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Blog Description:

Blog features photo tips plus background on some of my featured photographs.
Blog Added: January 10, 2015 08:56:07 PM
Audience Rating: General Audience
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: United-States   United-States
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Total Visits: 1,158
Blog Rating: 2.70
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The Story Behind “Man on Inch Beach”

I parked on a high overlook with a view of Inch Beach and Dingle Bay with the mountains of Kerry in the background. It was there that I saw a single man walking along that narrow margin between Land and Sea. It struck me, at that moment, that he reminded me of man against...

I parked on a high overlook with a view of Inch Beach and Dingle Bay with the mountains of Kerry in the background. It was there that I saw a single man walking along that narrow margin between Land and Sea. It struck me, at that moment, that he reminded me of man against the elements.

The Man

Here was a single man, walking alone in this great expanse. The mountains of the Kerry in the background, Dingle Bay in between and the man, walking along that fragile margin between Land and Sea.  It was as though he was alone in the universe.

The Photograph

Photograph of a man walking on the margin between land and sea.

Man on Inch Beach

I stood and watched him as he made progress along the water’s edge. Watching him as he walked, I waited for the decisive moment when he walked into the spot that would give the composition the greatest impact. When I press the shutter I knew I was creating one of my favorite photographs. I knew it in my heart. I knew it in my gut.

 

The Beach

Inch Beach is a fascinating place.  It is located in Ireland between Dingle and Killarney. The beach is a great sand spit that extends out nearly four miles into Dingle Bay. There is plenty of parking near the beach, that will enable you to take a nice long walk.  You can drive your car onto the beach for quite a ways before you reach the soft sand.

Inch Beach is one of those places in Ireland where you have to stop because it is so breathtakingly beautiful. When you walk along the beach the sound of the sea, the feeling of the breeze, and the cries of the gulls awaken your senses. You walk along the beach as though you are leaving the world behind you and all of its stresses. I found it to be one of the most calming walks I’ve ever taken.

If You Would Like a Print

Now you can order a print of “Man on Inch Beach”.  You can choose single prints, framed prints, and gallery wraps from my gallery on Image Kind.  To learn more, Click Here.

 



The Story Behind “Water and Stones”

The Beauty of Lake Michigan Lake Michigan is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and magnificent sand dunes.  Thousands of people love to spend the day playing, chasing gulls, relaxing on the beach, walking on Lake Michigan shores and climbing the dunes.   There are, however, some parts of the shoreline that have a...

The Beauty of Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and magnificent sand dunes.  Thousands of people love to spend the day playing, chasing gulls, relaxing on the beach, walking on Lake Michigan shores and climbing the dunes.  

There are, however, some parts of the shoreline that have a smattering of beautiful small rocks shaped and shined by the wave action of this massive lake.  The rocks roll and tumble in the moving water and the abrasive sandy bottom of the lake near the shore. Eventually, the rocks are deposited on the shore.

The Walk Along the Shore

As I walked along the Lake Michigan shore in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, I came across a beautiful deposit of stones.  They were at the water’s edge and received a washing everytime a new wave came in. They sparkled in the sunshine with each new washing.

Photograph of water and stones found on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Water and Stones

As I stood and watched the cycle of waves and water wash the rocks, I knew there was a photograph

here.  It was an opportunity to reduce the massive lake and miles of shore to a very simple photograph of a small wave washing a collection of small rocks on the shore.  A moment in time captured in a simple photograph.

When I look at this photograph, I can feel the wind, feel the sand at my feet, hear the gulls crying in the distance and hear the waves meeting the shore.  It brings me back to that moment in time.

The Reward

A walk along Lake Michigan is so rewarding.  The sand under your feet and the sounds of the waves and the gulls, heal your soul.  It connects you with others who have walked this same path along the shore on different days and different years.  You share a common bond with nature, the sand, the dunes, the wind, the shore and the water.

The wind, the sand, the sound of gulls and the sound of the waves coming to shore, make each visit memorable.

Each time I visit Lake Michigan I feel this same sense of renewal.  It is a rebirth. It is setting the crazy world of everyday living aside and enjoying the here and now.  I take a deep breath of clean air and feel the stresses fade away. I pause and enjoy the beauty that is all around me.  

 

If You Would Like a Print

Now you can order a print of “Water and Stones”.  You can choose single prints, framed prints, and gallery wraps from my gallery on Image Kind.  To learn more, Click Here.



The Story Behind the “Stone Cottage and the Bicycle” Photograph

The beautiful thing about traveling in Ireland is that you come across some of the most lovely photographic opportunities you can imagine. The Beara Peninsula As I was driving through the Beara peninsula, I came across a stone cottage with a bicycle leaned up against it. It’s an example of some of the sites...

The beautiful thing about traveling in Ireland is that you come across some of the most lovely photographic opportunities you can imagine.

