7 Steps to Great Photos

Lesson 1 of 2

Steps to Great Photos

 

7 Steps to Great Photos

Lesson 1 of 2

Steps to Great Photos

 

Lesson Info

Steps to Great Photos

This is a talk that's different than many of my other classes. I do a lot of classes here a creative live and I teach a lot of cameras and photography basics like shutter speeds and apertures and esos and when we get into all that kind of fun technical jargon, fun stuff and I've been teaching that for quite a quite a while and I was trying to think back to the days before I was a photographer and for me that was a long time ago because I got started in photography when I was ten years old I found a camera on the bert gillman trail which is actually just a stone's throw just it's about one hundred feet from us right here where the bert gillman trail passes and I found a camera along there and I just started taking pictures and I thought that was what everybody did and I shot pictures through high school and college and I just got more and more into it and as I've learned more, you know, I know I want I wanted to learn all the technical stuff and sometimes we get really mired down in all...

the technical details and it always kind of fascinates me every once in a while when people look at a photograph and they go, what camera did you use? What was your shutter speed? As if that was the magic behind that moment and that information is very valuable. You do need to have a comprehensive understanding of all the technical information if you really want to make a go at it in photography, but this class was something kind of different. I wanted to threw away all the technical jargon and get back to the basics. What air? The simple things that somebody with an iphone needs to think about when taking pictures somebody with a point and shoot it's also going to be true with everyone with dslr marylise cameras or even a four by five view camera? What is it that really concerns them when they're taking photographs? And as I kind of just kind of let my brain spill out onto the paper or the computer screen in front of me, I started taking all these a diet ideas and trying to put him around because this it was not originally going to be called seven steps to great photographs. This was going to have another name like nontechnical photography or something like that, but I found everything just started fitting itself together, and unlike other classes, that would parse out the seven steps one of the seven steps, because as soon as I know him, I'm out of here, you know, and I'm sure people watching online and, like john just tell me the seven steps because I could go watch channels one and two then and be done with this class well, I can tell you the seven steps and I'm sorry I'm not going to knock your socks off these are things that people have heard before they're kind of like yeah, I know about those why air those secret seven steps it's whether or not secret so let me go ahead and bring them on for you right here and now and we're going to go through these one at a time I'm going to bring up a bunch of examples for you and so we're going to start with subject and we're gonna go kind of around the horn here on all these different concepts and ideas and these are things that I venture would say venture to say are nothing new to you? You've seen these before, you know they're important and so let's just go through him and take a look and talk about why they're so important first and most important thing in your photograph is the subject okay? That seems kind of obvious, but some people get very excited and they're not thinking real clearly when they're shooting their pictures all right? So as far as the subject goes there's actually lots of little subgroups and the first step is the subject quality, so let me give you an example last summer, I was doing some hiking up at mount rainier national park, those of us here in the northwest, no it's, a beautiful, great place to go hiking, and if you do kind of venture up pretty high on the mountain, all you see is snow and rock, and it becomes a very monotone environment, and when you hike back down and you encounter the wildflowers, your mind just kind of goes, oh, this is awesome, and you want to pull that camera out and shoot that picture right away, and you're thinking like, this is the best ever right here, because these are so different than everything you've been looking at for the last several hours or several days, but those might not be the best collection of flowers in the area, or that you will see and it's fine to go ahead and get excited and take that picture, but keep looking. Don't just be satisfied with the first interesting thing that comes along your way. Keep hiking along the path, keep looking for more flowers, looking for different colors and so forth. Now, this unassuming little group of flowers was kind of right in the middle of the pathway, you can see the dirt pathway on both sides of this little grouping of flowers, and for most people, it didn't seem probably like much more than just a blip of color. But when you get your camera down nice and close to it, you can start filling the frame with that color. Now, as I was here, you can see or you can not see mount rainier in the background, which was one of my goals is to get mount rainier in the background. But it was a bit of fog that morning, but there was just a little whisp where I could see mount rainier behind the rock and flowers here. And so I set up my camera. I got all my technical things down right? And that because this was just the best collection of flowers that I had seen over several hours of hiking. And I sat there and I waited because it was foggy, and I was thinking at some point, I hope this fog clears before the light gets into a very bad position. And it was kind of funny because as I was sitting there and just kind of waiting with my tripod, a couple of hikers came by kind of looked at me a little strange. Why is this guy just sitting there with this tripod pointed out this rock and they went up in about twenty minutes later, they came back down and they go. You know, up the trail it's completely clear I'm like well, this is the flowers that I want these of the best ones and after about an hour of waiting the fog blew away for just about ten seconds and I was able to get this shot here, which is my favorite of the day and it's where I could just see the mountain a little bit and it was the best little grouping of flowers and so there's a number of things the reasons why I like this photograph but mainly it really has to do with the subject quality really being careful and choosy about what I should've photograph all right, let's go to another national park down in the redwoods down in california wonderful, huge tall trees undoubtedly you're going to start pointing your camera upwards to try to show the entire tea and top to bottom of the streets and there's a lot of people and a lot of times you see these shots looking straight up through the trees and in some way they're all kind of good they all kind of work, but in order to make it a little bit better, I wanted to have more impact and so I was looking through several of these groves of trees I walked probably ten miles through trails looking for just the right combination and what I needed is I needed to enormous trees about that far apart, so just about six feet apart, and when they're that close, they fill the frame, and so when they fill the frame, you can see them a little bit more easily. They're taking up more space and so really looking for that best growth, that best grouping of trees in this case down along the oregon coast. It's very interesting, some of the little rivers that you see in the sand, and the first one kind of catches your attention, but that may not be the best one to photograph, so keep walking around, looking at the different options that you have, and then finally settling on the one that you think looks the best. And so for me, I really like the symmetry in shape in this particular one. I was leading a photo tour in jordan and it's very interesting because they have a lot of women's clothes out on the street on mannequins, but it's not appropriate to show their face, and so they duct tape over their face and they do this all over the place. But this is this one just had some interesting colors in it. I do a photo tour up in alaska as well, and for those who haven't been up to alaska the first time they see an iceberg. Even if it's the size of an ice cube, they get their cameras out and are taking pictures. I got a picture of an iceberg. Well, some icebergs are a little bit more interesting than others, and so you do have to be a little picky, and sometimes when you go traveling and it's the first time you see something, you've got to get a photograph, and I understand that because you don't know that might be the only time you see that particular subject, but you should try tio cheap keep going for higher and higher quality shots. So looking for better and better areas in seattle here we can lay claim to the second germiest tourist destination in the world, in case you're wondering what the most germiest tourist destination it's the blarney stone. But here in seattle, we have gum wall it's right next to a nightclub where people love to just stick their gun before they go into the nightclub and it's over a fairly large area and there's a lot of different sections that you can photograph. And I really like the pattern in here but just there's a little bit of cut into the brick wall and a little bit of a window ledge, which adds a little bit of shape and a little bit of depth, and for me, that was the most interesting section on that wall so really finding the best of all your options, which means sometimes putting the camera away and just looking around at what you're doing now another thing about subjects is, I think everyone's photograph you should treat it a little bit like a story. Each photograph is a story and you need to think about what's your main subject and what air you're supporting subjects what else is in the frame and how does it influence the main subject in your photograph and so out of this is it? This is a really fun of it