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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pro Tips For Better Photography

There are no commandments in photography, but these simple tips will make an immediate difference in your shots

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Juniper and lichen-covered rock, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. Rather than lament a plain sunrise, Tal explored other options and found the morning glow lighting these vibrant reds and greens. Canon EOS 5D, Canon 17-40mm ƒ/4 L
Bullet Three: Do Your Research
As much as we’re dependent on any number of factors that are beyond our control, there still are a lot of things we can do to increase our chances of finding those special scenes in their prime. These can be as simple as timing our visits appropriately (right time of day, right season, etc.) or as involved as learning the natural history of the places we visit—geology, weather patterns, wildlife and plant life and their unique characteristics and behavior at given times in their natural cycles, the phase of the moon or the direction and timing of sunrise and sunset.

Learn good outdoor skills. Just as important as knowing where to go and when is knowing how to work and move comfortably when you get there. Outdoor skills are invaluable in many ways and not just for those seeking images. The comfort, confidence and safety of knowing where you are, what to do, what to look out for, how to find your way, where to find water, how much food and clothing to carry all can work wonders toward improving your state of mind and allowing you to concentrate on more creative endeavors.

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Autumn leaves trapped in ice, Zion National Park, Utah. The unusual combination of freezing temperatures and the turning of the maples provided a unique photo op. Wista VX 4x5 field camera, Fujinon A 180mm, Fujichrome Provia 100F
Bullet Four: Good Gear Takes You Only
So Far

Your equipment plays a major role in photography. By having the right gear, you give yourself a natural advantage, but only up to a point. What’s important is to keep in mind the role gear plays in our craft and to consider its value in that limited context. Good gear will enable you to make technically good images. Gear won’t make your images more evocative. It won’t improve your composition. It won’t make the light better. It won’t make the subject any more interesting and, consequently, it won’t make your images more successful. The best kind of gear is the gear you don’t have to worry about—gear that lets you concentrate on making images rather than technical minutia. If you compare a fine image to a fine meal, remember that even the best and most expensive dinnerware won’t make your food taste any better.

So buy the gear that can capture sufficient detail for the size prints you want to make (so you don’t have to worry about how to fix that later), can help you make good exposure decisions (so you don’t have to worry about how to fix that later), give you sufficient support and stability to make sharp images (who wants to worry about how to fix that later?), provides flexibility in framing your composition (so you don’t have to worry about how to fix that later), and is sufficiently light and comfortable to carry wherever you go. With all those worries out of the way, go about making images.


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