Alaska

Photographers Need to Be "Nearsighted" and "Farsighted"

© Rick Sammon
Composition is the strongest way of seeing.

When we see and compose our pictures, we need to be both "nearsighted" and "farsighted" – paying close attention to the foreground and background elements in a scene (and, of course, everything in between).

In the above photograph, the near element adds to the sense of depth of the image. In the photograph below, the far element adds an extra sense of interest to the photograph.

© Rick Sammon
Both photographs illustrate careful and creative composition.

For more on composition, see my Kelby Training class: Composition - the strongest way of seeing.

You'll also notice the great depth of field in both images, taken with my Canon 24-105nm IS lens on my Canon 5D Mark III.

For max depth of field:
- use a wide-angle lens
- set a small aperture
- focus 1/3 into the scene.

I teach creative composition on all my workshops. I hope you can join the creative fun.

I also teach how to see the light - which I discuss in several of my apps.

Explore the light,
Rick

I created these black and white images in Nik Silver Efex Pro - one of the creative plug-ins I use.



5 Days of 5D Mark III Shots: Day 5


Today's the last day of posts in this series. Thank you all for following along. I hope you have enjoyed the photographs and the tips.

If you are new to the series, scroll down for previous posts.


Luck. That's the topic of topic today's post. I was super lucky to get these two shots, taken seconds apart on the second day of my Alaska workshop with Hal "Bull" Schmitt. Yes, I was ready to shoot, but luck did play a big role in these photographs.

A few quick photography tips here:
- When photographing two or more animals, try to get some separation between the animals.
- The background can make or break the shot. The relatively plain background in these photographs helps the eagles to stand out.
- The eyes have it. If the eyes are not well lit and in sharp focus, you've missed the shot.
- Know your subject.

I can't decide which photograph I like the best. If you have a preference, I'd like to hear why in the Comments here on my blog.

Gear:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 70-200mm f/4 lens 

Hal "Bull" Schmitt and I hope you can join us in Alaska in 2013. I will pick the dates for my workshop will Bull soon.


Speaking of saying thank you, check out The Thank You Economy. It's a good - and important - read.

And speaking of books, below are my two favorite - and best-selling - books.


In face to face I share my favorite people photographs and people photography tips.


In Exploring the Light I talk about how to get the best possible in-camera exposure.

Thank you again,
Rick

5 Days of Canon 5D Mark III Shots: Day 4


All this week on my blog: Canon 5D Mark III photographs from my Light workshop in Alaska with Hal "Bull" Schmitt aboard the Northern Song. Scroll down for previous posts about our Alaska workshop.

Tip #1: All the shots in this series of post were hand-held. All the shots were cropped . . . and still look great, even when enlarged, thanks to the image quality of the camera's sensor. (Those who know me know that I am a nut about cropping.) Cropping is key.

Tip #2: As you'll notice, the entire scenes are in focus in all these images. To achieve that goal: use a wide-angle lens, set a small aperture, and focus 1/3 into the scene.

Gear for these images:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 24-105mm IS lens

Click here to see all my gear.

All these black-and-white images were created in Nik Silver Efex Pro. For a discount on all Nik plug-ins, click here.

Tip #3: Why black and white? Well, when you remove the color from a scene, you remove some of the reality. When you remove some of the reality, your pictures can become creative and artistic. I talk about stuff like this in my seminars.


Tip #4: Speaking of cropping, that's the subject of today's post. I crop, first, for three reasons:
1) to draw more attention to the main subject by cropping out the boring stuff in a frame;
2) to prevent dark and light areas around the main subject from affecting my digital darkroom exposure and color decisions of the main subject;
3) I can't always get the best composition in camera. Composition, after all, is the strongest way of seeing.

Tip #5: You'll notice that all of these photographs have a foreground element. A foreground element adds a sense of depth to a two-dimensional photograph.


I have found in my on-line portfolio reviews that many, many shots can be improved with a bit o' cropping.

Hal and I hope to see you in Alaska aboard the Norther Song, whose master and commander is Captain Dennis Rogers. The best of the best.

Explore the light, 
Rick


5 Days of 5D Mark III Shots: Day 3


All this week on my blog: Canon 5D Mark III photographs from my Light workshop in Alaska with Hal "Bull" Schmitt aboard the Northern Song. Scroll down for previous posts about our workshop.

All the shots in this series of post were hand-held. All the shots were cropped . . . and still look great, even when enlarged, thanks to the image quality of the camera's sensor. (Those who know me know that I am a nut about cropping.)

Today's post is not so much about gear, but more about understanding your subject. No matter what the subject, the more you know about it, the better chance you have of getting good shots.

These pictures were taken during a three-hour killer whale tracking session. The whales were training their young the techniques of hunting. 

The process was explained to us by Dennis Rogers, the captain of the Norther Song, our vessel for the week-long photography workshop. Dennis, who was worked in Alaska for many years, expertly tracked the whales, no easy task in open water. So, half the credit for this photographs goes to Capt. Dennis.


As I told the students, when I photograph animals, as well as people, I try to shoot eye-to-eye. In doing so, the view of photograph release and identify more with the subject. Of course, this is not always possible, as when I photograph one of the sea lions ducked under our boat for safety. Still, I was a low as possible to the water.

For all the other pictures in this post, I stood on the lower deck for almost eye-to-eye shooting.


Because the whales were moving, I set my 5D Mark III on AF servo focus. I shot on the Av mode with my thumb on the exposure compensation wheel on the back of the camera, checking the camera's highlight alert, and fine-tuning my exposure so as not to blow out the highlights.


I can't say that it was fun watching the hunt, as the killer whales eventually got the two sea lions. It was, however, a thrilling and educational experience watching the circle of life.


When I shoot, I shoot to "tell the whole story." I also shoot for slide shows, always looking for an ending shot, as illustrated above. 

And, I shoot with creative composition in mind. Click here to learn about Composition - the strongest was of seeing

Gear:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 24-105mm IS lens
Canon 100-400mm IS lens
  
Click here for Light's Alaska workshops. I don't know which one I'll be on in 2013, but I will know soon! Join us and we'll show you how to get shots like these.

Click here to get on the list for my 2013 Light Alaska workshop with Bull - and for all my workshops.

Click here to see my gear recos for our Alaska trips.

Hal and I hope to see you in Alaska aboard the Norther Song.

Explore the light,
Rick



5 Days of 5D Mark III Shots: Day 2


All this week on my blog: Canon 5D Mark III photographs from my Light workshop in Alaska with Hal "Bull" Schmitt. Scroll down for previous Alaska posts.


Landscape photography tips:
- Use a telephoto lens to isolate elements in a scene. Above I used my Canon 400mm DO lens. I took this shot from a moving boat.
-  When the sky is filled with dramatic clouds, place the horizon line at the bottom of the frame.
- Envision black and white images . . . think in tones, rather than colors.
- Create dramatic black and white images with Nik Silver Efex Pro. When working in Silver Efex Pro, use a digital Red filter to darken the sky.To get a discount on all Nik plug-ins, and the other plug-ins I use, click here.
- Shoot into the sun for dramatic images and strong shadows, as illustrated above. Use Shadows/Highlights for creative control.
- Compose carefully. That was the key in the image below. For tips on creative composition, see my Composition class on Kelby Training.




Click here to get on the list for my 2013 Light Alaska workshop with Bull - and for all my workshops.

Click here to see my gear recos for our Alaska trip.

Hal and I hope to see you in Alaska aboard the Norther Song, whose master and commander is Captain Dennis Rogers. The best of the best.

Explore the light,
Rick