Our eyes are oriented to take in the big picture. Our front-facing horizontal field of view including peripheral vision can cover as much as 270 degrees. That’s a whole panoramic world in one snap of our eyes. That wide image that we see however is made up of small glorious details which we sometimes miss. We must train ourselves to focus and see them. One thing I’ve learned in photography is that it is as much as taking in the particulars as it is capturing the complete image.
After nearly two months, I missed a lot – this blog and the great WP community of photo blogger peers – that’s all of you my friends! My apologies, I’ve been bogged down by online work. But my deepest thanks to all who commented, liked and visited during my absence. I’ll try my best to go around and visit your blogs during my free time. Keep on clicking everyone!
When you’ve got islands, unless they are rock formations protruding out from the sea, then you’ve got beaches. What do you do? Plunge right into those inviting waters? Shoot First, Swim Later was the title of my post last October 30, 2012. I’m reposting it:
My country, the Philippines, has 7,100 islands. Put all those coastlines together and it will stretch for 23,000 kilometers, the third longest in the world. As a tropical country, it’s literally beach time all year round. Hence the beach, found everywhere, pristine in its natural beauty, is a mainstay subject of mine. Water, sand, sea, tides, shells, corals, sunny skies, palm trees, all these converge to create an inviting, colorful and exotic environ deserving of the pages of a travel magazine. In fact, we have some of the best beach and diving locations in the world. So how exactly do we photograph the beach, coast and shorelines? We know these images as seascapes. Darren Rowse, founder of the online Digital Photography School, jots down 10 Beach Photography Tips which include looking for focal points, watching the horizon, using flash and filters, utilizing black and white and many others. Unless you live there right by the sea, the chance to be at a scenic coastline or beach must not be passed up. You will be guided by your accumulated knowledge of what to shoot, when to shoot and things to look out for to get that postcard-perfect shot. (Photo location: Alubihod Beach, Guimaras Island)
With over 600 posts, all of them with pictures, I have quite a number of island images. Some of those images used in this blog as well as those from my collection are featured in Junsjazz Digital Magazine Issue #3. Now here’s where I curate myself, I went over these previous postings and picked some of the best island pictures (which may be familiar to you if you have followed this blog from early on). In keeping with this week’s picture series I present them again. Here are personal picks. Enjoy!
Sunsets are panoramic-friendly. How best to capture that sweeping vista of colorful sky and horizon than through a panoramic shot. Here are sunset images at 16:9 aspect ratio.
Another week and another picture series, this time on one of my all-time favorite subjects – sunsets.
I wrote this piece titled Do The Math on April 27, 2013 and I’m reposting it.
Those few minutes before the sun finally dips into the horizon will give you some deep contrast. It’s where the darkness of ensuing night conquers the last remaining light of day. And depending on the weather, cloud formation and where the rays fall, it can give you an exquisite canvas of colors, light, silhouettes and shadows.
I have said before that I’m not a morning guy, hence I have just a few sunrise shots. But I have a whole collection of sunset scenes – reminders of the cyclical nature of life, of the eternal passing of time divided into a 24-hour day. I remember this quote from American photographer Galen Rowell:
“There are only a fixed number of sunrises and sunsets to be enjoyed in a lifetime. The wise photographer will do the math and not waste any of them.”
I would like to think that the wise photographer is the thinking photographer that we should all strive to be. Whether we have reached that level or not yet, it would add to our experience, satisfaction and skill to capture one of the most spectacular displays of nature afforded us on a daily basis. When the opportunity to photograph a great sunset is there, yes, we should not pass it up. We should “do the math.”
Wishing you all a splendid week ahead!
We’ve learned that abstract images are beyond descriptions and definitions. Subjects may not be obvious and understandable at all. I have read many articles on abstract photography and have experimented on a lot of shots and they all point to these – the use of imagination and seeing beyond the literal. I never intended some of my shots to be abstracts. Who would have thought the above picture of the center of a basketball court would look nice when zoomed in and cropped, or the photo below showing the subtle flow of water in a shallow stream. Many think that abstract images, bereft of messages to convey, are simply easy snaps. For me, they are the hardest of photographic genres simply because you have to be more perceptive of the things around you, and sharply receptive of any stimuli in the environment – a color that stands out, a pattern that is formed, an object in contrast, textures that produce interesting details, a crease here, a crumple there, a crack in the walls, ripples in water, shapes in the foliage – oh the subjects and ideas are endless. But often they are unnoticed, and not any crease, crumple, crack or ripple will do. You still have to compose and frame, all of which must be compelling. It takes an observant eye to find something out of relative nothingness. And the trained photographer can capture something undefined. That is the spark of abstract photography.
Thank you all for the follows, likes and visits last week during our picture series on “Shapes.” Another week and we begin another series. We go “Abstract” photography all week long. I’m reposting an article I did last January 3, 2013 titled Going Abstract: The Rules.
