Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Slow down and wait for it

On a recent trip to Death Valley National Park, I was out wandering the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes early one morning.  I was looking for lines and shapes in the dunes that might make interesting compositions.  It was just over an hour past sunrise and the sun was still low in the sky, giving some nice side light.  It was also overcast and the sunlight was constantly changing.

I made the first shot below while the sun was between clouds.  I had hiked all over the dunes looking for a composition like this with a leading line, ripples in the sand, and no footprints.  The low side light produced some nice dramatic shadows in the sand, which was also one of the elements I was looking for. 
First Shot
 About 30 seconds later the sun went behind a cloud and without moving the camera I got a different photo.
Second Shot 
I actually like the second shot better.  There was enough indirect sunlight to make the ripples in the sand and the shape of the dunes stand out, without the high contrast shadows.  What looks good is subjective and you make like the first one better. The thing about art is there is no right answer.

Sometimes we shoot like we are in a hurry.  Set up, make the shot, move on to the next one.  It pays to slow down and wait for different lighting.  You don't know what you will get.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Basic Photography Class March 28, April 2, 4 and 9.

I will be teaching my Basic Photography Class starting on March 28, 2019.  The class will start out with learning the basics of photography - light, shutter speed, aperture and how to use them on your camera.  From there we will get into color, composition, lighting, techniques and photographic gear selection.  We'll talk about some common photography
challenges and how to overcome them. We will go over different photo editing packages, organizing photos, printing, and sharing online.   The class will be a combination of classroom teaching, practicing our new photography skills, and reviews of photography assignments.

The class is designed for a photographer who has a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or advanced compact camera.

Classroom sessions are March 28, April 2, 4 and 9 from 6:00 PM– 8:00 PM in the Eastman Employee Center.   There will be one field trip on Saturday, April 6 to practice what we have learned.  The Saturday time will depend on what works best for the majority of the students.

In every Class we will have time for:
  • Review of Homework – yes, we are in school again.
  • Teaching
  • Problem Solving - Bring your camera and problem photos to class
  • Questions and Answers

The class is open to Eastman Camera Club members.  The good news is anyone can join the club by going to and clicking on About near the upper left of the page.

Cost - $45/person.   Maximum of 14 people per class.  Call Eastman Recreation Office at 423-229-3771 to sign up.   This is a popular class and always fills up so don't wait.  Contact me if you have any questions.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Change Your Perspective

Here's an example that shows how changing your camera position relative to the subject can make a difference in your photo's composition.

I took these two photos earlier this week in Joshua Tree National Park.  The first one was taken at 5:52 PM using a focal length of 52mm (78mm in full frame equivalent terms). 

52mm from closer

I intentionally stood where the crescent moon would be between the branches.  I like that composition, but I didn't stop there.  I took several more shots of the moon and that tree.  

88mm from farther away

The second photo was taken less than two minutes later.  I stepped back several feet from the tree and zoomed in to 88mm (132mm).  Simply moving changed the position of the moon relative to the tree.  Zooming in also increased the size of the band of warm sunset color and made the moon appear larger relative to the tree.

Neither composition is "right".  With all art, it is a matter of personal taste.  I hope you enjoy one of these photos and get some value from this blog post.  Please leave a comment and let me know.