One Hour Photo - Colby Brown
Hello everybody, my name is John Greengo, and welcome to One Hour Photo. This is the very first of one hour specials that we're gonna be putting on once a month here. And this is kind of a bonus video to go along with the fundamentals of photography class. As you know, in the fundamentals, I have my very elaborate keynotes, that takes us through a lot of the fundamentals of photography, and I think that's really important for anyone wanting to get to know photography, and getting to know their cameras to know that skill set. But there's a lot of other things that can make you a good photographer, besides going out and actually shooting. And so I wanted to produce a one hour show where we could get together once a month, and I could take your questions, we could take a look at your photos, and maybe have some other fun along the way. And so what we're gonna be doing in this very first version of the One Hour Photo, is we've got 10 questions, and these are questions that we have pulled f...
rom the previous class, as well as the Facebook page from Creative Live, questions that you have about cameras, and photography. I wanna go through and give some answers to those. And then, for this first episode, I'm really happy about this, we have a special interview with Colby Brown, who's done some classes here at Creative Live, and we're gonna be talking to him, looking at his photos, and talking about how he got to where he is now, in the world of photography. And he's got some great images, so it's gonna be fun to talk about how he created some of those. And maybe some advice that he has for all of you. And then he's gonna stick around, and we're gonna look at some of your images in a photo critique section. And we're gonna talk about what we like, what we don't like, and maybe most importantly, what we would do if we were in those situations, and we were wanting to try to get that type of photo. Would I use this lens, would I move a little bit to the left, or whatever those things may be. And so I think this is a really helpful tool. A helpful way of getting better. Just looking at other people's work, and then going through what worked and what didn't work. And so that's what we'll be doing in the third section here of the photo critique section. So to start with, what we're gonna be doing is looking at some of your questions. I did get lots, and lots of questions and in the actual class I only get time to answer one or two questions, per section. And so this is a chance for me to go through, and look at a bunch of other questions. I've been teaching photography, and I've been in the world of photography for decades now, and so I know these questions come around quite a bit, and so I've picked off ones that I think are gonna be very valuable to a lot of different people. So, first up is where do I find the histogram on my camera? I have a Nikon d5300. So, just kind of as a word of warning, we're not gonna be able to always address very specific camera issues in this class, 'cause this is only gonna apply to Nikon, but I thought I'd throw this in here, because Nikons are a particularly frustrating to me, because they don't allow you to turn on the histogram until you dive into the menu system. You need to go into the playback menu under display options, and there will be a check box, so that you can turn on the histogram. So menu, the display menu, under the playback menu, and turn on the histogram option. And then when you go back to play... You play back your image, on the back of the camera there is usually a four-way, up, down, left, right controller, and I believe on most Nikons if you go left and right, you'll go forward and backward through your images, and if you go up and down, you'll cycle through the different information tabs. So you do have it on that camera, you have to turn it on, and then as you cycle through your images you would just simply go up or down to look at that additional information. Next question, talking about lenses, do you recommend to stay with the brand of camera you have? So, for all the manufacturers they, of course, recommend that you stay with the own brand of lenses. And so if you have a Canon, they recommend you stay with Canon lenses, but there's a lot of other manufacturers out there that make some interesting options. And myself, I own, predominately, the name brand lenses for that brand of camera. But that does not mean that's the only lenses I'll have. Sigma, for instance, as of lately, has been putting out some really, really nice, high-quality lenses. I have their 5104 for the Canon system. And I absolutely love it, I think it's better than the one that's offered by Canon right now. And so Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, those are all some pretty major manufacturers that make auto-focus lenses. But there's other manufacturers. Zeiss, and Vogitlander, and many more we don't have time to go into. And if you find it a better value, if you like the way it works, I would say it's probably not gonna be any sort of problem at all. It's not gonna damage your camera. There is a case, from time to time, where some of these lenses don't have the right chip, or the right information in it, and there is some focusing problems. Some of the older Sigma lenses were notorious not working on brand new cameras from Nikon, and Canon, because they didn't have the right electronic information. They would then fix it on warranty, and so there is that one little slight precaution that you need to be aware of. But in general, whatever works works in my mind. What is the best lens for food photography? I'm using a Canon 70D. Well, food photography is not my expertise, but I know the size of most plates of food, it's not too big. I think a good place to start is probably a macro lens, so that you can get in really tight, like if you wanted to show, you know, a baby tomato, full frame on your camera. A macro lens will allow you to get in, but it also allows you to focus at a greater distance. And so if you're just trying to document the food, I think a macro lens would be the best lens. But if you're trying to do, maybe more lifestyle food, like you wanna show a plate of food, at a restaurant, and you wanna have a little bit of the restaurant in the background, maybe a little bit blurry, you could be using a slightly wide angle lens. Full frame equivalent of a 35, or a 28 millimeter lens. You probably don't wanna get too crazy into the ultra-wide category. And so, this can be very easily done with your kit zooms, and your very basic lenses, but if you wanna get close up details, that's when the macro lens would come in. I have a lot of Nikon questions here. I have a Nikon DX 3300, I have the DX18-55, and the 55-200, so that's the standard zoom, and the telephoto zoom. I'm considering a used Nikon 35 1.8, will that be a good choice to take on a cruise? Well let me forget the last line for the moment. With those two lenses I can almost always recommend the Nikon 35 1.8, I think it's a great lens that gives you an option that you don't already have. And so, if you want a lens that has a faster aperture, that can be very good under low light conditions, that 35 is a normal, standard angle of view, and that 1.8 aperture is... I'm not gonna do the math right now, but it's about four times faster, letting in four times as much light, than your zoom lenses. Now, will you be using that on a cruise? I've been on a number of cruises, and I don't think that you're gonna get a lot of use on the deck of the boat with a 35. If you're wanting to shoot pictures maybe in the dance hall, or reception area, it might be kind of nice for that. But when you stop and you go into towns, like I've been on a cruise ship that goes in, you know, through Italy, and Croatia, and you have all these neat little dark walkways, that's when the 35 might be really nice. Especially if you get tired carrying around all your gear, and you just wanna throw one simple lens on your camera, kind of force you to think, and work in a certain style, I know a number of photographers that are completely happy taking their camera, and a standard lens with them, as they walk the streets. And so I think it's a great third option. I... It depends on where you're gonna want to use it on the cruise, but I like that three lens kit option there. How do I get sharp photos in low light conditions? Any time I bump up the iso, and shutter speed, the picture is grainy. Well this could be a complicated, long answer here, but I'm gonna try to keep it as short as possible. The first thing to do is you need to figure out what is the slowest shutter speed, that'll work for what you're doing. And this is gonna come down to what type of action are you shooting, and how steady you can hold the camera. Lets just say for the moment you're photographing dancers on the stage. And they're running around, and jumping, in that case you're gonna need 500th of a second. But maybe if you don't take pictures while they're running and jumping, and you do it more when they stop, and they pose, you could back that down to 250th of a second, or a 125th, or maybe even a 60th of a second. So it depends a little bit on the type of shot that you're trying to get. And so you don't wanna get an overly fast shutter speed. It's the slowest shutter speed