it's called doc dogs and they see how far dogs can jump out into the water and it's really fun to see the owners of these dogs encouraging them to jump as far as they can in this case than in jordan there was archway in a kind of broken down castle and having those clouds in the background just supporting the subject a little bit as an extra element it's that second element in the photograph that lone penguin in the environment but of an environmental portrait having those icebergs around it really places it there and it's part of the story of that picture in this case I was there for about twenty or thirty minutes waiting for something else to happen when the one camel driver came through, adding that little bit of scale in size to the photograph one of my favorite places down in arizona is the wave and I got a lot of nice clean shots without people at it and as I had my camera set up they started to come up through here and they saw me all set up taking pictures and they're like oh we're sorry will hurry out of your picture and I said no you guys look great come on up and having that extra scale that extra little element in the photograph can be very nice one of the quickest ways to make your pictures cell and not financially but just succeed is simplicity we have a lot of clutter in our world and simple simplifying things down to their most basic element is really good when it comes to the subject material and so an iceberg down in antarctica with just a little bit of cloud cover over it when in doubt get in tight eliminate everything else and just go in on what your subject material is you don't have to show the entirety of the waterfall usually that's a lot of people's mistakes in a lot of situations is they're trying to show everything don't worry about showing everything so a little bit but do it well I'm not concerned about getting the entire ball of rope in this case I just want to get a little section that looks nice you might shoot the wide shot first but go in for the tight shot keep things clean. Keep things simple. Those shots work really well in a lot of different situations. Another aspect of subject that's. Very important. His background. Many people get very, very excited about a great subject. You know they go. Oh, my gosh, look at this. Get your camera. Get your camera out. Take a picture of this. And what do they do? They shoot a picture right from where they first see it. Do they try moving around a little bit? What does it look like over here? What's the background over here. All right, so, folks warning on a cross country coach so I got a bit of running shots in here, and so this is a reasonably decent shot of a runner. But if you look at the background, you got a bunch of people who are uninterested that are just kind of cluttering up the scene. You might say if you're going to have people in the background let's have the right people who are encouraging the runners on or have something that tells a little bit about where the subjects are there at a race environment. If nothing else, I try to go back to the simplified concept. A nice, dark background is a great way to simplify a subject right subjects will always stand out in front of dark backgrounds the colorful background in the fall can be a good time or running in front of a lake that simple, clean background let's are subject really stand out great for travel photography because there's a lot of places that have painted in colored walls great environment for doing portrait's up in skagit valley just north of seattle using that background kind of almost as the main subject even though it's out of focus and right here in seattle lights of seattle in the background that is for a subject's goes whether you like to shoot people or animals of any sort whether it's your own pets or wildlife the eyes having eye contact with that creature is so very important here's a wild tiger in india and I've got a chance to shoot some amazing wildlife around the world and I would have to say that tigers are my favorite they're amazing powerful beautiful creatures and it's a reasonably nice shot but think about the impact of this image versus one where it's looking straight at you there's a connection that you have with that animal in that case and so if you have a picture of a person or an animal, one of the key things to look for is the eyes can you see the eyes it's a bit of a window to the soul? What are they thinking? What are they doing? What are they concerned about and it's very true justice true with people is well, you wanna have that I conduct you want to be able to see the ice? No, maybe they're looking into the camera, lends itself. Maybe they're just looking off to the side really depends on the picture there's no exact rule on that one, but when you concede their eyes, you know what they're thinking about. So really think about your subject, there's a lot of different aspects about the subject to think about, but don't be too quick to jump on those pictures feel free to jump if they if it's changing right away, you've got to get the shot and so before to be sure to get the shot first, but then try to keep improving it, thinking about all those different aspects of the subject, all right, next up subject is light and you're going to hear a lot of photographers talk about light and there's a lot of different aspects and we gotta keep moving fairly quickly in this class is so we're not going to able to dive into it too far, but the first thing to be aware is the range of brightness and for those of you that are new to photography, cameras cannot record all that our eyes see. Our eyes are very good because we can adjust from bright lights too dark areas in just fractions of a second and when we take one picture we're trying to capture everything in front of us at that moment in time and so if you go walking in the forest in the middle of the afternoon, you're going to have intense sunshine and you're gonna have any time you have intense sunshine you're going tohave shadow and it's very difficult to capture that in one single shot so down in the redwoods I didn't spend much time in the afternoon because it's just very, very contrast and difficult to see what's going on on when I was down in california shooting it was bright sunny every day and so I didn't have nice even like to work with except for about that first and last hour of the day when the sun is so low on the horizon it's not really getting directly into the forest in any significant way and you're able to see much more detail in the in the forest because you don't have these hot spots and really deep shadows during the daytime as it makes its way until nighttime there is this amazing time a day at last about ten minutes it's well after the sun's gone down it depends exactly on your latitude but it it's here in seattle it's about a half hour after sunset and before it has gotten completely dark, there is this beautiful blue in the sky and it's just a great time for doing those cityscape shots. Where there's a nice balance between the lights of the building and the skyline and it's all quite even ah foggy day is a great time to go out and shoot light is very even in smooth. Great for landscape photography. Being around the ocean with clouds could be really, really nice, especially that misty clouds. Photographers will often talk about the golden hour, the magic hour of light, which for many people is about the first hour of sunshine and the last hour of sunshine. So down at horseshoe banned in arizona. Yeah, I had to break camp in about four o'clock in the morning to get here, but that was really the right time to be there. Being there in the middle of the day. It's just very, very harsh shadows that are very difficult to deal with. Next aspect you want to be thinking about is the direction of the light. How is that going to affect your subject back on the cross country course? One of the things that I'll do is I'll go through a bit more work is I will actually hall lights. Out into the woods on little stands that I'll trigger remotely from the camera and that is because I want to get the flash off the camera, which is the subject we've heard from other instructors, which is a great idea get the flash off the camera so I'm firing a flash from a different direction because then we can see some shadows and that gives our pictures a bit of death. A great type of light to use is side lighting. Anytime you have the light coming from the side, you're going to have some shadows, some sun and if the lights not too strong that's going to be a really effective use of it, be aware of where the lights going to come up. Where is it going to illuminate your subject? Where can you be to stand? What might not be obvious in this photograph is just offering just to the right by just a couple of feet is a gigantic wall of a house and so that's adding some light reflecting back onto our subject. So while we have a lot of the light coming from the left hand side there's a significant portion coming back from the right hand side I typically don't like shooting pictures in bright sunlight it's not the best case, but sometimes especially within travel photography you are where you are and it's only gonna happen once and this is at the camel auction just outside of cairo, egypt and it was kind of funny because this gentleman actually asked me to photograph from he just saw me with the camera there and because he was very proud and he wanted to have his picture taken but he didn't want to have his picture taken here because these were his camels but his camels were over in a very ugly location so I said, well, could you please stand here? You'll look much better and so he agreed and so as I said, I don't prefer to shoot in bright sunlight, but when you're there the moment happens you have to go with it next it'll aspect about light you need to think about is the size of the light source so for instance, the son the sun is huge we can all agree on that but it's so far away it's a relatively very small light source so it has very chasing shadows and photographers in many cases like large light sources for very soft light back at the wave in arizona. This is one of my favorite shots from that morning and