Article Excerpt:
Boat photography is a bit trickier than shooting on land, but becomes more natural with practice…Framing and tracking a subject through the lens while on a boat takes some practice, as even the slightest waves can make the job very difficult, especially at higher magnifications, so start on calm water with shorter lenses, allowing a bit extra room around your subject, and progress to rougher water and longer lenses, with more tightly framed compositions. In general, you will always want to photograph from smaller boats when there is little wind, as the wind will not only kick up spray and make the water choppy, but it will move your boat around, making it difficult to photograph.

On larger boats, give yourself some time to feel how the boat moves, and see where spray is coming from, before beginning to photograph. On some big boats, you can lose your balance pretty easily while others are very smooth, so you want to know that before you take out your gear. Once you get a feel for the boat, shoot away, keeping an eye out for spray and changing weather conditions.

Photographing from a boat can add a new dimension to your photography and open up the possibility of photographing new subjects or older subjects in a new way. So the next time you venture out on a boat, consider bringing your camera gear along and seeing what you can capture.
~Kari Post from her article Have Boat, Will Photograph

Go out and shoot


Article Excerpt:
Go Out & Start Shooting
The human brain wants you to find the perfect idea. By going out and shooting whatever random subject matter is there (no matter how dull) can create inspiration within itself. Go out and shoot that fire hydrant, doors, trees and whatever other random, dull, static objects you may find in your line of vision! It may lead you somewhere unexpected.

Find A Color
Go out and shoot one color. Narrowing your subject matter down to one color will make you see photographs you never would have otherwise. Different colors have different moods too. If you are feeling calm and cool, go shoot blue. Do you feel happy? Shoot yellow or orange. There are many internet resources that you can look into to explore the color wheel and emotional interpretation of color.
~Some Thoughts on Photography by Dr. Dennis Woytek

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I believe in the resonance and staying power of quiet photographs.~William Albert Allard

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Sometimes we work so fast that we don’t really understand what’s going on in front of the camera. We just kind of sense that, ‘Oh my God, it’s significant!’ and photograph impulsively while trying to get the exposure right. Exposure occupies my mind while intuition frames the images.~Minor White

The essential ingredient in sunset shots


Article Excerpt:
Ok, but there’s more to picking the right spot than just the location. As important as location is, your sunset will almost always be lacking the one essential ingredient that will make it special – a dominant point of interest. And just what might that be? It’s that extra element that gives your sunset an anchor, a sense of scale, a point which will draw the viewer inevitably into the picture.

A photograph of a sunset by itself just doesn’t work. After all, one setting sun is much like any other. Even if you manage to capture the gorgeous color, without a dominant point of interest the image will still end up looking rather boring. Now, having said that I should tell you that, without some forward planning, a dominant point of interest is not an easy thing to include. It might be the silhouette of a sailboat on a glittering, backlit ocean, a barn, a horse, a cow, a tractor, or even a lone tree in the foreground. It could be the silhouette of two lovers walking hand-in-hand down a country lane, a little girl with a small dog on a leash – I’ve used both of those – and I’m sure you can come up with many more ideas of your own.
~Blair Howard fron his article How To Photograph Sunsets

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It’s not when you press the shutter, but why you press the shutter.~Mary Ellen Mark

Create a pleasant mood

There’s something about a serene, romantic setting. It sets you in the mood. It puts you at ease. It is a feeling of rest and relaxation, of slowing down from a hectic, fast-paced life. Al you want to do in a scene such as the picture below, is to get a table, order the best meal for you and your date, and enjoy the quiet, relaxing seaside view.


We have known that images can create mood and character. Now mood is triggered by how we feel about a particular image. If your intention is to shock and startle, then you take shocking pictures. Which is not my forte. I go for the pleasant, feel good and inspiring images. It is beautiful, appealing and interesting images that reach out and relate to majority of viewers. This is the mood that is produced with subtle combinations of subject, composition, setting and lighting. They should all work out to make the viewer comfortable, calm, homey and breezy. In a day, people have had enough of unpleasantness and burdens in their work and daily dealings with life. Don’t add to their heavy heart with pictures that create emotional overload. You do great service with images that lighten feelings and energize the soul. You can be powerful in your art, but always be considerate in how you present your image and its message.


