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

Take Interesting Photographs

Take photographs that are interesting to you. That’s the fun of photography. Shoot it when you see it. People often ask me “What do you specialize in?” and I reply, ” Anything that is of interest to me at the time I see it.”

Everyone has special interests, but you must like the photograph first…for whatever reason.  And if you see something you like, do not pass it up….like I have on special occasions and most recently the other afternoon.  I plan on going back at the same time ago and see if the same scene of the sail boats at harbor is still there…but I don’t know.

There is really to reason to explain to any one why you took such and such a photograph. If you like it take it.  And if you take it and still like it…have a an enlargement made of it, have it matted and framed and display in your home, your apartment, or your college dorm. Display the talents you own.

Look for angles and composition that interest you. We have talked before about taking a walk….do it and see the different angles of your subject. Most of today’s cameras have good zoom lens and you can take several shots of the subject from several different angles. Be creative…then tell yourself… ”Hey..that IS a very good picture.”

For example, I have included three photographs with this blog…one  a sign on Beal Street in Memphis that I thought was  neat; a color shot of some flowers at a farmers‘s market outside of Memphis, yes I did say color, and some workers at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter in New Orleans taking a break.

None of these were planned, I saw them and took them. You can do the same.

Some of these may end up in my Mississippi River Gallery…someday.

Beal

Coffe Break time at Cafe Du Monde  NO  1 jpg

Farmers Market 1  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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