Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Finding the right angle can create a visual surprise

This image takes the advice found in the last post and adds another wrinkle: The importance of camera angle.

The Golden Sword Yucca on our backyard is a striking plant from almost any angle. But one of the most interesting angles is the one from above. I stood on a plastic lawn chair to get to the right height.

I have said this before but it bears repeating: If your knees are never soiled, you are not putting enough variety in the points of view captured in your pictures. Get down low, get up high (as was done to capture this image), spend some time seeking different angles. You will be rewarded.

An excellent news shooter I met through work told me he imagines a large, glass dome over his subject. He moves his camera all over the dome seeking surprising new angles. He discovered at media photo opts he was often off on his own, alone, shooting the event, while the herd of media photographers pushed and shoved each other jockeying to take the same shot.

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Printing" with the goal of making colours pop

Years ago I was taught to expose for the shadows and print for the highlights.The goal was to keep a little detail in both the extreme shadows and the extreme highlights. It was a good rule but it can be broken and with some success. (The rule applied more to black and while photography than colour as the two processes were quite different. Modify the development time for colour film and one risked suffering strange colour shifts and other unwanted results.)

This picture of my wife's chrysanthemums is a good example. The oh-so-dark background makes the bright colours pop and contrasts very positively with the clean whites in the flowers. A little detail would be acceptable, even preferable, but it must be minimized to avoid adding a distraction to the all important blooms.

This image was taken into Photoshop and the contrast carefully increased. Care was taken to hold the detail in the highlights. As a rule, we are far more lenient when it comes to accepting detail-missing shadows that blown-out highlights.