Aw heck, what a title! There are no rules. There are no descriptions. Abstract photography, like its cousin abstract art, defies definition. The content is not even important. You may not even make out what the subject is. And viewers may have that quizzical frown on their faces when looking at abstract work. They may not understand what the picture is all about, but what they can understand and connect with are these: the color, the shape, the form, the lines, the patterns and textures – essentially, these are elements of composition which we have tackled numerous times in previous posts. In abstract photography, forget what you are trying to convey and discard the message. Just make sure the image is visually engaging. Easy does it! Yet, how do we go about in pursuit of abstract photography? Time again to stack up on our learning. Freelance photographer Simon Bray shares some insights in his piece Creatively Approaching Abstract Photography. In his opening paragraph he mentions: “you don’t need any sort of special equipment, just a camera, any camera you like, and your imagination.” The article is divided into the following, with accompanying concise explanations: 1) What is abstract photography? 2) It’s all in the approach 3) Break the rules (again?, emphasis mine) 4) Pattern and Line 5) Form 6) Color 7) Working with architecture 8) Abstract and Macro 9) You’re an artist, and 10) Get out and give it a go! In almost all photography articles I have shared in this blog, the last tip is usually the same but only differs in wording. Ultimately it’s go right in and try it out for yourself. Versatile photographers can shoot any subject, but the great ones made their mark excelling in a particular genre. You may be gifted, but you’ll never know at what you are a genius of – macro, abstract, nature, portrait, street, wildlife, events – if you don’t go and dive right in.
Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!
Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!
Butterflies are shapely and colorful creatures. However, like all other winged critters, they just don’t get to be still that long. But when they do, even for mere seconds, the photographer will snap away. Here are samples from my butterfly collection.
It is said that there are no hard edges in nature. Shapes made by nature are mainly curves, bends, flows, domes, circles, arches and arcs. Yes there may be thorns, barbs, quills and thistles, but the preponderance are smooth outlines and soft forms. That’s why we are attracted to nature because in it we find visually stimulating, pleasing and shapely elements – leaves, flowers, shells, stones, trees, clouds, mountains – even the source of light and life itself, the sun, is one great ball of fire. Here is another collection of shape-inspired images (some are new while some are from previous postings). All are nature’s creation.
I wrote and posted this on March 4, 2013. I’m reposting it to further enhance our knowledge on “Shapes” (our picture series this week) and how it impacts on our photography.
Organic shapes are also called curvilinear that are made up of curves, angles or both. Their main characteristics are curving appearance and smooth flowing outline. They look natural and are mostly found in leaves, flowers, plants and animals. Organic shapes are out there in the natural world, created by the environment. Being free form, they don’t have uniformity and perfect measurements. Which is the exact opposite of geometric shapes. Although they may also appear in nature, geometric shapes are products of man – rectangles, squares, triangles – which are building blocks of design and construction. With the technological revolution, man can now create structures and buildings mimicking organic shapes. What’s in it for our photography?
Shapes are compositional and design elements that are visually appealing. Going for the soft curves of organic shapes or the hard corners of geometric shapes, and partnering them with the right colors, lines, patterns and light will create captivating images. A photographer once said that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts. Feelings are triggered by what we see and sense. A visual stimulus of delightful shapes properly composed will evoke an equal emotional response of joy, gladness and a sense of well-being.
From more than 600 pictures I have posted in this blog since October 2012, I sifted through and picked a dozen images (actually there’s a lot more) with subjects in various shapes and forms. All are man-made.
This article of mine was posted January 28, 2013 and I’d like to repost it in keeping with our understanding and presentation of “Shapes” which is our picture series for this week.
We use the words “form” and “shape” interchangeably. There is however a distinction. This article What Is the Difference Between Shape and Form In Photography provides a basic explanation that distinguishes between the two, and how they correlate to the concept of “space” and how, when combined, creates the element of photographic composition. We’ve been exposed to shapes early on – triangles, rectangles, squares and those with many sides (hexagon, pentagon, etc.). In a photograph, an object comes across as two-dimensional. In the accompanying photo, we know the shape of the ball, in the same manner that we know the shape of a wheel, a plate, saucer, a complete pizza, a coin as examples. When viewed flat, they are all round or circular in shape. When light falls on the subject, like the ball in the picture, it produces dark areas and shadows, highlighting its length, width and depth, and producing a three-dimensional form with the negative space around it. Learning to use this concept of space in combination with the shape and form of central subjects will help in determining the viability and effectiveness of our composition. We know the shape of a tree. When we photograph that tree with the light of a sunset in the horizon, it will cast long shadows and create a dramatic form. Composition comes to fore when we combine our focal point (the tree, already in its interesting form) with other elements in the space around it, say distant mountains in the background or a verdant field surrounding it. The thinking photographer already envisioned the scene, and it is a matter of arranging these elements in the frame to come up with a compositionally pleasing shot.
A photographer will notice shapes which is one of the most basic elements of design. Even without color, more so without color, shapes give definition to an image. Shapes abound all around, both in the man-made environment and in the natural world. Sometimes we take them for granted because they are everywhere but a keen photographer will be like a child, cognizant of the world of circles, squares, triangles, rectangles and the many types of polygons, and how they interact and create forms, patterns, silhouettes and outlines, producing images that attract and engage. We go back and see the world through the eyes of a child, engrossed in a world governed by shapes. Have a splendid week ahead my friends!
