Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from The Speedlighter! 

As for your 2017 resolutions, how about this one: Make this the time you finally perfect those skills you always wanted to hone! Skills that allow you to quickly and easily do pictures like the ones I took over the last couple of weeks. These include a few animal (and animal-plus-owner) pictures:

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All those were made with the 85mm f/1.2 lens, and used a single speedlight in an umbrella.

But I also did an executive portrait, just yesterday:

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Do you see the difference between the two above? For the first one, I did not want to show the outside (boring, homes). Easy, so the picture,like almost all my pictufes, was stright out of the camera.

For the second one, however, I did want to show the blue sky. So I exposed that one less (using the magic Outdoors Recipe–one of the things you will learn if you turn up). Both used flash, of course; fired by Pocketwizards and with their power set manually. The second one used much more flash power because I was using low ISO and small aperture to kill the outside light. I also had to, therefore, brighten the Apple logo in post-production.

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I would almost call that last one an environmental portrait.

The next ones are certainly environmental portraits:

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The one above used a 24-70mm lens and a speedlight with a Honl Photo 1/8″ grid. The one below, a 16-35mm wide angle lens and a speedlight with an umbrella:

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What do they all have in common? Simplicity, good exposure, and a thorough knowledge of the technical necessities.

You can learn this too. Why not do it? I have several great opportunities coming up!

All of these are excellent learning opportunities, and will broaden and deepen your knowledge significantly. Hope to see you there and then. 

 

 

It’s elementary.

The difference  between a snapshot and a good picture? Often enough it is simplicity. Simplicity does not necessarily mean taking things out of the picture. But it means taking things out of the picture that do not belong there.

Take this iPad snap, just now, of my new kitty Clio:

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Not bad. But what if we took out that unnecessary space, and especially that little black thing on the right.

Then maybe add a frame. And now we get:

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Can you see how much better that is than the original? Everything you remove that is not essential to the story makes the picture better. And you can remove it by cropping, blurring, recomposing: any way you like.

On Tuan the Celtics you pretty said “perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. Or “less is more”.

And “On Tuan the Celtics you pretty” is Antoine de Saint-Exupery, World War Two fighter pilot and author of “Le Petit Prince”, that book about the little prince who lives on a tiny planet. The fact that Siri butchers his name shows how uncultured she is.  Back to hand-typing.

 

St James Cathedral, Toronto

I did a “Composition In The Field” tutorial walk in Toronto today for Digital Photo Academy. We mainly stayed in, or in the direct vicinity, of St James’ Cathedral.

Because it was cold. But also because there’s plenty to see in a given environment, once you open your eyes. And once you see it, you can apply compositional rules that are just about standard (and that I teach at gathering like this) . And then you can break them when you have good reason to. In the end, you end up with some good pictures.

Like this:

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A church, by the way, also has interesting insights into a world that is no more.

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Try to put yourself in M. Keating’s position: one moment he has a pregnant wife; then suddenly he has only a son; then a week later he has nothing. From happy and “everything is going our way” to two funerals in two weeks, and then Christmas. What a world that was, in 1832.

Back to here and now. Composition rules and camera use: If you want to learn the same, please contact me.

Meanwhile: why are you reading this, instead of going out to take some pictures of whatever is outside or inside?

 

Photographer, or…?

…or illustrator?

I am a big fan of being a photographer–meaning you do the work in the camera. But sometimes even I do some post-production work. Like here in this edited flash picture:

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That makes an OK picture a good picture, mainly because it dramatically simplifies it. See an earlier post for the “recipe” for this Andy Warhol-like effect – but I suggest you make your own. Much more fun. Simple (I used Lightroom) and quick.