I shared this picture a couple of weeks ago -- but I almost didn't. Why? Because it's actually an example of a lesson learned the hard way. It's a white out: the snow is so bright that it is basically pure white, with no texture or shade. Let me tell you the lesson I learned that day (and need to keep on learning), when it comes to photography.
1. Read the manual.
This is especially important if you decide to start using a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. They are really powerful tools, but there is so much to learn, even if you've used a regular film camera before, that you should be using that manual until it becomes dog-eared. For many weeks, I carried the manual around with me. I kept it in my camera bag.
2. Take a course.
The manual alone is not enough. I studied photography in college, so had some background, but digital photography added new complexity and potential. I started with a free online course that went over the basics of aperture, shutter speed, composition and so on. Then I took an in-class course on my specific camera - a one-day overview with shortcuts and tips. More recently, I took an online class in "the art of seeing" which stimulated the more artistic side of photography, rather than the mechanical. I'm thinking of taking a course in flash photography next.
3. Check your camera settings.
|It looks like the dog and man are levitating. :(|
4. Know that happy accidents happen.
|Sullivan, a big, friendly giant.|
5. Focus on the obvious.
|Photo by Lucy Snowe Photography. Found here.|
But the pinner was a photographer I deeply admire, who took my favourite family portraits in Colorado, and who taught one of the online courses I took. (See her work here. Also, her blog is one of the sites on my "recommended reading" in the right frame.) So I asked her about it, and she replied:
"Wynn, I totally agree!!!! I almost didn't pin it because it disturbed me and I didn't know if it worked. But I kept wanting to come back to it and look at it. There's something about breaking some photographic rules that's intriguing. It felt like a fresh take on the subject, like there's something about the ENTRANCE to the pool that's wanting to tell a story." [Emphasis mine.]So the lesson learned here is, unless there is a very good reason to focus on something other than the obvious, or you want to discomfit your viewer, keep the focus in the logical place. (On the other hand, maybe this picture is one of those happy accidents -- it wasn't what the artist intended, but even she realized that there was something about the picture that made it captivating?)
6. Stretch yourself.
|Capturing animals in motion requires a fast shutter speed. (Also note that I got the snow's texture this time.)|
Photographing animals is a real challenge for me because, with rare exceptions, they don't sit still. They don't pose. You have to really know your camera and know your settings in order to get a good picture.
I am optimistic that my experience with dogs will make it easier for me to photograph my future grandchildren.
That's it for today. I'm sure I will come up with more for another post. Do you have any tips to share?