Weekend Inspiration 22


Wishing everyone a lovely and inspiring weekend! Keep on clicking my friends!

Image + Music 1

In this visual odyssey I have been pairing off my images with quotes (Photo Quotes series numbering over 130 so far), with poems (Poetry & Photography in collaboration with poet bloggers) and with inspirational messages (Weekend Inspiration series with over 20 as of last count). I’d like to start another pairing, this time with the power of music. You all know I’m partial to jazz, its in my long-time Web name plus I have an internet jazz radio and a blog – Junsjazz Cool & Smooth – dedicated to jazz music. Images themselves have character and mood, but they can be enhanced with the appropriate music, sort of putting a musical score in your picture. If you have noticed, I have done this in Junsjazz Digital Magazine. For this new series I utilize SoundCloud as music source. The music player is set not to automatically play when you view the image. It’s your choice to click the “Play” button to experience the mood that comes when you combine music and imagery. Enjoy!


David Lanz (pianist) – Water From The Moon (from his 1985 album Nightfall)

An image must communicate


Article Excerpt:
Let’s talk a little bit about pictures and why we love them.

Pictures can be beautiful. They can decorate a home or an office; be published in books, magazines and calendars; they can even win ribbons or prizes in contests. A breathtaking landscape can transport the viewer to another time and place, if only for a moment. A beautiful still life can capture a mood of serenity, warmth, even magic. A great portrait of a person can look into their soul, and let you share their smiles or tears. A great picture communicates. Think about it. There is a huge market out there for photographs because publishers know that the people who buy their materials will be drawn to good photographs that reach out to them. Visual communication is something that we’re all born being able to relate to. The subjects out there to take pictures of are limitless. The only boundaries are within your mind.

But what makes a photograph successful? The answer is a fairly simple one, and you can improve your photography today by learning a few very basic rules.

One caveat, however. As the old saying goes, rules are meant to be broken. Some of my favorite photographs very purposely break a lot of the basic “rules” of photography. But to break the rules in a way that enhances a photograph and effectively turns it into a great photo, you first have to know the rules and have a reason for wanting to break them…
~from the article Composition and Impact

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It’s just seeing – at least the photography I care about. You either see or you don’t see. The rest is academic…It’s how you organize what you see into a picture.~Elliott Erwitt

Tropical paradise


I don’t know how you imagine an Eden on earth should look like, but if you ask me it should be something like the above.~JJ

Tune in to nature


Article Excerpt:
Whether you’re photographing wildlife, plants or a wondrous sunset, be aware of your surroundings. Follow these tips to capture the best opportunities for nature photos:

  • Be aware of all of your senses: your ear may hear something that your eyes have missed.
  • Maintain perspective: when changing locations, check out where you have just been so you know where to travel next to get another amazing shot.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings: look up and down, as well as side to side.
  • Study your subject’s habits: know how to anticipate an upcoming photo opportunity or when to flee.

~from the article Nature Photography: Tips for Photographing Nature’s Wonders

Shooting the summer scene

April and May are the summer months in the Philippines. It is hot and humid, and people flock to their favorite weekend getaway – the beach. With 7,100 islands and a combined coastline that stretches 23,000 kilometers, the beach is a perennial sight. And we’ve got some of the best beaches in the world. You’ve probably heard, seen or been to some of these – Boracay, Panglao, El Nido, Bohol, Cebu, Subic Bay and Siargao. Now these are just the more popular ones. Numerous other beaches, some still undeveloped in their natural pristine beauty, litter the country’s coast. The beach scene is one of my favorite subjects. I’ve shared some tips on shooting the beach in a previous post. This time let’s explore with more tips on capturing the bright summer scene.


