Great Pictures Worth A Thousand Words
Ansel Adams's Moonrise in Hernandez, New Mexico
Moon over Mountains
Photography and Ansel Adams
Taking great pictures worth a thousand words sounds wonderful but it certainly hasn't been my personal experience.
I received a new digital camera for Christmas and there has been a learning curve for me. It takes digital pictures and short videos also. I believe you need some basic knowledge about how to take that great picture, in addition to just learning what all the settings on the camera mean.
Photography is art and it’s abstract. Patience is important as you wait for just that right smile, find the right angle or the right light settings. Keep your eyes open! You will see a lot more if you carefully look at the whole setting, not just the person you want to photograph. The more you look, the more you’ll see. Photography is communication of passion and excitement of the person you are photographing.
Ansel Adams stated, “If I feel something strongly, I make a photograph. I do not attempt to explain the feeling." Ansel Adams (1902-1984) was an award winning photographer and environmentalist best known for his black and white photographs of the American West. Moonrise, taken in Hernandez, New Mexico, is his most famous photograph. What do you see first when you look at this photograph? There are white clouds, a moon in a black sky, white gravestones and the mountains. Ansel Adams uses the “Rule of Thirds”. Most artists think it is boring to look at a photo that is completely symmetrical. In this photo he has stimulated our eye by offering three layers, each with a different tone: the black sky, the white clouds, and the gray landscape. Ansel describes the photo as having serendipity (lucky chance) and immediate technical recall
Eliot Parker "Photography an Expression of Love"
Another famous photographer, Eliot Porter said, "True art is but the expression of our love of nature" and "A true work of art is the creation of love, love for the subject first and for the medium second." He was a landscape photographer who lived from 1901-1990. He took up color in his photography in 1939, long before others in the field. In 1990 Eliot Porter bequeathed his huge professional archives to the Amon Carter Museum.
For fine tuning the eye toward art, you might want to go to classes for art, painting, drawing and design at your local schools if available. There are also some good books as resources. This is a ‘nice to do thing’ but not necessary. Practice, practice, practice!
It doesn’t matter so much what kind of camera you have but learn how to use it. Study the book that came with the camera, then practice using all the settings possible. “The more comfortable you become with your camera, the less time you are going to be thinking about how to set it up right when you want to snap that photo. Follow your own passion. Copying someone else views isn’t the way to go because we are all unique individuals and we sometimes see things differently. There are no rules you must follow, including the “Rule of Thirds” that is the best for you. A good photo is one you like.
Thailand, Humming Bird
Phillip Greenspun Gorilla
Lighting and Framing a Photo
Lighting is the most important technical issue in photography. To take great pictures you need more than the flash on the camera. Practice out of doors learning through experience how something looks on film in different light settings. We probably have all taken those photos where the family is facing the sun, trying to smile but squinting because the sun is in their eyes. Obviously this isn’t what you want. When taking an outdoor picture, you want the sun to be behind the subject and to one side of them. Sometimes this works well while still using your flash. Early morning and late afternoon are your best times for outdoor photography.
Frame your shot where you get the subjects head and shoulders if possible as the tighter you frame it the nicer the result. I mean everyone knows they are wearing pants. Zoom all the way in and then compose your shot. You may have to step forward or back. Do not frame the shot by adjusting the zoom; leave it at maximum telephoto. Next push the shutter release halfway down so the camera can figure out the auto focus, then push the button the rest of the way. You may want to tell a little joke when that button is at the half way point to catch a natural smile. Of course, take several shots!
Most of your pictures will be thrown away, according to the professional photographers, as you only want to keep the best ones. With practice you will be getting great pictures, the type of photos you’ve always wanted.
Billy Lee of Hawaii
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© 2010 Pamela Oglesby
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