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Monthly DPA Alumni Newsletter Photo Tips and May Classes SHADOWS AND SILHOUETTES This month's newsletter is written by Jerry Downs! One of our pro instructors in San Francisco. Jerry Downs @ FaceBook Jerry Downs @ Instagram Jerry Downs @ Twitter Jerry Downs @ DPA Profile Jerry Downs @ Official Website As summer months start, so will dramatic shadows and silhouettes to add more drama and eye-catching interest to your photographs. Perhaps it is because they are not the central subject of our attention as we often pass them by, but in a photograph they can be your starring subjects. Let's take a look at how they make their magic below. Our current list of May and June classes is provided below and remember we also now offer two ONLINE COURSES, "Rules of Composition," 2 hours of lessons and great images plus in-the-field demonstrations, as well as, another 2 hour course, "Mechanics of a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera." So join us in person or online! Finally, join the DPA Community on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram and share your images with us (and each other) all year long. In fact you can submit your favorites and you may find yourself immortalized on one of our social media pages, with credit and prizes. Enjoy, The DPA Team SPRING PHOTO CONTEST WINNER Last month's winner of the March theme, SPRING AND FLOWERS, Julia Hadrich Pope, took this photograph, at around 10 AM, of a bee on a Cherry Blossom at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, AZ., without a macro lens, but instead with a telephoto lens. Says Julia, "What I did was stand close enough to the Cherry Blossom tree and zoomed all the way in on this one specific flower. I find that when I get really close to a small object while using a telephoto lens, the depth of field becomes so incredible. The specifics on the image are f/6.3, 1/1600sec, ISO-400, at 200mm. The camera I used was a Nikon D3200. Do not be afraid to get too close to your subject. Of course, you will always run the issue of the subject getting away, however, without trying, you'll never know. As for photographing bees, don't think about getting stung and keep clicking. " Julia wins a free course from our online video curriculum, either a 2 hour online course, "Rules of Composition," or ,"The Mechanics of a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera," also 2 hours of curriculum. Congratulations Julia. Facebook: Julia Pope Photography Website: https://julesp18.myportfolio.com/ NEW CONTEST! Send us your favorite Shadows/Silhouettes photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner will receive a free online class and will also be featured in the upcoming Photo Tips and Contest newsletter and our Facebook and Instagram pages. Entries must be received by 12PM DST on 5/31/18. SHADOWS AND SILHOUETTES GET CLOSE TO YOUR SUBJECT The first trick is to simply notice that shadows and silhouettes are all around us, as common as weeds. You can chose something as simple as a dandelion to make an outstanding silhouette, if you wish. Just hold it in front of the sun, get as close as you can and than take the picture. If you don't have a macro lens or a macro setting on your camera just focus as closely as you can and crop if need be. f/26 @ 500/sec. ISO 250 SHADOWS CAN BE IMAGE ENHANCEMENTS Shadows are everywhere so be sure to look on the ground, the walls, even the ceiling. This typically boring, and usually ugly, shopping cart, abandoned in a parking lot, became special because of its eerie shadows. Once you start noticing shadows you will be amazed that an object so pedestrian and common as this cart can be transformed into a gothic narrative. These shadows are elongated because the time of day was late afternoon with the sun not far from setting, a time when shadows are usually longer than other times of the day. (f/22 @ 125/sec. ISO 250) GET HIGHER UP HOWEVER YOU CAN These condiments on a diner table magically create monumental skyscrapers. The possibility of a fun photo was easy to see, but it also required standing on a chair in the middle of a restaurant to get it just right. (f/16 @ 1/250 ISO 250) LOOK FOR LIGHT BEAMING THROUGH COLORS This shaft of light, with the help of a bottle of orange hot sauce and a bottle of water, further dramatized through a green window in a