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My Favorite Quotes: Helen Keller

It was 1899 and I was Edgar Degas

It was 1899 and I was Edgar Degas

As the people that follow my blog know by now, not all my favorite quotes have been said by photographers. There have been several that have been said by painters, writers, and musicians, all artists in their own right.

After recently reading an article about the work Helen Keller did, I started reading some of her quotes, and one in particular stood out to me as having a profound effect on not only my photography but in my teachings as well.

First, it’s important to give you the true meaning of the word Vision since several of my online students with the BPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop participants can sometimes confuse a word that actually might mean something else; something I have done from time to time.

[vizhuh n]

noun

1. the act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight.

2. the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be.

3. an experience in which a personage, thing, or event appears vividly or credibly to the mind, although not actually present, often under the influence of a divine or other agency: a heavenly messenger appearing in a vision.

4. something seen or otherwise perceived during such an experience: The vision revealed its message.

5. a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation.

Btw, I like number three, but so far after nearly fifty years of being a photographer, I’ve never had a heavenly messenger appear in my composition as a vision; which is unfortunate.
🙁

Helen Keller said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”.

One would have to agree that vision is imperative and what fuels the engine that pushes creativity forward. The sad part is that with the coming of the digital age, some of my fellow photographers don’t rely on their personal vision, instead they count on their computer to create their imagery which over time will make them really good computer artists…and if that’s your thing, to each his own.

What the computer can do is important to this new age, and it should never be said that I don’t appreciate it, but to me it should be used to add the finishing touches, i.e., contrast, lighten or darken,  occasional sharpening, etc.. Those things that can enhance an already strong photo made before the shutter is depressed.

This is where vision comes into play, and what you can do to create strong images before the fact. This is all about definition number two, and what I want to write about: the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be”.

There are photographers (great photographers) out there, many of them teaching that photograph what they see and never looks for anything else. In other words what is will always be just that. To add or alter anything when composing is strictly against their beliefs, and to that they call themselves purists.

The funny part is that they have no compunction when it comes to sitting in front of their computers and altering the light, color, saturation, shadows, and some even apply some weird trick they picked up in one of the thousands of plug-ins available to them; and then there’s the crop and straightening tools!!!!!

Since I’ve never cropped one of my photos in nearly fifty years I can’t even or don’t ever want to think about that…but I digress.

Don’t photograph what is, photograph what could be, and that’s what my definition of vision is all about. I’m not talking about vision in Fine Art photography in this context, which I plan on talking about in upcoming posts. I’m talking about images that exist in nature and are readily available for all to see if you set your mind to seeing them. This is the kind of vision I’m talking about.

You can actually practice in your spare time!!! How???

Suppose you’re walking down a pier very early one sunny morning and you immediately stop to take a photo of a Vanishing Point created by the converging lines of the two sides of the railings extending out from either side of you.

Without any hesitation you quickly take the shot and now you have created a photo that via a Vanishing Point, leads the viewer down to the end where the two lines meet on the horizon exactly where the sun is coming up; a great photo by all accounts.

Now, you’re standing there and if you’re like me you wish that there had been a fisherman at the end of the pier, silhouetted against a warm, soft, and beautiful sun minutes after breaking the horizon.

Or what if you were walking in a park late one Fall afternoon and you noticed a bench next to a winding path covered with leaves painted by mother nature with every color known to happen during the peak days of Autumn. You bring your camera up to your eye and take a picture; another good photo albeit fairly predictable.

Again, if you were like me and were on your knees up close and personal to the texture and patterns of the leaves, you might have wished there was an elderly couple sitting at the other end of the bench feeding a group of pigeons that were milling around next to their feet.

These are the thoughts that are always running through my imagination when I’m out shooting. I think of various scenarios because it’s a way of exercising my mind, because you just never know when an opportunity might come up. An opportunity that will change a good photo into a special one.

In the above photo, While shooting in Cuba I saw this woman just finishing up posing for other photographers in an old house. I immediately envisioned Degas paintings of the ballerinas. At that memorable moment I led her into another room, had her sit and take off her slippers; it was 1899 and I was Edgar Degas.!!!

Give it a try sometime. Think of yourself as a painter instead of a photographer. Your camera on  tripod is a blank canvas on an easel; use it to color outside the lines.

Come join me this coming July 30th at the Maine Media Workshops; for my twenty-ninth year. It’s a great way to completely immerse yourself for a week.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come paint with me sometime.

Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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    Quick Photo Tip: A Room with a View.

    My view at sunrise.

    My view at sunrise.

    As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, light is everything and I’m constantly thinking about it.

