USING “COLOR” TO LEARN ABOUT “SEEING A PHOTO”

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

A photographer, who does writing for major publications had just come out with this idea of “How to See a Photo” by taking a photo with a different color each day. This will help you to understand color, even the subtle colors to help with creating an artful photograph.

She Said:

Color may make up the majority of our world, but photographing it might not be as easy as you think. Sometimes the abundance of color can be overwhelming, and sometimes it’s hard to find the color you’re looking for at all! Before taking up the challenge, grab a pen and paper. Write down a heading for each color and list as many different things you can think of under each. Sometimes it’s even worth Googling specific color schemes, just to give you some ideas of what to look for.

Next, designate a day for each color you would like to photograph. And it doesn’t have to be the generic gamut of colors either. Why not try looking out for a more pastel pallet? Soft pinks, greys, and blues make wonderful, atmospheric photographs. More earthy colors like oranges, browns and dark greens are great colors to keep a look out for in Autumn.

close up photo of rainbow colors
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

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LOOK FOR BOLD COLORS

As you start this exercise of shooting a different color each day, first look for BOLD colors. These are sometimes harder to find than the subtle colors. So, for example, look for GREEN. What would you take that is a strong GREEN color?

green pine tree leaves
Photo by Alexander Tiupa on Pexels.com

Now, as you pick a different color each day, think ahead of time of what you would take a picture of that color, and then see if you can be creative with the color chosen.

And a softer color pallete…

Once you have moved through your own assignment of the bold colors, then go to the soft color pallete:

aged armchairs near small table in patio
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

TRY BOTH STYLES OF COLOR: BOLD AND PASTEL….

And then your next challenge would be to find a photo that would combine both BOLD and pastel in the same photo.

Focus on Photographing a Different Color Each Day to Practice the Art of Seeing
The foreground of this image is made up of bold, contrasting colors while the background is predominantly made up of a soft pink pallet. The bold and soft colors emphasize each other and create a more dynamic image. The negative space around the top half of the image is important too, it maintains balance, making sure the full extent of the color palette isn’t too overwhelming.

CONCLUSION:

While color is all around us, it’s easy to take for granted. Simple exercises like focusing on photographing a particular color each day help keep your practice fresh and unique.

Keep your eyes peeled and don’t be afraid to explore, color often reveals itself in unexpected and fascinating ways!

HOW TO GET THE BEST WINTER PHOTOS

Photo by Colby Thomas on Unsplash

We still have a few months left of winter in the northern half of the world. And when I take a look at all the submitted photos online, I keep wondering why people would post those photos. A reminder that snow is white, not grey. So, how do we get beautiful, amazing white snow winter photos? We will go through that step by step.

WATCH FOR CONTRAST TO HELP OUT

Photo by John Price on Unsplash

The camera system has a hard time with just white scenery. The best exposure and autofocus situation will be best when there is some contrast to the image. Notice with this above photo, the contrast between snow and the leaves and branches. Good contrast, and the snow came out white! (White snow makes me happy!)

In most cases though, you don’t have that big of desire to have all your photos to be close-ups of snow on trees.

YOU WILL NEED TO OVERRIDE WHAT YOUR CAMERA METER SAYS

You’ll need to dial in one or two stops of positive exposure compensation. Due to the quirks of its meter, your camera will try to make the snow look gray. Exposure compensation will counteract the meter to keep things bright.

Note: If you’re shooting in Manual mode, you can simply decrease the shutter speed by a stop or two to achieve the same result.

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LEARN HOW TO USE “LIGHTROOM” FOR YOUR WINTER PHOTOS:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell – Image lightened and contrast added through “lightroom”

One thing to understand, that I have found, no matter how hard you try with your camera, getting it perfect, getting the snow to look white, and the other trees, mountains to have nice rich color may require some work on “lightroom” to get it right. I absolutely love how my winter photos have turned out since I have used “lightroom”.

GET YOUR PHOTOS WHILE THE SNOW IS STILL FRESH:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell -Editor of 123Photogo
Facebook photo of Orem, Utah with Mount Tipanogos in the background after a snowfall.

There is something really magical about taking your winter photos right after a snowfall. The snow hasn’t had time to settle, everything is covered in snow, and the beauty of winter is amazing just then. As they say, sometimes in photography, the best photos come from just having good timing.

