Picture Perfect

Theresa Mullins Low

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2016 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society
Images by Theresa Mullins Low

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Festivals and fairs are fast approaching. Usually we have a balloon festival nearby but because of flooding this has changed. Balloons are colorful and the events are usually very crowded with lots of photo ops from entertainment to emotions from spectators and the different shapes and colors with the many different balloon themes. In years past I have attended hot air balloon festivals here and in Albuquerque, the Largest Balloon festival in the world. Among the first hot air balloon flight was one that took flight in September 1783 with a sheep, a duck and a rooster aboard. Since then many trips have been attempted, some long and some short and with humans; some succeeded and some failed. Today our balloons are used mostly for recreational purposes.

A beginner photographer may try and get balloon photographs in the early morning hours when the sunlight is softer. The sky and the balloons appear their truest colors without the bright sun fading their color as in midday. Most of my balloon photography has happened at night and early morning before the sunrise. With low light you need a tripod to produce high quality prints. If a tripod is not available then try shooting with a really high ISO. Know your camera so that you will know how highest ISO that can be used without introducing to much noise. Too much noise, then you would need a software editing program to eliminate the noise. Nonetheless you should be able to get an image suitable for digital display. I prefer to keep my ISO near 400 but I will push the ISO to get the image.

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Upon arrival look around and spot your favorite balloon. Let that balloon be your focus. A photographer can really get distracted when photographing balloons. With all the many colors and different designs and then their movement, it is easy to just start clicking that shutter in fear of missing that one awesome shot. So pause and stay focused for that good composition.

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Since this one favorite balloon is your focus, try to capture the entire balloon with other balloons in the background. A zoom lens really works best. You will find yourself zooming in and out since there is constant movement. The wide focal length at near 32 and up as close as possible works well to capture that three dimensional look of the balloon. I like to shoot in aperture priority at about f/11 to get the depth of field needed. Automatic cameras usually shoot at this setting and the image should look like a professional’s.

Our next Louisiana Photographic Society meeting is being held September 15, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Goodwood Library, (large conference room on the 1st floor) and is held every third Thursday of each month. The scheduled guest speaker is Zack Smith at www.zacksmith.com who is an award winning photographer from New Orleans. His presentation will be about Five Types of Portraits from sunlight to strobe. talking about Photography and Travel (the joy and the pain) who arranges photo tours. See our website for updates at www.laphotosociety.com

 


August 2016 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society

Images by Theresa Mullins Low

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Photography anyone in the summer in Louisiana? I hope you have been photographing in spite of our temperatures. September is approaching with the anticipation of better weather and workers are looking forward to their holiday, Labor Day. I believe this to be a very deserving holiday because those who work usually celebrate with a day of relaxation away from work. What a blessing! Just imagine if we Americans didn’t work!. Our high work ethics have contributed to our high standard of living not to mention providing the needs for families and of course some luxuries. On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City our first Labor Day was celebrated, and not surprisingly, with a parade. Isn’t it wonderful just to have the day off from work and relax?
With that being said go take some photographs. Last summer I found myself in my backyard taking photographs of hummingbirds. All one needs is some red sugared water and a few of their favorite plants and you should attract a vast number of hummingbirds. Please do not despair, though, hummingbirds are very difficult to photograph. But nonetheless they are very fun to photograph not to mention a challenge. After all they are constantly moving. Learn about your subject. Did you know that their little wings are moving at least 15 to 200 times per second? A flash helps to freeze their action. The hummingbird photo perched shows a shot without a flash but with a fast shutter speed and a long lens. When approaching a hummingbird they may leave but they will soon return. It is also best to shoot them in indirect sunlight because the extremely bright light may wash out their sometimes very vibrant colors. You should start seeing hummingbirds in July.

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I have attended the Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration which is held in September 2016. This afforded me the opportunity to learn about their habitat. They actually tag them to learn about their migration to the south during winter.
Take photos of flowers, shrubs, or insects in your backyard. Think about color, lines, and patterns It is said that a good photographer can go in their backyard and produce an excellent shot. Think of taking images of flowers or wildlife with your long lens. A long, fast lens can bring about excellent light. Try the ‘sports mode’ on your point and shoot which affords a fast shutter. The idea is to start shooting and keep improving.

