On composition, part 29: Captive animals

An amusing (or maybe pathetic – I keep getting them confused) side note before I begin: damn near every time that I mention captive animal photography on the blog, I make some kind of defensive comment about it as if people are routinely, derisively pointing out that real nature photographers wouldn’t shoot captives, and all of their read more

Illustration and editorial

The photos in this post were all taken during a brief outing to the NC Botanical Garden back in late April – I was planning to do a detailed post, with a lot more images, and just never got on top of it. So I’m simply going to feature one aspect here. This male southeastern five-lined skink (Plestiodon inexpectatus) was aware of my presence, but I held still long enough read more

On composition, part 25: Critical sharpness

This is a very slight departure from the topic of composition, because it really doesn’t have anything to do with composition itself, instead being a set of techniques. However, they’re important techniques that apply to all forms of photography, and I don’t have a technique category, so…

As a photographer begins to consider making money from their work and/or entering into read more

Monday color 18

This is one example of matching light to your subject. I often recommend that, when the light is bright and high-contrast, photographers should seek low-contrast subjects, and this is an example of the opposite: a high-contrast subject shot in low-contrast, near overcast lighting. The shadows are kept under control, but more importantly, the highlights don’t get too strong 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

Near invisibility potion

The other day I went out chasing pics again, and didn’t really snag much of merit. But while playing around with macro shots of honeysuckle flowers, I captured a few frames that illustrate a peculiar, and sometimes handy, photographic trait. It takes some explaining, so bear with me.

First, the illustration. These are two frames from almost exactly the same vantage point, with just a change read more

On composition, part 17: Point of focus

This probably should have been one of the earliest composition posts that I tackled, except that I think I always assumed it to be rather obvious. As I’ve examined numerous photos, including some of my own, I realize that its importance may need to be emphasized more, so let’s highlight point of focus.

This doesn’t simply mean choosing what the camera locks its autofocus onto. What read more

On composition, part 16: Focal length

Focal length. Some people consider it the “zoom” of a camera. It’s expressed, though not really explained, by the numbers on the lens that say “18-55mm” or some such. Essentially, it determines how close the subject appears, the magnification or lack thereof. There are, naturally, the obvious aspects of using focal length in composition – read more

On composition, part 15: The background

We all have experience with missing something right under our noses, or someone speaking to us who remains totally unheard because we’re concentrating on something else. The proper term for this is inattention blindness, and lots of videos and examples can be found online (Richard Wiseman, over there in the sidebar links, deals with this trait from time to time.) It is something that read more

Not quite

Yes, being a northern hemispheran, autumn is encroaching here, which means the availability of subjects is waning rapidly and I’m going to be grumpy and irritable for a few months (not helped at all by sinuses that react badly to the conditions.) Yet, there are still some last holdouts defying the season, like an aster flower that abruptly came into bloom under the dog fennel read more

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