Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Preparing Images For Presentation

This section talks about the computer work that is necessary to prepare images. RAW mode, this is a state where everything is in it original setting and has no manipulation or focus done to it. There are three color spaces most useful to landscape photographers -ProphotoRGB, Adobe RGB, and Adobe sRGB IEC61966. When manipulating RAW images you first want to correct the brightness, then the level curves, color saturation, color balance, and adjust the contrast. Most landscape photographers try to get their contrast correct when they shoot the scene. The last characteristic to change is sharpness.

Digital Darkroom Equipment

The first topic that we discuss in this section is storage for your pictures. It is always a good thing to have a backup storage unit to put pictures on in case something drastic happens while you are out shooting. The author recommends using a one to two gigabyte memory card for landscape purposes. We then go into editing, this is where we learn to adjust color balance, saturation, brightness and contrast, dodge and burn, remove imperfections, straighten horizons and manipulate many other characteristics. The recommended standard program is Adobe Photoshop.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Week 2 Photos

Just getting used to the camera

Here are a few pictures that I took when I first bought my camera. I was not really going for anything specific but more just trying to get a feel for the camera.

Captivating Clouds

The last section in this part is capturing and using clouds. Clouds ensure your chances of producing images that are dramatic and distinctive, because the colors they allow are always different. Clouds are used as diffusers of light that allow some light to go through and gives features you are shooting different tones and detail about it. Thats why it is great to go out and shoot on cloudy days. You will have the best detail and colors.

Wide View Panorama

To get those wide view pictures that you cant capture with just one shot is pretty simple. First situate your tripod away from foreground features. Make sure it is level. Select a focal length that captures all the features you want in your shot. Put your exposure control to manual, and put shutter speed to provide the best exposure of the parts of the scene you really want to capture. You then do a framing sequence, overlapping the shots by 25%. Then its to the computer to do your stitching. This process can be different depending on the programs that you use but each one will have a walk through of how to stitch your pictures to get a wide view photograph.

Twilight Time

The twilight time section deals with shooting after sunset in the short time that you have. This is a time when mosquitoes and other pests like to feed so wear repellent and dress a appropriate such as layers again. Have the area you want to shoot already in mind and be there because the time you have to shoot is a short window. Make sure all your setting and focus's are set. Set your ISO to 200-400 and set your aperture to capture all of the features of the scene. Shoot and bracket with a tripod.

Floral Wilderness

Capturing the meadows in bloom!Trying to capture the broad landscape with your pulse racing is very difficult as the author claims. To do this you will want to find when the flowers will be blooming in the area you will want to shoot. Try to capture the flowers when they are at or just reaching their blooming peak, have a mixture of colors, have the land tilt toward your tripod, use early morning front light, have other elements in your scene as well. When talking about front light that means having the sun behind you. You will want to keep everything you can in focus. Try using a low angle to help capture flowers in front of you as well as landscape further back.

Oceans of Light

When shooting oceans and ocean's edge, you have a few things to remember. Get ready for wet conditions, waders, shorts, vest, zoom lenses, and filters. Timing the tides, look for shorelines with low elevation backdrops or south facing beaches with headlands. Back to timing the tides, you sometimes will want to capture the action. To do this you will want to try to get your timing correct. So take some shots and look to see how timing is and coordinate it. Also look towards the sky to help give your photo that living accent to really show off your picture.

Sunrise and Sunset

This section is pretty self explanatory being as we have discussed throughout the book that sunrise and sunset are the best times to shoot. It is when you have the calmest times, best colors, best tones. Also the sky creates its own scene for us that we do not have to touch and is natural and beautiful in itself.

Dramatic Dunes

When dealing with dessert areas such as sand dunes, we have a few points that we will want to remember. Before shooting make sure the site is free of footprints, keep your camera away from the sand and bring lots of water. Make sure you pack lightly, walking in sand is tougher than walking on normal ground. Timing is very important when shooting sandy images. You will want to shoot when the sun is low in the sky. Roughly 15 mins before sunset or after sunrise.

Radiant Reflections

The Reflections section helps us with one of photographers favorite subjects as he states it. Again you will be getting wet so make sure to keep dry and keep your camera dry as well. Look for landscape that will be under, front, or sidelight, at sunrise or sunset that will help capture the lighting. Then look for pools, ponds, marshes, and etc that will have an opportunity to reflect the landscape . A main point to remember when trying to capture landscape reflections on water is to have water that is untouched by wind. Again filters may be used to help get the darkness you want for the sky or for the water.

Cascades and Waterfalls

In this section we learn how to capture water either flowing or still. This section is very interesting because its a challenge to capture water in different ways. He gives a few tips to help capture this expressive image: use soft lighting, shutter speed priority, isolate the foam, polarizing filter, capture rock and foliage in the scene, cue on diagonals, keep it simple, look for S curves, capture the sky, go below the flow, and get in the flow. Seems like a lot to remember, but overall is common sense as to what we have already learned from the book so far. Another issue that arises in this section is some precautions that should be taken when shooting water scenes. Water sprays sometimes mainly when dealing with rivers and waterfalls, so some advice is to shoot farther away with a longer lens. Keep your camera covered with a plastic to protect it. Keep your lens free of drops or mist. Also for yourself make sure you wear the right gear such as waders, extra clothes, shorts, and lost of material to dry off with.