The Beara Peninsula

As I was driving through the Beara peninsula, I came across a stone cottage with a bicycle leaned up against it. It’s an example of some of the sites you will see as you travel the back roads of Ireland.

The Beara Peninsula is a very interesting place.  If you want to get away from the heavy tourist traffic of the Ring of Kerry, the Beara peninsula is perfect for you. There are lots of little towns for you to explore. You will find a Heritage Park,  a Stone Circle and even a Buddhist retreat built on a hillside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It’s well-worth taking the time to take to drive the Ring of Beara.

How I Made This Photograph

The day I took this photo it was rather overcast. Which is not unusual for Ireland. I was lucky, it wasn’t raining that day.  (There is a reason Ireland is so green and that’s because it rains quite often.)

Stone Cottage and the Bicycle

Stone Cottage and the Bicycle

As I approach the cottage I began my usual shooting routine.  I like to walk around a little bit before I begin shooting. That way I can check out the various angles that are available to me in the shot.  That is what I did in this case. Once I determined the right angle of shooting, I started looking at the composition that I wanted to achieve in the photograph. For this photograph, I took a number of shots, both vertical and horizontal.  The vertical shot gave me what I was looking for.

Photo Tip

Taking the time to look at your potential subject gives you the opportunity to create the best possible image. When you rush into a shooting situation and do a quick snapshot that’s what you end up with, a snapshot. You lose out on being able to create a really meaningful image that has character and complements of subject matter. When you approach your subject take your time. Don’t rush. Taking your time will help you create a beautiful photo in the end.

If You Would Like a Print

Now you can order a print of “Stone Cottage and the Bicycle”.  You can choose single prints, framed prints, and gallery wraps from my gallery on Image Kind.  To learn more, Click Here.



I Can’t Live Without My Tripod!

I have been a tripod proponent for years. To me, it is an important part of my photographic equipment. In fact, I use a tripod 80% of the time. You may ask yourself, why? Why Use a Tripod? You want to make the best image possible. Right? As a photographer, this is your ultimate...

I have been a tripod proponent for years. To me, it is an important part of my photographic equipment. In fact, I use a tripod 80% of the time. You may ask yourself, why?

Why Use a Tripod?

You want to make the best image possible. Right? As a photographer, this is your ultimate goal. But how do you achieve that goal?

photograph of tripodGetting the best image in your camera means that you have to use every tool available to you. You have to have a good camera. You have to have quality lenses. And you have to have the ability to take a photograph and have the camera remain still as you photograph.

So let’s take inventory.

  1. You have a good camera. Check!
  2. You have a quality lens. Check!
  3. And you’re holding the camera in your hand securely in order to take your image Ohhh…holding your camera securely in your hands may be a problem.

I see it everywhere I go. People are trying to hand-hold a camera with a telephoto lens and hope to get a clear and vibrant image. Your natural body movement will prevent you from getting the clearest possible image. The only way you can get a really clear image is to lock your camera down on a tripod.

Don’t Believe Me?

Try this. Using a telephoto lens on your camera, take a picture of a building with lots of detail. Now put your camera on a tripod and take the same picture. Now in post processing, review the two images side by side. Enlarge the images so you can see detail. You will find that your photo taken using the tripod will have clearer detail than the hand-held photo.

When Should You Use a Tripod?

I use a tripod whenever it is physically possible to do so. I literally take it everywhere when I go shooting.

You may want to use a tripod in the following situations:

  1. When you shoot landscapes. The tripod will enable to take crisp images.
  2. A tripod is a must when you want to create a panorama.
  3. Use a tripod when you are shooting moving water in a low light situation so you can get a silky quality in the water.
  4. A tripod is a must when you are shooting with a slow shutter speed.

What About a Monopod?

picture of a monopodA monopod is an adjustable pole that you mount your camera on. You can adjust the height of the pod to suit your shooting situation. It does not take up the space that a tripod does. A monopod works great if you are in a restricted space but want to have greater stability.

When Should You Use a Monopod?

Monopods come in very handy when you are shooting a sporting event or any event where there is a lot of movement and you’re trying to keep up and capture that movement. The monopod gives you a solid base from which to shoot.

What if I Can’t Use a Tripod or Monopod?

So by this time I think you can see the value of a tripod or monopod for various shooting situations. A tripod should be used just about any time you’re taking a picture.

But let’s be practical, there are times when you can’t use a tripod when you’re shooting. This is especially true when you are in a shooting situation where you’re taking candid photos of people. Or when your subject is moving around you.

If you find yourself in that situation, hand-holding the camera may be your only option. If you can, look for a tree or a fence that you can lean up against or put your camera on to steady the camera. You can also brace your body to minimize movement. Shooting at a higher shutter speed is another option.

As I mentioned earlier, your goal is to put the best image in your camera. If you use a tripod or monopod, you will give yourself the best chance to get that great photograph.

