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The Outdoor Photography Experience

Lesson 13 of 29

Pismo Beach - Focus Point

Chris Burkard

The Outdoor Photography Experience

Chris Burkard

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Lesson Info

13. Pismo Beach - Focus Point

Lesson Info

Pismo Beach - Focus Point

how and what we would do tow to shoot like surfing up here you know what would be like the optimal system well the nice thing is since you're so close you can really shoot with any lens you want right you could shoot wide angle you know you could get a big overview shot you could shoot pretty tight if you wanted teo usually really depends on for me at least how the waves are how the action is like what's actually happening you know um so framing things up for me I would probably first start off by just trying to shoot with with this guy now the beauty of this lens for me is that it pretty big perspective you know you can shoot all the way from seventy two four hundred which is supply excessive for up here but I think more towards the lot you know the initial end of seventy two like one hundred is a great perspective no there's a couple different ways that I would approach this um nice it's lucky because we have this whole entire beach right um and like I said you could you could walk o...

ne hundred yards down the pier and shoot looking up this way it would be a lot cleaner but I love the fact of this light kind of coming in behind these waves right and so what happens is you end up being able to shoot something where set rules in like this and you're seeing someone starts takeoff and you could sort of frame this up and really any lens like do you want you know one hundred two hundred four hundred sort of zooming in as there as they're going down the line right like this one right here so as that person's going down the line I would be tracking them okay and what just so you guys know on technical setting is one of the things that I might do is I would probably put my my tracking dot if you see a little tracking ari there I'd probably put it at the lowest one okay it's in the center line because a lot there's like multiple tracking points here but I keep in the lowest one the reason is because if I'm shooting the back of the wave and that's what my subject is I don't want to have my tracking dot in the center because I really want to frame this up I'm really big into framing things in camera rather than just cropping later right so I wanted my tracking dot in the lowest a point that I can so I can keep the wave in the bottom and potentially have some whitewater or the landscape behind me so um you can actually follow my screen here too so a couple ways I might shoot this I might shoot this kind of wide wait for someone to kind of come into frame here have you no the wave in this section of the of the frame like this there's a person there you can see him coming through frame like that right and the nice thing is when he's this faraway in here I don't need to keep focusing he's far enough away where I can just to auto focus single right and and let it go because he's he's not really changing that rapidly now if I want to see something a little closer and I want to zoom in so we'll wait for wade to come so I can really show you on the screen but basically I want to zoom in then I usually have to change the autofocus continuous because I'm gonna be continually tracking with them right so uh and it goes the same I want to keep my tracking focal point at the very bottom of the frame because what it allows me to do so like right here for example this person's going I'm tracking them tracking them tracking them right like that see and what happens if my if my focal point is not is if it's in the center I might be hitting him I might be hitting his body intermittently but I'd also be it also be trying to fight for the for the whitewater behind him right which is really which is really hard on the camera so what I'm really focusing on is the contrast of this white water that's on the way of the back surface the wave this is all play like mumble jumble right not making sense but hopefully it is but basically my focal points there so if I'm falling along that line right there I'm gonna I'm gonna be able to give myself a lot more definite and good focal point when I'm following that subject right and this goes for anything you guys think about shouldn't bicycle shooting any type of sport where you have a subject that's moving right you want to find the biggest the best contrast point you can you can african right here the best contrast points give me the back of this way of seo lights up and have the whitewater right there that's your really your most you know defined pointed conscious that your camera's gonna pick up if you're trying to pick up the white water in the foreground is just a big kind of flat pool of light I mean the f stop in this in this case because I'm shooting with a telephoto is gonna be kind of minimized if I was shooting with like your wider angle and I the f stop wouldn't make a difference as much because everything being focus right but since I'm zooming in you you know your focus is super important your f stop doesn't make much of a difference also because I don't have the opportunity to really shoot in at least for me I'm shooting usually lower so which means that my f stop is not going to be like you know super super high like f eleven f ten I'm going to be shooting like five six four at like a thousandth of a second or something I'm trying to freeze action right now um now the farther that action gets away you know if I choose to shoot that scene like this and zoom out right I can bump my shutter speed down because my action is not as close to me the closer the action is the heart the more the faster you have to knead the shutter speed to freeze it right the farther the action is a way less center speed I need so for example this guy here I'm kind of tracking him tracking him tracking him right and the nice thing about this is since my center spot is here you guys I can I can keep some perspective of this landscape up here if my center spot was in the center sorry if my focus spot I don't know why I keep saying center spot sorry my focus what was in the center I would have to have my frame like this right and I'd effectively lose the entire skyline or have to lock off and go like this or lock off right so I'm keeping it down here so that now I can have all of that all of those houses all that landscape in the top part of my frame right because when you're tracking a subject you can't be you can't be it's like shooting a portrait right you can't just like lock off focus adjust your frame fire photo lock out you know I have to be having my framing the correct way needs me the entire time right because I'm continually blasting off frames and you're following someone you're following someone all the way down the line until that peak moment happens right I hate tripods I hate tripods for shooting action um and and I actually the tripods or great I'm a huge fan I use them a lot for shooting night stuff