June 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I know it has been a while but I wanted to take a moment to say hello and talk about summer!

Summer for me has always been a love/hate relationship! I know, I know.... you ask "how can you POSSIBLY hate summer?"

Well, I am not usually a hot weather fan! Just ask my wife! ;-) That being said, I am fine as long as I have shade and a breeze.... most of the time!

However, summer for me is also a love. I love being outdoors and spending time doing things I do love; like hiking, fishing, camping and most anything outside!

Summer is a time for vacations with family and the tradition of the 4th of July family reunion at my sister's house. We sit and laugh telling silly stories, eat great food and watch the younger family members do all the things we did at their ages! The end result is, time with family and loved ones is too important to be dismissed easily. This fact hit me all too hard in February with the passing of my father. Life is short. Don't miss a chance to make memories with the ones you love because they may not be there some day before you expect it!

On a more positive note... Summer is a time we usually think of photo opportunities along with those vacations and family times. How many times have you taken tons of photos and never really got the images you saw in your mind's eye? Why do my images not show what I see when I look through the viewfinder? Well, let's tackle a few typical mistakes and offer solutions;

 1- The focus of the shot gets lost in the details of a busy image;

          possible solutions-

      - isolate your subject!

  • By this I mean you should zoom in and fill the screen with that view, person or action you are trying to capture! Many times we have too much in the image and it only confuses the viewer after capture

      - create composition that leads your eye to the focus of the image!

  • Use leading lines such as trees, fences, structures, clouds, architectural details water edges.... anything that creates a visual line in the image that is indirectly "connected" to the images focus subject
  • Use color to force the eye to the focus. Remember the old color wheels in school? Colors are a part of composition! Use contrasting and complimentary colors as part of the composition of your image.

2- Images not exposed correctly;

  • I know this may sound strange but..... READ your cameras manual!!!! :-) Knowing how your camera operates and what all those buttons mean and do really does help! Honest!
  • Some times you have to "fool" the camera sensor! If you are shooting in a high contrast situation and the image focus subject is too dark with a bright background. zoom in and depress your shutter half way down. Then zoom back out, still holding the shutter half way down, until you are cropped the way you want and take the shot. This will expose your subject correctly and let the background be overexposed. If that's what you want... If you want both the subject and the background as equally exposed as possible, add flash! Even in  a bright sunny day fill flash can make a huge difference in your images; especially in high contrast situations.
  • Pay attention to the light source and where it is in relation to your subject! shooting a backlit, sun behind your subject, image can be very dramatic. However, moving around to where the sun, or light source, is hitting your subject straight on or, even better, from an angle can create better lighting for people shots and static subjects like a statue or tree.

3- Blurry images...... ugh! again!

  • USE a tripod whenever possible!!!!!!! Did I make that clear enough?! lol A good, sturdy tripod can make a HUGE difference when used properly!
  • Turn off the vibration control on your camera or, if equipped, lens when using a tripod! The vibration or motion control settings can actually cause blurry images when using a tripod due to the servo motion!
  • Use your vibration/motion control settings when shooting hand held! No one is rock steady when shooting hand held so the vibration/motion control setting on your camera and/or lens can be a tremendous help!
  • Raise your ISO setting, shutter speed setting to create faster exposures to reduce blurry images due to camera shake. Don't have this ability on your camera? Use the sports mode to shoot at a faster shutter speed to help reduce blur!

4- Practice, practice, practice!

  • The more you shoot and learn with your camera, the better your images will get!
  • Learn how to operate your camera.. read the manual!
  • Play with the different settings on your camera's shooting modes and keep a log or journal about each mode and what it will do to look back at later and learn from.
  • Lastly..... have fun and don't be afraid to fail! Everyone does! Failure creates learning and learning creates success!

Thanks for spending some time with me and I hope this helps you to create better images!



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This mother was trying to help her two little boys get their feet clean and put their shoes back on after wading in the cold water of the Lower Falls in the Old Man's Cave Gorge area. I laughed at the pure joy of her wrestling with these two ornery boys as they splashed and giggled while she attempted to get them cleaned and re-shoed!

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