Phototogrphy Quick Tip!

Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

 Here is a Photography Quick Tip. Straight lines are pleasing to the eye in photographs because they give your eye a path to follow through the shot. Your eye will automatically go to the end of this bridge first, because that is where all of the lines lead. In Landscape photography this is used often with images of roads, paths, fences, even rows of bushes or pines on a hillside can give you great lines. Practice useing straight lines like this to help your images tell a story to the viewer. When I framed up this shot I wanted to show the viewer how long and narrow this bridge over the gorge was. I chose this high angle with my focal path directly down the center of the image. I tried to give my viewer the same feeling and focal point I had when I first came up to this bridge. Only AFTER I located my destination point on the bridge did I look around at all of the beautiful view, and that is the way I wanted my viewer to see it as well.

Keep in mind the story you are telling may not only be visual but also mental. If I shot this image at eye level, you would have seen the bridge I wanted you to see, but by elevating the camera 12 feet above the walkway of the bridge I tried to capture the feeling you get when stepping out onto a suspension bridge 100 feet over a river. 

Practice is the only way to become a good story teller in photography. It may take 200 shots from 30 angles to get the look and feel you want. Keep try, keep thinking outside the box "pixels are free" every photographer in the world has 100 times more bad shots than good. After you get that shot that tells the story you want to tell, you will always remember the technique you used to get it for next time. And working through a shot like that is what makes good photographers great photographers! 

Now Get Out There!  

Graduated ND Filter.


Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

One piece of equipment that any nature photographer needs is a good set of ND filters, and specifically a graduated ND filter. ND stands for Nutral Density and it stops down the intencety of the light without much change in color. Most people have seen circular ND filters that screw onto the front of your lense that are one solid tint. The graduated version goes from ND tint to clear glass in a smooth soft transition. Pictured you will see a camera with a filter frame and filters installed. I prefer this style filter over the circular style for a few reasons. The first being you can easily ad more than one filter to the frame. Second the frame allows you to slide the filter in any direction in or out of frame so you can more precisely put your gradient portion of the filter where you need it. A circular graduated filter will blend in the middle of the shot every shot. So I find you set the shot up for the filter instead of filtering for the shot you want.  

Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

When do I use a Graduated ND Filter? This is used when there is a portion of you shot that is to bright to keep the rest of the image properly exposed. Example sunsets are one place I almost always use my GND filter. The foreground is in shadow because the sun is directly behind it, if you have ever taken a picture of a sunset you know that most everything in the foreground of the shot will be total black and the sky will be properly exposed or the foreground will be properly exposed and the sky will be total white and lack color (clipping). Using a GND filter you can place the gradient portion of the filter just below the horizon line then meter for exposure. Your capture will be more evenly exposed, you will get the great colors from the sky and still have foreground to tell a story.  

This filter also works great when in the woods, canopied trees darken the forest floor sometimes you will get hot spots from breaks in the tree cover. It also works great for high temp reflections off of water. There are many uses for this style filter. The cost will very wildly depending on quality, but you can pick up a descent set for around $80 US, and if you take proper care of them they will last you a very long time. 

Now Get Out There!  

 

"Controlling Light" Part 3

 

  This is the third video in a four part series called "Controlling Light". A photography basics video that will help you better understand the Manual (M) settings on your camera. Knowing what these settings are and how they affect your camera will help you understand how to use them

Source: http://

S'mores Remix.

Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

Try this! Next campfire grab a mixed bag of Fun Size chocolate bars. I am a fan of the Almond Joy S'more! Mix and match, part of the fun is trying somthing outside the box. A friend of mine loves York Peperment Patties on her S'mores. There is always the classic but it's awesome to kick it up a notch! 

"Controlling Light" Part 2

This is the second video in a four part series called "Controlling Light". A photography basics video that will help you better understand the Manual (M) settings on your camera. Knowing what these settings are and how they affect your camera will help you understand how to use them

Camping Overkill!


Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

I hear so many stores about people being under prepared on camping or backpacking trips. But when on the trail I tend to see more people over prepared, including myself sometimes. 