but one of my favorite things about these lenses about you know these these more handheld zooms is that they have great vibration reduction they have great internal stabilization settings so for me a lot of times when you're tracking it's really tough to track a subject with a tripod right because they might be like going in and up and this and that and this really matter unless you're shooting video you're shooting a little wider it's gonna be really tough to like get exactly what you need in that frame and I find to be the person where I'm kind of looking at my scene and I'll be zooming in zooming out kind of looking at different focal links while the action's happening just to kind of because every shot feel different right you don't know what they're going to for me at least when I when I'm working with an athlete or a subject like this guy's going to go down the line and he's going to do a big air well I need to pull back a little more because he might he might leave the surface of the wave a lot larger and I'm anita you know pull back to a little broader perspective then somebody who's just gonna be cruising down the line you know maybe like long boarding or something like that I don't like I said a lot of these terms might not actually makes sense but I'm just kind of saying that I basically find myself not really wanting a tripod so much I feel like it really limits the creativity I can have with my lands my tripod up to set it up you know if I wanted to run down the end of the pier if I wanted to crouch down or like this like the nice thing about having a system that small and lightweight is that you have the ability your legs your trifle you know you just can't run around you can shoot you don't have the ball and chain attacked shoot all times right because if you have a tripod there you kind of want to use it it's like why would you want to bring it out there take your camera off the tripod and then you just have it there's an ornament right so like I said some of that kind of key perspectives I would I would probably shoot this in a couple different ways I try and shoot this with the house is coming in the house is in the frame where the waves in the bottom of my shoe this little bit tighter where I'm just focusing on the way of surface I'm shooting maybe it at three hundred and I'm tracking the back of the wave um as well as you know if something happens way down the beach and I want to zoom way into that like oh wow somebody caught a wave way down the beach well I'm gonna zoom in you know at four hundred right here and try and get like a perspective like this you know and get this whole scene in there so that's that's kind of ah I feel like the traditional way I might approach a scene like this obviously is you get lower to the ground what happens is you have the ability to kind of your subjects right now we're kind of falling away right because you're above them but as you get lower to the ground everything kind of comes in the same plane yeah one thing that's really unique you know we talked about that idea you guys have of shooting and sort of different planes of you what we can do to make give our imagesmore contrast more more three dimensional feel well uh I actually I never I never took any photography classes growing up that was not really my forte uh when I when I took a few courses at a junior college what I what I decided to study was art I love the idea of studying art one of my favorite things about art was the ability that it gave me to realize how to take a frame and put everything I wanted in that frame right in these four lines right and when I studied three dimensional art I really started to understand the elements of you know what you can do visually when you're painting or drawing or charcoal too give your image depth because that is what all art suffers right is depth you know you don't want to look at something and feel like it was just pancaked onto a page right it's the same with photography three dimensional art right study of colors and shapes and all these things and one of the most important rules is when you're shooting a scene having colors that that pole and pushing pole warm tones cool tones what do we have here we have a cool blue ocean mixed with warm green and brown hills right that gives you depth right there what is the number one thing you see photos of every single night on your phone whatever sunset right why're sunset so cool because you have cool and warm and all these tones mixed together it's instantly doing that thing where it's pushing and pulling it feels three dimensional right so those air super huge elements so bye elevating ourselves we've created death all of a sudden our scene is falling away from us and now we have mountain hills in the background that kind of help it stand up right and give it some structure it's like the fourth time you guys have heard that but the beauty is I think we're I was working with different crews and I wanted them to have the same the same elements um but I'm glad that's pounded in your heads at this point I think there's some questions from the uh the audience out out on the internet world can you use a crop frame sensor for commercial or editorial work tons I should have a great story about that um I'm gonna tell you guys this this little story about this this camera here so this is a psc sensor and this is a full frame sensor you guys know the difference right a psc is like you know a little smaller than full frame it's what you see um that's what you see a lot of like the d three hundred asked seventies like the sum of those those dcs eighty seven thousand things like that amazing center I've had tons of uh I mean this whole book was shot with one of those crops sensors that cover of that book was shot with one of these sensors I've had photographs autographs blown up massive they're they're great super good quality even that image right there on that screen was shot with one of these sensors so um I love them and I did the shoot uh for car brand and the requirements were to shoot phase one which is meat digital medium format like you two eighty eighty megapixel camera I love phase ones by the way they're great and while I was shooting phase I was using one of these to kind of just rare on my neck and test my exposure right because space ones aren't like they don't believe they're super fast you know you're you shooting a couple frames but this thing I could just sip off a couple afraid to see test my exposure right so I had this and that and this thing we're just super intrusive has had around here were just firing off photographs here and there so I was uh I was shooting the conditions were really harsh was like kind of cloudy and not epic light whatever um and I was firing off frames with this phrase the phase one back and forth kind of everything and at the end of the shoot thie client requests all the photos and we processed him and everything and gave them all of our select mixed together these and those and all the ones that they came back with they wanted were actually all from the sony were all from the smaller sensor now some of