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An aperture such as f/3.5 for a shallow depth of field will produce a pleasing blurred background. The shutter should be as fast as possible with the lowest possible ISO to obtain a sharp image.

Our next Louisiana Photographic Society meeting is being held August 18, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Goodwood Library, (large conference room on the 1st floor) and is held every third Thursday of each month. The scheduled guest speaker is John Pickles talking about Photography and Travel (the joy and the pain) who has led photo tours all over the world. See our website for updates at www.laphotosociety.com

July 2016 by Theresa Mullins-Low Louisiana Photographic Society

Images by Theresa Mullins Low

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It’s summer and our landscapes are beautiful and amazingly green! I love that about our Louisi-ana! Photographers can enjoy getting their image by going either early morning and staying out until 10:00 am or from about 4:00 pm into the late evening. This is a photographer’s best time to photograph under any conditions and this is when our weather is the best in the summer. The early morning light gives a soft golden color while nighttime gets into the blue light. Midday brings excellent black and white. Look for the light. The dew could be your best friend.
I find myself usually visiting a zoo sometimes in the summer. In zoos there are usually many obstacles to work around for good photographs. There is tricky lighting, the foliage, the glass cage, or the cage bars that all may obstruct your view. Just the mere fact that animals are al-ways moving is an enormous challenge; or, not moving and in the wrong place. But the action of the animals is what makes zoo photography so fun and interesting.

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Either a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with a long zoom lens or a point and shoot with a 10 – 12x zoom allows you to take those great zoo photographs. A monopod is preferred at the zoo because of the crowds. A tripod or monopod can be very useful for stability and will allow for sharper images in low light conditions. If no tripod or monopod open your aperture near f/4 and increase your ISO and be sure you have a higher shutter speed to stop the action.
When shooting nature photography, focus on the face of the animal. The eyes should be the focal point. Capturing the intimacy of the animal and the details in the face will get viewers’ at-tention. The up-close and personal shots reveal facts and features of the animal that one doesn’t usually see. This will also eliminate distracting backgrounds. Remember to get down low when necessary so that you will be on the same level as the animal but keep your distance using that zoom lens. To eliminate those cage bars get close to the bars, use the largest possible aperture f5.6 or f/4 etc. on your camera, or look for a larger opening in the bars. If you are shooting a point and shoot try using the portrait mode which uses a wider aperture. After all what you are actually trying to capture is a portrait of your animal that shows emotion.
Our next Louisiana Photographic Society meeting is being held July 21 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at, the Goodwood Library, 1st floor conference room, Baton Rouge, LA and is held every third Thurs-day of each month. The guest speaker will be Zack Smith at www.zacksmith.com who is an award winning photographer from New Orleans. His presentation will be about Five Types of Portraits from sunlight to strobe. See our website for updates at www.laphotosociety.com
You may visit my website at www.theresamullinslow.zenfolio.com. See LPS website for updates at www.laphotosociety.com

 

June 2016 by Theresa Mullins-Low Louisiana Photographic Society

Images by Theresa Mullins Low

This is absolutely wonderful that we have experienced such pleasant weather this year. It is especially great for photographers because it lends more time for photo opportunities. Having said that I am sure June will bring our usual hot weather. But that should not stop a photographer rain or shine. Just last year in June I found myself wanting to shoot the streets of the French Quarter. Of course, there was a heavy chance of rain. Did that stop me? No way.

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Rain brings reflections to the streets, and New Orleans brings the opportunity for almost anything to an image. Reflections can bring about a special art form to photography. If we want to shoot in the rain we must be especially careful wearing shoes that are not slippery and have available a rain sleeve for your camera and lens.
For reflections try photographing with a larger depth of field such as aperture f/11 to have the subject that is not the reflection and the reflection in sharp focus. As always tripods allow for cleaner, sharper images because with this aperture a slower shutter speed is necessary for more light and you can engage a low ISO for less noise. If no tripod is available, open the aperture, use a shutter speed at least the focal length of your lens and a higher ISO to create a sharper image. All these settings allow for more light.

