Dawn of Another Day


Dawn of Another Day

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Focal Length: 31mm
Aperture: f/4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100

Us photographers always know that the best lighting is during sunset or sunrise but what happens when there are no clouds? That’s when you have to get more creative to create photos. We all don’t have the luxury to choose when we can view a sunset or sunrise so when we do have time we need to make the best of it. For this shot I was sitting in a field not really knowing what to shoot to get a unique shot. Not that this shot is all that unique but it is different than a lot of other things I shoot, but then again it follows with the way I like to shoot. A small subject against a nice backdrop. I looked around me as the sun slowly kept sliding down over the horizon trying to find something. A lot of dirt and other debris were all around me but then I thought if I took one of these with a long enough stalk and stuck it in the ground then I could make something. A simple shot but with that one extra element it transforms it into something different.

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Silhouette


Silhouette

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/5
Shutter Speed: 1/2000
ISO: 100

During a sunset I decided to experiment with my macro lens and when I was focusing close on this acorn I noticed how big the sun looked in the background. I never thought about doing a shot like this before. I thought it turned out nice. The hard part was getting a good focus on the acorn though because auto-focus wouldn’t work due to the sun and trying to see the acorn clearly through the lens was difficult because of the sun. This might be something I’ll experiment more with small subjects in the future.

Thought I would mention that I bought myself a new flash yesterday. Nikon Speedlight SB-700. I also bought the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G lens to give a go at some indoor portraits of my kids when I don’t have as much room to work with. I’m also going to try some shots of my new baby once he gets here. But I’ve also already scheduled, or my wife has anyways, a photo shoot with a professional for the new baby as I will most likely not get close to the same results before the baby is too big to get that moment. But putting portrait shooting aside, I will also use this flash for some of my landscape photography. I played around a little with some acorns on dining room table with an orange light modifier that came with the flash and have to say that this is something that I look forward to using in the field. It gave me a bit of a low key sunrise/sunset look without needing to wait for the right conditions outside.

Now to figure out how all the settings work on the flash. Time to learn manual on yet another piece of equipment and when TTL will be more beneficial. From what I’ve learned so far TTL = Smart Auto which can make it more difficult for specific situations in which you want to control the amount of light since it seems to gauge what power to shoot with and the distance from the subject to create a proper exposure. What I am going to find difficult is determining how far away to put the flash from the subject in the mix, which will also be determined by the power of the flash, wish can also be determined by how much or less light I want spread across the subject. So much more to think about than where to set the aperture and shutter speed. And on top of that I’ll now have to ignore the camera’s light meter because with the flash, it has no idea what the lighting conditions will be. I’m hoping in a month or two to create a post on using flash in landscape settings. It’ll most likely be small subjects though since that’s what I’ve been into shooting lately. It would also be nice to be able to recreate the above with a flash, but much more difficult if not impossible altogether. But it would be fun to try.

Using Props in Landscape Photography


Using Props in Landscape Photography

Overlooking the Sunrise

When many people think of props in photography they probably think immediately of portrait photography and the props that are used on or around the subject. When thinking the other day I came upon the realization that props don’t have to just apply to portraits but can also apply to landscapes as well. Why not? They can help to make a photo more interesting or increase the value of a photo. Whether put there by someone else or by you, props can help transform a landscape from something with little interest to something that stands out. Giving a landscape scene something to draw the eye to creates an anchor that keeps the viewer in the photo just a little longer. It can also create a balance to a photo as well.

In the above shot, while I didn’t place the bench there, I did use it as a prop for this photo intentionally. Some might not think of it as a prop, but I see it as one. Or if looking at it at another angle one could say that the bench is my main subject and mother nature has provided me with vegetation as props around the bench. Either way props were used in creating this photo.

Relaxing on the Beach

This photo on the other hand was not put together for me. The sand was there and the lines were already made, but the seashell was sitting elsewhere. Why does a prop need to be man made? Some may think that by creating your own scene for landscape photography can be cheating, but I say that as long as you don’t disrupt nature in its original state, such as killing or cutting things down, then why not use what is available to create the canvas in which you want to photograph? By using other natural elements in nature you can strategically place them in a landscape surrounding in order to create an interesting photo.

Sitting Alone

In this photo I thought the lighting was nice and the moss made a nice surrounding, but it felt like it was missing something. After taking a quick look around I found that there were acorns scattered across the ground. By placing the acorns in the photo I created an anchor for the eye to rest on. Otherwise to me the scene doesn’t seem to have a nice focus point.

Sunset with the Rocks

It’s getting harder and harder to create sunset and sunrise photos that are unique. This shot was taken on the side of the road in a ditch. There were plenty of rocks laying around. I didn’t choose this location because it was more interesting than any other along the road. I picked it because I was running out of time to get a shot. After laying down on the ground and experimenting with trying to get something I took notice of a couple of rocks that stood out from the others and decided to use them as props in the scene.

While I cannot carry a large bench in my pocket to have the luxury of setting up to photograph to make an interesting photo, I can carry small objects with me. Whether its a small interesting looking rock, a seashell, or an acorn, something that can create balance and make a photo interesting may be well worth it. Another lesson to take note by looking at the photos is that another way to bring attention to your subject is to have the right lighting. All of these shots were taken at sunrise or sunset to use the light to help the subjects stand out more.

The next time you head out to capture some photos and notice and interesting object that is small but not quite in the right location to make a good photo, why not transport that small subject to a more appealing location to create your unique shot.

Sitting Alone


Sitting Alone

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Focal Length: 21mm
Aperture: f/71.
Shutter Speed: 1/10
ISO: 100
Format: FX (Full Frame)

I rarely ever stage a photograph but during this opportunity, I decided to create a scene that was better than what nature offered me. The acorn was sitting there by itself and thought it would look better if it had something else to go with it. Close by was a cap from another acorn and I decided to grab that and sit it against the other one. This shot was taken during a sunset so I decided to use the light to create a little bit of a mood to the photo.

From Blue to Red


From Blue to Red

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Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Format: FX (Full Frame)

This was taken the same night as the sunset photo with the rocks but at a different location. As I was driving home I couldn’t help but want to capture the cloud formation and how the sky went from blue to red.

Sunset with the Rocks


Sunset with the Rocks

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Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/5
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 100
Format: FX (full frame)

As some of you can tell through my photos I tend to try to take the non-traditional approach. The sunset was nice but I didn’t want to just set up and snap a shot with the sun and sky in focus, although I did later on after this photo was taken. I looked around at my closer surroundings and was able to create a scene that still included the sun, but not as the main subject. I wish I was able to get more sunrise/sunset photos.