Core Photo Ingredients: Clarity
We're going toa talk about core ingredients of a photograph we've got what I have kind of dubbed clarity we talk about context and talk about light we're going to talk about composition and I think the best way that I can kind of get you guys thinking about a photograph outside of a photograph that makes sense is let's let's think of it as this project that we're going to build or uh we're gonna make dinner and we have kind of all of these ideas concepts things that were going to put into our meal how we're going to build this project uh that's essentially the way I build a photograph ok, so this is kind of the a staple of the photograph I guess that's how I would describe it we're not we're not talking about seasoning those ingredients yet we're talking about those core ingredients you know we're going to have chicken for dinner uh jim just told me that we're going to have a greek salad for dinner so these air the basic components you know what's the basic component of a salad let us ...
what's the basic component of ah photograph like think along those lines right? So core ingredients clarity again like I said, I'm going to define things and I'm gonna highlight the elements of even that definition that kind of means something to me so when we think of clarity, what do we think about as photographers, we immediately think about focus right? And I don't want you to think about focus yet where you think about focus tomorrow morning when we talk about here uh, what we want to talk about clarity is a subject being easy to see ok quality of being certain were definite remember in the last session I was talking about clarifying an idea in my head figuring out what the subject is and then hitting my viewer over the head I'm being the translator, right? So here we are really going to be we're really starting to become the translator. Okay, so clary where's, my subject what is my subject? Have clarified the meaning of this photograph to you right off the bat, right? The foreground elements the rims, the tire, the cranks they immediately tell you that you're looking at a mountain biking photo, but is there anything else in this photograph that then leads you further into it? Anybody see it? Way dio right right there in fact, my wife being framed within the equipment, right? So I see this is kind of a mountain bike shrine in cow colorado that people just hang all their broken bits and pieces from their bikes on this kind of garden of trees in this area, and I'm like, who subject matter, right broken stuff, live stuff so we get this kind of duality between the rider whose, you know, in the process of breaking stuff we'll talk about my wife and I, her ability to crash she's really, really good at that, uh, very soon. But and she breaks stuff. She puts a gear in this, right? Okay. So again, clarify my subject. Okay. What's, my subject here, here it is. Truly the thing that's clear, right? It's in focus. The rest of the photograph is kind of blurry. Ok, do we know what it is? We may not really colorful building. What does it do? You know? What is it? It's a it's, a lifeguard station on venice beach. Shot with the iphone. Got really low, my phone sitting on the sand. You can see my foreground, the foreground sand in front of me, and then the focus becomes truly on the lifeguard tower itself. Now we'll talk about processing tomorrow as well. Ends when I processed the image, I did some blurring around it to further blur out. Because the iphone doesn't have the ability to really change, I'm sure there's an app for changing aperture on an iphone. Uh, but for the most part, you know your fixed with its operation, and so I don't have the ability but I know that it's a two point eight lens so I know that it's going to be shallow depth of field if I get really close with my lens and into my subject matter have I clarified the meaning of this photographed you well actually I think he's getting hurt right now by landing on the top two of his bike but he's about to go off of this little deal and crash as well so and note the expression right we immediately as human beings react to other human beings and this is the coolest thing about shooting adventure sports for me is I get to relate to all these different people who have different facial expressions different kind of lifestyles and different ways of riding and he's like I'm going to try this thing I'm going to try this thing and as soon as he tried it he lost his balance a little bit ended up riding off of it but I was there at that given moment I'm like ok, I'm ready go and he goes and immediately I got that that facial expression so to me that shot successful right way all relate you know in shooting wildlife my number one thing eisen focus for any animal I don't care what that animal is if you blow the eyes the focus on the eyes you have blown the election regardless of subject matter okay and that kind of goes with me and humans too is if I'm going to shoot a portrait of somebody or if I'm going to shoot a close up shot of somebody in one of the adventure sports them shooting right my focus has got to be on that I because we as human beings connect to everything and everyone based on our eye contact right that's where we start from there could be the handshake etcetera but we relate so what's what's the subject here we're not questioning right? Okay, this is a uh, red fox I think it's not a red fox it's