Intro to Landscape Photography Course- Visual Arts Center of NJ

I am very excited to be offering a 5 week course, Introduction to Landscape Photography, this fall on Thursday nights at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit, New Jersey.

We will take a look at all of the building blocks in making a successful landscape image as well as the best camera settings and accessories. Given enough time, we will also broach on classic landscape compositions and modern digital landscape photography techniques. The goal is for participants to make consistently impactful photos and of course a greater appreciation for the arts.

WildcatRidgeLandscape.jpg

Landscape Photography (16F-1109)
Instructor: David Blinder
Experience Level: All Levels
Thursdays, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
5 sessions: Oct 20, 2016 – Nov 17, 2016
Members: $ 160.00 – Non-Members: 190.00
Lab Fee: $ 35.00

Registration info in link below:

http://public.artcenternj.org/public/AdultClasses.faces?medium=photography+%26+digital+media

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Sea Isle Reflections

This is an impromptu composition that was dictated by the lighting conditions.  My intention for this night photography session was to photograph stars in the sky, but the punchy light from the moon and the promenade limited the definition possible in the sky.

Fine Art Landscape Photo

Fine Art Photograph taken at night at the Jersey Shore in Sea Isle City

The camera settings here are a focal length of 18mm, aperture at F/5.6 and ISO speed of 400.  Increasing the exposure would have blown out the highlights and decreasing the exposure would have rendered the scene too dark for my tastes.  I originally started off at a higher ISO but the image looked washed out so I lowered it a full ISO stop.  I do not shoot still photos in incremental ISO’s as anything other than native ISO values can deteriorate dynamic range or image quality.  Other settings: RAW file format, Auto White Balance, Mirror Lock Up, 2 Second Timer, VC (stabilization) off, tripod firmly in the sand

The composition in this photo is a pretty straight-forward rule-of-thirds setup.  The horizon is placed about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the frame and the houses occupy approximately 2/3 of the horizontal length of the frame.  Putting those elements dead center in the photo would have killed the dynamics in my opinion.

American Goldfinch DSLR video; filmed in Cape May, New Jersey

It was a real treat to get some close footage of our vibrant state bird recently.  I knew that I would want footage from several different angles to create diversity… even in a short wildlife video.  Varying the focal lengths and my angle of view on the birds was how I tackled that challenge.

Footage shot in 1080p at 30fps on the Canon EOS 7D with the tripod mounted Tamron SP 150-600mm VC zoom lens.  DSLR was set to the desired shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and I adjusted the aperture and ISO value to get as good of an exposure as possible for each clip.  Unfortunately it was a windy day so I had to strip the audio of the birds interacting and feeding.  I don’t think anyone would have enjoyed listening to the hissing and popping caused by the wind hitting the microphone outdoors.

Photography with Intent

Photography with Intent

I did originally compose this shot (tripod mounted camera of course) putting the thick central line (gap in my exterior car panel) off-center as I find the compositional Rule of Thirds very effective. However, before pressing the shutter, I realized that the prominent diagonals (mud on my car), minimalistic subject matter, and a central divider would give this photo a “pop art” feel to it.

When I make photographs like this I know they will not be popular on my flickr page where “in your face” wildlife shots get me the most views. While I recognize that wildlife is still my bread and butter subject matter with my audience, I do my best to diversify at times without alienating my viewing audience.

Tamron 90mm VC macro lens, Canon EOS 7D DSLR, Manfrotto 190xProB tripod with 489rc2 Ballhead, F/22, ISO 100, 1.6s exposure, Aperture-priority mode, One-shot Auto-focus Mode near center of photo, 2 second timer, Mirror Lock-Up, RAW file format

Lies brand t-shirt photoshoot

DRB Photo Gear

Dave Blinders Strobes, Camera, and Lens

I did a quick inpromptu photoshoot last night in Northern New Jersey for my friend Joe who runs his own small skateboarding T-shirt business in his spare time. Knowing in advance that I’d be working in close confines, I thought one Alien Bees AB800 Strobe with a stripbox style box, a Canon 580exII with Opteka grid, my Canon 60D dslr, and Tamron 18-270mm VC lens would allow me plenty of diversity and lighting and composing options.

