Fun with rain drop photographs

Rain drop photographs taken on my iPhoneThis summer, I was asked to judge a photography contest for Fuji Film that focused on flowers. There were hundreds of entries to sift through and multiple categories including color and black & white.

I have to admit that looking through all the beautiful submissions got me excited to try a few things when the opportunity arose, including taking these rain drop photographs. The lighting was perfect this rainy morning and since I didn’t have my DSLR camera handy, I just used the iPhone camera for these shots. With the newer smart phones, the ability to control depth of field and force exposure is pretty phenomenal. Not as much control as we like to have with our DSLR cameras, but still quite a bit (even without filters).

Was there anything you’ve seen a photograph of lately that you looked for an opportunity to emulate like these rain drop photographs? Were you able to capture it similar to how you saw the other photographer present the shot? I think it can be a really valuable lesson to practice trying to copy something you see. Whether you are able to or not, you will definitely come away with a new appreciation of the complexity of photography!

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Drone photography: What is it?

Drone Photography has been all the rage in the news this year and not necessarily in a good way. As a photographer, if you aren’t intrigued by the potential, you haven’t seen much of the footage yet. The footage that got me so excited originally came out of Burning Man 2013 and was shot by Eddie Codel.

There are so many applications on set from documenting a production for special features to replacing expensive crane and dolly shots. Reading the news, you would think that drones were well on their way to becoming the paparazzi’s favorite tool or a way to sneak contraband into national forests and I am sure devious minds can come up with the ability to do that and more. I had my initial contact with a drone at a wedding. My first thought is that those quad copters are loud and not at all discreet. They hum and blow an amazing amount of air beneath them in order to “hover” above their subject. I can’t imagine that they could sneak into a famous person’s home or arrive unnoticed anywhere really. Continue…

Product photography lighting: Don’t forget the shadows!

Both light and shadows work to create perfect product photography lighting

Both light and shadows work to create perfect product photography lighting

We all know that product photography is all about the light, but don’t forget that what makes the light perfect is the inclusion of shadows. In the video tutorial below, Alex Koloskov, walks through the process of first removing the shadows with well place diffusers and then bringing gradients and shadows back onto the image in order to really capture the life and feel of a shiny object in the end photograph.

One of the more difficult things to grasp when you first start working with studio (controlled) lighting is that you can’t have light without shadows. A professor I had in film school called it “painting with light,” a phrase I always loved. In order to paint with light, you are placing light on one plane or part of your subject which in turn creates an opposing shadow on another part of your subject. If you over-light your subject by filling in shadows and adding light on every part of your subject, you end up with flat, boring light with minimal shadows (good for green screen work!). Continue…

Amazing photographs: 2014 WPPI awards

Feeling uninspired lately, never fear- these WPPI winners will definitely inspire you! There are many divisions including the (impressive!) high school division that compete surrounding the WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) event held in Las Vegas every year. Even if wedding and portraits aren’t your favorite categories, these photographs are inspiring and cover many types of photography we cover in #GC3400 including photojournalism, portraiture, and product photography.

WPPI winners for 2014

WPPI winners for 2014

I didn’t realize previously that they also have a videography division. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can see the winning videos for some fantastic examples of engaging videos built on gorgeous photography combined with sublime editing to tell a well-paced story.

So, which photograph inspires you? Continue…

7 Simple Photography Hacks

With a few simple around-the-house tools, you can create unique photographic effects to add to your growing arsenal. In this video, you will see 7 photography hacks including: how to create a flash diffuser with a plastic tupperware container, several types of filters with sharpies and vaseline, a tripod made out of two lengths of string, and even the popular bokeh effect with a simple piece of construction paper. I think the best part is that these easy and cheap tricks made me start to think outside the box and look at the household and lab items surrounding us as potential possibilities for experimenting with my DSLR.

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Capturing waterfall photographs

Waterfall photographs taken with slow shutter speeds

Waterfall photographs taken with slow shutter speeds

Living in the upstate, we are surrounded by amazing landscape opportunities involving water. There are dozens of waterfalls, streams, lakes, and rivers to explore with our cameras. Waterfall photographs are some of the most interesting options for exploring slow shutter speed photography when you are just starting out. You know the photographs I mean: the ones where the water smooths out and looks like silk. That effect is created by using extended shutter speeds when taking waterfall photographs to “smooth out” the motion and details of the water.

When learning about photography, it’s best to learn tips from the best. I ran across the following article by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson on shooting waterfalls and I think he has some solid tips.

Waterfall photographs taken with slow shutter speeds

Waterfall photographs taken with slow shutter speeds

Contributing editor Jim Richardson is a photojournalist recognized for his explorations of small-town life. His photos appear frequently in National Geographic magazine.

Perhaps unlocking one creative door opens another.

Somehow that’s how I felt dashing back to the Zodiacs to leave Thistle Fjord in Iceland, flush with confidence from my photographic encounter with the bird wing. If I could break through that creative barrier, what other challenges would succumb to me? Continue…