Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Family Sessions

Over the last couple weekends I had the chance to experience two special families each with their own story.  One I had privilege of capturing young ones growing up in this world.  The other, capturing siblings making lasting memories to cherish for a lifetime.  This week, I am sharing a special time with a family spending a weekend together, enjoying one another.  This group was a blast to photograph.  I can tell they are a close family which makes being able to capture this special time in their lives all the more meaningful.  Here are a couple of my favorites from the session.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Family Sessions

I recently had the privilege of photographing a family with some very handsome young men.  The little guys braved the wind for a fun run around the arboretum.  I love photographing families at the Arboretum due to its dual use.  It has many places for posing families in a natural setting, but it also has an element for exploration which works great with children.

I take the same philosophy with shoots such as this as I do with my own children.  I love photographing them in their element, playing and having fun.  The arboretum leaves many places to explore and gets them moving with their natural curiosity.  It does involve a little bit of follow the leader, but it makes it worth while catching them at work.   I get to experience what their parents do, seeing their little minds at work and hopefully capturing their fun loving spirits.  I had a great time photographing this family and appreciate their mom and dad providing me with the opportunity of capturing this special time in their lives.

Here are a couple of my favorites from the session.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Tips to Photographing Flowers

You see them every day.  You probably see photos of them every day.  Some of the photos are as stunning as the creations themselves, while others will melt your eyeballs.  My purpose in this article is to give a little insight in how to take photos of your flowers and when too take them.  After all, we all need our eyes to see them.

I don't plant flowers in my yard.  It is a personal choice due to allergies and three children that would love to pick them at the first chance the saw.  Then I have dogs that would more than likely dig them up given the chance.  I have to go out in search of my subjects.  This provides an added incentive to get out of the house but also gives me a chance to do something with my kids that most people don't.  I usually let them bring along their little cameras and do a little photography of their own.  Their results usually are expected, but every now and then you get something truly unique and amazing.

First of all, please do not take photos of your flowers in broad daylight.  Your camera doesn't see things the way you do.  Your camera is limited in the amount of dynamic range it can see.  What seems dark to you will appear black to your camera.  What appears bright to you will be a blown out highlight in your cameras eyes.  So the next time your photographing a flower, try shielding it from the sun with your body or some type of paper.  White paper works great for this.  It gives a natural diffusion to the sun.  Black paper works great for a backdrop to flowers.

Place your body between the sun and the flowers and use the black paper behind the flower.  Perfect subject isolation!  If your not able or don't have any type of diffusion handy, can't block the sun with your body, use the bright sky as your backdrop.  Back lit subjects are easy to photograph and look cool.  Just don't forget to up the exposure compensation.

This photo was taken shooting straight up at the sky.  I was holding one end out of camera left.  The sun was being blocked by a tree just off to the left of the photo.

Use your exposure compensation.  I believe most cameras, even the newer point and shoots, have this little life saver.  If your shooting into something that is back lit or is brighter in the background, bump the exposure compensation up 1 stop or 1 1/2 stops.  This will usually give your subject the proper exposure and will isolate it by blowing out your background.  Same goes for shooting a white flower. Your camera will compensate for the white flower and will make your picture dark unless you bump the exposure compensation.

If your shooting down on the flower and dirt is in the background, you might want to lower the exposure compensation.  The black dirt will cause your camera to see a darker that it should be scene and adjust the exposure accordingly.  They only way to combat this is the lower the exposure to make it work best.

Kill the flash!  Please do not use a flash when taking a photo of a flower.  Flash is used for fill light when there isn't light present.  Flowers are more than likely outside so the use of flash is not necessary.  The only times a flash should be used when lighting a flower is when you are taking an extreme macro of the flower or if you are working in a studio doing still life.  You actually need the flash to light your subject in those circumstances.

I used a flash as the main light source of this photo since I was taking an extreme macro of the lilies anthers.  Taking photos this close to your subject drastically cuts the light that can reach your sensor so you must give it a boost.  If possible, try to diffuse your flash somehow to avoid harsh light and harsh shadows.