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Brightly lit subjects should produce a better reflection whereas a subject in a shade will often look dull. Including people with umbrellas or using their raincoats can add an interesting story to an image. One option is to shoot a reflection as the subject. Another opportunity is when it begins to turn night and the sky is blue the reflections can be most interesting. A tripod will be necessary for sharper images because your shutter speed will need to be slow because of the low light conditions.
When photographing a person use a shallow depth of field (low f number) to blur the background which causes the person unquestionably to be the subject.
When using a wide angle lens as done with images of buildings you can get very close and have everything in focus. Since everything is near the same focal plane a larger opening in the aperture or smaller f/number can also be used which allows for more light on the subject.
Photography is subjective. Every photo opportunity brings about different lighting situations. Basically know the rules and then break the rules. Look for the light.

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Our next Louisiana Photographic Society is being held June 16, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com The scheduled guest speaker is C. C. Lockwood who is a wildlife photographer and the author of numerous books about Louisiana’s swampland .He has received numerous literary and general awards.
You may visit my website at www.theresamullinslow.zenfolio.com. See LPS website for updates at www.laphotosociety.com

May 2016 by Theresa Mullins-Low Louisiana Photographic Society

Images by Theresa Mullins Low

As we explore our photographic opportunities this month let’s not forget Memorial Day, the day we are to remember those who have gone before us in our nation’s service. The images of the flag in front of the Old State Capital and the eagle is a representation of our great country. Lets take a solemn moment to remember those who have served our country.
We ask ourselves “How do I properly expose for my photograph?” A time of challenge is when our scene consists of great contrast in light. A photographer does not want to blow out the whites if possible because loss of pixels exist which means no detail and if too dark the dark areas create noise.

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When using the “P” mode or program mode the camera is determining the exposure. The problem with this is when areas of an image has great contrast. The camera does not know which area is more important. When your camera has the capability to change your ISO, aperture, shutter speeds, and exposure compensation learn about these options for a near perfect exposure. This is the basics of photography.
Generally, you want to look at a scene and decide what your subject is and focus on that part. The subject should be well exposed. I use spot metering most of the time to expose for my subject. That way I feel confident that my subject is sharp and properly exposed. One way to eliminate high contrasted areas is to fill the frame with your subject. Another is shoot at least three images at different exposures from extreme light and extreme dark and one mid-tone. Combine in post processing. Shooting in RAW mode opposed to jpg mode allows more control over correcting exposure in post processing of images.

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Blinkies in a camera show blown out highlights. If your camera has this feature, turn it on. Most cameras have histograms. This is an extremely valuable tool on a camera. If the histogram touches the left then you have a photo probably too dark. If the histogram touches the right then you have a shot that is probably too light. Either too dark or too light, the quality of your image has been impacted. Remember to learn the rules and then break them. Read your manual that came with your camera. Learn something new about your camera and photography. A suggestion is to shoot in aperture priority and change your exposure compensation to see the relation to shutter and exposure of your image. Now go practice taking photos and have fun.

Our next Louisiana Photographic Society is being held May 19, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com The scheduled guest speaker is Stacy Bimer who is a Google Trusted Photographer in Louisiana who provides street view imagery of the inside of businesses. You may visit my website at www.theresamullinslow.zenfolio.com

 

April 2016 by Theresa Mullins-Low Louisiana Photographic Society

Images by Theresa Mullins Low

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This is a great time to visit our wonderful state Louisiana! April affords beautiful scenery and almost perfect weather. Photographers take advantage of all those outside events which include Louisiana festivals. When we think of festivals we think people, food, fun, and entertainment. Remember images tell a story – use your imagination.
Do research prior to the festival. Consider the weather. How is the lighting? What does the festival celebrate? Then plan to arrive early. You will want to photograph those who are involved in preparing for the festival. And, that up-close parking space is waiting just for you. By the way, don’t forget your portable lawn chair!
Your zoom lens on your compact camera or a medium telephoto lens should be sufficient to tell your story. Lens from focal lengths 18-200mm is perfect. This allows for those wide angle shots to capture the event or at the longer focal length to get portraits of the participants. A longer telephoto lens provides a greater magnification factor. This means if you photograph a person or subject very far away simply zoom in and you may crop your photo and still have a quality photo for print. Your zoom lens or longer focal length also allows you to photograph a person without intruding in their personal space. Keep in mind that the longer focal lengths require faster shutter speeds and last increase the ISO to obtain sharpness. Zoomed in you will see those natural facial expressions that portray ones emotion for that moment in time which tells the story of the festival.