I shot this before the sun actually rose up above the mountain range and got on this now if I do ever have a gallery and put this up for sale, you know you're supposed to put a title on all your photographs the title of this photograph. Tell me what you think. I'm gonna call it bacon. Look, right now it looks like a big that's, a that's, a good, creative, live little bacon thing all right, and so that nice even light you can see the face very easy and so nice. Even light also works really good for close up photography. If you have an interest in doing macro or micro photography, even light is the way to do this. And so cloudy days in here in seattle are fantastic for working with macro subjects. We can see the detail. We don't have those harsh shadows in there and so cloudy days working in the forest on these little details works absolutely perfect. The next aspect, too, be aware of considering is the color of your light source. Landscape photographers are very aware that at sunset and sunrise, the color changes very, very quickly. The difference between this first picture and the second picture is just a few minutes, and this is why you need to be in the right spot at the right time fully set up. Hyper sensitive to every nuance change in the light that you see who that cloud moved a little bit it's going to change over here there's an opening over here I think it's going to break the colors are changing here and so being very, very aware and being prepared to be in the right spot and a lot of this goes into planning what time does the sun rise? Where am I going to be for these types of shots in this case down in the canyons it actually looks quite good right in the middle of the day it allows the sun to bounce down into the canyon walls and as it gets further and further down it's more and more intense in saturated and here's that little magic twilight time that I talked about before this is probably a half hour before sunset when there's just that little bit of color in the sky it's not pure black and the sunshine hasn't come over the horizon yet down in chile I did a bike tour through chile and argentina south america and as the sun came up we didn't see the sun until about ten thirty in the morning because it was coming up over the andes mountain range and in the morning there was this kind of blue miss that was just basically a reflection of the blue sky down there and this is a good time and this is this was shot pre digital, but this would be a good time where you don't want to correct for the white balance. You want to just take the natural blue of that area, and so sometimes you do have to be a little bit careful if I don't mind getting technical for just a second, dealing with the white balance on your camera. All right, next aspect of light is shadows where you have light, you often have shadows and with shadows, you add depth and dimension and this can really help out in many different photographs. This is something I was using quite a bit down in the slot canyons in utah, in arizona, and you, khun, just start to see new shapes and forms. I see some faces in there, and so those shadows are a good thing don't try to avoid the shadows, the cross country course, the home course for my team that I coach has a horrible finish line. When it comes to lighting, the runners go from shadows to sunlight, to shadows, to sunlight, to shadows. And so my goal is to shoot pictures in that three second window when they're in the sun, because everything that's in the shadows is going to become very, very dark, and so I'm using the shadows. To kind of hide everything else like in the second picture on the right, it's hiding the runner in front, it's hiding the run room back, your eye goes to what's brightest in a photograph. And so that's. One of the things to understand about how people look at photographs, what they ate we want to look at is whatever his brightest and you can use that to your advantage. So those are a few little tips on lighting. Hopefully, that helps. I have a feeling that this doesn't elicit a lot of questions because people want to ask simple things like what's the shutter speed, what's, the aperture and people love it. It's, great, all right, way will continue along that angle of you. All right, yeah, we're kind of talking about lenses here, and the first aspect of this is how big is your subject and how far away is it? And what do you wantto wanted to look like in the final picture? So these are baobab trees down in madagascar, and I love environments. I call these three d environments because you can walk anywhere you want. There is no ropes there's no gates you can walk right up to the tree and you can shoot it with the fish eye you can walk back a little bit and use the twenty millimeter lands you could walk back and shoot it with a five hundred millimeter lands. It all depends on what you want and it's going to change the relationship from the background to the foreground trees and you need to make an artistic choice, which is your license in this world of photography to figure out how big do I want that front tree versus how big do I want that back tree? A lot of times when it comes to the angle of you, I go back to the old thought process of cleaning up the clutter, having nice, clean, tight photographs with the penguins down in antarctica. I was trying to have penguins that were big enough that you could identify them rather than a salt and pepper. And so you want to be close enough so that you can identify them, but you want to show a lot of him. I'm not trying to show you every penguin that was there, I'd use a fish eye if I wanted to do that, I'm trying to show you the highest density possible angle of you choosing my subject size, I could have zoomed in with a really big telephoto lands, but humans can judge shapes very very easily in the shape that is probably the most identifiable is the human figure and so the human figure really doesn't need to be that big for you to go what's that thing down there and so I am purposely putting this very, very small using extremely wide angle lens here kind of being a little deceptive about how big this archway is in the wadi rum desert in jordan it's actually only about seven feet from the bottom to the top of this the haystack rocks down a along the oregon coast a lot of fun another three d environment where you get to be wherever you want to be you can set up your camera where if you want if you get back you could make all of these the same size but I wanted particular sizes in this and so that's just going toe position you where you want it to be next element of this is composition size of your subject in there and sometimes he won include those secondary elements is so this is where this whole seven steps it's not just one here one here a lot of them relate back to another and so we have our primary subject we have our secondary subject which helps position this place this and grounding having that secondary element out here helps out so composing the photograph with what's in the photograph using lines to frame our subject using the other elements in the background to kind of create a frame around our subject another fun element of using different lenses is compression and this is when you use a long telephoto lands. What happens is if you have two subjects they appear pretty close together from a long ways away with the telephoto lands and so you can make subjects that are somewhat distant apart seemed extremely packed together and close together as we see back with the penguins or in yellowstone. It may seem like this is a very, very large buffalo about to knock that car over, but the car's still about one hundred yards away in this particular case blue angels making a pass through seattle here last year bellevue I was miles away in the cascade mountains was many, many more miles away, so compressing those three elements was done with very long telephoto lands it's about a four hundred millimeter lens for those that air interested in that or a recent supermoon here in seattle. The goal for me in this setting up this shot was trying to get a map out and a compass. Yeah, I'm old school. I like doing things like that rather than on the on the ipad but I was finding a spot in seattle as far away from the space needle that I could possibly shoot it so that I could make the moon seem as large as possible so we're going from angle of you next up two point of view, I'll check back in with russ and just keep going on ahead hope we don't go too fast here, so point of view, where are you when you take this picture? And this is something we talked about back with the subject material, and I've been on a lot of photography workshops, and I see people that are walking around the field, and they're like, oh, this is really interesting in the they stopped right there, and they just they quickly get out their cameras if it's going to run away and many times it's not and a lot of times it's better just to leave your cameron the camera bag and really walk around and explore the subject, whatever it maybe, maybe it's a person that you need to go to with different environments to shoot or if it's who knows what? Well, in this case, let me just show you an example down in antarctica, there is this one particular iceberg that was about twice as tall as everything we had seen that day, and so we took a zodiac out to go kind of check it out, get closer to it see what's going on in this case, I'm trying to get some foreground elements in front of it and as we were sitting here, we're just kind of looking around to see what else is going on is there anything else that we can work with and in the opposite direction as our target iceberg? We saw something else that looked quite interesting so we said let's go check this out because it was an archway where we could frame up the other iceberg and so I shot this one and actually my favorite one is in a little bit closer and tighter here and so using that secondary element framing our main subject and so a little bit of compression going on here but choosing the right angle of you and then getting myself into the right position for this and there was really only one spot that you could be on our zodiac driver had a