TRY TAKING PICTURES WHILE IT IS STILL SNOWING

Photo by Steven Wright on Unsplash

Taking pictures while it is snowing shows that you will do anything to get the “perfect photo”. It takes some fortitude to go out during the snowstorm, but, the pictures are real. As you do this, make sure you use a somewhat fast shutter speed to get your snow to stop in mid-air. If you can’t get a fast enough shutter speed, raise your ISO up higher to be able to make those changes.

bare trees on snow covered landscape
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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WATCH OUT FOR YOUR BATTERIES

Oh yeah, the batteries go weak when they get cold. If you are planning on going out for an extended time, make sure you have some extra batteries. And keep your batteries in your pocket as much as possible when you are not using the camera, or put your spare batteries in your pocket, and alternate them.

TRY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES WHILE OUT IN THE SNOW:

Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

Winter storms create amazing photos that you can’t get any other time. Try different angles, perspectives of what is amazing about the storm. You will capture photos that a lot of people miss.

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

CONCLUSION:

Winter is an amazing time to take photos. Be brave and go out and take a few photos. The winter scenes are always amazing, and you can get photos that not many people capture.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY! THE THINGS TO KNOW:

Photo of a “Blue Scrub Jay” getting their daily dose of peanuts. This bird has no problem fetching peanuts from a feeder. Whatever it takes, even if it means hanging upside down.

Bird photography is one of the most entertaining types of photography for all photographers. But, there are a few tips that make them look good, and makes the photos seem professional.

If a bird would take the time and pose for you, this would certainly make things easy. But, the cute little animals have a built-in nervousness about them, because they are food for other predators. The predators that usually affect the normal birds we see around our house are also birds: the hawks, the eagles, etc. thrive on eating anything that moves, like smaller birds.

That has been a problem we have had recently as we feed birds in our backyard. Generally, our bird feeders have birds eating all day long, some seeds that we put out in the morning. We have recently gone outside to find no birds there, absolute silence, and they appear to be hiding. As I walk around the yard, I find a hawk sitting in one of the trees nearby waiting for the moment when a smaller bird makes the wrong move. I quickly scare it away so there won’t be any bloodshed in my yard.

However, I will admit, it would be an amazing photo experience to get on a photographic record, the hawk capturing a small bird to have for it’s dinner. I somehow, however, have this over protective feeling for these cute innocent birds, the sparrows, the finch’s, the Chickadee, and even the Dove’s who like to come in hoards:

The Mourning Doves, patiently waiting their turn at the feeders. They are generally such polite birds, unless they are really starving.

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT:

My personal equipment that I use for my bird photography is usually this:

  • Canon EOS Rebel T6, with a 75-300mm zoom lens.
  • Tripod: Zomei Professional Tripod with ball head (I love a ball head and will only use a tripod that has one)
  • 58mm protective filter
  • 58mm hard lens shade ( I have had too many photos that ended up with a light flare on the lens, to not have this. I think it’s a must if you shoot anything outside. And besides, it is something so cheap, but so worth protecting your hard earned good photo.)
Just a note to the above photo equipment: This is one type of photography that can get you by without having to go into expensive camera equipment. I still have my “kit lens” as well that serves for the other type of photography, and other filters for special effects.

CAMERA SETTINGS FOR BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY:

  • I usually want to have only the bird in focus, so, I use a large aperture, usually 4.5 with that big lens. That will make the bird in focus, and the background out of focus.
  • Shutter speed, usually around 1/1000 second, or close to that depending on the light. Just in case the bird moves, it could stop action.
  • ISO setting usually around 100 or 200, or if it’s overcast: 1000.

SOME GREAT PHOTOS OF BIRD PHOTOGRAPHS, FROM VARIOUS ARTISTS:

A CRISIS IN BIRD POPULATION MAKES BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY MORE VALUABLE:

Just found this article that really concerns me:

North America Has Lost 3 Billion Birds in 50 Years

A sweeping study says a steep decline in bird abundance, including among common species, amounts to “an overlooked biodiversity crisis.”

Slowly, steadily and almost imperceptibly, North America’s bird population is dwindling.

The sparrows and finches that visit backyard feeders number fewer each year. The flutelike song of the western meadowlark — the official bird of six U.S. states — is growing more rare. The continent has lost nearly 3 billion birds representing hundreds of species over the past five decades, in an enormous loss that signals an “overlooked biodiversity crisis,” according to a study from top ornithologists and government agencies.

This is not an extinction crisis — yet. It is a more insidious decline in abundance as humans dramatically alter the landscape: There are 29 percent fewer birds in the United States and Canada today than in 1970, the study concludes. Grassland species have been hardest hit, probably because of agricultural intensification that has engulfed habitats and spread pesticides that kill the insects many birds eat. But the victims include warblers, thrushes, swallows and other familiar birds.

mother and her daughters feeding the birds
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

IDEAS OF CREATING: FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”

Ansel Adams

That said, fine art photography is less about the subject and more about the photographer. Your goal in fine art landscape photography is not to simply to show your viewer what you saw; it’s to communicate how it felt to be there and how the scene made you feel.