Mexican restaurant are....well...simply beautiful. It, too, required standing on a chair. Sometimes, getting the shot, means that you have to let yourself go and look a little silly. Once the people who had been watching this creation unfold saw the image on the back of the camera, they all agreed that the spectacle I made of myself was worth the final result. (f/16 @ 1/60 sec. ISO 250) DON’T IGNORE NEGATIVE SPACE One thing that is important in every image, but especially so when dealing with silhouettes or shadows is an understanding of "negative" space. This image was taken by resting the tip of the Bird of Paradise flower on a large piece of paper. The dark shadow is being created by the sun a few million miles away and to the left of the image. The white area is the "negative" space. Its what gives the flower and the shadow their shape and drama. Its what makes them prominent in a compelling way. The white sheet of paper was originally just going to be the background of the picture, but when I began to play with the shadow my original vision took a whole new, and more interesting, turn. f/22 @ 1/400 sec. ISO 100 JUXTAPOSE NEGATIVE SPACE CAREFULLY Take a look at these two images and see how much difference the "negative" space makes. The difference is positively and powerfully different. Notice how the one with the horse's mouth below the horizon is not as pleasing as the one that is surrounded by space. The "negative" space makes it easier to "read." f/16 @ 1/125 sec. ISO 225 APPROACH STRANGERS To take a sunset silhouette simply expose for the background and let the rest of the image be underexposed. Ideally you would like to have your camera set on Manual. In the case with this image, because the background is so bright, even if you use your automatic settings you would probably get the same great silhouette. Cameras don't see the same way we do. They don't have nearly the same latitude. This image is also an example of how easy it is to get complete strangers to let their picture be taken. Just introduce yourself, be pleasant and offer to email them a copy. If you were actually standing there with them, you would no doubt see the features of each leaping beachcomber, but exposing for the brighter background created the silhouetted effect. These models not only cooperated they even threw themselves into the experience or should we say “jumped,” into the fun. (f/16 @ 1/500 sec. ISO 400) MULTIPLE EXPOSURE AND USE PHOTOSHOP The silhouette of the jumping people was a fairly fast exposure because it was so bright. The fast exposure stopped the action in midair. This picture above was taken after sunset and needed a 1/30 of a second exposure which explains the blur of the dogs...which helps illustrate how much faster it is moving in comparison to the people. The camera was on a tripod and there were seven different shots that were later assembled in Photoshop. all 7 images (f/16 @ 1/30 sec. ISO 500) DAYLIGHT SILHOUETTES ARE POSSIBLE AS WELL The same trick, silhouettes and multiple exposure with photoshop added, was used to create this image as well. Take note that you don't have to have a sunset to create a silhouette. All you need is to have the background brighter than the foreground. This effect is fairly easy to create, if you use a tripod, look for action that happens within the scene and simply clone them into place. The baseball caps added a nice touch. (f/16 @ 1/250 sec ISO 250) NO SUCH THING AS BAD LIGHT In this case it was only 1:00 in the afternoon and the captivating shot required no post-capture editing. It was a particularly stark and contrasty day. The kind of light that is "no good" for taking pictures. There's no such thing as bad light. You just have to take the kind of pictures that look good in that kind of light. If the day is overcast and flat, take pictures that look good using even lighting. Portraits can be particularly flattering on a "flat" day. (f/22 @ 1/250 sec ISO 200) INTERESTING SHAPES MAKE INTERESTING SILHOUETTES This romantic scene was taken on the same beach about 10 minutes later. Note in both images and in all of the silhouette shots that it is important to have separation (negative space) between all the subjects so they can stand out from one another. When they are not blurred together, each person is able to tell a different story, in this case tranquil excursion, surfing and various beach