hard time kind of moving the motor around to keep us in just the right location at yellowstone national park. I've been there a couple of times and one of the first times I was there I wasn't there for very long and I remember that there was a really good spot to shoot the yellowstone falls and I went back about ten years later and I had to drive to every single viewpoint hung both rims to figure out where that spot was because I knew that there was one spot that was much better for viewing the false than any of the others and so you have to put that time in and that research to really find that best look location and that best point of view really varies from subject to subject. So back at the camel auction in cairo, if you can see between their legs, there's a very cluttered background here, this is one of the ugliest, nastiest, and if you don't mind smelliest environments, I've worked here glad that doesn't come through on the photograph, and so in this case, I'm getting down low, you'll notice that I am probably about neely in this case because I wanted to get their camel there, their neck x up where the skyline was so that you could see skyrocket so their heads became very identifiable shapes that you can see very easily. Another nice little place to go photograph is bryce national park, and it was so funny about this is I was there about ten years ago is well, and I was there for one evening and I was in the tent camping with my buddy and I was kind of looking at the map. They give you the local locations that you go, and I'm trying to figure out what I've never been here, and I hadn't done it any research about where to photograph the sunrise the next morning and there's a spot called sunset point and sunrise point like, well, they had to have called it sunrise point for a reason. I mean, then that just seem a little too easy, and I went out to sunrise point, it was filled with photographers everywhere, and as I watched the light come up and where everything was and I just said to myself, this is not the right location to be it and unfortunately I had to leave that day, and it wasn't ten years before I could get back and get myself back into the right location where I could see a vast majority of the valley. The other problem was that the sunrise point put your kind of right in the middle of the valley, and in this sort of situation, you need to move yourself away so that you can see what's going on. Sometimes you need to be in the middle of the action. Sometimes you need to get out of it so that you can shoot into it. One of my favorite silhouette shots is down at the bellagio hotel in las vegas, and I can't tell you how many bad shots I took leading up to this one here, and the problem that I think I had was I was trying to go for my clean shot idea that I've been talking about before, and you see this little point right here. That's, where I had my camera for about an hour, shooting pictures without the people in it, and it wasn't till I got frustrated that I really hadn't got anything good that I walked back to las vegas boulevard, and I just put the camera away, literally put the camera away and just watched with my own eyes, and then I was like, thinking, wait a minute, these people are kind of interesting, and so I set up behind everyone, and I think I got some funny looks from people walking down the street like, you know, there's people in your shot like, yeah, it's perfect moving left and right, you want to get that background positioned just right, so thinking about those secondary subjects and where you're going to stand toe line things up exactly as you want them, all right pointed you, another good one is the unique point of view, so trying to do something different than everyone else, I like teaching in workshops. I like attending workshops myself, but I hate shooting with a pack of photographers. There is nothing if if there is a group of photographers working in one location, I am going to be really desperate if I'm going to be shooting right with him, I'm going to figure out some different place to do something different, even if it's not that's why I want to do something different and so at the state cross country meet I'm taking a fish islands and I'm finding this way one particular place on the course fairly early on, where the runners are pretty packed and they're making this really tight hairpin turn and they're coming in really close because with a fish eye lens, you got to be right on top of your subjects in order for them to fill the frame, and I shot a lot of pictures, and the one thing I liked was the little starburst right here. And so that happens sometimes when you stop your lens down far enough and there is a subject that is just partially obscuring your light source and so that's that nice little extra element that could be a nice to add into a photograph sticking with the cross country theme. I wanted to get an unusual shot of our cross country team is they got together in this huge huddle right before their races. They do this big chance and I put a camera on a model pod and I stuck it over their heads and this was the shot that I got, and so I had to get the camera and pretty close I was using a little wireless remote system so that I could actually trigger the camera cause it was so far from my hands we're going to stay with the cross country theme here what I said earlier one of the first things that you look for in a photograph and it's not your thinking to look for this you just instinctively look for it is the brightest area the photograph in this trail here is extremely bright and somewhat distracting how can I change that by changing my point of view by getting down lower laying flat down on the grass getting grass stains on my pants in my shirt and look how much we've changed that bright area how much we've reduced that bright area by choosing a lower angle of view and I think this is a much more successful shot because we have that nice dark background and actually this light trail is very good for reflecting light back up on our subject there backlit right now and so they have a little bit of highlights on them which you're quite nice but this is just a natural reflector and so look for these natural reflectors out in the world all right does anybody recognize this photo? I was honored I got on the title page of photo with a portion of my image and so this is down at the salar day tony in bolivia in case anyone's interested its largest salt plane in the world and in order to get this photograph you've got to get down really close to the ground and so this is something you want to think about when you buy a tripod because I did use a tripod for this, and I wanted to try pot to get straight down to the ground, so sometimes you have arms that lean out or you can reverse the center post and there's a lot of little tricks that you can do with different tripods to get down low, but I'm trying to get an unusual perspective. I'm not just walking out and going snap, I'm getting right down into the ground, getting salt all over my knees and my shoes and everything out awesome same thing goes true up, but there are definite festival and so getting down nice and low in this case, I wanted to see a little bit of blue below the cups of the flowers. Here they stand out a little bit back down in the redwoods. There was this one tree that was hollowed out, and I kept backing up further and further into it, and I call this the hobbits view of the world. All right, so this glasses is not a technical class, but we will need to talk about it should be a four letter word for a lot of people and that's tripod, tripod, versatility, I've I've been in the camera shops, and I know how people buy tripods, and they kind of go in there like I'm supposed to get a tripod what's the least thing that I can get, that I could bring along with me that it's like, well, this one's two hundred dollars, and it's pretty sturdy one or this one, one hundred bucks. Well, you got anything smaller than that? You got anything smaller and windier than that aa lot of people kind of short change themselves on a tripod, they end up getting a tripod that they're not really happy with that doesn't really do the job for what they're going to dio and then they don't use it, and you need to buy something that you were going to use that fits your needs and one of the important things, as I was just mentioning before it's getting a tripod that can get very low to the ground. It's a very interesting perspective for a lot of different subject material. So this is back down on the salar, showing the texture of the surface, and it looks like ice, but it's actually salt and it's, not nearly as cold as it seems, getting down nice and low to the ground. This is something that you will never see from three feet up and above, and so you have to get down on the ground and get your camera right as low as possible to the ground so the tripod said I use typically do not have those center posts that move up and down because when you move those up it just becomes very unstable and so if you need to raise that center post up on your tripod that's you're doing it wrong that's all I can say doing it wrong I don't even use it in fact, on some of my taking him off so that there is no center post and so when you buy a tripod, how far up does it go without the center post extension? I recently invested a fair bit of change into a big tripod how biggest big it's so big that when I set it up I can walk underneath it I need so I had to go by I had to go to home depot to buy a two foot stepladder so that I could see through my tripod and it's because it allows me were more versatility and where I can shoot I was down in this is lower antelope canyon and there's a lot of people who know exactly where that is and as I'm walking through the canyon this right here didn't look good but there is something up there that looked good and I was able to step over here and step here and extend those legs just way down and I was shooting this and there was nobody else there, at least when I was there. That could have shot that because the tripods just won't fit in there. Here in seattle, there's. This really nice viewpoint, uh, over by the jose result