that does the job that you need. And so, it's not the shutter speeds that are really gonna cause the problem there. So that is kind of getting you set up correctly. When you bump up the iso, all cameras get noisier. And it's just the fact of the way the sensors work on the cameras. Each camera's gonna be a little bit different. My current camera, once I get over 3200, it starts not looking so good, but I remember back in the earlier days of photography, once you got over it started to look pretty bad. Cameras with larger size sensor, cameras that are more current, are typically gonna do a little bit better, and so you might look at potentially, some of the cameras that have larger sensors, or might be newer. But first, I would take a look at that shutter speed, and make sure that you're making the correct choice there. Also, you can also throw in the little idea that if you have a faster lens, you won't need as high of iso, so there's a lot of different options on a way to attack this problem. But good question. How do you recommend testing your iso limits on your camera? Do you use certain lenses, or is it different with each... With different lenses. And so as far as your iso goes, that's not going to matter from lens to lens. And so when I get a new camera, I do wanna see how good it is at different iso's. And despite... There's lots of companies, and websites that do testing, I kind of wanna do my own test, just to see how it works for myself. I'll set my camera up, on a tripod, on an object that is stationary. I'll be very careful to make sure that I am focused exactly right on, so I'm usually using live view, and manual focusing. But I make sure that I'm focused properly, and then I just shoot a series of photos, at all the major iso's. 100, 200, 400, 800, on up. I download 'em, I look at 'em, in my software program, I usually use light room. And then I look at 'em at about 100%, and I look at 100, and it's usually really clean. 200, 400, 800's looking pretty clean, and then you start noticing the noise coming in. And what I do is I just kind of remember when does that noise start to really show itself, and then when does it get so bad that it is really impacting the quality of the images. And for a lot of the cameras out there these days, that top iso most people feel comfortable shooting is somewhere in the 3,200, to iso 12,800. But it all depends on a case to case basis. What do you think about using auto iso, and manual mode, only iso changes to balance the exposure. Well, as many of you know from my class I'm not a big fan of auto for anything in the exposure world, but there is always exceptions to the rules. In general I don't like using auto iso. If my subject is under a relatively fixed, or non-changing light... And so, lets just say I'm focusing on a soccer game. And they're out playing in the field, it's outside, and the light's not changing. I don't want the fact that my camera has panned over to an area where there's some dark trees for the camera to go, uh-oh, it's dark, lets change the iso on you. It doesn't need to be doing that, 'cause that's just in the background. And so if it's a fairly stable situation, and stable in the terms of the light changing, I wouldn't wanna use auto iso. If you are in a little bit more of a wild changing environment, maybe you're doing bird photography, and the bird flies from bright sun, into the nest in the shadows. And you need to have very different settings as it goes from the sun to the shade, that would be an excellent time to incorporate auto iso. It's a little bit of a matter of personal preference. Some people leave their cameras in auto iso all the time, but I like to be in manual, just to be on top of all the settings on my camera. I'm thinking about upgrading my camera in the next 12 months. Should I start looking at a mirror less? I currently have a Nikon D5300. Well first off, the D5300 is a relatively current, very good camera. I think you're capable of getting very nice results out of that. If you are looking at a new camera, yes, you should of course look at the mirror less. There's a lot of options out there. There have been more mirror less cameras introduced over the last two years, than there has been SLRs, and so there seems to be more, and more options in the mirror less world. And I have no doubt that in 10 years from now, most people will be shooting mirror less, pretty much all the time. I think there'll still be SLRs for quite some time, but there's going to be a trend going that direction. Now that doesn't mean you should rush out and sell your SLR, I have two of 'em, and I have no plans on selling them any time quick. But the industry is going more and more towards mirror less. They are attacking each of the problems we've had. They've had poor quality viewfinders, which are very good, and completely workable now. If you are doing a lot of sports photography, I would stick with your SLR right now, the mirror less cameras are just starting to come up on par with your intermediate level SLRs, but they haven't surpassed it at this point. At some point I think they may. I don't know when that's gonna be, and so it's an option. Look at what's out there, see if there's something that fits your needs. I'm looking to get a better camera. Should I buy a top of the line crop frame, or a basic full frame body? Okay this is a dilemma a lot of people have, because once they go through my talk on sensors, and I talk about how great full frame sensors are, some people are saying, well maybe I should skip the beginner step, and get full into what I want to get into. And this is gonna depend a little bit on what you were doing, and how much money you have to spend. The honest truth of the matter, and I do say this in my class, is that full frame cameras require more expensive lenses for the most part, and they're often a little bit bigger, and bulkier. And so there is a price to be paid. And the first question you should ask is does that work well for you? And I know a number of photographers, some travel photographers, that okay maybe they're not as young as they used to be, and they don't wanna carry around as much equipment, they're shooting with crop frame cameras, because the quality is good enough for what they're doing, and it's lighter weight, and it's smaller, and it fits what they're doing. If you are looking to get into photography professionally, look at what the professionals are using in your field. If you're gonna be a wedding photographer, yep, pretty much all the serious, pro wedding photographers are shooting full frame. Gonna shoot professional sports? They're pretty much shooting all full frame as well, 'cause they're shooting under low light conditions. And so, it's a complicated question, I can't answer it in perfection because I don't know the rest of the details. But those are some thoughts. There's a new version of my current camera, is it worth the upgrade? Now I've kind of paraphrased this one down, 'cause usually they come in, and they're much, much longer than this. But this is a lot of... I see this a lot. And I like to read reviews on new cameras, and one of the things that happens at the end of the review is the reviewer always tries to say whether it's worth the upgrade from the previous one. And in almost every camera review I have read, they have said it is worth the upgrade. And I'm gonna call bologna on this. And that is because they do not know what you are doing with your camera, and how well it's meeting your current needs. And they don't know your budget. If you're having a hard time paying the monthly rent, no, you should not go out and pay a lot of money to get two more megapixels. And so I think this is an impossible question to answer, this is something that only you can, by just gathering more information. How much better is the new camera than the old camera? Is it gonna solve problems that you are currently having? Does it have features that you don't have right now? And I'd be a little bit careful about saying, oh it's got this, and I don't have that. Ask yourself, really honestly, are you going to use that? Because some people think, well it'd be nice if I had this and then they never end up using it. And so, in most cases, I tend to be a little bit more on the thrifty side. And most of the time it's not worth upgrading from model to model. I'll throw this out there, I think Nikon upgrades their cameras, a lot of their lower and middle level cameras, way too often. I think Canon is kind of guilty of this as well. Every time they come out with a new model, every 12 to 18 months, it is too frequent. And there are too many changes, or there are not enough changes, and you should probably wait till an every other year cycle. I've seen many people using cameras that are five, six, seven years old, and it fits what they do very well. So you first have to address does it fit what you are doing really well. So, hopefully that helps in making those decisions, I know that's always a tough call, and it's tough to answer that. Alright. It is time for our special guest, lets welcome in Colby Brown, alright, Colby, thanks for coming and joining us here.
Thank you so much.
Have a seat, and... Lets talk photography here. And so, you recently wrapped up some classes here, what were the two classes that you put on the books here?