time memories in progress. (f/22 @ 1/250 sec ISO 200) THE PERFECT LIGHT You don't have to have the perfect light, but when you get it take advantage of it, as was the case here about 10 minutes after the sun had set, sometimes even 20 minutes after, depending on the clouds, humidity and temperature. This is my favorite image from the dozens that I took in the fast moving fading light in Joshua Tree National Park. They look like they are preparing to party all night long. (f/16 @ 1/60 sec. ISO 300) SOMETIMES MESS WITH PERFECTION Sometimes you can create a beautiful and believable silhouette with post processing. This is exactly the same image treated differently in Photoshop, rendering a wonderful silhouette. The picture was taken a Digital Photo Academy Composition in the Field Class at Fort Point in San Francisco. You can do a lot in Photoshop, but remember, the closer you get to getting it perfect in the camera, the easier it is to create the perfect photo. And another important lesson is sometimes a spectacular shot, can also become spectacular but in a completely different way if you look at the perfect image with new eyes. (f/16 @ 1/60 sec. ISO 2500) (Above: f/16 @ 1/250 sec. ISO 250) SOMETHING SILLY Another note about shadows is that they can be downright weird, which can make for some playful and eye-catching imagery. This is true especially early and late in the day when the sun is angled closer to the horizon versus directly above so you get elongated and oddly shaped shadows. One above and three below make this case well. (Below: f/22 @ 1/250 sec ISO 200 - f/16 @1/125 ISO 300 - f/16 @ 1/125 ISO 250) f/16 @ 1/60 sec. ISO 64 CHILD'S PLAY Here's perhaps my favorite picture of my son, Christopher. Not because of the way he looks, but because it expresses his creative, playful self. He often reminded me that if you want to take wonderful pictures, you need to be full of wonder. Photography gives us the license to look at the world the way we once did as children. That is more than half the fun. Now, go play! Join us for a small group, live photo workshop this month or take an online course! Saturday, May 5th San Diego - Little Italy Los Angeles - Venice Beach Boston - East Boston Detroit - Detroit Eastern Market New York - Wall Street Saturday, May 12th Atlanta - Atlanta Botanical Gardens Chicago - Wicker Park Denver - Red Rocks Amphitheatre Houston - Tranquility Park San Francisco - The Embarcadero Toronto - Harbourfront Center Saturday, May 19th Dallas - Dallas Arts District Miami - Miami Beach Minneapolis - Farmer's Market New Jersey - Palisades Interstate Park Orlando - Wetlands Park Philadephia - Chinatown Seattle - Lakeview Cemetery Sunday, May 20th Cleveland - Voinovich Park Saturday, May 26th Tampa - Picnic Island Park Washington DC - Georgetown Phoenix - Oldtown Scottsdale Tucson - Barrio Veijo Feel free to call us toll free: 877-372-2231, or if you don't feel like leaving a message, call a field agent directly on the cell, 917-597-7053 or email: email@example.com Digital Photo Academy is lighting up on Instagram! Please follow us at instagram.com/digitalphotoacademy. Send us pics you take during the workshop through your Instagram account and you just might find them showcased on the Instagram.com/digitalphotoacademy display! This will entitle you to a free Comp in the Field in the future! Copyright © 2018 DIGITAl PHOTO ACADEMY, All rights reserved. unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences
MARK ROSENGARTEN OFFERS BEAUTIFUL IMAGES ACCOMPANIED BY EXCELLENT PHOTO TIPS AND TECHNICAL INSIGHTS As the sun set, a long exposure from the dock while standing in the water: From the Gomez Mill, a 1/2 second exposure to show more detail in the spray: We did get about ten minutes of insane color on the horizon about 20 minutes after sunset: The Gomez Mill: A 2-minute exposure to smooth out the water and sky, done in Bulb mode: Using snow as the leading line into the sunset: Funneled along the inlet: It was wonderful meeting you all and I hope you all got a lot out of it! Hope to see you again and looking forward to seeing your work here!! Mark Rosengarten
