There are great photographers all over the world. Some get recognition, and some do not. I want to publish here a collection of “Photos of the Week” as selected by msn.com, but want to be selective of the ones I select as to not be political in any way. But, these photos are amazing, and some that I think you will truly enjoy:
This special selection of photos this week was presented by MSN.COM. A special thanks to them for the use of their photos and the photographers around the world for these amazing pictures.
I AM GUESSING ALMOST EVERY PHOTOGRAPHER, AT LEAST SOME POINT IN THEIR PHOTOGRAPHIC CAREER, IS KICKING THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY DID NOT HAVE THEIR CAMERA READY WHEN SOME INCREDIBLE SHOT HAPPENED RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM, AND THEY MISSED IT ! AM I RIGHT? I THINK EVERY ONE DOES THAT AND THEY LEARN QUICKLY HOW TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE THEY DON’T MISS SO MANY OF THOSE AGAIN.
LET’S LOOK AT WHAT WE NEED TO DO SO WE DON’T MISS THOSE, AND ALSO LOOK AT THE REASONS WHY WE MISS THOSE.
1- IF YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE YOUR CAMERA IN A CAMERA BAG, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR BAG READY FOR EASY AND QUICK ACCESS. WAIT, YOU SAY! I DON’T WANT PEOPLE STEALING FROM ME. WELL, GET OUT OF THAT CROWD, AND GET WHERE YOU CAN GRAB YOUR CAMERA QUICKLY IF YOU NEED TO TAKE A QUICK PHOTO. HAVE IT UNSNAPPED, UNZIPPED, UNCLICKED, OR WHATEVER, BUT, HAVE IT READY TO OPEN AND READY TO GRAB. 2- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN EXTRA BATTERY ON HAND. HAVE IT FULLY CHARGED AND READY TO GO IN CASE YOUR
OTHER BATTERY IN YOUR CAMERA NOW GOESOUT ON YOU. A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER ALWAYSHAS MORE THAN ONE BATTERY ON HAND.
3- DIRT ON LENSES DOES NOT MAKE FOR A PRETTY PICTURE
SO YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO GET THE PERFECT PHOTO, AND YOU GRAB YOUR CAMERA AND TAKE THE PHOTO, ONLY TO FIND OUT YOUR LENS WAS DIRTY. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR LENS CLEAN ALWAYS. CHECK IT REGULARLY. AND YOU KNOW WHICH CAMERA IS THE WORSE FOR THIS PROBLEM? YOUR CELLPHONE. WHY, BECAUSE YOU ARE ALWAYS GRABBING IT, FOR MANY REASONS OTHER THAN A CAMERA. SO, YOU GRAB IT FOR TEXTING, FOR MAKING A PHONE CALL, FOR READING YOUR EMAIL, THEN SOMETHING COMES ALONG THAT WOULD MAKE AN INCREDIBLE PHOTO, AND YOU DON’T LOOK THROUGH THE LENS, SO YOU DON’T SEE IT UNTIL THAT AMAZING PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IS GONE, ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT YOU HAVE THIS BIG SLIMY FINGERPRINT ON YOUR CELL PHONE CAMERA LENS. RUINED PHOTO.
4- HERE IS ANOTHER ONE THAT MOST PEOPLE JUST DONT THINK OF: MEMORY CARDS
OH THIS COMES UP ON YOU OUT OF NOWHERE. NO WARNING, AND IT HITS YOU ONLY WHEN IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PHOTO OF YOUR LIFE. HOW MANY PHOTOS CAN YOUR CELL PHONE HANDLE? HOW MANY PHOTOS DOES THE CARD HOLD IN YOUR CAMERA? DO YOU EVEN KNOW? HOW ABOUT YOU BUT SOME EXTRAS AND BRING THEM ALONG TOO? THESE ARE ABOUT AS IMORTANT AS BRINGING AN EXTRA BATTERY. REALLY !
5- Where are your camera settings at?
THIS ONE IS A KILLER TOO, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A CAMERA THAT HAS SETTINGS. IF YOU HAD TO GRAB YOUR CAMERA, IS IT ALREADY PRESET FOR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO TAKE A PHOTO OF? OR ARE YOU GOING TO GET:
A TERRIBLE OVEREXPOSED PHOTO OR UNDEREXPOSED PHOTO. HAVE YOUR CAMERA SETTING READY FOR YOUR SHOT, JUST IN CASE. THE PROGRAM MODE, THE AUTOMATIC MODE, MAY BE THE BEST ALL AROUND ONE FOR IMMEDIATE LUCK. AND MAYBE YOU CAN MAKE ADJUSTMENTS AS YOU TAKE THE PHOTO, IF YOU HAVE THE TIME.
6- Lens cap on, or lens filter on:
I WILL ADMIT MORE THAN ONCE, AS I GO TO GET THAT PERFECT SHOT, THAT I HAVE HAD MY LENS CAP ON OR
Or even a filter than you used last time. Make sure you check the front of your lens for something that could block or alter the image.