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First take that landscape shot, such as the entire stage area to capture the entire scene. You will now have the shot and will have seized the moment. As you get closer continue shooting. Those up-close and personal shots earn the photojournalism opportunity. Performers and musicians have lots of energy while they perform, and show many facial expressions. Keep a smile on your face to encourage a smile from the one being photographed. Focus on the colors and patterns that make up the festival. Look for costumes, those floats, vendors – zoom in or get close. If you can take a photo which includes color, some pattern or lines and a sense of emotion, you have got yourself a prize winning photo. Even though festivals are about food, fun and music, a festival is really about the people.
Auto ISO is a great feature on some DSLR cameras but I suggest set a maximum ISO to control noise according to your camera. Check the camera’s manual for instructions.

Our next Louisiana Photographic Society is being held April 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com The scheduled guest speaker is Deborah Burst who is an award winning photographer and writer. She will be speaking about images in sacred places. You may visit my website at www.theresamullinslow.zenfolio.com

March 2016
by Theresa Mullins Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

Images by Theresa Mullins Low

Signs of spring are here! The azaleas should be blooming. In Louisiana a photographer’s absolute best season to photograph is spring. One may take advantage of the pleasant weather with our impressive landscapes and our flowers that are shown in bright vivid colors throughout the day. The birds even come back to Lake Martin to nest.
A successful day of photography begins before sunrise. In the beginning of March sunrise happens before 6:30 a.m. but progressively rises earlier until after March 13th when time springs forward an hour. Of course a photographer’s best time to photograph is before 10:00 a.m. because of the softer light. But why stop? Continue through the midday and even at sunset when you will get a warm soft glow again.

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Those midday photos may just be what you want to convert to black and white. Midday will give you those extremes, the brightest whites and longest shadows which can make for very impressive black and whites. When shooting in the midday try zooming in with your lens on your subject. This should eliminate most of the sun’s harsh lighting and the extreme contrast that may show unwanted shadows. Midday shots are also great when you are exploring in your favorite park or wooded area. Take a shot of that sun peeping behind the tree. Though be mindful of lens flare. But please don’t totally eliminate those shadows. Photography is all about light. Learning about light is also recognizing the shadows which give emphasis to our subject and may show emotion in our images.

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In photography there are guidelines you may want to follow if you are a beginner. These guidelines were developed before digital photography began when a histogram did not exist on your camera. The Sunny 16 rule applies on a bright day; select aperture f/16. The Snowy/Sandy rule is aperture f/22. The overcast rule starts at f/8. If it is a slightly overcast day use f/11. Usually the shutter speed and ISO are inverted numbers such as 1/200s and ISO 200. Keep in mind that a certain amount of sharpness and depth of field maybe needed. When increasing your aperture then decrease the shutter to get the same exposure.
The image with the barn was taken at 1/500 sec; f/16; ISO 400. The image with the statute was taken at 1/200 sec; f/10; ISO 800.
If you are in the market for a camera you may want to consider a mirrorless camera which offers new technology. An advantage is that they weigh less and are more compact. Research to decide which type camera may be best for you.

Our next Louisiana Photographic Society is being held March 17, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com The scheduled guest speaker is Butch Spielman whose expertise is in nature and wildlife photography. You may visit my website at www.theresamullinslow.zenfolio.com

 

February 2016
by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)
Images by Theresa Mullins Low

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It’s Mardi Gras time! Last year I was privileged to be invited to the Mardi Gras run in Mamou! Yes that is the Mardi Gras with the chicken dance and run! Our cajuns really know how to pass a good time. And yes they have awesome food!
Taking Mardi Gras photos is somewhat like taking street photography images. But in a parade you probably will find yourself in one place. The first decision may be where to place yourself. Lighting is always a vey important consideration. Check out the sun. Is there partial sun and partial shade? Make certain that you are in either all shade or all sun. Is the background too busy? Prepare before hand and find someone who knows the parade routes for the best views. Last year I traveled between towns to follow the action. The major TV photojournalist was right along side. I knew I was in the right place.

