cell phone tower, and a jet’s contrail cloud converge into one busy photographic scene.

The easy winter weather we were having in Ohio turned very cold this week. That cold made me slow down a little as I went out looking for scenes like these.

Color – Grab It When You See It

Sometimes, color really makes the photo. A lacking composition or lack of subject can be compensated for if the colors are right. Colors can tell the story.

I do favor black and white often because it brings out tones and shapes. Sometimes, this helps me tell the story. Emotion, more definition of the subject, lighting, and mood can all be shown well in black and white. Colors mean things too. Red can mean sexy, bold, and exciting. Pink can be a calming factor. Green can mean envy. These rules are not set in stone, but say for example you see a photo of a little girl in a pink dress holding a basket. That makes you think of Easter Sunday right away.

In this photo I’m trying to tell the story of a patriot with the dream of running a little store. The owner is an immigrant and he’s gone all out with the patriotic theme for his store. Color is exploding. The owner was excited about his store and the colors show it. The ladder shows that his work is in progress.

American Dream General Store
American Dreams. The colors of the store tell of the owners excitement to be in America owning a business.

If something screams to your eyes like this store did to mine, snap a shot of it. Take some time to work the shot. When there is so much to look at, somebody put work into the scene and there’s a story in that photo.

What Camera Mode? Aperture Priority, Manual, Shutter Priority, Or Auto

The choice of what mode to put the camera in is one of many debates among pros. I have discovered that each mode has it’s purpose when you consider the pluses and minuses. The only hard and fast rule I have found is that if you’re not getting the results you want, trying another mode could solve your problems.

First to consider is your knowledge of photographic principles. They’re not that hard to learn, but hard to put into actual practice. To get out of auto, you need to understand –

  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO

Learn how these work together to get an exposure.

Here is how I use the different settings with my basic knowledge of exposure.

Automatic or “P”

Pros will tell you that a real photographer is never in this mode. They’re wrong. Some photographers actually pride themselves on never using anything other that auto-mode on their cameras. They know the limitations and they don’t care. Journalistic and street photographers are keen to it because they can free their minds from worrying about their equipment and focus their efforts on the photos that they’re trying to take.
Myself, this is where I try to leave the camera set when I turn it off. If I want the camera working fast for that split second shot, auto-mode is my best chance. I enjoy stream-of-consciousness photography where I just shoot things as they come to me and auto-mode allows me to be ready for that.
They downside to auto is that it’s just a computer following an algorithm in an attempt to create a good photo. There are some situations that are just impossible for the camera’s computer to figure out. They can’t tell when you want a silhouette. Another example would be that they cannot focus where there is not a good contrasting line to focus on. There most certainly are limitations and you will find them in your work.
If auto works for you, use it. Camera manufacturers keep improving auto-mode and scene modes and certainly do free the photographers mind.

Aperture Priority  And Shutter Priority Mode

I learned on an aperture priority mode Minolta 35mm camera many years ago. In those days, that was all that this particular Minolta camera had. I tend to favor this mode of shooting. Aperture priority allows the photographer to control how much of the photo is in focus. It’s an easy artistic effect where focus can be on or off of a subject.Aperture mode will attempt to put the shutter speed at an appropriate match to the shutter speed. I know that I need a fast shutter speed to freeze motion and reduce blur, so in aperture mode, I increase the size of the aperture to let in more light. This allows for faster shutter speeds which accomplishes the task. Conversely, if I want more of the photo in focus, I know that in care reduce the aperture size which will lower the shutter speed. If I slow the shutter to much, I know it will blur movement.
Learning the limits of your camera and lens are a must for aperture and shutter priority modes. Knowing the effect of the settings help you choose the correct settings for these modes. The more you practice with these modes, the easier and faster you can make the correct settings for your desired outcome.I frequently use these modes when I have enough time to contemplate what I want the outcome of the photo to be. I am skilled enough to use them in a hurry when the light conditions are not complicated. Landscape, stage events, family gatherings, etc. are examples when I have the extra time to consider these settings.

