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Page 1: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography Learn to Master Composition, Color, and Design
Page 2: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography Learn to Master Composition, Color, and Design
Page 3: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography Learn to Master Composition, Color, and Design

FrontcoverphotographsbyJimMiotke(top);KerryDrager(bottomleftandbottomcenter);MarcieFowler(bottomright)

Copyright©2011byJamesC.Miotke

Allrightsreserved.PublishedintheUnitedStatesbyAmphotoBooks,animprintoftheCrownPublishingGroup,adivisionofRandomHouse,Inc.,NewYorkwww.crownpublishing.comwww.amphotobooks.com

AMPHOTOBOOKSandtheAmphotoBookslogoareregisteredtrademarksofRandomHouse,Inc.

LibraryofCongressCataloging-in-PublicationData

Miotke,Jim.TheBetterPhotoguidetocreativedigitalphotography:learntomastercomposition,color,anddesign/JimMiotkeandKerryDrager.p.cm.Includesbibliographicalreferencesandindex.eISBN:978-0-81742500-51.Composition(Photography)2.Photography—Digitaltechniques.I.Drager,Kerry.II.Title.TR179.M562011775—dc222010044809

Frontcoverandinteriordesignbyveéstdesign

v3.1

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p.1Ahighcamerapositionandatelephotoviewhelpedfillupthepictureframewiththeserowers.Whenphotographingmotion,freezingthemovementisfrequentlythechoiceformanyphotographers.But,attimes,aslowshutterspeed—inthiscase,1/8sec.—canconveyanicesenseofmotion.Photo©JimMiotke.1/8sec.atf/16,ISO100,28–135mmlensat135mmpp.2–3ThelightsandcolorsoftwilightlitupthisSouthernCaliforniacoastalsceneinagloriousway.Withtheextremelightingcontrastrange,photographerDonnaPagakisdecidedtousetheHDR(highdynamicrange)technique.Shesays,“Ihadmycamerasettoautobrackettheexposuresat2/3-stopintervals.IblendedtwoexposuresinPhotoshop—oneexposedforthesky,onefortheforeground.”Note:Twoexposures,bothsetatf/7.1(and1.3secondsfortheskyexposureand2secondsfortheforegroundexposure),werecombinedforthisimage.Photo©DonnaPagakis.ISO100,18mmlensp.5Thisbarrel-cactussceneisallaboutshapeandtexture.PhotographerLeslieMcLainusedaclosecompositiontofillupthepictureframewithjustthepattern.Inaddition,thephotographerchoseacameraanglethathelpsemphasizethescene’slinesandcurves.Photo©LeslieMcLain.1/3sec.atf/16,100ISO,100mmlenspp.6–7Colorfulsubjectsalwaysseemtocatchmyeye,suchasthisoldboatwithafreshcoatofredpaint.Thelow-angled,late-daysun—hittingthesubjectfromtheside—castaniceshadow,too.Forthistelephotoclose-up,Izeroedinonthegraphicdesignofstronglinesandcolors.Photo©KerryDrager.1/2sec.atf/22,ISO100,105mmlenspp.8–9(lefttoright)ArrivingonthesceneearlyonemorninginnorthernEngland,Isawclouds,light,andcolorcometogetherperfectly.Awide-angleapproachseemednatural.Forlandscapes,andmanyotherscenes,Ialwayscheckbothformats—horizontal(landscape)andvertical(portrait).Forthisscene,Ifeltthatahorizontalviewbestfitmyvision.Photo©JimMiotke.1/125sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,16–35mmlensPhotographerSusanaHeidespecializesinchildren’sphotography.“Ifinditextremelyrefreshingtobeabletocapturesomanygenuineexpressionsofachildorbabyduringasession,”shesays.Forthisimage,sheusedatelephotolens,atightcomposition,andahugehatthatcolorfullyframesthesubject’sexpression.Photo©SusanaHeide.1/250sec.atf/7.1,ISO100,28–70mmlensat70mmTheseshadowedgardensculpturesstandoutagainstabrightpondbackgroundatsunset.Iwasattractedbythedistinctiveshapes.Iwantedtoincludethecat’soutlineasasoft-focused“secondary”subjectthatIknewwouldstillbeinterestingandidentifiable.Otherwise,thecowboyandfrogstandfrontandcenterwhile“framing”thecatbeyond.Photo©KerryDrager.1/4sec.atf/8,ISO100,105mmlensPhotographerKatarinaManssonhasapassionforshootingarchitectureinasemi-abstractway.It’snotasurprise,then,thatthisFrankGehry–designedbuildinginGermanycaughtherattention.“Iplayedwithmywide-anglelensandlotsofdifferentcompositions.Inthisone,IwasafteragoodRule-of-Thirdscomposition,togetherwiththeflowingshapesandthebeautifulblueversuswhite.”Photo©KatarinaMansson.1/250sec.atf/8,ISO200,10–22mmlensat10mmAsteadycamera(onatripod)andaslowshutterspeed(toblurthemovementofthewalkers)combinedtorecordthisholidaysceneinBoise,Idaho.“IhadbeenshootingthecityHolidayTreeandturnedaroundtoseethiscouple,”saysphotographerBeckyJ.Parkinson.“Ithoughtthescenelookedveryfestive.”Photo©BeckyJ.Parkinson.1secondatf/8,ISO250,24–120mmlensat55mm

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Weareverygratefultothemanypeoplewhohavehelpedusproducethisbook.First,wewould not be anywherewithoutTeamBetterPhoto—thank you all

foryouramazingsupport.Next, Jimwould like to thank his family—wife, business partner, and best

friend,Denise; and children Julian,Alex, andAlina—for their loving support.HeisalsoverygratefultoBrianandMartiHauffortheirprayerfulandpracticalsupport.AndKerrywould like to thankhis family—wifeandbest friend,Mary, and

hisstepchildren,DanandKristin—fortheirgreatloveandnever-endingsupport.Aspecial thanksgoes to thegreat teamatAmphoto—VictoriaCraven, Julie

Mazur,AutumnKindelspire,andJessMorphew.Wefeeldeeplyhonoredtoworkwiththeamazingphotographerswhoteachat

BetterPhoto.com,includingTonySweet,JimZuckerman,VikOrenstein,LewisKemper,GeorgeSchaub,KathleenT.Carr,SusanandNeilSilverman,DeborahSandidge, Peter K. Burian,WilliamNeill, G. Newman Lowrance, Paul Gero,Rob Sheppard, Jim White, John Siskin, Charlotte Lowrie, Simon Stafford,JenniferWu,IbarionexPerello,JenniBidner,DougJohnson,KevinMoss,LynneEodice,andDougSteakley.Youallrock!

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We also would like to thank ArtWolfe, Dewitt Jones, Jack Hollingsworth,DaneSanders,RickSammon,BobKrist,JackWarren,KevinLaRue,andLaurieShuppatNikSoftware;GabrielBiderman,TanaThomson,JonathanYudin,andHershelWaldner at B&H Photo; Sam Perdue at Lensbaby;Neal andChris atPhotographer’sEdge;GaryFarberatHunt’sPhotoinBoston;KathleenDavisatPopular Photography; Ben Willmore, Colin Smith, Joe and Casey at ReallyRight Stuff; the team at Singh-Ray Filters; and the team behind the software:AdobeLightroomandPhotoshop.On this page, there is a list of the many contributors from BetterPhoto,

including those involved in the Masterpiece Membership, who shared theirwonderful images. We would like to say to each of you, Thank you andcongratulations!Last,we extendour thanks to all of the dedicatedmembers ofBetterPhoto,

whohavehelpedmakeitsuchanawesomeandjoyfulphotographiccommunity.Keepitup!

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CONTENTS

CoverTitlePageCopyrightAcknowledgmentsDedicationINTRODUCTION

CHAPTER1GETTINGSTARTED:GOINGFROMORDINARYTOEXTRAORDINARY

CreativeVisualizationAssignment:SeeingthePotentialPlanningYourStrategyTheWowFactor:PointofViewAssignment:TheHuntforVisualAdventureGetCreativewithLensesAssignment:GettoKnowYourTelephotoAssignment:DevelopYourWide-AngleEyeQualityofNaturalLightAssignment:ExploretheTimesofDay

CHAPTER2THEELEMENTSOFDESIGN

ThePowerofLineAssignment:ATwistedPointofViewShapeShapesasSilhouettesFormTexture

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ColorAssignment:ColorQuestPatternAssignment:Putthe“Graphic”Backin“Photographic”BlackandWhiteRepetition

CHAPTER3COMPOSINGYOURPHOTOGRAPH

SubjectPlacementAssignment:Follow—andThenBreak—theRulesTheSky:HowMuchorHowLittleBeware:BackgroundsandBordersOrientation:Horizontalvs.VerticalFacingtheRight(orLeft)WayTheTripod:TheNo.1PhotoAccessory

CHAPTER4DEPTH&BALANCE

DepthandForegroundFramingDepthofFieldAssignment:DOFStillNotClear?TryThis!Balance

CHAPTER5PHOTOGRAPHINGMOTION

FreezingtheActionSteadyCamera+SlowShutter=BlurredMotionAssignment:GettingUptoSpeedPanningaMovingSubjectAssignment:GivePanningaTryPaintingwithLongExposuresAssignment:ExperimentlikeCrazyBlurringMotionbyZooming

CHAPTER6PULLINGITALLTOGETHER

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PersonalProjectsAssignment:DrawingUpaListSelf-Evaluation

GLOSSARYOFPHOTOGRAPHICTERMSCONTRIBUTINGPHOTOGRAPHERSRESOURCESINDEX

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TheLasVegasStripisalwaysatreatfornightphotography.Oneevening,mygoalwastophotographtheBellagio’sawesomefountainperformance.Asspectatorsstartedliningupalongthesidewalk,Itookafewquickgrabshots(photosinwhichyoupickupthecamera,point,andshootwithlittleregardtocomposition)tocheckthehighlightwarningonmyLCDmonitor—i.e.,tomakesuremyexposuresweren’tblastingoutinanyimportantbrightareas.Otherwise,Iusedtheextremelightingcontrasttoshowtheshadowedfiguresasstrikingsilhouettes.Photo©KerryDrager.1/15sec.atf/11,ISO400,50mmlens

INTRODUCTION

“Iscreativitysomethingthatcanbelearned?”We hear this question all the time, and the answer is short and satisfyingly

sweet:Absolutelyyes!Thisbook is intended to reject themistakenbelief thatyoueitherhaveitoryoudon’t.Infact,it’seasierthanyoumightthinktoboostyourcreativityand improveyour skills.With some time-tested techniquesandinnovative approaches, you can startmakingmemorable photos that stand outfromthecrowdofforgettablesnapshots.Anyonecandeveloptalentbylearningandpracticing.Takeitfrombothofus.

Whenwestartedoutinphotography,wehadtheartisticskillsofalogorarock(oranyotherlameinanimateobject).It’sreallytrue.Wechoppedoffheads(feet,too), and we wound up with annoying shadows in all the wrong places. Weclutteredupsomeimageswithtoomanysubjectsandshototherpictureswithno

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clear subjectatall.Whenweeach reached the final straw—justone toomanyimagesthatfailedtomeetourgreatexpectations—wetookituponourselvestolearntotakebetterpictures.The thoughts and insights we share on these pages worked for us in the

development of our own photography and proved successful for studentswhohavetakenourclassesandattendedourworkshops.Thesehundredsofstudents—of all ages and abilities—have dramatically expanded their photographicvisionandhavetakentheirworktonewlevels.InThe BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography we discuss—in

wordsandimages—suchtopicsasgettingmotivated,findingsubjects,exploringtheworldaroundyou,becomingmorecreativewithlenses,discoveringuniquepoints of view, working with inspiring light, identifying the key elements ofdesign,understandingthebasicrulesofcompositionandthenlearninghowtheycanbebroken,zeroinginondepthandbalance,andpullingitalltogetherwithpersonal projects.We cover themanyways to capturemotion—from freezingtheactionwithafastshutterspeedto“painting”withlongexposures.Thinkingoutside thephotographicboxandexperimentingwithnewideasareoverridingtopicsthatcomeupthroughoutthebook.Afascinatingpartofthecreativeprocessisthatnotwophotographersseethe

world in the same way. This has been reinforced so many times in fieldworkshops.We’vewatchedphotographersshootingthesamesceneinthesamelightyetall interpreting thescene in theirown individualstyles.Duringgroupreviewsoftheattendees’photoslater,there’sastringof“Wow,Iwasrightthere,butIdidn’tseethat!”comments.If you’re a beginner, the techniques and exerciseswe share are designed to

take you beyond the snapshot stage and into the world of capturing well-conceivedphotographs. Ifyou’reanadvancedshooter,you’ll find insightsandmotivationforfine-tuningyourcreativevisionandfortakingyourphotographytothenextartisticlevel.Don’t assume that you must travel to exotic locales to make exciting

photographs.Possibilities for dynamic images exist anywhere, andwe’ll shareour tried-and-true techniques for finding subjects and visual satisfactionwhereveryouhappentobe—includinginandaroundyourownhometown.Thisbook is forpeoplewhohaveother jobs,whoarebusywithfamiliesorschool,andwhomayhavelimitedfinancialresources.What’sreallyrequiredisadesireto learn, and since you’re reading this book, you already havewhat you needstarttakingyourphotographytonewartisticheights.

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Seekingoutauniqueviewpoint,ratherthanshootingeverythingfromastandingposition,isagreatwaytoincreaseyourvisualcreativity.IntheCaliforniaGoldCountrytownofCoulterville,Ilikedthecolorandcharacterofthisoldbuilding.Ithenchosealowcameraangle—positionedclosetothecolorfulflowers—tocreatevisualenergythatextendsfromdownlowtouphigh.Photo©JimMiotke.1/180sec.atf/6.7,ISO100,16–35mmlensat16mm

ABOUTYOURCAMERA

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Youmightask,“WillIgetbetterpicturesifIbuyabettercamera?”Theanswer—“Maybe,maybenot”—hasmoretodowithyourartisticvisionandlesstodowithyourequipment.Sure,theexcitementofanewcameracanmotivateyoutogetoutshootingmoreandtryingnewthings.But it’sreally theeyebehindtheviewfinder—or the eye in front of the LCD monitor—that turns scenes withpotentialintopicturesthatmatter.Mostofthetipsandtechniquesinthisbookcanbeutilizedwithanycamera.

Both of us choose DSLR (digital single-lens-reflex) cameras—rather thancompact digitals—for our pro work. Although relatively big and awkwardcompared to the sleek compact models, DSLRs offer the ultimate in imagequalitywhile providingmore features andoptions that are easier to use.Theyalsoallowyoutouseavarietyoflenses.Still,today’shigh-endcompactsareverysophisticated,withadvancedmodes

thatallowyoutomoveoffautopilot.WhetheryoushootwithacompactcameraoraDSLRcamera,ifyouusegoodtechniquewithanartisticvision,youcangetgood pictures. A good DSLR simply makes it easier for you to consistentlycapturegreatphotos.In any case, if you thinkyouneed tobuy anewcamera, ourbest advice is

makethemostofwhatyoualreadyhave,unlessit’stotallybroken—oruntilyoucan no longer stand the limitations of your current model and are ready toupgrade. You’ll then knowwhat features youwant andwill be better able tomakethechoicethat’srightforyou.

ABOUTTHEDIGITALDARKROOMIt’struethatalldigital imagesrequireat leastsomeoptimizing—particularlyifyou’reshootinginraw—suchascolorcorrection,contrast,spotremoval,andsoon.But the ideaof thisbook is to focuson theshootingperspective—toworkwithourvisionandcamerahandlinginordertocapturethingsin-camera.Thedigitaldarkroomdoesofferalevelofthecontroloverthefinalimagethat

wasonce just thedomainofblack-and-white filmphotographers.Nonetheless,thegoalistomakewell-conceivedandwell-executedimagesinyourcameraandtoavoidtheI’ll-fix-it-later-in-Photoshopmentality.Image-editingsoftwarecan’talways successfully salvagemajor composition or exposure issues, or salvageimagesthatfallshortofasparklingvision.Ofcourse,werealizeyoumaywishtolaterapplyspecialdigitalfilterstoan

image,makephotocomposites,ormakeuseofotherdigitalarttechniques.But

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eventhen,comingupwiththebestpicturepossiblewillmaketheentireprocessmoreenjoyableandefficient.Inmanycases,theworkyoudobehindthecamerawillpayoff—quality-wise—inthefinalphoto.

ABOUTTHEASSIGNMENTSYou can’t gowrong by reading about photography. Still, there’s nothing quitelikegettingout there anddoing it.Putting intopracticewhatyou’ve readwillhelp you learn the concepts faster and helpmake themmore of an instinctivepart of your shootingworkflow. There aremotivating assignments throughoutthebook,andweurgeyoutogivethematry.Keepinmindthat,inmostcases,themainideaistonaildowntheconceptortechnique.Ifyoualsocomeupwithagreatphoto,that’sabonus.Butdon’tletanuninspiringsettingholdyouback.Practice,experiment,studyyourresults,andenjoytheprocess!

ONELASTNOTEIt’seasierthanyoumightthinktosharpenyourskillsandyourcreativeeye.Thetips, tricks,andtechniquesoutlinedin thesepageswillgetyoustartedonyourphotographicjourney.You’reinforafast,fun,andexhilaratingride.Youcandoit.Weknowyoucan.Nowfastenyourcamerastrap,andlet’sgetstartedontheexcitingroadtovisualcreativity!

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Uniqueperspectivesalwaysseemtocatchtheviewer’seye.Here,Ichosealow-levelpositionandthenpointedmycameraupward.Atthesametime,Iwantedtotakeadvantageofthewonderfulcolorcontrastatworkbyplacingthebrightredtulipsagainsttheboldbluesky.Photo©JimMiotke.1/125sec.atf/6.7,ISO100,28mmlens

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CHAPTER1

GETTINGSTARTED:GOINGFROMORDINARYTOEXTRAORDINARY

LegendaryphotographerEdwardWestonwasknownforhisdistinctive imagesoflandscapes,plants,andthehumanfigure.Buthewasequallyfamousforhisclose-up studies of seashells and vegetables—particularly peppers. With theinnovativeuseofgraphicdesign,heprovedyoucanturnrun-of-the-millobjectsintotop-of-the-lineworksofart.Nowthisdoesn’tnecessarilymeanthatyoumustshootshellsandphotograph

peppers,too,althoughyoucould.Butitdoesmeanthatyoushouldstrivetofindvisualvaluewhereveryouhappentobe.Theideaistostartlookingbeyondwhatcasualobserversseeandstartdevelopingyourownuniquewaysofseeingandrecording theworld aroundyou. In thesepages,wewant tohelpyoubroadenyour thinking and stretch your vision so you can start to consistently captureextraordinary,notordinary,images.

CREATIVEVISUALIZATION

Mostphotographersbenefitgreatlybyshootingmore.Gettingoutanddoingitisa key step in taking your photography to the next level. Periodic outingswillhelptuneupyourvisionandhoneyourcameraskills.What’simportantisthatyoudon’thavetotravelfarandyoudon’tneedexotic

subjects to photograph. But this concept is not always easy to grasp.We aresurprisedhowoftenstudentssaytheyliveinplaceswherethere’slittletoshoot.Of course, if photographers were always grateful for where they were, therewouldbenoreasonforthephrase,“Thegrassisalwaysgreenerontheothersideofthefence.”Formanypeople,familiaritycanbeacreativestumblingblock.Certainly,newplacescaninspireandmotivate.Butexceptionalphotography

really starts at home. This can be in and around your own backyard,neighborhood,hometown,orsurroundingcountryside.The whole idea is to give your shooting eye a visual workout. Plus,

photographingclose-at-hand locations is notonly easybut is also enjoyable—

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andyoumayfindthatyoucomeupwithsomeworthwhileimages,too.In his book Photo Impressionism, noted Canadian photographer Freeman

Pattersonwrote,“Learningtoseesubjectmatterwell,learningtodesignimagespace well, and learning to use your tools effectively takes discipline—anddiscipline issomethingyourarelydevelopona trip.Youacquire itbeforeyougo,andthenyoutakeitwithyou.”

Onefoggymorningbesidethepondatmycountryhome,Iturnedmyattentiontothisoldandnewlypaintedwoodenboat.

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Thesoftlighthelpedtoenhancethecolorsanddetails.Withawide-anglezoomlenssetatalmosttheidenticalfocallength,Ishottwoverydifferentimagesofthesamescene.Onetechniquewasswitchingtheformat(horizontalandverticalorientations).Theotherwastochangemycamerapositionbymovingphysicallycloser.Alsonotemycameraangleintheseimages,whichemphasizedtheboat’sgraphic-designquality—particularlythestrongdiagonallinesformedbytheboatandpaddles.Photo©KerryDrager.1/6sec.atf/16,ISO100,12–24mmlensat22mm

Photo©KerryDrager.1secondatf/22,ISO100,12–24mmlensat24mm

TIP:CONQUERYOURFEARS

Digital photography makes experimentation so much easier thanfilm,sinceyouhaveinstantfeedbackviathecamera’sLCDscreen.Bestyet,youdon’thavetopayforyourmistakes.Sothere’sreallyno reason to have a fear of failing. It’s all about trying out newthings,puttingyourimaginationtowork,andanalyzingwhyyourhitsmade the grade andwhy yourmisses fell short. You’ll experiencepure enjoyment when that off-the-wall approach you weren’t sureaboutactuallyresultsinagratifyingphoto.

“ICAN’TFINDANYTHINGTOSHOOT”Somanystudentshavesharedthisfrustrationwithus.Wecertainlyunderstand

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howirritatingitiswhenabsolutelynothingseemsphotogenic.We’vebothbeenthere,we’vebothsaidthat.Butthere’shope.Really.The first step is to identify your goals and interests. For example, youmay

wanttopreservememories,shareexperienceswithyourfamilyandfriends,usephotography as a creative outlet, become a professional photographer, ordocumentaspecialplace.Photographingsubjectsyoulovewillhelpyouhangintherewhenthecreativegoinggetstough.Overtheyears,we’vedevelopedahostof tricks to get our own creative juices flowing.Whenever you feel stuck oruninspired,readthefollowingsuggestions.Bytheway,manyofthesetopicsarecoveredinmoredepthlaterinthebook,butthisservesasaquick-startguide.

•Good light can be amotivating factor. The truth is that almost any locationoffersplentyofphotographicmaterial.Ithasmoretodowithwhenthanwhere.That’sbecausemostsubjectssimplylookbetterinthedynamicsunlightofearlymorningandlateday.•Anovercastday?Don’tgetdepressed.Softlightcanbeperfectforworkingonasmallphotographiccanvas—colorfuldetailsandpeopleportraits.• Start making a habit of beingmore observant. Look for bold colors, subtletones,eye-catchingshapes,interestingshadows,coolreflections—anythingthatstrikesyourfancy.• Are you shooting subjects only from the standard eye level? Don’t forget:Sometimesthebestvantagepointsrequiregoinglowerorgettinguphigher.•Revisit thescenesofyourpastphotosuccesses.Thentryachangeincameraangle,adifferentlens,oranothertimeofday.•Revisitthescenesofpastphotodisappointments,too.Dowhateverittakestoimproveonyourpreviousattempts.•Stillhavingsubjectchallenges?Thismaybethebestgo-tosolutionforbustingoutoftheinspirationdoldrums:Lookcloser,reallycloser.Close-ups—viaeitherregularlensesorspecializedmacrogear—offerabraveandcreativenewworld.You’llsoonfindyourselflostinaworldoffinedetailsandintimatescenes.

TIP:GOSOMEWHEREDIFFERENT

Yes, familiar places do offer visual rewards, but at times you justneed togetaway toget inspired.Thisdoesn’t have tobeamajorundertaking.Takeadaytriptoagardenorpark.Ifyouhaven’tbeen

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tothezooorthenearesttouristattractioninawhile,doitnow.Gotoalocalsportingeventorfestival.Afreshlocationcan“force”youtobeinspiredandmotivated.Everyonelikestoexperiencenewplaces—especiallyphotographers.

ASSIGNMENT:SEEINGTHEPOTENTIAL

Getting a handle on your own photography involves more thanhavingclosefriendsandfamilymemberscheeryouon.Theirwordswillmakeyoufeelgood,buttheyaren’tquiteobjectiveevaluations.Sign up for an online course or a field workshop for valuableinstructionandfeedbackfrompros.Considerjoiningacameraclub.But there’smore, too.Studytheworkof topphotographers.This

canbeinbooksandmagazines,inwebsitesandonlinegalleries,inprofessional programs or seminars, and in gallery exhibitions. Forimages thatcatchyourattention,notehowthephotographermadeuseofcomposition,light,subject,color,andviewpoint.Askyourself,WhatdoIlikeandwhy?

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WhileIenjoyphotographingnearmyhomeintheU.S.PacificNorthwest,newplacesalwaysinspireme.Inthiscase,workingthesubjectwasmygoalwhilevisitingHadrian’sWall—theancientRomanstructureinGreatBritain.Inthefirstimage,Iusedawide-anglelenstocomposeanear-to-farscene.Afterthat,Iturnedmyattentiontothewall’sgraphic-designpatternbymovingphysicallycloseandfillingtheframewiththelines,angles,andtextures.Slantingthecameracreateddiagonallinesforadditionalvisualenergy.Photo©JimMiotke.1/20sec.atf/22,ISO100,28–105mmlensat28mm

Photo©JimMiotke.1/180sec.atf/8,ISO100,28–105mmlensat28mm

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PATIENCEISAVIRTUEHere’sagreatapproach togettingmoreeye-grabbing imagesand fewermind-numbing snapshots:Don’tbe in toomuchof ahurry.Simplyput, slowdown.The followingdrive-by,been-there-seen-that shootingscenariomaybeabitofan exaggeration, butwe think it emphasizes our point:You arrive at a scenicoverlook,whipoutyourcamera,fireoffsomespeedyshots,andheadtothenextview.Nowonderthoseimagesalmostcertainlydisappoint.The fact is, many aspiring photographers—and not just beginners, either—

workfartooquickly.Theygettheirshotandareeagertodashtothenextspot.Onephoto?Afteronlyonephoto, theyhaven’t evengotten started!Wheneverpossible, take the thoughtful,moredeliberateapproachbydropping the ready-aim-fireattitude.Certainly,noteverysceneorsubjectcaninvolvealeisurelyapproach—such

as candids or fast-changing light.Oryoumaybeheading for an appointment,andthere’sonlytimetoshootoneimage.Butwhenthelight’sright,thescene’sinviting, and there’s no need to rush it, slow down and make the most of aphotogenicsetting.Here’saquicktip:Onceyoubeginusingatripodforeverynonactionsubject,

yourphotographywillstarttoimproveimmediately.Yes,immediately.Usingtheaccessorythatphotographerslovetohateforcesyoutoslowdownandcarefullydesignyourphotosothatyoucanget itexactlythewayyouwant it. (Seethispageformoreontripods.)

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Thispondisoneofmyfavoritego-tospotsforsunset.I’vecapturedthegreatstreaksofcolorsandcloudswithmywide-anglezoom(asintheimageabove),andonotherevenings,I’vearmedmyselfwithatelephotozoomandzeroedinonthedetails.Notethatforthetelephotoclose-upsIplacedthemainsubjectoff-centerinthecomposition,oftenmorevisuallydynamicthanaperfectlycenteredplacement.Photo©KerryDrager.1/3sec.atf/16,ISO100,12–24mmlensat12mm

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/4sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,80–200mmlensat80mm

Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/13,ISO400,70–300mmlensat220mm

PLANNINGYOURSTRATEGY

Inphotography,luckdefinitelyhasitsplace—arainbowpoppinguphere,awildanimal suddenlyappearing there, anotherdecisivemomentoccurringnow.But

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thebestphotographersavoidrelyingsolelyonchance.Theygooutoftheirwaytoput themselvesinopportunity’sway.Afterall,for lucktohappen,youmustbeonthescenewithyourcamera.Andthat’snoaccident.The concept of visualizing—often called “previsualizing”—was popularized

bythegreatAnselAdams.So,wheneverpossible,insteadofsimplyrespondingtoeventsorscenesastheypresentthemselves,theideaistoconsideryourvisualgoals aheadof time.Partof this is thinking inadvanceabout the subjectsyouwouldliketoshootandhowyouwouldliketocapturethem.Youmightthinkintermsof lens:Wide-angle forasweepingview?Telephotofora tightshot?Oryou may try some of the motion studies described in chapter 5. Lots ofpossibilitiestoconsider,butadvanceconsiderationcanbesovaluable.Thismind-setcertainlyapplies tofarawaydestinations,but italsoapplies to

weekend trips. And it relates to sports, family outings, festivals, holidayhappenings,andspecialevents.Itpaystoplanyourdaycarefully.Preparationsforphotoexcursionsmustbe

well thought through and well organized. Even a quick shooting trip aroundtownshouldinvolveaplanofaction,althoughitcanbescaleddown.Brainstormaboutwhatyouwouldliketorecordandhowyoucanphotograph

thosesubjectsinuniqueandattention-grabbingways.Thinkabouttheexpectedshots,yetalsothinkoutsidethebox.Suchcreativevisualizationisbothfunandrewarding. Especially for major outings, guidebooks, Internet research,magazinearticles,andtouristmaterialscanhelpyoufindyourway.Seeifyoucanalsodeterminethebesttimesforshooting.Preparationandplanningalsocontinueonceyouarriveonthescene.Ifit’sa

newplace,trytotakeaquickget-acquaintedtourtogetahandleonthearea,thepark,thefairgrounds,thehistoricsite,whatever.Alongtheway,shootwhatevercapturesyourattention.Ifthesubjectisinthewronglight,andyou’llbeabletoreturn later,make a note. This is a good reason to carry a small notebook oneveryphotoshoot.

TIP:FIRSTTHINGSFIRST

The reason photographers often feel stress on a trip is the self-imposed pressure to capture the definitive images. Celebratedtourist spots, world-class cities, and popular national parks allfeature justifiably famousviews thathavebeenphotographedover

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and over again. But at the same time, there’s also the desire tocome up with innovative photographs. This shoot-the-classics-vs.-strive-for-originalitydisparityisalwaysachallenge.Ourbestadvice:Attack the topspotsassoonaspossible.That

way, you get them out of your system. After recording thesedefinitive images, you’ll besurprisedhow that reduces theanxiety,liftsthespirit,andmakesyoumentallypreparedtobeimaginative.

Photo©KerryDrager.1/180sec.atf/11,ISO200,20mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/13,ISO200,20mmlens

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AnovercastdayalongtheCaliforniacoastalteredmyshootingstrategy—nosweepingseascapesinthewarmanddramaticlate-daylight.Soinsteadofasweepingviewwithadullsky(asinthefollowingimage),Iturnedmyattentiontocapturingmoreintimatescenesinthesoftlybeautifullight.AsIwalkedtheshoreatPointLobosStateReserve,Ithoughtaboutpossiblepicturesinadvance—tightshotsthatfocusedonthedetailsanddesignsofthepark’srenownedrockformations.Sure,Iwasreadyforanyvisualsurprisesthatmightpopup,butIfoundthatprevisualizinghelpedmerecognizephotogenicscenes.Photo©KerryDrager.1/4sec.atf/16,ISO200,105mmlens

PLANTOBEFLEXIBLE

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Aphotographicplanofattackisgood,butalwaysbewillingtoswitchgears.Anopen mind is especially critical when things just aren’t going your way. Forinstance, the monument you were looking forward to shooting is covered byscaffolding.Thebeautifullow-angledsunlightnever—ever!—hitsthecathedral.The historic site doesn’t open untilmidmorning, long after the good light hascome and gone.The distant landscape looks downright dull under a gray sky.Themuseumisclosed.Theraingateshaveopened.Beingintherightmind-setissocriticaltosuccess.Youwanttoavoidtossing

in the towel and calling it quits at the first (or second) hint that things aren’tgoing your way. Being ready to let go of your preconceived ideas can be awinningformulaforcreativity.Afterall,thosewhoexpecttheunexpectedseemto be the recipients of happy surprises more often than those locked in rigidagendas.

WHENNOPLANISAGOODPLANGenerally, you’ll want to develop a strategy to make the most of yourphotographytime.Butattimes,headingoutwithnoparticulardestinationornospecific photo goals inmind is another effective tactic for “uncluttering”yourmind and unleashing your artistic vision.Without a schedule, you’ll be morereceptivetophotoopportunitiesthatcanpopupunexpectedly.Thisunstructured approach can be used anywhere. It can be a short escape

close to home, or it can be a longer trip. For example, you might follow anuncharted(butsafe)roadortrail,andseewhatitpassesandwhereitgoes.Theideaistoletyourphotographiceyebeyourguide.Youneverknowwhatyou’llfind,and that’s theattractionofano-plan tactic.Soeven ifyoudon’tuncoveranyunanticipatedgems,you’llenjoythehunt.