in patagonia and again in the environment in which these guys live you watch what they're doing and if you watch what their their behavior you can then adjust how you photograph them and get into the positions based on their behavior and that's what I do in adventure sports I am adjusting the way I photograph based on what that person in front of me is doing, we know that riding in puddles makes us wet it's not a great experience when you're shooting it it's even worse because you're getting covered in water but the cool thing now and again clarifying subject do we we're not we're not question anything here right it's about the writer and is about the water we further interpret the other things that are going on cool thing about digital I never used to be able to stop the action this way with film right? So digital has allowed us to create things that we never thought possible and that's kind of the focus of tomorrow is ok we've kind of this vision we've got all this creativity we've got all this kind of fuel now we've got this device that is going to hinder all of that so we have to learn how to use that too this was actually it looks like sunrise but it's actually sunset and we got home from skin and my daughter's like I want to go back out ski samore let me back out so she was actually kind of leaning against the window and I saw the shop I was like that's kind of cool can you put your hands higher because she was like leaning against it like this and she's oh yeah sure and immediately there's kind of this connection between somebody wanting to be in the outdoor environment right? We all see this as an inside looking out shot going talk about viewpoint today too so a moment you know that I can react with that I can work with I'm going to seize that day essentially so again subject what is it it's the relationship of the girl and the outside you guys don't need to know that she's my daughter right? We know what he's doing where he's doing it right making tea snowing freezing cold in the parking lot of mount baker and I actually pre conceived this idea because I saw it happen earlier that season and I was like, you know that'd be pretty cool if we could kind of set that up but I wanted tio again I want the shot to look like it's a moment in time that wasn't orchestrated right but I have to orchestrate it somehow because I have to have a subject they're doing it you know intentional one hundred percent why this is a blower powdered and when it's the snow is like this and it's cold and it's there's a ton of new accumulation on the ground you feel like you're in a white room right? So I intentionally pulled my subject over to the side of my frame almost leading out of the shop and it took me like ten tries skiing down to get it before I could get it in exactly the right position and that's something else that I can talk about is I try and get everything in camera I try not to crop after the fact and it's a very simple kind of equation for me as to why I do that is if I spend seventy five hundred dollars on a camera that she's twenty megapixels do I really want to throw away ten megapixels because I've just spent seventy five hundred dollars on a camera that she's twenty megapixels so as much as I could get it in camera I'm looking for that in camera think are there times that I crop after yes of course because there are times when the subject and the action happens after the fact right so intentional but notice our subject is super tax sharp it's about him we get with the snow falling off of him that this is kind of a white room day right? It is up to his head and that's you know skiers rejoice when it's like this again scary element of being in the in the back country how do I get that I'm standing on the edge of something that drops off by five hundred thousand feet and we have to climb up this to get to where we're going so I climb up first and then my two athletes climb up behind me I'm the guy freaking out at the beginning like oh my god what if I can't get up this to get the shot that I'm really truly wanting which is the shot of looking down on that and again from that perspective point right I want to change people's perspective I don't want to just give you the shot of them climbing up on on you know a sideways frame shot we're shooting them from below those air kind of the obvious choices so how can I go beyond that obvious choice again? Is there clarity here? Yes okay so here's a little example of how we can change that clarity. Ok, very narrow depth of field focuses on the guy working on his wife's bike and focus on the wife spike right there's kind of this duality husband, husband, wife relationship. Even their wife is not present. What's in the foreground. Pbr baby, what is almost every mountain biker do when they're working on their bikes, they drink beer. I do it almost exclusively as well, right? His brand is pbr now right now, it's about him, right? What happens if I make it about the beer? A completely different subject, same exact scenario. So all of a sudden I'm thinking about the way these things happen and the way they happen in reality, right? Kind of cool. So think about that when you're in the field. Now all this, and you see how difficult this task in front of us is it's, not like, oh, well, I could just do that this way. No, because you have to think about so many different extraneous elements before you actually can make something happen.