rimlighting portraiture by drb

Joe in rim lighting

Tamron 18-270mm VC, Canon 60D, and gridded 580ExII off-camera to subject’s left

girls holding skateboard

Korynne and Carmela holding skateboard deck

Tamron 18-270mm, Canon 60D, and AB800 w/ stripbox angled slightly from camera right

man in skate tee

Joe wearing his own branded T-shirt

Tamron 18-270mm Lens, Canon 60D, Gridded Canon 580exII Speedlight angled from slightly above subject

girl in skateboard t-shirt

Korynne in navy blue Lies T-shirt

Tamron 18-270mm VC, Canon 60D, AB800 strobe slightly above and right of subject

man in skateboarding t-shirt

Joe wearing one of his designs in white

Tamron 18-270mm VC Lens, Canon 60D, Gridded 580exII Speedlight aimed towards subject’s chest, AB800 on minimum power from subject’s right

girl in skateboard t-shirt

Carmela wearing black Lies t-shirt

Tamron 18-270mm Lens, Canon 60D, AB800 in stripbox slightly above and right of subject

girl in skateboard tank top

Korynne wearing blue Lies tank top

Tamron 18-270mm VC Lens, Canon 60D, 580exII Speedlight w/ Opteka Grid coming in from camera left

If you have any questions about the equipment, techniques, clothing line, or contacting the models please leave your information in the comments section or contact me via facebook.

Self-Critique on a photo I took today

Image

From a VERY quick walk in this frigid weather.

Instinctively, I critique all of my photos on a technical and compositional basis when I review them.

Sometimes I notice things I couldn’t see through the viewfinder. In this particular shot, the small brown blur towards to the top left is an “error” in my opinion. It’s probably a distant dead leaf, and I feel it detracts a bit from the photo.

I would have removed it physically if I had noticed through the viewfinder. However, I do not like to alter my nature shots in post-processing, and I prefer not to crop. I do my best to present the scene as it was. I did though, move the feather from a pricker bush on the ground, to an elevated and isolated branch to make the shot. It blew away seconds later and I’m lucky I got a shot at all.

I did shoot a few frames at an aperture of F/4 also (presented shot is F/2.8).  The increased aperture brought nice detail into the feather, however I did not like the background elements that starting coming into focus.

Sunset over Wetlands, Loxahatchee NWR

I just flew back home to NJ from Florida yesterday morning and I have lots of files (hopefully good ones to sift through.  I will be uploading new images from the trip regularly to http://flickr.com.com/davidraymond but I hope to provide some commentary and technique on individual photos on here as well.

Here’s one sample landscape image from the trip to take a look at it, meanwhile I’ve got to get back to the RAW file processing!

Florida Landscape Photograph

Sunset over Wetlands

Self-portrait with Strat

I dusted off my Alien Bee’s AB800 strobe to prep for some portrait work, draped my black muslin over my backdrop holder, manually pre-focused my 17-40mm lens (very small working conditions), and was happy to come up with this self-portrait.

DRB 2013

Self-portrait with Strat

I’m actually sitting on an unseen stool here, so that was what I prefocused the lens on.  I thought I’d try a pretty stark sidelighting angle with the AB800 angled slightly downward on camera left to create a “masculine lighting effect”.  I do have the diffused beauty dish adapter, so I left that mounted on the AB800.  I’m happy that there was not much light spilling on the background, which helps contribute to the somber and mysterious mood of this image.

One of the best parts of shooting on black is not worrying about background exposures!

 

 

Technique: Framing a sunrise

A fairly basic photo, but hopefully it has enough going for it to make viewers look twice.

First of all, I went to a section of the beach where I anticipated possible foreground elements to create a multi-dimensional image. I set my alarm so that I’d have some time to spare before first light came above the horizon, made sure I had my essential camera gear, grabbed a flashlight, and made the short drive over to the beach.

NJ Shore sunrise photo

Gnarled Tree and Sunrise

I walked past this interestingly twisted dead root as soon as I neared the beach, and made a mental note that I could try to incorporate it into my scene. I continued to scout around for a few minutes after that, but realized that I probably wasn’t going to be able to beat the character of the root.

I set my tripod to a pretty low level so that the widest part of the root would not converge with the horizon for this frame, and I will admit to snapping off a vertically extending portion of the root to make sure it would fit into the photo. Another important part of this photograph is the sunburst effect, which I know is generally best achieved with my lens/DSLR combo at an aperture of F/22. I’ve found that having the sunburst disperse across a solid object to help amplify the effect, and I knew that I wanted to frame the sun within a portion of the root to further draw the viewer’s focus to the sun itself. That took some fine movements of the tripod to get things just right.

I also shot some horizontal frames before the sun came above the horizon, and will upload and possibly discuss those later this week.