Bonfires of Aututmn

This section tells us of some excellent places to look for picture sources that will help capture an autumn mixture. Again he tells us to use polarizing filters to help eliminate reflections, use cloudy mid-mornings to gain less wind and ample light that will give you sharp detail. Shoot when the land is wet to give your picture a "soaked look" that has lots of color saturation. Also look for complementary colors.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Photogenic Opportunities

This again was a short section but gives some good incite to some things to look for to help capture those images that we are all looking for. Color, clouds, calm weather, angles, moody weather, foreground features, open horizons, reflecting water, and good environments. These features or whatever you would like to call them are items to look for when you are needing inspiration for shooting or for new ideas.

Expressing Perspective

This was a particularly short section but there isn't much to say for portraying a perspective. You can use different angling of the camera to capture different scenes so that you can get a whole image in a shot. It also deals with depth and taking scenery depth into mind when wanting to get a image that is very far away while also getting a image that is right in front of you as well in to a photo.

Art of the possible

This sections deals with adapting your shooting to the natural conditions. Sunrise's are more preferable to shoot landscape scenes. Early morning for wildlife, midday for recharging yourself and getting ready for evening shoots. Late afternoons you can use for scouting for landscapes or areas where wildlife might be. Sunset you can shoot landscapes again but from another perspective of darker colors and tones.

Composition Basics

This section describes the basic ways to compile a photo. In dealing with composition we are talking about what is seen in the scene. Such as a animal, flowers, mountains, people. It can also deal with colors, lines, shapes, and sizes. Color can play a big role in composition when dealing with soft and hard colors and brightness. Certain colors can bring out a image that you may want to stand out. Placement of objects is also important because having a focus center will help draw the viewer in to the photo. You can also do thirds instead of have a focus center. You can also have a theme that will give your scene a fullness to it, capturing it as a whole.

Illuminating the scene

In this section light is the topic and it can come in many different forms. Lighting is another key that can really help capture a scene. There are different times that are better for capturing some scenes. Such as overcast light, frontlight, sidelight, backlight, and twilight. These terms are set as to where the sun is in direction of either you or in the sky. The best times to shoot are early morning or in the evening(twilight) because the light is softer and different colors are displayed giving scenes a different image that you may not capture during the daytime.

Aperture and Shutter Speed

This section is probably one of the hardest concepts to grasp. For this section i will try to explain in my own terms to as what they are. I will start with shutter speed. Shutter speed is pretty much what it sounds like. It is the amount of time it takes for the shutter of the lens to open and close. The faster the shutter speed the less light aloud in and the darker the picture will be. The slower the shutter speed the more light aloud and the brighter the picture. Aperture is the depth to field. Meaning that it is how much of the lens is used. It can be opened wide to gain more area yet the detail will be a little hazy or it can be closed somewhat and then you gain more detail and lose some area. It takes time to master these two features of a camera but once you gain the concept you can take some amazing photos that really capture a scene.


In the exposure section we learn that exposure is the total amount of light allowed into the image during the time of taking a photograph. So when talking about an exposure it refers to what is called a shutter cycle, meaning how much light is allowed in during the time it takes the shutter to open and close.

Logistics in the field

Logistics in the field section tells us how to transport, access, and protect our equipment while being in the field. This section is important because if we can manage our equipment easily the more time and fun we can have while taking photos. Some of the things mentioned is a photo vest which is great for having easy access to gear, while being comfortable moving around. Extra film or memory cards depending on what you are shooting with. Have a means of communication in case of an emergency. For person preference it is recommended to take a brimmed hat, pepper spray, compass, lighter, knife, and waders. So in other terms a small survival kit. It is also important to stay dry and keep your equipment dry. While staying dry is important staying warm may be more important. Dress in layers!!!

Landscape Optics

The landscape optics section stresses the importance of lenses and how lenses are a key factor of how scenes are recorded. There are a couple important points to remember for lenses. A lens should have a high quality image at small apertures, should accept the same filter size, have well-designed zoom lenses, and the should focus internally. It also covers different types of lenses such as normal, wide-angle, telephoto, and tilt/shift lenses. No one lens is better than the other it is just a matter of what type of photographs you are deciding to shoot determines the type of lens you would want to consider.

Camera Systems

This section tells us of how the digital camera has taken over the photography world today. It talks about the ease of using digital camera's compared to film camera's. Digital camera's have all the settings at hand and can be changed in a matter of a second. This section also talks about camera formats as well, such as the most popular 35mm to medium and large formatting. Large formats are great for landscapes, while medium format is great for detail and 35mm is just an all around format. Towards the end we discuss tripods and that stabilization is a key factor while choosing a tripod that fits you.