Pro Shooter Ken Ross Critiques Cindy Spicer's Images Hi Cindy, I wanted to take some time to go over your images and give you as much specific feedback as I could – drives me crazy when all I get from a critique is “nice” or “I like that” – doesn’t help me get better and I try not to do the same thing to my students I’ll also include an example adjustment of your original image, just to illustrate my comments – it’s art so remember that my comments are just my own perspective and opinions; you have your own story to tell in your own way! I love the angle of this shot for expressing the grandeur of the sanctuary – it really helps “set the table” for this set of images and gives the viewer a sense of perspective when their viewing the other images. There are two things that I’d want to do in order to improve this a little more; correct the perspective skew and the white balance. The skew is a natural side effect of lens distortion of course but when you’re shooting architectural subjects, it’s really important to make sure the walls at straight. Fortunately, Adobe Lightroom has a feature that makes this sort of thing super easy to fix! Also, knowing that you’ll have this sort of correction to do with architectural images, be sure to always shoot “wider” than you really want for your composition; straightening out the walls will result in cropping off some detail on the edges (the top left & right in particular for this image). For the color balance, you’ll find scenes like this are very difficult for the “auto” white balance to deal with; there are a lot of different light sources in the scene and lots of colored light too. The camera does the best it can but just doesn’t have a good reference. There are a number of ways to you can solve for this; the easiest is to make note of a white or “neutral gray” area in the scene that you can use for a point of reference; as long as you are shooting in RAW, you can use the White Balance Selector Tool in Lightroom to select that white/gray area and it will adjust all the colors in the image to correct them. If you’re in a place where you don’t see a good candidate (and it can be something like a white plastic bag, a gray sidewalk, etc.), just drop a blank white sheet of paper in the scene where it’s being hit with “representative light” and use that as your reference; you can take a second shot without the paper there and, again in Lightroom, you can copy the white balance adjustment from your paper reference to your other image (select both images while in the Develop tab, click the Sync button and select just the White Balance adjustment to copy). Since the samples you sent me were JPG files I couldn’t do a true White Balance correction (you need RAW for that) but Lightroom tries really hard to re-tint a JPG to get close so it’s representative of what you could do with your original image (but you can definitely do a better job!). Likewise, Lightroom does a better job of correcting lens distortion if it knows the make and model of the camera and lens used; it can usually read that from the original image meta data but that’s often stripped from JPGs (and for some cameras you may need to download additional profiles if it doesn’t know them automatically). Love the high angle of this shot – it’s more dynamic than the first image and less of a literal expression of what the sanctuary looks like, but is more exciting due to the perspective. Here again we have some alignment/skew correction to do as well as white balance (although the camera is doing a better job this time). Other small adjustments include increasing the exposure, contrast and a bit of Clarity (helps pop textures in these sorts of setting but be careful of using it with people in the scene as it can make their skin look haggard). I remember working with you on this composition and am really pleased with how well it turned out – I think the angles work well and framing the pipes between the stain glass windows gives it a strong sense of place. I made a few adjustments here to boost contrast and add a bit of Clarity, but didn’t want to brighten the image too much more and lose the mood (or blow out the windows). I did feel like the pipes needed to be enhanced though because they’re a key element in your story; I used the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom to just “pain on” more exposure for the areas of the pipes I wanted to emphasize and used the pipes themselves as a White Balance adjustment reference (they’re gray). Really love how this turned out – I told you you’d get it!! This is exactly what we talked about with this technique; get enough exposure