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What is your story? What do you see, smell, or touch? Have a particular shot in mind but be flexible. Take images at wide angle (35mm or less) and medium angle along with longer focal lengths using a longer zoom lens (usually above 120). Consider the longer zoom lens to get the expressions of people far away or get closer. Longer focal lengths also allows one to capture the details leaving out that overexposed sky. Let the paraders know that you are taking their photograph. In all probability they will interact. Then capture their fun filled expressions. Like when you get their attention for their beads! When presenting photographs show a series of images that relays the theme of the parade. But please put that camera down and join the revelers in some fun!
If a medium focal length lens is used then an open aperture of near f/4.5 to f/6.3 will probably be the best aperture. If it is a sunny day, the sky and the subject will be a challenge. The subject will be perfect but the sky may be overexposed. Shoot in RAW and then adjust your exposure in your editing software.

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Also, learn to use the histogram on your camera. The histogram shows the dark areas of a photograph on the left and the brightness on the right with gray being in the middle. The goal is not to have the bar touch on either side
. Adjust the exposure accordingly. For easy adjustment use the exposure compensation sliding scale found on most digital cameras. It ranges from -2 on the left and +2 on the right. Pray for a cloudy day

Our next LPS meeting is being held February 18, 2016 at 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com. The guest speaker will be Jamey Firnberg whose expertise is in street photography. Please visit my website at www.theresamullinslow.zenfolio.com

January 2016 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

Photographing cemeteries can be a creative and beautiful experience. It is January the beginning of the new year and I am writing about cemeteries! What’s this all about? Cemeteries comes to my mind mainly because I was recently photographing a cemetery. That was not my goal, rather it was part of the setting. In many situations this is what happens – it is part of the setting or in a town that may be of interest. In recent months I did not like to photograph cemeteries mainly because of my own personal experiences at an early age. But there is so much history, beauty and solace in a cemetery, especially the older cemeteries. Did you know that the elaborate cemeteries began in the United Sates about 1831?
Trees, crosses, and fleurs de lis are what I like to photograph the most when visiting a cemetery. Crosses have a special, personal meaning which brings so much joy and thankfulness. Have you noticed the different types? Each has its own meaning.

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I am usually shooting midday at a cemetery when black and white images gives strong highlights and darker shadows that may invoke that feeling of mystery. Patterns and textures and tones are easily captured. Single out the many different symbols. These alone can make interesting images. Research their meaning.
Photography is telling a story using the existing light. Follow the light and use its effect to be creative. At times the sun is gazing through a tree or peeping behind a taller statue for a challenge and a creative effect using a sunburst. Many times angling the camera up to get a really nice sky in the background makes an ordinary photograph become exceptional. Get down on your knees and shoot up. This will make the perspective look even larger and grander than usual. More often you will want to blur the background when shooting at eye level. Consider the distance from camera to subject and the focal length of the lens, then focus on the subject while using a maximum aperture or near f/5 to create a pleasing background.
Typically a 24-105 focal length lens is the lens of choice. Birds or other animals can be found because cemeteries are usually located in secluded, out of the way places where not many people frequent. Bring along a long telephoto lens just incase you see wildlife.

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Those elaborate cemeteries are probably a thing of the past. Photograph, but follow the rules and etiquette. New Orleans cemeteries are unique with very interesting history. Do your research prior to visiting a cemetery and you will be surprised at the history. I was! Use your knowledge to capture that compelling story.

Our next LPS meeting is being held January 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com. The guest speaker will be from the “Advocate” who will talk about photojournalism.

December 2015 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

Photographing architecture in Louisiana speaks for itself. Our plantation homes and grandiose government buildings are absolutely beautiful. The colorful historical shotgun houses have been a special interest of mine. Photographs of historical architecture are so important as it documents our history. I have been saddened by not having a photograph of a plantation that has burned and only left to photograph the ruins.

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When taking any architecture photographs be sure to take many pictures from many different angles. Think outside the box. Outside images work well when you include trees or shrubs to add character or to soften the lines. Or you ;may wish to include much of the sky for cloud formations. This is something I have learned along the way in photography. When I am photographing a subject that is old or simple and not much beauty I will include clouds if possible to add interest to the photograph. This could work with buildings.