bridge. And once again, back here at the right time of day with the dusk. You see that it's common theme in a lot of my city photographs. But what I didn't like was all these trees and clutter blocking the freeway down here. And the mistake I had made is I had gone there on what I thought was one of the best days of the year. And I took my medium sized tripod, not my large one. So I went back the following night with my large tripod, and I was able to get in a position shooting over about a six foot fence so that I could avoid some of those trees down here. And when I got the cameron that position, I realized that not only could I shoot this shot, but suddenly it opened up new possibilities for even wider angle shots to include mohr of this area. And after that, I was able to include mohr of the scene off to the left, and I was able to do a panorama stitch siri's of, I believe, two or three images here. Encompassing a larger area once again and it just wasn't possible with a short tripod and so think about those sorts of things of what you want to do when you were actually buying a tripod before we move excellent we have one from stacy and might be getting a little technical but I think it's okay for compressing images what is the optimum lens late for the results that you've been showing you mentioned four hundred millimeters but in this instance is bigger better well it really depends on the size of your subject and the distance you are from your subject and the various subjects in the photograph compression can be done with anything over a fifty millimeter lands and so there's an example of if you recall the pyramids and the camel writer that was shot with about an eighty millimeter lands and I think that there was some compression going on they're compressing the pyramids because those three pyramids they look like they're really close together those who've been to see them know that one of them is several hundred meters from the other one is a pretty far distance and so any telephoto lens will do but it becomes more pronounced the longer you get the problem with compression is you are also compressing junk in the air and so whether that's hes smoke fog, blurriness, heat waves, all that stuff is getting compressed and so I I like big lenses, but in some ways I don't like using them because it's not quite a sharp and so I think two hundred three hundred four hundred is a great place to be I've shot with a thousand millimeter lands, but you have to have really clear air for that to work fantastic! I think we have a question in class so beautiful, excellent, just just to go with that, john, I was just curious, like if you don't necessarily have the space or or the expense to be able to get these giant lenses, but you want that compression, do you recommend like a tele converter? Does? How well is that work or anything like that? Like tele converters are for those who don't know, there are ways to magnify a lens that you already have by usually one point for or a factor of two two times the rial general soft rule is you need a really good lands one thousand dollars or more in motorcade most cases, and so I've tried the cheap tell a converter on the cheap telephoto lens and it just doesn't work. You just end up with too much blurriness and so two hundred millimeter lands, three hundred millimeter lands is pretty affordable in today's world, and so you should be able to get good compression with the two to three hundred millimeter lands another one on the team of compression jesse powers when would be a time where we want to compress versus keeping the depth of field well, depth of field and compression are kind of two separate issues and in the compression shots what's happening is that you have two subjects and you're turning to compress them together because there's some sort of relationship between the first image in the second image and from there it's a bit of an artistic choice how much you want one subject in focus versus the second subject the general rule in this it's very very general is that the subject closest to the cameras going to be in focus in the subject in the background I'm thinking of the yellowstone shot of the buffalo crossing the street with the car in the background the buffalo were bison every terminology when he is that was it was in focus and the car was behind it was out of focus now you could stop down further to have them both in focus and that might be nice it depends on how much you're trying to draw attention to one subject or balance the two subjects that aaron the photograph so it's very much an artistic choice love it one more let's go from a dream ful when shooting people looking for that unique point of view when you get down like in the cross country running examples do you worry about distortion that's something you need to think about distortion is something that you're going to be concerned about with wide angle lenses because they kind of and I think distortion is a mist used term because distortion in a technical sense generally means a boeing of the lines so that you know, you're shooting a straight line and it's not getting right and I don't know and I don't know y and photography we don't have the right terminology for using a white angle and lens, and I call it stretching of the corners and so that's the distortion that you get from wide angle and yes, you do need to be concerned about that when shooting people, because if you shoot people with the twenty millimeter lens from a shoe lace height, they're going to look a little strange, but if you want that strangeness that's kind of one of those things that you can do and it depends on what your goal is in that photograph are you trying to make this person look attractive? Normal? Or do you try to make him look unusual and strange? And so then you're using those wide angle lenses up close fantastic think we're great to move on, ok? Next up, we're going to talking about exposure, and this is a really tough subject to talk about if you're not going to get into shutter speeds and aperture this's a challenging one, and so for those that are kind of new to photography, the camera's, the phones that you use, they need to read the light, we need to meet her the light to figure out how much light is coming in the camera and all cameras have a bias on that. They think everything in the world is eighteen percent gray and eighteen percent gray is halfway between black and white strangers that may be that is the case we're not going to get into it now that's a technical thing, we're not doing the technical thing, and so a photograph that has a significant amount of white in it is likely to come out too dark, and you're going to need to figure out, and this is not the class for me to teach you how to do it. You're going to need to figure out how to adjust your exposure to make it a little brighter. I'll give you a hint, exposure compensation will do it in a lot of the automatic mode, you'll have to look at your light meter and get it over to the plus side, because that means things are a little bit brighter, and sometimes we call these high key images because they're brighter than average and it's very difficult for standard cameras just to take these pictures in the program mode. Because they are so much brighter, or, as you'll see in some other cases, so much darker than other situations. If you have different media ring systems on your camera, you could use the center waited metering for the spot metering system because I don't care about the lighting levels inside this old bus. I'm looking at the light levels outside, and so this is a good case of shooting a test picture looking at the back of your camera, looking at your hissed a gram, we're not going to get into that now. Actually, I'll be doing the class after the lunch break that we get a little bit more into that, but looking and this is great thing about digital is now that you can, you should be able to nail these shots out in the field in two or three shots. I'm a big proponent of doing a test shot with the best that you think that you could d'oh and then going in and taking another shot. That's an improvement upon your first one silhouettes are definitely very tough to shoot with automated cameras, and this is where it's a big advantage to learn the manual settings on your camera so that you can go in under expose to get these silhouettes. One of the tough situations to shoot is the sunset, and you have this bright sun. Staring you down and your camera freaks out, because it's got too much like going on. And so a simple solution for that, for most people with most cameras, is to point your camera away from the sun press halfway down on your shutter release, which is going to lock the exposure in many cameras, but not all cameras. What you're trying to do is you're trying to lock the exposure other cameras, you'll have a button called a e l auto exposure lock, and that'll lock your exposure as you're holding the camera up here, get the sun back in the picture, and that will be a completely different exposure than just shooting the sun straight in one shot. One of the advantages of using a single lens reflex, or the new marylise cameras, is that you can add filters onto the camera, pointed, shoots the phones a little bit more challenging, if not impossible, in some cases for using filters and there's, not a lot of filters photographers use anymore with digital, but there are some that can be very, very important. The big one, for a lot of landscape travel photographers is the polarizing filter, and so this is a unedited photograph from monument valley, and you can see a lot of the haze, I told you were talking a moment ago about compression and when you shoot with a telephoto lens, it compresses all that junk in the air. Well, you can really see the junk in the air here. One way to get around that is with the polarizer. Take a look at what a polarizer does to this image. It makes the blue sky much more saturated, even the color of the rocks much more saturated, and it is actually cutting through a lot of the haze as well. And so if you like those really saturated dark blue skies, a polarizing filter will do the job now, there's a little number of tricks that we