Earlier this year I had the pleasure of assisting Juan Pons at his “Geese, Swans and Bears” photo workshop in North Carolina. Birds are not a frequent subject of mine, but I always jump at the chance to learn something new.
As photographers, we tend to concentrate our efforts on learning one particular type of photography. It could be wildlife, portraits, landscapes or any number of other disciplines. It’s great to develop a personal style and hone your skills in a specific area, but sometimes it’s good to make pictures that are outside of your area of expertise.
When I first became a full-time nature and adventure photographer nine years ago, I expected I’d spend most of my time exploring beautiful places and having wilderness “wow” moments most days. I knew I would need to also spend time in the studio running the business side of my career, but I had no idea how all-consuming that could be become. After my first year shooting full-time, I analyzed how I spent my time and realized I had only been out shooting around 50 days in the past year. I was a photographer, yet had taken pictures less than two months out of the year!
In the last post I used the rule of thirds, and this time I’m going to use two of the thirds in the frame.
In the top image I placed the bee in the upper third of the frame, and also in the third of the frame on the left side. This has a nice look, and it has the bee looking into the frame which is what you always want when shooting critters.
When I shot this image my first thought was to place the snail in the typical position, centered in the bottom third of the frame. Then decided it would be a little more interesting by using the bottom and left thirds and allow the shadow to be included in the image.
You can check out Mike's eBook on Macro Composition in the Store here.
Subject placement can be very subjective. It can range from placing a main subject in the center, thirds, corners, and two of the thirds. Positioning the subject will depend on what is around it.
Centering the subject is what is called bulls-eyed, and in some cases this works, but you don’t want every one of your images in the center. Having a portfolio of images with varying positions from centered, thirds, and corners will keep your compositions from looking repetitive.
In the image above I placed the yellow contrasting leaf in the bottom third of the frame. Offsetting the main subject in the thirds tends to be most popular way of positioning a single subject.
The dark center of this frosted Black-Eyed Susan flower is the main focal point of the flower, so I placed it in the left third of the frame. When using the thirds rule it has a less composed look and more natural.
Check back tomorrow for more info on placement.
You can check out Mike's eBook on Macro Composition in the Store here.
When the iPad was announced, I immediately started thinking about how this device would work into my photography. After a lot of thought, I boiled down the iPad's photography advantages to the five below. Where they enough to make me purchase an iPad? Yes, they were!
1. The Screen
The iPad screen uses a technology called IPS, the same display technology that is used by the coveted Apple Cinema Displays. The Cinema Displays' clarity and color reproduction are top notch. How does this help you as a photographer? Load up your best images on the iPad and use it as the most versatile and beautiful portable portfolio presenter ever made. When showing your images to prospective clients they'll be amazed!
I don’t know about you, but I am very much looking for spring to arrive for sure. Even though March 21 has come and gone, I'm ready for full-time spring.
As I start thinking of the images I want make come spring time, I start by looking at some of my previous work, this helps me focus my efforts and allows me to revisit some of the subjects I shot to try to come up with even better images.
Recently I spent some time going through some of the videos that I shot this past year and I decided to put together this short clip of some of my favorite footage from spring and early summer of 2009 for your enjoyment.
I hope you enjoy it and helps you find some inspiration for what to shoot this coming spring.
Make sure and visit the entertaining and informative site and blog by Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, the Digital Photo Experience.
Editors note: Welcome to Jerry and Marcy Monkman! They will be posting on our blog from time to time, and we are pleased and honored to have them.
Jerry and Marcy Monkman are "EcoPhotographers" featuring distinctive adventure, nature, and travel photography. Known for their conservation work in New England's wild places, the Monkmans have spent the last fifteen years artfully documenting the mountains, forests, and coastlines that define the region.
Onion seedlings in a greenhouse in South Hampton, New Hampshire.
This is the first time in eleven years that I am not working on one or more book projects (I tortured myself with three last year.) I love working on books most of the time, but add in the usual bunch of commissioned photo projects that I do every year, and it’s rare for me to have the time to shoot just because I feel like it. I think this is a problem. Always working under deadlines makes it hard to grow as a photographer. You are less likely to experiment with new techniques, explore new subject matter in depth, or just have fun being a photographer.
Pardon me, after my last nature walk along a public trail, I have a little rant!
As photographers we might tend to look, shoot and keep moving. It is very common for many people to do so. However, sometimes we need to step back and look at nature's situation. We need to think about what is happening. What we see in front of us. Be proactive.
The plastic garbage bag on the ground or in the tree. Can you grab it and throw it away? If you can then please take the effort. A simple plastic bag to us can be deadly to a tiny animal.
Maybe you're walking through the trail and see a tree that carved with names and shapes. That can be a great photograph! But don't carve in it yourself. I don't care if I sound like a "tree hugger". I am one! Some things we just shouldn't do.
There are many ways to phrase our relationship with nature:
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III – EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM – 4.0 sec at f/32
What makes one subject better than another? Does one rock have more character than another? I’m not sure that anyone has a definitive answer to these questions, but I know that I’ve always enjoyed the process of selection. This is an under-emphasized skill in landscape photography: do I photograph these leaves or those; that group of mountains and clouds or the ones behind me? I look for the tree that says, “here is an amazing tree,” and I search especially for one that says, “here is a tree that symbolizes all trees.” Ultimately, as the late great photographer Minor White defines it, the most penetrating photographs reveal the essence of the subject “for what it is… and for what else it is.”