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If you are taking a photograph for documentation purposes the best photograph will depict the front of the building, rear and sides. Take the photograph at an angle to show the entire front and the entire length of one side. This should show the location of the front entrance and possibly where other rooms or entry ways maybe. A fireplace will depict interest. The windows and doorways may suggest the overall layout of the building. It is suggested as the building is the subject of your photograph it should occupy about 75 per cent of the total photograph. Don’t forget to take images of the more intricate details such as doorknobs, ornate moldings, etc. Take an image of only the door. Buildings represent so much history and tell a story, while every photograph should tell a story.

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Think about your lighting. Where is the light? What angle shows the best lighting? Images taken during the middle of the day will likely cause unwanted shadows. Remember that before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. is the best lighting. Nighttime images or images with fog make really interesting images. A tripod is necessary for that slow shutter speed will which allows more light into your camera.
Consider the rule of thirds when taking the photograph inside or outside. Think about placing the building or interior subject in your photograph and how your eyes travel from left to right. Your subject would probably be more appealing to the eye to the right of the photograph. There is editing software that can rotate your image from left to right.
Settings for your camera is ideally the widest aperture possible such as f/16 to f/32 to show the details and possibly slightly underexpose for the details. A tripod is always recommended for the sharpest images.

Our next LPS meeting is being held January 21, 2016 at 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com. The guest speaker will be from the “Advocate” who will talk about photojournalism.

 

November 2015 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

Street photography? Does this interest you? Admittedly street photography is a challenge for me. I don’t like to interfere with a person’s space. To become the best at street photography this is essential. Not to worry, most people welcome their photographs being taken!

 

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The purpose of street photography is to capture the atmosphere of a city or particular event or at least one moment in time about an event. As a photographer we should always have a camera with us. A point and shoot or the first lens for your DSLR may serve you well for street photography. Black and white images really work well.
When working the crowd be conscientious of your surroundings and ask people’s permission to take their photos. Try not to take images of people who are down on their luck. This may anger them or the people surrounding them. Always, have a smile on your face. One suggestion is if you are taking a photo of someone, offer them your business card with just your email address so that they can contact you for a copy of the image. Of course they need to describe the scene.

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Most experts suggest using wide angle lens. But with wide angle lens this means usually getting closer to the person. I personally like using my long zoom lens and this is a good lens to begin with. But ultimately work up to the wide angle lens.
A longer zoom lens discretely allows for the image of a person because of the distance allowed by a longer focal length. Also, with a wide angle lens one cannot always tell where the lens is pointing. A wide angle captures more of the scene where a zoom may capture more details.

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I like to capture emotions or expressions and this is done better with a longer zoom lens or longer focal length. However with a long zoom lens people can easily walk in front of the camera. When using a zoom lens, i.e. 70-200mm, use a shallow depth of field when shooting street photography. This allows the background to be blurred; your subject will stand out and there will be no doubt about the subject of the image. Also a shallow depth of field lets more light in the camera’s sensor allowing for a faster shutter speed and a lower ISO. A faster shutter speed allows for sharper images when a subject is moving. Suggestions for preferred settings: f/4; 1/500 sec. ISO 400.
Ultimately tell your story with your camera! It doesn’t matter what camera or what lens, just go out and tell your story about the world. Try getting closer to your subject for sharper images. Learn to use the equipment you have efficiently.

Our next LPS meeting is being held November 19, 2015 a
t 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com. The scheduled guest speaker is Charles Stutts, who photographs cultural events around the world and has a passion for nature.

 

October 2015 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

Have you tried bracketing your photographs? Do you often take photographs where areas are too dark, where you cannot see all the details? Bracketing is the answer. It has been popular for sometime and is used by many photographers including amateurs. Most compact cameras can achieve bracketing. Bracketing is preferred because digital sensors have a limited range of exposure. Bracketing is extremely useful when there is a scene with high contrast areas such as a very bright sky with a dark building.

