A friend of mine finished browsing through the pics on my photoblog and, after complimenting me on some of his favorite shots, shrugged, saying, “Well, it helps to have traveled.”
True, travel helps. But many of the pictures on this photoblog, including some of my favorites, were taken in my own county. Or in my own yard.
Think of Dorothy (of the Wizard of Oz fame) reaching her epiphany at the end of the story. A portion of her quote is, “. . . if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.”
The tomato (pictured above) was taken in my front yard a couple of years ago. I was actually attempting to photograph a large yellow and black garden spider that had set up camp among the tomato plants in our front flowerbed. Out of all the shots I took that day, this one was my favorite.
So, if lack of travel experience is keeping you from dusting off your camera, get out in your own back (or front) yard and start snapping.
Do you have a favorite picture you took in your own yard? If so, please share it on the Photos by Fulkerson Facebook page.
My daughter and I went on a PhotoWalks tour of Boston during our May 2009 trip. Our professional photographer tour guide encouraged us to watch for unique angles, reflections, ways to frame subjects by shooting through another object, and other ways to go beyond the typical “point and shoot” capture of a subject.
This 2-in-1 shot of the church reflected in a window is an example of her instructions. Either subject – the colorful flowers adorning the window or the historic church — would have been a great subject to photograph. But capturing the reflection of the church inside the window brings a more creative composition to the picture.
What other creative composition methods have you used? Share your comments below or upload a photo onto the Photos by Fulkerson Facebook page and discuss it.
When a photographer faces lighting challenges, such as a bright sunset glowing over a dark mountain (above), “bracketing” is one way to compensate. Bracketing is where at least three identical shots are taken: one is slightly underexposed, one is taken at the recommended exposure, and the third is slightly overexposed. The three shots can then be combined to produce a scene with perfect lighting.
This is an advanced technique, but there is an easy way to do this, even for beginners. There are three ways to bracket a set of pictures:
- Manually — You will need a tripod to do this. Dial in a negative exposure compensation and take your shot. Then, being careful not to move the camera, set the EV (exposure value) to normal, and finally, take a third shot with the EV set above the recommended value.
- Automatically — Many cameras have an “auto-bracketing” function. You just select how many pictures you wish the camera to take and set the value of the over- and under-exposure. You’ll also need a tripod for this method.
- Digitally — This is the easiest way. Use a software program, such as Photomatix, and select the number of shots to include in the bracket and exposure value for each. You can do this even if you only took one shot initially. Simply duplicate the photograph and select the original and duplicates into the program and it will bracket them for you.
There is a brief “how-to” on bracketing at Dummies.com, but I hope to include some tutorial videos on this blog soon, and this is one I believe would be helpful. The photo below is untouched, so you can see the difference this technique can make in your photos:
This is a collection of images tagged “Landscapes.”
This is a collection of images tagged “Barns.”