Posts Tagged ‘viewpoint’

Inspiration And Assignments: View From Above

May 19, 2018 14 comments

I have been wanting to use this photo in a blog post for quite some time but was at a loss for words. Well it appears timing is everything.  A few weeks ago a good friend of mine came across a quote that she felt would be perfect inspiration for one of my blog posts. She turned me on to the quote and it turns out she was right on the money with this one.

“It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”

Henry David Thoreau

In many more words than Mr. Thoreau used, this has been my mantra for years. 

“I think that people will too often look and not really see. And if I can see for them, to show them what fascinates me about a single leaf floating in a creek, or the morning light highlighting a stand of trees or the seemingly random pattern in a pile of rocks…then I have shared that single experience, that split second in time with them. And if I can give them the opportunity to enjoy that one moment, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.”

Try to take the time out to “see.” It will make a world of difference in your life, and in your photography.

By now you are probably wondering what the subject matter is in the above photograph. I’ll give ya a few hints. It’s not a photo of a mountain range or of a river delta taken from a window on the International Space Station. I’ve never been invited to go up there.






IN THE FIELD: Shadows In The Snow

February 17, 2014 25 comments


Early morning or late afternoon is the perfect time for catching some great shadows in the snow.

I took this photo in the early morning using a custom in-camera B&W mode. I chose B&W because I liked the stark contrast of the tree trunks against the softness of the snow.

Another reason I didn’t shoot this in color was due to the deep blue shadows from the early morning light. Even though the scene is a cold visual, I didn’t want to show it as any colder.

When shooting in color, there are times when the snow is that blue from the light and shadows, it can be difficult to expose the snow as white without overexposing the whole scene and losing detail.

Of course there is always the post processing route to fix things, but I would rather get it right in camera rather than spend time adjusting the image on the computer. I suppose I’m from the old school in my way of thinking. Plus, I would rather be out shooting photographs.

There is still about two feet of snow on the ground with more on the way late tonight. This certainly has been a long snowy winter this year. It reminds me of when we were kids and the ground would be white for months.

f 8


ISO 100

cloudy WB

IN THE FIELD: Ummmmmmmmm

December 16, 2013 10 comments

lr_dhphotosite2013-12-14 10.19.21


IN THE FIELD: More Explanation Needed

September 20, 2013 21 comments


Am I missing something here?

Does this mean if a person is handicapped and they park here, a $50 to $300 fine is in their future? Or does it mean if you are not handicapped and you park here, a $50 to $300 fine is coming your way?

I realize sometimes a sign can only be so big, and only so much info can be printed on it. But I still I think a little more thought should have gone into this one.

f 5.6


ISO 100

cloudy WB

HOW TO: A Third Leg

August 5, 2013 10 comments


In my opinion, a monopod is the second most important tool for an outdoor photographer. The first would be a tripod. Outside of a camera, of course.

Even with the advent of super high ISO speeds, anti-shake lenses and camera bodies, tripods and monopods provide the essential support needed for blur-free photographs. The use of either of these tools also enables you to scrutinize your composition before pressing the shutter button all the way.

But as we all know, a tripod is not always the most convenient support system to use.

For instance, tripods are not usually permitted indoors in many museums, historic buildings or conservatories. A tripod can even get in your way at certain sporting events. Even architectural street photography could be bothersome to some folks with a three legged apparatus spread out across the sidewalk during rush hour.

So what is the intrepid photographer to do? Have faith…there is a solution. It’s not a fix-all, but I have found the simple, rarely-praised monopod often saves the day. These one legged support systems have plenty to offer.

Their conveniences are many. They are lightweight, easily carried, unobtrusive, quick to set up, and adjustable in height. Mount a ball head onto a monopod, and the camera positions available are almost limitless.

The stronger ones can be used as a walking staff, and most importantly, monopods provide a good bit of stability. When braced against an immoveable object or even yourself, a respectable steady platform is the result. And they are usually allowed where tripods are not. That benefit alone opens up all kinds of possibilities. Plus, monopods are fairly inexpensive.

A monopod certainly will not replace the stability offered by a tripod, but they sure do work well in a pinch. If you know someone who owns one, give it a try for a day. I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised…and you may even add one to your cache of photographic tools. I keep mine in the car at all times.


IN THE FIELD: Really Makes You Wonder

July 26, 2013 22 comments


Most signs are posted for a good reason…directions, safety, awareness, rules and regulations. And then there are signs that just don’t make sense.

Here is a perfect example. This sign is posted at an elementary school playground. It is informative, as signs typically are, yet it’s a bit off-kilter.

I understand why the school officials would not want children, or adults for that matter, on the basketball court with skateboards, bicycles, scooters, and rollerblades. But what I can’t figure out is why ball playing is not allowed on a BASKETBALL COURT.

f 4.5


ISO 100

Cloudy WB

IN THE FIELD: Not As Late As You May Think It Is

November 12, 2012 25 comments

After I finished some yard work on Saturday, I got out the camera to capture some of the autumn color that remains in our woods.

The sun was dipping below the horizon, but there was still enough ambient light to get some shots without using the built-in flash or a speedlight. And I knew this was a situation which would call for longer exposure times and the use of a tripod.