So I just wrapped up, today, monetizing your social media presence, for outdoor photographers, and then the last two days I put together a in-depth, two day course that does a deep dive into developing your social media presence, overall, for photography. So it's understanding what the networks are, and how they work, and what are algorithms, and kind of giving you tips, and tricks to how to build your audience.
Nice, and social media has totally changed photography. I've been doing this for a couple decades now, and you know, it's just revolutionized the whole photographic world.
It's a different space. I mean it has adjusted a lot of different avenues within the photo industry. Advertising, marketing, how people connect, how many photos people are sharing these days. I mean, all different avenues have been affected. And it's really hard... It's really impossible to ignore anymore.
Well I know a lot of people who are watching, who probably already saw your class, and know a little bit about you, but we've probably got a bunch of people who don't even know who Colby Brown is, and so what type of photography do you engage in, how do you classify what you do?
I technically, in terms to marketing speak, I usually call myself a landscape, travel, and humanitarian photographer. I have... My main company is Colby Brown Photography, and that's mostly what I am known for. But I also created a second company, about five, six, years ago, called the Giving Lens, which essentially has humanitarian efforts, and we work with... We do trips around the world that acts as fundraisers. We partner with local NGOs, and we take teams of photographers to these different places to learn about photography, but also to kind of give back. And so that whole humanitarian side has also been part of who I am, for a number of years now. And yeah, it's kind of awesome.
That's nice, very nice. So this... The world that you're into is kind of what I enjoy as well. It's a pretty popular world. How do you maybe differentiate your stuff, or do you have a certain style about you, the way you do things, or the way you see or present things?
That's a good question. I mean I think, for me, I think most photographers kind of need some sense of a style, and some sense of a vision that we develop over years. Because I like to shoot a lot of different things, which I think you're kind of similar as well, we're attracted to, or we bring out our camera when we're compelled to. And sometimes that isn't just with a landscape, or just with an individual. It can be a lot of different things. And so for me, I've... It's that idea that diversity that has kind of pulled me into photography, that allows me to create, and photograph a variety of subjects, and what the connection point essentially is, is mostly probably more so in the feel, or the look of the images, not necessarily so much in the content. So while most of my stuff is landscape, nature, travel, which is kind of all encompassing as you know, it's kind of the style. So the colors I typically gravitate towards, or you look through my portfolio, and some of the stuff is a little bit more moody. It's maybe slightly darker, but I still have nice highlights and so looking through that portfolio you can see these connection points, rather than some other photographers where it's like you see that they're shooting the same thing all the time, 'cause that's what they wanna be known for. I simply wanna photograph things that I love.
Nice, so you still seem kind of young, and kind of new at photography, but you've made a fairly meteoric rise in the photographic world. Maybe you could talk a little bit about the early days of your photography. What was that like, what were you doing? Maybe what were some mistakes you made.
Absolutely, okay, so I started photography back in 2006, so it's been 11 years now that I've been doing this. But when I first got into it, I didn't... Like I always tell everyone, like I've never had this nostalgic story where my father handed me a camera, and I always wanted to do it. I stumbled into it. The truth of the matter is, is that once I graduated from university, I had the travel bug from traveling every once in awhile. I'd take a couple semesters off, while I was going through the process. And once I graduated I got a real job at a hospital, and worked there for about six months. And realized that an eight to five job just wasn't for me. And so I sold everything I had at the time, moved up to British Columbia, actually I went to school in Dallas, Texas, moved to the British Columbia, had somewhat of a quarter life crisis, where I was like what do I want to do with my life? And what it came down to was I just wanted to get back in travel. I wanted to have travel experiences, I wanted to go... I wanted to feel out of my element, that's kind of one of my places where I feel most at home. And it just so happened that I felt that photography might be that median that would allow me to do so, and so that was the kind of tripping into photography. I was very naive, I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know what I was doing, and so I had to buy books, and teach myself for a number of months, and eventually what happened is I decided I wanted to get back out there, and start traveling again, so I bought a one way ticket to southeast Asia. To Bangkok. And what happened was on the flight over... So this was a few months after picking out my first camera, on the flight over the woman sitting next to me was a rock climber from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And she had been going out to the Relais Peninsulas, in southern Thailand for years, had fallen in love with a local Thai, and was going to get married. Long story short her friend was a photographer that backed out at the last second. And so on the flight over I convinced her to hire me to essentially photograph this traditional Buddhist wedding, in this rural village, in the middle of southern Thailand. We were one of just a few other white people that were there. Very few people spoke English. It was a surreal experience. And even though I didn't get paid a lot, it gave me the confidence to think that I could actually do this. And so fast forward a few years from there, I ended up getting a pretty lucky break where I had spent a few years traveling around the world, and building up my portfolio, and kind of building up a little bit of a resume. And I just so happened to end up getting hired by National Geographic to start running some of their student expedition programs in South America. In Ecuador, and the Galapagos.
That's a good opportunity there.
It's a great opportunity. And I mean it wasn't... For most people that have, you know, had the chance to work with National Geographic, they're a wonderful organization. They don't pay exceptionally well, but they are an NGO.
Most people don't know that. Most people think that if you're doing something with National Geographic you've arrived.
It's... But in some sense you have. You don't directly get the benefit from it, it's the indirect, it's the fact that that opened up exponentially more doors. And that was a really launching factor for my career. And that just so happened to be around the time that social media was coming out. And so the correlation between that as a launch pad, and a resume builder for me, and social media that just seemed to make sense for me, correlated into me being able to find success quite quickly.
So, I don't know about you but when I look back on my photos, I'm categorized by year. And so when I need a photo, what I'll do is I'll like, well, I'll look back as far as a certain year. And before that it's just the learning curve is still going on. Do you like... Can you pinpoint when that learning curve was like okay, this is when I started to really get it?
I think so, I mean I do the same thing actually. So my light room catalog is very similar. I essentially have it by year, and then usually by continent, and then the country, and then kind of whatever I'm doing. And so looking back at my stuff, I think there definitely probably was a turning point, probably four or five years in, where I look back now, at least, and I'm not necessarily so embarrassed, by kind of where I was at. I'm kind of... The level that I felt that I was working at, and kind of what I was doing, in terms of processing and things like that, and of course, obviously, camera technology's improved. And software has changed. But our vision has changed as well. I think, you know, talking about that idea of style, I think I also didn't have that early on. It takes awhile to build that, that idea of building what is your own creative vision. And so, I feel that once that kind of came together you see a shift in my portfolio, in terms of the quality of content that was coming out of it, but also how there is that kind of common thread now, between all the different styles of my work. And so I don't necessarily have like a pinpoint, specific time, or necessarily trip, but just looking back I know that there is this kind of, somewhat of a divide that happens rather quickly, because all of a sudden it was like I know what I'm liking. I know what I'm shooting, and all of a sudden I find myself shooting less, but the quality is actually getting much better.
And I think that's, you know, something that every one struggles for, but I think it's hopeful, because no matter where you are, no matter what age you are, things can get better. And better.
And you look back and it's like... You know I look back on 10 years ago, and I'm thinking, oh wow, I thought this was good. This was the cover of what I thought was the best thing ever, and then things change.
So you're taking all these photos, you're a professional photographer, how do you make money through photography?