    That said, I’ve been a professional traveler for almost fifty years, and my job has been to take pictures in the best possible light. That’s what I do, and that’s what I think about all the time…especially when I first research then check into a hotel.

    The first thing I think about is the view I’m going to get every time I look out the window. I can tell you from experience that some of your best photos can be taken with your pajamas still on…or even if you sleep in “the all together, in the buff, or in the raw” as some call it.

    Here’s what I suggest to my fellow photographers that are traveling on business, pleasure, with a group, or just by themselves:

    When checking in ask what direction the rooms face. If you’re an early riser by nature, ask for a room that faces East. If you’re not then ask for a room that faces to the West. A suggestion here would be to take an East facing room over one that faces North or South. That way you’ll at last have a choice as to getting up early or not.

    Another factor for me when I have a choice in picking a hotel is the number of floors it has. If you’re only interested in seeing the entire city and taking an overall panoramic, then ask for a room close to the top. If you’re interested in seeing more of a close-up, than ask for something closer to the ground floor.

    The absolute best advice I can give you is to ask to see the room first. That way even if you get an East or West facing room, you won’t be disappointed when you pull back the curtains only to see the hotel’s roof top parking lot and/or the air-conditioning units.

    Depending on the time of year, a North facing window would be my third choice after East and West. The light will be coming in from the side, which can be a great way to show the textures and the three-dimensional qualities of the city.

    I can’t suggest strongly enough to set your clock to at last take a look out the window, you can always go back to sleep if nothing interesting happens. If it does and you get something great, going back to sleep is easy even if you’re only wearing a smile.

    🙂

    Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

    Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

    JoeB

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      Anecdotes: Egypt

      I finally had my few seconds.

      I was sent to Egypt to photograph the country and it’s people by Oil Tools Limited, a company based in London. The company was going to partner up with the Egyptian government to begin drilling in the coming year; I had pretty much a free hand which made it all the sweeter.

      Whether it was the country, the people, or the historical monuments, the company really didn’t care as long as they had enough of each to use for the next couple of years. In those days we called these kinds of assignments Plums.

      Early one morning I went out with a group of Egyptians to take their portraits…my transportation? A stubborn, uncomfortable, smelly camel. It didn’t take long for my new friends to figure out that I wasn’t keen on the idea of spending several hours trekking across a very hot desert that even Moses wouldn’t have willingly done; especially when he had to do it for forty years!!!

      Egypt 2 Getting to the locations wasn’t too bad, at least it was cool since the sun had not come up. I had a real band of comedians that laughed at everything, and would not give each other one second of peace as I was photographing each of them; In the photo above the model kept turning away from the camera.

      Finally I told everyone that if they would give me just a few seconds with him I would jump on my camel and shoot while riding…they did so I did!!!!

      FYI, the shift in color of me on the camel is what happens when the sun had been up for twenty minutes.

      They did, so I did!!!

      They did, so I did!!!

      Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Sign up for one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, and come shoot with me sometime…but not on a camel.

      Sign up for my online class with the BPSOP, and I’ll show you how to incorporate the elements of visual design into your imagery.

      Send me your photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

      JoeB

       

       

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        Much more better

        Much more better

        I’ll use it only when I know that the people reading it will realize that I really do know that it’s incorrect to say it… grammatically illegal!!!

        However one must note that one cannot place more or most before better. Why is that? Simple. Better itself means “more good”. So “more better” would be “more more good” which doesn’t sound good.

        But I digress!!

        Ok, you’re asking yourself how in the world can he (Joe) segue this into something that relates to photography?

        When I’m talking to one of my students that take my online class with the BPSOP, or when I walk up to someone that’s in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops someone on the planet, or in the daily critiques during that said workshop, I’ll say it’s “much more better” if you compose your photo so as the subject is way off center…Why?

        Well there’s two answers: The answer to the first why is to get a reaction from them since what I say is not grammatically correct. I want the short discussion to be remembered, and I’ll do that anyway I can; a brief chuckle before my explanation is just the ticket!

        The answer to the second why is that when you place the subject close to the edge of the frame, you’re creating visual tension. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different. Especially those old school hardliners (usually the officers in their camera club) that live and will die by the ever so silly Rule of Thirds.

        So the next time you’re out shooting and you’re in a position to have your subject either somewhere in one of those pesky (Rule of Thirds) intersections go ahead and take the shot. However, before you move on to the next photo, try placing the subject close to the edge of the frame. Realizing you’ve probably been brain-washed, take a leap of faith while getting over the hump.

        When you’re sitting in front of your computer place both versions side by side and really study them. Be honest with yourself and decide which one offers the viewer not only decidedly more visual interest, but visual tension as well.

        Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

        Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

        JoeB

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          I see three triangles with the help of the edges of my frame.

          I see three triangles with the help of the edges of my frame.

          In my latest part I post, I was dealing with distortion. I talked about the difference you get when you stand off to one side or the other while photographing a building, or standing in the middle of it to achieve symmetrical distortion.

          In this post I want to talk about the entire composition; thinking about everything that’s contained within the four edges of your frame. I’m talking about both the positive space (the space that has mass), and everything else that would be called the negative space. I call it,  “The whole enchilada”, and several years I wrote a post on it.

          When I talk to my online students at the BPSOP, and in my daily critiques with those that take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around out planet, I talk about why we shouldn’t crop anywhere but in the camera.

          There are several reasons, one of them is to use the edges of your frame as a compositional tool.  If you’re familiar with my teachings, that is incorporating the elements of visual design into your photography, You know that shape is one of the basic elements, and squares, circles, rectangles and triangles are the four basic shapes.

          If you were to think about those four shapes when you’re composing one of your photos, it would open up a new door for you as far as creating visual interest and tension. Of course, this would take right-brained thinking to be able to see these elements.

          Keeping in mind what I just talked about in my part I post on symmetrical distortion, and add to that thought this post on shapes, and using the edges of the frame as a compositional tool, you’ll come up with images as the one I submit to you now.

          In composing this photo of an office building in the Galleria area of Houston for the oil company that took up several floors, I thought about shapes; specifically triangles. By using the right side of my brain, I no longer saw a building (left brain thinking), I saw a triangle. I thought about  the triangle I was creating with the building by standing (up close and personal) in the center, and the two triangles I created on either side all with the help of the edges of my frame.

          So my fellow photographers, the next time you go out shooting, think about the effects of negative space that borders and defines the positive space ie., your subject, and try to create shapes wit

          Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

          Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

          JoeB

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            Symmetrical distortion

            Symmetrical distortion

            To many of my fellow photographers, distortion is very bad and would rather not take the shot than to have it look distorted; I agree, in part. Having said that, there are times when distortion is not a problem and can actually help you take your image what I refer to as “up a notch”.

            There’s two aspects to distortion that I want to talk about in my part one and two posts on the subject, and that has to do within the  architectural  genre, and both come up in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct all over our planet.

            I often get submissions from photographers that have buildings in them, and the majority of the time they are falling/leaning over to one side or another. The most common reason for that is where the photographer decides to take the picture from. Where you stand is very important in keeping the building straight.

            If you’re standing off to the right or left of the middle of the building and aim your camera back placing the building in where you think the center of the frame is you’re going to get some form of distortion; and to me it’s not the good kind.

            You’re not going to be able to straighten both the vertical and horizontal lines at the same time, you’ll only be able to straighten one of them and there lies the problem. You’re going to have distortion if you tilt your camera up to get the entire building in no matter what; it’s called Parallax Distortion.

            What you can do to make it look better is to make the distortion symmetrical by standing right in the middle of the building, as seen in my photo of the First International Building in downtown Houston.

            My next post will deal with the second aspect of distortion, so stay tuned.

            Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

            Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

            JoeB

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              Workshop Stuff: Maine 2017

              I was walking around the festival when I saw this happening.

              I wanted to repeat some of my earlier posts that dealt with photos taken from my Maine Media Workshops to show you some great images that are taken during the week. This coming July marks my 29th year there and I look forward to teaching there every year.

              There’s several workshops going on that week so the energy level is way up there. All classes eat all three meals (great food) at the homestead so there’s constant photography chatter and you see people taking pictures all around the campus. Each year starting from the beginning I’ve picked the same week because it coincides with the Lobster Festival just down the road in Rockland; the reason is simple.

              Beside what my fellow photographers have come to expect as far as small fishing villages, lighthouses, flowers in peak season, and landscapes in general, the Lobster Festival offers a completely different set of photo opportunities: color, light, design, great people watching and portraiture, and lots of movement; not counting the variety of foods including seafood and plenty of lobster.

              As I do in my online classes with the BPSOP and my own personal “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I show photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their photography. I go out with the class in the mornings as well as the sunset shoots to see what people are thinking and I’ll always talk to each one individually offering advice and perhaps a different way of looking at the same subject.

              Here are some classes:

              2012 Maine Media Workshop

              2013 Maine Media Workshop

              2014 Maine Media Workshop

              2016 Maine Media Workshop

              2015 is not shown because of the recovery of hip replacement surgery.