don't have time to get into on the polarizing filter, but this was taken up from our space needle in seattle at just the right time of day to get this nice, really saturated blue water and the polarizer was a key to that type of shot, another type of filter that a lot of landscape photographers uses. A split neutral density filter, the split grad filter split. Indy has a lot of little nicknames for, and the problem with a lot of landscape photography is that the sky is much brighter than the ground and you need to compensate by darkening the sky but letting the ground be justice light, and so these split neutral density filters. Well, darken the top half, and then they'll gradually decrease as they get down towards the bottom, and you can adjust where they are. And so, any time you see a photograph that has really did distinctive, good looking clouds on it. There's a good chance that the photographer used a split neutral density filter. These filters are normally square or rectangular in shape. They aren't once that you just screw in, because they have a horizon line that you need to adjust up and down depending on where the horizon is. In this case, the horizon is a little bit low up at marine lake in canada, it's a quite a bit high, and in this case, I'm actually stacking a polarizer to get that blue sky, as well as a split neutral density filter and that's the way that way, I'm able to hold in detail with the snow capped mountains in bright sunlight, as well as the foreground trees, which are still in the shadows. And so being able to do that, there is a few little tricks that photographers air doing in order to make their photographs look good. And so if you think you're just going to run up there with your phone and grab the same picture, it's not going to be quite as easy without those tools to help you out. Next up, when it comes to exposure, I need to bring back in that four letter word again, even if it's not four letter word, the tripod, the tripod is going to help you out with exposure in some cases and obviously this is going to help out for anyone who wants to do nighttime photography. So this is the world's largest adobe building in mali and I wanted to do a shot at night with stars and you are not going to do this hand held you have to have a tripod because it's about a thirty second exposure in this case working around that pre sunrise post sunset timeframe, you're definitely going to need a tripod. The tripod is one of those tools that photographers seemed to have very strong opinions on there's a lot of photographers who don't use tripods because it's not relevant to their type of photography and that's completely fine but for other types of photography it's a necessary tool that you use I tend to do a lot of landscape photography and it's absolutely necessary. Do I not do I like carrying it around? No, I like walking around free, not having to carry all this stuff, but in these cases I am taking tripods and one of those things again is being able to get down low and close to the ground so that I can get this in arches national park wanting to get these different fins and here I'm using compression another subject that we've talked about but using the tripod was critical because I needed a really slow shutter speed I was using remember what aperture I was out I was probably like f sixteen or f twenty two and I was down around one quarter of a second with a two hundred millimeter lands into a two hundred millimeter lands I am not going to be able to hand hold at a quarter of a second even though this is in not quite the middle of the day but it's you know well after sunrise and so I'm carrying a tripod around on the guy that looks like an idiot carrying a tripod around in the middle of the day because it allows me to do things that I wanted to be able to do otherwise so that was exposure so the next big section is focus quick question too we have dave twenty ten does john recommend a circular or linear polarizer who gonna get technical? You guys want to get technical for just a moment? We can save that for next? Well, I think we I think we have a little bit extra time simple so I recommend trying a linear polarizer on I would love for somebody to email me with corrected information but I've been I've worked in the camera stores and what happened is we use linear polarizer is back in the days of pre auto focus that's pre digital for those you young get out there and then when he had auto focus come around there was a bit of a glitch with linear polarizer is they didn't work with some of the auto focus cameras and they said, well you gotta buy these new circular polarize er's were like, well, there are three times as much money yeah you gotta buy these and so everyone's been recommending circular polarizer well, I kind of went back recently to see what happens if you use a linear polarizer on a current modern digital camera and I couldn't find any problems in theory linear polarize er's potentially could affect the focusing and what happens is that there's a ah linear there's a polarizing lands in the in the focusing system and if they match up incorrectly your camera won't have any information to focus on that's the theory but I haven't found that work and I've tested nightgowns and cannons and a bunch of other cameras and then someone else another reason that you were supposed to use circular polarize er's is because it would interfere with the meeting of the camera he would not get correct exposure information and so I tried it out with a bunch of different cameras and I didn't get any erroneous readings and so there's a number of polarizer is that I use our linear and I'm using them on a variety of cameras, and I have yet to see we're really negatively affects it now, it's still possible you could go out by a linear polarizer and for some reason on your camera, which I have not tested, it doesn't work well that's why I say test it if you can, but I've saved myself. A small little chunk of change by buying near polarizer is rather than circular in many cases, one more about polarizer actually thompson world can you use a polarizer filter or split nd filter on images with people in them? You could, and I'm trying to think of any warnings here polarize er's are generally outdoor filters, and so you're using them outdoors. The reason I'm hesitating on this is polarize ear's tend to, well, they're going to block reflections, and they tend to saturate everything and that's kind of what we don't want to do with people photographs we don't want to saturate the skin tones if you want to make someone look really bad saturate, bring the saturation level all the way up to ten or one hundred or whatever the number is and all the blood vessels will become really visible ends it's in all the imperfections in the face will become visible, and so for doing portrait photography, I normally wouldn't want to use a polarizer there's tons of exceptions though, but it wouldn't be my first instinct with the split neutral density filter if you are doing portrait photography no absolutely not if you're doing mohr of an environmental partridge where you're showing a person within a larger environment and that happens to be outside then that could be a very good use of it. And so once again this is a very selective use of these tools. All right, next up we're gonna be dealing with focus issues and there's a lot of things dealing with focus one of the things that is most unacceptable and photography is almost in focus and it's one of those things that a cz at least for me I can't I guess I can't speak for anyone else other than myself when I first started out and photography almost in focus was good enough, you know, if I almost focused perfectly it's good enough you know is everything else was going forward I almost nailed it and that's really unacceptable in your professional you're serious work that you're going to share with other people you can keep those photographs kind of tucked away somewhere buried on your hard drive, but those aren't the ones that you share with people where somebody goes oh, you missed the focus a little bit so focusing is very, very important and there's a lot of different aspects to it we're going to start with len's focusing just making sure that you're focusing correctly and there's a lot of things that are going on there's a lot of technical things that we're not going to get into in this class but a good example of where I almost made it was a situation where I captured a nice little hydro flip out on lake washington here in seattle and I gotta admit I was in the right spot was it the right time I had the right lens of the camera my finger on the shutter release and everything went off perfectly or so it seemed and as I took him home and I started looking at him closer and closer because I didn't get to really good look at it out the field as I look that really closely I'm like you know I think that boats a little out of focus and then I looked in the background and I think the homes air perfectly in focus and what happened is my cameras focusing points were not on the boat they were on the background and the boat kind of jumped up and the camera just didn't pick it up and track it and as I went through all of them they're all just terrible and they just forget him bull up don't let people sam you don't want to keep him you don't want to share him you may be really excited but just kind of throw it in the background ok they were beautiful mistakes that you almost made use it as a learning experience the only reason that made it into the slide show is to teach you not to do that we're all going to take out of focus pictures we're all going to make mistakes in the heat of the moment it happens tracking subjects moving as they're moving towards us most of the time our cameras are in in focusing mode where it focuses and it stops which works really good for a lot of different types of photography where our subjects are not moving radically towards us or away from us this is generally called continuous auto focusing different companies have different names that you will see being used for this and so you need to switch this over if you know you're going to be shooting action that is