It was subzero the morning I made this shot in Yellowstone National Park. I added a blueish tone to help the viewer experience the cold I felt when making the image.

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”

Don McCullin

Here are some tips to consider when capturing fine art landscape photography.

Taking a picture of my son out in the Great Salt Lake, was one of my favorites. Because it was twilight, the whole scene seemed like a dream and that is what you want to do when you take photos. To have the viewer feel what you, as the photographer feels.

1. Think about what would make your image unique

Have you ever been making a landscape photo at a location where other photographers are lined up next to you also working the scene?

Most of us have.

The question to be asked is:

How will your photo will be different, unique, special? What is it about your image that will stand out? How can you put your unique signature on the shot?

The choices you make to create an image that is uniquely yours matter. Any cook can follow a recipe, and if a dozen cooks all work from that same recipe, the dishes will be essentially indistinguishable. The gourmet chef making their signature dish, however, will strive to make the meal unique.

And as a fine art landscape photographer, your objective ought to be the same.

Almost everyone loves a sunset photo, probably because of how they make us feel. Injecting feeling in your landscape photos is a large part of what takes an image into the “fine art” realm.

2. Be intentional and deliberate

When the light is rapidly changing, a landscape photographer might need to move quickly. However, most landscape photography can be done at a slow and thoughtful pace.

Rather than simply seeing a scene, positioning your tripod, shooting first and asking questions later, do the opposite. Before even touching your camera, thoughtfully observe the scene. Slow down.

Ask yourself what first attracted you to the scene. How does it make you feel? How can you best compose the shot? What if you moved higher, lower, to a different vantage point, used a different lens? What can you do to best capture your feelings in the frame?

When walking a trail in the high Uintah mountains, I came across this view. I felt like if I kept going on the trail, I would just walk into the sky.

Never be a one-and-done shooter. Take advantage of the instant playback capability of your camera, evaluate your image, and decide what might be better.

Then make a few more shots.

While he’s not a photographer and not talking about fine art landscape photography, famed hockey player Wayne Gretsky still offers advice photographers would do well to remember:

You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.

Wayne Gretsky

3. Practice previsualization

You will know your skills are growing as a photographer when you can see your photograph before you even put your eye to the viewfinder.

Eventually, you should previsualize your finished image, have the vision, and then simply use the camera as an instrument to capture that vision.

It’s a beautiful loop:

The more you photograph, the better you become at seeing – and the better you become at seeing, the better your photographs will become.

I had been to this location many times, and so I had a good idea of what I wanted when I went there to make this blue hour image. I helped it a little more with a split-toned edit.

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”

Dorothea Lange

But while previsualization is important, fine art landscape photography should always be open to serendipity: those unexpected moments when the light changes, the angels sing, and the miraculous appears for a brief moment for you to capture.

There have often been times when I’ve previsualized a shot, got set up, and waited for the light, only to have something amazing appear behind me out of the blue.

Practice working with your camera controls so that, when such a moment occurs, you can respond quickly and get the shot.

I was busy making the first shot, which was nice and even had a rainbow. Then I turned around and there was a second great opportunity. Always be ready for that serendipitous moment.

4. Fine art landscapes aren’t just monochrome

Google “fine art photography,” and you will mostly see black and white or monochrome, Due, perhaps, to its long existence, as well as a good number of early photographers for whom black and white was the only option, monochrome photographs may outnumber color images in the world of fine art.

But that’s not to say that color images can’t also be considered fine art photographs.

Circle back to our definition: Fine art photography is more about the artist/photographer and their vision than the content of the photograph. Whether color or monochrome, the best way to portray a vision will depend on the maker’s intent.

I had already decided this photo of an old snag should be monochrome when I made it. You can see the color version is just okay. The split-toned monochrome shot better exemplifies a fine art image.

“What I love about black and white photographs is that they’re more like reading the book than seeing the movie.”

Jennifer Price

Now, bear in mind the strengths of black and white photography. Without the addition of color, monochrome images rely more on the basics, the “bones” of a good photo: line, shape, form, tone, and texture.

Black and white images are typically simpler, with greater attention paid to the subject. Sometimes, a monochrome image can convey a look or mood better than its color counterpart.

a bridge in the snow
I like both the color and black and white versions of this shot and think either could be classified as fine art landscape photography.

5. Don’t be afraid to alter reality

So is purposely blurring scenes with intentional camera movement (ICM) and using special digital tools to give an image a “Painting” look.