              Since I know that so many photographers have to plan so far ahead for vacation time, I wanted to send a link out now so people have a chance to read the description and sign up:

              https://www.mainemedia.edu/workshops/photography/stretching-your-frame-mind

              Visit my workshop at: www.joebaraban.com, and watch for new workshops at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

              Send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

              JoeB

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                My Favorite Quotes: The Temptations

                It was a smiley face winking at me.

                It was a smiley face winking at me.

                I usually read or hear something first that get my attention and gives me some of my ideas, then I apply it to conversations I have with my online class with the BPSOP, and with my fellow photographers that sign up for my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. In this case I had the idea/feeling before hearing or reading it somewhere, and followed it up by searching the web to see if others experienced similar ideas or feelings.

                The feeling I had was when I remembered my mother always telling me that I had a huge imagination and it was always running away with me.

                im·ag·i·na·tion

                iˌmajəˈnāSH(ə)n/
                noun
                noun: imagination; plural noun: imaginations

                “The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. The ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful”.

                 Here’s what made me remember that:

                I was in Rockport, Maine conducting a workshop and while shooting down the road in Camden, I saw a table with an umbrella and a coffee cup against a wall. I moved the table over to the right to avoid a broken window to keep it clean and to have balance and negative space surrounding  and defining it.

                When I stepped back to take the photo, I didn’t see what I thought I was going to see, instead I saw a smiley face winking at me!!

                The next day I took my class to the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland (which is the reason I have picked this same week to teach there for twenty-eight years) and while walking around I stopped suddenly to take a photo of a man putting batter on fish. All of a sudden I was no longer looking at a man, but instead a living American flag…Old Glory. It was my imagination running away with me once again.

                "Old Glory"

                “Old Glory”

                So my fellow photographers, the next time you go out shooting open up your mind and let it wander around. Give it a try, follow it because it just might lead you to a place you’ve never been before. Use that imagination of yours and you’ll see that it’s a very powerful tool.

                Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see”.

                Btw, one of the first things that popped up while searching the web (and what this post is named after and for) was this song, and one of my favorites by the Temptations…how serendipitous was that????????????

                Just my imagination running away with me

                Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog.

                Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                JoeB

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                  Look ma, no Photoshop!

                  Look ma, no Photoshop!

                  I miss the good old days when you had to actually think before you pressed the shutter; you had just one click to do it right.

                  By today’s standards, it was very difficult to do it all in the camera, but since we didn’t know any better it seem the natural thing to do; it was the only thing to do!

                  I often think back to some of my photos and think what they would have looked like if Lightroom was around and Adobe was not just a type of house in New Mexico. Maybe I would have been dangerous, but i like the way it turned out.

                  Having said all this, I certainly don’t sit around every day pining for days gone by. I like to rely on Photoshop when something I want to do can’t be done at that moment…the decisive moment when I press down on the shutter and record what is.

                  What I don’t do and what I tell my online students with the BPSOP and my fellow photographers that sign up for my “Stretching your Frame of Mind” not to do is tell yourself that you’ll just fix it later. Instead of moving to the right to create a better balance between the negative and positive space, or to get that telephone out of someone’s head, or to fix the ridiculously overexposed  subject the meter told you was just fine by bracketing, people will sit in front of the computer and deal with it then.

                  I was shooting a calendar for Shell Oil, and every year owners drive their huge eighteen-wheelers to a designated city in hopes to be featured on one of the month’s pages.

                  In the past they simply rented a huge warehouse that had a large overhead doors at each end, put up white seamless paper and each rig drove through, stopped, had it’s picture taken and drove out; I wasn’t interested in doing that.

                  I presented an idea to the art director. The idea was to take portraits of all the owners and try to make it work with a particular month. I sent my producer ahead of time to find me interesting locations I might use as a backdrop. We arrived in Nashville a couple of days early to look at the locations and decide on the twelve trucks we wanted to use. I walked among a hundred rigs looking to pick out the ones that were simply the coolest!

                  Since I love purple and Manny and his son (who was spending the summer driving around with dad) were great guys I picked their rig to be on the July’s page. We found this great location and went for the 4th of July theme.

                  What you see was taken on one 35mm Kodachrome transparency, and just one click of the camera.

                  Visit my workshop at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                  Don’t forget to send me photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                  JoeB

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                    What did I wish?

                    What did I wish?

                    This is what I talk about when I’m working with my online students with the BPSOP. During my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, we have daily critiques in the late mornings. We discuss images they’ve shot either the evening before or after the morning shoot. One of the first questions I ask someone when talking about a particular image of theirs is what do you wish.

                    It’s a little mental game I’ve played with myself for as long as I can remember. I’m always wishing something that’s not in my frame would be, some additional layer of interest that would hold the viewer’s attention and keep him around longer; I’m always looking for ways to make my photos stronger.