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Inaseasidetownonefoggymorning,IdecidedtoheadouttoseewhatIcouldfind.Isoondiscoveredthisrowofrentalsurfboardslinedupalongthesidewalk.Ichoseatelephotoperspectivetogivetheappearanceofcompressingspacewhilealsoheighteningthegraphicrepetition.Aslightslantofthecameraaffordedamoredynamicdiagonallook.TightframingputtheemphasispreciselywhereIwantedit—onthelinesandcolors.Photo©KerryDrager.1/5sec.atf/22,ISO100,80–200mmlensat185mm

SeeaShot?TakeIt—Now!

Bothof ushave learned this thehardway:Neverpassupagoodphotoopportunitytogettoanotherscene.Thereareallsortsofgood reasons tobypassapotentialpicture

with the thought of returning later. You’re in a rush to get to therestaurant. You just can’t wait to get home. You have another—preplanned—picture-taking stop. But it’s a very good bet that thephotosimplywon’tbetherewhenyougobacktogettheshot.Evenif it’s a stationary subject, lighting or any other conditions canchange.Adon’t-pass-up-a-shotapproachisalwaysasmartmove.You’llbe

gladyoumadetheefforttocapturefinephotoswhenyouseethem.Missedopportunities leaveyounotonlywithout thephotobutalsowithadepressingmemory.Don’tletthathappentoyou!

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Boldcolors,softovercastlight,andfunsubjectsalwaysmakeanintriguingcombination.ThissureappliedtoatriptoTennessee,whereoff-and-onrainprovidedidealconditionsforcapturingahotpinkbicycleandanoutstandingclusteroftreetrunks.However,Ioriginallyhadanothersceneinmind.Still,Iforcedmyselftofollowourtake-it-nowadviceandshootthisphotofirst.I’mgladIdid.Thesuncameoutashorttimelater,creatinganunappealinghodgepodgeofhighlightsandshadows.I’mgladIphotographedthisscenewhenIdid—intherightlight!Photo©KerryDrager.1/30sec.atf/4,ISO200,50mmlens

THEWOWFACTOR:POINTOFVIEW

Toomanypeoplearelockedintoastandardshootingstance:pointingthecamerastraightaheadfromastandingheight.Aneye-levelperspectiveissoeasytofallbackon—almost the automatic choice, since it’s just so convenient.Sure, thatstanding position ultimately may be the best viewpoint, but you really won’tknowunlessyousearchthesceneforother,potentiallybetter,viewpoints.Playing with point of view is a surefire way to put more pizzazz in your

photography.Goahead.Youhaveourpermissiontounleashyourartistic—ifnotyour wild—side. Whenever and wherever you can, seek out those attention-grabbingcameraanglesthatmostphotographersfailtonotice.Photographyisaboutdiscoveringthebestpositiontocaptureyoursubjector

scene.It’saboutchoosingalowerorhigherviewpoint—aperspectivethatmostpeople justdon’t see in theireveryday life—tocreatemore innovative images.Gaze toward the sky and point the camera upward. Get down low to captureshortsubjects.Theonlylimitisyourcuriosity.

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Sooften,itpaystoexploretheworldaroundyou.Lookdown,andlookup.Inthisscene,Ilovedthepatternofcolorfullinesonthisceiling.Thefancaughtmyeye,too,andIplaceditinastrongoff-centerpositioninthecomposition.Pointingupwardwasawkwardenough,evenwithatripod,butIchoseafairlyslowshutterspeedtoconveythemotionofthewhirlingfan.Photo©JimMiotke.1/30sec.atf/7.1,ISO100,24–70mmlensat32mm

HOWLOWCANYOUGO?

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Lookingforagoodwaytoraisethephotographicbar?Ifpossible,getdownlow.It’s often just that simple.Shooting fromanear-to-the-groundperspective is asurprisinglyquickandeffectivemethodformakingyourpicturesjumpoutfromeveryoneelse’s.Forexample,mostchildrenarephotographedfromatypicalgrown-upheight.

Formoreemotionallyengagingpictures,kneel,sit,orevenstretchouttocatchkidsattheireyelevel.Foryouthsports,youcanmakeyoungathleteslooktaller,leaphigher,andperformmoreimpressively.Allthisgoesforpets,too,aswellasflowersandanyothershortsubjectsthat

canbecaptured lowto theground.Forsomesubjects,youcancombinea lowperspectivewithgettingclose.Thiscanfurtherheightentheimportanceofsmallsubjectsbymakingthemappearlargeinrelationtotheirsurroundings.Outside on a nice day, include a bold blue sky as the background. For

instance,getaslowasyoucangoandthenaimupatasubjectsuchasaflower.This will let you include the sky as a colorful backdrop while treating yourviewerstosomethingnew.Weguaranteeyourviewerswillappreciateyourfreshtakeonthings.

Anovercastdayprovidedtheidealsoftlightforshootingspringwildflowerclose-upsinNorthernCalifornia.Sincetherewereonlyscatteredlupines(asinthewiderview,above),Idecidedtoconcentrateonasinglebloomnearby—withsomeyellowflowersinthebackground—usingmymacrolens.Foralowperspective,Istretchedoutalongapathwaynexttotheflowersforaground’s-eyeview(usingatarpIcarryinthecarforjustthispurpose).Sincemacrophotographydemandsprecisefocusingandcomposing,Ialsousedatripodthatpermitslow-levelangles.Inaddition,Iincludedablurredhintoflupineintheleftbackgroundtobalanceoutthemainsubjectontherightoftheimage.Extremelyclosefocusingandawideaperture(lowf/number)resultedinanextra-shallowdepthoffield,sothesharpforegroundsubjectjumpsoutin

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contrast.Photo©KerryDrager.1/250sec.atf/4,ISO200,105mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/180sec.atf/5.6,ISO400,105mmlens

LOOKINGUPAftergettingdownanddirtywithalow-angledviewpoint,nowit’stimetoturnyourattentionelsewhere.Specifically,wewantyoutostartgazingupwardandonward. Glancing skyward, unfortunately, isn’t an intuitive thing, especiallywhensearchingforthetypicalphotographicsubjects.Still,thispointofviewisso different that it can produce very surprising—if not downright stunning—perspectives.Tryitinaforest,insideabuilding,atafestivaloramusementpark,or right in the heart of a city. Sometimes youmight evenwant to lie on yourbacktolookup.You can give human subjects an impressive look by aiming up from a low

position.Youcanmakestatueslookmorestatuesque,too.Getrightuplowandclose to themonument, andaimupwardwithawide-angle focal length foranunusual viewpoint. Inside a capitol dome, a cathedral, or another impressivebuilding,zeroinonthegraphicdesigns.Watchforstronglines,curves,patterns,andanglestoexploit.Alsopointthecameraskywardtocatchthetopsofskyscrapers.Takeaimata

spiralstairwayfromthegroundfloor.Inastandoftrees,pointingstraightupcan

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give a unique perspective—a captivating take on autumn foliage. A highoverheadsunmightnotbe thebest timeformanyoutdoorsubjects,butwithatinypieceofthesunjustpeekingoutfrombehindabranch,thispointing-upwardtechniquecanbequiteaneye-catcher.

Washington,DC,isfilledwithmanygreatattractionsthathavebeenphotographedcountlesstimes.Ittakesperseverancetofindauniqueview.ButphotographerWandaJuddstuckwithit.Shesays,“Ispentagreatdealoftimeshootingthisgrandmemorialwhiletryingtolineupthelinesperfectly,butitsimplywasnotworkingforme.Atonepoint,though,Istartedanglingmycameraupward,anditallpopped.Thisviewworkedsomuchbetterthanliningandsquaringeverythingup.”Photo©WandaJudd.1/45sec.atf/4,ISO400,28–70mmlensat28mm

LOOKINGDOWNHow often do you look down from up high? Probably not enough. Yet, thiscan’t-missapproachwillexpandyourportfoliooffreshperspectives.Peerdownfrom the top of a stairway, coastal bluff ormountaintop, from a hotel’s upperfloororbalcony,orevenfromaplane.Lookforvantagepointsfromhighupinalighthousetowerorobservationdeck.Gazestraightdownfromabridgeasboatspassunderneath.Acompelling imagedoesn’talways requirebeing fortyor fifty floorsabove

thecity.Sometimesyoucangetasufficientaerialviewjustacoupleofstoriesup.This,ofcourse,isgreatnewsifyouhateheightsorliveinanareawithnoskyscrapers!You don’t always have to shoot from an elevated viewpoint, either. It can

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simply be a location where you happen to be higher than the subject orsurrounding scene. Climbing higher provides a unique point of view whenphotographing scenes like fields, with any crop rows producing strong andcompositionallyvaluablelines.AnselAdams believed somuch in the value of getting above it all that he

mountedashootingplatformatophisstationwagon.Heshotsomeofhismostfamouslandscapesfromthatuniquepointofview.For small ground-level subjects, a standing or kneeling position may work

fine, by pointing the camera directly downward. Garden scenes, tile patterns,coastaltidepools,oryourownfeetoftenyieldartisticresults.

ASSIGNMENT:THEHUNTFORVISUALADVENTUREHerearetwoworthwhileexercisestogiveyourcreativityaniceworkout.First,chooseasubject,andthenmovearoundandviewitfromas

manydifferentpositionsaspossible.Go low,gohigh,move to theright,movetotheleft,getreallydownanddirty.Askyourselfwhichpointsofviewareworkingbestforthisparticularscene.Second,findacloseforegroundobjectandadistantscene.Move

closer toyour foreground,backup,moveto theside.Seehowtherelationship between foreground and background changesdramaticallyjustbychangingyourposition.

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WhilescoutinglocationsforaphotoworkshopinandaroundSt.Augustine,Florida,Idiscoveredanawesomeboardwalkalongasandybeach.Atoptheboardwalk,thelow-angledsunwascastingfineshadowsoftherailing.ButitwaswhenIlookeddownward—overtherailing—thatIsawscenesthatexcitedme.Thefence,sand,andangledsunresultedingreatinterplaysoflightandshadows.Afavoritesubjectisalwaysatimeto“play”withyourcompositionandshootdifferentversions.Photo©JimMiotke.1/40sec.atf/22,ISO200,70–300mmlensat300

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/1000sec.atf/8,ISO200,24–70mmlensat70mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/800sec.atf/8,ISO200,24–70mmlensat70mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/1000sec.atf/8,ISO200,24–70mmlensat50mm

GETCREATIVEWITHLENSES

Areyoupushingyourlensestotheouterlimitsofcreativity?Ifyouaren’t,youshouldbe.Lensfocal lengthhasmoreofanimpactonartisticdesignthanyoumightimagine,sinceyourselectionoflensgreatlyaltersthewayyouviewtheworld.Good news, though:You don’t need to be armedwith an arsenal of lenses,

since it’s the big vision—not the big budget—thatmattersmost.An everydayzoomlens,whichgenerallyextendsfromwide-angletotelephoto,providesalotofpicturepotential.

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Thekeyistounderstandhowlensessee.Thismaysoundlikeadifficult—ifnot confusingly esoteric—challenge, but it really isn’t. Best yet, with a littleinsightandalittleexperimenting,you’llimmediatelystartcomingupwithfreshoutlooksthatwillresultinmorephotosthathavethewowimpact.

Wildlifephotographyandtelephotolensesjustseemtogotogether.Inmostcases,youjustcan’tgetcloseenoughtoawildanimal,andevenifyoucould,youmaynotwantto!Andatzoosandinnaturalbutcaptiveenvironments,suchaswhatIhadhere,thelongtelephotoletsyouzoomintight—beyondtheenclosures.A300mmlensletmefilltheframeforthisbobcatportrait.Photo©JimMiotke.1/200sec.atf/11,ISO100,300mmlens

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Chicago’smust-seephotographicicon,themirrorlikeCloudGatesculpturenicknamedtheBean,reflectsthecity’sskylineinsuchamultitudeofeye-grabbingways.ThisMillenniumParkattractionisabsolutelyincredibleatanytime,butit’sdownrightdramaticattwilight.Aswithanygoodsubjectindramaticlight,Ishotthesceneinasmanywaysaspossible.Myfirstshotwaswiththe“normal”50mm(above).ThenImovedphysicallycloserwithawide-angle20mm.Asmorecloudsmovedin,Idecidedtoincludemoreofthesky—bothrealandreflected—whilealsoincludingthesculpture’sgracefulcurve.Imetmygoal:samesubject,twofocallengths,andtwoverydifferentphotos.Photo©KerryDrager.5secondsatf/10,ISO100,50mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.5secondsatf/10,ISO100,20mmlens

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DecipheringFocalLengths

Focal length, expressed in millimeters (mm), measures themagnifying power of a lens—i.e., how closely you can enlarge theimage or howmuch you can increase the angle of view. A 50mmlens, for example, has a focal length of 50mm and sees things atroughly the same size as the unaided eye sees them. A 300mmtelephotofocallengthmimicsbinoculars,withthingsfarawaybeinggreatlymagnified.A20mmwide-angle lensallowsyoutocaptureasweepingvista.Focal lengths fall into threemain categories: wide-angle,middle

range (or normal), and telephoto. The precise focal lengths thatconstitute each category, though, vary from format to format—i.e.,from DSLRs with smaller sensors (the majority of cameras) toDSLRswith largersensors(theupper-endorpromodelsknownas“fullframe”).Thesmallersensorshavetheeffectofmagnifyingyourlens, usually by a factor of about 1.5 times, but formost practicalpurposes,thisisn’tanissue.

• Wide-angle: Often known as short lenses, DSLR wide-anglesgenerally run 28mm or less, even down to 10mm or thereabouts.Withafull-frameDSLR,the“official”wide-angleterritoryextendsupto35mm. Inanycase, thesmaller thenumber, thewider (ormoreexpansive)theview.

•Middlerange:Themiddlerangeoffocallengths—oftenreferredtoasnormal—roughly duplicate the vision of the human eye. Typicalfocal lengthsrunfrom40mmto50mmbutcanrunslightlybeloworabovethosenumbers,dependingonthecamera.

•Telephoto:Telephotofocallengthsrunfrom60mmorsoonup.Thelonger the lens (the higher the “mm” number), the greater themagnifyingpowerandalsothenarrowertheview.

•DSLR zoom lenses: These offer a range of focal lengths in onelens.Withapopular“street”zoomlens(suchasa24–105mmor18–

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200mm),forinstance,youcanzoomfromabigwide-angleviewtoanarrow telephoto view—or vice versa—with a simple twist of thezoomring.Otherzoomstakeinonlywide-anglefocallengths(suchas10–22mmor12–24mm),whileothersaretotally inthetelephotorange(i.e.,70–200mmor100–400mm).

•Fixed,orprime,lenses:Thesecoverjustasinglefocallength,withpopular fixed lensesbeing the50mm “normal” lens, the100mmor105mmmacro (capableofclose focusingbutalsogreat for regularshooting,too),oranyofseveralfixedlongtelephotos.

Thesepaintedmilkcansappeartobeaboutthesamesizeineachcomposition,duetomychangeincameraposition—closerforwide,fartherbackfortelephoto.Now,thismaysoundcounterintuitive,butremember:Wide-anglepushesthingsback(toshowamoreexpansiveview),whiletelephotopullsthingsforward(asitnarrowstheview).Notehowthewide-angle(above)revealsmoreofthesurroundingsandbackground.Also,thesubjectnearesttothecameraloomsmuchlargerthantheonesfartherbackintheframe.Thefollowingtelephotoshotshowsthetele-traitsofisolatingsubjectsandcompressingspace.Note,too,thatIchangedtheangleofviewforthetwophotos,sinceIwantedtogetasgoodacompositionaspossibleforeachimage.Photo©KerryDrager.1/500sec.atf/8,ISO200,20mmlens

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/500sec.atf/8,ISO200,70–300mmlensat100mm

TELEPHOTOPERSPECTIVETelephotosofferaperspectivethatrecordstheworldwithgreatvisualpower.Inshort, telephotos work like binoculars or telescopes to enlarge faraway andotherwiseinaccessiblesubjects.However,besides themagnificationfactor,another interesting thinghappens

whenyouzerointightwithalonglens:Thedistancebetweenyourforegroundand background appears more compressed. It’s almost as if landscape orcityscapefeatureshavebeensquashedtogetherrightbeforeyoureyes.Usethiseffectto“stack”arowofcottagesorsailboats,tocompressalineup

of fence posts, to tighten up a repetition of architectural features, or tomakemountainsloomoverhorsesortrees.Themoretelephotothelens(thehigherthe“mm”number),themorecompressedthedistancewillappear.Atthesametime,telephotosalsoofferanotherdesirabletrait—alimiteddepth

offield(DOF).Thishelpsforcetheviewer’sattentionrightwhereyouwantit.With a telephoto, your sharply focused foreground subject will be isolatedagainstablurredbackground.(Seechapter4formoreondepthoffield.)Portraitphotographers often shoot with short to medium telephoto (100mm being apopularfocal length)for thispurposeaswellasfordeliveringportraitshots in

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themostnatural,undistortedway.Alongwithashallowdepthoffield,thetelephotohelpsyousimplifyimages

in other ways, too. A long lens canmake your composition cleaner. In otherwords, you can zero in tight to leave out extra elements in a scene, such as ablank foreground or sky, and unwanted objects to the left or right of yoursubject. After all, cutting through clutter can be just as important as makingfarawaysubjectsbigger.

AballoonfestivalnearherhomebroughtphotographerBeverlyBurkeouttocatchtheearly-morningascensionofthehot-airballoons.“Whilewatchingandshootingsomeoftheballoonsascending,”sherecalls,“Iturnedandsawthisverycolorfulgroupingofballoonsstillontheground.Idecidedtogetadifferentperspectiveofthefestival,soIusedmytelephotolenstozoominandcreateamoreabstractandcolorfulimage.”Notehowthetelephotoperspective“squeezed”theballoonstogether,creatingagraphicdesignoflines,curves,andcolors.Photo©BeverlyA.Burke.1/80sec.atf/8,ISO400,70–200mmlensat126mm

ASHARPERIMAGELackofimageclarityisafrequentcomplaintoftelephotoandzoomshooters—notsurprising,giventhatlonglensesmagnifyanyblurringfromcamerashake.Plus, big telephotos or zooms can be big and heavy, requiring extra care inhandling.Useatripodwheneverpossible,alongwithacableshutterreleasetoeliminate

any possible vibrations from pressing your finger on the shutter button. Forstationaryscenes,youmaywanttoaddmirrorlock-up(ifyourcamerahasthis

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feature)oreventhecamera’sself-timer,assumingapreciseinstantisn’trequiredto catch the subject. In regard to mirror lock-up: The mirror inside a DSLRcameraletsyouseethroughtheviewfinder,butwhenyousnaptheshutter, themirrorinstantlyflipsupandoutofthewaysothatlightcomingthroughthelenscanmaketheimage.Aftertheshuttercloses,themirrordropsbackdown.Thelock-upfeatureonsomecamerasletsyoulockthemirrorupaftercomposingthephoto to eliminate any possible vibration that might occur from the mirror’smovement.Thegeneralguidelinewhenhandholdingthecameraisthattheshutterspeed

should be at least the reciprocal of the lens’s focal length. Sowith a 300mmtelephoto,useaspeedof1/300sec.ormore.Witha70–200mmzoom,gowith1/200sec.orfaster(considerthezoom’shighestmmnumberwhenchoosingtheshutterspeed).If you are shooting from a tripod, this guideline doesn’t apply, although a

fastershutterspeedmightbenecessarytostopthemotionofamovingsubject.Also,stabilizedlenses(oftendesignatedasISforimagestabilizationorVRforvibration reduction) are designed to reduce the impact of camera movementwhenhandholdingwhileallowingslowershutterspeedstobeusedsuccessfully.

ASSIGNMENT:GETTOKNOWYOURTELEPHOTO

Thistwo-partexercisewillhelpyouexplorethetele-world,wherewhatyouseewithyoureyescanbetotallytransformedbyyourlens.

1.Pickasubject,anysubject:Thebestchoicewouldbeafriendorfamilymemberwithplentyofpatience.Startwithashort telephotofocal length—say, in the range of 70mm to 100mm. Then shoot atight portrait shot—just head and shoulders. Next, back up (don’tzoom) and,with the same focal length, shoot a full-length portrait.Try this same series again (close-up and full-length)with a longerfocal length. When analyzing your results, be sure to note thesubject’srelationshiptothebackground.2.Compressadistantscene:Here,theideaistofindsubjectsthatareatdifferentdistancesfromthecameraandthenzoomintightonthemwithyourlongesttelephoto(i.e.,biggestmmnumber).The

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subjectscanbearowoffenceposts,buildings,orwhatever.Notehowthetelephotonotonlycompressesspacebutalsocancreategraphic-designpatterns.Forextracredit,repeattheexerciseseveraltimes,witheachimageusingadifferentf-stop(agreatwaytoseetheimpactofdepthoffield).

Thedowntownareaofanymajorcityofferssomanyvisualpossibilities.Allyouneedareenticingsubjectsthatareofvaryingdistancestothecamera.Forthisimage,Izoomedintightwithatelephototocompressthebuildingsintoanurbanarchitecturalpattern.Photo©JimMiotke.1/50sec.atf/22,ISO100,28–135mmlensat125mm

AWIDERANGLEOFVIEWPhotographers learn very quickly that a wide-angle lens lets them fill up theviewfinderwithmore things.Thatwide-rangingcapability ispartof thewide-angle’scharm.Unfortunately,it’spartofthewide-angle’sfrustration,too.Theurgeistobackuptogetmoreelementsintothepicture,butthisapproach

commonly leads to a “busy” look with lots of subjects competing for theviewer’sattention,oritresultsinaphotowithvastemptyspaces.It’snowondersomanyemergingphotographerslamentthewide-angle.For the creative photographer, though, the wide-angle’s unique perspective

meansgreatartisticpotential.Inparticular,thewide-anglecanprovideanunreal

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look of depth—an almost three-dimensional quality—in which a close-upforeground appears disproportionately large in contrast to the distantbackground. This technique has been used by landscape photographers,photojournalists,fine-artphotographers,andevenfashionshooters.For visual impact, you must move in physically close to the foreground—

sometimesascloseasyourlenswillfocus.Inanycase,thinkaboutmovingtowithinacoupleoffeetofthenearestobject.Infact,ifyoustartconsideringyourwide-angleasaclose-uplens,you’llbewellonyourwaytowide-angleartistry.The result is an exaggerated or exploded perspective that gives your photo asenseofthescenesweepingawayfromfronttoback.Atthesametime,you’lloftenwanttouseahighf/number(smallaperture)toensureadeepdepthoffield—sharpnessfromcloseuptofaraway.Quite simply, our eyes don’t see theworld in awideway. But if you start

thinkingofyourwide-angleasmoreofaclose-uplensthanaget-everything-in-your-picture lens, you’ll have another valuable tool in your bag of creativetricks.

TIP:OTHERTIMESTOGOWIDE

Althoughwe’reconcentratingonthewide-angle’snear-to-fardepth,there are other important reasons to go wide at times, too. Oneapproachistoemphasizeasweepofdramaticorcolorfulsky,whilejust including a narrow slice of landscape. Another use is a verypractical one: the ability to catch the entire scene when thephotographeriscrampedintotightquarters.

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Withflowers,amacrolensmayseemanatural.Butawide-anglefocallengthcancreatesuchauniqueperspective.Thetrickistothinkofawide-angleasaclose-uplens,sinceitletsyoumoveinveryphysicallyclosetoasubject—oftenwellwithinanarm’slengthofthenearestpoint.Alsowithawide-angle,pointingupwardwillcauseverticallinesneartheborderstobendinward—aneffectcalledkeystoning.Myintentherewastotakeadvantageofthatdistortionbyplacingonelupineinthecenter,soitremainedstraightupanddownwhiletheoutsideonesleanedtowardthecenter,creatinganaturalsymmetry.Photo©JimMiotke.1/500sec.atf/14,ISO400,28–135mmlensat28mm

IntheMarinCountyhillshighabovetheGoldenGateBridge,oldmilitarybuildingsandbatteriesdotthelandscape.Withwide-angle,it’sallaboutforeground,soIusedthislookouttohelpframeSanFranciscointhedistance.Forthehorizontalview,I’mclose,butnotnearlycloseenough,withtheresultbeingtoomuchextrasky.Fortheverticalview,Isetupmytripodwithinanarm’slengthofthenearestpointtotakefulladvantageofthewide-angleperspective.Photo©KerryDrager.1/250sec.atf/16,ISO200,50mmlens

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/90sec.atf/22,ISO200,20mmlens

MakeDistortionWorkforYou

Asideeffectofwide-anglephotographyisdistortion—alsoknownas

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keystoning,aspreviouslymentioned,orconverginglines.Whenyoupointyourcameraupwardtoshowtheentirestandoftalltreesorallof themulti-story building, the result will be vertical lines that leaninwardtowardthecenterofthecomposition.Sometimesthisworks;othertimesitdoesn’t.Becausewide-anglefocallengthsdistortwhatoureyessee,manypeopleavoidthewide-anglealtogether.Onesolutionistomakesurethecamera’sbackisparallelwiththe

planeofyoursubject.Butunlessyouhaveagreatforegroundscenetoincorporateintothecomposition,thenyou’llendupwithadistantsubject and a great expanse of empty space in front. Anothersolutionistoskipthewide-anglealtogetherandinsteadswitchtoatelephoto and shoot the building from a distance; with more of along-distance straightforward angle, distortion won’t likely be anissue.But consider a more artistic technique with your wide-angle. In

fact, the creative use of major distortion can transform astraightforwardworldintoaninterpretiveandcompellingone.How?Moveintightwithawide-angleandaimupwardtoconveyasenseofmovement or visual energy. With the wide-angle, you can alsoemphasizedistance,depth,orheight.Rememberthiskeypoint:Alittledistortioncanmakeapicturelook

clumsy, so for extreme creativity, go for a lot of distortion.Make itperfectlyclearthatdistortionwasindeedyourcreativeobjectiveandnotjustanoversight.

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OnthebluffabovethebeachatSt.Augustine,Florida,Isetupmycameraveryclosetothisbluebuilding.Ipointedthecamerasharplyupwardtointensifythewide-angleperspective.Iselectedaverticalformattoemphasizethediagonallines.Mycamerawasmountedonatripodtokeepthingssteadybutalsotofine-tunethecompositionandtoholdthingsinplacewhilewaitingforshorebirdstoflyintoapositionthatIliked.Photo©KerryDrager.1/180sec.atf/13,ISO200,20mmlens

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TIP:THESTRAIGHT&NARROW

At times, your goal will be to shoot a straightforward—ordocumentary—shotofabuilding.Simplykeepthecameralevelandmakesurethebackof thecamera isparallel to thebuilding,whichdiminishes—if not eliminates—the bending-line syndrome. Note:Thisstraight-on, level-cameraapproachmaynotworkwithawide-angle,sincethelens’sbroaderviewwillincorporateabigexpanseofskyorforeground.Trybackingupandshootingfromadistancewitha telephoto,whichmakes itmucheasier to fill the framewith littledistortion. Photographers who shoot architecture regularly,incidentally, frequently opt for a specialty tilt-shift or perspective-controllens,whichhelpskeepverticallinesstraightupanddown.

ASSIGNMENT:DEVELOPYOURWIDE-ANGLEEYE

Yourmissiontoday:Trainyoureyetoseewide.Startwithyourwidestfocallength.Ifyouhaveawide-to-telephoto

zoomoranall-wide-anglezoom,thensetitasitslowestmmnumberandleaveitthere.Don’tturnthatzoomring.Next,gooutandput it to the test.Point thecameraupwardand

downward,thenmoveinclosertoyoursubject—anysubject.Atreetrunk, flowerpot, or car works, or anything else you choose. Keepmovingcloser.Trytodeterminethenearestpointatwhichthe lenscan still focus. We bet this exercise will be an enlighteningexperience.

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Softovercastlightisidealforcapturingcolors,details,andpeople.Thisphoto—shotduringCarnivalonBoranoIslandinVenice,Italy—demonstratestheartisticuseofawide-anglelensinportraiture.Thekeyistogetclosetotheforeground,whichphotographerJimZuckermandidwhilephotographingthismaskedCarnivalmodel.Photo©JimZuckerman.1/80sec.atf/14,ISO400,14mmlens

QUALITYOFNATURALLIGHT

Doyour pictures tend to elicitmore “ho-hums” than “ahas”?One reasonmayhavetodowiththequalityoflight.Inshort,finelightaddsvisualimpact.Whenplanningworkshopsandourownpersonaloutings,wethinkaboutthelightjustasmuchaswedoaboutthesubject.Here’sabasicruleofoutdoorphotography:Anaveragesubjectingreatlight

looksbetterthanagreatsubjectinaveragelight.Inotherwords,getoutduringtherighthours,andyou’llcapturebetterpictures.Period.Itreallyisthatsimple.Formanyphotographers,however,theurgetoshootseemstohitonlyathigh

noonunderabrilliantbluesky.Yet,atmidday, theintensesunlightwashesoutsubtle colors, flattens distant landscapes, creates harsh light-vs.-dark contrast,andforportraitsresultsinsquinting,contortedfaces,andunflattering“raccoon”eyes(darkshadowsundertheeyes).An easy solution is to limit your shooting primarily to certain hours—

specifically,earlymorningorlateafternoon.Theedgesofthedayareoftenthemost exhilarating times for photography. Yes, you may have to rearrangemealtimes to get the memorable shots, but unless you’re willing to takeadvantageofgreatlight,yourphotographywillneverliveuptoitspotential.

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TIP:AVERYVALUABLECAMERAACCESSORY

Don’tforgetthestartoftheday.Aswitheveningtwilight,dawncanlook magical, too—right after nighttime starts turning towarddaytime.Thefreshness,light,andcoloratthebeginningofthedayare big reasons why we consider an alarm clock to be a veryvaluablepieceofequipmentfortheoutdoorphotographer.

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ASouthPacificseascapeisalwayssomethingspecial,butjustasinotherareasoftheworld,there’snothingquitelikeasunset.Here,theboatsseemedperfectlysuitedtooccupytheforegroundandmiddleground,andgroupingsofthreemakeverystronggraphicdesigns.Atthesametime,thecoolbluesofthescenecomplementthewarmtones.Photo©JimMiotke.1/640sec.atf/3.2,ISO100,50mmlens

TheEarlyPhotographerGetstheShot

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Is there a more satisfying outdoor pursuit than sunset or sunrisephotography? Maybe so, but we can’t think of one! However, it’seasiertoprepareforasunsetthanasunrise,becauseyoucantrackthe sun’s progress from late afternoon to evening. In themorning,thedarkness turns intoasoftearly light,butas thesunnearsandthenclearsthehorizon,thingshappensoquickly.Plus,forearly-dayshoots, you’llwant to have a photographer friend or two along, aswell,forthecompanionshipandforanysafetyconsiderations.For sunrise, the trip actually begins the night before, when you

gather everything together for the morning shoot. You’ll need tofactorinhowmuchtimeyouneedtogetup,getready,andarriveatyour destination. Know the weather forecast and have all clothingandgearpackedupandreadytogo.Checkyourcamerasettingssothey’re ready for action. Make sure you gather up your tripod,memory cards, extra battery, and jacket. A flashlight can be aworthwhile accessory as well. In addition, for our early morningadventures,weneverleavehomewithoutsomesnackstuckedintoapocketorcamerabag.Whetheryou’rephotographingatdawnordusk,though,remember

thatthesunmovesfastanddipsbelow—orrisesabove—thehorizoninamatterofminutes.Allowmoretimethanyouthinkyou’llneedtogetthere.

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LookingacrossthebaytowardtheSeattleskylinecanbequiteasightatsunrise,asthisimageproves.“Ilikedhowthesilhouetteofthefishermenmirroredthebuildingsandhowthesunwasemphasizingtheoutlines,”saysphotographerAnneMcKinnell.“Iwantedtocapturethestarburstofthesunjustasitroseabovethebuildingstoportrayacombinationofthecalmnessoftheoceanandthesunrisewiththeexcitementofthebeginningofanewdayandthejoyofthefishermen’searlycatch.”Sheusedasmallaperturetocatchasun-stareffectwhilekeepingtheoutlinesofthefishermen,thepier,andthebuildingsinsharpfocus.Photo©AnneMcKinnell.1/15sec.atf/29,ISO100,18–55mmlensat40mm

ISOandtheExposureTriangle

There’s a three-way relationship going on in photography, and it’sknownastheexposuretriangle.Theamountoflightthatstrikesthecamera’ssensor isregulatedbythesethreefactors: thesizeof thelens aperture (f-stop), the length of time the shutter remains open(shutter speed), and the ISO (whose initials derive from theInternationalOrganizationofStandardization).ISOmeasuresthesensor’ssensitivitytolight.AlesssensitiveISO

(lower ISOnumber)meansthat thesensormustreceivemore light(either with a larger aperture opening, a longer shutter speed, orboth) to get the same exposure as a very sensitive ISO setting(higherISOnumber).While a high ISO setting can mean faster shutter speeds, the

downside is that higher ISOs can cause noise, where the image

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looksgrainyormushywithcolorblotches.ThepreciseISOatwhichnoise kicks in at a detectable level varies fromcamera to camera,andnewerDSLRscanhandlehigherISOsbetterthanoldermodels.Here’sagoodguideline:UseahighISOonlywhennecessary.So,

unlessyoursubjectismovingorlightisverylowandyoudon’thaveatripod,useyourcamera’slowestISOsetting(usually100or200),sincethatwillmeantheleastamountofpossiblenoise.Buthere’smore:IfahighISOistheonlywaytogetafast-enough

shutterspeedforasharppicture,thengoforit.It’sbettertohaveanoisyphoto that’ssharp thananoiselesspicture insoft focus.Youcanoftenfixnoiseinthedigitaldarkroom—atleasttosomeextent—butablurredimageis,well,blurred.

