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 – Lands End Sunrise by Luke Barton

Lands End Sunrise by Luke Barton

Lands End Sunrise by Luke Barton

Well this critique marks the end of my initial ten week on-line course, but don’t worry, there are plenty more photo tips and critiques coming in the future! For the course-capping critique I’ve chosen Luke Barton’s photo of sunrise from Lands End in Rockport, Massachusetts. Continue Reading

Photo Critique – Barne’s Leap by Benjamin Williamson.

Barne's Leap by Benjamin Williamson

In last week’s tip, I discussed the three filters that I regularly use in my photography, and for my critique I’ve chosen the above photo by Benjamin WIlliamson because it is a good example of the most common scene I use a filter on. Continue Reading

Week 10 – Series Wrap-Up.

Kennebunk, Maine. Kayaking the Mousam River.

Well, we’ve made it through ten weeks of outdoor photography tips together. I really appreciate all of you who have taken the time to watch this series, submit photos, and send me e-mails. I have had a lot of fun and even learned a few things myself! This week’s video encourages you to “participate in the landscape” to make better pictures, and hopefully it will give you another dose of inspiration to get you out there and have fun with your camera. 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

Week 9 – Filters.

A polarizer reduces glare on reflective surfaces, saturating colors and adding contrast.

Over the course of this video series, I’ve mentioned a few filters from time to time and promised to discuss them in more detail in a later video. Well, here it is! In the video, I talk about the three filters I regularly use (and they’re the only filters I use): 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:

Soft Proofing Your Images in Lightroom 4.

 

Making fine art prints in Lightroom was always possible, but it just got a lot easier with the introduction of the soft proofing feature in Lightroom 4. Soft proofing simulates how your image will look on the printer/paper combination you are using with your print. Continue Reading

Week 8 – Shoot Sharp.

Use a tripod to eliminate unsharp photos due to camera movement.

In this week’s video I discuss how to create sharp images, whether you are hand holding your camera or using a tripod. This may not be the most exciting topic, but it is pretty darn important if you ever want to display your images as anything but a low-res Facebook photo or a 4″ x 6″ print. Continue Reading

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