So I make money through a handful of different revenue streams. This is something I actually talk quite a bit about in each of my social media classes, here at Creative Live. Essentially the idea that I think most photographers these days, and I think you'd agree, have to have some sense of diversification. I mean there's just so much going on, and just so much is evolved that it really helps take away a lot of the stress from sitting there and kind of having all your eggs in one basket. And so for me, photo education is of course a big portion of things. Like you, I am a photo educator, I have been for 11 years. Each of my companies run tours all over the world. I've written books, do video tutorials, all those things. That's a good chunk of what I do, maybe around 40%. I also work quite a bit on large marketing campaigns, in both the tourism, and the tech industries, where I'm working with companies like Sony, and Samsung, and Microsoft, and LG. Or destinations, like governments for the Canadian government, and Jordanian Tourism Board, or Australia Tourism Board. And so those things make up a big portion of what I do as well. Probably another 40 to 50%. And then most of the rest of the stuff is like image licensing. Sponsorships, I work with quite a number of companies, and brands, because of my social following. And all of that together has allowed me to, you know, create a very nice brand that lets me live quite comfortably.
So you have a very large hat rack at your house, 'cause you're wearing a lot of hats.
You know in my class I kind of joke that being a photographer is probably the second most popular career choice. First would be rock star. If you could be Mick Jagger, wouldn't you probably take that?
I would probably take that.
Yeah, but you know, once you get past 25 or so you're thinking, okay, that's not gonna probably happen. But that photographer thing seems really nice. And so one question that I wanna ask all my guests, just because I know there's people at home going like, that's awesome. That is so cool, that is what I wanna do. The question is, what percent of your time is actually shooting photographs?
That's a good question. Yeah, most people have this over romanticized notion of what we do. I'd probably say that the percentage of time, of working time, that I'm actually shooting out in the field, on a given, overall year, comparatively, probably like 6%. (John laughs)
Maybe six to 9% to be optimistic. I mean the reality is is that, you know, photographers... When you're doing this for a living, you're an entrepreneur, alright, so I love business, that's why I've started multiple. I'm starting more, I have other ones down the pipeline. Like I love that stuff. Almost probably as much as I love, you know, creating work, creating photography work. And so a lot of the stuff that I'm doing, I'm constantly building. I'm constantly trying to think 10 steps ahead. And so while that number might scare people, especially new, aspiring photographers, the reality is that it takes a lot to make what we do, you know, happen. It makes all of it come together. And, yeah, I mean I love time away. I love getting out and shooting, but I also have a family at home, so I also want... Like, I always say that I wanna work smarter, and not harder, which means that every year that goes on not only do I wanna be more financially successful, but that I also want to not work as hard. Which, for me, often times, mean not so much time out in the field. So when I do travel it's more pointed. It's more specific, and I'm more effective. So that I can go home, and you know play Lego Batman with my five year old son, because that's what I love to do. And that's my driving force.
Nice, nice, I think it's fun to get that question out there.
Because I think most people are gonna say 10% or less, on it, and it just doesn't seem right. And one of the things, in my classes, I don't necessarily encourage people to try to make a living from photography. I think it's a great activity, it's a great lifestyle, and if you just work your normal nine to five job, and you spend all day Saturday photographing, what is that like 14% of your time? Double what you're doing this year.
You're doing better, absolutely. Well that's the rube. That's the reality, mixed in with the fantasy, or the romanticized notion that people that do this for a living, we travel the world all the time, only beautiful places, nothing bad ever happens. We get paid exceptionally well, and all we do is shoot. And that's just not reality, I'm sorry.
Well lets look at some of your reality, and we've got some photographs, and lets go ahead and jump through these things.
And, maybe you could quickly describe where it is, 'cause I'm sure people are like where's that, that's awesome.
Sure, absolutely. So this photo was taken in Lower Antelope Canyon, in Page, Arizona. Beautiful place, I highly recommend that people check out, I will tell you that it is a little bit of a zoo, in terms of the fact that there are so many people that come through these areas, through these slot canyons, because they're so popular. But they are gorgeous. Just amazing light.
Yeah I've been down through 'em a few times, and it's spectacular. Lets just talk for a moment about... You've got some beautiful destinations that we're gonna see. Crowded destinations. And... Okay, there was a post on one of the blogs that I went to, and someone traveled the western United States, and they had a photo in there that was, you know, maybe almost as good as this, but they had traveled all the iconic locations. And of course one of the commenters comes in and says, I've seen all those places before. And one of the ideas that I have is I don't care if it's been photographed before. I want to shoot it.
You haven't photographed it before.
How do you feel about people going to these places, even though they've been shot to death?
Me and you are on the same page here. I mean the reality is, if you haven't photographed it, it doesn't really matter. Now there are caveats in that, obviously what you may be able to do with something like this that has billions of other photographs with it, how many people might wanna purchase this, or do something with. But in terms of actual, just your own experiences, and the experience of being in Lower Antelope Canyon, is phenomenal, and yes it's a mad house, and yes it's crazy, but that's part of the experience, and if you don't do it, you don't know. So I highly recommend that you don't listen to people telling you not to do stuff, especially when it comes to, you know, traveling.
Yeah, I think there's something that you can learn from the experience, and in some ways I kind of think of it as, okay this is a great book, somebody else read the book. Well I wanna read the book.
Alright, lets go to the next one here. So this is stunning light. Love that.
Thank you, thank you, so this is Petra, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. It is a wonderful, wonderful place to visit, an incredibly safe place to visit, contrary to the fact that it's surrounded by some of the more crazy countries in the Middle East. The people are incredibly friendly, the Bedouin culture is amazing, I look forward to visiting there every time I can, but this specific event is called Petra at Night, and what they do is a few times a week, at least during more of the tourist season, is that they will light up the Siq, which is essentially is the walkway that takes you into Petra, and this all culminates right here at the treasury. Most people might recognize this from one of the Indiana Jones movies. And essentially they have this unique experience where they actually have Bedouin musicians, playing throughout this candle light. And so a bunch of photographers gather there, kind of line up on the side, and this was just one of the... This is the experience that I was there to photograph.
I am... Well I'm not surprised that you captured it at the right time, but I'm just surprised I don't see a bunch of people taking selfies, all in the shot, can you talk about dealing with the crowds here?
Absolutely, well you know, it's... I've been there a number of times. And so this time was actually the very tail end of one of their tourism seasons, or travel seasons, so it was early into December, so it was starting to get pretty cold. Which is unique for this area. Most people travel at different times of the year. And during those times there's more individuals. But this specific event, actually, I found it to be quite nice compared to most other places than that. There were definitely photographers in the times that I visited there was more people around. But most of them were very respectable, every one was kind of on the side, and it was kind of asked by the people that were hosting this to, you know, be quiet, and to appreciate the silence. It doesn't last for super long, you're not sitting there, down there, for four hours. It's down there, it lasts for maybe 35 to 40 minutes, and so it's just a really quiet, serene experience. And they asked everyone there to hold taking images that have flash, until the very end and then everyone can do it at the same time, so every once in awhile, of course, someone does it, and it ruins one of your shots that's like 30 seconds long. And you're going like, oh no, but for the most part I just haven't run into too many problems there. Often, some of the times you've gotta do crowd control, but for the most part here it's not disappointing.