Art is totally subjective, and so is fine art landscape photography.

How you choose to portray a scene is your prerogative, where the “right way” is whatever best communicates your feelings and message.

Photo by Nora Hutton on Unsplash

And trying to do different things with portraits tells a lot about your skills. The people you photograph are going to be surprised as you show them the print of them, in a different light. Usually all of my clients are saying that they didn’t think they could ever look so artistic.


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But, as unbelievable as it might sound, it is 100% medically efficient.

The solid proof is the fact that none of the people in this tribe have cavities or rotten gums, and their teeth are sparkling white.

Nobody believed that something so SIMPLE can bulletproof your teeth against decay, pain and inflammation. 

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WE will have more tips on how to create “Fine Art” Photos in the future. This will be a future blog.

Most of this article was written by Rick Ohnsman, and also Lanny Cottrell from 123photogo contributed some photos as well as Rick Ohnsman. Thank you Rick for helping us to understand fine art.

LEARN HOW TO ADD FEELINGS TO YOUR PHOTOS:

woman open arms while closed eyes smiling photo
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

One of the skills that is important in photography, at least if you want to be good in photography, is to convey emotions or feelings in your photos.

Have you ever gone to an art exhibit, or a photo exhibit and while looking at the image, you get that feeling of joy, or sad, or even depressed? That is the skill of the artist. Conveying feelings in a photo involves learning how you are feeling first, and then conveying that in your photos.

1- Find out what your mood is first

The emotional state of the photographer – that’s you! – has the largest impact on the emotional quality of your photos.

So whenever you head out with your camera, before you take a single shot, or even look for a shot, ask yourself: How am I feeling today? Then let that emotion guide your shooting, and channel it into your photos.

person standing near lake
Photo by Lukas Rychvalsky on Pexels.com

When you look at the scene around you, think: “it is difficult to create happy photos, when I don’t feel happy”. As you look at your photos over the years, a lot of times you can look at the photos you took, and realize that the reason they look that way was because you felt happy, or sad, or depressed, or energetic, or whatever. Your photography will often resemble the mood you are in.

Sometimes, your emotional state might simply be “bored” or “bleh.” That’s okay; it happens to the best of us. When I look back through my travel photos, I’ll notice a dip in quality, and it often corresponds to my feelings at the time. On days like these, you might consider leaving your camera behind, watching a movie, or doing something creative that doesn’t pressure you to take powerful, emotional shots.

And don’t worry. Your boredom will pass, and pretty soon you’ll feel excited about photography again!

2- Simplify your photo:

If you’re looking to create emotional photography, consider simplifying the shot. Exclude elements from your frame. Choose a perspective that highlights a single area of interest, not the entire scene.

green wooden window on white concrete wall
Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

When simplifying your photo, maybe use your telephoto or zoom lens so that you can just highlight the subject without having distracting elements around them. This is a good time for “negative spacing” type photos (see: https://123photogo.com/2021/11/01/understanding-negative-space/ ).


Dentists all over the world are in shock…

They cannot believe that this primitive African ritual can rebuild teeth and gums overnight.

But, as unbelievable as it might sound, it is 100% medically efficient.

The solid proof is the fact that none of the people in this tribe have cavities or rotten gums, and their teeth are sparkling white.

Nobody believed that something so SIMPLE can bulletproof your teeth against decay, pain and inflammation. 
See here how this sacred African ritual can rebuild your teeth and gums overnight.

https://cca77rbwsgtep4yynb-cye7vci.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=17935960


3- Focus on faces:

The faces are the main thing that shows feelings. They can show happy, sad, mad, content, anger, etc. And the eyes are the window to the soul. When taking photos of faces, try to see what the emotion is of the person, and reflect it in the photo.

collage photo of woman
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

A word of caution, however: Do not rush up with your lens, thrust it into a person’s field of view, and snap a shot, especially if they’re feeling emotional. Instead, be respectful. Whenever possible, ask permission, especially if you don’t know the person. (I often just raise my eyebrows while pointing at my camera, and it works great.)

4- Return to the same place repeatedly:

See how much each scene reflects a different feeling.

If you’re shooting a subject that you can return to, then do it. The street or beach or room or person will have a different feel on different days, especially if you’re photographing outdoors and the weather changes often.

Make sure you return to a location with an open mind. Don’t expect certain feelings, or you might be disappointed. Instead, clarify your emotions, then pretend you’re seeing the scene for the first time.

Conclusion:

Take your time as you take photos, and either try to create a photo that reflects how you feel, or if taking a portrait, reflect how they feel, by taking the time and find out the feelings of you or them.