Beautiful Jeju landscape. Well done.
Monthly Archives: March 2009
Congrats Derek, superb timing and props for being up early in the morning.
Unpublished runner-up was member Philip King for this outstanding black & white composition.
The film or digital sensor in our camera reacts to the light that falls on it to produce an image and we all know how important that light is to photography. Without it there wouldn’t be any. The importance of light is reflected in the fact that it is very large subject with a whole spectrum of issues to consider. This week we will try to shed some illumination on one facet of the topic by focusing on the area of sunlight, how it affects our images at different times of the day, and perhaps come away with a few tips on how we can use this to our advantage.
Most casual photographers (and we have all been casual photographers), at times think something like “Great! It’s a beautiful sunny day, I’m going to get out there and take some nice photos.” Yes, but to the savvy photographer it’s not as simple as that. Exactly when we take advantage of that light can be of vital importance to the look and feel of our pictures.
Many photographers know of the ‘golden hours’ – the first and the last hours of sunlight during the day. During these times the light is soft and warm; giving a rich glow to colors, especially yellows, oranges and reds. It’s a good time to take some cityscape shots for example, with glowing buildings against a darkening sky with long shadows adding a dramatic aspect. It’s also the favorite time for landscape photographers, the morning and evening light giving natural colors a warm and vibrant aspect.
Oddly enough, the middle of the day can often be the most difficult time to take pictures. On a bright and sunny day the light can be very intense and hard; bleaching the color out of our subjects, creating black unsightly shadows and reflecting off lighter colors so much that it is very difficult to control exposure. A fill flash can be very useful during these times if your subject isn’t too far away, and a little bit of shade or cloud cover can also be very welcome to alleviate these problems. However, this situation can be turned to your advantage if you are willing to try your hand at a bit of black & white processing. Look for high contrast. On a bright sunny day dark shadows abound, and can often look very effective in a black & white photo. You might even try looking back in your library for those pics that perhaps looked a bit too bright and harsh, and try looking at them again in black & white.
When you are out there photographing at different times, try to remember what the subject looked like to you and compare that with the images when you get them home. Often an image has surprising colors or looks much more vibrant than we remembered it in real life. We can use this as feedback into our photography in the future if we encounter similar lighting conditions.
However, light is useless of course if we aren’t out there using it. Get up early!
By Aaron Raisey
Last week we introduced the idea of workflow as the production line for your photos. This week we’ll continue that theme with some editing and storage options.
Once we have removed all the pictures that we don’t want and have the ‘keepers’ organized in our library, we can turn to editing. How much time you spend on each picture largely depends on two questions – how good the initial photograph is, and how creative you want to be. You will find that as your photography develops, you will spend less time tweaking pictures. Of course, sometimes we want to get a special look from a picture (black & white for example) so we might need to take a little more time trying to achieve that.
Many editors allow you to apply a range of changes you have made on one picture, to others. For example if you altered the exposure and color saturation on one image you could apply those exact changes to other images easily by a simple ‘drag and drop’ or ‘copy and paste’ operation. Be careful though, this is only really useful when the initial pictures have very similar characteristics. Other aspects of a photograph that might need adjusting are things like rotation and crop. Often an image can benefit from a slight rotation – to make the horizon level for example. Many photographers often experiment with different ‘crops’ (trimming the images in various ways) to improve on, or provide a different composition. Once you are satisfied with your images, they can be saved or exported as JPG files to share or print.
So what do we do with our pictures once we have them looking the way we want and have shared them with family and friends?? Most people want to keep them, and usually we just let them accumulate on our hard drives. This leads to storage issues. How can we get around this?? Do you have to choose whether to delete your precious photos or mp3 files?? And what if your computer crashes?? The good news is there is an answer, but the bad news is that you’ll need to invest a little more money.
Many photographers utilize a dedicated external hard drive. It’s a good option, they are very portable and you can buy a lot of storage space. Hard drives can still crash though, or get coffee spilt on them. Another choice is to purchase a DVD burner with which you can make permanent back-ups of your photos. A better option is to do both. You can have portable and convenient access to your pictures and maintain permanent copies should anything unfortunate happen.
Ultimately though, the best way to spend less time in front of the computer is to improve your photography. The better your pictures are when you depress that shutter, the less time you will spend trying to make them look right at home, and the best way to improve your photography is to take more pictures and evaluate them critically. Get out there.
By Aaron Raisey
As a keen digital photographer, you are probably shooting several hundred pictures every week. That’s a lot of images and that’s great, as your photography is no doubt improving as a result. However, there are a couple of side effects to this prolific production of pictures.
So, how can we minimize the amount of time we spend in front of the computer processing our images, and how can we manage the rapidly disappearing space on our hard drives?? We don’t want to have to delete those precious movie and audio files, do we??
The answer to these questions we have while sitting in front of our computers begins way back when we depress the shutter button and can be summed up in one word: workflow. Workflow is the procedure we follow from the moment we hit the shutter to the posting of the final image to our blogs, to our friends and family, or to the Seoul Photo Club site on Flickr. In other words, our workflow is the production line for our pictures.
The first decision is whether you will shoot in JPG or RAW. We addressed this question a couple of weeks ago. With JPG, your workflow will be simpler and your storage options will provide much better value. RAW requires some more time and effort and could lead to more drive space being consumed. The key to minimizing all these factors is having a system in place – a good workflow.
Once we get home after a shoot we have a few (or many!!) images to have a look at. But wait, let’s back up a bit. Saving space on your computer at home starts with keeping the right images while you are out there behind the camera. Take advantage of the digital medium – browse through your pictures in-camera every so often and eliminate any glaring mistakes and out-of-focus images. You will be thankful you did if you begin to run low on space on your memory card!! The next step is to take the images off your camera and onto your hard drive, where it’s useful to have a convenient folder structure that makes it easy to locate pictures.
Before even starting to edit your photos, it’s a good idea to go through and remove the ones that are obviously not keepers. Be ruthless. Unless you have a special reason, there’s not much point in keeping many different views of the same thing and it’s also important to be selective about what images you keep and choose to work on before the editing phase begins – this will save you valuable space and time. You might have some specialized software that makes it easier to organize, view, sort and delete your images. Aperture and Lightroom are two popular examples of such software that make the management of your image library simpler.
Next week, we’ll look at a few editing techniques and storage options that will hopefully make your time in front of the computer a little easier.
By Aaron Raisey