 



I Can’t Live Without My Neutral Density Filter!

Photography is all about controlling the light. It is fairly easy to do in a studio, but outside in the real world of landscape photography, it can be a challenge. Imagine you are standing in front of a breathtaking vista and you want to make a photograph. You set up your tripod (yes, you...

Photography is all about controlling the light. It is fairly easy to do in a studio, but outside in the real world of landscape photography, it can be a challenge.

Imagine you are standing in front of a breathtaking vista and you want to make a photograph. You set up your tripod (yes, you use a tripod to get the best possible image). You begin to compose your photograph. Then you notice that the sky is much brighter than the land. If you expose for the sky, the land will be too dark. If you expose for the land the sky will burn out. Welcome to the landscape photographer’s challenge.

Options?

What are your options?

  1. You could take two different exposures of favoring the sky and the other favoring the land. Then you could merge them in Photoshop. Its a pain, but you could do it.
  2. You could apply a graduated neutral density filter in software like Photoshop or Lightroom.
  3. Or, you could use a graduated neutral density filter on your lens.

 

A Graduated Neutral Density Filter can improve your photography.

I prefer to go for option #3. I am one of those photographers who believe that you always want to get the best possible image in the camera and tweaked in software.

Option #1 is not a bad option because you are able to capture all the information in two photographs that you can later combine to make one final image. It just takes time to do the merging. If you are shooting a lot of exposures of the scene, you have a lot of merging to do to see which is the best image.

Option #2 is the least favorable. You end up making a compromise exposure so you don’t overexpose the sky and underexpose the land. What you usually end up with is a “blah” image. If you expose for the land and use the software filter, you can only retrieve so much of the sky. When something is overexposed or underexposed you lose data. You cannot retrieve lost data. Once it is gone, it is gone.

How Does It Work?

A graduated neutral density filter goes on the front of your lens and has a full strength density on the top then gradually lightens up to clear at the bottom. They are available as a screw on filter or a rectangular filter that goes on a filter holder on your lens. There are advantages and disadvantages to either kind.

  • Screw on filter
    • Advantages
      • Convenient to use. You just screw it on and you are good to go.
      • Easy to carry. You only have one filter to worry about.
    • Disadvantages
      • The point where the lens goes from neutral density to clear is usually halfway down the filter. This means that you almost have to shoot the horizon dead center in your image.
      • The circular filter is not adjustable to fit multiple lenses. You have to buy a filter for each lens that requires a filter.
  • Rectangular filter
    • Advantages
      • Using a filter holder you can move the filter to add more or less of the neutral density portion in the image. So if you are shooting an image and want to show a big sky, you can have the neutral density portion cover all the sky before the clear part begins. It gives you much more flexibility in your composition.
      • The filter holder can have adapter rings so you can use it with multiple lenses.
    • Disadvantages
      • It requires a special filter holder.
      • It is larger than a circular filter and may have its own special carrying case.

My Preference

I went with the Rectangular filter. It has provided me with the ability to create great images.

I cannot live without my graduated neutral density filter because it helps me to get the best possible image in my camera.



Crawl on Your Belly Like a Reptile

When you make a picture, are you standing up in front of your subject? Do you bend your knees a little before you shoot? Do you lean to the right, lean to the left, move forward or move back? Do you know what you are doing? You are trying to change your point of...

When you make a picture, are you standing up in front of your subject?

Do you bend your knees a little before you shoot?

Do you lean to the right, lean to the left, move forward or move back?

Do you know what you are doing? You are trying to change your point of view or perspective of the image you are about to make. Yep, that is what you are doing. This is a good thing. In fact, this is a very good thing. But now it is time to take it a giant step further.

Crawl on Your Belly Like a Reptile

Sometimes to get a radical change in your point of view or perspective you have to “crawl on your belly like a reptile”. Throw convention to the wind. Yes, do something really different like lay down on your stomach to take the picture of a flower. Sure other people will look at you as if you have taken leave of your senses, but you will be the one with the great picture.

Examples

Here are two photographs of flowers.  The first was taken looking down at the flower.  The second was taken at eye-level.  While these are by no means great photographs, they do illustrate what the change in perspective can do.

Photograph of a flower looking down at it.

Flower photographed at eye level.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are making a picture of your children, move down to their eye level. Experiment with different angles, different heights, different lighting and different shutter speeds. An image of your child running shot at a slow shutter speed will create a blurred image, but it will also show that your child was in motion. It will be very different, but it also will be very unique.

Rules Are Made to Be Broken

There are lots of “rules” in photography, but don’t be afraid to break them. There is no photography police, no jail time. The worst thing that can happen is that the image sucks. Even that is not a bad thing. We learn from our failures, or as I like to call them, “valiant experiments that did not work as anticipated”.

Be Bold

True creativity is doing something that is different. So be bold, be daring, be creative! Get down and crawl on your belly like a reptile!



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