Thisold1942ForddumptrucksitsinafieldatmyruralhomeinCalifornia.Bothofthesephotoswererecordedwiththesunatmybackwhilestrikingthesubjecthead-on—inotherwords,frontlight.Thelow-angledsunlightdefinitelypumpsupthewarmcolorsofthistruck.Forthefollowingclose-upimage,Isetupmycameraverylowtothegroundand,withawide-anglelens,veryclosetothefrontwheel.Then,withtheself-timer,Icapturedmyshadow.Itookaseriesofimages,checkingeachresultonmycamera’sLCDmonitor,tomakesureIgotwhatIwanted.Photo©KerryDrager.1/125sec.atf/8,ISO200,70–300mmlensat145mm

DIRECTIONOFSUNLIGHT

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Inlow-angledsunlight,askyourself,Whereis thesourceoflight inrelationtomysubject?Youranswercouldmakeorbreakyourpicture.Exploitingtheangleof sunlight has such a great impact on a scene or subject. Let’s consider thespecifics:Frontlight occurs when the sun is behind you and hits the front of your

subject.Thishasbeencalledflatlighting,duetoitsstraight-onillumination.Thelowerthesuninthesky,however,themoreintriguingthefrontlightbecomes.Atsunuporsundown,itcanbeawesome,althoughweadmitthatturningyourbackonasunsetorsunrisesky justdoesn’t feelnatural.Butsometimes it is simplytherightthingtodo,sincethescenebehindyoumaypackasmuch—ormore—photographicpunchasthesunsetorsunrisesceneinfrontofyou,thankstothebeautifulgoldenlight.So,eventhoughthevisualdramaunfoldsattheendoftheday,periodicallylookaround,asyoumayseecaptivatingsubjectsilluminatedbywarm, glowing light. After all, when the sun hovers just above the horizon,amazingthingscanhappen—anywhereyoulook.

Photo©KerryDrager.1/60sec.atf/13,ISO200,20mmlens

Sidelightresultswhenthesunisofftotheside,notinfrontoforbehindyou.Sidelightcanaddformandtexture,anditaccentuatesthethree-dimensionallookanddepthofascene.Inearlyorlateday,expectlongandstrikingshadows.For portrait subjects, sidelighting brightens only one side of the face.

Sometimesthiscanbeaveryartsyeffect.Mosttimes,you’llwanttominimize

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thisbybouncingorreflectinglightontotheshadedsideofyoursubjectwithaportablereflector.

Longshadowsareoneofthegreatbenefitsoflow-angledsunlight,particularlysidelight.PhotographerDonnaMoratelliexplainshowshesetupthiseye-catchingscene:“Itwaslateafternoononaclear,cloudlesssunnydaywhenIarrivedatalocalscenicoverlook.Iwaswithanassistant.Afterseeingtheperfectspot,Iaskedmyassistanttositdown,opentheumbrella,andholditoverhishead.Ithenwentupstairstothedeckoftheoverlookonthesecondfloor.Isetupatripod,setupmycamera,andlookedthroughtheviewfinder.Isawanicegraphicpatternwithabrightlycoloredsubjectasthestar,withshadowplayaddingtothedesign.”Photo©DonnaRaeMoratelli.1/6sec.atf/22,ISO100,15–30mmlensat28mm

Backlighthappenswhenthesunisinfrontofyouandinbackofyoursubject.With backlight, translucent subjects, such as leaves, flowers, or a boat’s sailsgleammagically.Forportraits,yoursubjectscantakeonahalofromrimlighting(whentheoutlineofasubjectcatches theraysofsunlight).Backlightalsocancreate extended shadows that stretch toward the camera.And you can use thehigh bright-vs.-dark contrast to capture intriguing silhouette shots. (See moreaboutsilhouettesinchapter2.)

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AnumberofgreatthingswerehappeningalongthecoastatCarmel,California,beginningwiththeeveninglightandatreewithanoutstandingshape.Ipositionedmycamera—onatripod,ofcourse—sothattheon-the-horizonsunjustbarelypeekedoutfrombehindthetree.Asmallaperture(highf/number)helpedtocreatethesun-stareffect.Ichosealowhorizontoavoidincludingtoomuchofthelow,darkforegroundwhileincludingalotofthetreeagainstthesky.Photo©KerryDrager.1/4sec.atf/22,ISO100,12–24mmlensat12mm

Itwaslightthatcaughtmyattention—specifically,backlight.Ilikedhowthesunrimmedthesheepwithabrighthalo.Withmytelephotozoomsetatitslongestfocallength(400mm),Ishotthroughclose-upgrasseswhilesettingthefocusdirectlyonthisdistantsubject.Photo©JimMiotke.1/90sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,100–400mmlensat400mm

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THETWILIGHTZONEHere’sacan’t-misstipifyoulovephotographingcityskylines:Shootattwilight.Often overlooked, dusk justmay be themost captivating time of day. And ifyou’venevershotattwilightbefore,you’reinforalight-and-coloradventure.Far toomany people pack up and take off right after sunset. If this sounds

familiar,weurgeyoutostayputandwait.Dedicatedtwilightshootersconsiderthe sun dropping below the horizon as the beginning—not the end—of theevening’s color performance. At twilight, the twinkling city lights transformbuildingsandstreetsintodynamicmixturesofcolor.Theskyturnsanamazingblue, if not purple, and makes a wonderful background to the illuminatedbuildings.Add rain-slicked streets or an adjacent body ofwater and the neonlightscreatewonderfulreflections.Simplyput,cityscapescomealiveandlookabsolutelydazzlingintheevening.Other scenes look great at twilight, too—from villages to monuments to

colorful car taillights to dazzling carnival rides. Landscapes also take on adreamlikelook.Attheocean,theendofthedaycanmeansoftandsensuoussurfduringthelongexposuresinlowlight.Thisbeautifultransitionbetweendayandnightusuallylastsonlyminutes.As

with sunset or sunrise photography, twilight photography requires scouting,planning,andworkingquicklytocatchthemagic.Alsokeepinmindthat,duetotheabilityofacamerashuttertoletinmorelightovertime,theresultingphotomaylookevenmorespecial—brighter—thanhowitappearedatthetime.Whentwilightisatitspeak,bytheway,theexposurevaluesbetweenskyand

land are frequently similar, often making for successful overall metering.Otherwise, if the sky is a rich color, just point the camera upward, fill theviewfinderwith thesky,and takeameter reading.Shoot inmanual,or ifyourcameraissetforanautoexposuremode, thenuseexposurelock.Howeveryoudoit,you’llneedtorecomposeandshootwiththoseskysettings.Also,youcancheckthehighlightwarningorhistograminyourLCDmonitorand,ifnecessary,adjust theexposurecompensation (forexample, setting+1 ifyour result is toodarkor-1ifit’stoolight).Besidesusinga tripodorother solid support tokeep the camera steady, it’s

also important to make sure your hand doesn’t touch the camera, since anyvibration can have an impact on sharpness during slow shutter speeds. Use acableshutterrelease.Aself-timerworks,too,asdoesmirrorlock-up(assumingyourDSLRhasthisshootingfeature).

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ThissceneoftheSpaceNeedleandSeattleskylineshowsthebenefitsofahighviewpoint—fromQueenAnneHill,specificallyKerryPark(norelation!).The“before”imagewascapturedduringearlytwilightrightaftersundown.The“after”imagewasshotduringlatetwilight,withthecitylightsglowingandtheskyawonderfullyrichcolor.Thelessontobelearned?Stickaroundlongaftersunsetand,alongtheway,keeponshooting.Photo©KerryDrager.1/20sec.atf/6.7,ISO200,70–300mmlensat195mm

Photo©KerryDrager.1/3sec.atf/10,ISO200,70–300mmlensat220mm

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TWILIGHTTIP:WHITEBALANCE

We both tend to set our cameras to Daylight or Sunlight whitebalance (WB)—throughout theday, fromdawn todusk.At twilight,wefindthatthissettingnicelycapturestherangeofcolorsfromthewarm,goldenlightingofbuildingstothedeepblueofthesky.Ofcourse,ifyoushootinraw,aswebothdo,youhavetheability

toeasilytweaktheWBinthedigitaldarkroom.Butgettingitrightinthefieldhasadoubleadvantage:Youcanseewhatyou’regettingatthe time (and, if necessary, switch toanother setting), and it’sonelessthingtodoinpostproduction.Autowhite balance (AWB), by theway, isn’t always reliable and

canevenbefooledbytherangeandcolorof lateorearlydaylight.ParticularlyifyoushootinJPEG,whichislessforgivingthanraw,it’simportanttogettheWBascloseaspossible.Ourbestadviceistoexperimentandseewhichsettingworksbestforyou.Forinstance,somephotographers routinely shoot inCloudyWB, since they likethewarmerfeel.OtherstryatleastafewframeswithTungstenWB,whichcanenhancethebluesofthescene.

PhotographerLynnSapadinshotthisSanFranciscosceneattwilightfromtheMunicipalPier(nearFisherman’sWharf).

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Saysthephotographer,“ThispieroffersapanoramicviewoftheSanFranciscoskylinefromtheBayBridgetotheGoldenGateBridge.Myoriginalgoalwastocreateamultiple-imagepanoramausingawide-anglelens,butafterafewtestimagesIrealizedthatisolatingTelegraphHillandCoitTowercreatedamuchmoreimpactfulphotograph.Iswitchedtoatelephotolenstofilltheframeandwaitedforthesuntoset.”Photo©LynnSapadin.20secondsatf/16,ISO200,80–200mmlensat115mm

GOODPHOTOSIN“BAD”LIGHTManydevelopingphotographersfreezeupwhencloudsgather.Thatshouldn’tbea surprise.After all, nice and sunnyweather just plain feels good.But there’salso the fashionablenotion that effectivephotography requiresbright sunlight.Right?Not always!Although an uninspiring turnoff for casual photographers,overcastconditionsshouldbeacreativeturn-onforseriousshooters.Nature’s great white or gray canopy means pleasing light that pumps up

colors, captures delicate details, and creates a narrowdark-vs.-light range thatmakes it easy to expose your photo properly. Often called diffused light, softlightnotonlycomesfromovercastbutalsooccursinmoodyfog,andithappensatdawnanddusk.Onasunnyday,youcanfinddiffusedlightinginshade.For pictorial success, soft light should be the determining factor in the

subjectsyouchooseandthecompositionsyoudesign.Forinstance,acloudydaycanbeveryflatteringlightforphotographingpeople,flowers,waterinmotion,intimate landscapes,architectural features,close-ups,pets,andsoon.Overcastlight is also great for shooting in forests and cities that otherwise would besplotchedwithaharshmixofsunandshadow.Outdoorportraiturecanbeidealunderathickcloudcover,whichmimicsthe

softboxes and white umbrellas that studio photographers use to simulate acloudy sky. Inmidday sunlight, however, youcanmakeuseofopen shadebyplacingyour subjectswhere theywon’tbehitwithdirect sunlight—say,undertrees,aporchawning,or in theshadowofa tallbuilding.Whetherovercastorshade,theconditionsareeasyontheeyesandflatteringontheface.

TIP:WATCHOUTFORBRIGHTWHITESKIES

Awhiteorlight-grayskycanoverwhelmeverythingelseinthephotoand make other parts of the scene look dark in comparison. Sowhen your subject or the landscape is in soft light, choosecompositionswithverylittleskyor,preferably,noskyatall.

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Colorsanddetailsreally“popped”duringthisrainydayatCadesCoveinSmokyMountainsNationalPark.SaysphotographerLindaLester,“Ihadmyfriendstandinfrontofthemillwithanumbrellatoaddtothescene.Itwasfall,sothecolorswerenice,andwithitbeingovercast,theevenlightmadeforaperfectexposure.”Notehowthecolorfulsubjectisplacedatthefarrightwhilefacingtowardtheleft,whichhelps“point”theviewerintotherestofthescene.Photo©LindaDLester.com.1/4sec.atf/18,ISO500,24–105mmlensat50mm

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Awillingsubject,agreatlocation,andbeautifulsoftlightcametogetherinNewYorkCity’sCentralParkonacloudyautumnday.Here,Ichosean“environmental”portraitthatshowedasliceoftheenvironment,asopposedtoatightclose-upimagethatcouldhavebeencapturedanywhere.Anormal50mmfocallengthandawideaperture(lowf/number)helpedcreateashallowdepthoffieldforasharpsubjectagainstabackgroundthat’sblurredbutstillshowsdetails.Photo©KerryDrager.1/90sec.atf/4,ISO400,50mmlens

ManaginginMiddaySunlight

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Withcreativityanda little luck,youcanfindphotoseven inmiddaysunlight.Insomelocations—insteepvalleysorcanyonsorbelowacity’s skyscrapers—thesunlightmaynothit untilmidmorning.Herearesometipsand techniques ifyoumustwork inmidday:Move inoncolorfuldetailsandcaptivatingsmallscenes.Workinthesoftlightofshade.Beonthelookoutfortranslucentsubjectsthatarebacklitfromthesun,suchasleavesandflowers.Watchforobjectsthatcastcompellingshadowsfromthehighsun.

Iusuallyavoidbrightmiddaysunlight,butattheAntiquePowerlandMuseuminOregon,colorandcloudscametogetherinapowerfulway!Thisextremelycool,extremelyyellowCaterpillarcaughtmyeye.Fortheoverallimage(above),Iusedthewide-angleinastraightforwardway,whichincludednotonlythesubjectitselfbutalsosurroundingandbackgroundelements.Whilethehorizontalviewdocumentstheentiresubject,it’snotaccomplishedinanartfulway.Forthevertical,Ichosealow-and-up-closecameraangleandincludedaverycooperativecloudformation.Photo©KerryDrager.1/60sec.atf/16,ISO100,12–24mmlensat19mm

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/160sec.atf/13,ISO100,12–24mmlensat12mm

ASSIGNMENT:EXPLORETHETIMESOFDAY

Don’ttakeourwordforitwhenitcomestophotographingattheright

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timesofday.Forthisexercise,yougettotryityourself.Chooseanearbysceneorsubject.Thenshootitatdifferenttimesofday.Yes,sunrise,too.You’lldiscoverfirsthandhowlightchangessodrasticallythroughouttheday.Andyou’llseehowthequalityoflightvaries,aswell.Thisassignmentcanbeperformedoveranumberofdays.But if

it’sovercast,thistestwon’tworktothesameextentaswhenthesunisout.Findascene thatwillgetdirect lightas thesungoesdownand when it comes up, too. For example, if tall buildings or treesblock theviewofa low-on-the-horizonsun, switch toamoreopenlocation.Thisexercisewillhelp trainyoureye todeterminewhatascene

will look like in different light. That’s important when scouting newlocations. You’ll learn that paying attention to the light will changeyour whole photographic life. There aren’t many photographytechniques thatofferguaranteedsuccess,but routinelyshootingatdynamictimesofdayisoneofthem.

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Forthisportraitofayounggirl(thedaughterofafriend),photographerStefaniaBarbierwasoutinbrightmiddaysunlight.Saysthephotographer,“Wewereatthebeach,andIlovedhertanandthecolorsofherclothing.SoIaskedhertoputtheclothonherhead,whichalsohelpedmetoshieldherfromtheharshsun.”Photo©StefaniaBarbier.1/320sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,70–200mmlensat200mm

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Whenphotographingcityscapesfilledwithdistinctivemodernbuildings,I’malwaysonthelookoutforstronglinesandboldreflections.Here,indowntownSacramento,beautifullate-daysunlightpumpedupthecolors.Ichoseatelephotozoom(80–200mm)tozerointightonthissunsetlight-and-colorscene.Iselectedanupperpartoftheglass-walledbuildingwithdiagonallinesthatwerecatchingtheeveninglight.Iliked—andincluded—thereflectionofaneighboringwarmlylitbuilding.Photo©KerryDrager.1/15sec.atf/16,ISO200,80–200mmzoomlensat200mm

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CHAPTER2

THEELEMENTSOFDESIGN

Exploring the realmofgraphicdesigncan feelvery intimidatingat first.Afterall,theworldaroundusisavisuallyhecticplace,andourjob,asphotographers,istoturnthesechaoticscenesintocreativeimages.Inthischapter,we’llbreakdownmanyof thebasic elements of design—color, line, shape, form, texture,and pattern—that canmake your photosmore visually compelling. Black andwhite,whichisallaboutgraphics,comesintoplay,too,asdoesrepetition.Whencomposinganimage,payspecialattentiontothedesignelements.Even

ifthelightingiswonderfulanddramatic,ifyourphotoisn’tgraphicallypleasing,thenthechancesarethepicturewillfallshortofyourhopes.Youmayalreadyuse design elements subconsciously, at least in obvious situations, and mostphotosdoincludeoneormorethesecomponents.Butmanypeoplereallydon’tputmuchthoughtaboutthesegraphicsintotheirphotography.Yet,recognizingthe building blocks of composition is the first step toward making moresuccessfulandmoreartisticphotographs.Now,let’sheadforthandstartonthevision quest for finding strong graphics and working them into yourcompositions.

THEPOWEROFLINE

When it comes to the elements of design, lines are often the bottom line.Butalongwith thegraphicaspect, lines areaboutpsychology.So let’s startwithafewquestions:

•Doyouliketobetoldwhattodoandwheretogo?Great!Wehavetheperfect(leading)lineforyou.• Or are you more of the direct and assertive type? Then go directly to theverticalsand,especially,thediagonals.•Ordoesthephrase“calmandcontent”fityourstyle?Thenjumprightintothehorizontalsandcurves.Thoseaspectshelpdefinethepowerofline.Theyarefoundeverywhere—in

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nature and architecture, roadways and fences, close-up subjects and grandlandscapes, the legs of a dancer and the legs of a tripod. Recognizing thestrengthofboldlinesandthebeautyofgracefullines—andlearninghowtousethemeffectively inyourphotography—willhelpboostyourcreativity inmanyinnovativeways.Lines can create visual excitement or form an intriguing pattern. They can

lead the viewer directly to your main subject. But for a design element thatappears in somany different variations, lines come down to two basic types:straight(vertical,horizontal,ordiagonal)andcurved(circular,arclike,orwavy).Let’slookathowafewsimpleprinciplescanstartputting“wow”impactinyourphotography.

TheU.S.Southwest’scanyoncountryissimplymagical.Forthisscene,itwasthelineofsnowcontrastingwiththeorangesandandrockthatreallymadethingsspecial.Itriedanumberofbiggerviews,butforme,thistightshotbestemphasizedtheline,color,andcontrast.Alsonotethatthelineisadiagonal—oftenmorevisuallydynamicthanlinesthatareperfectlyparalleltothepictureborders.Photo©JimMiotke.1/15sec.atf/20,ISO100,16–35mmlensat35mm

HORIZONTALANDVERTICALLINESOurfieldofvisiontendstoscanthingsfromsidetoside,whichfitsrightinwiththe horizontal line’s sedate personality.As a result, horizontals are consideredless visually energetic than other types of graphic lines. Horizontals pop uproutinelyallovertheplace.Forlandscapesandseascapes,thehorizontalserves

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asafundamental lineofreference.Thisalsoappliestothehorizonline’sclose“cousin”—alake’sshorelineorwaterline.Like horizontals, vertical lines are parallel to two of the picture borders.

However, verticals possessmore visual strength, just as a person seemsmorelively standing up than lying prone.Combine tall lineswith a vertical format,andtheupwardtension—orsenseofheight—isespeciallyemphasized.Forvibrantexpressionsofheight, thinkofskyscrapers, tall lighthouses,long

waterfalls,columns,flagpoles.Thelistgoeson.Manyverticalsubjects,suchastowering redwoods or the stems of flowers,may not be perfectly straight, butthatjustaddstotheirvisualpower.

Notsurprisingly,thecolorsofthiswallfirstcapturedmyattention.Imovedinclosetoisolatethevariouscomponentswhileleavingoutanysurrounding—andpotentiallydistracting—elements.Atthesametime,Inoticedastrongdesignofpatterns,angles,andverticalandhorizontallines.Inthiscomposition,alsonotethebalancegoingon:Theverticalstripofcolorontherightisbalancedbythesectionofcoloratthelowerleft.Photo©JimMiotke.1/200sec.atf/7.1,ISO400,24–70mmlensat50mm

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Amixofverticalandhorizontallinescanbeverycomplementary.OnaheavyovercastdayalongtheCaliforniacoast,Ilookedforintimatecolorscenestotakeadvantageofthesoftandevenlightwhileavoidingtheglaringwhitesky.Ifoundthisabandonedoldshopinacoastaltownanddecidedonastraight-oncompositiontocapturethepatternofcolors,angles,andlines.Apolarizingfilterremovedmuchoftheglarethatwaspresenttogivethecolorsanextraboost.Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/11,ISO100,50mmlens

DIAGONALLINESAngled lines automatically create visual tension, since they form contrastinganglestotheverticalandhorizontaledgesoftheframe.Theysignifymovement,bolddesign,andactivecomposition,andtheycanleadtoamoreforcefulimage.Theultimatediagonaldividesthepicturespaceintotwoequaltriangleswitha

linethatextendsthroughtheframefromtheupperleftcornertothelowerrightor the lower left to upper right. But all angled or oblique lines are generallyknownasdiagonalsandsharethesamedesignstrength.Viewpoint is a major factor in the formation of diagonals. In fact,

photographerspossessasurprisingamountofcontrol to turnstraight lines intodiagonalones.Whileastraight-onviewpointmayrevealalineasafull-fledgedverticalorhorizontal,ifyousimplyshiftthecameraangleinrelationtotheline,then,presto,younowhaveadiagonal.At times, you can get a tremendous pattern of alternating diagonals—a

situation in which some lines go in one diagonal direction and others go inanotherdirection.Now,thatisvisualpower!

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TheveinsofthisleafcapturedmyattentionnotonlybecauseofthecolorcontrastofbrightredagainstbrightgreenbutalsobecauseIcouldphotographthemasdiagonalsforamoreactivecomposition.Itdidn’thurt,either,thatrainhadleftsomenicewaterdropsandthatsoftsunlightpeekedoutmomentarily.Iusedmymacrolenstofilltheframewiththispatternoflineandcolor.Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/13,ISO100,105mmlens

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Low-angledsunanddecorativeironfencingjustseemtogotogether.Forthisscene,Icreatedtherepetitionofdiagonallinesbysimplymovingtotheside,ratherthanfacingthegatedirectlyfromthefrontforastraight-onviewpoint.Then,toleaveoutthebackgrounddistractionsandtoreallyemphasizetheshadowedlines,Ipointedmycameradownward.Photo©KerryDrager.1/30sec.atf/16,ISO100,50mmlens

TheFineArtofTiltingtheCamera

Thisshootingstyle—tiltingthecameratoturnaverticalorhorizontallineintoapowerfuldiagonal—hasbeenaroundawhile.Onetermforit is the “Dutch angle,” which is a longtime cinematography tacticemployedforthesamepurposeasstillphotography:tocreatevisualtension.Still,whenwe tell students that it’s perfectly acceptable, ifnot totally desirable, to occasionally slant their cameras, theyexpresssurprise.Afterall,you’resupposedtokeepthecameralevelat all times, correct?Well, there are exceptions! Used at the rightartistictime,anicetipofthecameracanpumpupthevisualtensionbycreatinggreatanglesanddiagonals.Shootingwithyourcameraaskew (so as to change naturally appearing vertical or horizontallinesintodiagonals)canbedoneforavarietyofsmallscenesorbigviewsandwith justaboutany lens focal length.Likeothercreativetechniques,youwon’twanttousethismethodallthetime,butwhenthesubjectcallsforit,anglingthecameraisonefineartisticweapon.

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AlongasidewalkintheSt.AugustineareaofFlorida,Idiscoveredthistilescene.Ipointedmycameradownwardtoisolatethegraphic-designpatternofstronglinesandangles.Ichoseadiagonalcomposition(viaaquickslantofthecamera)foramorevisuallyenergeticcomposition.Also,Ifeltthecurvedgratingwouldmakeagoodpointofcontrast.Photo©KerryDrager,1/15sec.atf/13,ISO200,50mmlens

ASSIGNMENT:ATWISTEDPOINTOFVIEW

Haveyougoneoutandtiltedyourcameratoday?Goaheadanddoit.It’sokay—really!Caution: Yes, when you’re shooting in a public place, plan on

curiousglances—orevencomments—frompassersbywhowonderwhy your camera is out of kilter. Theymay even ask if you knowyou’redoingit.Suchisthelifeofphotographerswhotaketheirarttocreativelylopsidedlevels!

CURVINGLINESCurvesmakeimportantcompositionalstatementsbyconveyingaflowingsenseofmovementwithtranquilqualities.Likethediagonal,theseelegantlinesstandoutagainsttheverticalandhorizontalpictureborders.

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Curves can be found seemingly everywhere—the sweeping curve of ashoreline, a rolling hillside, a meandering stream or trail, the edges of sanddunes, the curls of a flower’s petals, the gentle bend of tree branches, anarchway’sbeautyand strength, the flowingarcof anarchitectural feature, andtheclassicS-curveofaroad,river,oranegret’sheadandneck.Properframingiscritical.Forinstance,besuretoallowenoughspaceforyour

curvetounfoldinyourcomposition,sothatitmovesfreelythroughthepicturespace.Clippingoffacurvewithabordercandisrupttheline’sflowandspoilthedesign.

Sanddunesareallabouttheelementsofgraphicdesign,suchasinthisscenebyphotographerDougSteakley,withtheattention-grabbingrepetitionofcurvingandcurlinglines.The“trick”istogetoutwhenalow-angledsunskimsacrossthesandtobringoutthetexturesandshadows.Photo©DougSteakley.1/90sec.atf/19,ISO200,17–35mmlensat35mm

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LasVegashassomuchtoofferthephotographer,evenbeyondtheneonlightsandgrandcasinos.Forexample,photographerChristopherJ.Budnyshotthisimageafterspottingabuildingwithvariedbrick,stone,andmetaltreatmentsonthefaçade;swoopingcurvesofgreenglasswindows;greatlinesandshadows;andlotsofsquareopenings.Saysthephotographer,“Ispentquitesometimewalkingaroundthisbuilding,capturingmanyoftheuniquefeatures,butmostlydetailsofthewhole.”Photo©ChristopherJ.Budny.1/125sec.atf/8,ISO200,17–85mmlensat56mm

LeadingLines

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Notalllinesinaphototaketheviewerplaces,butwhentheydo,thatimage can venture into another dynamic dimension. Composingpictures with leading lines is a traditional technique that has longcapturedtheattentionofpaintersandphotographers.Likeatourguide,you’llbeleadingviewerswhereyouwantthem

togo—bygivingdirectiontotheeye.Whetherthelinesarestraight,zigzagging, or softly curving through the composition, viewers willhaveasenseofsatisfactionafterhavingtraveledalongthelinethatyouprovided.Mostoften,aleadinglinestartsinthenearforegroundandthendrawsyourviewerintoyourheartofthescene.It’saveryeffectivewaytodirectviewerstoyoursubjectortosimplyleadthemonavisualjourneythroughyourpicture.Once you start to recognize the potential for leading lines, you’ll

jump at opportunities to exploit them. They can be seen inlandscaping, buildings, shorelines, streets, fences, andmore.Theycanbecolorful streaksofmoving taillightsatnight,or theycanbethe long shadows of columns or trees that extend from camera tosubject.Multiple leading lines add to the graphic appeal. With railroad

tracks,therailingsofalongpier,fencesthatparallelbothsidesofaroadway,oranyotherparallellinesthatventureintothedistance,thetwo lineswillappear toeventuallyconverge,even thoughweknowtheyarereallyparallel.Theresultisgreatvisualdrama.

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Fallcolors,thesoftandevenlightofanovercastday,andaspectacularsubjectcametogetherperfectlyduringatriptoNewHampshire.“LivinginAustralia,”saysphotographerReneeDoyle,“Idon’tgettoseecoveredbridgesveryoften—especiallynotbrightandbeautifulredoneslikethisone!”Notehowshecomposedthephotosothattheroad’scurvinglinesleadtheeyedirectlytothemainpartofthephoto.Atthesametime,thelinesoftherailingattheleftalso“point”totheredbridge.Note:Shealsousedapolarizingfilter,whichhelpedsaturatethecolors.Atripodkeptthingssteady,sincethecombinationoflowlight,deep-tintedpolarizer,andaverysmallaperture(foradeepdepthoffield)resultedinalongexposure.Photo©ReneeDoyle.3secondsatf/22,ISO200,24–70mmlensat43mm

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Thishotel’slines,repetition,andcolors,alongwiththebeautifulsunlightofearlyday,drewmyattention.Forthisimage,Isawthepossibilityofusingbothleadinglinesandrepetitivepatternsastheprimarydesignelements.ImovedclosetothebuildingandslantedthecameraasIpointedupwardtoturnthelinesintodiagonalsforextravisualenergy.Photo©KerryDrager.1/90sec.atf/16,ISO500,50mmlens

SHAPE

Shape is a surprisingly compelling design element. We first recognize manythingsbasedontheirshape,whetherit’stheoutlineofapersonorananimal,acup or a rose, monument or vehicle. Fundamental shapes include squares,triangles,rectangles,andcircles.While sidelighting results in a gradation of light to shadow and expresses

form,shapesaremostoftenfrontlitorbacklit.Inmostcases,shapescanbemademore evident by contrast—for instance, when one object is much darker orlighter than a neighboring one. The graphic study of dark against lightparticularlycomesintoviewwithsilhouettes.Thesestarkoutlineseliminateanysenseofdepthorforminthesubject,becausetheyappearassimple,flatshapes.

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Adesignofshapesandcolorsdominatesthisamazingsmallsceneofbubbles.Onacoldandwetwinterday,photographerKatarinaManssonstayedindoorsand,armedwithmacrolens,tripod,andwindowlight,startedshootingoil-in-waterpictures.“Tospiceitup,”shesays,“IputaCDunderneaththebowlwithoil/water.ThenItriedtocaptureanicecolorspectrumtogetherwithaniceconstellationofdrops.Itwasn’tsoeasy.Butafteracoupleofhours,lotsofexposures,frustration,andfun,IhadafewpicturesIwashappywith,includingthisone!”Photo©KatarinaMansson.1/6sec.atf/6.3,ISO200,100mmmacrolens

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Strongshapesmakestrongshadowsintherightlight.Thebeautifullow-angledsunlightoflatedaycaughtthiscolorfuloldtruck.Iwasattractedtothemirror,sowithaclosecompositionofsubjectandshadow,Igottwodynamicshapesforthepriceofone.Also,Ifeltthediagonallinesaddedaniceadditionalvisualaccent.Photo©KerryDrager.1/10sec.atf/22,ISO200,105mmlens

Sometimesitsimplypaystolookdown,andonafreezingday,icecanbeavisualtreat.Forthisscene,IwalkedarounduntilIfoundtherightscene.Withaninsulatedpadtokeepoutthecold,Ikneeleddownandfilledmyviewfinderwiththismacropatternofcircularshapes.Photo©JimMiotke.1/100sec.atf/2.8,ISO100,100mmmacrolens

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SHAPESASSILHOUETTES

When it comes tonatural light, high contrast canmeanhighdrama.Backlightextremescancreateadynamicshowstopper:thesilhouette.Thisstarkinterplayofbrightanddarkproducesacommandingimpact.Silhouettes,infact,helpyoustartlookingbeyondtheliteralsubjectandseeobjectsasshapes.These eye-catching images rarely just happen, though.Usually you have to

lookfor them,andadvancescouting tripsarehighly recommended.A low-on-the-horizonsun—justaftersunriseorjustbeforesunset—alwayscomesthroughwithgreatsilhouettepotential.Thekeyistofindsubjectsthathavesimple-yet-boldshapes,arereadilyidentifiable,andthataresurroundedbybrightness.Inaddition to sunrises and sunsets, anybrightbackground (suchas abright

beachor snow scene, a bright lakeor a bright fountain) canbeused to createbeautifulsilhouettes.Simplyfindaforegroundelementintheshadeandpositionyourselfsothatthisforegroundisinfrontofthebrightbackground.For most of us, the first silhouettes we ever recorded were strictly

unintentional,usuallyindoorfamilyportraitsinfrontofabrightpicturewindowor friendsstandingoutside in theshadeofa treewithabigbrightskybehind.With no compensation or fill flash to brighten the subjects, the result wasinvariablydarksubjectsagainstsunlight.An intentional silhouette shows off your subject’s contours but otherwise

leaves the subject pretty much to your imagination. In other words, the bestsilhouettesarepureshapes—simple,startling,anddarkwithlittleornodetail.You’llwant a backlit or shaded subject that’s sharply outlined, that’s easily

identifiable, and one that’s set against a sunlit, uncluttered background.Goodcandidates includestatues,people, towers, jaggedpeaks,bridges, trees,naturalarches,railings,fences,architecturalelements,horses,andthelike.Remember, however, that as with any photographic technique, you should

plantopractice.Trialanderrorispartofthelearningcurvebothinidentifyingsceneswithsilhouettepotentialandshootingthem.Butitwon’ttakelongtostartcapturingsomestrikingshots,anda fewsilhouette imageswilladdadynamicelementtoyourphotography.