So one of the questions I have is as I was coming up through photography, I was shooting out in the field, and I didn't know if it was a good shot or not. When you're out in the field, do you know? Are you like okay this is it, I got it?
I often... I have a higher propensity of knowing, more so now, than earlier in my career. With caveats obviously, that mistakes can be made. But for the most part technology's gotten good enough to essentially allow me to make sure to know that I have the image data that I need. I'm using my histograms to check out, after the image is taken, you can zoom in enough, generally, to make sure that things are sharp enough. And so those two things, where I'm out in the field, usually give me a good enough indicator to know. And oftentimes, once I've shot it, like a specific scene that just kind of was wow, I generally know I'm good. Now what is more surprising to me is the ones that I know I think are good, and I know I'm gonna keep, that surprise me a year or two later, like where I just go back and I'm like wow, I completely missed this gem. To me that is the most surprising thing, compared to you know, taking a truly, and epic moment, and just kind of realizing that you have it, and you're like, you're good.
And that... I think that is something that's important for people to do, is to go back to their work, two, three, four years ago, because you might discover some gems that you didn't have the vision to see at that time.
But now you realize, oh okay. And maybe you've learned some Photoshop techniques, and like oh, okay if I do this to it I can save this image and it fits in.
Absolutely, no I 100% agree. I mean, like I said, every time I go back, and I'm surprised, and this is another reason. I mean we're all shooting digital. I mean it's not necessarily free, hard drives obviously cost money, but the reality is, is that if I'm shooting something that isn't... Or I'm keeping every image that I shoot that isn't out of focus, or that if I know I don't already have another like sister shot of that same subject that is better. So most other things I will keep, on that off chance that I'm gonna come back a few years later, and you know, feeling creatively differently, and all of a sudden I'm like oh, wow. I can do something with this now.
Nice. Alright, lets talk about this one.
Alright, so this is a Buddhist monk, taken in Myanmar, in Began, ancient temple city. Lots of stuppahs, and pagodas, and all sorts of wonderful things out there. Myanmar's a place that I've always... Had always wanted to go, and found myself out there for the first time back in 2013.
It's probably number one on my list.
I highly recommend it.
It looks spectacular.
As you know the doors are open now, and people are kind of flooding in, but it's starting to build up the infrastructure, and becoming more easy to travel, to get to. There's still just... People are so friendly, and they're so beautiful, and you know, unlike a lot of other places in southeast Asia they haven't been jaded by so much, too many years on the travel circuit. So it's, you know, you can still get unique experiences there.
So I know some people at home are probably gonna be asking, did you get permission from this guy? Did he sign a model release? Can you tell us a little bit about that in this?
Absolutely, so with this monk I actually worked with a local monastery, and got permission from the head of the monastery to do this. I do have a model release, so that I could use this. I've actually licensed this image. This is actually... The image was taken... Like right now I'm sponsored by Sony, but it was taken by a Canon camera, that was licensed to Canon in the Asian territories for a number of years. But yeah, I make sure I get model releases, any time it's a visible, identifiable subject when I'm doing this stuff. And yes, I generally ask permission, every time I'm out there doing things. A lot of time the work that I'm doing, I have fixers, or translators, or people with me, and you know I'll make sure that some of this is correlated, there are times, of course, when you're getting candid shots, and those situations, sometimes, I'll try to capture the moment, and then afterwards I'll follow up. Just so that I could get a model release, so that I can do more with the photos.
Makes sense. Alright, next up.
This is actually Myanmar again. I include this in there. This is... I can't remember the actual name, I think it's...
It's not Lake Inle. It is in Mandalay, it's the Ubien Bridge, B, I, E, N, I believe, and it's a wonderful... It's right there in the main, like in Mandalay, and essentially what happens is at sunset obviously a little haze that is common in southeast Asia, around sunset, it's near a local monastery, and so what happens is a lot of these monks, and a lot of these people cross the bridge, they'll cross at each side. And so you pay one of the boat guys, he'll essentially take you out there, I'm like okay, this is the spot, stop here, and then I wait, and essentially...
So you were on land to get this shot, or were you in a boat?
I was in a boat.
You were in a boat, okay. And so, looks like you were getting fairly close down to the water.
Yeah, I mean the boats are... It's just paddle boats, or row boats, so I'm kind of hanging off the front edge, as I'm kind of directing my little boat rower. And you know, don't row, don't move, gotta get the shot, low iso, come on, so yeah.
Working from a boat can be really challenging.
Absolutely. So this is the city of Banff, up in Alberta.
So Banff National Park. And it's the beautiful mountain town. One of the most beautiful places in North America, in my personal opinion. And yeah, I went up and did some projects for the Canadian government up there, and this is one of the images that I kind of envisioned when I was doing research for it, and happened to find a good spot. And it snowed. It'd been snowing up there right before I got there. So it all kind of worked out.
And you know, I would imagine there's a number of people who look at an image like this, and go yeah, that's a nice image, I'd probably take that same image. But okay, notice it's not the middle of the day folks. Okay this is either... I don't know if it's sunset, or sunrise, but you were out there in the dark. I don't know if this is on a parking lot, or did you have to ski up there?
It was switch backs, like double switch backs, car switch backs, we were able to drive. But it was after sunset, so this is during blue hour. So the temperature at this time, 'cause this was actually around a polar vortex, so it was actually around negative 20 degrees. (laughs) And we were hanging outside for a good 20, 30 minutes, kind of waiting for the light to be just right. And this specific exposure, I believe, I can't remember off hand, but I believe is a couple minute, so it's actually pretty dark. I'm getting the very tail end of blue hour, as that kind of blue hue fills the opposite side of the sky. Depending on from when the sun is.
Yeah great time of day to be out there shooting, but it's a little inconvenient.
A little inconvenient.
And so yeah. Alrighty.
This is Godafoss Waterfall in Northern Iceland, and there are some auroras happening above. So this was taken during winter, I believe it was February, or March, last year or the year before. And it was just one of those epic nights, up in that part of the world. It's close to the arctic circle, so you know that you generally get more aurora activity, or at least you can see stuff that's more visible. And, yeah, Iceland's a place that I know we were talking about before, I've visited more times than any other country. I'll be back there in two weeks for teaching another workshop, and it's my 23rd trip to Iceland, which is a little bit ridiculous to be honest. So.
And so, if this was in, you said, February...
Yes, you know what actually now that I think about it this was actually taken in November.
It's pretty much dark all the time there, 'cause it is right next to the arctic circle.
Well you're getting close to the winter equinox, and so...
Were you shooting primarily night time stuff on this whole trip, or was there...
For most of it. This was actually a private workshop. So someone individual had hired me to come out there, and take them all around Iceland, and so we were focusing mostly on auroras, and of course the beautiful waterfalls out there. And so we had a camper van, so we can kind of chase the light wherever we needed to go, and it just kind of... It really worked out well with the good timing.
