Posts Tagged ‘fun’

Five Photo Tips

I hear this a lot:  “I have a digital camera, but it’s a bit overwhelming. the camera just sits in the box. What can I do?”

1) Read the Manual. OK, you never read manuals; I don’t either. Well, you really should read the camera manual. Your digital camera likely has an amazing set of features – yes, perhaps way too many. But going through the manual and being aware of the features can help you when you later ask: “Can I do this with my camera?” I know my camera very well, but I carry the manual with me at all times and refer to it often.

2) Venture out of Auto Mode. You’re thinking this is easy, I’ll just set everything up on auto mode and won’t have to make any decisions. Your camera will likely take OK pictures, but just OK. Learn about shutter priority and aperture priority (it’s in the manual!) and try them out. It’s easy to do with a bit of effort, and your pictures will look MUCH better.

3) Get Closer. Pictures of people – and most other subjects – will benefit by getting in closer. Walk in or zoom in. It will simplify the image, add impact and engage the viewer more deeply. In this image, I started with a full body shot. As I kept shooting closer and closer, the picture got better.

4) Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Take lots of pictures. They’re free. Take a shot, change a setting on the camera, and shoot again. Which image works better? Move around and shoot the subject from a different angle. You’ll gradually find out what works – and especially what works for you. Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

5) Enjoy! Little kids can pick up drawing easily and have fun from the very beginning. Adults who take up drawing mostly struggle with a lot of anxiety and critical self-judgment. Photography is the same way. Act like a kid – just relax, let go and shoot. Shoot what you care about, shoot what inspires you. Keep shooting and I know your work will get better by leaps and bounds!

man does not live by bread alone…

This week I had the great pleasure of doing a shoot with my good friend, Lisa, who is a baker extraordinaire.  Lisa is a professionally trainer baker of artisanal breads, scones, biscuits and cookies. If you have not tried any of Lisa’s scrumptious creations, stop by Darien Cheese & Fine Foods (website). You’re in for a real treat!

This shoot was about shapes, textures, colors and depth of field. We purposely kept the compositions very simple. In the image to the left of Irish soda bread, we used a fairly harsh light, to bring out the shine in the glaze on the bread. Also we were emphasizing the contrast between the smooth board and rough texture of the bread.

In the image of the bread in a cooling tent, we wanted to show a bit of the reflection off the glass, but not have it be overwhelming. This is a matter of trial and error as you move lights around. Thank goodness for digital capture – there’s no cost to shooting hundreds of images, if need be.

I love Lisa’s post-modern red bread box.  It looks like it might be something the Jetsons would have in their kitchen. While shooting it, I kept wondering if it might take off and fly around the studio. Luckily, it stayed put.

Lisa and I shot her breads for about three hours. We used just a few props and stayed with the blue paper background. We’d take a shot, move the bread a half-inch to the side and shoot again. There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple while taking pictures. You can slow down and really concentrate on the shapes and textures.  So many images we see today are too busy and frenetic. I find the photographs Lisa and I created to be somehow calming.  Please see more images from this series on my website, here.

“Man does not live by bread alone.”  This sentence appears three times in the Bible, in Deuteronomy and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  And to be sure, there is more to life than bread. But I have to say that, when I eat a slice of Lisa’s flax bread (pictured below), all’s right with the world and there’s not much else I long for!

Slinkies! (part two)

by Blake Robinson

February 24th, 2011    0 Comments     Add Comment
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I wrote a blog post recently with some pictures of slinkies. If you missed it, you can catch it here. The weather is still pretty drab and I needed a fix of bold colors, so it was back to the slinkies. This was not all just for fun, but also for lighting practice and experimentation. But the fun was the main thing!

The slinkies are indeed fun to shoot. I’m remembering playing with them as a child, trying to get them to walk all the way down a flight of stairs. (I never quite made it – did you?) The colors are fun. And playing around to get some interesting shapes and compositions was a terrific creative exercise.

In the first two images, I used a fairly soft lighting setup. In the one above, I went for a harsh light, to bring out the shadows on the “floor.”  This harsher light also accentuates the three dimensionality of the slinkies. With the slinkies hanging in mid-air, I had to wait a long time for them to stop bouncing.

The one above was also shot with a fairly hard light. As I look at it, there is almost a theatrical lighting feel to the picture. 

How do you respond to these photographs?  (Notice I didn’t ask if you liked them.) I’m fascinated by how each of us responds to visual images.  You may have a positive or negative reaction to each of the colors, based on your own experience and memories. The shapes may conjure up other subjects, consciously or subconsciously.  A psychiatrist could flash these in front of us like a Rorschach test and have a field day! The more abstract a photograph is, the more liberty we give our imaginations to take over.

Which image did you respond to most strongly? What did you feel? What experiences from your life came to mind?  I’d love to hear from you!

And – just as a preview of possible coming attractions….Legos!

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