When we talk about outdoor summer scenes, we mean bright intense light, which results in harsh shadows, glare, lens flare and high contrast, especially during midday hours. Here are what I’ve searched and gathered:

1. Use Lens Filters. In the same way that we wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays, dust and dirt, filters do they same for the lens. There are many kinds of filters and with different purposes – protection from the elements, reduction in the amount of light and reflection, and enhancement of colors. For a better understanding about filters, what they do and how they function I refer you to this article Lens Filter Explained.

2.  Underexpose. If you don’t have neutral density filters and the outside scene is quite bright, you may have to underexpose the image by 2 stops in order to properly get the highlights and shadows. This is called exposure compensation, a standard manual feature in DSLRs represented by the plus and minus signs (+/-). Some high-end point and shoots also carry this feature, providing for more flexible manual exposure controls. These Exposure Tips will guide you on where, how and when to use exposure compensation.

3. Use A Lens Hood. This lens attachment is meant to reduce flare which is caused when light bounces into the lens from the side. Know why it is important to use this with this article What Does A Lens Hood Do?

4. The Sunny 16 Rule. It states that: “On a sunny day, you should set your aperture  to f16 and your shutter speed to the reciprocal of your ISO value…This means that, for an ISO value of 100, your shutter speed should be near 1/100 seconds (most of the time cameras will offer a value of 1/125 seconds). An ISO value of 200 calls for a shutter speed around 1/200 seconds.” Head over to the article to see the suggested f-stop settings for various lighting conditions.

5. Use Fill Flash. Your subject may be in a deep shade or shadow caused by the harsh light, or the sun is in the back of the subject making it a “backlighted” image. In any case, the camera will not recognize or retain the subject’s image, it will just be a dark mass or silhouette. Time to engage the flash to fill in the dark areas. Ken Rockwell explains it all in his article Fill Flash.

6. Adjust In Post-Processing. Most image editing programs have controls to adjust brightness and contrast. The one I use, the free but feature-filled software PhotoScape, even has special options for adjusting luminance, brightening foregrounds and backgrounds, and lighting particular shadow areas in a photo.

This is not a complete listing. There are many other tips like moving into a shade, using natural reflectors in the environment, tweaking camera settings like ISO and white balance and many others. The point is to be knowledgeable and prepared when we go outdoors in bright, summer, sunny days. The picture above was taken at Tambuli Beach Resort in Mactan Island (accessible by two modern bridges from across Cebu City) while the image below was taken at Subic Bay.


The mood and meaning in colors

Mood in photographic terms is simply atmosphere, attitude and character. Expressions in portraits and images of people evoke emotional moods. The general feel and look of a place create a climate and a general mood of the environment. Mood in an image is highlighted by the thoughtful use of colors.


An overwhelming use of blue (as in the sky and sea in the picture above) connotes calm and peace and freshness. Pair that with a complementary color of yellow as in the boat, and you have contrast both in color and subject. Colors have meanings and they excite, attract and influence. Which is why there is a whole science on color management, theory and concept because the proper utilization of color creates a positive emotional response. Let’s refresh ourselves on colors and the meaning they carry:

Green – balance, growth, harmony, renewal, restoration, abundance, nature
Blue – peace, calm, tranquility, devotion, truth, direction, order
Red – action, energy, speed, confidence, passion, courage
Yellow – optimism, cheerfulness, enthusiasm, fun, originality, academic, analytical
Orange – optimism, enthusiasm, cheerfulness, flamboyance, creative flair
Indigo – sincerity, integrity, idealism, faithful, ideal, responsible
Purple – inventive, intuitive, selfless, unusual, creative, humanitarian, mysterious
Brown – wholesome, down-to-earth, friendly, reliable, warm, earthly, sensual
Pink – romantic, sweet, feminine, nurturing, compassionate, understanding
Gray – elegant, dignified, neutral, impartial, professional, mature, intelligent
Silver – soothing, dignity, glamour, self control, sleek, hi-tech, scientific
Gold – abundance, wealth, wisdom, charisma, optimism, positive, masculine
White – innocence, purity, cleanliness, equality, self-sufficient, pristine, open
Black – protection, comfort, strong, contained, formal, sophisticated, seductive