ExposingforSunriseorSunsetSilhouettes

Inmostphotos,theideaismakesurethemainforegroundsubjectisexposed correctly. With silhouettes, the goal is to ensure that the

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backgroundismeteredcorrectly.Be careful that your shadowed form doesn’t influence themeter

reading,otherwise thepicturemaybeoverexposedas thecameratries to lighten your dark subject. Likewise, if your camerametersdirectlytowardthesun,yourexposurewilllikelybemuchtoodark.Tocounteractthis,youmusttakeanalternatemeterreadingoffa

middletone—nottoobright,nottoodark.Todoso,pointthecameraattheskytotheleftorrightofthesettingorrisingsun(orawayfromthebrightskyifthesunisjustbelowthehorizon),butalsoleaveoutanybigexpansesofdarkarea.Just fill theviewfinderwith thesky.Take the exposure reading. Set the exposuremanually, or if in anautoexposuremode,usetheexposure-lockbutton.Recomposeyourphotoandshootatthoseskysettings.Ifyouexposeyoursilhouettecorrectly,theshadowedareaswillgo

darkandthebrightareaswillshowgoodcoloranddetail.Thatwouldbeaperfectsilhouetteexposure.

Whenitcomestoasilhouettedsurferwithhissurfboard,it’sallaboutarrestingandidentifiableshapes.PhotographerDonnaPagakisexplainshowshecapturedthissceneatoneofherfavoritelocations(thepierinOceanside,California)inherfavoritetimeofevening(postsunset):“Twilightiswhenthepierlightslightupandthrowthemostgorgeousreflections

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onthewater.Asurferappearedontheshoreandhadjustfinishedhiseveningsession.IaskedhimifIcouldtakeaquickportraitbythepier.Hewasmorethanhappytopauseforamoment.IexposedforthesceneasInormallywould,sinceIknewIwantedasilhouette.”Photo©DonnaPagakis.1/3sec.atf/4,ISO100,18–55mmlensat24mm

Palmtreesmaketremendoussubjects,duetotheirverydistinctiveshapes.OnatriptoFiji,Iwantedtoshowthemassilhouettes.Earlyonemorning,Iturnedtomywide-anglelenstocatchasweepingsceneofpalmsagainstthesunrisesky.Atsunsetoneday,Icaughtatighterview—leavingoutthegroundentirely—whileplacingthesilhouettedshapesagainstthecolorsandclouds.Photo©JimMiotke.1/100sec.atf/7.1,ISO100,24mmlens

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/250sec.atf/2.5,ISO100,50mmlens

Atourlittleten-acrespreadinCalifornia,wehaveacollectionofbirdhouses.Onthisday,itlookedlikeafinesunsetwasintheworks,andIwasn’tdisappointed.Ichoseasilhouettescene—withthedarkbirdhousesagainstthebrightsky—tohighlighttheirgreatshapes.Togettheexposure,Ipointedthecameratowardtheskyandfilledtheframewithamedium-tonearea(notthedarkest,notthebrightest).Afterpushingtheexposure-lockbutton,Irecomposedandshotthesceneatthosesettings.Photo©KerryDrager.1/6sec.atf/11,ISO100,80–200mmzoomlensat80mm

TIP:BEWAREOFMERGES

Whenshootingsilhouettes,aimtocatchmomentswhenthesubjectis clear and easy to differentiate from the surroundings. If yoursubject gets too close or touches other objects, it will appear tomerge with the other foreground elements and create anunappealing large mass of darkness. Keep empty space aroundyoursilhouettedobject (themost importantpartsof thesubject)sothattheeyecaneasilyrecognizetheshape.

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AlongtheCaliforniacoast,asunsetoftenmeansawonderfulskyandbeautifulreflectivecolorsonthesea,butsometimesyoujustneedsomethingelse—asilhouette.Greatplantsandoverhangingtreebrancheswerejustthethingforthisscene.Togettherightexposureofsilhouettedsubjectsagainstcolorfulsky,Isteppedawayfromthetree,pointedmycameratoamiddle-tonepartofthesky,tookameterreading,andlockedintheexposuresettings.Ithenrecomposedthepicture(onatripod,ofcourse!)andfiredoffthisshot.Photo©JimMiotke.1/13sec.atf/8,ISO200,28–135mmlensat135mm

HowLightingContrastWorks

Our eyes have an amazing dynamic range. We can detect gooddetail throughout a high-contrast scene of glaring highlights anddeepshadows.Notsowith thecamera.Acameracan’tcaptureanextreme range of lighting in a single unaided image. For example,meteringfortheshadowarea—tolightenitup—willmeanthesunlitarea in the imagealsowill go lighterand,asa result,will becomeseverely overexposed, or “blown out,” with little detail or color.However, in this case, such contrast is a good thing. It’s preciselywhatwewant,sincecontrastishowcreativesilhouettesaremade!

FORM

Light is the main ingredient that turns a two-dimensional shape into a three-dimensional form. But not just any kind of condition reveals the interplay of

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shadow and light to reveal a shape’s form. It’s light striking from an angle—oftensidelight—thataddsdepthandvolumetoashape.Considertheseexamples:theroundedformsofsanddunes,rockformations,

the gentle curves of a dancer’s legs, rolled-up bales of hay, and rounded treetrunks.Smallobjectscount,too,suchaswaterbottles,applesandpears,asliceofcake,orlittlestones.Ofcourse,biggersubjectsshowform,aswell,includinglighthousetowers,tallbuildings,andevenmountains.Theformsinasweepinglandscapecanlookabsolutelymesmerizingwhenhitbylow-angledsunlight.In most cases, you’ll want to photograph under a sunny sky, since sharp

sunlightoftenbestdefinestheformofthesubject.Thedegreeofharshnesscanvary. But soft lighting canwork, as well, assuming there’s enough of a tonalrange(atransitionoflighttoshadowthatoutlinestheformandgivesdimensiontothesubject).Lookforagradualshiftorprogressionofhighlightstoshadows.Toolittlecontrast,though,andanyformmaydisappear.

Sometimesittakesalotofpatience—whilebeingreadytopushtheshutteratthebesttime—tocaptureuniqueinteractionsandbehaviorinanimals.SosaysphotographerLaurieShupp,whousedhertechniquetogreatsuccessincapturingthistendermomentbetweenthetwoyoungelephants.Notethelargerandolderelephantstandingbehindthetwo.Thisprovidesadditionaldepthandperspectiveofsize.Atthesametime,theangledsunlightrevealsthegreatformsandtextures.Photo©LaurieRubinShupp.1/750sec.atf/4,ISO100,70–200mmlenswith1.4xteleconverterfor280mm

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Thebeautifullate-daysunlighttransformsthisrockystretchofshorelinealongCalifornia’sBigSurcoast.Thesidelightingrevealsthestrongformsoftherocks,boulders,andoutcroppings.Gettingthisshot,however,wasn’teasy,sinceitrequiredafifteen-minuteclimb—withbackpackandtripodinhand—downaprecariouscliff.ButsaysphotographerDebraHarder,“Iwasdeterminedtogetalowerpointofview.”Note,too,thatsheusedaslowshutterspeedtocreatesoftandsilkysurf.Photo©DebraHarder,DRHImages.1/2sec.atf/22,ISO200,24–70mmlensat32mm

Formanyphotographersofclose-upscenes,thekitchenservesasaveryefficient“studio.”Duringafood-shootingsessiononeafternoon,saysphotographerSusanGallagher,“Ithoughtitwouldbeinterestingtolinethetomatoesupwiththegreensteminthecorner.Mycamerawasonatripod,andIfocusedverycarefullyonthestem.Ichoseanapertureoff/10onmymacrolens,andthislimitedthedepthoffieldonthetomatoesbehind.Thelightfromthewindowgavesomenicecatchlightstothetomatoes.”

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Photo©SusanGallagher.3/4sec.atf/10,ISO100,105mmmacrolens

TEXTURE

Thisisanelementofdesignthatyoucanjust“feel.”Butwhiletextureappealstothesenseoftouch,it’sthevisualaspectthatismostintriguingforphotographers.Capturing these intriguinggraphicswill soonbe another valuable tool in yourartistickit.Consider fishing nets, rough hands, tree bark, frost on a window, a

cobblestone pathway, the fur of a dogor cat, awool sweater, awoven fabric.Evencrumpledlaundry.Subjectswithstrongtexturecanworkinjustaboutanylight.Forexample,strongearlyorlate-daysunlightmakestexturecomealivebyrakingacrossunevensurfaces.Itcanrevealthepeelingpaintofweatheredwood,theroughnessofarock,thesandofabeach,thecoarsenessofsnow.Itcanevenenhancethesparklingcoarsenessofbeachscenes.Eachgrainofsandandeachgranuleofsnowcastsitsowntinyshadowduetothesidelight.Be ready tozero inon texture inaclose-upshot,butnotnecessarilyall the

time.Biggerscenescanoffertexture,too,withthelowangleoflighthittingthesubjectatanangleandaccentuatingalandscape’stexturesandcontours.Whenthelight’sright,textureisrevealedingreatexpansesofearth—suchasacanyonorvalleyoramountaincliffface.However, diffused light also can work effectively. And it doesn’t require a

subjectwitharoughsurface.Delicatesubjectsmayrequirethesoftapproach,sodon’tletawhiteskyordeepshaderuinyourtexturedreams.Ifyouplantoshowthesoftnessofafieldofgrassesorofanimal’sfur,forinstance,youmightevenpreferdiffusedlight.

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FreshsnowlinesthetreesofthisOregonscene.Theresultisapicturesquelandscapeofgreattexturesandcontrasts.PhotographerDebraHarderpositionedthemainsubjectoff-centerinthecomposition,andalthoughrelativelysmallinthescene,theredbarnjumpsoutofthepictureduetoitscolorcontrast.Photo©DebraHarder,DRHImages.1/250sec.atf/8,ISO200,200–400mmlensat200mm

Besideslookingsotasty,thesecandieshavetexturewrittenalloverthem.SaysphotographerAmaliaArriagadeGarcia,“Ilikedthisthesecandiesbecauseoftheirgeometricshapes,strongpattern,andvividcolors.”Withlightenteringfromawindow,shewasalsoattractedtothetexturesofthecandies.Photo©AmaliaArriagadeGarcia.3/4sec.atf/22,ISO200,60mmmacrolens

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Lionscertainlyhavealook—andtextures—alltheirown,andthat’strueinthisclose-uptelephotoportraitcapturedatthezooinLittleRock,Arkansas.SaysphotographerStaceyBates,“Ispentalotoftimeathisexhibitwatchinghimandwaitingtogetashotwithhimlookingatmewithhispiercingeyes.Iusedamonopod,whileleaningagainsttherailingorpoleforextrasupport.”Photo©StaceyA.Bates.1/250sec.atf/5.6,ISO400,70–200mmlensat390mmwith2xteleconverter

COLOR

Legend has it that National Geographic once issued this mandate to its

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photographers:Ifyoucan’tmakeitgood,thenmakeitred!AnotherversionhadGeographicshooterspackingaredjacketasanessentialaccessory,readytopulloutandbrightenupasubjectdressedindrabtones.Theseanecdoteswerelikelynever more than fiction, but they do hammer home the point that color as agraphic-design element possesses an amazing amount of visual punch. It’simpossibletooveremphasizethepowerofcolor.There’snothingquite like eye-popping colors.Such astounding impact!But

color doesn’t start and stop atwild and saturated colors. Pastel or desaturatedhues can be so exquisite,with their own subtle beauty. In low clouds, fog, orevenalightrain,themutedcolorscanpossessamagicallysoftmood.At times, it’s the color that is the main subject, rather than the particular

object.Thismightbeaflowergarden,stained-glasswindows,brightclothingorcostume,or thenighttimereflectedcolors inwetcitystreetsaftera rain.Also,insteadofobjectssuchasfallleavesorafirehydrant,youmightthinkmoreinterms of color—yellow or red in these two examples. You can artisticallyarrangethecolorsinyourcomposition.

Awhite-skydayisoftenthesignalforphotographerstoturntheirattentiontointimatescenesandfinecolors.That’spreciselywhatphotographerKatheNealondidinNewYorkCity.Shesawthistree,itsform,anditscolorsandlikedwhatshesaw.Afterfindingtherightcameraangle,shewasabletocatchthisview—freeofground-leveldistractions.Photo©KatheNealon.1/80sec.atf/5,ISO400,28–75mmlensat44mm

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Alongtelephotoletmezoomintightonaparrot’sfeathersattheSt.AugustineAlligatorFarminFlorida.Thelayersofcolorswerejusttremendousandcertainlycaughtmyeye.Still,justasimportantaretheothergraphic-designelementsatworkhere:theline,texture,andpattern.Photo©JimMiotke.1/160sec.atf/5.6,ISO400,70–300mmlensat300mm

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Thisscene,capturedintheshadeofevening,illustratesthevisualpowerofcolor.Althoughthechairsareidenticalintermsofsizeandshape,thecontrastingcolormakesthewarm-coloredsubjectjumprightoutamidthecool-tonedchairs.Thatalsomeantplacingthecontrastingchair—asthescene’smainsubject—off-centerintheframe.Photo©KerryDrager.3secondsatf/16,ISO200,70–300mmlensat250mm

Whenitcomestocolorimpact,wenaturallythinkofsaturatedhues,butlight,bright,andairyimagescangenerateattention,too,asthisphotoproves.Here’smorefromphotographerCarlaSaunders:“Onemorning,Iwokeuptofogsothickitpressedupagainsttheglasswindows.Thiswasperfectforahigh-keyshotofthisarrangementusingnaturallighting.Thebrightbackgroundlightcamefromthesunbehindthefog.Thelightonthetulipscamefromanothersidewindow.”

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Photo©CarlaTrefethenSaunders.1/10sec.atf/8,ISO100,28–135mmlensat38mm

TIP:WORKINGWITHCOLORCONTRAST

Inacrowdofcolors, it’scontrast thatcanreallymakeyoursubjectstandoutsothattheviewertakesnotice.Thecontrastcanbeboldsaturatedcolorsvs.moresubduedones.But thingscometogetherinalivelywaywhenit’swarmhues(reds,yellows,andoranges)vs.cool ones (greens and blues). For instance, it could be a warmaccentinacool-colorsceneoracoolaccentamidwarmcolors.Theeyeisdrawndirectlytothecontrastingcolor.Suchadramaticvisualstatementextends toothersituations, too,suchasavibrantgreenagainstamutedordullbrown—or, infact, justaboutanysaturatedcoloramidless-saturatedhues.

BEWAREOFSTRAYCOLORSHere’s a topic that comes up a lot. So often, students and other buddingphotographersconcentratesomuchon theirmainsubject thatastraysplashofcontrasting color slips by unnoticed. But that contrasting color can draw theviewer’s eye away from your subject to the edge of the picture or to thebackground. Sowhen composing your image, if a bright red or yellow objectgrabsattention—andit’snotyoursubject—thenthebestadviceistorecomposeandleaveitoutofthepicture.

ASSIGNMENT:COLORQUEST

Thisexerciseisguaranteedtoopenyoureyestothewonderfulworldofcolor.Butthere’smore:Thisassignmentisalsoagreatwayto“force”creativityduringthoseperiodswhenyouhavethetimetoshootbutjustcan’tfindinspringsubjects.Beforeheadingout forashootingsession,chooseacolor.Then

shoot only scenes that include that color as a major focal point.While the color needn’t fill up the picture frame, the idea is to

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composethephotosothatthetargetcolorisakeyingredient.Thiscanbeamultiple-stepexercise,too;justpickadifferentcolorforthenexttime.Thecolorcoulddominatetheforeground,oritcouldbeabright color that’s relatively small in the scenebut jumpsout amidthesubduedsurroundings.Along the way, pay attention to how other colors in the scene

impact your chosen color. Beware of a brighter color that drawsattentionawayfromyourchosenhue.Also,lookforcolorsthatmaycomplementit.

InKalapana,Hawaii,photographerKathleenT.CarrcaughtthisnighttimesceneofthemoltenlavaflowfromtheKilaueavolcano.Usingatripodforthelongexposure,Carrcapturedseveralbystandersasdynamicsilhouettesagainstthebrightbackdrop.Photo©KathleenT.Carr.1.3secondsatf/5,ISO800,55–200mmlensat67mm

PATTERN

Once you set your mind to it, patterns are very easy to recognize. They’reeverywhere.Patternsareformedbyrepeatinggraphicelements,suchasshapes,colors, and lines—and even repetitions of light-and-shadow designs, too. Themoreyouhave,thestrongerthepattern.Lookawayfromthesepagesrightnowandwe’llbetyouseesomegraphicdesignsnearby.Payingattentiontopatternis

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agreatway tokeepyourpictures looking likeprofessional images rather thanlikemeresnapshots,sobeonthelookoutforpatterns.It’snothardtodo.Thenaturalworldprovidesunlimitedpatternprospects.Lookforthemintree

trunks, flowerblossoms, rock faces, ablue sky filledwithpuffywhite clouds,theintricatedesignofaspiderweb,orripplesinsandorwater.Orzoomintighton themarkingsofananimal’sfur (thinkgiraffe).Withapalmfrond,note thepattern of lines and how they radiate outward. In autumn, zero in on fallenleaves,andlookforshapes,lines,andcolorsthatformadynamicpattern.Butnaturedoesn’thaveamonopolyonpattern.Fieldsofcropsofferpotential

forgraphiccombinationsofthenaturalandthemanufactured.Roads,buildings,andcountlesssmallobjectsofferexcellentopportunitiestophotographpatterns.Intheurbanworld,lookforpatternscomprisingstraightandcurvinglines,rightangles, triangles, and rectangles, some of which are rarely found in nature.Architectural details can be a visual treat.Check for patterns on the side of amirroredskyscraper,orlookaboveforornateceilings.Forintimatescenes,don’toverlookchippedpaint, leafclose-ups,andcolorfulfabricsaspotentialgraphicimages.Wantmoreideas?Checkoutfleamarketsorwreckingyards.Producestands,

withtheirvibrantvegetablesandfruits,almostalwaysoffergraphicdisplaysofcolors.Ifyou’restuckathome,therearemanyopportunitiestocapturepatterns.Beon the lookout for patternsof silverware anddishes,multicoloreddrinkingstraws,orcolorfultumblers.Noneedtorelyontheharshlightofflashthatcanoverpowerasubject.Sincemostsceneswillbestationary,youcanuseatripod.Andwindowlightworksgreat.Almostwithoutexception,it’simportanttohavecompletedepthoffieldwhen

shootingpatterns,sincetheentiresceneisthesubject.Thismayrequireasmalllensaperture(highf/number)togetasmuchofthepatternassharpaspossible.Ifthesubjectisrelativelyfaraway,depthoffieldwilllikelynotbeanissueatall.Foraflatsubject,youmaybeabletomakethecameraparalleltothesubject,whichwillhelpkeepthingsinfocus.(Formoreondepthoffield,seechapter4.)

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Colorfulwindowreflectionsarealwaysavisualdelight,andthepatternonthismirroredskyscrapercaughtphotographerRolanNarman’sattentiononedayinNewYorkCity.“InoticedthisbeautifulreflectionofabuildingonaManhattanhigh-rise’swindows,”hesays.“Whatinterestedmewasthattheafternoonsunwasbeautifullylightingsomeoftheareasofthereflection,andthecolorswerecomplementingeachotherverynicely.”Photo©RolanNarman.1/160sec.atf/6.3,ISO200,18–200mmlensat48mm

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Ifyou’restuckathome—andevenwhenyouaren’t—therearemanyopportunitiestocapturepatterns.Formostgraphic-designshots,it’sgoodtofilluptheframewiththepatternwhileleavingoutanysurroundingdistractions—includingabackgroundthatmaydetractfromyourscene.Forthefollowingimage,Iwantedtoemphasizetheoveralldesignofcolorsandlinesilluminatedbybacklightfromawindowandthereforemovedintightwithmymacrolenstoleaveoutthebusyupperbackground.Photo©KerryDrager.1/15sec.atf/16,ISO200,105mmmacrolens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/10sec.atf/10,ISO200,105mmmacrolens

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Lookingdownfromabeachboardwalk,Inoticedthewonderfulpatternsinthesand.Iincludedthelinesofthefenceforaddedvisualinterest.Note:Thisisasoft-lightovercastversionofthesunlight-and-shadowimagesonthispage,provingthatgoodscenescanalsoproducefineresultsindifferentlight.Photo©JimMiotke.1/60sec.atf/18,ISO200,24–70mmlensat42mm

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Forone-of-a-kindimages,youoftendon’tneedtolookfurtherthanwaterreflections,especiallywhenthereareripplespresent.Inmanycases,youmightwishtousealongtelephoto,asIdidhere,tofilltheviewfinderwiththeabstractpatterns.Photo©JimMiotke.1/1000sec.atf/11,ISO500,300mmlens

TIP:MORETHANMEETSTHEEYE

Leave out anything that detracts from the pattern or that pulls theviewer’s attention away from it. Actually, there’s a double bonuswhen zooming in tight on a pattern: Not only can you delete anysurrounding distractions, but by filling up thewhole framewith thepattern, you will enhance and even expand the pattern. Forexample, if you’re photographing a pattern of colorful ripples in alake or of fallen autumn leaves, zoom in tight. As a result, it willappear that the ripple or leaf pattern continues indefinitely beyondtheedgesofthepictureframe.Thatmakesyourpatternshottakeonadditionalvisualstrength.

ASSIGNMENT:PUTTHE“GRAPHIC”BACKIN“PHOTOGRAPHIC”

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Thiseasyexercisecanbeperformedanywhereandwillgiveyourartisticvisionanenlighteningworkout.Goonaphotographicscavengerhunt.Butratherthanlookingforspecificobjectsorsubjectstoshoot,you’llbeworkingfromthislist:line,shape,form,texture,pattern.Thisdoesn’tmeanthatyoumustcaptureallofthem—oreventwoofthem—inonephoto.Butyourgoalistobringbackaseriesofimagesinwhicheachphotofeaturesatleastoneofthesedesignelementsasthekeyfeature.Thismaytakeseveralshootingsessionstocoverallofthem.Havefun!

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Inaquesttomakeacommonscenelookspecial,photographerJacquelineRogersfocusedonclose-ups.“IwasonaweekendgetawayinasmalltownneartheCaliforniacoast,”sherecalls.“Whilewaitingforsomefriends,Inoticedthesunlightshiningthroughthiscolorfulnylonflag.IdecidedtoseewhatkindofshotsIcouldmakewiththeflags.Theendresultwasthisshotwiththelightshiningthroughtheflag,givingarainboweffectofcolorandline.”Photo©JacquelineRogers.1/400sec.atf/5.6,ISO400,28–75mmlensat57mm

BLACKANDWHITE

Thinkofold-timephotographyandblackandwhitequicklycomestomind.Andwhynot?Theearlygrandmastersofphotographyelevatedblackandwhite to

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highartandhighstyle.Thenalongcamecolor,andblackandwhiteslippedintothe specialtyorboutique realm. In recentyears,however,blackandwhitehasseenaresurgenceofinterest.Thisshouldn’tbeasurprise,asitoffersacertainmood,atimelessappeal,andaclassic,elegant,quality.Stripped of color, a black-and-white image can communicate its visual

strengths very clearly. Its simplicity also helps put the focus on the photo’sgraphicelementswithout theviewerbeingdistractedbycolor.Withblackandwhite, photographers can focus on shape, texture, pattern, and other graphic-designelements,aswellastonalnuancesandthestrikinginterplayoflightandshadow.Depthanddimensionalsoseemtojumpoutinmonochromaticimages.Color remains king, of course, but digital technology has made black and

white far more accessible. For instance, software makers are providing moretools for custom conversions. There are numerous software options forconvertingacolorimagetoamonochromaticone,witheachmethodacceptableinitsownright.Asweoftensay,“AllroadsleadtoRome.”Butwhat if your camera has a special black-and-white shootingmode?We

stillhighlyurgeyoutoshootincolorandconverttheimagestoblackandwhitein the digital darkroom. This way, you aren’t locked into just the black-and-white version. You can have both color and black-and-white images of yourfavorite photos.Also, at the time of shooting, youmay not even knowwhichwillbethebesttreatmentforascene—blackandwhiteorcolor—sothat’sallthemorereasontoshootcolor.When considering a scene or photo for black-and-white treatment, look for

graphic-design elements such as shape, form, line, or texture. Sometimes itworks best to use an image that looks great in color, but not necessarily. Incertain cases, color can be distracting and take away from a photo’s potentialimpact.Especiallywhenthecolorisabitgaudyordistracting,youmayfindagreatblack-and-whiteimagehidingbehindafailingcolorphoto.Remember: In black and white, it’s all about contrast (transitions between

shadows and highlights). In fact, you’ll need to forget about color. Black andwhite is a translation of colors into tonal differences—shades of gray—alongwithpurewhitesandblacks.That’swhyblackandwhitecanbesuchavisualtreatforviewers.

TIP:GIVEBLACKWHITETHEQUICKTEST

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Can’t decide if your color shot is a good candidate for black-and-whitetreatment?Thengiveitaquicktest.GotoColorSaturationinPhotoshop or your other imaging-editing software, and remove allcolor.The imagemaynotbeperfect,butyoushouldhavea roughideaofhowthescenewilllookfromamonochromaticpointofview.If you can see themakings of a fine black-and-white image, thenproceedandfinesseitwithcontrast, filters,orspecialsoftware.If itjustdoesn’tlookquiteright,ortheblack-and-whitetreatmentdoesn’treallyaddanything,dropitandmoveontothenextcontender.

PhotographerStaceyBateswasphotographingaten-and-underbaseballteam,makingindividualportraitsoftheplayers,andwasseekingother-than-standardposedshots.Hersubject,Connor,hadagreatfacewithexpressiveeyes,andshehadbeenwantingtogetaclose-upofacatcher.Shefeltthatablack-and-whitetreatmentfitthesceneperfectly.Photo©StaceyA.Bates.1/250sec.atf/2.8,ISO250,70–200mmlensat200mm

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ThistulipbouquetsatonphotographerGregMcCroskery’sdining-roomtable,adjacenttoalargepicturewindow.Onanovercastday,henoticedthesoftqualityoflightfallingonthebouquet.“Icouldn’tletthislightgotowaste,”herecalls.“Theoriginalimagewasshotincolor,butafterprocessing,Irealizedthatthetonalrangeandshadowtransitionswouldreallylookgoodinablack-and-whiterendering.”Forthisscene,heplacedablackreflectorbehindthebouquettoisolateitfromanydistractingbackground.Averysmallaperture(f/20)providedenoughdepthoffieldtokeepmostoftheleavesinsharpfocus.Photo©GregMcCroskery/Imagism.8secondsatf/20,ISO100,105mmlens

REPETITION

Identifying a single subject is the compositional goal inmost situations. Twoidentical subjects?Thingsarestarting toget interesting.Threeormoresimilarelements? The scene now moves into the artistic realm of graphic design:repetitionorrhythm.With repeating design elements or objects, pattern is the primary point of

interest. Things to look for include straight or curving lines, simple graphicelements,andstrongshapesorforms.Repeatingobjectscanbeseenwithinanysubjects,fromsmallscenestobiglandscapesandcityscapes.Forexample,beonthe lookout for rows of trees, taxicabs, or school buses; repeating surf lines;repetition of decorative designs, rooftops, repeating archways, or otherarchitecturalelements;andlineupsofobjects,suchasdeckchairs,rentalkayaks,orboats.Thelistgoesonandon.

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Arranging objects in rows can lead the eye through the composition in avisually satisfying way. Be sure to compose carefully, since you’ll want toarrangetheelementsinanorganizedmanner.Asalways,watchforapotentiallydistracting background, and reposition yourself or use a lower f-stop number(largerapertureopening)ifit’snecessarytomakethebackgroundsoftlyfocusedandlessdistracting.Someadditionalthoughtsonrecordingrepetition:

•Ifyoumoveorzoomintightandfillupthepictureframewithyoursubjects,thentherepetitionwillseemtocontinuefarbeyondthebordersindefinitely.•Any focal length can be used, depending on the scene.A telephoto lets you“stack”subjects,althoughinsomecases,you’llwantawide-angletomorefullydeveloptherepetitionorrhythm.

InCalifornia’sGoldRushcountry,manynineteenth-centurybuildingsofferallsortsofdesignfeatures.InthecaseofthesedecorativestairwayrailingsinOldSacramento,Iwasattractedbytherepetitionpatternofdiagonalsandcurves,aswellasthestrongdesignconceptthatrelatestogroupingsofthreeobjects.Mytelephotozoomlensservedadoublepurpose:(1)tofilltheframewiththegraphicdesignand(2)totakeadvantageofthetelephoto’suniquevisualperspectivethat“compresses”objectsandmakesthemappearclosertogetherthantheyreallyare.Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/9,ISO200,80–200mmlensat125mm

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Onthiscloudyday,aquickdetourtoafairground(noevents,butopentothepublic)revealedanoutdoorstorageareawithgreatrepetition—theserowsofcolorfulportablefencing.Ichoseanoff-to-the-sidecameraposition,sotheclose-upfencepostsextendedacrosstheframeasanicediagonal.Withatripod,Iwasabletovarythef-stopswhileusingmyDSLRcamera’sdepth-of-fieldpreviewtogetmydesiredsharp-to-blurrytransition.(Seemoreondepthoffieldinchapter4.)Photo©KerryDrager.1/15sec.atf/9.5,ISO100,50mmlens

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Theseoutstandingcolorsandpatternsallbutscreamedforphotographicattention.Thehat’ssubduedcolorandgracefulcurvecontrastedwiththeserape’sboldcolorsandstrongdiagonallines.Ifilledthepicturespacewiththisscenetoleaveoutsomesurroundingdistractions.Thisclose-upscenewasphotographedinthelow-angledsunlightoflateafternoon,idealforbringingoutthetexturesofserapeandhat.Photo©KerryDrager.1/180sec.atf/16,ISO200,105mmlens

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CHAPTER3

COMPOSINGYOURPHOTOGRAPH

Nowthatwe’vecoveredthebasicsofdesign,it’stimetotalkaboutcomposition—theartfularrangementofobjects,graphics,andspacewithinthepictureframe.Thegoalisaphotothatproducesathoughtfullookratherthanafleetingglance.Asaphotographer,youdecidewhat to include in thephoto,where toplace it,andhowmuchof thepicture the subject occupies. Just as important, you alsodecidewhattoleaveoutofyourimage.Inthischapter,wefocusourattentiononspecific,practicaltipsforcarefully

composing strong photographs. We begin with some basic concepts but thenmoverightintothemoreadvancedideasthatcanstartraisingyourphotographyto thenext artistic level.Bending the rules—andout-and-outbreaking them—willbecovered,too.Yes,artisintheeyeofthebeholder,buttherearegenerallyacceptedrulestohelpgiveanyphotographeranexpressroutetopicture-takingsuccess.Atthesametime,thecompositionalguidelinesarenotsetinstone,andtherearemanyexceptions inwhichyoucancomeupwithacceptableor evenbetterresults.Soconsiderrulesreallyjustassuggestions.Muchofthishastodowithexperimentation—anideathatyounotjustaccept

theworldasyoufirstseeit.Here’swhatwetellstudents:Aprowilltakemanyphotos—dozens or even hundreds—to make sure no artistic option has beenoverlooked.Understanding composition will help you get better photographs. It is that

simple.Nowlet’s jumpinandstartconsideringall theartfulwaysthatwecanorganizetheworldaroundus.

