Monday, August 3, 2009

Instructor's Tip: Textures

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Textures come in all shapes and sizes. From a close up of a moth’s wing to an array of balconies of a high rise hotel, they can be found almost anywhere. They can be soft like the feathers of a bird, fragile as peeling paint, delicate as ripples of sand, patterned like a plowed farm field, etc. The key in revealing them is the direction and hardness of the light. With regards to direction, the more it comes from the side, the more the texture is revealed. With regards to hardness, the more direct and pinpoint it is, more texture is revealed.

When photographing large scenes or grand landscapes that contain textural elements, the classic time of day at which they should be photographed is within the forty five minute period just after sunrise and just before sunset. Additionally, in order to take advantage of the low angle of the sun, your subject must be close to a ninety degree angle from where the sun rises or sets. When these conditions are met, the light strikes the subject from the side revealing a world of highlights and shadows. This is what causes textures to pop. But even with the golden light of sunrise or sunset, if the subject is front lit, subjects look flat as no texture is depicted. Look 90 degrees to your left or right and a world of texture opens before your eyes.

Take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Russ' most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

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