These are but some of the psychology and positive traits of colors. What does this mean in our photography? Be attentive, observant and thoughtful in your use of colors in your images. They will induce a response and reaction, mostly in a positive sense. But such reaction will be deeper and richer if colors are presented beautifully and are part of a well composed image.

Weekend Inspiration 17


Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

A seeker of silence

A photographer is a seeker of silence, both in the literal and symbolical sense. He will photograph festivals, concerts, sports action, rallies, scenes of war and destruction, but he will find order in chaos. He will take pictures of solitary ponds, placid lakes, still mountains, pastoral fields and primeval forests, yet his perception will be so concentrated that he will sense and hear nothing but the snap of the shutter button. He will be at a standstill, focused and unruffled, as he points his camera to capture a moment.


The photographer’s energy, heart and soul are all fixed and engaged into that second, that fraction of time, when he has decided to press the shutter. He is the epitome of peace and solitude, the disciple of stillness and quiet. He doesn’t want to be bothered and divided in his attention. Far from being solitary creatures, photographers like all artists need some quiet time especially at that crucial instance of capture. He is all wrapped up and even holds his breath a few seconds both to gather composure and to steady his shot, not wanting to be disturbed by the slightest body movement of breathing. That is so much like suspending his life for a while just to get that shot! It is in the sanctity of silence the photographer excels.

Photo Quotes 113


You are the conductor – your orchestra are shapes, textures, stories, objects, patterns, emotions, design, moments, depth, focus, rhythm, shades, colour, movement and light. It is your performance. It is your vision.~Steve Coleman

Appealing elements and alluring details


Article Excerpt: “When we look at a landscape, our eyes travel over it and selectively focus on the elements that we find appealing. Our field of vision encompasses a great deal of the scene, but our eyes and brains have the ability to ignore all except the most alluring details. Lenses and sensors or film cannot do this by themselves. They need help…Time is the most important investment you can make in getting good landscape pictures. When you arrive in a place you’ve never visited before, spend time scouting—driving or hiking to different locations, finding different vantage points.”~Robert Caputo from his article Landscape Photography Tips

The photographer and his story

A picture will always be a story, in a single shot. Without words, without explanations, without definitions, without captions, it is the aim of the photographer to tell the realism of the moment as he saw it, as he interpreted the scene from the time of capture. Unlike film or slideshows and moving pictures which, more or less, convey the gist of the story or a narrative of the story itself in elongated form, a single image tries to encapsulate it all, and attempts to give an account, a chronicle of the instance.


What does it mean for us photographers? It means we have to be definitive and conscious of the images we take. It may not be earth-shattering or headline-grabbing pictures, unless you’re a photojournalist. Images of everyday life, of nature and landscapes, or of common things must represent a visual narration, a chronicle, a record of the moment, a second of time as the photographer captured and envisioned it. It is the heart of the image, the story conveyed in that one shot. One becomes a photographer in the truest sense of the word when he can capture images that are narrations, commentaries and descriptions of themselves. The picture itself tells the story.

Photo Quotes 106


The beauty of nature motivates and inspires my photography. It nourishes my artistic sensibility and restores my spiritual balance…These are landscapes of, and for, my spirit.~William Neill

Weekend Inspiration 14


Happy weekend my blogger peers! Believe in your abilities and talents, and keep on clicking!

Photo Quotes 99


The only things in my life that compatibly exist with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit.~Ansel Adams

Photo Quotes 93


In a still photograph you basically have two variables, where you stand and when you press the shutter. That’s all you have.~Henry Wessel