Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From My Portfolio

Read Between the Lines

One of my instructors drilled his favorite mandate into my skull during class: “Exhaust All Possibilities!” What Digital Photo Academy teacher Russ Burden usually does before he shoots a subject is walk 360 degrees around it, getting above the subject or shooting down at it’s level or lower, looking at every possible angle to capture it. He likes to use different lens too for the same subject to get different perspectives.

So I try to keep all of this in mind when I shoot, too. This photo is an example of using that technique. During a Colorado Strobist meetup, Model Pinay Bella was standing on a staircase with wrought iron railing and natural sunlight streaming down on her from a large window above. I and other photographers took turns using off-camera flash to shoot Pinay from above her and below her on the staircase.

When I remembered Russ’ recommendation, I started “walking” around the subject, as best I could given the circumstances of the location. That led me to standing in front of the railing. When I happened to catch a glimpse of Pinay through the railing, I knew I had to find a way to make my camera shoot what my eyes were naturally able to see. That’s easier said than done! In an autofocus setting, the lens refused to focus on Pinay, choosing to stick with the closer object, the rail, instead. Finally, I switched to manual mode (which I hardly ever shoot in) and was finally able to get the lens to “see” what I was seeing — a fabulous, moody shot with Pinay focused in the background and the railing blurred. The railing adds depth and symmetry. The lighting is natural and dramatic.

Thanks Russ….couldn’t have done it without you! I regularly run Russ’ “Instructor’s Tips” on my blog on Mondays. Stop by and check out the post or if you are in the area, check out one of Russ’ classes yourself. He focuses on landscape photography and hosts numerous nature photography tours to hot spots in the country. Join him and learn!


Mark Hayes said...

Awesome shot, and yes the unique angle and shooting through the railing really make this stand out.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Thanks Mark! I appreciate your constant support and encouragement

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