SUBJECTPLACEMENT

There’sanoldback-and-forthexchangethatgoessomethinglikethis:Question:Doyouknowhowtosculptahorseoutofablockofwood?Answer:Youcarveawayanythingthatdoesn’tlooklikeahorse.Thatmayseemtobestretchingthingsabit intermsofphotography,butit’s

not, really. The idea is roughly the same: From a big scene, you identify the

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photographic“star”ofyourshowandanysupporting“characters,”andthenyoustripawayanythingthatdoesn’tbelongorthatdetractsfromyourkeysubjects.Thisisjustthestartoftheprocess.Nextcomestheartisticpositioningofyour

key subject. There are rules and guidelines to help you decide, but there arecreativeexceptions,too.(Note:Noteveryphotoneedsasinglesubject—suchasabstracts—butmostdo.)Manyamateurshootersgenerallyaimforthemiddleoftheframe,creatinga

bull’s-eyecompositionthat’stoooftenstaticanduninteresting.Butphotographyisn’t archery or darts. Just because themain subject is the picture’s center ofinterest doesn’t mean it must occupy center stage. Most often, the more youmoveyoursubjectfromthemiddleoftheframe,thestrongerandmorevisuallyenergeticthecomposition.Ideally, subject placement should be a matter of trying assorted variations.

Startmaking a conscious decision aboutwhatmight be the best spot for yourpicture’smain focal point. This can be a big landscapewith a distant tree ormountainastheprimarysubject,oritcanbeaclose-upportraitwithasmallpartof the face—such as the eyes—commanding top billing. Looking through theviewfinder,moveback and forth, up anddown, and thenmakeyour decision.Moreoftenthannot,theoptionyoupickissomewhereawayfromthemiddleoftheimage.

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Onelateafternoon,Isetoutonano-goal-in-mindtourofacitypark.Asthesunsanklowerinthesky,afootbridgecaughtmyattentionwithitsinterplayoflight,shadow,shapes,andlines.Asshownabove,theoverallviewwasvery“busy”—lotsofelementscompetingforattention.Izoomedintightonthissliceofdecorativerailingsetagainstthewhitepartofthebridge.Checkouthowthemainsubjects(thesilhouettedlinesandshapes)areplacedawayfromtheoften-staticmiddleoftheimage.Photo©KerryDrager.1/15sec.atf/16,ISO200,70–300mmlensat70mm

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/45sec.atf/22,ISO200,70–300mmlensat170mm

TheWorldofMacro

Good composition and visual creativity apply to everything fromgrandscenes toextremeclose-ups.Manycompactdigitalshaveamacro mode. But if you’re a DSLR owner, you’ll need a specialtylens or accessory to jump into the excitingworld ofmacro, wherelittlethingscanhaveagreatvisualimpact.A macro lens—or optional macro accessory—lets you focus far

closer than a regular lens. Otherwise, for DSLRs, macro lensesattach like any lens and allow focusing to 1:1magnification (closeenough to produce a life-size image of a subject on the imagesensor).Amacrolensalsofunctionsasa“standard”lensforgeneralphotography, with full infinity (far-distance) focus. That’s a niceadvantage when you’re shooting landscapes, portraits, and close-upsatonelocation.Macrolensesgenerallycomeinafixed(prime)lens—i.e.,normal

(afixedfocallengthinthe50mmto60mmrange),shorttelephoto(inthe 90mm to 105mm range), and telephoto (say, 200mm). Tele-

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macroscostmore,buta105mmor200mmmacroproducesits1:1ratiofromfartherawaythan,say,a60mmmacro—handywhenyouneedalittleworkingspacewhenphotographingaskittishinsect.There are also macro accessories available that can help you

focusaregular(nonmacro)DSLRlensmuchcloser.Oneoptionisaclose-upfilter(alsocalledaclose-uplensordiopter).Butourfavoritemacroaccessory is theextensiontube(oftensold insetsof three),whichworkswithanylens.Tubesarehollowmetalringsthatmountbetween the camera body and the lens, thusmoving the lens outaway from the camera body.Since there’s no glass element in anextension tube, there’s no reduction in image quality. However,extension tubes do reduce the amount of light transmitted to theimagesensor—apossibleproblemwhenshutterspeedisanissue—andtherecanbelimitstosomeofthecamera’sautofeatures.

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Anoff-centerplacementofthemainsubjectisjustoneoftheaspectsthatmadethismacroshotasuccess.Also,twotypesofcontrastmakethebutterflystandoutinthephoto:colorcontrast(yellowandblackagainstmostlygreen)andthesharp-against-blurcontrast(thankstocarefulclose-upfocusingandtheuseofawideaperture).Inaddition,saysphotographerLaurieShupp,“Iusedaringflashtocreateasoftyetnaturallightonmysubject.Thishelpedtobrightenthebutterfly.”Note:Ringflashfitsaroundthelensandisusedinmacrophotographytoprovidediffusedlight.Photo©LaurieRubinShupp.1/125sec.atf/4,ISO100,105mmmacrolens

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THERULEOFTHIRDSFor centuries, the Rule of Thirds has guided artists and photographers. Thisdesignprincipleoffersaquickandeasywaytoaddevenmorevitality toyourpicture. It’snotonlyavaluableoff-center reminder,but it’saguidelineon thebestspottopositionyoursubjectwithinthepictureframe—specifically,oneoffourvisuallypleasingpowerpoints:upperleft,upperright,lowerright,orlowerleft. To use this design concept, imagine dividing your frame into thirds bothhorizontallyandvertically—likeatic-tac-toegrid.Thenplaceyoursubjectonornearoneofthefourpowerpointswherethelineswouldintersect.Theresultisasubjectthat’splacedawayfromthestaticmiddleoftheframetocreateamorevisually energetic design.Until this concept becomes second nature, keep thistic-tac-toeframeworkinmindbyimaginingthegridinyourcamera’sviewfinderasyousizeupyourpicture.Buthowdoyoudecidewhichprecisepowerpointtouse?Itreallydependson

what else is going on in the scene. For instance, a distracting element in thebackground could narrow your options as you try to leave out the offendingobject. Or a key secondary subject in the scene could help balance thecompositioniftheprimarysubjectisplacedintheoppositesideofthepicture.Orasubjectmaysimplylookbestinoneparticularspot.Ifyouaren’tsure,shootdifferentversionsandcomparetheresultslater.

Thesplendidgreen-vs.-redcolorcontrastisstunning,butthat’snotall.“Whatinspiredmetotakethisshot,”says

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photographerMargaretBarry,“wasthebeautifullightcominginthroughthegreenhousewindows.Thecompositioncapturesthelight,shadows,andwaterdropletsontheplant.”AlsonotehowthegreensubjectisplacedinoneoftheRule-of-Thirdspositions.

PhotographerCarlaSaunderstitlesthisphoto,appropriately,“YourTaxDollarsatWork.”Asshesays,“Hearingnoisescomingfromthestreetbelow,Iwentoutonoursmallbalconytoseewhatwasgoingon.Lookingstraightdown,Isawamaninanorangeuniformfillinginthecracksontheblue/blackasphalt.Theworkman’sT-shirtwasthecomplementarycolorblue.Perfect!Irantogetmycamera.Steadyingthecameraontherailing,Ipointedthecameradownandclickedaway.”Notethesubject’splacementattheupperrightpowerpositionoftheRule-of-Thirdsgrid.Thephoto’ssuccessalsohingesonthestrongdiagonalandcurvinglines.Photo©CarlaTrefethenSaunders.1/250sec.atf/4,ISO400,70–200mmlensat200mm

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Photo©MargaretBarry.1/2sec.atf/32,ISO200,180mmmacrolens

EXCEPTIONSCANSOMETIMESBETHERULEYou’llrarelygowronginchoosingaphotographiccompositionthatfollowstherules.However,forsteppingupthecreativityattimes,don’tgetlockedintotheRuleofThirdsasahard-and-fastpolicy.Attimes,itcanberestrictiveforthosescenesthatjustdon’tfitintoaThirdssetting.Whilethebestspotforthesubjectmaybesomewhereoff-center,forexample,itmightnotnecessarilybeinoneofthepowerpoints.Infact, therearetimeswhenadead-centercompositionisdead-on.Thiscan

beasubjectwithstrongsymmetry,suchasawheel, inwhichthehubis in themiddle while the spokes spread out in all directions. Certain flowers, whenphotographedcloseup,work, too,asdoessymmetry inarchitecture.Likewise,somepicturesdon’tevenhaveaspecificsubject;rather, theentirephotois thesubject,suchaspatternorrepetitionscenes.

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Sceneslikethisalmostdemandthatcompositionalrulesbebroken.ThecenteredplacementofthismagnificentskylightintherotundaofthePennsylvaniaStationinPittsburghhelpsunderscorethebuilding’ssymmetry.Here’smorefromphotographerMaryBethAiello:“Ipositionedatripodonthefloorofthecentralatriumandaimedstraightuptocapturethesoftlightandmaximizethefinedetails.Theshadowsaddeddepthandathirddimensiontothisspectacularrotunda.Icomposedtobalancethelightsanddarksofthephoto.”Photo©MaryBethAiello.1/25sec.atf/5,ISO100,17–55mmlensat17mm

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NoteverysceneisconduciveforaRule-of-Thirdstreatment.Infact,withclose-upverticalportraits,suchasthisone,theideaistoplacethesubject—theface—intheupperthirdoftheframe.Thenit’scentered,moreorless,fromlefttoright.PhotographerDonnaRaeMoratellidescribesthemakingofthismemorableshot:“IaskedHolly[themodel]towearherbluesunglassesandpullupherhood.Iwantedtoseeherbeautifuleyes,soIaskedhertolowerthesunglassesabit.Ilovedtheboldcolor,graphicshapes,andthewaythehoodframedherface.”Photo©DonnaRaeMoratelli.1/50sec.atf/8,ISO100,50mmlens,fillflashadded

ASSIGNMENT:FOLLOW—ANDTHENBREAK—THERULES

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Thisexercisecanbeperformedanywhere—insideoroutsidethehouse,downthestreet,orwhereveryouhappentobewithyourcamera.Findasceneandchooseamainsubjectthatfitswellwithinthepictureframesothatyoucanplaceitinyourcomposition.Thensimplyshootaseriesofphotos,eachimagewiththesubjectinadifferentspot:ineachofthefourpowerpositionsandtheninthemiddle.Next,chooseanotherscene,andrepeattheexercise.Keeprepeatinguntilyourunoutofscenes,runoutoftime,orrunoutofpatience.

THESKY:HOWMUCHORHOWLITTLE

Weoftenseestudentssplitlandscapeorseascapeimagesintoequalhalves,withthehorizonlineormaybeadistantshorelineextendingrightacrossthemiddleofthe frame. The viewer, then, is left to decidewhich half of the scene ismostimportant. But that’s for you—the photographer—to decide when composingyour image! Keep this in mind as you compose, instead of cutting thecompositioninhalf.Thiswillforceyoutodecide:Whichismoreimportant,thelandorwater?Orthesky?A photo’s visual weight (the most interesting things in the scene) should

determinewhereyouplacethehorizon.WiththeRuleofThirds,youcanplacethehorizonlineonthelowerthirddividinglineortheupperthird.AndyoucanadapttheThirdsprincipleasnecessary.Ifthingsareexceptionallydulloverheadordownlow,evenathirdoftheframedevotedtothatspacecouldbetoomuch.Soyoucanbemoreextremeandplace the lineextremely loworhigh—say,athinstripofskyorlandscape.

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ThestronggraphicshapesofU.S.Midwestfarmsarealwaysdistinctive,asthissceneshows.Theearlymorninglightandfreshsnowheightenthelook.Thelowhorizonhelpsemphasizetheoutstandingsunrisesky.Becausethemorningsunwasdirectlybehindthefarmscene(resultinginhighcontrast),saysphotographerLelandSaunders,itwasagreatcandidateforHDR(highdynamicrange).Heusedtheprocessoftakingthreeautobracketedphotoswithdifferentexposuretimes—f/22for1/4sec.,f/22for1/15sec.,andf/22for1second—thatwereblendedtogetherinthedigitaldarkroom.Photo©LelandN.Saunders.ISO100,50mmlens

Underneathapieratsunrise,Ilovedhowthesilhouettedcolumnsinteractedwiththereflectionsandincomingsurf,whichwassoftduetotheslowshutterspeed.Safetycomesfirstwhenshootingatthecoast(i.e.,neverturnyourbackontheocean),butinthiscase,onlymyshoesandtripodlegswerethreatened—andyes,theydidgetasoaking!Toputthe

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emphasisontheforeground,withthewaterinmotionandthecolorfulreflections,Ichoseahighhorizonplacement.Photo©KerryDrager.1/4sec.atf/16,ISO200,50mmlens

TIP:NOTSURE?PLAYITSAFE!

Attimes,youmaysimplynotknowforsurewhichisthebestplacetopositionyourhorizon.Inalandscapescene,maybeboththetopand thebottomareequallyeye-catching,soyouaren’t sureof thebest horizon or shoreline placement. To be safe, when presentedwith these choices, cover all the compositional bases by shootingmultiple versions—the sky shown low, high, andmiddle—and thenbackhome,studytheimagestodecidewhichoneworksbest.

SKYRULEBUSTERSOccasionally, splitting the composition roughly in half is best. This mostlyinvolveswater reflections, when the scene above is just as compelling as thereflectionbelow.Giving equalweight toboth elementshelps capitalizeon theeye-catchingblendofsymmetryandserenity.Othertimes,youmaywanttoleaveouttheskyentirely.Often,thisiswhena

bright white canopy envelops the sky on an overcast day, since the starkbrightnesscanoverwhelmeverythingelseinthescene.Inothersituations,youmaysimplywantthevisualcompetitionofthebluesky,concentratingonanon-skylandscapeorcityscapesceneoramoreintimateview.Andat times,youmaynotneeda skyatall.Aspointedout inchapter1, a

bright/whiteskycandetractfromtherestofthescene.Or,onasunnyday,thecontrastingbluecoulddrawtheeyeawayfromtheothercolorsinthescene.Inthosesituations,noskyatallmaybethebeststrategy.

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InthisChocoruaLakesceneinNewHampshire,thephotographerchoseanear-centerplacementoftheshoreline,toaddmistandahintofblueskyatthetopwhileincludingagoodamountofthebeautifullysoftlakereflections.“AhintofdaylightwasbeginningtocolortheskywhenIarrived,”photographerNancydeFlonsays.“Notonlythat,butanextraaddedattraction—aheavymist—promisedtoenhancethescenestillfurther.”Ofcourse,thebeautifulfallcolorsandreflectionsaddedgreatvisualinterest,too,asdidtheswimmingplatformthat,shesays,“someonehadthoughtfullyleftbehindfromthesummer.”Photo©NancydeFlon.1/15sec.atf/14,ISO200,18–135mmlensat70mm

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Inballooning,pointsoutphotographerDebbiePayne,the“piècederésistance”istouchingdownonwater.AttheColoradoBalloonClassic,thetricktogettingtheshotisalwaysto“gettotheparkasearlyaspossibleandstakeoutyourclaimatthewater’sedge,”sheadvises.“Ifyougettoofarback,someonewillinvariablystandinfrontofyou.Eventhoughyouaretemptedtohandholdyourcamera,gettheshotwithyourtripodandashutterrelease!Evenifyourtripodfeetgetmuddy,andyourshoesaresoggy,youwillbehandsomelyrewardedforyourefforts.”Withthenear-mirroredreflection,amiddlehorizonplacementseemedanatural.Photo©DebbiePayne.1/400sec.atf/8,ISO200,17–85mmlensat24mm

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Regardlessofwhethertheskyisbrightwhite(somethingtoavoid)orboldblue,sometimesleavingouttheskyentirelyisthebestapproach,sincethecontrastingtonecoulddetractfromtherestofthescene.Forthistulipfield,Iwasattractedtothelayers.Sowithalongtelephoto,Izoomedrightinonthecolors.Iselectedonelayertoserveasthe“star”ofmyshowbyfocusingthelensonit.Asaresult,thesharplayerstandsoutamidtheblurredcloselayerandtheblurreddistantscene.Photo©JimMiotke.1/350sec.atf/6.7,ISO100,100–300mmlensat300mm

Theorderlyplacementoftheposts—andtheirreflectionsinthefrozenwater—attractedRolanNarmantothissceneinPortJefferson,NewYork.Hechosethiscameraangletoincludeasmuchofthepostsaspossible,withoutincludingthesky.Hisgoalwastoemphasizetheposts’isolatedstateonacoldwinterafternoon.Photo©RolanNarman.1/200sec.atf/7.1,ISO200,18–200mmlensat62mm

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BEWARE:BACKGROUNDSANDBORDERS

It’seasy toget sowrappedup incomposingyour shot thatyoumiss theextrathingsthatcanslipintoanimage.Assumingthatfast-changinglightoramovingsubject doesn’t demand quick action, perform this last-minute viewfinderinspection:Scanthingsfromforegroundtobackground,bordertoborder,cornertocorner,keepinganeyeoutforthefollowingthings.

•Distractions:Lookforanythingthattakestheviewerawayfromyoursubject,andtheneliminateit.Thisincludes“hotspots”(sunlitglareorreflections),straybranches or pieces of litter, out-of-focus close-foreground objects in anotherwise all-sharp picture, out-of-place bright colors in subdued scenes, orbackground colors that contrast with your subject. Remember: The brightest,lightest,ormostcolorfulpartofanimagewillattracttheviewer’seyefirst;thisisalmostalwaysaproblemifthatareaisnotyourpicture’smainsubject.•Merges:The oft-cited example of amerge is a tree or pole sprouting out ofsomeone’s head. But a merge also can be any separate subject or same-colorobject that overlaps another one in a visually distractingway.With silhouettescenes, it’s all too easy for a dark foreground subject tomergewith a distantshadowedsubject.Assuming you’re shooting a static scene, this process of scanning your

viewfinder from front to back and side to side works most efficiently with atripod.Often,fixingthingsmeanschangingyourshootingangle,usingawideraperture toblur thebackground,using a smaller aperture to sharpen that strayblurreditem,orzoominginalittletightertocleanuptheedges.In addition, you can make use of one of digital photography’s great

advantages:instantfeedback.Weregularlyusethedigitalcamera’sLCDscreento check out exposure (via the histogram and highlight warnings). But themonitor is also valuable for double-checking your compositions for anydistractions.Thisisaterrifictechniqueforanalyzingyourphotographyrightinthefieldand,ifpossible,reshootingtogetitright.

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Neverunderestimatethebackground’spowertomakeorbreakaphoto.Inthisscene,thesubjectstandsoutbeautifullyagainstablurofcolors.Alongtelephotoandwideapertureensuredasoft-focusedbackdrop.Note,too,howthesubjectisplacedtotheleftofthecomposition,sincehereyesaregazingrightward.Asforthelight,photographerSarahChristianchosesoftshadetoavoidhotspotsfromthedirectsunlight.Photo©SarahA.Christian.1/180sec.atf/4,ISO200,70–300mmlensat178mm

PhotographerFranSaundersandherhusband—bothavidbirders—haveaseriesoffeeder-gymssetupintheirbackyard.Alongtelephoto,coupledwithawideaperture,isolatedthelight-tonedmourningdoveagainsttheblurofgreen.“Forthisshot,Isetupthetripodandlensinmykitchen.IwasabletopositionmyselfsothatIcouldprefocus,andIjustwaited,andwaited,andwaitedfortherightshot.Theovercastdayandmypositionparalleltothewindowseliminatedglare.Mykitchenremainsoneofmymostfavorite‘blinds’forbirdphotography!”

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Photo©FranSaunders.1/200sec.atf/4,ISO500,500mmlens

ORIENTATION:HORIZONTALVS.VERTICAL

Lookingbothwaysiscertainlyagoodpracticewhennavigatingcitystreets,andit’s agoodpracticewhen it comes tonavigating the cameraviewfinder.Somesubjects work successfully in both the horizontal (landscape) and vertical(portrait) formats,whileothercompositionsperformbetter inoneor theother.Yet, for many developing photographers, far more pictures are taken ashorizontals.Itjustseemstobetheautomaticchoice,becausecamerasseemmorecomfortabletohandlewhenheldhorizontally.However,switchingformatsisastrikinglysuccessfulwaytobeefupandvary

your compositions.Since it isn’t an intuitive thing, imagining thingsverticallyandturningthecameraonitssidemustbeaconsciouseffort.Itmayevenmeanalittlestickynoteappliedtothebackofyourcameraoronyourbagthatreads“Thinkvertical!”Sohowdoyoudecide?Thechoicedependsonvisualconcerns (whichway

appearsbesttoyouintheviewfinder)andinformationalaspects(whatelementsyou wish to include in your photo). In general, landscape framing stresses asubjectorscene’swidth,whileportraitframingemphasizesitsheight.Doesonetelladifferentstoryorprovideauniqueimpression?Onotheroccasions,theverticalapproachcanaddextraenergy.Forinstance,it

canhelpemphasize thenear-to-far relationshipofyourscene’s foregroundandbackgroundbyexaggeratingthefeelingofdistanceanddepth.Sometimesasimpleshiftofthecamerafromahorizontaltoverticalposition,

orviceversa,cansolveadesigndilemma.Forexample, ifahorizontal formatshowstoomanydistractingelementson thesidesor in thebackground, thenaflipofthecameramightquicklyanddefinitively“cleanup”thecomposition.Be on the lookout for creative exceptions. For instance, a tall subject in an

eye-grabbingscenemightworkinahorizontalformat,ora“wide”subjectmightlookgreatiftightlycomposedinaverticalformat.Stillnotsure?Experiment.Forinstance,evenifyourfirstthoughtistoshoota

verticalorportrait format, takea lookat ahorizontalor landscapeorientation.Sometimes your subjectmay fit equallywell into both vertical and horizontalorientations.Regularlyrotatingyourcameranotonlyaddsvarietytoyourwork,butitalsoservesthispurpose:Whenshootingforaprintoronlinepublication,orforstockagencies,editorswillappreciatetheextrachoices.

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TheslotcanyonsofArizonadeserveallthephotocompositionstheycanget.Forthesetwoimages,theresultsweremorethansimplyahorizontalandverticalversion—bothofwhichIlike,bytheway!Bothimagesshowintimatecompositionswiththebrightgoldenareaasthemainfocalpoint.Otherwise,thehorizontalversionincludesthestrongdiagonallinesfromupperlefttolowerright,whiletheverticalshotputsmoreemphasisonthediagonallinethatextendsfromthelowerrighttotheupperleft.Photo©JimMiotke.6secondsatf/10,ISO100,28–135mmlensat70mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.6secondsatf/10,ISO100,28–135mmlensat65mm

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Thesetwoimagessharemanyofthesameattributes.Theywerebothshotinsoftovercastlight,anidealconditionforshootingwaterinmotion,andeachbenefitedfromalongexposurethatcreatedthewater’ssoft,flowinglook.Butotherwise,whatadifferenceorientationmakes!Theverticalversionconveysatop-to-bottomsenseofthefountain’sheight,asthewatersmoothlymovesdownwardfromledgetoledge.Forthehorizontal,there’saside-to-sidesenseofthescenestartingattheclose-uprightandmovingleftwardintothedistance.Photo©KerryDrager.1secondatf/22,ISO100,50mmlens

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/2sec.atf/22,ISO100,50mmlens

FACINGTHERIGHT(ORLEFT)WAY

Here’s another way to expand your portfolio of successful photos: When aperson, animal, or vehicle is pictured fairly small in the frame,make sure thesubject moves into—not out of—the composition. This keeps the viewer’sattention directed to the main center area, rather than having the eye wanderdistractedlytotheedgeoftheframeandoutofthepicture.Ofcourse,aswithanyrule,therecanbeartfullystylishexceptions,andwhen

a subject occupies a big part of the frame, this guidelinemay not even apply.But, ingeneral,whenasubjectmovesorfaces inonedirection, leaveroomtobreathe in front of that subject. Viewers will find this visually pleasing, asopposed toamoreunsettlingplacementofa subjectnearapictureborderandfacingtowardthatcloseedgeoftheimage.Your subjectdoesn’t evenneed tobemoving.Plus, thisconceptappliesnot

onlytohumansubjectsbutalsotoanimals,cars,boats,andevenstatues.Otherobjectsmay have a front that “points” in a particular direction, such aswhenphotographingahouseorvehiclefromtheside.Likewise,atreethatleans,forinstance,shouldtilttowardthemiddleoftheframe.Yes,thisstrategyisyetanotherthingtoworryaboutwhencomposingaphoto.

Buttrustus.You’llsoongetthehangofthisconceptofdirectingthemovement

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toward the center of your image.When raising the camera toyour eye, you’llfindit theautomaticchoice…whetheryou’reshootingfast-breakingactionorphotographingstationarysubjects.

Justaftersunrise,thewarmandlowsunlightcaughtthesurfatthisMarinCountybeachjustnorthofSanFranciscoandtheGoldenGateBridge.Isawthissurferwalkingalongthebeach,justbeforeheadingoutintothewaves.NotehowIpositionedthesurferattherightsoshe’sheadingtowardtherestofthescene.Ifthesubjecthadbeenmovingrightward?ThenIwouldhavegonewithaleft-sideplacement.Althoughthesurferisverysmallintheimage,shestandsoutduetothecolorcontrastofblackwetsuitagainstbrightbackground.Photo©KerryDrager.1/250sec.atf/8,ISO200,70–300mmlensat300mm

THETRIPOD:THENO.1PHOTOACCESSORY

We’ve seenmany budding photographers break out of the snapshot stage andmanyexperiencedshooterstaketheirworktothenextlevel.They’vedoneitbyregularly using the so-called accessory that photographers love to hate: thetripod.Okay,wecanalreadyhearyousaying,“Atripodissuchahassle.Itjustgets

in the way.” We can relate. In the beginning, we also found tripods to becumbersome, rigid, and downright annoying. Plus, we feared the tripod drewattentiontoourselves.However,whenwebeganusingatripodwhenever—andwherever—it was possible, our photography improved immediately. Yes,immediately!Thatwillworkforyou,too.Ofcourse,formanymovingsubjects,thetripodmighthinderyournecessary

movement. In popular tourist areas or busy marketplaces, or at festivals,

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concerts, and special events, a tripod might be impractical. And in somemuseumsandothervenues, itmaybedownright forbidden.Butwheneveryoucan,usingatripodisguaranteedtoboostyourphotographyupanotch—intermsofnotonlyimagequality(duetothetripod’sstabilizingbenefit)butcompositionandcreativity,too.You’llwonderwhyittookyousolongtogetintothetripodhabit.A tripod encourages photo-making discipline. Using a three-legged support

forces you to slow down, analyze the scene, and consider how you want tophotograph it. The tripod then allows you to carefully compose your picture.Lockingyourcameraintoplacealsoletsyoutweakthecompositionjustalittlebitmore.In addition, it opens up the dramatic, nonflash world of low light—for

instance, indeepshade,atdaybreakandsundown,andduring twilight time. Itpermits cool special effects, such as turning a waterfall into a silky flow ofmotionwithasuperslowshutter speed. Itmakespossible the longerexposuresnecessarywhenusingsmallapertures(highf/numbers)toattainadeepdepthoffield.AndifyoupursueHDRphotography(highdynamicrange,inwhichyoushootmultipleexposuresofahighlighting-contrastsceneandthencombinetheminthedigitaldarkroom),thetripodisamust.

Checkoutthecoauthorsatwork—eachofususingatripod!Inonephoto,KerrycapturedJimjustaftersunrisewhilephotographingthepierinSt.Augustine,Florida.Intheotherimage,JimcaughtKerryinthesoftlightofshadeatthecolorfulExperienceMusicProjectbuildinginSeattle.Notethesubjectpositionforbothpictures:notonlyoff-centerbutplacedattheleft,sincebothsubjectsarefacingrightward.

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/350sec.atf/5.6,ISO200,50mmlens

Photo©JimMiotke.1/60sec.atf/5,ISO100,28–135mmlensat30mm

TRIPODBUYER’SGUIDEIf you find using a tripod really frustrating, itmight just be that you’ve been

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saddledwithaclunker.Don’tgothecheaproute.Westillfindithardtobelievethat we see photographers with expensive cameras and lenses using flimsytripods.Agoodtripodissturdy,withquickandeasycontrols,andisajoytouse.Itwillbeoneofthebestinvestmentsyoumakeinyourphotographichobby.Picking the right tripod is such a personal decision. Ask a dozen serious

photographers what model of tripod they use, and you’ll likely get twentyanswers,ormore!No,ourmathisn’toff.Manypeopleowntwotripods—oneaheftycarry-in-the-carmodel,theotheralightweight,go-anywhereone.Nonetheless, there are certain traits to consider when buying. But first, be

awarethatwhilemanytripodsareavailableasacompleteset,inothercases,youcanpurchasethelegsandheadseparatelyinamix-and-matchsituation.

•Tripod legs:Carbon fibermodelsmaycostmore than steelones, but carbonfiberislighterandeasiertototewhilestillretainingthenecessarysturdiness.•Tripodhead:Weliketheballhead,andmanyprosandseriousshootersdo,too.Theballheadallowsyoutochangeyourviewquickly,sinceitinvolvesonlyoneknob to loosenor tighten thehead.Ballheadscome invarious sizes,with thelarger ones more easily locking down and holding your camera in position.Therearemanyphotographerswhopassionatelypreferthepan/tiltstyleofhead.This model is usually slower to use than a ball head, since it has multiplehandles. But some people prefer the pan/tilt’s system for leveling the camera.Also,sinceyouloosenoneknobatatime,itreducesthepossibilityofaheavycamera dropping unexpectedly against the tripod—which can happenwith thesingle-lever ball head.But anymodel of head can slip—and that goes for thetripod’s legs, too.Whensettingup,alwaysmakesureallknobsand leversaresecurely fastened, and be sure to double-check things periodically whenshooting.

• Sturdiness:Make sure the tripod you buy can handle the gear you have. Ifshopping inperson, takeyourheaviest camera/lens rig and seehow the tripodperforms. If shoppingonline,confirm themaximumrecommendedweight thatbothlegsandheadcancarry.•Quick-release system: This is an absolutemust. Themechanismmakes it asnaptotakethecameraonandoffthetripodhead.

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Notevenrainstoppedthisphotographer,who’sarmedwithatripodandumbrella.Forthatmatter,rainandheavyfogalsodidn’tstopphotographerLindaLester,whotookthisphoto.“Itwasfunny—wewerejustshootingeachother,”shesays.“AndIhadthebetterbackground.Ihadavanbehindmeandthehoodup,soIwasdry.Theseweregreatconditionsforlightingandcolor,makingforagreatmood.Oneofmyfavorites!”Notehowthetreesandfencefadeintothedistance.Photo©LindaDLester.com.1/5sec.atf/20,ISO250,24–105mmlensat50mm

TIP:THETRIPOD’SESSENTIALACCESSORY

Acableshutterreleasekeepsyourhandsoffthecamera,thuslettingyou record the image without jarring your camera. Also, someDSLRshavealock-upmodethatreducesthepossibilityofvibrationwhen the mirror flips up during slower exposures. If your cameralacksthisfeature,youcanusetheself-timer.Likeacablerelease,atimeralsopreventsyourfingerfromjigglingthecamera.Useofthetimer, of course, assumes your scene doesn’t require a decisivemomentatwhichtotakethepicture.

TIP:STEADYASITGOES

MoreandmoreDSLRlenseshaveimagestabilization.Butatripodisstillfrequentlythesturdiestalternative.Italsohastheaddedability

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tohelpyoucriticallycomposeyourphotos. Inanycase,besuretoread your lens’s instruction sheet. Many lens models require thatstabilization be turned off when using a tripod, otherwise possibleblurringintheimagecouldoccur.Whenindoubt,turnoffthefeature.

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Mountainsunsets(sunrises,too!)canbesoeye-catching,especiallywhenyoucanincludealakereflection.ForthissceneintheNorthCascadesofWashingtonState,Iarrivedinlateafternooninanticipationofgreatlightandcolor.Thelakeshowedanear-mirroredreflectionofMountShuksan.Ichoseaperfectlybalancedcomposition—withtheimagesplitinhalfbythedistantshoreline—andemphasizedthescene’ssymmetryandtranquility.Photo©JimMiotke.1secondatf/11,ISO100,16–35mmlensat30mm

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CHAPTER4

DEPTH&BALANCE

Inthischapter,weexploretwomoreaspectsofvisualdesign:depthandbalance.Eventhoughthephotographicimageistwo-dimensional,it’spossibletoconveyeye-catchingillusionsofdepth.Todothis,composeyourphotowithaverynearforegroundandamoredistantbackground.Suchafront-to-backperspectivecanachieve a three-dimensional quality that’s very visually powerful. We’ll alsodiscusstheverycloselyrelated“cousin”ofdepth:depthoffield.Thisrelatestotherangeofsharpnessinaphoto—what’ssharpandwhat’snot.We’ll also cover balance, considering visual weight while exploring this

sometimes abstract yet always intriguing concept. Balance refers to how thevariouselementsinasceneworkwithoneanother;inshort,itmeansevaluatingyour composition as a whole, rather than concentrating solely on your mainsubject.Whenaphoto’sbalanceworkstoperfection,thewholecompositionjustseemstofallintoplace,evenifyoucan’tputyourfingeronthereasonwhy.Interestingly,foroften-criticalcompositionalcomponents,theresurearealot

of exceptions. And we’ll explore those aspects, too. Nonetheless, depth andbalancearealwayssomethingtokeepinmind.