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Bracketing is the process when you take multiple exposures, at least three usually, a normal shot, one slightly lighter, and one slightly darker. The exposure compensation setting allows for this variance of degrees of exposures from -3 to +3. This function can be accomplished either manually or with automatic exposure bracketing (AEB). Bracketing can produce an image with a high dynamic range with endless possibilities for detail of tones in a photograph.
How to do this? While each camera is different there are some generalities. Find in your camera’s manual “Bracket” (BKT) or “Drive” button, or (AEB). There are also symbols that represent bracketing. It is a must to follow your manuals directions as many differ.
My preferred method can be accomplished by shooting with my camera in aperture priority keeping the aperture setting the same while changing the exposure compensation. Take one image at 0 and then one at minus and then one at plus, such as 0, +1, -1. The aperture and the ISO remains constant while the shutter speed changes. When I first started bracketing, I changed my exposures manually, now most often I use automatic. Automatic exposure compensation usually requires you to go into the Menu and set the bracketing sequence. The varied amount of exposure bracketing depends on how much difference in contrast there is in a scene.

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Check your histogram to be sure that the histogram covers completely from left to right. Your histogram is a representative of pixels used in your image. The left side represents the darks or shadows in your image while the right side represents whites or lights in your image. Be sure your image covers the full range of darks and lights. These images are then merged using a software for high dynamic range (HDR) that does the work for you with a few selections of minor adjustments.
Of course there are pros and cons to bracketing. The only minus that I can think of is that you must take at least three exposures and this takes up space on your hard drive. But who keeps images on their internal hard drive? Not me. All my photographs are stored on two external hard drives – one is for back-up.

Our next LPS meeting is being held October 15, 2015 at 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com. The scheduled guest speaker is Steve Uffman, a world traveled nature photographer who is passionate about conservation of wildlife.

 

 

September 2015 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

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Lines, textures, color, and depth of field make an impact on our images! With Labor Day approaching it is appropriate to honor our valued workers. Three images which contain these elements of composition are shown to symbolize America and its Labor Day. Workers are constantly faced with new challenges and learning experiences while striving to provide the very best for their families. Without our workers the digital age of photography would not exist. Would photography even exist?
While photographing one should be mindful of the elements in our surroundings and utilize them to make an impact in our images. Lines, textures, color, and depth of field are just a few of the many elements of composition. Others may include pattern, symmetry, perspective, framing, space, and balance. The American flag, cotton, and our historical buildings all tell a story about America; the flag contains lines and color while the cotton shows texture and depth of field, and the historical building contains lines and textures. Photographing cotton has always been a fascination for me because it has such an impact on my ancestors.

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Cotton either as a single plant or a field of cotton can be difficult to capture and have impact. I chose to use a macro lens to capture the image of cotton because I like to portray details that one might not notice with the eye. Macro photography allows one to show these details. Today’s compact cameras likely have a macro setting. Digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera’s use a dedicated macro lens allowing for more control of exposure. Keep in mind that macro photography produces a shallow depth of field where a small portion of the image will be in complete focus depending on how close you are to the subject. Use your tripod. Position the lens as horizontal as possible to the subject to increase the area that will be in focus. Choose a minimum aperture which is the large number, i.e. f/32, which also increases the area in focus. If you are shooting plants or flowers, keep your shutter speed fast near 1/200 second to compensate for their movement. Also increase your ISO when necessary for greater exposure. A morning shoot is preferred because usually there is less wind and as a result less movement of the plants which allows for greater sharpness.

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Find a cotton field and capture your favorite image! My images were taken on a working cotton plantation in Louisiana. Because of Louisiana’s climate it is one of few states known to be in the cotton belt where cotton may grow plentiful.
Our next LPS meeting is being held September 17, 2015 at 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com . The scheduled guest speaker is Butch Spielman, a nature photographer with award winning images.
Visit LPS website: LPS presents Clicking the Light Fantastic September 26th and 27th, 2015 FREE World Class Lecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2015 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

 

