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Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

Seeing RED

Bridges and Fog

From Josh Anon/ DPA instructor in San Francisco To view more of his images please visit Even though Mark Twain never actually said the coldest winter he’d ever had was a summer in San Francisco, the near-daily fog does make for some cold summers.  And some beautiful pictures!  The bay area’s geography is also unique in that there are hills in the east bay, and the hills are often a demarcation line for the fog.  Depending on the weather conditions, there are days where a low, thick bank of fog rolls into the bay but below the top of the hills.  This makes it so that you can get a great vantage point, looking across the city and seeing where the fog is.  I was in the hills on one such day, guessing the weather conditions would be correct, but I arrived before sunset and before I could see for sure what the fog was doing.  As the sun started to set, the fog moved across the bay.  A long lens on a tripod (roughly 400mm) let me isolate the features that make the scene say “San Francisco,” that is the bay bridge, Sutro tower, and the downtown skyline.  Even though the fog covers most of them, you still have a sense of geography.  Waiting for the lights to come on also added a nice element to the shot, a bit of warmth and brightness contrasting with the fog. Canon EOS 1Ds with Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS on a tripod at 400mm.  f/16, 1.6 sec, ISO 100, -2/3 stops in evaluative metering.  

Symmetry, timing, and simplicity

From Frank Siteman/ DPA instructor in Boston To view more of his images please visit Symmetry, timing and simplicity are the backbone of many stand-out images. This photo was taken while on a casual, end of day walk along the shoreline at Old Orchard Beach in Ogunquit, Maine.  As the sun was setting behind me, only the clouds were being directly illuminated, creating a scene with  an intense, warm-cool  (yellow/blue) color contrast.  Adding to this, was the reflection of the sky on the mirror-like, smooth sand beach, that appeared with each retreating wave, making the timing of the exposure an important factor.  Choosing a wide angle allowed for the inclusion of  the most real estate (keeping both the actual clouds and their reflections on the sand) and enabled me to work with a slowish shutter speed of a 1/15th sec with an aperture  of  f/8.0, holding focus from the foreground to the horizon. This was a situation where breaking the “rule of thirds” allowed for a more dynamic image.   Camera was Canon 5D, ISO 200 and using a 24mm focal length with a 24-105 IS lens.

The Panning effect

 From Frank Siteman/ DPA instructor from Boston View more of his images at The technique used to make this photo is called panning.  It is a very effective means of conveying motion, and can bring amazing energy to a photo. To obtain images like this, one moves the camera with the subject, keeping the main object in the same place, relative to the edge of the frame.  The image of the background sweeps from side to side while the car remains centered….or wherever you’ve placed it in the frame.  You can check out the intensity of the blur by simple experimentation, moving the camera at different speeds and/or following subjects which move at different velocities.  I like to find a shutter speed which gives me an acceptable and appealing blur and then find an aperture/ISO combination which gives neither an over nor under exposed file, checking your histogram to ensure you are not unnecessarily blowing out important detail.   Digital photography makes taking pann shots relatively simple, as it gives you the means to adjust your settings to meet whatever situations you encounter and provide you with an instant preview.   In this instance, I was in the small village of Lyme Regis in England and saw this red coupe coming towards me at a relatively slow speed.  In order to show it’s motion, I knew from experience that I would be able to get the results I wanted by setting my camera to it’s shutter priority mode and to a 1/15th of a second.   If the car had been traveling slower, I might have used a 1/8th sec exposure.   This technique is wonderfully effective when shooting runners, people biking, dogs running or even kids playing soccer.  The important thing is to find the shutter speed which works for your particular situation and then work around that setting.

Don′t be Afraid of the Abstract

© Ellen Yeiser Pictures should show emotion and not necessarily represent what they truly are. Stripping the picture down to its simplest form can be very powerful and allows the viewer to interpret the picture based on their personal experiences. Each interpretation will be different. Don’t be afraid to abstract your composition.

Exposing Red

© Ken Dejarlais This image was shot in late summer in the early evening.  I  slightly underexposured to this image to enhance saturation and make the contrasting colors pop.

Impressionism with Red

© Nikhil Bahl Pre-visualizing and using in camera techniques to get the results you are looking for can be challenging. Instead of taking a straight photograph of these trees, I decided to slow the shutter speed and move the camera itself to create an impressionistic image. The foreground tree had red leaves while the other one was bright orange. I positioned myself so that both would merge but chose to keep the trunks separated. The ferns on the ground added a splash of green. What makes this image though is the trees and their branches being very distinct. A slower shutter speed would have turned this image into a wash of color. It takes a few attempts to get an image like this, but the key is to recognize a good situation and work it.

Making Red Pop

Red is an important color in photography.  Whenever you have something red in your photos, this subject will get attention. Our eyes see the color red first. I like to include red in my photos.  A good example is a hiker in the forest showing the huge trees.  To really show the size of the trees it is best to put a person in for scale. © Wolfgang Kaehler If the hiker would have a green or brown jacket he or she would get lost, but with a red jacket the hiker sticks out and everyone can see the hiker.  Fire engines are red because they are visible and have to move quickly through traffic.  Red flowers attract bees for pollination; red barns are picturesque standing in a green wheat field; male Cardinals are red to attract a mate.

Patience in Street Photography

© Judith Farber For street photography patience is also key. If you come across an exceptional background, uncluttered with few distractions, nice lighting that enhances the mood, interesting architectural details to show time or place, etc, hang out for awhile and wait for the perfect subject to enter within the frame. For street photography is not only always about spontaneity. If you are in a scene with heart stomping potential don’t overlook that, be patient, hang out for awhile, even if you have to return to it until you get the shot.

Rememer to Look Up

© Ron Gould This image was shot on location in Albuquerque, NM shooting the "Mass ascension" for a corporate client, at daybreak.  There were plenty of photo opportunities as hundreds of balloons rose at the same time, however this isn′t always the case. When seeking out red, remember to look in unexpected places, don′t forget to look up!

White Balance in Mixed Lighting

To create an image like this in a similarly lit situation: 1. Camera setting to daylight 2. Meter reading for the hot subject in foreground with a slight under exposure 3. The actual degrees Kelvin should determine the color of the main subject 4. White balance control was set to about 4000 degree kelvin which added a hint of coolness to areas not affected by the actual heat The technician′s silver reflective suit worked great to allow Ken to use reds as the hue for important composition elements. He tried using supplemental lighting as well but decided on going with the true available light. Exposure was delicate to control the intensity and richness of the "heat" - a key part of the story.

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