There are lots of times when I am out kayaking that I get just a glimpse of a subject and then they are gone. Lots of the time I am able to just fire off one or two frames and my subject is gone. I barely have time to aim the kayak, drop the paddle, raise my camera and fire. That is why I use the custom settings on my camera. I have C1 set for animals that are fairly stationary; and C2 set for birds in flight. My settings for C1 are...
We had nice clouds on Saturday so I grabbed my camera with my 15-30mm lens and my 15 stop Neutral Density filter and headed to the river...Ironically, while I was taking 4 minute exposures with a 15mm lens, the sea lion that has been frequenting our stretch of the river appeared. Read the blog to find out what happened when the sea lion got closer!
I bracket compositions much more than I do exposures. I feel confident, after 40 years of picture taking that I can get the exposure correct, but composition is much more subjective and emotional...Changing focal lengths, my height perspective or even just shifting right or left can make huge differences of the feel of an image. As a photographer I am trying to capture an emotion and feeling of a particular subject and share that with others. How I place the frame is critical to telling that story. And there is no one right answer.
My advice is, if you have time, bracket those compositions...When you get them all back, evaluate them as a group. See what was successful, and what wasn’t...
Here is a series of images to illustrate these concepts. Let me know which one is your favorite.
When I first starting taking pictures on the river, I realized that everyday might not be a good picture day, yet everyday would be a good river day...That first day back was the first time I ever went out on the river and did not take a single picture. The light was flat, the wildlife sightings were poor and I could not find anything interesting enough to photograph...I set the alarm and extra 15 minutes early to make sure I was at the river early in case the sky lit up. ...I positioned the kayak pointing south, into the sun, and brought out the wide-angle lens. The lens is very wide 15-30mm, and I wanted to shoot at 15mm. It gets real tricky not getting any of the kayak or the paddles in the frame when shooting that wide. To find out the whole story read the blog.
Actually I am just assuming the histogram wasn’t happy. I am not sure since I never look at my camera histogram. I do use the Highlight Alert, commonly know as the “blinkies” and my LCD looked like a neon sign flashing in Las Vegas!...Ansel Adams used to describe the process of visualizing your finished product before you snap the shutter as “pre-visualization”, which English professors pointed, out is redundant. But whatever you call it, having a vision first and then trying to create that vision, is what separates true photographers from snapshooters.
Skip Cohen from Skip Cohen University, has a unique podcast where he interviews photographers about the story behind an image. He has done 100 of these podcast with photographers such as George Lepp, Art Wolfe, William Innes, Clay Blackmpre, Lindsay Adler, Ian plant, Barbara Bordnick, John Sexton, Lee Varis, Bobbi Lane and many others.
Today I am his 100th guest and here is the image...
There are times when I am out photographing that I have to force myself to be patient. About a month ago, I was coming back from my morning kayak and getting close to the location where I get out of the water, when I spotted this Snowy Egret. I hadn’t spent much time being close to a Snowy in a while, so I diverted my direction and headed towards the bird. At first the bird was not in very good light, I almost left the area, but I saw it was heading to a more interesting spot, so I decided to sit and wait. As usual, whenever I am sitting and watching animals, I engage them in conversation. I was telling the egret how beautiful it was and asking it to meander a bit to my left so it could get in better light...See more images and read the rest of the story below.