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Weave Magic Into A Sunset

How can you weave a little more magic into your sunset photographs? This photo, taken on the Greek Island of Paros, presented some real opportunities. Instead of standing upright while making the shot, I crouched down low next to the water to create a sense of boating, swimming, or floating. I shifted the horizon to the extreme upper edge of the image and that painted a beautiful, murky-black mystery at the bottom. Although I kept the mountain peak in the center of the image, adding the mast and thin rope lines at right created a kind of kinship of triangular shapes—one opaque and one transparent. I stayed patient with the light until it hit an eerie, peaceful softness—very much like a watercolor drawing. © 2007 Rick Wright, Philadelphia DPA Instructor


Walk in Circles and Step Back

Location - 94th St. and 5th Ave., Manhattan Tip: It pays to walk in circles, turn around, take a few steps back-you’ll see things you might otherwise miss. © 2007 Bob Blanken, Washington DC DPA Instructor


Use Backlighting for Leaves and Flowers

Although much of Southern California is either dry chaparral or even drier desert, winter rains create a transformation that belies the arid climate, quickly turning everything green for a short month or two. This metamorphosis is especially dramatic in the wine country located just north of Santa Barbara, California. I stumbled on this location while driving the winding Foxen Canyon Road off of Highway 154 near the town of Los Olivos.  The image is from my soon to be released book “The Beautiful Santa Ynez Valley”. Spring in the Santa Ynez Valley is a collage of new leaves, all painted in different shades of green.  The tender, new grape leaves in the vineyards are an especially vibrant yellow-green when backlit. © 2007 Chuck Place, Los Angeles DPA Instructor I positioned myself on a nearby hillside and set my camera on a Gitzo tripod, framing the landscape tightly with a zoom lens. The zoom range made it possible to crop out extraneous buildings and compress the rows of vines as they flowed over the hills. I made sure to shade the front element of my lens from the sun to avoid flare and opened up 2/3 of a stop from the meter reading. Anytime I photograph flowers or leaves, I try to use backlighting. Light passing through a leaf will produce a much more saturated color than light reflecting off the surface.  And in this situation, the soft green of new spring leaves is exactly what I am trying to capture.


Taking Panoramic Shots

Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge - Jefferson, NH Tip 1:  This image was stitched together from a number of separate frames.  A new feature in CS3 that makes this process a lot easier is called zoomify.  Of course you need CS3 for this feature, but to find out more, visit www.zoomify.com. Tip 2:  Need a portable, inexpensive tripod in a pinch?  All you need is a latex glove and some rice, lentils, small beans, sand, or a similar substance.  Simply fill the glove and you′ll have a bean bag on which you can rest your camera.  The last step is to either use a self timer or very carefully trip the shutter. © 2007 Frank Siteman, Boston DPA Instructor


Storytelling in a Landscape

In this image, I love how the viewer is led through the landscape.  Bright yellow flowers, on camera right, begin a path over and around lichen-covered rocks and red earth. As we near the end of the trail—a heavy sky opens up, ready perhaps to spill its rain. The gray clouds help create an atmosphere of soft diffused light and shadow-less color, while the gentle slope of the rocks and meandering trail give motion to an otherwise still composition. The image gives us a sense of farawayness, and we are left wondering about the spaces and moments beyond the frame. What looms behind the rocks?  Where are they now resting? Near the edge of a cliff, or in the middle of an open plain? Will the inclement sky make good on its promise?  In this photograph, then, what is not revealed is as intriguing as what is. Herein lie a series of questions, quietly demanding our attention. Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 (simple mode) © Angilee Wilkerson, Dallas DPA Instructor


Spring Blooms – “Live View” to the Rescue

Tip:  Spring means rebirth, new growth, and a time when trees, shrubs, flowers, and all vegetation beautifies the earth in bold rich color and soft pastel tones. This past April I went walking through a park to look for photos with my brand new Panasonic L1 35mm SLR with Live View capability. Without it, the accompanying image of the magnolia blossom would not have been possible. The bloom was approximately 9 feet from the ground. Looking through a viewfinder at this height couldn’t be done unless I carried a step ladder. Live View allowed me to hold the camera above my head and compose the scene on the LCD on the back of the camera. For point and shoot users this is common, but the Panasonic L1 is one of only three SLR cameras that have this capability. Combined with the fact the body has a built in flash, I was able to add fill light to the dark side of the bloom. With the very bright Live View image on the LCD, I framed the blossom against a blue sky and made sure no mergers occurred with the background elements I included in the image that frame the blossom on either side. © 2007 Russ Burden, Denver DPA Instructor


Raindrops Can Add Impact to Your Floral Images, But Dress Appropriately!

The annual Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley draws over 1 million visitors each year to view acres of tulips, and formal gardens. © 2007 Jon Canfield, Seattle DPA Instructor Location: Skagit Valley, Washington. About 1 hour north of Seattle, take I-5 to the La Conner exit. Best time to go: Weekdays to avoid the weekend tour busses. © 2007 Jon Canfield, Seattle DPA Instructor What to wear: Plan on getting muddy! Rain is common, and the ground is always wet, sometimes with very soft mud. Bring an umbrella to protect your camera. © 2007 Jon Canfield, Seattle DPA Instructor


Get Some Foreground to Add Depth

Location: A few miles south of College Station TX on Hwy 50.  Its a great country road with lightly rolling hills and a broad mix of country, farming, ranching, creeks and streams. And no doubt lots of spring flowers! © 2007 Joe Robbins, Houston DPA Instructor Tips: #1: Next time you take a drive to get some new images, get going early before sunrise to get the light - but don′t be discouraged if its foggy like it was the morning I set out to take this shot. I decided I′d make the fog a part of the theme or feel of any shots I found along the way. In the case of this ol shack, I got lucky with the early warm sun popping through the fog, and the fog still drifting in the background of the shot. #2: Get some foreground in your shot to add depth and added interest. #3: Choose a shooting angle that is not the norm; high or low to add some drama, or in this case to get down where the nice flowers were popping out of the high grass. #4: Stop down on the aperture to get that foreground sharp in addition to the main subject in the background, again, like I was able to do with the flowers. #5: Use a tripod to get it sharp.


Clouds and Coastal Shots

Haystack clouds was shot at Cannon Beach on the North Oregon coast. It is on the coast highway about 40 miles south of the Washington-Oregon border. I use it to illustrate how great the clouds are in the spring and how fast they change. Coastal shots are "clean" in the mid spring before school lets out and the crowds arrive. Gives you uncrowded beaches and wonderful light. Haystack Clouds: © 2007 Ken DeJarlais, Seattle DPA Instructor


Big Skies!

Nothing says open space quite like a landscape defined by little more than big sky and continuous ground. In this image, stratified layers of color transition through various shades of green, yellow and blue, delineating a compositional plane and horizon.  We find a soothing calm in the rendering of earth and sky in minimal content and form, which is interrupted dramatically, however, by the comet-like trail of the cloud. Notice how the cloud pierces the sky from the right side of the image. It, too, is linear and parallel to the horizon, but unlike the confluent fields of color it interrupts, the cloud’s shock of white vapor is not carried across the entire photo, its terminal point being very clearly defined at center-frame. This difference suggests dynamic movement against a background of stillness across the composition’s painterly landscape. Notice how the white flowers in the lower part of the image are crisp, while the defining line of the horizon is nevertheless distinct. In Simple Mode, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 chose a depth of field that allowed sharpness from foreground to background.   © Angilee Wilkerson, Dallas DPA Instructor


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