Over prepared? Countless times,  I have passed hikers on a back country trails. Hanging from there packs I have seen Dutch oven, cast iron skillet, gallons of water, full size camp chair, extra shoes, full size Ax... Not saying that they are not going to use this stuff but is it worth the weight? 

Car camping is a little different story. Not carrying it miles on your back, I say bring that 10 lbs cast iron Dutch over. Bring the big camp chairs and the gallons of water. But even car camping can be over done. For instance I have a folding standalone hammock that I bought years ago that I take when we car camp. I have set it up fifty times and might have sat in it two times. LOL. It actually has been used more often to cover firewood, odd when I keep four extra tarps in my equipment. This year I am going to make it a point to slim down my setup. What is it that we truly need, or more so what is it that we will truly use?   

As for for my camera gear... I need all of it! 

 

 

Photography on a Budget.


Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

 Most people think that in order to get photographs like you see in magazines you need to have the best equipment. Or that the only reason an image looks so amazing is the camera that cost $10,000. I am here to tell you that this is simply not true. On the other hand I am a believer in you get what you pay for to a certain existent. But I have seen photos that take your breath away that were shot on cell phones, cheap point and shoot cameras, even camcorder snapshots. 

The biggest difference is that the people doing the capturing knew the equipment and had a great understanding of photography and had a passion for telling story's with an image. 

When people ask me what camera should I buy. I always tell them the best camera is the one you already have. Technique and passion are more important than equipment. And then once you find your style and your eye, get the camera that fits you. Even Steven Spielberg started on a handy cam.     

For those who have no camera at all, borrow one, or worst case you can pick up an SLR camera and lense for less than $150 on eBay. I know so many people that have the best most expensive cameras and don't know the first thing about framing a shot, or composition. They thought buying big meant great images. And that is so far from the truth! 

 

 

SD Survival


Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

SD Survival.

Here is a helpful tip for your next outdoor adventure. Always keep a small SD card (or whatever your camera uses) labeled Survival in your camera case. On this card keep information in photos, that will help you in the event of an emergency.

Examples 

Trail Maps, Area Maps, Photos of eatable plants, knot instructions, trap and snare diagrams, poisonous plants from that area, poisonous snakes...  

The idea is to give your self any information that would help you in a dangerous situation. If your planing a trip, take the time to do a quick search for these things for that area, and then just snap photos of your computer screen. Most photographers will have plenty of batteries in there pack to keep a camera running for days so you can reference these photos at any time.   

I also have made it a habit to take a photo of the trail map at the trail head before I head out, I have used this on several occasions to find my way back to my vehicle. I also put useful info on my card that I use as a photographer like tide information for the week I am shooting near the ocean, sun rise and sun set calendars, light meter calculators... 

It always pays to be prepared for the worst even if you never need it. If you have other ideas for the SD survival card share them! You may help save a life. Be Safe!  

and get out there! 

 

 

Get Your Feet Wet.


Photo by William Gillette

Photo by William Gillette

One of the many lessons that I have learned over the years in this great hobby is, never be afraid to get your feet wet! Literally, 

When you first see an amazing photo opportunity your first instinct should be to look for the best possible shot of your subject. Sometimes that shot is not always obvious. When first approaching this set of falls I noticed a few phographers along the shore up near the top of the falls. As I looked at the location I decided to take a little different approach. Testing the waters depth with my monopod first and then stepping into the ice cold stream. I hopped up on a few rocks and found a place to anchor my tripod. I set my camera up, very carefully I might add. And snapped a few frames. As I was packing my gear a few minutes later I noticed that two of the other photographers had been standing on the shore where I went in to the stream. I finished packing my stuff and slowly went back into the stream towards the two. As I did they stepped into the water and headed for the pile of rocks mid stream that I had just returned from. Back on shore I dumped the water from my boots collected my gear and headed back up the trail.  As a photographer I believe it is my goal to bring to frame the parts of nature that are seldom seen, an angle that is not so common, or a story that hasn't be told. Sometimes you can not simply do this standing on the shore. Be safe, be smart, but most of all be adventurous.