You know, I think for most people traveling to Iceland, that wouldn't be the time that they normally go, but it actually works out really well for photography, 'cause folks if you haven't noticed through the images that we've shown so far, not a lot of them are taken at noon time. In bright sun, okay. We have a lot of night time stuff, and end of the day stuff. Alright, diving deep.
This is back in Iceland, of course. You'll probably see a few more Iceland, maybe. So this is inside an ice cave. So ice cave... Photographing ice caves is one of the things that I love to do. I am a cold weather guy. I am a cold weather mountain guy, so like my happy place is actually in negative 20 degrees, on a glacier, in the middle of some place, that's where I like to be. And so this was taken literally looking up at one of the, almost like a cenote, or a reverse cenote of a water drip from the top of the glacier. Inside the cave, looking almost straight vertical.
Really this is looking up, okay.
This is looking straight up.
'Cause it seemed like that was something that you would walk... That was the entrance.
But that's a chimney. It's a chimney in some ways.
And all the water had dripped and essentially come down, and this was one of the years that I took this, essentially there had been too much extra rain that had come earlier in the winter season, and a lot of the cave had been destroyed because of rock and sediment had come through. So you had a handful of these little things that had popped up, these little chimneys, because of that water melt.
We should mention, we don't have any disclaimer on this class, but there is safety issues when you do this. We've had ice caves up here, in the northwest, that have collapsed, and killed people.
And so, any thoughts or words of warning?
For sure, I mean if you're going into any of these things I highly recommend that you hire a guy that knows what they're doing. Generally they're gonna be supplying safety equipment, and also they know when you can go in there. So, specific to Iceland, the ice cave season is generally around November 15th through the end of March, because otherwise it's getting too warm. And when it's too warm...
You don't wanna go in there.
you don't wanna go into an ice cave.
If things are melting, you wanna go in when it's cold as possible.
People don't realize how heavy ice is, where one of those big things lands on you, and it's pretty much... There's nothing happening.
Over very quickly, yeah. Alright.
Alright, so another waterfall, this is actually again in Iceland, this is Bruarfoss. So this is a popular waterfall in Iceland, but from a different angle. Most people see it from the bridge, where you're kind of looking straight up, and I have certainly photographed that probably 100 times that way, but it's fun being back and going there in the winter time, which is my favorite time to photograph some of these specific waterfalls. Because I like the blue hue, with the contrast of the snow, and really kind of get into the waterfall. So I'm sitting there, and I'll bring little micro spikes to kind of get me onto the rocks. And I have my gaiters on so I can get a little bit wet. And essentially try to have a more intimate moment with the scene.
You're not just leaning out the car window?
No, no. This is a 15... Well 15 minute hike, which isn't too bad. But then I'm literally crawling, or climbing on, you know, ice rocks, to get to this place. Like the water there is not only freezing but it's also probably 10, 15 feet deep. And, you know, it's not something, again, you recommend for everyone, but having been so many times, and wanting something that was unique, sometimes you gotta put forth the effort.
And so technically getting this shot, I'm guessing a tripod?
Very long shutter speed, were you using a neutral density filter?
I used a circular polarizer, so I didn't have to... 'Cause when you're in winter time, in Iceland, the light is so low on the horizon that you just don't get harsh contrast. Like almost any part of the day, which is why I love visiting in Iceland, during that time, during winter time. And so I was able to use a circular polarizer to remove a lot of the reflections from the rocks, but I wanted to keep some. If you can see there in the bottom left hand corner, where I wanted to have a little bit of detail. I didn't wanna remove a total reflection, 'cause otherwise it would just be black.
And so I kind of dialed it in as what I needed, and then because I was shooting at a time of day that there was enough overcast, where I was able to get about a second exposure. Photographing, I think it was around F13, allowing me to elongate that shutter speed a little bit.
Nice, very nice.
So more Iceland.
Iceland heavy here.
I've surprised nothing but Iceland.
I'm totally fine with Iceland, I'm totally fine with it, 'cause they have great stuff there.
Well it's... So this is Jokulsarlon, this is the ice berg beach. The black sand beach, on the other side of the glacier lagoon. I love going there during sunrise because you get specific scenes like this where you have beautiful, crystallized ice, and then you have a nice hot, warm sun in the background, and the kind of the contrast between the blues, and the... The cold blues, and the warm oranges.
A beautiful palette.
Yeah, it's a good balance between the two. I mean blue and orange, or blue and yellow, they go together, they're meant to be.
They vibrate together.
And so yeah, it worked out well. You know, again gaiters, I like getting, you know... Well not getting my feet wet, I like getting in the water, because I wanna get closer to my subjects. And so I'm just prepared for this type of stuff, making sure that I can get as close, and get the type, the shutter speed that I need, using tripods to pull off scenes like this.
So was this on a tripod?
On a tripod. So what I do...
That's very tricky, 'cause the sand wants to sink in.
Sink in, and so what I do is I minimize the tripod legs so that the sturdiest ones are the only ones that are out there, 'cause I'm getting low to the ground. I mean this iceberg is maybe two feet high.
Yeah, you're a foot off the ground.
Yeah, exactly, and so I'm going up there and what I do, generally, is because I'm wearing the gaiters, is I'll go in there, and I'll kind of clamp the tripod down, and then I'll push it down as hard as I can, usually during a wave that's coming previous, so that I can get in there, and then I'll wait. And as long as the next wave isn't big enough to knock me over, or obviously damage my camera gear, then I can get the shot. On the reverse end, to make it a little bit safer sometimes, what I do is I wait for the water to come in, and then as it's coming out I'll run out there, put it down while the water is receding, so the sand is soft so I can push it down fast enough, and then I can quickly focus, and then grab a shot. That's a little bit more tricky.
Yeah, so do you see the difference here? Because on one side we have him acting like a complete clown, out on the beach, which any logical person would be looking at, and what is this idiot doing?
What is he doing?
And then he ends up with a beautiful image. And...
There's a method to the madness.
Yeah. It's not always acting stupid gets you good photos, but sometimes you do have to just do whatever it takes to get those.
I can tell you that I've had many times, 'cause I've been to Iceland again so many times, I've had many times with wet boots going to this place. Because too big a wave came up, came over my gaiters or something, so you know it doesn't always work out ideally.
Right, right. But great shot there.
Thank you. Patagonia.
Right, down south.
This is Patagonia, one of my favorite places to go in South America. This was specifically taken in Argentina, in Los Glaciares National Park. Just outside of the town of El Chalten. This is Cerro Torre, one of my favorite mountains in all of the world. It's a unique spire range, it's incredibly difficult to climb, which I've never actually climbed it myself. But it has this beautiful kind of lagoon, right there in front of it. And if you go at certain times of the year, more of those ice chunks are kind of popping out there, and if you are fortunate to get beautiful weather like this, and to have things with no wind, to get reflections, which is really difficult to get...
'Cause that's one of the windiest places on earth.
Absolutely. Well all the shoots, all the storms that come off those mountains, and all the glaciers that are there, there's more glaciers there than I think anywhere else on the planet. And what happens is they form these weather patterns, and then all this wind, and the wind comes out, and it is just brutal. I mean like brutal. I've been there, and I've been through 90, 120 mile an hour winds, and obviously in those situations you can't get a shot.
