Making Panoramic Images

Fog in a field in Durham, New Hampshire.

Fog in a field in Durham, New Hampshire.

This week I worked on a project close to home (more about that shoot here,) and I was graced with the beautiful light and fog you see in the image above. I usually try to create at least one panaroma for most of my commissioned projects. By using the wide format, I am often better able to create a sense of wide open spaces. Continue Reading

Using Lines in the Landscape to Improve Your Photo Compositions.

Monument Cove and Otter Cliffs in Maine's Acadia National Park.

Monument Cove and Otter Cliffs in Maine's Acadia National Park. The curve of the shoreline in this photo adds a peaceful line that leads the viewer's eye to the cliffs.

Lines, real and implied are an important component in any photo’s composition. Lines can be straight (horizontal, vertical, or at an oblique angle,) or curved. All lines work to divide your image into distinct parts, so you need to study your compositions carefully to see how these divisions work. Do they cut an image in half, creating a static feel, or do they divide the image into unequal parts which can provide an asymmetrical balance and more dynamic feel? Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Three at Sea by MariAnne MacGregor

Three at Sea by MariAnne MacGregor

In last week’s tip, “Shoot Sharp,” I espoused the virtues of using a tripod for landscape photography in order to keep your images as sharp as possible. I had a hard time choosing a photo this week because there were several beautiful submissions and they all looked pretty sharp to me – so great job everyone! In the end, I chose “Three at Sea” by MariAnne MacGregor because I’m a sucker for coastal sunrises and I was really struck by the strange scene of standing dead trees being inundated by morning surf. It is beautiful and a little ominous all at the same time. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Gray Whale Cove by Vivienne Shen.

Gray Whale Cove by Vivienne Shen

Last week’s video discussed how to capture motion in your photos by either stopping the action or letting it blur. For my critique I’ve chosen a beautiful blurred motion shot posted by Vivienne Shen. This shot of sunset in Gray Whale Cove in Montara, CA, works well for several reasons. Right off the bat, Vivienne captured the scene in beautiful light and got a great exposure. Not easy to do in a scene like this, and she helped her cause by using a reverse graduated neutral density filter, which basically let her darken the exposure more on the horizon than in the sky higher up, while leaving the foreground alone. The thin clouds on the horizon also helped to tone down the sun a bit and kept lens flare at bay. For a shutter speed, she used 0.4 seconds, which was slow enough to blur the surf near the camera nicely. A faster shutter speed would have resulted in less blur, which would have had a different feel. A slower shutter speed would have resulted in more blur, and less definition in the surf. A much slower shutter speed would have flattened out the waves in the middle ground, which I think are an important compositional element as they are, and would have lost impact if flattened out.

Two elements give this image more interest than your typical sunset photo. First is the ethereal look of the sunset light reflecting off of the water and rocks in the foreground. Second, the curves in the blurred surf in the foreground act as a nice “anchor” that leads your eye towards the sunset itself. This combined with the horizon in the top third of the frame and the wide angle perspective, gives the image good visual depth. All in all, a great shot – thanks for sharing Vivienne!

You can see more of Vivienne’s photography on her Flickr stream.

If you have any thoughts on Vivienne’s photo or my critique, please post them in the comments section below.

For having her photo selected, Vivienne will be receiving a copy of The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography. For a chance to win your own copy, check out this week’s assignment, Shoot Sharp, and post your photos to our Flickr Group. I’ll be choosing a photo from this week’s assignment next Wednesday.

Cheers!

-Jerry

P.S. Here’s a look at what’s currently in the Flickr Group:

Photo Critique – A Pair from Glen Taylor.

Cherry Pond by Glen Taylor

Last week’s photo tip explored the nuances of depth of field, so for this week’s critique I chose two photos by Massachusetts-based photographer Glen Taylor. In the above photo of Cherry Pond in Jefferson, New Hampshire, Glen opted to maximize his depth of field. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – First Light On The Auto Road by Jeff Sinon.

First Light On The Auto Road by Jeff Sinon.

This week’s critique features this photo of dawn above New Hampshire’s Mount Washington by Jeff Sinon. The assignment was to try different focal lengths and perspectives and create an image with visual depth and/or compelling graphic design. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Bike Reflection by Gail Mager.

Bike in Paris by Gail Mager

Bike in Paris by Gail Mager

Last week’s assignment was to create compositions that were simple and featured a dominant subject. I chose the above photo by Gail Mager to critique because I feel it represents both of these concepts really well. Continue Reading

Week 5: Composition – Perspective, Depth, and Scale.

In this week’s video, I continue to talk about composition, specifically in regards to perspective, visual depth, and scale. Hopefully, you now have a handle on balance, dominance, and simplicity from the last couple of weeks because you still need to take all of those things into account when applying this week’s tip. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Portland Head Light by Dan Greenberg.

Portland Head Lighthouse by Dan Greenburg

Week 3’s assignment was to “create dynamic photos with an asymmetrical balance”, using the rule of thirds if that’s what worked best. There were some great examples of this in the Flickr Group, and I’ve chosen Dan Greenberg’s above photo of Portland Head Light to critique as part of this lesson. Let me star by saying that it is really hard to come up with a unique photo from a place as well known (in New England anyway) as Portland Head Light. Probably thousands of photographers have shot this scene – in good weather and bad weather, at sunrise and sunset, with calm water and with towering waves. Continue Reading

Week 4: Composition – Dominance and Simplicity

Last week I covered balance in a composition and how the rule of thirds can help you achieve a more dynamic look by creating an asymmetrical balance. This week’s video looks at dominance and simplicity, two concepts that will help you insure that the main subject of your photo takes center stage (though it should probably be a little off-center…) Whenever you take the time to get your camera out of your pack you are obviously struck by some aspect of the scene enough to want to take a picture. Continue Reading