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Since our summer weather is extremely hot I decided to take photos near water which has led me to more bird photography. Louisiana has such vast waterways. LSU lakes and Lake Martin are favorites of mine. Just last month at LPS we had a guest speaker who promotes birding; whether watching or photographing. She mentioned that one should talk to the birds. So now I love to go outside and whistle to my birds and watch them gather around. Food and water and bird houses are in place to attract the birds. To take awesome photographs of birds you should learn their behaviors and be familiar with their habitat. It does take persistence and patience to get that great shot. It is quiet easy to get a bird perched. Do you have a photograph of a larger bird eating a fish or a smaller one eating an insect or bathing where you get that shot of flapping wings and splashing water? These take extra knowledge, skill, patience, and luck. The end result -how exciting!
Get close enough so that you can photograph the bird in action doing its own natural activities without disturbing the bird. The birds should feel comfortable with you. Suggested focal lengths of lens are at least 300mm and higher. Determine the quality lens according to the purpose of the final image. These lengths allow a distance that doesn’t scare the birds. And then there is bird etiquette! Never, ever try to cause or create an action from a wild animal. This may cause extra stress and could place them in harm’s way of other prey. They may not have eaten and may not have the energy to protect themselves. Do research prior to photographing a species so you will know their habits.

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A fast shutter speed of usually 1/1000 second is necessary. Then focus near the eye. The eye must be sharp. I shoot in aperture priority keeping the aperture near f/4.5 to f/8 even though the shutter is the determining factor. The f4.5 setting will allow for a blurred background. The f/8 setting will better assure that the entire bird is in focus. So experiment with these settings. The f/4 aperture setting will also allow for that faster shutter speed. As always keep your ISO as low as possible. I try for an ISO of 400. Check your histogram. If you are in a place and the light is constantly changing then try Auto ISO. Expect to crop the image. If you are ready to purchase a camera and wildlife is your interest check out those cameras that shoot numerous frames per second.
Our next LPS meeting is being held August 20, 2015 at 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month.
The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, large conference room.

LPS presents Clicking the Light Fantastic September 26th and 27th, 2015 FREE World Class Lecture.
For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com

 

 

July 2015 by Theresa Mullins-Low with Louisiana Photographic Society (LPS)

Water in art allows for interesting and creative images. Whether it is a waterfall, a city scape at night with water in the foreground, people or animals in water, these are all scenes beneficial to knowing how to illustrate the effects of water.

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Our goal as a photographer is to capture a scene the way we see it in our mind’s eye. Upon approaching a waterfall we see that smooth velvety look of the water. A blurry motion shows the flow of water. The most important setting on our camera to get the smooth look or blurry motion is a slow shutter speed which should be about one (1) second. But you really can’t just walk up to the fall with a slow shutter speed and click the shutter release button on the camera. The tripod is essential! If not used the rest of the scene will most likely not be sharp. You can use a nearby prop to brace yourself but I can almost promise a quality print will not be produced. The key thing to remember about a slow shutter speed is that anything that moves will be blurred and the still objects remain in focus. Keep your aperture and ISO as low as possible. The slower the shutter speed the smoother the water.

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Lighting for waterfalls is best late in the day in that golden hour when the light is not so intense. If you should be shooting during the day there may be too much light; however, either a polarizer or a neutral density filter or even both can be used to reduce the light to capture that smooth effect. You may stack these one on top of the other. The polarizer minimizes bright objects that may appear in water and both filters help with contrast. Neutral density filters are available in different strengths that reduce light.
When you’re composing your shot keep in mind that waterfalls should appear as large as they can to portray that majestic feel. Position yourself low to the ground and shoot up getting as close to the waterfall as possible.

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Reflections in the water have such a calming effect. One favorite is animals and their reflections. It is best to get the shot early in the morning when the water is calm and the sun is not too harsh. But quite honestly I love seeing the ripples of water from the movement of animals. A reflection adds another point of interest to an image and also adds depth. If you’re photographing animals in water a fast shutter speed (over 1/500 s) is recommended to get the animal in sharp focus. Louisiana has vast waterways for plenty photographic opportunities.
Our next LPS meeting is being held July 16, at 7:00 PM, and is held every third Thursday of each month. Our scheduled guest speaker is Aaron Hogan owner and operator of Eye Wander Photo which is diverse with weddings, children, high school seniors and pets. The meeting is held at the Goodwood Library, 1st Floor, in large conference room. For more information visit our website at: www.laphotosociety.com