Monthly Archives: December 2016

By On December 8, 2016 3:58 pm

I wrote this last night but didn’t have time to post it.

This is day three of my photo trip to the Caribbean aboard the Carnival Dream. Today’s port was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. There were a lot of great photo opportunities today.
To begin, I’d like to say a few words about composition. Composition is placing your subject in such a way as to create a more interesting photo. There are many ways to do this: placing your subject on one of the “power points” in the frame. Think of the power points this way; If you draw imaginary lines horizontally and vertically to divide the frame into thirds, any one of the points where the lines intersect is a “power point”. Placing your subject at one of these points will create a more appealing composition. Another way to look at it is looking at the lines. If you are shooting a sunset with the horizon visible, don’t put the horizon smack in the middle of the frame. Boring! Decide if the sky or the foreground is more important to the story you are trying to tell, and place the horizon along either the upper or lower third line. As with all things in photography, you have to learn the rules so you can know when to break them.
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The other thing I wanted to talk about today is exposure bracketing. Exposure bracketing is available on most DSLR cameras. You can set your camera to shoot 3 exposures one behind the other. You can also set the stops above and below your settings you want to shoot. Your camera will try and expose your shot correctly, but it will get it wrong if you have too much contrast between light and dark in your scene. For example, have you ever tried shooting a sunset and the foreground is well exposed, but the sky was blown out and had no detail? Or the sky has detail but the foreground is too dark and you can’t see any detail?
Your camera’s sensor doesn’t have the same dynamic range as your eyes, but you can compensate for this using exposure bracketing. On my Canon camera you can set exposure bracketing using the exposure compensation setting. Consult your camera’s manual for how to reach the setting on your particular camera.
Once in the bracketing setting, you can choose how many stops above and below your set exposure your shots will be. For instance, in the shots below, I chose 1 stop on each side of you chosen setting. The shot one stop above may overexpose, and that’s OK. If it does, and your chosen exposure shows the foreground nicely, you can discard the overexposed shot. If not, you’ll see that the shot over your chosen setting will be lighter in the dark areas, and the sky will be blown out, if we continue to use our sunset as our baseline. Your chosen setting will show a little more detail in the sky, and the foreground will be darker. Finally in the third shot, the sky will show lots of detail and the foreground will be very dark. But all we have to do now is pull all three into Photoshop, use the combine command, and we will get a shot with good detail in both the sky and the foreground.
Unfortunately, I don’t have my laptop with photoshop on it, or I would show the end result. Maybe I’ll update the post once I return home.
So there you have it, 2 tips to help you with composition and getting a great exposure full of detail in your landscape photography.
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By On December 6, 2016 10:42 am

This is my second post from the photo trip on the Carnival Dream. Today I wanted to give you a few tips on shooting the sunrise or sunset. This morning’s sunrise wasn’t totally spectacular, but it will do for the tips I have to share.
First, obviously, to shoot the sunrise you have to get out of bed before the sun comes up. But if that’s not your thing, you can always shoot sunsets instead.
Your focus and camera settings are very important, as there isn’t a lot of light to work with. You’ll want to open your lens up as wide as possible, to let in all the light it can gather before the sun rises. If you have a fast lens you may be able to open up to f2.0 or faster. But don’t worry, even if you have a kit lens that will only open to f4.5, you can still get the shot. You just have to raise your ISO higher.
I shot the following shots with my Sigma 18-250mm travel lens at f5.6 and ISO 400 on aperture priority setting and I let the camera control the shutter speed, just to give you an idea of what’s possible. These are straight out of the camera. When I get home I would bring these into Photoshop and do some additional post production. But you can see here you can do quite a satisfactory job in camera.
A quick note about raising your ISO is that it can introduce noise into your image. A great tool I use to remove noise is Topaz DeNoise. It’s available from the Topaz web site. I don’t make any money for recommending the tools from Topaz. I just like to let you know what I use so you can improve your photos too.
So until my next post, here’s this morning’s sunrise.
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By On December 5, 2016 3:07 pm

I am writing this post from the Carnival Dream. Currently in the Gulf of Mexico steaming south for Jamaica at 17 knots. I wanted to blog about this trip as I have been taking a lot of photos, and I did a photo shoot in New Orleans prior to setting sail. I’ll update the blog with additional posts during the trip.

i had booked a model prior to my arrival in New Orleans for a sexy photo shoot to be shot in the hotel. The hotel is an upscale hotel on Bourbon, with perfect decor for this type of shoot. After I arrived I set up the lighting and went over my shot list we had discussed. We met and went to the room to start the shoot. One thing I have learned is that every model brings a different experience level to a shoot. Since this was Jasmine’s second professional shoot, she needed a little more time to get comfortable and start having fun. Every model brings a certain amount of nervousness to the shoot, whether amateur or professional. A lot of it has to do with being around a new guy and knowing you are taking your clothes of in front of him. My job is to make a woman feel comfortable and bring out her natural beauty. Most of the time it requires simply bonding on a human level with her. Letting her know that her input and suggestions are encouraged, and letting her start to have fun. I always show the ladies I shoot her photos as we go along. Once they see how great they look, I see them start to have fun and loosen up. That’s when the most natural smiles and poses come out, and we make some amazing images for her.
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As you can see by these images, Jasmine began to have fun and she is showing a genuine smile. I think one of the best compliments I receive is when someone tells me how much they love their photos, and how much fun they had making them. The ultimate compliment is when they tell me “I would love to work with you again”.

So follow my photo trip this week as I post from Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel,MX.
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