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(c) Tony Sweet
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.
Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!
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This image started with a long exposure to create mirror perfect stillness in the water. The sky was nearly featureless, a great time to work with textures!
To create the sepia look with the subtle texture, I used Flypaper Textures ("Desert Djinn" from the Summer Painter Collection) to add the warm golden tones along with the texture variations. Choose a blend mode that suits your image, such as Soft Light, or Overlay. This texture doesn't overwhelm the softness in the image, and added just the right touch for a nostalgic look. The sepia tone and the Nik Color Efex Pro border works to create a vintage look with the Eiffel Tower.
Enjoy working with textures!
- Deborah Sandidge teaches three inspiring online photography classes at BetterPhoto: Photoshop: Enhancing Images and Creating Works of Art, Digital Infrared Photography, and the new Long Exposure Creativity.
- Deb also contributed to the new book by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager: The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light
On a recent trip to Morocco, we visited the relatively new (1960s) Mosque in Casablanca. It houses 25,000 people inside for prayer, another 80,000 in the courtyard, to give you some idea of size.
Many of the windows and doors inside allowed light in, and this gave me the wonderful graphic pattern that reflected off the highly polished floor (see photo above). Beyond those doors and windows lie the Atlantic Ocean and America, feeling very far away in this moment. We all learned the value of our cameras' high ISO in there, since no tripods were allowed.
Outside, there were wonderful details and arches (see below). We focused on using those arches as framing elements in our compositions. Then we waited for interesting things to happen, like this woman in a fuschia-colored jelaba, the customary robes of Morocco, to walk through.
One of the marvelous features of the camera is that it's a great conversation piece. People stop to talk about photography, compare notes, point out locations - it's a great ice breaker. It's also a wonderful way to gain local knowledge, and to get to know more about the people that you meet.
I met this gentleman in Cuba who is a photographer and runs a small gallery. He volunteered to have his picture taken, and this was one of my favorites. He's surrounded by photos, and I liked taking his picture in context with what he does. This created an environmental portrait that is more interesting and memorable.
Travel photography tips: Let your photos tell a story, capture a sense of place with your subjects, and always have your camera ready. Last but not least, don't be shy. Get to know a little about the people you meet, and you'll come away with better pictures.
Additional notes: Deborah Sandidge teaches two excellent online photo courses: Photoshop - Enhancing Digital Images and Creating Works of Art and Digital Infrared Photography. Also, BetterPhoto's photography school online offers many great courses on people photography, including environmental portraits.
One of the points that I feel is important in photographing wildlife - and I stress this in my Wildlife Photography online photo course - is that shooting from a low perspective gives greater stature to animals. At the same time, it creates an intimate and compelling portrait.
One of the frustrations in going on an African safari is that you are forced to shoot from a vehicle (for safety reasons, obviously), and this means that the shooting perspective is higher than what I feel is desirable. Even two or three feet can mean the difference between a stunning image and one that is only mediocre.
On the Namibia photo tour, we visited a cheetah foundation devoted to ensuring the survival of this very special cat. The organization houses many cheetahs that can't be released back into the wild (usually because they were abandoned by their mothers - or their mothers were killed by farmers - and the cubs never learned to hunt), and we were allowed to shoot from ground level in certain places on the compound.
The snarling cat you see in the photos below was behind a fence, but it was a "photographer friendly" fence with large openings for camera lenses. This particular cat is known for an aggressive disposition, and that allowed each person in the group to get outstanding images. I shot this from ground level, and you can see how dynamic the shots are simply because I was three or four feet below where most other photographers are forced to take pictures of wildlife in Africa.
At the end of this wildlife photography shoot, each of us was breathless with excitement over this remarkable opportunity. Even if we could have taken pictures on the ground, cheetahs would never permit an approach this close. They have been hunted for too long, and they are extremely wary of people.
Jim Zuckerman is a top professional wildlife photographer. See his wildlife photos in his website for photographers. Also check out Jim's and other excellent courses at BetterPhoto's online photography school.