Shooting Into The Sun

Taking a photo into the sun may not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but the results you get will be more than satisfying…most of the time.

First, it is a great way to get silhouettes. But secondly, it will give a dramatic contrast to your photos.  If you have a camera with an automatic exposure, it may over expose your photos. A way to help compensate for that is to have the sun directly out of the scene. Or hide the sun behind something, like a tree or a cloud.

In The Sunlight on Leaves,  the sun is just up to the left of the photo and there was just a bit of glare. But the whiteness of the leaves against the dark background of the trees provides a 3-D  feel to the leaves. You can almost reach out and touch them.

The Escambia Bay Sunset you may have seen before. Here the sun was hidden behind the clouds and you can see some sun rays penetrating the cloud cover.

In the Cypress Sentinel scene the sun was hidden behind the tree   while the camera was pointed directly at the sun. By the way, that tree was only a a hundred yards away from the bay sunset scene. That was a “two-for one” afternoon.

While the Boat at Dusk photo captured just a bit of the sun, the sun was low enough in the sky as to not provide too much of a glare. The sun’s reflection on the water provides feeling of depth. The scene appears just a bit darker than it actually was.

The Sunrise on The Florida Keys shows a dramatic way to hid the sun. The camera was aimed directly at the sun, but the trees covered the sun from the lens and did now show any glare.

There are many other ways of shooting into the sun, but these are just a few.

Sunlight on Leaves wm

escambia bay 72 dpi wm copy

Cypress Sentinel water

Boat at dusk wm

Sunrise on the Florida Keys wm

A Mother’s Love

Always be prepared for a great photography when you least expect it. This happened to this past week while I was getting ready to take a family photograph at Pensacola Beach.

Normally I do not shoot family pix or anything like that…but since it was my daughter’s family, how could I refuse?

I was just testing the camera to be sure that the flash would go off in bright sunlight and not be “overshadowed” by the bright light.

I was shooting the tests when suddenly my daughter rested her face in her daughter’s hair and I caught it…just one shot and it was over….no repeats.

In color it is ok, but in black and white it really becomes dramatic and catches the feelings of both individuals. Chances of repeating it would be impossible.

The story here is….whenever you are taking photos of anything, family friends, landscapes…be prepared for the unexpected. Just by accident I feel I captured a great shot! Photograph taken April, 2011.

A mother's love  copy copy

Why I Like Black & White

Many people ask me why I like black & white photos better than color. Maybe it is because I had my first exposure (pardon the pun) to black and white photography in my cousin’s darkroom at a young age. There is magic in watching an image coming to life in the chemicals in the darkroom.

But secondly, there is much greater detail visible to the naked eye in black & white than color. You can’t see the contrasts and detail in color as you do in black & white. It is more than “just pretty.”

In black and white images, the absence of light can be as important as the highlights. Solid, deep blacks can give a depth and solidity of an image. Sunlight, properly used, can paint a total photograph with total brilliance.

Black and white has a distinct atmosphere of its own. It’s classic, yet simple and elegant, even romantic. It has a refined quality. Without the distractions of color, the photograph asks each viewer to recognize the individuality and uniqueness of the subject. Black and white focuses the attention on form, shading and pattern, not color. It forces the viewer to see the world in a way that cannot be seen with the human eye.

To me, a black & white photograph is the purist art form of photography. It makes a viewer, stop and look at the detail and the structure of the photograph.

The photograph with this blog is from the San Jose Mission in San Antonio, TX. It is the front doorway and window of an Indian  dwelling which consists of a single room. The exquisite detail of the wood in the doorway and the stones of the outside structure is lost in a color photograph, but comes alive in black & white. For comparison I have also included a color photograph too.

This photograph was taken in January, 2011.

San Jose Mission  2 copy

Doorway color copy 1

Do Not Let Life Slip Away

In this modern age of instant gratification whether it be something we buy on impulse with a credit card or a digital photograph we take and see instantly, life passes us by quickly and we tend to forget those things we thought were important a few minutes ago.

While this blog is intended to improve your photographic abilities, I just want to take a few minutes here to remind you to grasp and keep those things that are important to you right now.

How often do we look at “old pictures” found in trunks, shoe boxes and envelopes that were taken 50-75 or maybe even 100 years ago…and let them bring back memories of past things in your life–the photo of your parent’s wedding 50 years ago…or a photo of your grandfather who served in World War I dressed in his uniform?

I am spending some of my spare time going through boxes of photographs and negatives of “stuff” I have taken and saved over the past 50 plus years. My concern with today’s digital photography is that photos of family histories will be wiped out because we hever had prints made, or we merely left everything on a memory card or transferred to a disk or maybe left it on the computer’s hard drive…until it crashed.

I really don’t believe that 15 or 20 years from now..or even 50…we will be able to access the photos we are taking and saving on memory devices today. The technology is moving so fast that we will be unable to retrieve these…unless you have prints made now of the photos you want to cherish later…and keep as family keepsakes.

These days many young couples who are getting married have photographers who take the photos, and then hand them a cd…and let them make their own prints. How many really do?

Have prints made now…or make them yourself even if you think you might not want to keep them or they may be gone forever. We may become the lost generations when it comes to family photographic memories years from now.

The photograph with this blog is one I took probably 45 years ago but never made a print…but I had the negative and discovered it going through my “stuff.” It is one of my son taking along a wooded road on an autumn day leaning against a brick wall. You can see the sun shining through the colored leaves…and all the leaves on the ground.

If I had taken this photograph digitally only 20 years ago, I probably would not be able to look at it today or make a print of it. Today I can.

Boy at the wall original copy copy

Abandoned Railroad Passenger Car

I found this abandoned railroad passenger car sitting behind an abandoned grain elevator at Prairie du Chein WI while taking photographs along the Mississippi River in 2009.

The clouds of the summer day and the dirt surrounding the old tracks tell a story of times long gone by for many river towns along the river.

Who knows all the stories this old car would have of the places it visited and the people who travelled on it? A voice out of the past.

Abandoned railroad passenger car  copy

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