Manual Mode

In the other modes, the photographer relies on the metering and computer sensor of the camera to choose the setting. For perfect photos, many times the camera just isn’t good enough and I can manually choose each of the settings for exactly what I want. It takes practice and I still have to “chimp” and look at the live view screen to judge my output. Pros generally claim better results and site their extensive experience.

I shy away from anyone telling me that all manual, all of the time is the only way to take great photos. Using it all of the time can certainly reduce the number of chances you have to capture the moments and that takes way from enjoying the craft of photography. On the other side of that coin, producing perfect images because you knew exactly what the settings should be for the desired effect produces results and gives a sense of pride. If you never reach the point of all manual, all-of the-time, don’t let it bother you.

Weigh The Benefits Of The Modes

Consider the benefits(and downfalls) of the modes you’re using. Auto is going to give you more photos of lesser quality than learning to choose a setting and get precision in the other modes. Aperture and shutter priority have their uses and the photographer will have an increased number of correct exposures when they learn to use these modes with skill and purposeful intent. Manual will produce the exact exposure that the photographer wants, but it’s time consuming to use and it takes knowledged and a bit of intuition to get the best setting.
Above all practice with the different modes frequently until you know what is possible with camera. The more you practice, the more you’ll understand the results, and the less you’ll care what the “pros” think.

 

Get Prints Of Your Photos And Use Printing As An Editing Filter

We all have to many photos not worth printing and not enough prints. With digital storage being cheaper than ever and printing being more expensive than ever, it’s easy to just leave them on the computer. The problem with this is that there digital images just don’t have the impact or bring the enjoyment that a printed photo does. Digital images tend to collect and it’s difficult to find the real standouts in the digital pile.

I read some advice to use printing as an editing tool when deciding to keep your photos. If you’re willing to pay for the print of a photo, it’s probably worth keeping and posting. If not, consider deleting it. If you start printing some of your photos, you’ll get a better eye for what is worth printing too.

With a recent order, I decided to try out some of the different styles of print. I did the standards of matte and glossy, but the new metallic finish, I’d never seen before. I chose a photo of motorcycles at a show and the metallic finish was great for this. Now I’ll be on the lookout for photos that will look good printed with a metallic finish.

I don’t print my own. I work with computers and printers all day and the last thing I want to do when I’m having fun is work with printers. They’re frustrating and the ink cartridges are expensive. I pay a service to print mine. Let the pros that work with printers and images all day long worry about getting the best quality print. I’d rather concentrate on my photos.

I really enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for the prints too. It reminds me of the days of waiting for film to get back from the lab.

Spring Is Here And I’m Ready For More Photography.

I tried to brave the cold this winter and work on my photography hobby regardless of the weather, but Winter just sucks after a while. If I’m not enjoying it, why do it? I managed some, but the majority of my time for photography was spent learning more about the craft through books, websites, and tutorials.

I’m hooked on trying street photography now. There’s disputable definitions for what street photography is, so in my opinion, it’s whatever I want it to be. The description for me is wandering around and taking photos of whatever is interesting. I like the definition of “people on the street in that are not posed”. I think that is more of a style though than an entire genre of photography and I’m not ready to intrude into people’s lives like that yet. If I were taking photos like that, I’d want them to be good enough for people to appreciate my intrusion. I would like to change my outlook by improving my skills to that level though.

As I work towards photos of people on the streets, I’m starting where the people are not identifiable or those that probably wouldn’t mind. This lady was walking around taking photos of others and scenes and she was attractive with bright green hair. I don’t think she was to shy for a photo.

Lady with bright green hair.
A lady with green hair.

This gentleman was walking in Newark, Ohio on a sunny Spring day with an umbrella. Springtime in Ohio calls for carrying rain gear all of the time, because you never really know when you’ll need it. I noticed the shapes of the windows in the brick wall and was waiting for anyone to wonder into the scene to make it more interesting. 

Man walking in sunshine with umbrella.
Man walking with umbrella.

This photo is through a railroad bridge. Men working and a person walking in deep thought drew my interest and the bridge made a natural frame for the scene.

Men working and a person walking in thought.
A scene of life in progress as viewed from under a railroad bridge.