the reasons why first of all because the dynamic range because in a crappy lighting situation there is a way more detail I could pull out of different things and the faces were great too but they have a lot different look you know the smaller the censor the mohr is going to be in focus as well you have a smaller sensor focal plane it's a bit smaller and just like the iphone right iphone it's hard to have any like bowe caught up the field you never really needed that shallow depth look right the larger sense or you go the more shallow depth look you're going to get you know if you're shooting like a fifty one four on this it's going if you were to use it on this it would look more like a fifty two eight or something so because everything was really more in focus and it had a more commercial look I think they like that as well now I have used those a lot for all kinds of projects and I like I like that sensor as well the cover of surfer that image of the volcano that I uh that I had up earlier that photograph the on ly reason this image uh worked and if you go to my screen um this image worked was because everything was in focus and people were even like emailing me accusing me of like oh this is photoshopped below blah well it's not um it's just that I shot this with one hundred millimeter on an a p s c camera on one of those um and yeah the birds and focus the volcanoes and focus this hills and focus the surfers and focus it's because it's on a psc sensor now this is one of those things about knowing win and why and what your cameras can do for you um for example I mean I know I'm kind of trailing off here but this is important it's really good subject talk about for example um sometimes so if I had a seventy two hundred to eight right and I have two cameras in front of me I had my full frame camera and I had my a p s c camera and uh it was getting later in the evening right now it's getting darker it's getting darker and I'm like dang it I really want to shoot this compressed surf shot or this compressed action photo of somebody but I'm going to put it down to f two eight right so that I can shoot with enough light and I'm like man but if I put it down to half to eight I'm going to start to really lose the background focus and things were going to start getting really shallow and it's gonna be hard to nail that focus well what's my solution if you have it on this you're gonna have mohr of your frame and focus if you put it on your full frame camera you're gonna have less of your frame in focus the focal point's going to be a lot more acute than right so knowing win and why those cameras are important news I had a full frame camera should it could've shot this on that I chose not to because I because to me it didn't the focal length wasn't really the important thing is like if I could just frame this up it's great but I wanted all the elements to be stacking up you know what made this so interesting is that the volcano and the surfer we're almost just his vibrant equally as focus right and so that is super important is knowing what and when your cameras can do these things for you if your work is really based in portraiture and you need the shout of the field lenses than a full frame cameras probably more ideal if your work is more varied and you're shooting more landscapes typically with landscapes you aren't looking for a super shallow depth of field right you want the you know f ten or eleven f whatever you know type of look so to have your foreground you're shooting wide ingley where foreground to fall away so that's just one little thought little tidbit um think about more questions forget yeah since we're talking about sensors I know that the sunny a seven line khun switch the cross the cross yeah most any for almost any full frame camera is a matter of it's so near nikon cannon they can almost all switch into a crop mode yeah and it and it was some of the cameras I mean I know with my d a hundred back in the day I used to switch into crop mode and it would actually boost the speed you could shoot at right because it can read and write faster right because you're using less information too yes then do you think that's equivalent to like the quality or is it well that's the hard part this is twenty four megapixels this is twenty four million pixels you put that into crop mode it goes down to like fourteen so if you want to shoot in crop mode you're better off using one of these um over that although there's gonna become a point where you're shooting with like a thirty six megapixel camera where you put it in a crap mood it's going twenty four um you know just the different cameras the different purposes I think but I do agree like I've done that before where I've like thrown one of those into crop mode and it's given me a longer lens length you know it also would take this like all if I'm like amanda's four hundred isn't working good thing I have this I'll just throw this on there and then I've got like a six forty or something crazy it crops it too are like a five eighty I don't know what it is but that's another option as well what about even more crops and there's like a gh for us like that like a one inch and stuff I think when you get start to get below a psc and you get no like you know this is like a one inch you start to you can start to get pretty limiting I've I've never had an issue blowing this camera pretty large so one inch sensor but I know that you know that start to happen you know I guess I just depends on what the outlet is you know if you're shooting something purely for the web jeez you could shoot with like gopro and just crop in or whatever but if you know you have aspirations maybe get something in print or make it do print sales out of it or something like that then you're gonna want to give yourself a bit I feel like more equality the one inch sensors can almost be kind to limiting where you have like no like everything is in focus and that starts to look um kind of gimmicky in a way that's kind of why it's like hard to get that really like you know like on iphone it's almost impossible to get any like boca out of the lens you know it's hard to get any like fall off of the face or you know everything feels like it's stacked up in a line and when we talk about like water what is one of the ways we can create depth in an image by just adjusting our f stop right just putting it stopping it down like you know like f one four right that's gonna immediately create some depth because your subject is gonna be separated off the background right you know it's the same thing is like color if your subject was blue in the background was warm you're going you're gonna have that separation but this is sort of one of those things where I think the smaller that's the one thing you'd be careful the smaller the sense that you go the less depth of field you're going to get in and it starts it starts to kind of feel and look a little you know weird that's why they have their purpose you know go pros in the water are amazing you want everything in focus it looks great um but yeah you don't want to shoot like a portrait with one so

