How many of you budding photographers own an expensive SLR camera or the latest digital
camera with tripod and haven’t a clue how to get started using them? Raise your hand. Hmmmm. What you need is a whole day out in the field taking beautiful pictures for your album, contests, your scanner and your walls. Here are some ideas for photo opportunities you can count on to produce a high percentage of winners.
The New York skyline or any famous city within travel distance are sure fire people pleasers when photographed in an unusual way. If you have access to a view of the city from a westerly point, try to arrive at the scenic point one hour before sunset. As long as the sun is out, the city buildings will be bathed in a warm light, while the clouds or sky will appear many shades bluer. This color contrast highlights the importance of the buildings and provides a visual interest not available at other time of the day. Place the horizon one third from the bottom of the picture for a ‘sweeping sky’ look. If possible, scout around for a tree or other over hanging structures for framing and foreground interest. A secondary center of interest in the mid-ground helps the feeling of depth. After the sun series, an hour wait for near dark presents another ‘magic’ time for an interesting shot. A clear dark sky will photograph royal blue when a short time exposure is used. The warm incandescent lights of the city are further enhanced by the comparison. A slow to medium speed ISO setting requires a shutter speed of two to three minutes at F5.6 or F8.
A visit to a local antique store is a gold mine of beautiful pictures. A kind word to the owner and a promise of a picture or two usually insures their cooperation. Set your camera on a tripod in order to take advantage of the natural light in the room An edge-darkening filter in front of the lens greatly improves the pictures. You can make your own by cutting a four by four inch piece of 2x neutral density plastic filter material. Cut a one inch by three-quarter inch oval hole in the middle. When placed in front of the lens, a natural fad-out is produced on the edges of the picture. Look for interesting subjects to photograph like a sleeping doll, light coming through colored bottles, antique items on a dresser top, an old rocking chair with the old owner int, or an antique hobby horse. Try to stay away from straight lines and very dark objects. Window light is best, so you may find it necessary to relocate the item of interest nearer to a window. The owner surely knows many interesting stories about their antiques. Altogether a fun day!
Another fun spot laden with picture possibilities is the local arboretum or formal gardens. Depending on the time of year, spectacular photos can be made from the many unusual plant life. You can photograph tiny blooms from one inch away, discover patterns in strange leaves or capture the mood of a forest with a creative filter on your lens. Read the rest of this entry »