Photography 101 (again)

I love the complexities of advanced photography. I always enjoyed making studio images despite the fact that almost all of the studios I used were makeshift assemblages of this and that, usually in a basement or in a living room of an apartment. 

Despite that interest, there is nothing better than boiling down the basics of photography, and using your personal vision, sense of order, and your opinions, to create photos. Yes, photography like everything else can at times be a simple matter of opinion.

I love making dewy or rain drop covered images of plants. Every morning after a dewy night, or after a gentle rain, provides an opportunity to capture nature at her best. Your skill and knowledge, and especially your opinion and vision, are the tools needed to consummate the experience.

When I realized that there was a “whole lot of dew going on” one summer’s morning, I headed for a patch of Lupine plants.

This first image is an understatement of what I found, but beautiful just the same.  I wanted my composition to be as simple as possible.

As I moved through the underbrush in search of more simplicity, I found this leaf.  A little more dew, but not a lot. Somehow, I wished it either had less dew, or more.

I found more. This is nature’s way of saying it is your job to make the complex seem simple and/or elegant.

I did my best, using basic photography (101), and my personal vision and opinion of just how this image should be composed. What to leave in, and what to leave out.

I did use some of the rules of photography here. Some of those photography 101 rules. The compositional rule of thirds, and the rule that governs the use of power points is used here, although I probably used my instincts even more.

Some photographers hate the concept of photographing captive animals, especially zoo animals. The vast majority of all my wildlife images are made in the wild. Still, there are lessons to be learned and opportunities to be had, especially in zoos. They are great locations to practice the craft. I believed that to the degree that I taught workshops in a zoo.

Close-ups, including pensive ones like you see below, can be had in zoos at a level not attainable very often in the wild. That, along with the fact that I saw no trips to Japan in store for me at the time, drove me to take advantage of the opportunity to capture a special moment with this Japanese Macaque monkey.

Those you who live in northern latitudes, will take note that northern migration is beginning to “heat up” as tends to be the case every year at this time.

Certainly one of America’s greatest harbingers of spring, the Red-winged Blackbird can be found somewhere in your area right now.

This male was photographed many years ago and he posed on a windy spring day as if he knew what I was after. Making the image was photography 101, but take note of the pretty light, including the catch light in his eye.

Sometimes the simplest thing we can do, is choose what time we go out to make our pictures. Both the light in this image, and the dew on the previous pictures of Lupine leaves, came to me courtesy of getting up early.

As spring advances, so will those species that have farther to migrate. Such is the case with this “show off” female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The background was the distant interior of a woodland. My exposure, which was taken in the area which was in the light, forcing the dark areas to be underexposed, and the cloning out digitally of two obnoxious plants that carried some bright highlights, is what made for the unobtrusive background. A little bit photography 101, a little bit of photographic know how, and just a touch of digital wizard work.

Of course migration, includes artistic birds like swans, In the case a Tundra Swan. Just be patient. Birds like this will eventually do something artful

The birds are the artist and all we need to do is capture it in photos.

The simplest part of outdoor photography is the sheer number of subjects that just present themselves to us.

A tree, a slight rise in the land, and sunrise or sunset. Images like this are available to everybody, and they present themselves often. Very often. We just need to be there and be ready.

What about my exposure?  This was made eleven years ago but by looking at the image I can say I made a meter reading from the most mid tone part of the image. The darker area of the colorful sky. My composition features the tree, but that little slice of land was intentional. So the tree did not appear to be floating in mid air. Because the shape (silhouette) of the tree was so important, I put the tree “near” the center. I took it off center enough to make sure the image was not stagnant. I wanted peaceful and serene, not stale and boring..

My point, is that I used “basic” composition, and “basic” (101?) exposure, but I still put forth effort so people like you, could see my personal vision and sense of order whilst I preceded to share my opinion on what this scene “said “ to me.

We live in a crazy world today and there is nothing wrong with some escapism. Escaping into the serenity of the natural world, and then capturing what you see, and then sharing it with others. Maybe for a few minutes here, and a few minutes there, you will have blessed someone who needs it badly as they escape through your images.  That can be accomplished even with basic photographic knowledge.

God Bless,

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