at one spot to cement the details (especially her face) and then pull back on the zoom to create that dynamic effect in-camera. Great job!! My only contribution here is to boost contrast and add Clarity to help the image pop and create more apparent sharpness on the base image (see how her face looks “sharper”? That’s due to Clarity). This is another outstanding image. I really love how you saw this possibility while we were walking out and insisted on “working the scene” to make this happen. In particular, I liked how deliberate you were in your framing and, as a big fan of high-contrast B&W images myself, I love the mood of this image. Here again I’ve made just a few small changes to take an already great image up a notch; exposure has been increased slightly to get more detail on the foreground element, I’ve rotated the image slightly to straighten the window and added Clarity to bring out the texture in the floor. Lastly, I used the Lightroom Adjustment Brush to paint in some “drama” on the top three window panes, adding a bit of exposure and Clarity while making the dark areas just a wee bit darker. I’m going to be honest here; this isn’t a great composition. The exposure is good and the white balance is reasonably good, but in terms of presenting a subject or telling a story I feel this fails to hit the mark. I know that you were drawn to that amazing keyboard, a subject that excited you and was frankly challenging to capture (you knew what all the buttons did but it might as well have been the space shuttle cockpit for me!). Looking at this image as presented, it appears that the subject is the decorative carving at the end of the pew (rather than the keyboard) but the keyboard in the background is too distracting (and the top of the carving is just being clipped by the top of the frame). Lastly, the railing at the edge of the pew is acting like a “leading line” – pulling the viewer out of the image instead of into it. Now, there are a number of things we might do differently if we had it to do over again (hindsight is awesome) but what we can do to improve the image we have at hand? Well, let’s assume the subject is the carving. Let’s take advantage of that leading line like we talked about in class – use that to help direct the viewer to our subject. How? We’ll flip the image so that line is coming in on the left . Next, we need to create more emphasis on our subject than the background; we can do that by using the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom to paint the areas we want to de-emphasize, making it darker (less exposure) and less distinct (lower the Sharpness and Clarity). Then, create a new brush and paint a little added exposure and Clarity on the details on the face of the carving. Lastly, we crop the image in a bit tighter on the main carving and use the Post-Crop Vignetting to darken the edges of the image, further deemphasizing the windows and back wall. There’s a lot to like in this image – the atmosphere of the solitary “parishioner”, the dramatic lighting from the windows. However, when we have a person in the image then the story really is about them and I feel like the image is too dark with too many bright windows and our subject just gets lost. What I’d recommend in this case is to re-crop the image to make it more about the subject and then use the Adjustment Brush to paint on just a bit of extra exposure on our subject’s face and arms, just enough to lift them out of the shadows but not so much as to make them look “flashed” or unnaturally lit. I didn’t want to do anything to the overall exposure since that would change the mood too much. Another great angle to explore in this venue – really love how you’ve picked up the play of light across the floor and controlled the exposure so that the massive stained glass at the back of the sanctuary wasn’t blown out. With this image we have very little to correct that we haven’t looked at earlier – some White Balance and perspective skew adjustment is all we need, as well as a smidge of Contrast to make it pop. I hope you found these comments and examples helpful and thanks again for coming to my class and for sharing your images with us! Ken mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.kennethrossphotography.com/
How the “Aperture Priority” camera setting can transform “snapshots” into compelling images that tell a story.