Try to take pictures of single flowers and have them be the focus of the image.  Sure a whole flowering bush looks nice for the scrap book, but if you want something someone will ooo and ahhh over, isolate the subject.  Try focusing on the details of the flower that you find the most pleasing and make that your point of emphasis.  This will not only convey what you see when you gaze upon the flower, but it will give the viewer a better understanding of what it is that makes this flower so beautiful.  If you do decide to photograph a group of flowers, don't just shoot them.  Compose the image using the golden rule or one of your other photography rules.  You can look those up.

Or use them as a competing pair.  Some like to keep both flowers in focus, but I prefer to have the focus on one and have the other nicely blurred in the background.

Don't be afraid to switch it up.  Sometimes it is nice to see what else is interesting or beautiful about a flower.  I personally thing the back of the flower is just as interesting as the front.  Seeing how the stem connects and flowers out in the back is one of natures wonders.  Shooting up at the flower from the bottom often provides a unique perspective on the flower and will get your picture noticed.  If you place your subject correctly, you can get a nice sun flare or backlight to shine through your subject.  This would be one of the times I would say it is okay to shoot in broad daylight without diffusion.  Here is a quick idea of what a different perspective can do for the same flower.

Straight on the flower gives a great view of what the flower has.  Also helps getting the most in focus.

This one, I tiled the camera up and lowered myself to get a little bit of focus, but maintain a smooth background.

This one I was sitting beside the flower and pointing the camera straight at its side.  This give a beautifully blurred background and keeps the focus on the part of the flower I wanted to emphasize.  A majority of the flowers I shoot, I enjoy shooting shallow depth of field.  I do this by using the widest aperture when possible.

Here is a shot from the back of a flower.  You still have beautiful texture, but get a unique look at what others miss.

Last tip, don't be afraid to go crazy.  Sometimes straying from the norm is what makes the photograph.  I for one love to shoot subjects that most don't think about.  I love shooting the seeding dandelion.  Thistle is another one of the cooler subjects to shoot.  What some view as weeds are beautiful as well.  Just not in my yard.  So don't be afraid to stray from the normal type of garden flowers and check out some of your local weeds.

Another suggestion to bring a little pizzaz to your photos, is the water bottle.  If I have an idea that I am going to be taking photos of flowers, sometimes I choose to spray a little water on the flower to give it that little extra.  

If your prepared, sometimes you can catch a glimpse of nature at work.  

I hope you have found some of these tips informational and useful when your out gathering photos from this years crop of spring flowers.  Remember, beauty is what you make of it!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Macros

It has been a little while since I had made a blog post.  I have been busy working on Mother's Day items and other activities.  I hope the spring has been full of enjoyment and a newly found enjoyment of the outdoors.  Here are a couple for the spring fever types.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring blossoms

Some flowers and tree blossoms from the past couple of days.  I am hoping to get out and get some more in the near future.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day Everyone!  To celebrate this day, I am offering a 1 day only 30% sale on everything on my site.  This includes my fine art prints, portrait galleries, wedding galleries.  Everything!  Use the code MAYDAY for your discount at checkout!  Just follow the link or click on the picture.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's a big kitty right?

An early morning visitor and an unwanted guest.  I have only viewed the opossum at night dodging headlights and running away from dogs, but this guy had the guts to walk the fence in broad daylight.   It was larger than most I have seen in this area which leads me to believe it's a little more mature and experienced at moving around in the daylight hours.

Here are some interesting facts about the Opossum, the only Marsupial native to North America.  They are very slow moving and cannot flee when scared.  Instead, they freeze and play dead.  This is where the term "Playing Opossum" comes from.  The females have a pouch on the belly that carry their young.  When they young become too large for the pouch, they are carried on their back. They eat bugs, berries, leaves, grass, rodents, snails, eggs.  They live in trees and use their tail for stabilization, but do not hang from their tails like they are believed to do.  They also live a very short time, usually 2 to 4 years.  Being a greatly misunderstood creature, they are perceived as a pest.  

Having said that, I still don't want them in my yard and I was glad to see it go.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Images

Posting a few days late.  Sometimes you need a little time to gather all of the interesting images from the day.