- 161 Photo Enthusiasts
- 108 cities
Longtime pro photographer and BetterPhoto instructor Jim Zuckerman offers lots of great tips and techniques on photography. Here are Jim's expert thoughts on using off-camera flash outdoors:
"When I visit a place more than once," says Jim Z, "I try to come up with different ways of photographing subjects that I shot previously.
"A case in point is the stone carving (above) at the archeological site, Ephesus, in Turkey. I photographed it in the shade two years ago, so this time I used off-camera flash. This created texture and depth, and at the same time the rocks, dirt, and weeds that could be seen behind the ancient artwork became black and therefore unobtrusive.
"I triggered the flash with a Pocket Wizard and had another person hold it at about an 80-degree angle. I wanted to largely eliminate the effect of the ambient light, so I used the LCD monitor on the back of the camera to help me determine the exposure. I increased the shutter speed and reduced the size of the lens aperture until the ambient light was only contributing a small amount and the primary light source was the Canon 580 flash.
"Don’t think that professional photographers know exactly what settings to use in a situation like this. We don’t. Since we can’t know exactly what we will like until we see it, we simply use trial and error until it looks good."
While I occasionally use a wide-angle focal length for capturing an expanse of landscape, I most often use it to take advantage of the wide-angle's great front-to-back depth.
Moving in physically close with a wide-angle is not an intuitive thing. The wide-angle tendency is to back up in order to take it all in. But you get a very eye-catching - and very unique - perspective when you combine a super-close foreground with a far-off background.
(Note: This blog is a follow-up to Jim Zuckerman's outstanding BetterPhoto Instructor Insights article in which he covers the "Getting Close-up with Wide-Angle" subject in his own special style and with a great variety of inspiring images.)
This old multi-colored boat first caught my eye one afternoon at Morro Bay on the central California coast. The harsh midday sunlight was not inspiring, so I returned just before sunset to catch it in the beautiful evening light.
Anytime there's a photogenic foreground and a good background, I'll grab my wide-angle lens. Along with pleasing light, I also wanted great front-to-back depth with a wide-angle focal length - in this case, 20mm. I set up my tripod very low to the ground and very close (less than 2 feet away) from the nearest part of the boat. That placement shows off the wide-angle's exploded perspective, in which a foreground subject appears exaggerated in relation to the background.
For this image, I chose a small aperture (f/22) to get as much depth of field (DOF) as possible - in other words, good sharpness from front to back. In addition, I also carefully selected the point of focus, since focusing is important to wide-angle DOF too. Setting the focus far into the scene, for instance, will never get a close foreground sharp. Here, I set the focusing point on the middle of the boat's red area in the low foreground. The combination of small aperture and wide-angle ensured that the area in front of that focusing point (the beach's shells and small rocks) and in back of it (all the way into the distance) would be acceptably sharp too.
I double-checked the LCD playback to verify the depth of field to make sure the all-important foreground was crisp and clear. In fact, many cameras have a function for enlarging the LCD image in order to easily check key areas for sharpness.
Along with the tripod, I used a cable shutter release (the self-timer works too) to make sure my hand didn't inadvertently jiggle the camera when clicking the shutter.
OK I know we have online classes have students from all over the world and I must say as our resident Canadian, I'm a feeling a little miffed - is North Vancouver all we got?! Let's make this happen in a big way next weekend.
So my fellow Canadians - get your town on the map and let's start a friendly competitiion!
Let's cover the map everyone! Calling all shooters - who's up for making this day really fun?
Go here to put your city on the map now:
Masai Initiation-Serengeti Reserve, Tanzania © Doug Steakley
Two large-format books featuring his color photography have been published: Pacific Light, Images of The Monterey Peninsula, in 2000, and Big Sur and Beyond, The Legacy of The Big Sur Land Trust, in 2001. Pacific Light won an Honorable Mention from the National Outdoor Book Awards in 2001. A third book, A Photographer’s Guide To The California Coast, was published in 2005, by Countryman Press. Doug is currently working on a fourth book, A Photographer's Guide To The Big Sur Coast, which will be released in 2010.