One of the advantages of long exposures is colors can become more saturated than what you may find with shorter exposure times. I was also fortunate there wasn’t even a wisp of a breeze, so everything in the photos was sharp.

To start this exercise, I bumped the ISO to 400, set the aperture at f11 for good depth of field, and adjusted the shutter speed to 2.5 seconds for a proper exposure. I could have used a faster shutter speed, but that would have dictated the use of a wider aperture. Which in turn leads to less depth of field. I also used an electronic cable release to further minimize camera movement.

Some folks might say it was too dark to get a decent photo. I say phooey. The light sensitivity built into cameras these days is remarkable to say the least. My camera, which is at least four years old, had no problem making a proper exposure or auto-focusing. The newer models are even more capable.

Low light photography can be a challenge for your equipment or for yourself, but the rewards are worth it. Least in my humble opinion.

IN THE FIELD: A Different Perspective

August 20, 2012 24 comments

What’s the most natural way to hold the camera when taking photos? Many folks would agree it’s in the horizontal format. Probably 90 percent of the shots we all take are in the horizontal format. There is nothing wrong with shooting this way, after all, it’s how we see naturally.

Although, there is another way to hold the camera when taking photos, and that’s in the vertical format. In many cases, a composition will work better as a vertical as compared to a horizontal format. Just by changing from one view to the other, the dynamics of a photo can be subtle or significant.

Sure, you can crop a horizontal image and make it a vertical, and sometimes that’s the only option, especially if you didn’t take a vertical shot. But, by cropping, you can only capture a portion of the original image.

When should you take a vertical shot? In my opinion, right after taking a horizontal shot.

Try it and see what a different perspective will do for your photographs.

Neither of these two photos have been cropped. They are straight out of the camera to illustrate the difference between a horizontal and vertical composition.


December 9, 2011 25 comments

This post was written by my lovely wife who is my editor-in-chief. She felt that my version of this topic may just offend a few too many people. I have to admit…she was right. And to quote my editor, “I would not consider the home in this image to be either ugly or attractive…let’s just say, it has personality.”

My husband and I became aware of a reoccurring phenomenon a number of years ago when we were looking to purchase our first house. It became more apparent as we drove around the area we lived and where we wanted to live. We even noticed it when we were on vacation.

We kept seeing these houses that can only be politely described as “unique”. Houses with a multitude of exterior building materials, accent colors that could make your straight hair curl, and quirky additions protruding from front porches. We started identifying these oddities as “Ugly Houses”.

My husband does admit to having an aversion to one house that showcased stucco, stone, vinyl siding, cedar shakes and brick on its exterior…plus three other materials he could not identify. And I do admit to rolling my eyes at a house displaying a Barbie-on-Steroids-Pink front door with matching shutters.

Being obsessed with our discovery, we decided we needed to go Public. We would create a coffee table book with full page photographs and kitchy captions. We would call it “Ugly Houses of America”. We would select a house to receive the yearly “UHOA” award and feature it on the back cover.

Until we came to the conclusion that we would probably get sued. Or depending on what part of the country the house was located: get shot. Upon greater reflection, we realized our opinion was based on what we perceived to be beautiful. Or not.

And who are we to judge? We don’t live there. We just drive by it. Maybe a couple of times a day or maybe just once in a lifetime.

Curb appeal has its place if that is what is important to you. If your motivation is to make sure you please everyone, including yourself, then by all means…knock yourself out. Follow the current trends or maintain a classic style. It is your choice.

But if you want to step outside the norm…think outside the box…be the purple cow in a field of black and white cows…feel free to create your own vision.

And if we think it is ugly, who cares? You should not. And we should get over it.



October 5, 2011 12 comments

I’ve touched on viewpoint in previous posts, and for me, it is an important part of my process and how I approach my photography. By viewpoint, I am not only talking about my personal perspective, but how I use the camera to share my experiences through my images.

When I get to a location, the first thing I do is take a moment to get my first impressions. Even if I have been there before, or am returning to shoot a specific subject, I want to get a sense of that place at that moment.

I walk around with my camera in hand and start looking for the first scenes that capture my attention. I look for vignettes and the subtleties…light, shadows, texture and pattern. I move around. I look up. I look down.

And I look through the camera. Because what you see with your two eyes will be captured in a different way with the camera lens. Sometimes I pull out the polarizing filter, and without attaching it to the lens, rotate it and see how affects a potential subject with the light at that moment.

By this time, I have identified those subjects I know I want to shoot during this session. If I end up shooting additional scenes, or explore others as I go along, that is fine too. But at least I have selected my must-haves. Then I set up my shots, using the tripod, if needed.

Why is viewpoint so important? As a photographer, one of my goals is to share my experience of a location, or subject in a specific moment in time, with my viewer. I want to have a sense of the place I am shooting, so I take time to do that. And it is reflected in my photographs. Because when I do not follow this part of the process, my images become snapshots and not photographs.

And there is nothing wrong with snapshots. We all take them. However, if I am inspired by a scene and I believe my goal is to share that experience with you, why wouldn’t I do everything I can to make it my best?