So, hopefully those are the things to be aware of as you practice and prepare for the most amazing photos that you could take. One last thing: I have a photographer friend who is a professional wildlife photographer. Wildlife photography is truly an art. And you have to be ready at the spur of the moment to be able to grab the right camera, with the right lens at the right time to get the right photo. I have a photo of him as he goes out to take photos in the wild. Look at him and his equipment, and notice how he has several cameras equipped with a different lens and how he has them all ready to grab at any time he wants to get the shot he wants. You want to become a professional wildlife photographer? Yeah, this is what you need to become:
So, the moral of this blog is, if you want to be a good photographer, you have to be ready to take a photo, immediately. Have your camera ready in some mode, probably automatic mode, so that you can capture the thing that you want, without having to miss it. Good luck.
Lighting is everything in photography, but some “poor” conditions may surprise you. Am I alone here? Does anybody else get excited about photographing on overcast days?
I use to think I was a contrast junkie, but I discovered that my passion is for detail, more of an internal contrast issue than one of overall contrast. Internal contrast (the clear distinction between tones inside the extremes of white and black) is what delivers the distinctions we call detail.
Hot highlights and deep shadows :
When you consider the dynamic range of most digital camera image sensors, typical bright sunny days can present two challenges right off the bat: hot highlights and deep shadows. When the highlights in the original image are very hot, and the shadows are very deep, extracting detail in the “near shadows” and “near highlights” turns into an editing issue.
This is why photographing on overcast days is the easiest lighting condition to deal with.
The holy grail of photographic exposure range is located well within those bookend extremes. On a typical Florida day, with the Sun blaring on a scene, the trick is to keep the quarter, middle, and three-quarter tones ideally balanced in order to capture critical detail.
With highlights too “hot,” the inevitable shadows cast by the tropical Sun tends to push critical three-quarter tones (shadow detail) into the mud. Shooting in RAW mode allows most images to recover all but the most severe edges of dark and light, though it can take a careful adjustment to do so.
Filtering effect of clouds
When photographing on overcast days, the filtering effect of clouds mellows the Sun’s harsh light, revealing significant quarter tones (highlight detail).
The wonderful byproduct of this softer “diffused” light is softer shadows, which in turn deliver more shadow detail.
It is much easier to boost the highlights and deepen the shadows with a little help from overcast weather. On very sunny days, you might have to use a reflector or fill flash to open up the shadows, but on cloudy days, they’re already open! This natural diffuser renders rich colors and a full range of tones from the deepest shadows to the lightest highlights.
This lighting is the ideal time to press your 18% gray card into action.
There is a reason why photographers like to balance their lighting around an 18% gray card. That 18% value just happens to be the same reflective value as average Caucasian skin color. And that value is the sweet spot of all photographic exposure.
Your camera’s image sensor is tuned to record skin tones in the very center of the contrast range. Image sensors do their best work when you point them at this reflective value. Once the camera knows this value, the lighter and darker tones fall quite naturally in line. And when the outdoor lighting falls neatly within the camera sensor’s “cruising range” (with headroom on either side of the scene’s histogram), that my friends, delivers top drawer results.
Photographing on overcast days may well become your favorite lighting.
Middle tone emphasis
Don’t be afraid to put the scene’s tones well within the middle of the histogram.
There is no hard, fast rule that says that every image has to contain extreme highlights or near-black shadows. Real-life simply doesn’t appear that way to your eyes. Not even high-key photography mandates that the lightest tones must be extremely bright. Some of the most moving photos are nearly void of overall contrast.
Don’t fall into the trap of “optimizing” every photo’s range so that it produces bright highlights and deep shadows. Allow nature to dictate the visual mood. Realistically speaking, the only thing in nature that is truly “black” is the inside of a cave at midnight. The only thing pure “white” is a direct view of the Sun at noon.
It’s okay to have highlights that aren’t pegged up against the right side of the histogram. Please think twice before you hit the dreaded Auto button in the Levels dialog of Photoshop. That kind of cookie-cutter photography should be left to those who don’t know any better. Let the scene set the mood and simply convey what you experienced.
Occasionally, dynamic adjustments within software applications tempt us to automatically force nature into conditions that aren’t natural.
The next time you find yourself in the shadow-free lighting of a clouded sky, go and get your camera. Great color (and fabulous black and white) photography is there for the taking. However, do keep in mind that outdoor shots under cloud cover will appear slightly bluish because those clouds are absorbing the shorter wavelengths.
Set your camera’s white balance to Overcast or Cloudy. This setting will compensate for the bluishness of the scene. If you are using a gray card and have the time to set a situational white balance, you can zero in on the color even more accurately.
Next time you shoot outdoors in overcast weather, search the scene for something interesting and unique, something that will bring a smile to your face. I’ve found that I find whatever I’m looking for in life, and that includes dismal weather. There is a bright spot in just about every situation if you keep your eyes (and your mind) open.
I hope this inspires you to look forward to photographing on overcast days. These special days deliver great natural lighting and provide many opportunities to see a different side of life.
Do you photograph on overcast days? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments!
is the owner of Imageprep Communications, a photographer, author, and print consultant suffering in sunny Ormond Beach Florida. He is an award-winning Photoshop plug-in software developer who has been teaching digital imaging and production image editing for more than 20 years.
THANKS TO HERB PAYNTER AND DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL FOR THIS ARTICLE.