When photographing subjects like wildlife or children -- where expressions and body language can change in a heartbest -- don't take your eye away from the viewfinder. That's the expert advice of BetterPhoto pro instructor Jim Zuckerman.
Q: I notice in your discussions of workflow that you mention only sRGB and AdobeRGB. Why don’t you include ProPhoto?
A: I think my real answer is that I prefer not to discuss ProPhoto or leave it on anyone’s plate for consideration. That may seem harsh, but it is close to the mark, and a completely different stance than most experts. Why? I have some good reasons. I don’t think it is totally implausible, I just think it is ill-advised. ... Read more of Richard's enlightening article here...
Editor's Note: Digital imaging specialist Richard Lynch teaches two terrific interactive online courses here at BetterPhoto:
Recently, says BetterPhoto instructor Rob Sheppard, a student asked "some questions that really asked more than they seemed on the surface. They bring up some important ways of looking at photography and image processing today, so I decided to include them and my answers here. There are no simple yes or no answers to any of these questions."
Read more in Rob's excellent Nature and Photography blog:
When you want to take in more of a scene than would be possible with a normal (50mm equivalent) focal length, you’ll want to use a wide-angle lens. A wide-angle focal length – about 12mm to 25mm on digital SLRs with a “crop” factor – will reduce the apparent size of your subject, allowing you to take in more of your surroundings. As opposed to telephoto lenses that produce shallow depth of field, wide-angle focal lengths tend to yield great depth of field.
Wide-angle lenses also alter the perspective of a scene, and can cause some distortion. Vertical lines will converge toward the top of an image if the lens is pointed up, for example. You can control this by keeping the camera level. But sometimes the distorting effects of a wide-angle lens of a wide-angle lens can be interesting and dramatic.
Wide-Angle Perspective in Las Vegas. (c) Lynne Eodice
I recently photographed The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada. (See photo above.) This truly unique research center was designed in a deconstructivism style by architect Frank Gehry, and looks like a structure that was crumpled by giant hands.
I wanted to exaggerate the already distorted aspects of this building against a sky with interesting clouds, so I used my Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM lens with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II (a full-frame DSLR). This wide-angle lens enabled me to encompass more of the building and sky, especially when I pointed my camera up at the structure from a low angle. I used an aperture setting of f/8 in the Av mode, which gave me great depth of field.
Lynne Eodice teaches four excellent interactive online courses at BetterPhoto.com:
During a trip along the Oregon Coast, I found an amazing metal fish sculpture along Siletz Bay in Lincoln City. As the BEFORE image shows, it was an overcast day with the diffused sun at my back, and the resulting photo is pretty much a here's-what-I-saw snapshot. But I envisioned more of an artsy look from backlighting (facing toward the setting sun).
I returned on a clear-sky day, right before sunset, for a silhouette scene that emphasizes the strong fish shapes (see AFTER image). A very small aperture (f/22) - along with the sun just peeking out from behind the sculpture - created the sunstar effect. I also deliberately included a slice of the background (water, fisherman, etc.) in order to achieve a "sense of place."
And, of course, I used a tripod for getting a crisply sharp image and for composing the picture just the way I wanted it ... important since I don't post-crop.
BEFORE - frontlight on an overcast day.
AFTER - backlight on clear day at sunset. f/22 @ 1/30 second; ISO 100; 50mm lens. (c) Kerry Drager
Fall is right around the corner, and for color photographers, this is like, the super bowl of color. Although there is great fall color in many places: Colorado, Nova Scotia, Alaska, Utah, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, et al., the Northeast from the Poconos, to New Hampshire, to Connecticut, to Maine, are the most renowned. This is because of the color palette from deep red to gold, and also for the eye-popping reflections in streams and rivers.
My favorite fall color location is New Hampshire, but it can vary greatly depending on all of the variables.
In the wash of color that is a good fall season, how do you get the greatest color impact? It’s easy to find a patch of color and fill the frame, and can work well, but I look for primary colors, as exemplified in the above image. All 3 primary colors are here (Red, Blue, Yellow). There are also patches of orange reflection, which complement the blue reflection, creating a strong color palette, but not distracting the eye from the deep red leaf.
In general, I always look for red in nature (and everywhere else, really), as it is the most sensitive color in the digital spectrum and has the most “pop.”
Basically, look for red or a warm tonality and build around it! Below are a few more examples of color mixing for visual impact.
(c) Tony Sweet
(c) Tony Sweet
(c) Tony Sweet
Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!
There's an old "law" in photography that goes something like this: A photo rarely falls short because the subject isn't GOOD enough. More likely, the picture falls short because the subject isn't CLOSE enough. In his new BetterPhoto article, Kerry Drager offers a good shooting "workflow":
Once he gets interested in something, says BetterPhoto instructor Rob Sheppard, "I can't let it go. Right now, this happens to be Micro Four Thirds cameras. They seem to offer some things I am not getting in my present gear."
Read Rob's thoughts on Micro Four Thirds cameras in his Nature and Photography blog: