On composition, part 24: Planning the shot

It’s been a while since the last composition post, so let’s waste no further time and get into planning. Wait, somehow that doesn’t seem quite right…

No matter what the preferred style, sooner or later every photographer gets into planning a shot envisioning exactly how they want it to appear, and then endeavoring to actually bring this out in the image. read more

Why so many?

Every once in a while someone remarks about how many frames I take, or why it might be necessary to take more than one of any given subject, or most especially, whether they should be doing this. It all depends on what one wants to get out of their photography, and what their end purposes are, but the answer is, “Yes.”

Took care of that one easily. Next post.

Okay, sorry, let’s read more

A few more

These are just a few more images that I obtained in the past week, that I didn’t try to jam into the previous post. Instead, I’m jamming them in here!

I have photographed these peculiar blossom pods umpteen times in this state, and never figured out what they were. Finally, for this post, I started searching (try to imagine what kind of terms you put into a search engine for their appearance,) read more

On composition, part 23: Weather


Let me be up front about this: when the weather turns nasty, it is rare that I’ll be out in it, any more than the next person, and I don’t make a habit out of many of the practices I’ll be talking about here. So don’t take this to be preachy or anything. But if you find yourself itching to get out and chase photos but blocked by weather that’s read more

But of course

This autumn has proven to be one that I’ve rarely had the chance to take advantage of: a fairly good display of colors, peaking during clear weather, with no storms or even high winds to strip the leaves from the trees. So while this area has few vantages that provide the best display of colors – generally something that overlooks rolling hills with a wide variety of read more

On composition, part 22: Distortion

A fundamental part of photography is focusing light onto the recording medium, be it film, digital sensor, or even our own retinas. And the method used for doing this the vast majority of the time is a lens, a transparent substance with a certain index of refraction – the trait of bending light when it passes through the surface of the substance. Put the right correct surface angle read more

On composition, part 14a: The lurking cliché

This is an extension of the topic tackled in a previous Composition post, because I felt it deserved a closer examination. So join me as we dive bravely into the seedy underworld of the cliché again.

The word itself has distinctly negative connotations, doubly so when there’s any connection whatsoever to the Art World (which is a peculiar-looking, off-balance planet that changes its own orbit read more

All too brief

On Sunday, the temperature topped 22°c (72°f,) making me break out the sandals for the first time since November – they’re my summer footwear, if I’m wearing anything at all. I had a student, and these images came from our session out scouting conditions and planning for the busy season come spring. It was easy to believe it was here already.

Then came Monday, with the read more

On composition, part 21: Water

While it may seem that “water” is more of a subject than a compositional tool or element, there are actually so many ways to use it that it begs for greater examination. So let’s dive in sorry – sometimes you can’t resist.

The primary trait is, of course, reflectivity. It can mirror a subject on a lakeshore or provide a duplicate sky behind a subject without having to read more

On composition, part 20: Contrast


I find it hard to believe that I never actually tackled this in a separate post before – I guess I kept thinking I’d done it early on, and have certainly touched on it in numerous posts. But it’s such an important part of photography that it really deserves its own specific, detailed treatment.

First and foremost, and something I teach my students right off the bat, is that photographs read more

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