Photographs by Doug Steakley have received awards in many photography contests including those sponsored by National Geographic Traveler magazine, Petersen’s Photographic magazine and The National Park Service. He recently won a two week safari to Africa as the Grand Prize Winner in a photography contest co-sponsored by National Geographic and Energizer batteries.
Doug supports and works closely with several land conservation groups and a variety of his images have been published in annual reports and a variety of other publications. He has worked with The Big Sur Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The Land Trust Alliance, The Trust For Public Land, The Wilderness Coalition, The Tuolumne River Trust and The Monterey County Regional Park District. In 2003, he received the Ansel Adams Award from The Sierra Club for his conservation photography.
His images have been widely published in many local, national and international magazines including Architectural Digest, Backpacker, Outside, Better Homes and Gardens, Art and Antiques, Private Pilot, Luxury Living, The Robb Report, and Town and Country. He regularly contributes to travel catalogs published by Wilderness Travel, Mountain Travel and others.
Recent one-person exhibitions of Doug's photography include The Pacific Grove Art Center, The Fireside Gallery at the Highlands Inn, The Monterey Conference Center, The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, The Maureen Doud Gallery in The Sunset Center, and The Gallery at The Blackstone Winery in Gonzales.
Doug's stock photography is represented world-wide by Lonely Planet Images.
Doug currently serves as treasurer on the board of directors of The Center For Photographic Art in Carmel, California.
Aside from photography, Doug is an avid cyclist and recently completed his third Markleeville Death Ride in the Sierras.
The topic of White Balance sure has come up a lot lately at BetterPhoto! Recently at Team BetterPhoto, instructor Jim Zuckerman weighed in with his tips on how to set the White Balance in your digital camera.
Now, over at BetterPhotoJim, instructor Lynne Eodice has come up with an excellent rundown on WB. Check it out:
In case you didn't read today's email from Jim, here it is:
Want to get a group of photography enthusiasts together, but don’t know how? Have you run one of our clubs before?
Hi, I’m Jim Miotke and I love photography. For over 15 years, we have been helping amazing photography enthusiasts like you come together to learn, grow, and share experiences with photography. At BetterPhoto, we’re stepping it up to the next level!
On November 19, 2011, we’re declaring a worldwide BetterPhoto Meetup Everywhere Day! This is a day for photographers to gather, shoot, share tips, and find experiences together.
Have you ever wanted to put a group together before? Are you involved in a camera group or club now and want to know how to make it better? What’s been holding you back in the past?
We’ve got the answers that you need to put together a Meetup. However, we need your help to make the BetterPhoto Meetup Everywhere Day a global success.
Sign up now to learn more!
We’re looking for local organizers for our BetterPhoto Meetup Everywhere Day. Whether you are a beginner in photography or are a lifelong photo veteran, or somewhere in between, you can be an organizer for an event.
We’re giving away a 3-part video series that will show you how to put together a rocking Meetup for the Worldwide BetterPhoto Meetup Everywhere Day.
Already have a club or group? Let’s take it to the next level! Here is your chance to become a BetterPhoto Emissary.
What do I mean by Emissary? An emissary is a messenger sent out on a mission. In diplomacy, they bring the message from the home territory to new foreign lands and they speak with the authority of the president. That message is bringing the fun of BetterPhoto to the local community. Only a select group of organizers will have the honor and privilege of being bestowed with the title of BetterPhoto Emissary.
Sign up now and receive video 1!
Here is the lineup:
Video 1: Why Meetup? How to get the word out. Video 2: How to make your Meetup a success. Video 3: How to take your group to the next level and become a BetterPhoto Emissary Video Bonus – Surprise Info!
We’re only offering this video series for a limited time:
If you’ve ever considered organizing a camera club, photography group, or just wanted to share ideas, here is your chance.
Sign up now!
© Kara Hendricks
Yummy! That was my first thought when I saw this excellent image. The blackberries almost jump off the page right into your mouth. Everything about this shot is perfection. Thanks for sharing it with us Kara!
© Judy V. Kennamer
Another delicious entry! The colors are so pleasing and the composition is just perfect. I can envision pulling up a chair to this table and diving right in. Thanks Judy and good luck in the contest this month!