Monday, October 5, 2009

Instructor's Tip

Photo by Russ Burden

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.

Special note from Russ: I just returned from my 10 day nature photo tour to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. I wish you could have been one of the participants in that we all shot myriads of images despite the ever imposing smoke from the fires. We had two highlights that may never be repeated - a bull moose in a pond under the Grand Teton and an absolutely amazing final morning with fresh snow on Mount Moran with mist and early morning fog accompanied by a clear sunrise to the east - it still gives me goose bumps thinking about both sessions. Join me on a tour and be one of the lucky ones to return with these kinds of images - I'll put you in the right place at the right time! I intimately know every location in each park to which I lead a tour - you can't place a price tag on knowledge and my enthusiasm.

Parades and festivals offer wonderful opportunities to capture great images of people in costume, photo journalistic events, and decisive moments of expressions. Whether you aim your lens at the participants or toward people in the crowd, you won’t find yourself running short of subject matter. A small town parade or festival can provide more opportunities than a grand scale one such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in that the restrictions to gain access to the participants aren’t as rigid. Check the events sections of your local paper to see when one is scheduled and give it a whirl.

People Shots: Knowing how to work with people is equally as important as knowing how to work the camera. If you see an interesting face, don’t be afraid to approach that person and ask if he or she wouldn’t mind being photographed. More often than not you’ll get a positive response. When you begin to make your photographs, direct the person as to where to look or place their hands. If the background is cluttered or distracting, take a look around the area to find a better shooting location and ask if he or she wouldn’t mind moving. Be friendly while you're engaged in your image making by simply talking about the event. Look for that special moment of emotion that completes the time spent with your subject. Don’t be discouraged if the first time you try this it doesn’t pan out. The more you make the attempt, the more natural it feels.

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.

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