DEPTHANDFOREGROUNDFRAMING

Sceneswithdepth—whenobjects are atdifferentdistances from thecamera—can be very compelling. Depth can range from a sweepingwide-angle scene,with an object placed near the camera while other elements stretch into thedistance(asdiscussedinchapter1), toaclose-upscenewitha foregroundandbackground.Whetherabigor smallview,a scenewith front-to-backelementsgivesyourpictureafeelingofdepth.A classic way to express depth is to use a foreground frame to put the

spotlight on a distant subject. In fact, framing is pretty much a slam-dunkcompositionaltechniquethatcanaddpunchandpizzazztoyourphotography.Unlikeapicturewindowthatframesanoutdoorscenebeyond,photographic

frames aren’t necessarily square or rectangular, or even circular.A foreground

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objectwithinthecompositioncanframeamoredistantsubject.Thishelpsdirectthe viewer’s attention to a specific part of the composition that you feel isimportant.Atthesametime,yougivethephotoagreatersenseofdepth.Mentionanoutdoorframe,andtreesoroverhangingbranchesusuallycometo

mind.Atraditionalexampleshowsoverheadtreebranchessettingthestageforadistantbuildingoralandscapefeature.Butpotentialframingdevicesarealmostlimitless.Considerpublicartexhibits,fencerails,columns,doors,andsoon.Anatural or architectural arch makes a graceful close-up frame. In thesouthwestern United States, landscape photographers have long framed thedesertwitharock“window.”Thepossibilitiesareendless!

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InSeattle,photographerJonLamrouexusedaveryeye-catchingforegroundsubject—theGrassBladessculpture(comprising30-footsteelreeds)—asaframeforanothereye-catcher,theSpaceNeedle.Hefeltthat“theselectionoftheextremeupwardangleandwide-anglelensgaveaninterestingviewpointandscaletotheSeattleSpaceNeedle.”Photo©JonM.Lamrouex.1/15sec.atf/22,ISO200,17–40mmlensat29mm

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PhotographerSonyaHatfield-Hall’soutsidecatisalwaysafavoritesubject.“Onthisday,”shesays,“IwasphotographingherkittenswhenInoticedherframedbetweentheslatsontheporch.Sinceourporchishigh,Iwasabletocomfortablycaptureherateyelevel.”Photo©SonyaHatfield-Hall.1/80sec.atf/9,ISO200,70–300mmlensat112mm

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Theseoldbootscaughtthephotographer’seyethroughtheframingonherfrontporch.Withtheidenticalknobsonbothsides,thescenehadnicesymmetry,completewithsoftlight.Withatelephotozoom,SonyaHatfield-Hallcomposedthescenestraightonfromalowcameraangle.Photo©SonyaHatfield-Hall.1/30sec.atf/25,ISO100,70–300mmlensat80mm

DEPTHOFFIELD

Formanypeople,howtoobtaintherightrangeofsharpnessinasceneremainsamystery.Theysimplyzeroinontheirsubjectandneverconsiderwhetherobjectsinfrontof thatpoint,andonesbehindit,willalsobe infocus.Nomatterhowwonderful the light or howwonderful your scene or howmany eye-grabbingdesignelementsyouhave,ifthedepthoffieldiswrong,yourpicturewillbeoff,too. But with a little understanding and attention to detail, you can take fullcontrolofthesharpnesszoneinsceneswithfront-to-backdepth.Depthoffield(DOF)referstotheareaofsharpfocusbetweentheclosestand

the farthest objects in your picture frame. In general, with landscape scenes,you’llwanteverythingsharpfromneartofar—deepdepthoffield.Ontheotherhand, you’ll likely prefer that sharply focusedpeople, pets, flowers, andothersubjects stand out in contrast against a softly focused background—shallowdepthoffield.

SHALLOWDEPTHOFFIELD

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Narrowdepthoffieldhelps isolateasharpforegroundsubject.Tocreate it,dothefollowing:

•Usealargeraperture,suchasf/4orf/5.6.• Bring out the telephoto. The longer the lens, the easier it is to blur out thedistance,sincegreaterfocallengthsshrinkdepthoffield.•Besurethere’sagooddistancebetweensubjectandbackground.Thegreaterthisdistance,themoreoutoffocusthebackgroundwillbe.•Also,thecloserthesubjectistothecamera,thenarrowerthedepthoffield.

Forthisfenceseries,Iwasattractedbythelowsunandthepatternofshadows.Theonlythingthathaschangedisthedepthoffield—viaadifferentf-stopforeachimage.InAperturePrioritymodeandwiththefocusingsetonthefarleftpost,Ichangedtheapertureforeachpicture.Thecameraautomaticallyadjustedtheshutterspeedtogivetherightexposure.Seewhatadramaticdifferencethereisduetothesimplechangeinf-stop.Withyourownstationaryscenes,youmaywishtoshootdifferentvariationsofdepthoffieldtocompareandselectyourfavoriterendition.Photo©KerryDrager.1/180sec.atf/4,ISO200,105mmlens

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/30sec.atf/10,ISO200,105mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/6sec.atf/22,ISO200,105mmlens

MacroandDepthofField

Inmacrosceneswithdepth,it’susuallyimpossibletogeteverything

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sharpfromfronttoback.Themacrolens’sinherentlyshallowdepthoffieldisduetotheradicallyclose-upcameraposition.Thisapplieseven if you use a small aperture, such as f/22 or f/32. The key isprecise focusing—setting the lens’s focuson thepart of the scenethatwillbeyoursharpmainfocalpoint.Nevertheless,thechoiceoff-stopisstillimportant,sowheneverpossible,itpaystoexperimentbyshootingmultipleversionswithdifferentapertures.

ThesoftlightofearlymorningsentmeonasearchforcoloratBalboaParkinSanDiego.Thecolorsfulfilledmyphotogoal,withthediagonaldesignbeinganeye-catchingbonus.Withmymacrolens,Icarefullychosethespecificspottosetthelens’sfocusandthenselectedawideaperture(lowf/number)tonarrowthedepthoffieldasmuchaspossible,sothatthebackgroundandmuchoftheflowerturnedintoasoftblurofcolorandform.Photo©KerryDrager.1/20sec.atf/4.8,ISO200,105mmlens

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Forthisphoto,shotinthewarmlightofearlyevening,Icarefullyconsideredthebackgroundbeforetakinganoutdoorportraitofmyniece,Hannah.Ilookedfor—andfound—abackgroundwithoutanyglaringbrightsorcontrastingcolors.Withtheclose-upcomposition,atelephotolens(105mm),andamidrangeaperture(f/11),Iwasabletomakethebackgroundblurredenoughsothatmysubjectstandsoutbutstillshowidentifiable(yetfuzzy)distantdetails.Tofurtherachievethe“storytelling”perspectiveandcreateanenvironmentalportrait,Iusedahorizontalformat,whichshowsmoreofthebackgroundthanatightverticalorientation.Withthestorytellingtechnique(whetherpeopleshots,landscapeimages,orwhatever),thephotographerlooksbeyondthesinglesubjectandincorporatessomeofthesurroundingenvironmenttoprovideadditionalcontextfortheviewer.Photo©KerryDrager.1/250sec.atf/11,ISO400,105mmlens

Selectivefocuswasmygoalhereforthesegrasses.Iselectedonebladeofgrasstosetthefocus,andwithafairlywideaperture,therangeofsharpness(depthoffield)wasveryshallow.Asaresult,theonlygrassesinsharpfocusarethe

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onesthatareonthesameplane(thesamedistancefromthecamera)asthespotonwhichIsetthefocus.Thisshallowdepthoffieldwasmycreativeintent—toshowmuchofthesceneasablurofwarm,softcolorwithjustafewsharpaccentpoints.Photo©JimMiotke.1/500sec.atf/6.7,ISO100,100–300mmlensat300mm

Usingselectivefocus—narrowdepthoffield—isagreatwaytoputthespotlightonasinglesubject.Hereinthisfallscene,Iwantedtheleaftoserveasthemainfocalpoint.Withthetelephotofocallengthandthewideaperture,theleafstandsoutagainsttheblurredforegroundandsoftbackground.Ireallylikedhowtheblurofwarmcolorsbalancedoutthescene,whilealsocontrastingwiththecoolbluishtones.Photo©JimMiotke.1/45sec.atf/4.5,ISO100,100–300mmlensat115mm

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Whenshootingclose-upswithatelephotolensoramacrolens,it’susuallyimpossibletogetbothacloseforegroundandadistantbackgroundsharpatthesametime,regardlessofaperture.But,often,yourchoiceoff-stopreallymatters!Intheseimages,Iusedalongtelephotolensandfocuseddirectlyontheclose-upfencepost.Iangledthecameraslightlytoturnlinesintostrongdiagonals.Iwantedtokeepthefencepostandsomeofthewiresharp,soIavoidedasuperwideaperture.Foroneimage,Iusedasmallapertureandfortheother,amiddle-rangeaperture.Photo©KerryDrager.1/4sec.atf/22,ISO100,300mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/15sec.atf/11,ISO100,300mmlens

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DEEPDEPTHOFFIELDWithtotaldepthoffield,everythinginthephotoisinsharpfocusfromfronttoback.Togetthere,dothefollowing:

• Use a wide-angle focal length (particularly under 28mm but whatever youhave).•Useaverysmallaperture,suchasf/16orf/22.•Precisefocusingmatters.Forinformationonwheretofocus,seethispage.

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Usingmycollectionoftimewornvehiclesandranchequipment,Iframedthisscenewithanoldredgrilleandabrightyellowwheel.Ichoseaverticalformattoemphasizethelinesleadingtothewheel.Withawide-anglelensandsmallaperture(f/22),thingsaresharpfromfronttoback.Photo©KerryDrager.1/4sec.atf/22,ISO100,12–24mmlensat22mm

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Colorfulhorseblanketsdrapedoverourranchfencingcaughtmyattentiononeday.Imovedphysicallyclosetotheblanketswithmywide-anglelens—just1½feetawayfromtheclosestpoint—tospotlightthecolorswhileleavingasliceofbackgroundasastorytellingelement.AsIwasfine-tuningthecomposition,ourhorsestartedtomoveintotheframeastheperfectbackgroundfocalpoint!Mydepthoffieldgoalwastoensurethattheall-importantblanketswerecrispandclear,soIsetthefocusdirectlyontheblankets.Duetothesuperclosefocusing,thedistantsceneisn’trazorsharp,butitdoesn’treallyneedtobe,sincethedistantdetailsarereadilyrecognizableandtheforegroundiscrispandclear.Photo©KerryDrager.1/125sec.atf/22,ISO400,20mmlens

DETERMININGDEPTHOFFIELDBy default,DSLR cameras are set for awide aperture to let in themaximumamountoflightforeaseofviewing.Atthemomentofexposure,theapertureisdecreasedtowhateverf-stopisselected.Sohowdoyouknowwhatyourfront-to-backscenewilllooklike?Many DSLR cameras have a built-in solution for this called depth-of-field

preview. Pressing down the depth-of-field preview buttonwhile viewing yourscenewillshowtheapproximateeffectyourf-stopwillhaveonthefinaldepthoffield.Forsmallapertures,itwillalsoreducetheamountoflightcomingintothecamera,sotheimagewillgetdarker,makingitdifficulttogetagoodview.However,ifyoucanseethesceneevendimly,you’llnoticethattheforegroundandbackgroundelementsare sharper.Weboth routinelyuseDOFpreview formostshots,andwithpractice,you’lllearntoquickly“read”thedarkenedscreeninallbutthelowestlightingconditions.Anothertoolforcheckingsharpnessisyourcamera’sLCDscreen.Ifpossible,

zoominandreviewboththeclosestandfarthestpoints.Dotheyappearassharp

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as the details in the middle of the image? Or, if you’re going for more of aselective-focus effect (shallow depth of field), are the out-of-focus partssufficiently blurred?And is themain subject good and sharp? If the depth offieldisn’ttoyourliking,youcantryoneormoreofthesequickfixes:Changethe aperture, move closer to the foreground (or back away), or alter thecomposition.

PhotographerIbarionexPerellousedashallowdepthoffieldtoseparatethisflowerfromthebackground,aswellasa

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shaftofsunlightilluminatingtheflower.Hischoiceofamiddle-of-the-frameplacementforthisroundsubjectisasuccessfulexceptiontothemoretraditionaloff-centerguideline.Photo©IbarionexPerello.1/500sec.atf/4,ISO400,12–60mmlensat60mm

WHERETOFOCUSFORDEEPDEPTHOFFIELDWhenusingatelephotoormacrolenstoisolateyoursubject,it’seasytopickthebestfocusingpoint(i.e.,theprecisespotonwhichyourlenssetsitsfocus):Justpickthemainfocalpointthatyouwantcrisplysharp,andmakesureyourlensfocuses on that spot.Butwith a sweeping landscape shot that involves a veryclosesubject,amiddleground,andaverydistantbackground,maximumdepthoffielddemandsextraattentiontothefocusingpoint.Therearedepth-of-fieldcharts(sometimescalledhyperfocalcharts)available

instoresandonline;theseoutlinethefocusingstrategyforachievingmaximumdepth of field for a given f-stop and focal length. Do you remember theinstruction sheet that camewith your lens?The one that you promptly lost ortossedout?Well,itlikelyincludedatableondepthoffield.Witha20mmlens,forexample,togeteverythingsharpfromabout1½feettoinfinity(thefarthestdistance),lockinthefocusat3feetandsettheapertureatf/22.Butwitha70–300mm tele-zoomset at its lowest end (70mm), getting anobject sharp at 9½feet—along with infinity—means setting the focus at 20 feet and using thesupersmall aperture of f/32. Focusing any closer and/or going with a lowerf/numberwoulddecreasethedepthoffield.Lacking any chart, formaximum depth of field in a wide-angle scene, use

your camera’s smallest aperture and choose a focusing point just beyond theclosest point in your photo.Withwide-angle, this focusing distancemight beanywherefrom3feet to6feetfromyourcamera,but itdependsonthescene.Again,thisiswheredepth-of-fieldpreview,orLCDreviews,willroundoutyourdepth-of-field“workflow.”

ASSIGNMENT:DOFSTILLNOTCLEAR?TRYTHIS!

Ifthesubjectofdepthoffieldstillisn’tquiteclear,that’sokay!Formany,itreallytakesahands-onapproachtogetahandleonthisconcept.Trythisexercise:Chooseastationaryscenewithanearbysubjectandadistantsubject.Itcanbeasmallsceneonyourpatiooronyourkitchentable,oritcanbeasweepingscenic.Thenset

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thelens’sfocusontheclosestsubject.Witheverythingthesame(atripodishighlyrecommendedhere),shootthreephotos:onewithyourlens’slargestaperture(lowestf/number),anotherwithyourlens’ssmallestaperture(highestf/number),andathirdwithanf-stoproughlyinbetween.Besuretokeeppreciselythesamelensfocallengthforeachshot.Assumingyouphotographedascenewithdepth(i.e.,withobjects

bothveryclosetoandveryfarawayfromthecamera),you’llreallyseethedifferenceinthebackground.Thesmallestaperturewillyieldfar more front-to-back sharpness than the widest aperture. Thatdoesn’tmeanthesmall-apertureshotwillhavebothforegroundandbackground totally sharp (especially if you aren’t using a wide-angle),butthisexercisewillbereallyenlightening!

BALANCE

Simply put, balance relates to howwell a photoworks overall—from side toside,bottomtotop,cornertocorner.Elementsononesidebalancethingsontheother,andelementslowintheframeoffsetthosehighinthepicture.Balance can be an elusive concept. Sometimes the reason a photo doesn’t

workhas todowithbalance.The image justdoesn’t look right, andwearen’tsure why. At other times, the picture does feel right. With experience andawareness,balancebecomesmoreintuitive.Perfect balance is struck with symmetry. This often involves architecture,

whenonesideisamirrorimageoftheotherside.Butitcanoccurinnature,too—suchasamirroredlakereflectionwithacenteredshorelinecuttingthesceneintoequalhalves.Little in theworld is symmetrical, though, and that’s agood thing, sincean

asymmetrical image is often more visually energetic than a symmetrical one.Asymmetricalbalancecancreateavisualtension.Infact,it’salsoimportanttothinkofbalanceintermsofvisual“weight.”Thisconceptofweightreferstothesize, color, shape, proportion, and placement of elements within the pictureframe.With asymmetrical balance, the elements counterbalance one another. Study

thecomposition toseehowthemainparts interactwithoneanother.Basically

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ask yourself, does one side of the composition appear “heavier”?That’s not aproblem as long as there are elements elsewhere in the photograph to attractattentionassecondarysubjects.Butifthere’sarelativelybigobject,aboldandbright color, or a contrasting element on one side, and there’s nothing ofconsequenceontheother,thenthepicturewilllookunbalanced.Butthatdoesn’tmeanbothsidesmustcarrytheexactsamevisualweight.For

instance,youmighthavealargeobjectononesideastheprimarysubject,withasmallerobjecton theother.Althoughthesmalleronemightnotcarryasmuchvisualweightastheprimarysubject,itoffsetsthingsasasecondarysubjectthatcommands enough attention to balance out the composition. That’s the ideabehindthephotooftheoldkayakonthispage.Oracontrastingdarkobjectmaycommand primary attention while being offset by a lighter-toned one. Or asaturatedcolormaypoprightoutofthepictureasthemainsubject,whileamoresubdued color performs a valuable role elsewhere in the image—as asubordinatebalancingelement andas apointof interest in apartof the scenethatwouldseem“lost”oremptywithoutit.

ThemagnificentpipeorganattheFirstChurchofChrist,Scientist,inBostonhasastylethatseemedperfectforasymmetricalcomposition.Iplacedmyselfintheprecisecentertogetpeaksymmetry.That’simportantwithasymmetricalscene.Otherwise,shootingevenslightlytotherightorleftcanmakethingslookaskew.Photo©JimMiotke.1/30sec.atf/10,ISO3200,28–135mmlensat28mm

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OneeveningalongtheLasVegasStrip,Iturnedmyattentiondownwardtothisrailingalongthesidewalk.Forthefirstimage,Iwasdrawntotherepetitionofthesedecorativeposts.Ishotfromanangle,sothatthepostsrunfromclose-upatthelefttofarawayattheright.Forthesecondshot,Iwasintriguedbythesymmetry.Ichoseagroupingoffivepostsandthencarefullysetupmytripoddirectlyinfrontofthemiddleone.Photo©KerryDrager.6secondsatf/13,ISO200,50mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/2sec.atf/6.7,ISO200,50mmlens

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Aclose-upcompositionemphasizesawonderfulmomentbetweenmotherandchild.Notethebalanceofajoyfulmomataboverightandthebabyatbottomleft.PhotographerStefaniaBarbiertellshowshecapturedthisstrikingphoto:“Myfriendjustgavebirthtoababyboy.Irushedtothehospitalwithmycameraandablackbackdrop.Shelovedtheideaofnewbornshotsandevenpreparedherselfwithmakeup.Butittookusawhilebeforethebabyseemedreadyforthemoment.Herhusbandheldthebackdrop.Ihadbeautifulwindowlight—andvoilà!”Photo©StefaniaBarbier.1/50sec.atf/5,ISO400,60mmlens

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Alowcameraangle,acolorfuloldkayak,andthickfogcametogetherforthisscene.AlthoughIusedawide-anglelens,myintentwasnotfront-to-backsharpness.Instead,Iwantedthefronttobecrisplysharp,whilethedepthoffieldfadedintothefoggydistance.Forme,thetreeintherightbackgroundwasofcriticalimportance.Itbalancesthecompositionwhilealsoservingasapointofinterestintheupperrightareaofthecomposition.Photo©KerryDrager.1/30sec.atf/13,ISO200,20mmlens

NEGATIVESPACE

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Despite its name, negative space can be a very positive thing. This designingredient is an area of a photograph without substantial detail. It can be anempty blue sky, an expanse of blankwall, the sweeping surface of a body ofwater,astrategicallyplacedshadow,oranout-of-focusbackgroundthat’sasoftblendofcolors.Therightamountofnegativespacecanbringacompositionintobalance,and

it canhelp force theviewer’s attention toyour subject.Thekey is toconsidernegativespaceasoneofthemajorelementsofyourcomposition.Ithasacertainvisual weight that, combined with the main subject or subjects, brings thecompositionintobalance.Thisgraphicdesignelementalsohelpsdirectattentiontoyoursubject.The compositional balance involves the proportion of negative space to the

otherelementsorsubjectsintheframe.There’snohard-and-fastrule.Apicturewithanoff-centersubjectcanbebalancedbythevisualweightofnegativespaceontheothersideof theframe.Theredoesn’thavetobeanobjectontheotherside;negativespacecanfunctionasthat“object.”Aswithotheraspectsofcompositionalbalance,thewhat-feels-rightorwhat-

looks-rightfactorisimportant;ifthingsjustlookorfeelright,yourcompositionprobably works. But if a this-just-isn’t-working thought comes into play, youprobablyneedtothinkagainaboutyourcomposition.Inanycase,theideaistobecome aware of negative space—another key design element that’s at yourcreativedisposal.

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Detailshotscanhelproundoutanyphotoessayorstorytellingseries,butsooften,theysimplymakeinterestingphotos.ForthisNewZealandtrainshot,Iwasattractedtothebrightredlogo,ofcourse,butalsototherangeofgraysinthescene—allhighlightedbythesoftlight.IthenchoseacompositionwiththeredsubjectinaRule-of-Thirdspositionatthelowerrightwhilebalancedbythepipeatthelowerleft.Butthere’smore.Alongwiththesubjectsatthebottom,negativespace—thefinetexturesandgrays—helpedbalancethecompositionatthetop.Photo©JimMiotke.1/25sec.atf/5.6,ISO200,28–135mmlensat135mm

Twilightisalwaysspecial,andwithacityskyline,youcanachieveawonderfulcontrastbetweenthebright,warmlightsandthecoolbluesky.Forme,theblueoftheskywasoutstanding,andalowhorizonandverticalformatalsohelpedtocapturetheexpanseofthisSanDiegoscene.Asaresult,thenegativespaceofthebigskybalancesouttherelativelysmallerareaofcityscape.

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Photo©KerryDrager.4secondsatf/4.8,ISO200,105mmlens

SCALEThewholenotionofscaleinphotographymightbringtomindthestoryofDavidand Goliath. That’s because, in photographic composition, a dynamic andrelativelysmallsubjectcanbeasurprisinglybigstatementinagiantscene.Due to contrast, a subject shown at a distance can call attention to a large

scene. This sense of scale can convey a tall building’s height and amountainscape’svastness.Justaboutanysubjectknownforitssizecanbeusedtodesignatethescaleof

the surroundings: a distant animal, a lone tree, a house, and people, too, ofcourse. Certainly, the human form is instantly recognizable—even if shownsmall—andwillreadilyconveyscalewhenshowninabignaturelandscape,anurban landscape, or an architectural scene. Pictured small and often not evenrecognizable, people can not only show scale but can also boost energy, addvisualimpact,andcreatemoodanddepth.Thesetinyfiguressetamidatoweringbackdropmakeanicetwistonclassiclandscapephotography.Figures inagrand landscapecancapture the imagination—andcertainly the

eye—byvirtueofthedifferenceinsize.Buttheremustbeothercontrastpresent,too, to prevent the subject from getting lost in a big scenic. Here are someexamples:awell-litfigureinshadowedsurroundings,asilhouettedforminfrontof a bright backdrop, a colorfully dressed person among dull tones, a subjectoutfittedinwhiteagainstdarkercolorsorviceversa,andapersondressedinaboldcolorinafoggysetting.

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Light,shadow,andformcombineforadramaticsceneintheMontBlancareaoftheFrenchAlps.Picturedextremelysmallinthephoto,thesilhouettedhikersmakeabigstatement,whileshowingthegrandscaleofthismountainscape.Photo©StefaniaBarbier.1/500sec.atf/7.1,ISO100,24–70mmlensat70mm

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PhotographerReneeDoylehasaptlynamedthisimage“ThePhantomsoftheOpera.”Thestrikingshadowsgivearealsenseofthescene’sscale.Saysthephotographer,“ThisimagewastakenbypurechanceatsunsetattheSydneyOperaHouse.WeallwerefacingtowardtheSydneyHarbourBridgewaitingforaspectacularsunsettotakeplace,andathoughtthathadbeendrummedintomyheadbyawonderfulphotographerremindedmetoalwayslookatwhatwasbehindme,aswell.Ithenturnedaroundandsawthetwoelongatedshadowsofpeoplestrollingpast—playingonthewallsoftheoperahouse,whichwasglowinggoldenintheeveningsun.”Photo©ReneeDoyle.1/320sec.atf/8,ISO200,24–70mmlensat70mm

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Thereareanumberofgreatwaystoimplymotioninastillphotograph.Oneapproachisbyshowingthestreaksofcolorsandnightlightsinabusystreetscene.Here,inNewYorkCity’sTimesSquare,Iusedaveryslowshutterspeedtocatchthecarsmovingthroughthescene.Thisphotoremindsmeofthetraffic,lights,colors,motion,andexcitementofoneoftheworld’smostexcitingcities!Photo©JimMiotke.1/6sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,16–35mmlensat35mm

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CHAPTER5

PHOTOGRAPHINGMOTION

Moving subjects and still photography complement each other. Really!Photographing anyone—or anything—on themove can trigger a lot of visualenergy. And, as a creative photographer, you have a surprising number oftechniquesinyourartisticarsenaltoconveymotion.Inthischapter,westartoutwithfreezingtheactionwithafastshutterspeed.

Subjects frozen at peak moments pack a photographic punch. While alwayseffective,stoppingmovementisn’ttheonlycreativechoiceforcapturingmotion.Expressing an illusion of movement also can be accomplished through theartisticuseofslowshutterspeeds.We’ll encourageyou toplaywithnew ideas. In fact, if coloringoutside the

lines attracted you as a kid, then you’ll love some of the thrilling shooting-outside-the-boxtechniquesthatwe’llbesharingwithyou—techniquestomakeyourstillimages“move.”You can’t always predict what you’ll get when you explore the world of

blurredmotion,butthat’stheintriguingandcaptivatingchallenge.Thisiswherethedigital advantage canworkwonders: Inbetween shots, youcan reviewonyour camera’s LCD monitor what’s working and what’s not. Consider thesethoughts and techniques as a springboard for your own artistic pursuits andcreativeexplorations.

FREEZINGTHEACTION

“Almostbutnotquite” arewordsyoudon’twant to saywhen reviewingyourphotos.Butevenfortoppros,thefailurerateforphotoswithmovingsubjectsisfarhigherthanforshotswithstationaryscenes.Catchingthepeakoftheactionisthegoalwhentryingtofreezethemotion—

achildplaying,apetrunning,anathleteinaction,acarspeedingby,anoceanwavecrashing.For unpredictable subjects in particular—such as candids and active kids—

creatingeye-catchingactionphotosisfrequentlylessaboutprecisionandmore

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aboutflexibility.Thekey?Setyourcameraforafastshutterspeed,andthenstartshooting like crazy.Forget about getting a high ratio of good to bad. Itwon’thappen.Thegoalistocaptureafewgreatimages.Sowhatdowemeanbyafastshutterspeed?It’salwaysrelativeanddepends.

For instance,when the action is heading towardyou, the shutter speed canbeslowerthanwhentheactionismovingacrossyourfieldofvision(forexample,lefttoright)atthesamespeed.Thelongerthelensorthecloseryouaretoyoursubject,thefastertheshutterspeedwillneedtobetostopmovement.Ofcourse,somesubjects(speedingcars)movefasterthanothers(peoplestrolling).Werecommendusingshutterspeedsofaround1/250sec.or1/500sec.totry

tofreezetheactionofachildoranimalonthego.Forothersubjects—whetherabicyclist,runner,orcarmovingsidetosideacrossthepictureplane—youmayneedtogoto1/1000sec.Forstillotheraction,includingsports,youmayneedtoresort to1/2000 sec.Asavery rough rule,1/500 sec.or1/1000 sec.will stopmostactivitiesincrispsharpness.Youprobablycan’tgotoowrongshootingatahigherspeedthanyouthinkyouneed;it’sagoodsafetynet.Ofcourse,youcanseefirsthandwhetheryoucaughttheaction.Reviewyour

photosonyourLCDpanel.Ifthere’sstilltime,makeanychangesintheshutterspeed. If you require a faster shutter speed, thenyouhave to shoot at awiderapertureorraisetheISO.

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Inmostcases,you’llneedanywherefrom1/500sec.to1/2000sec.tostoptheaction.Butnotalways!Itreallydependsonhowfastthesubjectsaremovingandtheirdirection.Here,thegallopingcowboywasstoppedat1/250sec.,sinceheisheadingtowardthecamera;ifhewerecaughtwhilemovingacrosstheframe(say,fromlefttoright),atleast1/500sec.or1/1000sec.wouldhavebeenneeded.Forthestormscene,theranchersaremovingslowly—duetotheheavysnow—and1/180sec.wassufficient.Photo©JimMiotke.1/250sec.atf/4.5,ISO100,100–400mmlensat250mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/180sec.atf/6.7,ISO400,28–135mmlensat85mm

TIP:WHAT’STHEBESTEXPOSUREMODE?

First off, whatever exposure mode has been working for you—intermsofgetting theshutterspeedor f-stopyouwant—stickwith it.Personal preference is why cameramanufacturers provide such avarietyofmodes.Forourselves,though,wealmostalwaysshootinAperturePriority,asemiautomaticmodeinwhichyousetthef-stopandthecamerasetstheshutterspeed.WeuseAperturePriorityforits value with depth of field, of course, and we also use it forsituationsinwhichshutterspeedisthepriority.Here’swhy:If the main concern is freezing movement with a fast shutter

speed, then choose a large aperture. In fact, the lens’s widestaperture(lowestf/number)willresultinthefastestshutterspeedforthegivenlightandISO.Ifyouhavetogoevenfaster,thenincreasetheISO.It’sthatsimple.Attheoppositeendofthespeeddial,yourlens’s smallest aperture (highest f/number), combined with yourcamera’s lowest ISO number, will give you the slowest possibleshutterspeedforthegivenlight.

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Again,toemphasize:Shootinwhatevermodeworksbestinyourquest to get inspiring images and to learn the art of creativeexposure.

Oceanwavesaregreatsourcesofmovement.Onenicethingisthattherereallyisn’ta“correct”speedtouseforstoppingmotion.Anotheristhateachcrashofthesurfisdifferentfromthepreviousone—anddifferentfromthenext.That’sgoodnewsforphotographerswholoveshootingtheseone-of-a-kindoccurrences.Forthisimage,Ifound1/500sec.gavemethelookIwanted.Photo©JimMiotke.1/500sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,70–300mmlensat300mm

TIP:FOCUSINGSTRATEGY

DSLRs have multiple ways of focusing, often including onesdesigned forshootingaction.Consultyourmanual for thespecificsofyourcamera.Otherwise,hereareapproaches thathaveworkedforus:For subjects that aremoving through the sceneat a predictable

paceandinapredictableroute(runninghorse,car,bicyclist,runner,etc.), we like the prefocusing technique. That means setting thefocusonaspotinfrontofthesubject.Whentheactionreachesthatpoint,fireaway.

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Iftheactionisunpredictable,justwaitforaslightlullintheaction,presstheautofocusbutton,andassoonasthelensfocusesonyoursubject, start shooting in continuousmode.Oddsareoneof thoseframeswillbeawinner,andyoucansimplydelete the rest. (Havewe mentioned that we love digital?) This is a great strategy forphotographingmanysituations.

PhotographerDonnaPagakislovesthefastactionandwallsofwavesinthegrowingsportofflowboarding,whichinvolvescontinuousartificialwavesthatmimicoceanwaves.PhotographysessionsattwoSouthernCaliforniawaterparksproducedtheseimages,oneofhersonAndyandtheotherofherdaughterRebecca.Fastshutterspeedsandacontinuousshootingmodehelpedcapturethedecisivemoments.Photo©DonnaPagakis.1/2000sec.atf/8,ISO400,28–135mmlensat50mm

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Photo©DonnaPagakis.1/1000sec.atf/11,ISO400,28–135mmlensat44mm

Afastshutterspeedisneededtocapturebirdsinflight,butphotographerDeborahLewinsonhadanothershootingstrategy,too,atthisNewYorkbeach:“Attemptingtobeateyelevelorlower,Iwassittingonthebeach,usingelbowsonkneestostabilizethecamera.Fromadistance,Ihadbeenshootingafamilyofoystercatchers,scootingincloserandclosersoasnottodisturbthem.Tailmovementalertedmetothepossibilityofimminentflight,andIwasabletoisolatethisonebird.”Focusingontheeyekeptthebirdsharp,andpanningwiththemovementofthebirdblurredthebackground.Withbirdphotography,Lewinsonadvises,“Lookup,down,andallaround.Alwaysbeopentoandpreparedfornewopportunities!”Photo©DeborahLewinson.1/4000sec.atf/8,ISO800,300mmlenswith1.7xteleconverterfor500mm

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TIP:SHOOTINGSTRATEGY

Here’s a tactic we like: Set your camera for continuous mode, inwhichyoucantakearapid-fireseriesof imagesforaslongasyoupress the shutter button. Firing off several shots right around thetimeyouseeanexpressionabouttooccur—orjustbeforethecriticalpoint or the peak of action—increases your chance of getting theshot.

