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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Be A Photography Rebel

10 tips to create unique and powerful images

This Article Features Photo Zoom

be a photography rebel
5 Rialto Beach sunset, Olympic National Park, Washington
Shoot Into The Sun
5 Shooting toward the sun is a great way to make stunning photos, especially when the sun is rising or setting. Backlit subjects take on a halo of golden light and are especially effective when set against a dark background. If near water, face the sun to get colorful reflections. Make an even more dramatic statement by incorporating the sun itself into your compositions.

Exposure can be tricky when shooting toward or into the sun. Check your histogram to make sure that you’re not overexposing or underexposing important elements of the scene. It’s best to shoot when the sun is relatively low in the sky; otherwise, extreme contrast might prevent you from getting a balanced exposure. When the sun is low on the horizon and heavily filtered by atmospheric particles, its light is much less intense and much more colorful. Flare also is less of a problem when the sun is low (although shading your lens is always a good idea). Use graduated ND filters or fill-flash to further reduce contrast. Even using all of these techniques, you may find it impossible to simultaneously hold detail in both shadow and highlight areas. Don’t despair—just use your best judgment to achieve an appropriate balance, and remember that silhouettes often are very compelling.

be a photography rebel
6 White-tailed deer and setting sun, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Light Up The World
6 Flash is one of the most important—and too often the least used—nature photography camera accessories. Learning how to use flash opens up a whole world of creative possibilities for outdoor photographers. Subtle use of flash at low power settings can help fill in shadows while shooting landscapes or create catchlights in the eyes of wildlife subjects.

But don’t stop there! Use flash boldly at full power to transform an ordinary scene into something edgy and intense: Make the eyes of your wildlife subjects glow with an unearthly light or selectively light a portion of your scene while underexposing everything else to give it emphasis. Flash also works great with longer exposures, allowing you to freeze action while simultaneously capturing motion blur. Used at night with colored gels, the creative potential of flash is unlimited. An off-camera strobe comes in handy when you’re doing a lot of flash work, as well as an external battery pack to ensure quick recycling times.

Go Beyond The Trophy Shot
7 Do you really want your images to stand out? Then don’t spend all of your time trying to photograph places like Half Dome, Antelope Canyon, Delicate Arch or the Wave. Photography icons such as these are indeed very beautiful, but therein lies the problem—their beauty draws thousands of photographers every year. Such popularity makes it difficult to walk more than a few feet without tripping over a fellow photographer. Trying to find unique images in these locations can be an even more daunting task.

Rebels are loners and trailblazers by nature, and they search for hidden places that haven’t been extensively photographed. Believe me, they exist—you just need to get off the beaten path to find them. Even the most popular parks have backcountry areas that rarely are photographed (most shooters don’t ever leave the road). And there are plenty of other beautiful places that for some reason or another aren’t besieged by clicking cameras; sometimes they’re deep in the wilderness, sometimes they’re not. So lace up your hiking boots, take the kayak out of your garage or hitch up the dogsled—find some way to get out there! Remember that many icons got that way because some photographer took a great picture and made the location famous. The next icons are waiting for you to discover them.


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