As photographers we all know the challenges of shooting at night or in low light conditions. We need a tripod, we need to bump up the ISO, we need a “fast” lens (one with large aperture to take in more light). But I won’t delve on a tutorial on night photography, there are lots of sites that provide that. Instead let us focus on capture and composition, still with churches as subjects but taken at night.
The two images are of the Cebu Cathedral, the one above was taken last year while that below was taken several years earlier. The Cebu Cathedral has an expansive facade, so unless you have a wide angle lens you have to move way back to capture its entire front. Capturing it up front however gives you a singular, non-dimensional perspective unlike when taking a picture of it from one side. In the above photo, slanted lines give you an idea of the structure’s dimension – it is large and wide. A technique to show size and dimension is to include people or a person as reference. Note the size of the woman entering the main door. The sheer size and grandeur of the Cebu Cathedral, splendid in golden light, are emphasized. If ever there is a tinge of light remaining in the sky such as the dusk scene below you can still capture silhouette images. I was fortunate that the lamps in the front courtyard were already lighted hence providing me an appropriate foreground.
I have mentioned several times in previous posts that photography is the art of observation. Look before you shoot. You may be afforded just seconds to observe in action situations and moving subjects, so you have to be fast with your eye and finger combination. With churches and other static, immobile subjects you have all the time in the world to assess, plan and observe before you ever press that shutter. In other words, walk around, find angles, change perspective, look for details. I recall a quote from a noted photographer who said that one is likely to be rewarded with a great image if he put some planning into that capture and was deliberate with his shot, rather than leaving everything to chance. Oh, I say amen to that!
The first thing I notice in a church from the outside is the belfry, or the bell tower. Since they are usually the tallest part of a church structure, they have that prominence in the overall architectural design underscoring their functional importance. There are churches with dual belfries while others have singular towers. Here are samples of belfry images from my collection:
For me, the interiors of churches are as much of a photographic delight as its exteriors. The grandeur in the outside is complemented or even topped off by the elaborate inside. You’ll find ornate pieces, sophisticated ceilings, fancy wrought-iron designs, luxurious stained-glass windows, and hundreds of other items of interest. It’s literally a photographer’s heaven.
Here’s a sample collection of boat images that I have used in my previous posts (some of them from my earliest postings – more than 560 so far in the last nine months). Thank you all for the visit, views, likes and follows during the boat week. I hope you enjoyed the images. Till next week when we embark on another picture series. Thanks!
What is it really and is it the same as Abstract Art?
As the name implies “abstract” denotes what can be interpreted but not seen. The art form is many times debated to be complex and difficult to understand. Yet it attracts a horde of art critics and art collectors from every part of the globe, and several interpretations may accompany abstract paintings. Similarly, abstract photography draws the same popularity except it is done with a camera and not with brush and paint!
The exact definition of this art is difficult but it is sufficient to understand that there are no rules or norms for creating and in layman terms “anything goes” as long as it appeals to the eye!…
Abstract photography is really the prerogative of a true artist and one who also has a scientific bent of mind. Composing a perfect shot requires the “artist” and taking the photograph requires the “technician”! Imagination knows no bounds and the best results are when one uses creative powers to its full capacity.
~Seth Willis Jr. from his article Abstract Photography
It’s probably just my art orientation. In my youth, when I start to paint using acrylic or watercolor, the first step would always be to visualize. With pencil I draw lines, shapes and form, then apply little by little layers of paint to come up with a color rendition. This trained me to see the bare structure, to look beyond the literal which helped a lot in my photography. I always see how things are in their most elemental form and how they are structured.
When I see a railroad track, I see lines. In trees I see silhouettes. In flowers I see shapes and a gamut of colors. In city scenes I see graphic forms, corners, hard edges, right angles. In nature I see reflections, soft and dreamy light, shadows and highlights. A subject will present to me something more than the actual. Such as the picture above, I see it as an exploding star. Some may say I’m just being imaginative. But I consider it a key element in photography. When you imagine and visualize how your subject will come out when photographed in a certain way (angle, lighting, perspective, framing, etc.), and take time and care to realize how it will be perceived, then there stems the root of your creativity. Imagination, artistry and creativity – they all work together.
Photography for me has always been these two activities – discovery and development. I have been photographing for almost a decade but half of it can be considered the juvenile stage. It was my snapshooting years. With my first point and shoot cam, it was literally that – shooting where I point. There was no thought in taking pictures. I was a tyro, a neophyte in the world of photography. True, I dabbled in painting and drawing in my youth and hence had an artistic sense in seeing and composing. This would not be put in use until 5 or six years ago when I developed the creative side in my photography – observing, thinking, composing, getting a better grasp of the technical. I unshackled myself from being a slave of “Auto” and basked in the new-found freedom of “Manual.” I did not go Pro because photography is not my main source of income, though there have been business entities and organizations who have directly bought some of my images. Its been some fruitful and productive years for this hobby of mine, and I saw myself, gauging from the images I have produced, grow and improve little by little, step by step, always discovering, learning and absorbing everything that has to do with digital imaging. Oh, just keep on clicking my friends!
Happy weekend to all my blogger peers! Keep on clicking!