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PeterBurianusedafastshutterspeedof1/1250sec.tofreezethisfreestylemotocrossriderinmidair.Thecameraposition—lowandpointingupward—enhancedthedramabyplacingthehigh-flyingstuntriderrightagainstthesky.Photo©PeterK.Burian.1/1250sec.atf/5.6,ISO400,200mmlens

STEADYCAMERA+SLOWSHUTTER=BLURREDMOTION

Somebeautifulthingsstarttohappenwhenamovingsubject,asteadycamera,andaslowshutterallcometogether.That’scertainlytruewhenitinvolveswater

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inmotion—waterfalls, ocean surf, rivers, streams, and even fountains.With along exposure, you can get the so-called “cotton-candy” effect—the soft andsilkysmoothnessofflowingmotion.Butjustaboutanymovingsubjectcanbeturnedintoanexpressivescenewith

aslowshutterspeed—suchasrunners,bicyclists,awind-blownfieldofgrassesorwildflowers,anamusementrideattwilight,fallingrainorsnow,aceilingfan,trains,andcars.Whileaslowshutterimpliesmotionwithyourmovingsubject,stationaryobjectsinthescenewillrecordinsharpdetail.Thatmakesthemovingpartsallthemoreeye-catchingduetothesharp-vs.-blurcontrast.Butlongexposuresdon’tjusthappen.You’llneedtodothefollowing:

•Getoutduringthelowlightofearlymorningorlateevening,findasceneindeepshade,orwaitforasolidovercastday.Yourlens’ssmallestaperturegivesyoutheslowestpossibleshutterspeedforthegivenlightandISOsetting.Manysceneswithdepthalsobenefitfromsmallaperturesandresultingreatdepthoffield.•SetyourcameraforitslowestISOnumber:100or200.SavethehighISOsforwhenfastshutterspeedsarenecessary.•Usea tripodorothersturdysupport.Acableshutter releasealso reduces thelikelihoodofanyvibrationcausedbyyourhandtouchingthecameraduringtheslowexposure.The best shutter speeds for recording blurred movement vary widely and

depend on the speed at which your subject ismoving aswell as the distancebetweensubjectandcamera.Butherearesomestartingpoints:Ashutterspeedof 1/2 sec. usually will start showing the ethereal qualities and cotton-candyeffectofflowingmotionofwaterfalls,streams,andfountains.Oneruleofthumbmightbebetween1/4sec.or1/8sec.anddownto2secondsforcascadingwater.Slowerspeedsworkgreat,aswell;infact,amysticalorsurrealmoodcanbethewonderfulresultofamultiple-secondexposure.Again,theseareroughestimates,andthingscanvarywhenshootingsubjects

thatdon’tinvolvewater.Thismaysoundprettymuchliketrialanderror,andtoacertainextentitis!Italsodependsontheeffectyou’reafter.Buthere’saverygeneral rule formovingwater:Oftentimes (thoughnotalways), the slower thebetter.Actually,whenthelightgetsreallylow,anexposurelastingmanysecondsmaybethenorm.Thisisagreattechniquefortakingadvantageofyourcamera’sLCD panel to view—instantly—the results of your shooting. Check yourpictures,andvarytheshutterspeed—thecomposition,too,perhaps—untilwhat

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youseeiswhatyouwant.

Lowlight,plentyoftraffic,andthecolorsofduskwerejusttheingredientsforcapturinghead-andtaillightsfromafreewayoverpassintheSeattlearea.Slowshutterspeedsturnedthecarsintolongstreaksoflightandcolor.Here,Iusedan8-secondexposure.Ialsoincludedagoodsliceofthetwilightsky,sincethebeautifulbluecontrastedsowellwiththecolorsbelow.Photo©JimMiotke.8secondsatf/13,ISO100,28–135mmlensat44mm

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Diffusedlightisalmostalwaysrequiredforsatisfyingshotsofmovingwatertopreventanunappealinglyharshmixofglaringhighlightsandinky-blackshadows.Atthesametime,alongexposureturnsthewaterintoasilky,smoothflowingmotion.TheuseofalowISOnumberandasmallaperturecontributedtotheslowshutterspeed(6seconds),withthesmallaperturealsocreatingdeepdepthoffield.Photo©JimMiotke.6secondsatf/19,ISO100,16–35mmlensat18mm

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A4-secondexposure,withcameraontripod,createdquiteastudyinmotiononapooltable.Butthisisn’tatake-one-shot-and-nail-ittypeofsubject.Rather,Ishotthisscenemultipletimes(manybreaks)togetthepicture’selementsandghosteffectsinalltherightplaces.Ofcourse,Iwantedtheeightballfrontandcenter.Photo©JimMiotke.4secondsatf/14,ISO100,24–70mmlensat70mm

TIP:BESTTIMEOFDAY

Ifpossible,gooutduringthebeautiful lightofearlymorningor lateday. Solid overcast? That’s ideal for low light and slower shutterspeeds!If it’smiddayunderabrightandbluesky, itmaysimplybetoobright toget theslowerspeeds,althoughadeep-tintedneutral-densityfiltercouldhelp.

NOTSLOWENOUGH?USEAFILTER!Sometimesyou just can’t get a shutter speed that’s slowenough tomeet yourartisticneeds.Onesolutionistoreturnwhenthelightlevelislower.Butifyou’dlike topush throughnow, this iswhereadeep-tinted filtercomes intoplay. Inmostcases,thesefiltersscrewrightontothefrontofyourlens.Hereareacoupleofoptions:

• Polarizer: The polarizing filter reduces the light entering the lens by the

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equivalentofabout2stops.Otherwise,thepolarizer’smainpurposesaretocutthe glare on reflective surfaces, to boost colors, or to deepen a pale blue sky.Note:Youmust turn theouterringonthefilter tosee theeffectandtoget therightorientation.• Neutral-density (ND): This filter has no other function than to decrease thelight entering the camera. ND filters come in various strengths, with popularonesslowingtheshutterby3stopsor4stops.AvariableNDfilter,bytheway,letsyoudialinthedensityfrom2stopsto8stops.

Forthefastershutterspeed(1/30sec.),showninthephotoatabove,awideapertureandhighISOnumberwereneeded.Toobtaintheslowshutterspeed(3seconds),showninthefollowingimage,IusedalowISOandasmallaperture,whichhadtheaddedbenefitofanincreaseddepthoffield.Bytheway,apolarizerreducedthereflectionswhileincreasingthecolorandalsoslowedtheshutterspeed,too,sincethefilterisdeeplytinted(lettinginlesslight).Photo©KerryDrager.1/30sec.atf/4.8,ISO800,70–300mmlensat112mm

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Photo©KerryDrager.3secondsatf/19,ISO200,70–300mmlensat125mm

ASSIGNMENT:GETTINGUPTOSPEED

Startgettingafeelforworkingwithmotionandshutterspeed.Forthisexercise,findasafespotbesideastreetorroad,attendasportingevent,orselectafountainorstream,acarnivalamusementride,oranyotherplacewherethere’sasteadystreamofmovingsubjects.Thenstartshootingwithdifferentshutterspeeds.Varythefocallength,too.Ifpossible,changecamerapositionssothatthemovementrunsacrossyourfieldofvisionforsomeshotsandmovestoward(orawayfrom)youforotherimages.Compareyourresultslater.Seewhatshutterspeeds—anddirectionsofmovement—arefreezingthesubjectincrispsharpnessandwhicharejustabitsoft.Redotheexerciseonanotherdaywithothersubjects.

PANNINGAMOVINGSUBJECT

Therearemanyunwrittenrulesinphotography.Keepingyourcamerasteadyisone of them.Well, for this artistic technique, you’ll need to forget all you’ve

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learnedabouttheimportanceofshootingwitharock-solidcamera.Thecreativeresultwillbemanycoolmotion-blurimages.Bestyet,justaboutanysubjectinmotionqualifies.This technique involves deliberatelymoving or panning your camera along

withyoursubject.The result isa fairly sharpsubject setagainstablurredandstreakedbackdropforarealfeelingofmotionandaction.Here’s how this technique works: Position yourself so that you’re mostly

parallel to thepathofyoursubject. Inotherwords,youwant theaction torunacrossyourfieldofvision.Thenstartpanningwiththecameraatthesamespeedas themovingsubject.Along theway,press theshuttersmoothly.For thebestresult,besuretostartpanningthesubjectbeforeyoupresstheshutterbuttonandcontinuethefollow-throughafteryoureleasetheshutter.Trytouseassmoothamotionaspossible—avoidanyjerkymotionsandsuddenstopping.Thebestshutterspeedforpanningdependsonnotonlyhowfastthesubjectis

moving and your distance to the subject but also on the effect youwant. Forinstance, a slower speed equals more blurriness and thus more of a sense ofmotion.Butgotooslowandthingsmightbesoblurrythatyoucan’t tellwhatthe subject is.Too fast andyoumight come closer to freezing the action thanblurringthemotion.Common shutter speeds for panning are 1/15 sec. or 1/30 sec., but going

slower(1/8sec.orless)orevenalittlefaster(1/60sec.maximum)oftenworks,too.Whether to use a tripod is a personal choice.We sometimes do, andwesometimes don’t. Some confirmedpanning shooters always use one (to get assmoothapannedbackgroundaspossible),whileothersneverdo(tohavemoreflexibility while shooting). If you handhold the camera, always keep yourelbowsrightatyourside,andturnyourupperbodywhileyoutracktheobject.It’sachallengetogetthepanningjustright,butthisiswheredigitalcameras

are so handy. Between shots, check your LCD panel to see yourmotion-blurresults and consider the best settings for next time. Also check for potentialdistractions in the background. For instance, if a contrasting bright color or astarkwhite sky comes into the composition at any point, then choose anothercamerapositionwithalessbusybackground.Panning does take practice. Be prepared to “waste” many shots to achieve

success.Butpanningisanenjoyableandcreativepursuitthatyou’lllove.anditwillgiveyousomegreatartisticlooksatconveyingmotion.

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TIP:FOCUSING

Itmaybehelpfultoprefocusonanobjectlocatedexactlywherethesubjectwillbe.Thatmeanssettingthefocusbeforeandthenlockingin the focus for the entire panning process by using a focus-lockbuttonorholdingtheshutterhalfwaydown.Orconsiderswitchingtomanualfocusmode.Inanycase,you’lllikelyhavetheassistanceofgreaterdepthof field—theresultofahigher f/number toobtain thenecessarylongexposure.

Planningandpersistencecanreallypayoff.Anovercastday,neonlightsandcolorfultaxicabsweretheperfectconditionsforpanningthisNewYorkCityscene.PhotographerDeborahLewinsonexplains:“Itookacoupleoftestshotsanddeterminedthat1/8sec.wasthebestshutterspeedforthetraffic.Isetthefocusmanuallybyusingacarenteringmychosenlaneoftraffic.Thelightingwasexcellentforpanning.Itwasovercast,creatingasoftlightandenablingaslowshutterspeedwithalowISO.Ihandheldthecamera,whilekeepingmyelbowstuckedintight.Thepanningstartedasacarenteredtheviewfinderanddidnotfinishuntilafteritlefttheviewfinder.Itooktwenty-twoshotsofdifferentvehicles;somewerereasonable,otherswereoutrightmisses,andthiswasmyfavorite.”Photo©DeborahLewinson.1/8sec.atf/9.5,ISO200,18–200mmlensat18mm

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Whenphotographingwildlifeincaptivity,JimandItrytoavoidcompositionsthatincludeanysignsofhumanity—unlessourintentistodocumentthecaptiveenvironment.Mypairhereshowstwoapproachestowildlifephotography.Oneisaportraitofawolfinanatural-lookingenvironment.ButIreallywasaftersomethingmoreunique.Fortheotherimage,Ichosepanningtoconveyasenseofmotionbycatchingthesetwowolveswitha1/30-sec.shutterspeed.Photo©KerryDrager.1/350sec.atf/5.6,ISO200,80–200mmlensat155mm

Photo©KerryDrager.1/30sec.atf/11,ISO100,80–200mmlensat80mm

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Bicyclistsmakegreatsubjectsforpanning,especiallywhenthey’rewearingcolorfulclothes.Onthiscloudyday,thecolorsreallypopped.Plus,thelowlightletmeshootwithslowerexposures.With1/25sec.andwithariderfairlyclose(withmyshorttelephotolens),Idecidedtoputtheemphasisonwheels,feet,andarmswithatightcomposition.Imadesuretoleavebreathingroominfrontofthesubject.Photo©JimMiotke.1/25sec.atf/2.8,ISO400,100mmlens

TIP:BREATHINGSPACE

Positionyourpannedsubjectsothereissufficient“breathingroom”betweenthefrontofyoursubjectandthepictureborder.Otherwise,things can appear cramped or crowded—even off-balance. It’sunnerving for the viewer to see a subject just about to leave theframe.

ASSIGNMENT:GIVEPANNINGATRY

You’llgetthehangofpanningrelativelyquickly.Pickaplacewithconsistentsubjectsinmotion.Thatway,you’llhaveachoiceandyou’llbeabletoregularlyinspectyourresults,andwhennecessary,adjustsettings,knowingthatothersubjectswillbeavailable.Forexample,lookforpopularareasforrunnersorbicyclists,busy

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streetsforcars,etc.Thenpositionyourselftocatchthemcrossingyourfieldofvision.Also,varyyourshutterspeedsothatyoucanseethedifferences.

PAINTINGWITHLONGEXPOSURES

Okay,now’s the time tochannelyour inner rebel.Youaregoing tobe rippingpagesrightoutofthephotographicrulebook,andyou’llbehavingfundoingit.Weguaranteeit!First, you must reevaluate all those negative thoughts about totally blurred

photos. No, we’re not talking about photos that are partly, or even mostly,blurred but with some sharpness.We actually mean 100 percent blurriness—impressionisticimages,really.Nothingsharp,nothingsteady.You’llbedealingwithascenethatstaysputandacamerathat’sonthemove.

Expect artistic abstracts of blurred color, light, and design—one-of-a-kindpainterlyimages.Withtheuseofaslowshutterspeedandthecamera’sshutteropen,you’repanningor twirling thecamera inamotion that’sside toside,upand down, or round and round. This lets you blur all the details together andcreateablurredblendofcolors.Gardens and flower fields are often the top picks for painting with slow

exposures.Butother stationary subjectswork effectively, too: trees,meadows,fruitstands,producemarkets,graffitiwalls,crowdsofpeople,andevenboatsinaharbor.As forshutterspeed, therearenoabsolutes,except thatyou’llwantaspeed

that’s not too fast, otherwise you may not have time to complete enoughmovement for the creative-blur effect.A shutter speed in the neighborhood of1/15sec.to1secondisagoodplacetostart.Butpaintingwithexposurealsocanbedoneinsuperlowlight,whereshutterspeedscanhitmultipleseconds.Itdoesdependon thespeedofyourcameramovement, too.Asamatterof fact,yourownpanningmovementworkshandinhandwiththeshutterspeed.Startpanningbeforepressingtheshutterbuttonandcontinuemovingafterthe

pictureistakentoensurethatthecameraisinmotiontheentireframe.Likethefollow-throughofagolfswing,you’llwantonesmooth,nonjerkymotion.Review your LCD screen periodically to see if you need to try a different

movement or to change your viewpoint or to change subjects. Youmay evenwish to alter the focal length—for instance, to narrow the view (to leave out

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distractions)ortowidenyourview(toincludemoreofthescene).Alastwordofcaution:Thisisyetanothersituationinwhichyoucanexpect

toreceivecuriousglancesorcommentsfrompassersbywhoseeaphotographerspinning, jiggling, and twirling the camera. They just won’t understand nowmuchcreativejoyyou’rehaving.Itwillbeyoursecret!

Thebrainisattractedtomultiplesofthreeandalsotothecolorred,andthisphotohasboth.Alongwiththoseaspects,

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photographerChellieStullalsowantedapainterly,abstracteffect:“ThiswasoneofmanyimagesImadeofthesethreeflowers,tryingvariousshutterspeedsandcameramovements,”shesays.“Thisone,usinga1/5-sec.shutterspeed—andusingacircularcameramotion—wasthemostcompelling.”Photo©ChellieL.Stull.1/5sec.atf/22,ISO100,70–200mmlensat70mm

PhotographerKatheNealonlovedhowtheseEastereggsturnedoutanddescribeshowshecapturedthisstudyofcolorandmotion:“Whiletheeggsweredrying,Igrabbedacameratocapturetheirvibranthues.Aftertryingafew‘regular’shots,IrealizedthatthebestwayIcouldconveywhatIsawwasto‘pan’theeggs.Usingexistinglight,ittookaboutfifteenminutes—andmorethanafewtries!—toachievetherightblendofshutterspeedandcameramovement.”Photo©KatheNealon.1/2sec.atf/16,ISO800,18–135mmlensat100mm

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PhotographerKristiHowsonwasattractedbyan“exoticandbeautifulsmallgroveoftreeswiththerightmixoflight,color,andline,”shesays.“Usingcameramovementovertime,Ienjoyedblendingtheelementsinanabstractfashionfortheircollectivebeauty.”Photo©KristiA.Howson.1.5secondsatf/19,ISO100,40mmlens

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/2sec.atf/36,ISO100,28–135mmlensat135mm

Photo©JimMiotke.1/8sec.atf/9,ISO100,70–300mmlensat100mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/8sec.atf/13,ISO100,70–300mmlensat70mm

Photo©JimMiotke.1/13sec.atf/13,ISO100,70–300mmlensat195mm

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Ridinginaspeedboat,it’shardtothinkofanythingbutwaterandmotion!Forthisimage,Inoticedropeextendingfromthebackoftheboat.AslowshutterspeedcreatedthesenseofmotionthatIhadenvisioned.Ialsophotographedtheropeasadiagonal.Photo©JimMiotke.1/15sec.atf/40,ISO200,70–300mmlensat300mm

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Astillcameracancapturemotioninsomanyways,asdescribedandshownthroughoutthischapter.PhotographerBeverlyBurkecreatedthiscolorfulstudyinmotionwithaclose-upcamerapositionandaLensbaby—aspecialtylensthatcreatesauniqueselective-focuseffect.“IsetupthisshotindoorswiththeSlinkynearawindow,providingnaturallight,”thephotographersays.“WhilemydaughterwasplayingwiththeSlinky,Imovedinclosetocreateanabstractfeeltotheimage.”Photo©BeverlyA.Burke.1/250sec.,ISO400,AperturePrioritymode,Lensbaby

ASSIGNMENT:EXPERIMENTLIKECRAZY

Paintingwithalongexposurecanbeahit-or-missaffair.Thepointistotryonethingandthenanother.Practicegettingyourrhythmdown.Varytheshutterspeeds,thespeedofyourmovement,andthefocallength.Thisisanexercisethatcanbeperformedanywhere.Anysubjectorscenewilldo.Afterall,thisisrehearsalforyournextbigshoot.Butdon’tbesurprisedifyouenduptransformingthatordinaryorboring-lookingsubjectintoacreativeimagewiththistechnique.Youjustneverknowforcertainwhatyou’lldiscover!

BLURRINGMOTIONBYZOOMING

Here’sanotherenjoyableandartisticwaytobreathelifeintoinanimatescenes:Tryaspecial-effectzoomtechniquewithyourlens.Specifically,zoomthelens

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whiletheshutterisopenduringalongexposure.It’sagreatwaytoaddenergyto an image and to imply motion, with the best results being very coolimpressionisticinterpretations.Whatare thebest subjects for this “zoom-blurring”?You’reonly limitedby

yourimaginationandyourwillingnesstoexperiment.Herearesomezoom-blurtipsandtechniques:

•Theshutterspeedmustbeslowenoughsothatyouhavetimetozoom—say,1/4sec.toafullsecond.Stopdownthelenstoasmallaperture(suchasf/16orf/22).Usea lowISOnumber.Avoidshooting inbrightmiddaysunlight,but ifyoumust,thenyou’lllikelyneedadeep-tintedpolarizerorneutral-densityfiltertogetashutterspeedthat’sslowenough.•Youcandothiswithorwithoutatripod,butwesuggestusingatripodtoavoidextracameramovementduringtheslowshutterspeed.• It’s advisable to first compose the scene at the zoom’s shortest focal length(lowestmmnumber).Thenzoomincloser—towardthezoom’slongerend.• To get smooth streaking, begin zooming before pressing the shutter button.Thenkeeponzoomingaftertheshuttercloses.Inaddition,besuretozoomthelensatasconsistentaspeedaspossibleandinanonstopmotion.Youcanzoomthroughthefullfocal-lengthrangeofyourlensorjustpartway.It’syourchoice,dependingonthecamera’sshutterspeed,thespeedatwhichyouzoomthelens,andhowyouwishtointerpretthescene.Don’tworryifyourearlyattemptsfallshort.Itcouldbethattheshutterspeed

isnotlongenough.Butitalsocouldrelatetoyourzoomingspeed:tooslowortoofast?ByanalyzingyourresultsontheLCDmonitorandthenexperimentingwith a variety of shutter speeds and zooming speeds, you’ll discover thecombinationof settings thatworks foryou.Practicegettingyourzoomingandtimingjustright.As with other shooting techniques involving motion, this zooming tactic

providesatonofcreativefun—alongwithahighfailurerateinthebeginning.Afterall,theresultsjustaren’tpredictable,andittakesawhiletogettheprocessdown.Butonceagain,thisiswheredigital’sgreatadvantagecomesin:Youcanreviewtheresultsinstantlyandseewhereyouneedtotweakthings.

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Notsurprisingly,colorfulflowersarefavoritesubjectsforthezoomingtechnique.Butdon’tstopthere,sincejustaboutanysubjectcanwork—evenrailroadtracksandoldbuildings.Photo©JimMiotke.1/2sec.atf/36,ISO50,28–135mmlensat117mm

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Photo©KarolGrace.1/13sec.atf/22,ISO200,28–135mmlensat53mm

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Theonlyhard-and-fastzoomingguidelineisthis:Whenyouseeapotentialsubject,giveitagoandseewhatyouget.It’salwaysagratifyingadventure!Photo©JimMiotke.1/3sec.atf/36,ISO50,70–300mmlensat130mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/8sec.atf/13,ISO100,70–300mmlensat130mm

Photo©JimMiotke.1/10sec.atf/11,ISO100,28–135mmlensat65mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/6sec.atf/22,ISO200,28–135mmlensat60mm

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Boldcolors,softovercastlight,andafunsubjectalwaysmakeanintriguingcombination.ThisphotoresultedfromaquicktriptoTennesseeandfromfollowingourownadviceofalwayshavingacamerahandy,justincase.Alongwiththerightlightandfinecolor,compositionwasanimportantingredient,too,especiallythebalancingofkeyelementsinthescene.Themainfocalpointsareclearlythecowpaintings.ButIfeltthedarkwindowattheright,whichstandsoutonthewhitewall,wasimportant,too,intermsofoverallbalance.Photo©KerryDrager.1/90sec.atf/11,ISO200,50mmlens

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CHAPTER6

PULLINGITALLTOGETHER

Thank you so much for taking part in this photographic quest for visualcreativity. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our thoughts and techniques,reviewing the many photographs, and trying some (hopefully all!) of theexercisesdesignedtotakethingsoutintothefield.There’snodoubt thatoneneeds tohaveadeepcommitmentandpassion to

takeyourphotographytothenextlevel.Weknowyoudo,sinceyouwouldnothavesetasideyourvaluabletimetoreadthisbookifyoudidn’t.Youhavethedrivingdesiretobecreative.Nowyouhavealmostallthetoolsyouneedtogettheresultsyouwant—consistently.We say “almost all the tools” because we aren’t done yet. Pulling it all

togethermeanscontinuingyourownvisualquest.So in thischapter,wecoverthreeimportanttechniques:Twoofthemincludeeditingyourworkandplanningpersonal projects. The third strategy is a deceptively simple one—a goal weoftenstriveforbutalltoooftenforget:totakethecameraeverywhereyougo.Nowlet’ssetouttopullitalltogether!

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ForphotographerSusanaHeide,challengingthemeshaveproventobeoneofthebestwaystogethercreativitygoing.Infact,shesays,thiseye-catchingimagewasthedirectresultofatheme—inthiscase,forks.Sheadds,“Thenaturalinclinationwouldhavebeentopairtheforkwithfood,butIguesswhenitcomestophotography,Iliketotaketheroadlesstraveled.Iliketostretchmyimaginationandgoforthelessobvious.Sometimestheresultisfavorableandsometimesit’snot.Liveandlearn—butneverblendin!”Photo©SusanaHeide.1/85sec.atf/2.5,ISO100,50mmlens

PERSONALPROJECTS

Shootingwithaclear-cutpurposecanbetheanswertoescapingtheinspirationalor motivational doldrums that periodically strike photographers. Exploring asubject,location,orthemeoveralongperiodoftimecanhelpyouexpandyourskills,rediscoveryourphotographicpassion,andflexyourartisticmuscles.Anongoingassignmentofteninvolvesasubjectorlocationclosetohome,so

you can pursue the same scene at various times of day, in unusual weatherconditions,andthroughouttheyear.Theseprojectsalsogiveyoutheopportunitytostudyyourresultsandreturnformoreimages.Possibilities might be a local zoo, a nearby park, or your own backyard.

Perhaps you’d like to make people aware of an environmental issue; yourpicturescouldserveasavaluablewaytohighlightanaturalareaworthsaving.Oryoucouldtakeonahistoricpreservationgoal,usingyourimagestohelpgainprotectionstatusforasignificantsite.Oryoumightchoosethemesorconcepts thatcanbecapturedanywhere—at

homeoraway—wheneveryouhaveadesiretodipintoathemeorwheneveralackofinspirationhits.Thelistofpossiblesubjectsisendless,buthereareafew

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togetyoustartedthinking:Humor (funny signsorbillboards), color (a scenedominatedby, say, redor

blue), design element (line, shape, texture, and so on), blurredmotion, ornatedoors,patternsinnature,windowreflections,unusualhats,strikingsilhouettesorshadows, back alleys, graffiti walls, street photography and portraits ofinterestingpeople,window-lightscenes,stilllifes,oruniquepointsofview.There’s a major benefit to having personal projects that involve do-it-

anywhere concepts. Can’t find something to photograph? Then pull apredeterminedthemeoutofyourphoto-ideabag!

JIM’SPROJECT:FAMILYALBUMAsaparent,IphotographmychildrenbecauseIfindendlessjoyinthiscreativeactivity.Itrytohaveacameraavailablewheneverpossible.Myfingerispoisedontheshutterbutton,alwaysreadytocaptureameaningfulmomentorafunnyscene.Ihavethreeadorablechildren—Julian,Alex,andAlina—whoprovetobecooperativesubjectstimeandagain.Mywife,Denise,oftengetsintotheaction,too.Aswithanysubject,you’llwanttovarythecomposition,thelight,andtheviewpoint. Also, with active kids—and even with portraits, when expressionscan change suddenly—I’ll switch the camera to Continuous mode to shoot arapid-fire series to help ensure that I get what I want. Keeping your cameraready for action, having willing subjects, and looking for variety are keys tosatisfyingchildren’sphotography!

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/80sec.atf/14,ISO400,28–135mmlensat85mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/160sec.atf/2,ISO100,50mmlens

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/320sec.atf/4,ISO200,30mmequivalent(digitalcompactcamera)

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/320sec.atf/6.5,ISO400,50mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/400sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,24–70mmlensat70mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/1000sec.atf/5,ISO200,28–135mmlensat75mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/2500sec.atf/2.8,ISO400,24–70mmlensat24mm

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Photo©JimMiotke.1/80sec.atf/4.5,ISO400,30mmequivalent(digitalcompactcamera)

Photo©JimMiotke.1/60sec.atf/4.5,ISO100,85mmlens

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KERRY’SPROJECT:COOLCARSI love photographing at outdoor car shows—the gleaming array of customvehicles and restored classics. But I mostly avoid the straightforward ordocumentary shots—for example, no this-is-what-a-19XX-Model-XYZ-looks-likepictures.Instead,I’mworkingonasmallercanvas—tightcompositionsthatzeroinonallthevibrantcolors,sensuouscurves,boldlines,gleamingchrome,mirrored reflections, and artsy abstracts.Mostly, I shoot early in themorning(just after the doors open) and in late afternoon—timeswhen there are fewershowgoers andwhen the light is at its best. In between shots, I’ll reviewmyresults and reshootwhen necessary.Often, I chatwith the always-friendly carownerswhoinvariablylovetheattentionofphotographers!

Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/29,ISO100,105mmlens

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/25sec.atf/32,ISO100,105mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/180sec.atf/13,ISO200,105mmlens

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/40sec.atf/25,ISO100,105mmlens

Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/25,ISO100,105mmlens

ASSIGNMENT:DRAWINGUPALIST

Thisisathinkingexercise.Onyourcomputeroronpaper,start

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listingallthenearbysubjects,places,events,oractivitiesthatyou’reinterestedinandthatyoucanphotographoveralongperiodoftime.Alsocomeupwithpossiblethemesandconceptsthatseemintriguing—onesthatcanbefoundandshotanywhere.Atfirst,jotdowneverything—don’tfilter.Onceyouaredone,gothroughandrateyourfavorites.Thengetout,startlooking,andbeginshooting!

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Photo©KerryDrager.1/8sec.atf/19,ISO100,105mmlens

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Self-Evaluation

It’struethattogetinspiringphotosyouhavetotakealotofpictures.Butifyouleaveitatthat—atonofimages—you’llbelookingattoomanyrejectsthatcanoverwhelm your winners. That’s why the second stage—selecting the best ofyour work—is so important. As the old saying goes, the difference betweennovice photographers and advanced photographers is that novices show all oftheirphotos,whileexpertsshowonlytheirbestimages.There’sgreatvalueingoingoveryourbestphotosfromthepastsixmonthsor

thepastyear.Seehowyouhaveprogressed.Lookfortrendsinyourwork.Alsocheck to see that you haven’t hit a visual rut, in which you are repeatedlyphotographingthesametypesofsubjectsinthesameways.Granted,it’snoteasytoassessyourwork,yetself-evaluationisacriticalstep

in a photographer’s growth. Try to analyze your work as dispassionately aspossible, castingaside theemotions that cancloudobjectivity.Time isoftenapartofthebestapproachhere—ifpossible,waitadayortwo,orlonger,afteraphotoshootforanyseriouseditingsothat theimmediatepostshootexcitementhaswornoff.Thiswillhelpyouletgoofthosephotosthatmissedthemark.However, the editing process should involve more than just admiring your

goodpicturesandtossingtherest.Italsoshouldinvolvetryingtodeterminewhy

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certainphotographssucceedandothersdon’t.Afteryou’vefinishedashoot,gothrough those shots and identify thebadones—youknow, the images that aretotally blurry, too dark, too light, or just plain boring. Don’t be too quick todeletethem,however.It’simportanttofigureoutwhatwentwrong.Ithasbeensaid that we can often learn more from our errors than we can from oursuccesses. Of course, you may know precisely why some images missed themark—forexample,youaccidentallyclickedtheshutterandshotyourfoot.After weeding out the clunkers, you’ll be surprised how much better your

imagesappearfromthatdayofshooting.Afterall,withaportfolioalmost—butnottotally—filledwithfineimages,theviewer’seyealwaysseemstobedrawntotheweakestimages.Getridofthem!Next,setasidepicturesthatareokaybutnotgreat(orthatyoucan’tdecideon

one way or the other) in a folder labeled “Mediocre” or “Outtakes” (orwhatever).Also,identifythoseimagesthatonlyhavepersonalmeaningtoyou—i.e.,thosesnapshotsthatappealonlytoyou,yourfamily,oryourfriends.Placethemintoafoldernamed“Personal.”Finally,afterdeletingthebadonesandsettingasidethemediocreandpersonal

ones,youshouldbeleftwithonlythewinners.Thisprocessisn’teasy,butwhenyoushowonlyyourbestimages,yourviewerswillthinkyou’rearealpro,ifnotagenius!Also remember that if your photos from your recent trip or family outing

didn’t meet your highest expectations, those photo shoots still did completeanother, equally exciting objective: getting you out and exploring the visualpossibilitiesandstrivingtofurtherdevelopyourvision.Now,isn’tthataworthygoal?

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Inthe“olddays,”filmphotographerswouldlineuptheircolorslides—ornegatives—onabiglightbox.Thentheeditingbegan:evaluatingtheimagesasawhole,zeroinginforacloselook,tossingoutthemistakes,andcomparingtwoormoresimilarimages.Well,youcanstilldothat!ThisphotoshowsthelighttableofAdobeBridge.Thisisjustoneexample,sincemanyotherimage-editingprogramsalsofeaturegreatwaystoreviewyourdigitalimages.Thisviewshowsthephotosassmallthumbnailsthatletyoueasilyandquicklyeditthebestfromthebad.Foracloserlook,youcanenlargespecificones.