tracking towards you or away from you because this allows you to shoot a syriza photographs and that way you can pick later what was the best moment in that photograph and still be very clear if you're going to be tracking action photography that you have your camera in the right mode to do that and there's a lot of point and shoots that just don't do this phone's just don't do this mirror elice cameras for the most part are not very good at this in many cases they're starting to get better this is where you have a big advantage with canon, nikon and sony in other sl ours that do tracking in sports photography this is why sports photographers use thes type of cameras something else to be aware of is all cameras including your eyes have a minimum focusing distance sometimes it's here sometimes it's out here and then when you get older it starts growing longer and longer and longer until it reaches beyond your arms. But all lenses have a minimum focusing distance as well and so on someone's is you're just not going to be able to focus right down two feet in front of the lands and it really varies from lens to lance. Some lenses have special macro moz that you can go into, but if you really truly want to get close, you need a macro. Lance nikon calls these micro lenses and they can go by different names, but they're very helpful when you want to get up really close because there is a whole another world if you're willing to explore things in small details and it's a lot of fun because you can be in an environment that on the big scale of things doesn't seem very interesting and you maybe don't have the best lighting, but when you go down to the small scale you have lots of time and things that you could work with there next up when it comes to focus great depth of field and so this is where we're gonna have everything in focus, and this is something that you have to reserve for times when everything in the frame kind of works together. And so there are times, and this is a lot of landscape photography where you need to master the skills and the lenses in the technique to get the subject that's one foot in front of the land and that which is a mile away in focus in short, it's going to be stopping your lens down f sixteen twenty two, it does vary a little bit, sometimes they're special lenses you can use, we're not going to get into that, but having this great depth of field when it all is all looking good in front of you. And so this could be very good in photographs where you want the person's eye to move around the photograph. Sometimes we want our viewers of our photographs to kind of go boom right there, you know, on someone's face or someone's eye. In some cases, we wanted to explore the photograph and be intrigued by different sections of it. How one section relates to the other and so stopping those down stopping the lens is down, and in all of these cases, I'm using a tripod. In order to get this type of depth of field, you're just not going to get this type of depth of field hand held in a lot of situations it's possible to some degree, but if you want to do it right, you should be using a tripod, keeping everything in focus and that's just one technique. Of course, the other side of the coin is going with shallow depth of field and there's a lot of different ways to make this happen, but the great thing was shallow that the field is you are the director of your photograph and you get to direct the eyes of the people viewing your photograph. What do you want to look at? What do you not want to look at in a photograph? Areas that are brightness draw your attention, areas that are in focus, draw your attention so I know your eyes are going to go right here because that is what's in focus and working with really shallow depth of field. I'm having a bit of a debate with myself about shallow depth of field, because on one hand, I go through the forums in many different websites, kind of looking at people talking about fast lenses and shallow depth of field and I get the feeling from time to time that people use shallow depth of field as a crutch you know if you can't control your background you use a shallow depth of field which blurs it out, but it is a very useful tool nonetheless and it's one that I like using and I think you know, most photographers are going to appreciate having at least one fast lens that you can shoot shallow depth of field because that's one of the unique things about more serious photography that you can't do with a point and shoot in a phone is shoot nice shallow depth of field and so these examples are coming from lenses that air f two f one point four at their maximum aperture in this case and so you could just I could have shot this with maximum depth of field here, but it draws your attention it makes you look at the photograph a little differently by having the shallow depth of field. This is really nice when you have a cluttered background that really doesn't help your subject at all and so this is actually trees in the background. This is a pretty long telephoto lens this is probably about a five hundred millimeter lands and they those longer telephoto lenses have very shallow depth of field, especially when you're focusing on small subjects relatively close and so they kind of create their own very nice background all right, so the next area of focusing to deal with is dealing with everything being sharp and so forth is dealing with fast shutter speeds as a photographer you should be intimately familiar with all shutter speeds you should know it forwards and backwards better than you know the alphabet all right, so you when you see something happening you should immediately be able to know I'm probably going to need this shutter speed and you should be within one or two shutter speeds of that and so stopping some birds in flight at around one one thousandth of a second not only catching little fighter in the air but the water droplets around the dog in the air using very fast shutter speeds to stop that action. So it's very sharp and clear and easy to see and so fast shutter speeds are really nice for high speed action like this so that we could freeze the's moments in times and this is something that really no other art forms I can do. This is really unique to photography because in video there would be a very nice video of this eagle grabbing a fish out of the water but the still photographs allows us to study that intimate moment for a long period of time running to water and then down in the panton al five hundredth of a second stopping human motion action sports dance and like everything in photography the ying and yang that that should be my next class the union yearning of photography because there's a lot of opposites that we dio and so using slow shutter speeds is another tool just like using fast shutter speeds so here's probably the slowest shutter speed and the slide show this is about a five hour exposure. This is back in the days of film and just lining up a camera before I went camping what went to bed and just left it open all night long for the most part using slow shutter speed of probably about fifteen to thirty seconds here and I did what might be considered a mistake, but I did it on purpose and that's I zoomed the lens as I was shooting the exposure which caused kind of the funny lines there thirty second exposure down on the oregon coast that's not fog or missed that's just water ruling in and out and so using these slow shutter speeds it's kind of fun because you don't know exactly what you're going to get in the final shot. This kind of goes back to the days of film where you shoot with the best of intentions and then you look at the results what later and you see what works and what doesn't work and sometimes your ideas do and sometimes they don't and so getting these slow shutter speeds of waterfalls and rivers you're going to want to be doing that around one second half second quarter second ten seconds, kind of in that general realm of the shutter speed range. Now, using those slow shutter speeds you can employ another technique called panic and panning is any time where you are taking the camera and you are following the subject and generally that's what you do if you're shooting something that is moving past you very rarely where you go ok, run through now and as they come right in front of you, go click once not what you do for most of your going to be tracking the subject all the way through, and generally the best time for panting let me line up on our camera right here in front is that you want to shoot him as they're kind of headed towards you once they're moving away from you that's when you can stop shooting, so you want to shoot justus, they're approaching straight in front of you and that's probably going to be a really good spot and so that's, where I'm shooting these types of shots as they're moving around and they're coming in right in front of me, so I'm shooting straight profile right on them, and this happens pretty quickly you don't have many chances, and when you do these panning shots, trust me, you're going to end up with a lot of bad shots, or at least I do there's a lot of throwaways and the keepers are ones that seem to stand out very, very quickly because there's they're ones that have a clear area of sharpness they were weren't that's the point where you were in perfect harmony with your subject and you were moving the camera at exactly the same pace, and on a lot of these shots, you're just going to get a blurriness because you were just mismatched in your movement with the subject and that's. Why you need to be able to shoot a lot of these to get the good ones because you're trying to get as much detail on your subject as possible and blurring the background, and this is kind of in lieu of having a really shallow limbs, you can get that soft background using a different technique and it's kind of fun, because once again we don't see this in video and other types of art forms this natural movement. And so this is panning motion can be a lot of fun. I love getting a situation where I've got like these carts coming up and down every minute, and I can shoot him over all day long as long as I have time there when you have