You're not shooting.
You're not getting a reflection. Yeah, you're inside, you're huddling in your tent, and hoping that it stops.
But it's worth it, 'cause sometimes it takes a couple of days to wait it out.
And you really got a... If you have the right camera, and you go out there, it doesn't mean the light's gonna be like that. You have to be dedicated, hey this might happen sometime in the next week, I'm going out every morning.
Absolutely, well in a space like Patagonia, especially, I've literally known... Now I've been fortunate every time I've gone. But I know other photographers that have gone down there, and taken three weeks off their work, whether they're doing it full time or not, and gone down there, and had three days of quality light. Three days. And it's expensive to get down there, and it takes a long time to get there, and you've gotta hike out to many of these locations. So it's a frustrating place, that rewards you when it's kind, and unfortunately you will probably be very angry if it doesn't.
Yeah, yeah. You did well on that one. That's nice there.
I think this may be our last one.
Excellent, so this is another Patagonia, this is actually on the Chilean side. So this is in Torres del Paine National Park, these are the famous Cuernos del Paine, in the background, they're known as the Blue Mountains. Though they look a little bit more brown there. But really they hold a lot of blue hue inside them, which is why they're called the Blue Mountains. And there's a lot of series of dead trees that happen, pretty close to the Salto Grande waterfall. And essentially, during this one night of epic sunset, I was photographing the waterfall, got a couple images I was happy with, and I saw these, on earlier scouting expedition, the day before, and literally tried to beeline it, so it was like the wind was about 60 miles an hour. And so I took the shots, ran off, I knew that it was a 15 minute run, ran over there, and luckily there was still a little bit of light, and kind of clamped down, and got the shot that I wanted.
Nice, nice. And I'm sure if somebody asked you what are you running for, there's a really nice looking dead tree over here.
That sounds crazy.
I have to go find it.
The light is good.
Beautiful, well thanks a lot for sharing those, I hope you're able to pick something out there. Notice, not a lot of noon day shots.
Not a lot of noon day...
You know your light, quite well. Oh actually, one more.
Oh one more.
One more, okay one more Patagonia, last one hopefully. So this is Laguna Amarga, again Torres del Paine. So this is essentially one of the lakes on the east side of the park. If you look straight in the back there, there's kind of spires in the background, that's Los Torres, which is a very popular mountain in Patagonia, and specifically towards del Paine. And this was, again, incredibly fortunate with beautiful light, and no wind. So beautiful reflections, and so this is actually a pretty massive panorama. I took this with my Sony A7R, and so I think it's four or six shots wide, and vertical, so it's 160, 200 megapixels in size.
It can be reproduced really large.
I can go...
For the hotel lobby?
Hotel lobby, that's what it's waiting for. One more.
One more, okay, last one, hopefully.
So this is Seljalandsfoss, this is another waterfall in Iceland. Beautiful sunset we had at this place. This is one of the most photograph-able waterfalls in Iceland.
But this is taken during the summer, when you're photographing, typically, at two, or three o'clock in the morning. So I believe this shot was actually three am. And what happens is, it's the midnight sun. So sunrise and sunset converge, 'cause they're so close together, and so if you have the right conditions like this, because the sun goes so low on the horizon, that if you have the right clouds, you could essentially have a sunrise, and sunset that combines for like six hours.
Just a nice long shooting session.
Yeah, it just... It will spoil you.
Doesn't get any better.
Any time you go photograph anywhere else, because you're like I have time, and then all of a sudden it's gone, whereas here you can shoot all night.
Excellent. (laughs) I never checked what was my last one.
This is an aerial photograph in the central Highlands, so I hired a plane to, essentially, for the entire day, to take me all over places that I love in Iceland, and then see it from a different perspective. I love doing aerial work, I have a couple of drones, but sometimes you want a full frame, you know, large 42 megapixel, sensor, taking these shots, and drones just don't cut it for that.
Puffin, wild life. Alright, so...
Gotta throw a little bit of that in there.
A little wildlife photography, I like to dabble, as we talked about, I like to shoot what I'm feeling. So this was taken in the Grimsey Island, an island far north above the arctic circle. In Iceland. And it's just something I like to dabble with. Same thing with tigers, I mean it's based on opportunity.
What country was this in?
This was actually in the country of Denver, Colorado.
So this was the Wild Animal Sanctuary just outside Denver, they do a lot of amazing work out there, and I was actually testing a camera from Sony at the time. And came away with a very intimate moment, where I'm pretty sure this tiger wanted to have me for lunch. So.
Beautiful close up there. Very nice.
Thank you so much.
Okay, so thank you very much for showing those, wonderful work, and if you don't mind sticking around for a little bit, we're gonna take a look at some of our viewer's photos.
Lets do it.
And we're gonna see if we can give them some helpful advice.
I like it.
And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna switch programs here. And we're gonna work with this in Light Room, that way if there is a change, like you think maybe we can crop this, and lets go ahead and make this change. And so I'll go full screen here. And I do not have the names, but all these people have submitted their photos to be critiqued, and so it's... Well first time around, we're just gonna keep it anonymous, at this point.
Alright, fair enough.
And so... So do you know what type of animal this is? 'Cause I love the hair on it.
It looks almost like a yak.
Okay, that could be.
But I think I'm wrong, because I'm not recognizing kind of where that would necessarily be.
Yeah, I'm not sure if that's...
Some sort of bovine family.
Yeah exactly, exactly. And so I think I have seen lots of great photos of this, and this one I'm not such a huge fan of the out of focus post, in the foreground, and the very bright background on it. I think there's a potentially really nice, tight headshot with those eyes just poking through the hair. What are your thoughts?
Same thing. I mean I'm always a fan of looking at an image and trying to instantly... Like the first thing I look at is try to see what's distracting. That's usually like my process for looking at my own images.
And for something like this, I 100% agree on both accounts. If not only the post that kind of is out of the way. I understand it kind of being in a situation, because it might be hard to reach over, something's happening, but it does distract. And then the bright background, I understand that there was probably not enough dynamic range to shoot it, and photograph it, but I would highly recommend jumping in and darkening that, using like an adjustment brush or something to kind of paint that in. I mean the other thing that I have to mention, 'cause I am kind of a stickler for details, I always like to say that if you take care of the frame edges, the center will take care of itself. Most people don't pay attention to the frame edges. So if you look in the corner, to the side, to the left side of this image you see the frame edge is pretty close to the bull's horn...
I was thinking the same thing.
Or the bull's... And so that bugs me.
Just a little bit more space.
Exactly, always, always give your subjects more space than you think they need. You can always easily crop in just a little bit, and it's not a big deal to lose a megapixel. You can't necessarily easily create.
It's a careful balance, because you're trying to get as many pixels on your subject as possible, and I encourage take that tight shot, but then just want a little back up.
Back it up.
That's why zoom lenses can be so nice.
Alright, we don't have too much time, so we'll go through these relatively quickly. Okay, so screening, fish eye lens.
And I have been a big fan of fish eye lenses for a long time, but I don't know that this is the best use of one.
