Monday, December 29, 2008

Quinn Nathaniel Galbraith

On Christmas Day, my nephew Quinn was born at the Foothills Hospital here in Calgary. He got home last night with his mom and dad.  His auntie and I finally got to visit today. Here are some pictures of him.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Previsualization to Reality

Again, I am reading a bit of TWIP tonight. This post was about how Scott got his picture he had previsualized:

Its a great story and its well told. This brings to mind a shot I have in my mind that I want to shoot. Unfortunately, its a shot I would have had if my batteries in my camera hadn't died. My folks live on the top of a valley that's full of trees. One winter the temperature dropped rapidly resulting in hoarfrost. It was the night of a full moon and as it rose in the sky I saw that it was a bright neon pink and it cast its glow on the white trees below. Breath taking. Phenomenal. But how often do you see a neon pink moon? If I ever see it again I will photograph it.

One Tip. The one to remember

I had a quick look at TWIP tonight. One question that Scott Bourne received recently is "I am just getting my first camera. What’s the one thing I should try to remember to get the best photos I can possibly get?"

His response was to shoot with the light behind you. Its astounding but I remember my Aunt providing me with this tip when I was really young. (Like 5 or 6???? I also recall her saying not to try to shoot through glass because of the reflections.) Its such a simple thing and yet, with digital cameras we have somehow forgotten this tip. Or at least it hasn't been drilled into us like it used to be.

Imagine in your mind a building. You are on the north side of that building at noon on a day with a few clouds but mostly blue sky. Are you going to get a reasonably exposed image? Probably not. (Unless you use HDR which is a whole other topic). If you move to the south side of the building, you can then expose the building and the sky correctly. Simple. Important.

A lot of beginners see their subject, and fire. Armed with this rule in mind, even if you have your camera on auto it will be able to handle the scene. The other nice thing about this rule is, once its in your head, you start seeing light differently. You see that hard light from the front kills shadows and makes your subject lose depth making it look flat. You'll see that those last rays of sunlight when cast from the side or at an angle are absolutely beautiful.

While I call it a rule, its a fun one to break now and then. The thing about photography rules is that 95% of the shots you do should follow most of them. When you break a rule, though, make sure its obvious and deliberate. Backlit subjects turn into silhouettes quite nicely. If your subject is backlit you can let it go completely black. The other option is to use some fill flash.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why black and white?

A lot of my more effective images are ones that I've converted to black and white. Part of this comes from my own fondness for monochrome. Part of it too is in what I shoot. Some subjects work well in black and white. Obviously some don't.

So what is it about black and white that is appealing? One way to think about this is to think about what's left in an image once you've stripped away the color. A red square for instance is even more uninteresting when converted to monochrome. This tank however seems to work well in black and white.
When we take away color, we are left with lines, shapes and textures. In black and white, lines are more apparent. Shapes are easier to see. And textures come alive in monochrome.
In this image you can see the form of the gun barrel. You can see the texture in the treads. Even the sky has a defined shape.
By removing color, we shift the emphasis to these basic elements. That's not to say that these elements aren't important in color photography. Far from it. In color photography these elements complement the image and a well crafted image utilizes all of these to convey a central message or theme to the viewer.