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Don′t be Afraid to Shoot into the Light

The old Kodak box instructions that said to have the sun behind you should be discarded! Backlight gives definition, and you don′t have Uncle Harry or Baby Mark squinting like crazy at you. But keep in mind that bright, specular reflections on the water will throw your in-camera metering system off-balance, and you will need to open up/increase exposure to compensate. And give your subject "room to look;" in the above there is more room in front of the child than behind. It also illustrates "the rule of thirds..." © 2007 Michael Hart, Houston DPA Instructor

Water Fowl Galore

Water Fowl Galore at Belmar Park - Lakewood, CO If you′re in the Denver, Colorado area and you′re looking to photograph water fowl or simply absorb the view of lots of different species, the 127 acre Belmar Park is the place to go. Located in the city of Lakewood, it′s only minutes from downtown Denver. Consisting of two lakes, the main one being Kountze, each offers its own rewards for the curious nature photographer. Turtles, barn swallows, white pelicans, raccoons, and many types of ducks are frequent visitors. Also commonly found are egrets, night herons, great blue herons, and avocets. Many of these species are seasonal, but if you head there in the spring, you′ll surely be treated to them all. Spring offers the added rewarded of seeing and photographing many baby animals. © 2007 Russ Burden, Denver DPA Instructor To get to Belmar Park from Denver, head west on the 6th Ave Freeway to Wadsworth Blvd. Go south for a few blocks to Ohio and make a right turn into the park. Get there early in the morning to make your images glow in the warm light of sunrise.

Using Manual Mode when Shooting Backlit Flowers

You need not go to Washington D.C. or Kyoto, Japan in order to catch all the world′s cherry blossoms. Every spring the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in New York City hosts its′ own cherry blossom festival. In this case I photographed directly into the sun to create this backlit image. For this type of image it is recommended to shoot your picture with the camera in manual mode to compensate for the bright sun in the image which can fool your meter and result in severe underexposure. If you prefer you can also use the exposure compensation feature on your camera. In this case set it to +3 to get the proper exposure on your backlit subject. © 2007 Andre Costantini, New York DPA Instructor

Working With Flat Lighting

Flat lighting is not the end all be all of a good photograph. By doing a simple levels correction in Photoshop, a flat image can be turned into a photograph with good contrast and nice lighting. © 2007 Ken DeJarlais, Seattle DPA Instructor

Add Contrasting Elements to your Images

My husband and I went hiking in Oklahoma over the weekend and brought along the point and shoot. I was tired of lugging around gear, so we put this handy little camera in our backpack and ended up with some great images.  My husband shot many of them and he was actually pleased. He is not a photographer and is often disappointed with his results. Not this time--thanks to the great little Panasonic! All were shot on the easy auto mode... This image captures the sensory experience of a cold wind, stirring up a summer prairie. Normally, I would avoid a predictable bulls-eye composition taken at shoulder level above a fixed object—but in this case, the composition is anything but static and conventional. Why is this particular image so successful? Glorious movement! By placing the unmoving rock in the center of the viewfinder, nature’s force stirring among the flowers is magnified, as the rock anchors a whirlwind of movement and color. © 2007 Angilee Wilkerson, Dallas DPA Instructor The ambiguity inherent in an image lacking clarity and sharpness provides the viewer an experience of mystery and even a surreal intrigue. In most cases, a blurry image, lacking sharpness to serve as a resting point for the viewer’s eye, will often leave the viewer uninterested, due to an absence of visual entry into the image. This photograph’s static rock is the key to its success. This image also shows a keen eye for color: the rich greens and yellows of the moving flora are contrasted nicely against the flatness of the brown rock.  Instead of competing with each other—the flatness of the stone brings emphasis to the richness of the prairies color. We went back to the prairie the next day to find the cool wind gone: replaced with a humid heat and the  hum of honeybees collecting pollen.

Detail vs. Mood

Location: Central Park, NYC Tip:  Detail is important, but so is mood. This effect was created in camera, by choosing the right lighting, exposure & shutter speed. © 2007 Douglas Carver, New York DPA Instructor This photo was taken from the same location, minutes apart from the other Jogger 1 photo (above). Changing the exposure (less) & shutter speed (faster) yields a significantly different mood. © 2007 Douglas Carver, New York DPA Instructor

It′s Important to Play!

It′s important to play! It′s easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of a new camera or lens, but sometimes it′s important to let go of the serious side of photography and just goof around. This shot was made with a point and shoot on a lovely spring day in New York′s Central Park. No big cameras, no heavy camera bag - just a patch of grass, a new friend and a playful mindset. © 2007 Chris Richards, Phoenix DPA Instructor

Patience, Patience, Patience

Tip: Patience, patience patience. This shot began as nothing more than an idea while covering a bike race, and required waiting close to an hour for the riders to pass beneath. It was an hour spent second-guessing the decision to wait in a parking lot while the race action was going on elsewhere, but to leave would mean missing the shot. In the end it was worth the risk. After the first riders came through in a tight bunch, a second pack came along with more even spacing - perfect for adding to the symmetrical composition of the bright yellow tree against the blue sky. A pack of bicycle riders in the Tour of the Tucson Mountains pass beneath a Palo Verde tree, in its full spring bloom of yellow flowers, on Avra Valley road, north of Tucson Arizona: © 2007 Chris Richards, Phoenix DPA Instructor

Using What You Have

Driving down the coast to Los Angeles, I stopped at County Line, a popular surfing spot above Malibu. The wind was blowing hard and the area had been taken over by sailboarders. © 2007 Chuck Place The longest lens I had with me that day was a 80-200mm f2.8 zoom, an extremely versatile lens, but not enough reach to capture all the wave jumping happening offshore. I had to settle for shooting sailboarders as they battled their way through the wind-blown shore break. Positioning myself high on a bluff, I cropped out the horizon to isolate the action and made sure the backlighting and white surf didn’t cause me to underexpose my images. The action was wild with some sailors getting knocked down as they tried to punch through the powerful waves. Sometimes, it turns out, you don’t need those super telephoto lenses to capture the action, just the right vantage point.

Using your Flash for Fill

Here is a portrait where I′ve used the sun as a side light and filled in light on the subjects face with a flash to lessen shadows and brighten her eyes. Make sure to balance the flash with the ambient sunlight to make the lighting look natural. In this image the flash is off camera controlled wirelessly so the flash can be placed to camera left... Anthony Brett Schreck Photo Tip #2 Use Your Flash for Fill! All images © Anthony Schreck Minneapolis DPA Instructor     Here is a portrait where I′ve used the sun as a side light and filled in light on the subjects face with a  flash to lessen shadows and brighten her eyes. Make sure to balance the flash with the ambient sunlight to make the lighting look natural. In this image the flash is off camera controlled wirelessly so the flash can be placed to camera left. Here are some examples without flash fill and with flash fill dialed down .7 of a stop to look natural and not overpower the subjects face with flash. Remember, If your flash is set to auto your camera may read that there is enough light and not turn the flash on. Set your flash to always fire. The two images below were shot with the Panasonic Lumix L1 with the on camera flash set to off in one (to show the shadows) and the flash set to always fire and flash compensation set -.7 in the other.    

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