No, I think the scene just isn't really calling for it, and I think that the subject matter it's... It's distracting. Like almost everything about this image is kind of distracting. I think it's just the nature of, you know, how the plants were, like if there were some sort of natural frame, you can get there in the bottom, like that could've changed things a bit. I think, you know, depending on how you wanna balance out the trees, but there's a lot of elements that aren't lining up necessarily, so the problem is is that my eye does not know where to go.
Yeah, my eye keeps going down to the water, and like I'm hoping to see a fish looking up at me, that's what I wanna see on there.
Where's the fish?
Yes, and so if you can bring a fish with you, it might totally make the shot.
Okay, actually I think this might be the same photographer here. Rainbows. So everybody gets excited with rainbows, everyone pulls their camera out with a rainbow. And getting the first shot of the rainbow, get it out of your system. And then, I think if you can incorporate something more, some other element. Maybe there's, you know, the perfect, I don't know, it's a five year old girl, in a yellow rain slicker standing in a puddle there.
You have that there, right? It's always ready. No, I agree, I mean I think it's a nice photo. It's nice.
I don't really know what to do with it. You know, you might not necessarily wanna put it up on your wall. You don't know where it is. It's nice. You know, I always... One piece of advice I would say, specifically for rainbows is utilizing circular polarizers. 'Cause rainbows, literally by definition, are a reflective light. So if you're using a circular polarizer, maybe if this rainbow is more enhanced, or maybe if it was, two rainbows, and you pull it out, I don't know.
You can also make 'em disappear, so you have to be careful with how you...
Exactly, you have to dial it in.
But you might enhance it just a little bit more.
No, I... Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Alright. And so, kind of interesting here, 'cause immediately I notice that they cropped the image. And so when it falls out of that by 1 1/ aspect ratio, I know that they've done a little bit of work on it. I think it works... Square works quite well. I don't mind not seeing the end of the trunk, or the end of the legs.
Usually I do. In this case, I don't. I think it actually does, as you mentioned, it plays well, I think part of that is not necessarily just the crop. I think it's how they processed it.
I kind of... I like the tones.
Well it's black and white, obviously. And I think this plays well in black and white.
Absolutely, I mean having been to many places that have elephants, I know that sometimes it can kind of just be very earth toney, around there, so you don't really know what you can do in terms of the processing. And elephants generally have very blue, and kind of grayish tones, so you can't really pump up that saturation, without looking like an alien. And so black and white is very calm, and their skin is, you know, almost kind of asks for it, because of that contrast, and that texture that you get. So whoever did this, I'm a fan of it. The only thing, again, I would say, and it's only being a stickler, is just checking out some of those pieces of the tree, where there are holes in it, in that kind of top, right hand frame. It's very nit picky. If I had to give some advice, it'd be try to use a clone sample or something, just to kind of fill in those. It's just... My eye is kind of pulling to it.
Yeah your eye is drawn to the brightest element, and so that's one of the distractions.
Now would you suggest cloning some more stuff up in there, or would you just bring it down, tight around the crop?
That's a good question.
Let me just go ahead and do that, 'cause I did say we would actually do this. So I'm gonna keep it in the same... It's just a little bit, maybe right there. And so, lets...
Oh easy, yeah, I would do that.
We still have enough space above the head.
As long as you have a little bit of breathing room for your subject, I think you can get away with it. If it was down where it was super close, then you would obviously have to create those pixels. So, I think that was great.
Just trying to go to a before image. And so if I can... Yeah, I guess that's not gonna work for me. Okay, so lets go here. This selective color.
It's like the...
That's kind of like the hot topic.
It's the comic sans of photography. You know? It's a tough one, it really is. I get the desire.
Right. For those of you who don't know, it's a very common technique, it used to be really common in a black and white photograph. I mean my parent's wedding photographs were black and white, and somebody went in and hand colored them. And they kind of spent more time hand coloring in, my mom and my dad, than the background, so they kind of... And so people have replicated that. And it's something that, almost any time it gets used it tees off a certain level of photographers, like it doesn't work. And so it's kind of one those things, it's like uh-oh, you know, it's kind of a cheesy trick.
A little bit.
I don't think it works well here, because our subject, which obviously your eye is drawn to what's colorful in the image, isn't really strong. We're just kind of looking at their butt.
Yeah, if it was something that... And the colors I think, also, is what they were wearing, whether it was enhanced, or it was just the natural colors, which definitely seems like there's some enhancement. There's just... It's... I don't know. There's something that just doesn't scream yes to me.
But I think it looks like an interesting place for doing street photography.
Absolutely. It looks like there's a lot of color, and action, and movement, and things that could play well for you. I'd love to see it in the color version.
And so I think their instincts are right for shooting at this time, but I think it just needs more refinement.
Alright, so I'm not sure exactly what we're looking at, it looks like we're looking at the bottom of a spiral staircase, but I don't think people are walking on stained glass. I'm a sucker for spirals, and I love the colors. And so... And it's also got this weird reflected light, going on around it as well. And so I love this.
I think it's great. I mean, I don't really... I don't see anything that I would necessarily change. I like what they've done, they've obviously added, I think there's definitely been a touch of glow, because photographing this you wouldn't...
You wouldn't get that glow.
There wouldn't be so much glow. So that is a positive post-processing choice, I feel. I think that a lot of that accentuates a lot of that light, the color coming off that stained glass, and yeah. The whole... It just leads you through the entire image, which I think is a challenge for a lot of photographers.
Yeah, very clean, clean edges, and so forth. We've gotta show one of the puppies, or the kitties of the staff. And I know you love your animals. And this one... I included it because it's got a good look to it. It's got that something... 'Cause when you have a picture of your animal, okay fine, you've got the picture of the animal, but if you can have a little something extra that brings it up. And so I think here the cropping needs to be adjusted, what do you think about the scene?
You know, it's kind of... The scene's kind of okay, I mean I'd love to see it if it was in more... It looks like there was more grass behind that, obviously, but there's... You can't pose the dog, necessarily, I understand that. Yeah, you know it might be something that I, if you had to photograph here, I might process it differently, maybe even try to go black and white or something, because of so much dirt.
Lets just do that whole black and white.
Yeah, just a little bit.
Yeah, the dirt we don't really notice that now.
And then I'd probably pull down the whites, we have this contrast between the brights, the bright whites, and then the darker fur. So I'd pull back the highlights a little bit, just kind of balance out the scene. But I think the most distracting element is still the crop.
It's just part of the dog's head's cropped off, and then the side of, you know, the dog's face is just too bright to the side.
And then that bright thing in the upper right hand corner.
Yeah, it's like why is that there?
And so it's just kind of like I wanna back up about six inches, to a foot, and then up a little bit to the right.
Yep, take a step.
And then have a nice, clean grass background.
And it'd be perfect.
And I love the look, and so if that's your puppy and he gives you that look all the time, then...
Then you got another shot at it.
Okay, I think we're gonna wrap it up after this, and I thank everybody for sending their photos in, hopefully you've got something out of that. We're gonna continue doing this every month, so I invite you to join me, to answer questions, and look at photos, and do all sorts of other special fun things, as we go along on this. So thanks a lot for coming in. Colby, thank you very much for coming in, appreciate it. And we'll see you next time on One Hour Photo with John Greengo.