Inthisphoto,theearly-morningwinterlightstrikesthestained-glasswindowsoftheWashingtonNationalCathedralatanicelowangle,floodingthesouthernaislewithintensecolor.Butthisphotoisactuallytheresultofanalyzingandreshooting.Explainsthephotographer,ChristopherJ.Budny,“ThefirsttimeIshotthisaislewaswithmypoint-and-shootcamera,handheld.Bythefollowingwinter,I’dlearnedsomuchmoreaboutphotographythatIwantedtotrytheshotagain.ThisimagethencameaboutafterI’dmoveduptoaDSLRandatripodthatcouldsitquitelow,justinchesoffthefloor.Iwantedalowshot,tomakesuretherecedingarcheswereclearlyvisible,aswellastocapturemorewallspace(andcolor!)ofeachrecedingbay.”

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Photo©ChristopherJ.Budny.1.6secondsatf/16,ISO100,17–85mmlensat47mm

YOURCAMERA:DON’TLEAVEHOMEWITHOUTITDoyougrabyourcameraeachtimeyouleavethehouse?Youshould,sincethisuncomplicated act separates casual picture-takers from serious image-makers.Routinelycarryingacamerahasanawesomedoublebonus:(1)You’llcomeupwith some good pictures that you wouldn’t have captured otherwise, and (2)you’llgiveyourshootingeyeregularworkouts.Takeyourcameratowork,toaparty,tothegame,ontotheairplane,outfora

drive. Even to get your car’s oil changed. Everywhere. Take this minimalistapproachtoheart:Golight,gosimple.Sure, not every outing will produce superb pictures. But having a camera

close at hand helps keep your creative vision sharp as you look for possiblesubjects and discover how light affects certain scenes.A camera also has thisstreetphotographybenefit:Itgivesyouareasontostopandtalkwithpeople—evenstrangers.If you don’t already pack along a camera, why not?Maybe your usual rig

consistsofaheavybackpackorabulkyshoulderbagoverflowingwith lensesandaccessories.Hereareafewtips:SomeseriousDSLRshootersownacompactdigitalcamerajustfortraveling

light.OtherphotographersparedowntheirDSLRrigtoonlyasinglelens—say,a favoritezoom.AndsomewhoownaheavyproDSLRopt fora lightweightbackup DSLR for quick outings. Regardless of the particular model, afterconsistentlypackingacamera,you’llstartfeeling“naked”whenheadingoutthedoorwithoutit.

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Thestorybehindthisphotoisjustasentertainingastheimageitself.ItwasinNewYorkCity,justafterthefirstbigsnowstormoftheseason,andasnowballfightwasintheworks.Titlingthisimage“TheBigPayback,”photographerOscarSuárezcapturedtheboy’sexpression,thegleaminhiseye,thevibrantcolors,andthefallingsnow.Here’smore:“Hehadjustbeenhitwithaflurryofsnowballsbyhisoldercousins,andhewaslookingtoretaliate.Priortocapturingthisphoto,IhadtakensometestshotstogetafeelforhowmuchlightIwasworkingwithandsetthecamerasettingsaccordingly.Now,itwasallaboutbeingalertandkeepingmyeyesopentocapturethemoment.Iwasluckyenoughtocapturethisprecisemomentwhereyoucanfeelthetensioninhisemotionswhilehepacksthesnowforthebigpayback.Iwantedatightcompositiontopullyourightinandmakeyoufeelwhatheisthinking—thatalthoughhewasthesmallest,hewouldnotgodownwithoutafight!”Photo©OscarSuárez.1/400sec.atf/5.7,ISO400,50mmlens

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Takingyourcameraeverywheremeanscarryingitwithyouwhengoing,amongotherplaces,tothemarket.Inthiscase,the“market”isrenownedPikePlaceMarket,whichisoneofSeattle’smostpopulartouriststops.Seeingthishumoroussign,Icouldn’tresisttakingapicture.Atthesametime,Icouldn’tresistcomposingtheshotcarefully,too,withthesignoff-centerandatightcompositionthatjustincludestherowsoffruitwithoutanyadjacentorbackgrounddistractions.Photo©JimMiotke.1/60sec.atf/5.6,ISO100,28–135mmlensat109mm

Thisphotocombinesagreatsubjectandgreatcolor.SaysphotographerDonnaRaeMoratelli,“Thisimagewascapturedinthemorninglightonanovercastday.Theredbackgroundisanexteriorwallofarestaurantthatcaughtmyattention.”Notethehorizontalcompositionwithanartisticbalance—mainsubjectontherightandnegativespaceontheleft.Photo©DonnaRaeMoratelli.1/45sec.atf/8,ISO100,15–30mmlensat22mm

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Busycitystreetscanproduceeye-catchingresults,assumingyouhaveyourcameracloseathand.PhotographerAnnaKrukowskafoundthiscart—withthecolorfulwheelandthepatternofmelons—alongastreetinCairo,Egypt.Thesoftlightenhancedthecolorsanddetails,andaverticalformatnicelycapturedthecolorsanddetails.Photo©AnnaKrukowska.1/60sec.atf/6.3,ISO400,18–70mmlensat50mm

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It’shardtobeatanextremeclose-upwithawide-anglelenswhenphotographingranchlife.Here,thesidelightfromalow-in-the-skysunenhancedthecolorsandcreatedawarm-vs.-coolcolorcontrastwiththebluesky.Photo©JimMiotke.1/125sec.atf/4.5,ISO100,16–35mmlensat16mm

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Agreatadvantageofmacrophotographyisprovidingauniquelookatthingsmostpeopleneversee.Forthisscene,Ichosetofillupthepictureframewithmysubject,whileplacingtheflower’smainfocalpointlowintheframe,sothepetalsextendupwardthroughtherestofthepicture.Iusedmymacrolens,buttherearealsovariousmacroaccessories—suchasextensiontubesorclose-upfilters—thatattachtoanyDSLRcameralens,thuslettingyoufocuscloserforamacrolook.Photo©JimMiotke.1/6sec.atf/22,ISO100,100mmmacrolens

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GLOSSARYOFPHOTOGRAPHICTERMS

AF(autofocus)lock.Afunctionthatallowsyoutoholdthefocusingpointwhileyoumovethecameratore-composeyourphoto.Italsoallowsyoutoprefocusonafast-movingsubjecttohelpyoucatchtherightmomentwhenshootingactionshots.

Aperture.Thesizeoftheopeninginthelens,whichcontrolshowmuchlightentersthecamera.

AperturePriority(A)mode.Thismodeautomaticallycalculatestheshutterspeedafteryouchooseyourpreferredaperturesetting(f-stop).

Autoexposure(AE).Whenthecameraautomaticallysetstheapertureand/orshutterspeedtowhatitconsidersbestforyourparticularlightingsituation.

Autofocus(AF).Whenthecamerafocusesforyou,asopposedtomanualfocus,whenyouhavetosetthefocusyourself.

Backlight.Whenthesunisinfrontofyou,lightingyoursubjectfrombehind.Blinkies.YoumaybeabletosetupyourcamerasothatyouseeoverexposedhighlightsflashintheLCDmonitor.Thiswarningflashingisoftenreferredtoastheblinkies.

Blownout.Whenthehighlightsarecompletelywhiteandwashed-out,withnodetail.

Camerashake.Whenthecameramovesalittleasyoupressdowntheshutterbutton,causingthepicturetocomeoutblurry.Afastershutterspeedoratripodaregenerallythecures.

Close-focusingdistance.Theminimumdistanceyoucangettoasubjectbeforethelenscannolongerfocusproperly.

Composition.Arrangementofeverythinginthephoto.Contrast.Thiscanrefertocolor(i.e.,boldvs.subduedorwarmvs.cool)orlighting(i.e.,thedifferencebetweenthebrightareasofaphotoandtheshadowedareas).

Cropping.Cuttingofftheedgesofyourcomposition,eitherbymovinginclosertoyoursubjectwhenyou’retakingthepictureorbytrimmingofftheedgesof

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yourfinishedphotograph.Depthoffield(DOF).Therangeofsharpnessinascenefromfronttoback.DSLR.Anacronymfordigitalsinglelensreflex.ADSLRcameraallowsyoutouseinterchangeablelenses.DigitalSLRsfeaturesophisticatedfocus,exposure,andflashsystems.Also,usersofDSLRslookthroughthelensitselftoseethescene,ratherthanthroughaseparatewindow.

Exposure.Theamountoflightthatisallowedtohitthesensor.Balanceiskeyhere.Toomuchlightresultsinoverexposed(too-light)images;toolittlelightresultsinunderexposed(too-dark)images.

Exposurecompensation.Afunctionfoundonmoreexpensivecamerasthatletsyouadjustexposurelevelstocompensateforcircumstances(verylightorverydark)thatmighttrickthecamerameter.

f-stoporf/number.Thef-stopnumbersrepresentthesizeofthelensaperture.This,combinedwithshutterspeed,servestoexposeeachphotowiththecorrectamountoflight.

Fast.Afastlenscanbesettoaverylowf-stopnumbertoallowmorelighttopassthrough.Fastlensescancomeinhandywhenshootingsports,weddings,orothersubjectswhereyouneedafastshutterspeedinlow-lightsituations.

Filter.Apieceofglassplacedinfrontofyourlenstoenhancelightand/orcolors,ortoprotectthemorevaluablelensglass.Also,intheworldofdigitalimaging,filtersaresoftwarefunctionsthatcanbeusedforcreativeeffects,forfixinglightingissues,andsoon.

Fixedlens.Alsocalledafixed-focal-lengthorprimelens.Thislensispermanentlyawide-angle,telephoto,orsomethinginbetween;itdoesnotallowyoutozoominorout.

Focalplane.Thepointinyourphotothatisinfocus(thisincludeseverythingthat’satthesamedistancefromyourcamera).

Focallength.Awaytomeasurethemagnifyingpowerofalens.A50mmlenshasafocallengthof50mmandseesthingsatroughlythesamesizeastheunaidedhumaneyeseesthem.A400mmtelephotofocallengthislikelookingthroughapairofbinoculars;thingsfarawayaregreatlymagnified.A20mmwide-anglelensallowsyoutosqueezeinanexpansivevista.

Form.Ashapewiththree-dimensionaldepth.Format.Referstodigitalfileformat.JPEGisthemostcommonlyused,but

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capturingrawfiles(photosbeforethey’reprocessedintoafileformat)givesadigitalphotographermoreflexibilityandlatitudewhenitcomestoprocessingthephotolater.

Frame.Theviewyouseethroughyourcamera’sviewfinder.Also,framingcanrefertoacompositionaltrickwhereyoulookuseanelementwithinthecomposition,suchastreebranchesorawindow,toframeanotherelementintheshot.

Frontlight.Whenthesunisbehindyouandthereforelightingyoursubjectfromthefront.

Glare.Whenlightreflectsoffofareflectivesurface,suchasglass,watersurface,wetrocks,andsoon.

Glass.Anothertermforlenses.Highlights.Theextremelybrightpointsinascene.Incamera.Referstodoingatechniquewhileshooting,tosaveyourselfthetimeandhassleofhavingtolaterfixtheimageinaprogramlikePhotoshop.

ISO.WithinitialsderivingfromtheInternationalOrganizationofStandardization,ISOreferstohowsensitiveacamerasensoristolight.AfastISO,suchas1600,willcaptureimagesmorequicklyandgenerallywillprovidesharperresultswhenhandholdingthecameraindimconditions.AnISOof50to200,ontheotherhand,ismuchslower,lesssensitive,andworksbestinbrightlightorwhencombinedwiththeuseofatripod.Inmostcases,whenshutterspeedisn’tafactor,alowISOisrecommendedtoreducethepossibilityofnoise.

Landscape.Besidesagrandoutdoorscene,thistermalsoreferstoimagesshotinahorizontalorientation(asopposedtovertical—“portrait”—images).

LCD.Anacronymforliquidcrystaldisplay.TheLCDisthemonitoronadigitalcamerathatallowsyoutoreviewimagesimmediatelyaftershootingthemand,inmoreandmorecameras,isalsousedas“liveview”forcomposingphotos.

Lightmeter(orexposuremeter).Adevicethatmeasuresthebrightnessinascenetohelpthecameragettheproperexposure.Therearein-cameralightmeters,andsomephotographersusespecial,handheldlightmeters,aswell.

Longlens.SeeTelephotolens.Macro.Extremeclose-upphotography.Aspecializedmacrolensormacro

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accessory(suchasanextensiontube)letsyoufocusfarclosertoasubjectthanaregularlens.

Manualfocus.Whenyoudictatewhattofocusoninyourscene,asopposedtolettingthecameraautomaticallydothefocusing.

mm.Millimeter.Aunitofmeasureusedwhenreferringtoeitheralens(forexample,a100–400mmzoomlens)ortofilmformats(forexample,35mmfilm).Confusingly,though,millimeteralsospecifiesthefiltersizesonsomelenses;forinstance,youmayhavea50mmnormallensthataccepts52mm-sizefilters.

Noise.Aneffectofgrainliketextureinaphoto.Thecolorsoftenappeardullerandthegrainliketexturecanseemtoreduceclarity.OnemajorcauseistheuseofareallyhighISO.

Normal.Anormallens—intheneighborhoodof40mmto50mm—seesthingsataboutthesamemagnificationlevelastheunaidedhumaneye.Telephotoandwide-anglelenses,ontheotherhand,makethingsbiggerorsmallerthanthehumaneyeusuallyseesthem.

Overexposure.Whenthesensorreceivestoomuchlightandthepicturelooksbright.

Perspective.Thewaylinesconvergeastheytravelfartherawayfromtheeye.Also,thewayobjectsinyourphotorelatetooneanotherinsize.

Point-and-shoot.Abasic,automaticcamera.Thetermpoint-and-shootalsoreferstothe“snapshooting”styleofquickshooting.

Pointofview.Theplaceandpositionfromwhichyoushoot.Polarizer.Afilteryoucanattachtoyourlenstoreduceglareandsaturatecolorsortomakeskiesadeepblue.

Portrait.Alongwithapicturedepictingapersonorgroupofpeople,thistermalsorepresentsimagestakeninaverticalorientation,whenyouturnyourcameraonendbeforeshootingthepicture.

Prefocusing.SeeAFlock.Programmode(P).Onsomecameras,thisrepresentsthemodethatautomaticallycalculatesbothapertureandshutterspeed.

Raw.Apreprocessedimage,largerbutcontainingmuchmoreinformationthanaJPEGformat.SeeFormat.

RuleofThirds.Aprincipleofcompositionusedtoaddasenseofbalanceand

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uniquenesstophotographsbytheoff-centerplacementofthepicture’smainsubject.

Selectivefocusing.Theartoflimitingdepthoffieldsothatonlyyoursubjectisinsharpfocus.

Self-timer.Afeaturethatdelaysthemomentwhenthecameratakesthepicture.Aself-timerallowsyoutogetintothepictureyourselfortoshootwithoutactuallymovingthecamera,thusavoidingthecamera-shakeproblem.

Shortlens.SeeWide-anglelens.Shutter.Amechanismthatcontrolshowmuchlightisallowedtogetintothecamera.

Shutterbutton.Thebuttonyoupresstotakethepicture.ShutterPriority(S)mode.Thismodeautomaticallycalculatesapertureafteryouspecifytheshutterspeed.

Shutterspeed.Howlongtheshutterisleftopen,orhowlongthecameratakestomakethepicture.

SLR.SeeDSLR.Soft.Referstothepartsofphotographsthatareslightlyblurry.Thiscanbegood(say,whencreativelyusingashallowdepthoffield)ornotsogood(whenareasofanimageareoutoffocusbutshouldbesharp).Thistermalsodescribesthediffused,gentlerkindoflightofabright,overcastdayandcanrefertosubtlybeautifulcolors(asopposedtovibranthues).

Telephotolens.Alensthatmagnifiesyoursubject,enablingyoutoshootsubjectsthatareveryfaraway,usually70mmorabove.

Tripod.Wisephotographersoftenattachtheircameratothisthree-leggedstandtokeepthecamerasteadywhiletakingapicture,tomakeuseofcertaincreativeeffects(suchasadeepdepthoffieldandtoconveymotion),andtofine-tunetheircompositions.

Tv.Standsfortimevalue.EspeciallyonSLRcameras,thisisoftenusedtoindicateaShutterPrioritymode.

Underexposure.Whenthesensordoesn’treceiveenoughlightandthepicturelookstoodark.

Viewpoint.SeePointofview.Wide-anglelens.Alensthatgivesyouawideorsweepingview—usuallyunder

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35mm.Wideopen.Shootingatalens’slowestf-stopnumber,suchasf/2.8.Zoom.Azoomlensprovidesmoreflexibilitybyallowingyoutoeasilychangethefocallength(theamountofmagnification)beforeyoushoot.

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CONTRIBUTINGPHOTOGRAPHERS

The followingmembersand instructorsofBetterPhoto.comandparticipants inBetterPhoto’sMasterpieceMembershipprogramcontributedanumberofphotosforthisbook.TherestwerecreatedbyJimandKerry.

MaryBethAiellowww.mary-beth-aiello-photography.comAmaliaArriagadeGarciawww.betterphoto.com/Premium/default.aspx?id=17963&mp=V1

StefaniaBarbierwww.stefania-barbier.comMargaretBarrywww.betterphoto.com?pbarryStaceyA.Bateswww.betterphoto.com?sabatesChristopherJ.Budnywww.chrisbudny.comPeterK.Burianwww.peterkburian.comBeverlyA.Burkewww.bevburkephotography.comKathleenT.Carrwww.kathleencarr.comSarahA.Christianwww.schristian-photography.comNancydeFlonwww.fstopnancyphoto.comReneeDoylewww.renee-doyle-photography.comSusanGallagherwww.susan-gallagher-photography.comKarolGracewww.threedogstudio.comDebraHarder,DRHImageswww.drhimages.comSonyaL.Hatfield-Hallwww.betterphoto.com?sonyasnapsSusanaHeidewww.betterphoto.com?susanaKristiA.Howsonwww.betterphoto.com?kristiWandaJuddwww.wandajudd.comAnnaKrukowskawww.betterphoto.com/Premium/default.aspx?id=288791&mp=V2

JonM.Lamrouexwww.jonmlamrouex.com

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LindaLesterwww.lindadlester.comDeborahLewinsonwww.newjerseyphotos.netKatarinaManssonwww.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?memberID=175747GregMcCroskerywww.imagismphotos.comAnneMcKinnellwww.betterphoto.com/Premium/default.aspx?id=294293&mp=V3

LeslieMcLainwww.betterphoto.com/gallery/gallery.asp?memberID=222331DonnaRaeMoratelliwww.donnaraephotography.comRolanNarmanwww.rsnphoto.comKatheNealonwww.thephotodamsel.comWilliamNeillwww.williamneill.comVikOrensteinwww.vikorensteinphotography.comDonnaPagakiswww.betterphoto.com?donnaBeckyJ.Parkinsonwww.beckyparkinsonphotography.comDebbiePaynewww.betterphoto.com?dellenIbarionexPerellowww.thecandidframe.comJacquelineRogerswww.petitclercphotography.comDeborahSandidgewww.debsandidge.comLynnSapadinwww.lynnslookingglass.comCarlaTrefethenSaunderswww.betterphoto.com?saundersFranSaunderswww.betterphoto.com?frannyLelandN.Saunderswww.lelandsaundersphotography.comRobSheppardwww.natureandphotography.comLaurieRubinShuppwww.betterphoto.com?lshuppDougSteakleywww.douglassteakley.comChellieL.Stullwww.betterphoto.com/Premium/default.aspx?id=277398&mp=V1

OscarSuárezwww.elsuarez.comTonySweetwww.tonysweet.comJimZuckermanwww.jimzuckerman.com

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ThissunrisephotoofSt.AugustineBeach,Florida,actuallybeganthedaybefore,duringascoutingtrip.Itpaystocheckoutthingsinadvance,sincetryingtofindagoodlocationintheearly-morningdarknesscanbefrustrating.Ichoseawide-angleviewonthebluffabovethebeachandincludedthestrongleadinglineofthepier,whichtakestheviewerintothescene.Ipositionedthemainfocalpoint—therisingsun—awayfromthemiddleofthecomposition.Suchanoff-centerplacementisusuallymorevisuallydynamicthanacenteredone.Photo©KerryDrager.1/45sec.atf/16,ISO200,20mmlens

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Reflectionsalwaysseemtograbtheviewer’sattention—whetherfromwater,chrome,windows,whatever.Inthiscase,themirroredimagesjumpedout,alongwiththesurroundingdesigns.Ichoseaclose-upviewtoemphasizethecolors,patterns,andreflections.Photo©JimMiotke.1/125sec.atf/6.3,ISO100,28–135mmlensat135mm

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RESOURCES

SELECTEDBIBLIOGRAPHYFreeman,Michael.ThePhotographer’sEye:CompositionandDesignforBetterDigitalPhotos.FocalPress,2007.Thebasicsofdesign—aswellaslight,color,andgraphicelements—arecoveredinthisbook.

Frost,Lee.DesigningaPhotograph:VisualTechniquesforMakingYourPhotographsWork.AmphotoBooks,2001.Thisuniquebookincludestechniques,lessons,comparisons,andmore—allrelatedtocomposingadynamicphoto.

Miotke,Jim.BetterPhotoBasics:TheAbsoluteBeginner’sGuidetoTakingPhotosLikeaPro.AmphotoBooks,2010.Thefundamentalsareallhere:exposure,composition,andlight.You’lllearntipsandtrickstoimproveyourpicturesrightaway,regardlessofyourcamera.

Miotke,Jim.TheBetterPhotoGuidetoDigitalPhotography.AmphotoBooks,2005

Miotke,Jim.TheBetterPhotoGuidetoDigitalNaturePhotography.AmphotoBooks,2007

Miotke,Jim.TheBetterPhotoGuidetoPhotographingChildren.AmphotoBooks,2008.Ifyoulikethebookyou’reholdingrightnow,youwon’twanttomissthisandtheprevioustwotitleslisted,whichareallpartoftheBetterPhotoGuideseries.

Patterson,Freeman.PhotographyandtheArtofSeeing.KeyPorterBooks,2004.Thisacclaimedbookcoversdesign,composition,andcreativevisionandincludesPatterson’ssuperbphotography.

Peterson,Bryan.LearningtoSeeCreatively:Design,Color&CompositioninPhotography.AmphotoBooks,2003.Thisbeautifulbookcoverstheelementsofdesign,expandingyourvision,andthemagicoflight.

Sheppard,Rob.TheMagicofDigitalLandscapePhotography.Lark,2010.Inthiscomprehensiveguide,theauthordiscussesthetechniques,gear,and

Page 245: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography Learn to Master Composition, Color, and Design

visionnecessarytoshootstrikingnatureimages.Tharp,Brenda.CreativeNature&OutdoorPhotography,RevisedEdition.AmphotoBooks,2010.Theauthorshareshercreativevisioninregardtovisualdesign,color,light,andcomposition.

Zuckerman,Jim.ProSecretstoDramaticDigitalPhotos.Lark,2011.Thisinspiringbookbyatopstockphotographerprovidesmanyinsightsandtechniquesforcapturingextraordinaryimages.

BETTERPHOTO.COMEvenifJimwerenotitsfounderandpresident,andKerrywerenotastafferandinstructor,wewouldstillvouchforthissiteasthebestphotographyresourceontheWeb!BetterPhoto’smissionistohelpphotographersfeelfreetobecreativeandimprovetheirskills—andtohavefundoingit.BetterPhoto,whichlaunchedin1996,offersatop-notchonlinedigitalphotographyschool(inwhichstudentsgetfeedbackfromtoppros),plusaphotocontest,newsletters,websites,onlinegalleries,andavarietyofotherresourcesforphotographers.

MAGAZINESDigitalPhotodpmag.comAfinepublicationfilledwithtips,reviews,techniques,andbuyer’sguides.

DigitalPhotoProdigitalphotopro.comBeautifullyproducedmagazinethatfocusesontrends,photographerprofiles,andtechniques.

OutdoorPhotographeroutdoorphotographer.comAnoutstandingmagazinecoveringtheartandtechniqueofscenic,wildlife,andtravelphotography.

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Shutterbugshutterbug.comAwell-stocked,well-editedmagazineofshootingtips,techniques,andreviewsofequipmentandsoftware.

Petersen’sPhotographicDigitalPhotographyGuidephotographic.comAquarterlymagazinethatfeaturesgreattutorialsandgreatphotography.

PopularPhotographypopphoto.comLotsofreviewsandnewsoncameragearandsoftware,plustipsonphotographyandthedigitaldarkroom.

PracticalPhotographyphotoanswers.co.ukABritishpublicationwithinformation,inspiration,anddown-to-earthphotographicadvice.

CAMERAANDGEARMANUFACTURERSTherearemanyqualitymanufacturers—fartoomanytolist.Here,weconcentrateonafewofourfavorites.

Canon

canon.comJimshootswithCanonDSLRsandlenses.

Gitzo

gitzo.com

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Themakerofhigh-qualitytripodsthathavelongbeenthestandardformanytopproshooters.

Lensbaby

lensbaby.comUniqueSLRcameralensesdesignedforcreativeselectivefocus.

LowePro

lowepro.comAmanufactureroffinecamerabagsandphotobackpacksofallshapes,types,andsizes.

Manfrotto

manfrotto.usThemanufacturerofafulllineofexcellenttripodsthatfitjustaboutanybudget.

Nikon

nikonusa.comKerryshootswithNikonDSLRsandlenses.

ReallyRightStuff

reallyrightstuff.comAninnovativedesignerofhigh-qualitytripods,ballheads,andquick-releasesystems.

ThinkTankPhoto

thinktankphoto.com

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Thestate-of-the-artmakerofhigh-qualitycamerabagsandphotobackpacks.

Experimenting(often)andbreakingtherules(whennecessaryforanartisticeffect)aresoimportantintheroadtovisualcreativity.Withthisgardenofflowers,Ipannedthecamerawithaslowshutterspeedtogiveasenseofblurredmotion.Youcan’talwayspredicttheresults,soexpectmanyouttakeswhenyouusethistechniqueof“painting”withmotion.Expectalotofcreativefun,too!

Photo©JimMiotke.1/13sec.atf/9,ISO100,300mmlens

CAMERAANDGEARRETAILERSThere’snothinglikeagoodcamerashopforone-on-oneserviceandforholding—inyourhands!—that coolnewcameramodelyou’vebeenconsidering.Andit’s ideal for buying a tripod, too: Just pack up your heaviest camera-and-lenscombinationand seehow itworkson the tripod that catchesyoureye.On theother hand, there’s nothing like the convenience of an online store, andthankfully,therearemanyreputableoutlets.Herearetwothatwelike:

B&HPhoto

bhphotovideo.comThewebsiteofthisretailerishuge,withjustabouteverythingyoucanimagine.B&Halsooperatesamonster-sizedsuperstoreinNewYorkCitythatyoumustseetobelieve.

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Hunt’sPhoto&Video

huntsphotoandvideo.comBesidesabigonlinepresence,thisretaileralsohasabigbrick-and-mortarstorepresencethroughoutmuchofNewEngland.

PHOTOSOFTWARE

AdobePhotoshopandLightroom

www.adobe.comAlsoinAdobe’sfinelineofimage-editingprograms,there’sPhotoshop’swonderful“littlebrother”(or“littlesister”):Elements.

NikSoftware

niksoftware.comEstablishedin1995,Nikhasbecomealeaderindigitalphotographicfiltersandsoftwaretechnology.

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INDEX

Aaction,freezingofadventure,visual,huntforafternoon,latealbum,familyAperturePriorityassignments

Bbackgroundsbacklight“Bad”light,goodphotosinbalance,4.1,4.2ballheadsbestexposuremodebesttimeofdayblackandwhiteblurredmotion,5.1,5.2bordersbreakingrulesbreathingspacebrightwhiteskiesbuyer’sguide,tripod

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Ccableshutterreleasecamera(s)carryingofmanufacturersofretailersofsteady,andmotiontiltingof

carryingcameracars,coolcharts,hyperfocalclassicspotsclose-upscolorcolorcontrastcolorquestcompositionconqueringfearscontrastcolorlighting

converginglinescoolcarscoolcolorscreativedigitalphotographycurvinglines

Ddarkroom,digital

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dawn,1.1,1.2deepdepthoffield,4.1,4.2depthandforegroundframing

depthoffielddepth-of-fieldpreviewdesign,elementsofdiagonallines,2.1,2.2,2.3,2.4digitaldarkroomdigitalphotography,creativedirectionright,facinginofsunlight

distortion,creativedistractionsdocumentaryshotdownwardlookdrawinguplistDSLRzoomlensdusk.Seetwilight

Eearlymorning,1.1,1.2evaluation,self-exploringtimesofdayexposing,forsunrise/sunsetsilhouettesexposuremode,bestexposures,long,paintingwithexposuretriangle

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extensiontubesextraordinary,ordinarytoeyemorethanmeetswide-angle

eyelevel

Ffacingrightwayfamilyalbumfears,conqueringoffiltersfirstthingsfirstfixedlensesflexibility,ofplanfocalpoint,fordeepdepthoffieldfocusingstrategyinfreezingactioninpanning

followingrulesforegroundframingformframing,foregroundfreezingactionfrontlight

Ggearmanufacturersgearretailers

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gettingstartedgoodphotos,in“bad”light“graphic,”in“photographic,”104

Hhead,tripodhorizonhorizontalformat,3.1,3.2horizontallineshuntforvisualadventurehyperfocalcharts

Iimage,sharperimagestabilization(IS),1.1,3.1ISO,andexposuretriangle

JJim’sproject

KKerry’sprojectkeystoning,1.1,1.2

Llateafternoonleadinglineslegs,tripod

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lens(es)fixedmacromiddle-range,1.1,1.2telephoto,1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4,1.5,1.6wide-angle,1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4zoom

light,natural,qualityof,1.1,1.2lightingcontrastline(s)convergingcurvingdiagonal,2.1,2.2,2.3,2.4horizontalleadingpowerofvertical

list,drawingupoflocation,freshlock-upmodelongexposures,paintingwithlookingdownlookinguplowpointofview

Mmacroanddepthoffield

magazines

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manufacturers,cameraandgearmerges,2.1,3.1midday,1.1,1.2middle-rangelenses,1.1,1.2mode,exposure,bestmorethanmeetseyemorning,early,1.1,1.2motionblurred,5.1,5.2photographingof

movingsubject,panningof

Nnaturallight,qualityofnegativespaceneutral-density(ND)filternoplan,asgoodplannormallenses

Oobservationopportunity,photoordinary,toextraordinaryorientationovercastday,1.1,1.2

Ppainting,withlongexposurespanning,ofmovingsubject

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pan/tiltheadspatiencepatternpersonalprojects“photographic,”“graphic”inphotographingmotionphotoopportunityphotosoftwareplacement,subjectplanning,ofstrategypointofviewtwisted

polarizerpotential,seeingofpower,oflinepreview,depth-of-fieldprimelensesprojects,personalpullingitalltogether

Qquality,ofnaturallightquest,colorquick-releasesystemquicktest,forblackandwhite

Rrepetitionretailers,cameraandgear

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revisitingscenesrightdirection,facinginRuleofThirds

Sscaleseeingpotentialself-evaluationself-timershallowdepthoffieldshape(s)assilhouettes

sharperimageshootingstrategyshutter,slow,andmotionshutterrelease,cablesidelightsilhouettes,shapesasskyamountofbrightwhite

slowshutter,andmotionsoftware,photospacebreathingnegative

startingsteadiness,oftripodsteadycamera,andmotion

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straightforwardshotstrategyfocusing,5.1,5.2planningofshooting

straycolorssturdiness,tripodsubject(s)lackofmoving,panningofplacementof

sunlightdirectionofmidday

sunrisesunrisesilhouettes,exposingforsunset,1.1,1.2sunsetsilhouettes,exposingfor

Ttelephotolens,1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4,1.5,1.6test,forblackandwhitetexturetilting,ofcameratimesofday,1.1,1.2,1.3best

tripodstwilight,1.1,1.2twistedpointofview

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Uunstructuredapproachupwardlook

Vverticalformat,3.1,3.2,3.3verticallinesvibrationreduction(VR)visualadventure,huntforvisualization

Wwarmcolorswhite,blackandwhitebalance,intwilightwhiteskies,brightwide-anglelens,1.1,1.2,1.3,1.4wowfactor

Zzooming,blurringmotionby

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Thiscollectionofpineconesalmostdemandedagraphic-designtreatmentthatemphasizedthepattern.Thismeantzoomingintight,whilealsomakingsuretoleaveoutanysurroundingelementsnotonlytopreventdistractionsbuttogiveasensethatthepine-conepatternextendedbeyondtheborders.Photo©JimMiotke.1/8sec.atf/40,ISO50,70–300mmlensat250mm