just one moment to shoot one thing it's very risky to try to get a panning shot because they're very low percentage shot. By the way, a dream full says pending is so hard I love him admitting toe having trouble with, you know there is it's, tough and there's just no getting around it. All right? So the final little step with this is tiny and timing is something else it's kind of unique to photography compared to video and different types of art forms. And so when exactly do you press the shutter? And, of course, the first and obvious answer to this question, what is the peak moment? What is the best moment? And in order to understand the peak moment, you often have to experience your subject and learn about your subject, which means usually a little bit of time and exploration. In the case of the tax saying monastery in bhutan, it was being there for about a half an hour and watching this flag move around in the wind in different ways and waiting for it to be blown up to the very peak point that jump right at that peak of that jump where there is action going on that moment where those two men came and shook hands was a special little moment that lasted about two seconds, that was the peak moment. Peak moments in nature when this fog bank comes down on this hillside and you can see the fog bank it's very thick but it breaks for just a moment to where we can see the trees and then it fogs back up again was just the right moment the moment when that whale is as far out of the water as possible this perfect moment when the guy driving the motorcycle is right by all the colored clothing the gentleman behind them is in just the right area for timing another element to think about his gestures and so this is going to be very important for people photography back at the cross country race is this photograph and this photograph were taken within one half of a second think about the different story that this tells about this person in that given half a second of time and so really being very critical I do a lot of running photography sorry for you with running photographs, but I think hopefully you can use this in other ways. One of the things that I found is photographing runners who are gliding in the air look very graceful runners who are kind of in that power toe off stage look very strong what's the message you're trying to portray about your subject one of the things we look for more than anything is the face what is going on with that face and so in these sports and action shots, of course I'm using a motor drive because I can't I can't individually pick these moments out myself. I would like to say that I picked that moment out, but I'm shooting a motor drive, and this is where editing comes in looking at your photographs and judging which one of these do I want which one is better? Which one is portraying the emotion that I think fits this situation? So in these three shots here, one of the things I don't like is kind of this awkward moment where the legs look very strange, it's not a very graceful nor powerful stance, and so I'm going to get rid of that one. Now these both have the same kind of leg position, but the one that I prefer is on the left here we can see the arms a little bit more naturally, we can see her just a little bit better. One of my favorite pictures from india is in varanasi, and for me, the little thing that makes this photograph for me is the one gentleman in the front of this boat pushing off because that's, a gesture we can all identify, we know what that would feel like putting that stick in the mud and pushing forward a little bit gestures and the animals, and so in this left hand photograph, you can see how the back legs slightly overlap and it's just a little bit nicer to clearly see all the legs and it's just a subtle, very slight timing difference between those two photographs, and so you have to be ready because things change quite frequently and you have to be ready for all those different gestures. The slight rays of the arm adds a little bit more drama to it that mother seal coming over, too check with her baby that one little moment their noses are almost touching is that perfect moment. I shot a bunch of pictures, hundreds, thousands, hundreds of pictures of hummingbird and this is the only one where it's back was arched quite like this, and then I got the bonus of the tongue sticking out. The other aspect of timing that's important and you've heard me refer to this before is the best light. What is the best light toe work under if you come to seattle, you got to go to carry part because that's kind of the standard place to get the classic seattle shot, but you come there in the middle of the day, you're not going to get the best life you want to come there in the evening as the sun is setting over the mountains and it starts getting warmer, stick around till dusk. Which is a great time because then you get this nice balance if you get a clear day and you can see mount rainier there's this balance between the light of the space neil and all the buildings and the sky being in the right place at the right time for sun sets out in nature, sometimes you're missing dinner, you've got to be out there at the right time of day, spot a light in africa, illuminating our zebras and down in the slot canyons. Actually, noon time is a great time to go down into the canyons because you get the spotlight shining straight in on it in order to get the timing right for some subjects that are happening very, very quickly. It's nice to have a motor drive three frames per second is where a lot of the basic cameras are. If you want to do sports, you want to get up into the seven, eight, ten frames per second because action happens so fast you can't predict when that best moment is going to be, and so no wind to turn your motor drive on and just know when to go for it when laying down those pictures because you just don't know when that best moments going to me. In some cases you could end up with a couple of moments that are just better than all the others now this does require a bit of editing time you've got to go back I used adobe light room and I'm quickly going through when I'm marking a bunch of images for deletion that just weren't the right moment and on some important events when where when our team goes to the state championship meet I shoot a lot of pictures there is no restrictions I'm so glad I am shooting digital because what happens here is I shoot as much as I can and I will I will weed through it later in these cases because there's bound to be some best moments and that is definitely helped by the motor drive when you think about the seven elements one's nice but try to get as many of those selling seven elements as possible and so in this case one of my favorite shots from zion national park thinking about what's important in this particular shot well if we were to start with the subject material this was the most interesting set of rocks that I had found in about two miles of hiking up and down the river the lighting was taking place when it was nice even lighting the angle of you really wasn't that big of issue to deal with I just wanted to get him in the frame we could do other things with it, the point of view was critical because I had three completely different sets of rocks here that I wanted to get lined up. I needed a tripod in order to get the exposure, and I needed that long shutter speeds to get the flowing of the water time he wasn't too critical. I could come back any day for the night three weeks and shot the exact same picture here in seattle, we have kind of an unusual library, so let's, take a thing, take a look at what is going on here, and so in this case, we have a pretty good subject to start off. With the time of day of the lighting, you'll notice that we have that blue sky in the background so it's that little ten minute window when things are very good, the angle of view in order to get these lights needed a reasonably wide angle lens. The point of view, obviously getting directly in the middle of this walkway was very important. Exposure was a little tricky at night because I had to use the tripod, maximum depth of field, and then the timing kind of goes right back to the light, and I think we'll do one more, and then we can kind of jump to the end of the keynote so one of my favorite shots from down on south georgia three penguins well, anyone who's been to my classes knows that I have a little thing for penguins. They're just great to photograph and so they're going to make great subjects for sure the lighting, that's. Not that big a deal in this case, the angle of you getting them nice and tight. In the point of view, does it look like I'm standing up? I'm looking up to this penguin, I am flat down on the ground, my lens is completely on the ground. Exposure was actually pretty easy in this case. I'm using a very shallow depth of field of three hundred millimeter, two point eight lands and the timing right when they scratch their butts that's the good photograph. And so I think that's a good way to leave this class right there, right on that line, thank you very much. You have left us no longer scratching our heads. We can now focus on scratching our bus. I don't know why I just said that apologized, everyone.

Class Description

This is a visual and non-technical class which explains the simple steps of creating great photos. Yes, shutter speeds and apertures can be important, but this class focuses on all those other elements that are part of the creative photographic process.

Filled will lots of photographic examples this class is perfect for beginners with point and shoots, or advanced shooters looking to refine their craft.

Reviews

douglas brown
 

I'm surprised the rating for this class is not 100%. Like all of John Greengo classes, it's outstanding. I would certainly give it 100% without hesitation. John is one of the very best teachers at Creative Lilve.

dennis hartman
 

He went over the very basics of taking a picture. Since my Contax days of film it has been a long time to be out of the hobby. This course was a kind reminder and a good review which helps kick start the my desire to reenter photography as just a hobby. Great stuff