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Shooting outdoor photography is a powerful way to commune with nature and experience the fullness of life. Learn how to train your eye on incredible shots and convey the energy of the outdoors in The Outdoor Photography Experience with Chris Burkard.

Chris’s beloved images of life on the world’s coasts are alive with action and emotion. In this class, he’ll share the tools and techniques he uses to capture the photographs he sells to magazines, brands, collectors, and publishers.

You’ll learn about his shooting style and the gear he brings on his global adventures. He’ll also talk about the business of photography and share tips on marketing and selling your work.

If you want insights on how to create rich, dramatic images that let you enjoy more time outdoors, don’t miss your chance to learn from Chris Burkard in The Outdoor Photography Experience.

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I've been staying up all night to watch the live broadcast. As somebody else here mentioned (latsok), it's emphasizes on the non-technical aspects (emotion, engagement, colour and composition) rather than the technical stuff like shutter speeds, iso and f-stop. Although I can use some help in both, the technical aspects are not only camera specific but fairly objective as well. The non-technical aspects however are something much harder to grasp. Getting help in this by no-one less than Chris Burkard is just amazing. I bought this class so I can re-watch certain parts of the broadcast again whenever I need it. But also to show my appreciation for Chris Burkard and Creative Live for providing this great online course!

Matt Redfern

This class was packed full of amazing knowledge. I really enjoyed the topics covered and have found it super helpful for my work. I have had so many takeaways ranging anywhere from how to put myself out there, finding my style that stands out, practical applications, etc. I would highly recommend this class to everyone interested in photography! Big thanks to Chris and CreativeLive for putting this together.


This was a phenomenal class. I highly recommend it to anyone. Chris is not only a sensational photographer, he is a wonderful teacher. He provides such detailed information and freely gives same to his students. He is really really available and eager to answer questions and so easy to understand. I learned so much and I was thrilled. I am very very grateful I found this particular class.