Friday, January 29, 2010

Colour, Texture, Composition

You may have noticed that the companion blog to this one is titled London Daily Photo. Every day a new photo is posted to that blog. It does not have to be shot the day it is posted but it must be shot in London. There are hundreds of sites worldwide with bloggers pulling the same stunt. Some are quite remarkable. Having only a Canon SD10 Digital ELPH, I have limits but I try.

As we have discussed, colour can make a picture. Green leaves or red roses are obvious but if you keep an alert eye you will see more --- lot's more. Now add shapes to your image and strong lines. Often texture will also enter the equation as it is almost impossible to eliminate texture from an image.

These bolts of fabric are actually horizontal but holding the camera at an angle added dynamic diagonals to the picture. The highlight reflections mated with the soft shadows give the diagonal stripes volume and the loose fabric breaks the striped pattern and softens the overall effect. A small burst of fill-in flash makes the highlights pop while cleaning the colours of the fluorescent green of the store lighting. The fabrics all have a similar texture and this helps to tie the image together into one smooth presentation.

Lastly, in Photoshop the highlights and the shadows were placed at the extreme ends of the Levels histogram and the image given a small amount of saturation --- 16.

Always be aware of these ideas when you are shooting any picture. Colour, texture, composition --- compose in camera if possible. If you do, you will have winning images; Trust me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

f/2 and a digital SLR would've been better

Forgive me. I know; I know. It's another baby picture.

Yet, I love the way this little girl is so obviously interested in the puzzle on which her grandmother is working. The little girl went to the doctor for her check-up earlier in the day and the doctor said, "This kid is bright." I'd say he was a bright doctor, very observant.

Note: If you have a SLR digital camera, or any camera that allows the setting of the f/stop and has a large image sensor, use a large f/stop. Something like f/2 or f/2.8 would be good with a 28mm lens. This will help to throw the background out of focus.

I am using a simple, old point and shoot with a small, 4 MB, sensor and so do not have this control. I must take what the camera gives me and that is far too much depth of field. (Note: when I say large sensor, I am talking about its size in area. For instance, 35mm cameras have more depth of field than 120 cameras at the same f/stop.)

Before shooting this picture I turned off the incandescent ceiling light to prevent having a yellow cast staining the image and made sure that the curtains were completely open. I also wiped the little girl's mouth; She is quite into bubble blowing and it does not add to her carefully managed image.

Ken (Rockinon)