Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thinking Outside The Frame

We're told "thinking outside the box" is a good thing.  It opens our mind to consider new ideas beyond the way it's always been done.  What about when we edit our digital photos?   What's the box that might constrain our thinking when we are using Photoshop, Lightroom, or Picasa?   The cropping feature that is built into these tools can tend to keep us within the standards for picture frames.

If you go to any store that sells ready made frames you'll find they are sized to hold 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 prints.   The crop tool in our editing packages often defaults to these standard sizes.   That's fine if you plan on printing your photo and using a standard frame.   Most of us don't print many of our photos any more.  They end up on a website somewhere.   Yet, we tend to use the standard crop sizes.   If the photos are going on a website they can be cropped to any width and height that works best for the photo.

Here's an example.   The first photo is not cropped at all.  This is the way I took it.
The next two are cropped to 8x10 and 5x7



None of these really work for me.   There is too much wasted space at the bottom and top of the photo.  This does not add anything to the photo and a good rule of thumb is to eliminate anything that doesn't add to the composition.

Here's the crop I like best.

Unconstrained Crop
 I turned off the crop lock in Lightroom and cropped according to what I thought looked best, without considering the dimensions.

If I was to print this I would have to go back and find a crop that either fits a standard size print/frame or go for a custom photo mat and/or frame.   In this case it's pretty close to a 10x20, which is a size that I can get printed.   If you're looking for a frame for a 10x20 print you may have to go somewhere besides Walmart and Hobby Lobby.   Better yet, forget the frame and print as a canvas wrap.   I've done three of those now and love them.

This photo is available for purchase online.  It's ready to print at 4x8, 5x10, 8x16, 10x20, or 12x24.   Many of these sizes are available as metal or canvas prints.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Photo/Travel Program - The Parks of The Sierra Nevada Mountains

Now, a word from the Shameless Self Promotion Department at The Siggins Photography.

The 63rd Annual Virginia Highlands Festival kicks off this Saturday July 23 and runs through August 7.   The festival began in 1949 by Robert Porterfield, founder of the Barter Theater, as a simple one-week festival to showcase Appalachian arts and crafts. Since then the festival has now grown into a two-week event offering a variety of venues.

View from Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park

This year I'll be presenting a program at the festival on The Parks of The Sierra Nevada Mountains on August 6.   I'll be showing some of my photography and talking about Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks.  I'll also take the audience to Bodie California to experience a real gold rush ghost town and to Mono Lake for out of this world landscapes and sunsets.   The Virginia Highlands guide lists my program as four hours long, which is not right.  I don't think I can talk near that long and no one would stay that long.   Instead it will be between 2 and 3 hours depending on how much discussion we get into.

The program (I don't like the word lecture) is part travel show and part photography program.  I'll talk about the places we visited and also about how I took different photos, the gear I used, etc.

The festival charges $5 for the program.  You can buy tickets online here.  It will be in the Executive Auditorium at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, in Abingdon.

There are two other programs that are worth going to.  Chris Duncan is presenting Around the World in 180 minutes on Saturday, July 30 and National Geographic Photographer Bob Krist is presenting Behind the Scenes: Real Life Misadventures of a National Geographic Photographer Saturday July 23, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m in the Grand Hall of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway and Other Recent Work

I've added a new Recent Work gallery to my website that contains all the photos posted in the last two months.  As I post newer photos the older ones will drop off but will still be in their proper galleries.  For example, you will find the latest photos from Smoky Mountains, Wildflowers, and Charleston / Hilton Head galleries also in the Recent Work gallery.
Mossy Stream

Take a look in the Recent Work Gallery for some of the photos from my trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on July 4.  I'm very happy with some of these and hope you enjoy them.

Leather Vasevine

Until this last weekend I had convinced myself that by July the wildflower season was over and there was not much to shoot until fall.  Boy, was I wrong.  We saw Fire Pink, Bee Balm, Cone Flowers, Columbine, Fly Poison, Rhododendrons, Mountain Laurel, and others.   Of course, there was plenty of ferns and moss covered rocks in the streams.   Just goes to show we are blessed all the time, even if we don't know it.   Sometimes all we have to do is open our eyes and look around at God's Glorious Creations.

Fire Pink
Many thanks to my friend and fellow photographer Harold Ross for taking me to all these great places and helping me learn some new wildflowers.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What I get up at 3:00 AM for....

At 3:00 AM on July 4 I got up.   Why in the world would anyone get up that early on a holiday?  Sane normal people would be enjoying a day off from work and sleeping in.   This Forth of July I got up, ate a quick breakfast, gathered my camera gear and drove to meet Harold Ross.  The two of us drove to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to be there at 6:15 for this.

Sunrise from Newfound Gap Road, NC

I'd say it was worth missing a few hours sleep to capture a dawn of a new day in the mountains.

We spent the rest of the day driving around the park and the Blue Ridge Parkway shooting streams, waterfalls, and wildflowers.   I enjoyed spending the day with a great Christian and photographer.   I'll post a few more photos from the day soon.