How the “Aperture Priority” camera setting can transform “snapshots” into compelling images that tell a story. The aperture setting controls the “depth of field,” i.e., how much of the photo will be in focus, and how much will be blurred. “Small” or “Narrow” aperture (e.g. f 22) = a deep depth of field “Big” or “Wide” aperture (e.g. f 4.0) = a shallow depth of field Below are two examples of shallow and deep depth of field photos: f 4 – the area in focus is shallow So, foreground is rendered sharp and background is blurred f 22 – the area in focus extends from front to back – i.e. deep Below are two more shallow depth of field photos (“large” e.g. f 4.0 aperture). WHAT is in focus (that is, the foreground or the background) is determined by what the photographer focuses on. If he focuses on something in the foreground, the shallow depth of field created by the large aperture will necessarily blur the background. Conversely, focusing on the background will blur the foreground elements. TIP: This effect is most effectively achieved: a) With your camera set to aperture priority (“A” (Nikon) or “AV” Canon), select the widest aperture available (e.g. as close to f/2.8 as possible), b) Position yourself (and your subject, if posssible) so that the foreground and background elements are not too close together, and c) Use a telephoto lens, or if a zoom lens, zoom it OUT to its longest focal length (e.g. zoom your 35-100 mm lens to 100m) The combination of these three things will give your camera the best chance of capturing this effect, i.e. “isolating” the subject in a shallow depth of field. UNDERSTANDING AND MASTERING THIS SIMPLE TECHNIQUE WITH A BIT OF PRACTICE WILL MAKE A VAST DIFFERENCE IN THE QUALITY OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES
REMEMBER--PIXELS ARE FREE Rebecca Bozarth attended a session led by DPA Instructor, Ken Ross, at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and beautifully exemplified the old Photo Adage, that "Pixels Are Free" so take as many images as you can, from every angle because you may not have another chance!! In fact, as we should have guessed, Rebecca is not the typical Digital Photo Academy student. She is a professional photographer in Atlanta, Georgia, who owns her own design company, Fotografia Film & Design www.fotografiafilmanddesign.com. She is a SCAD Atlanta graduate, and specializes in photography, videography, graphic, and web design. Great opening image with colorful floating orbs in the foreground to anchor the eye of the viewer and lead first to the Chihuly glass structure with adequate attention to the waterfall and of course the magnificent plant lady. The entire scene is upon us without too much focus on a detail or too far away so the impact of the scene is lost. Remember, either with your lens or your body or both, get closer. In this case the image is still anchored by the floating orbs but not all 4 and there is greater emphasis on the chihuly AND waterfall. The plant lady is left in the shadows. Now after closer go further back. The plant lady is shown in the context of the broader setting and creates a different perspective of the way she dwarfs the Chihuly. Interesting perspective. The colorful flowers in the foreground, green leaves included add a brightness to the overall image and compliment the Chihuly. Now back even closer than before to isolate the Chihuly and its relationship to the waterfall, grey stone to accentuate the artwork, with drama added with a shutter speed priority to catch the water in midstream. Even closer to allow the viewer to make a comparison and closer still. This one would might be favored by Chihuli himself even though a portion of his work is cut off. Now an emphasis on the plant lady in a vertical, enabling the viewer to take greater note to the water from the lady's hand. Chihuly is nice but the image works without its presence too. Same notion but this time horizontally and the photographer has a choice as does the viewer of the photo. This time the colorful orbs are missing and it is a study in green, enhancing the focus on the lady's face and arm. Another vertical with some complimentary yellow in the hair and closer look at the face of the lady This Chihuly might even be a completely different display but why not add it in to show the Art Deco, opaque whimsy of the man's creation.
Rule of Thirds Approach of Composition As Well As The Camera Control of Aperture Priority Greg Miller, one of the Digital Photo Academy instructors in the Hudson Valley chose to create the illusion that the sail boat, which was actually about 150 feet from the shore, was much further away and created an ethereal peaceful scene using the Rule of Thirds approach of composition as well as the camera control of Aperture Priority. But remember to move around a lot because there is always another compelling image in every setting. For example, student William Wilmot bided his time and focused closer on the boat, snapping the shutter just as the sun quickly winked at it. Additionally, he framed his main subject with the leaves in the foreground.
Even in poor lighting conditions, always try. Pixels are free as they say! With Landscape photographer, Greg Miller, Nana Greller was wandering beneath a thick canopy of trees amidst the soft light behind West Point Foundry, Preserve in Cold Springs, NY. It was a rainy Sunday, kind of low light that seemed to show no real promise, wondering of the possibilities for any photo worth keeping. Greg disagreed in regard to the potential and Nana came away with this lovely image, which is actually a fairly anemic waterfall, at least on that day, maybe not so piddly every day. The leaves frame the main subject nicely and the slow shutter speed priority renders a haunting version of the cascading water. Good job Nana.
Washigton, D.C. DPA Instructor Jim Tetro Shows Us Great Iphone Images Are Possible!