                    When I ask someone this question, I want them to think, to color outside the lines. This keeps their mind flowing with ideas, and helps them become more of a storyteller ( a photo maker not a photo taker) when composing their own images. It doesn’t have to be a big thing like a hot air balloon landing right behind the subject.

                    It can be as subtle as a black cat in an area in the foreground where nothing is going on…maybe even its shadow.  A person riding a bike through the frame with a white shirt on and wishing it were a red one. Maybe the subject is two feet to the right to get a little more of the light on the face. Or a little more to the left so that huge telephone pole isn’t sticking out of his head!!!

                    🙂

                    Since I hope that all my fellow photographers always take more than one photo of any particular subject, your wish might just be walking down the street towards you, or coming up behind you, or maybe that yellow cab you wanted pulls up and man wearing a red shirt climbs out.

                    I’m personally not a big fan of sunrises over the ocean. However, this one is not bad. So what did I wish that would have created another layer of interest? Something to have kept the viewer around by offering him something to think about? How about a cruise ship (all lit up) about to leave the edge of the frame on the left; leaving a wake all the way across to the right edge.

                    Btw, if a hot air balloon all of a sudden does land right behind your subject with Dorothy and Toto waving to the lens, I strongly suggest you immediately wish for World Peace…then a billion dollars!!!

                    Try it yourself sometime. As you’re composing wish for something else happening and who knows, maybe your wish will come true.

                    Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                    Keep sending in photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                    JoeB

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                      Quick Photo Tip: Using the Least Likely Lens

                      I never thought about using this lens.

                      I never thought about using this lens.

                      I’m a huge believer in coloring outside the lines and I’m always telling my fellow photographers that take my online classes with the BPSOP and the ones that join me in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our plant to do just that.

                      I wrote a post on it almost four years ago and because of it I followed my own advice. I was in an area in the south of France, and when I got out of my rent car to walk along the area surrounding a chateau, I decided to not use my usual go-to lens and put on something I would never think about using for this type of situation…my 100mm Macro.

                      It was a fortuitous decision as it turned out giving me what I still consider to be a very unusual depiction of swans that were nestled in a small stream next to this incredible well-known chateau. Although (sadly) it looks like I did considerable post processing work to it, it was shot in the camera, one exposure on one 35mm Kodachrome frame with no post work done to it; this is what Kodachrome looked like, and boy do I miss it!!!!

                      I know so many of you out there get comfortable with one or two lens that always reward you with good photos. The only problem is that they always look the same, as in the same compression or lack thereof, the same focal length that might be on one of your zooms, or the same dOF because you’re using a lens (like a prime) and rendering the same F/stop to all your compositions.

                      So my fellow photographers bite the bullet, take a leap of faith and grab a lens you haven’t use in forever, or one you would never use in a situation you’ve been in a hundred times and have been comfortable to the point of being complacent.

                      Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come color outside the lines with me sometime.

                      Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                      JoeB

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                        Does it draw you in?

                        Does it draw you in?

                        Why do we look at some photos more than others? What compels us to stick around longer for some and not for others? How we can control what the viewer perceives and processes when looking at our photos? The answer will differ and the different methods we use will vary. For me, the important part is to draw the viewer into your photo.

                        I teach an online class with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching your frame of Mind” workshops around our planet. I teach people how to use the elements of visual design to create stronger images.

                        I discuss how humans rely on the perception of their environment and that visual input is a part of our everyday life. If we can present this information (photographically) in such a way we can make him a visual partner, an active participant, and when we do we’ll have his undivided attention.

                        Our eye is constantly moving around and notices elements in out photos that stand out, and for one reason or another are significant. An example is the fact that the eye is drawn to light; like a moth to a flame.

                        One of the best ways to do this is by incorporating visual tension, a compositional tool,  into our imagery. Visual tension gives your photograph strength and intensity. Tension equals energy, and it’s a psychological force to be reckoned with and used correctly can take your photography what I refer to as “up a notch”.

                        They’re many ways to create visual tension, and I have talked a lot about them to my fellow photographer. The use of light, contrast, i.e.,  shadows and areas in shadow, framing within a frame, combining opposites or unrelated objects, peak of action, body language and gestures, showing the subject and its reflection are some of the ways.

                        The way we place the elements, and creating design imbalance giving off the feeling of instability, will generate visual tension. Where we pace the camera in relation to the viewer will have an impact on the viewer and will help generate the tension we’re looking for. Conversely, the placement of the subject in the frame will have an acute effect as well. Using the Rule of Thirds to place your subject will NOT create the visual tension as placing it close to the edge of the frame would.

                        So, I don’t know about you, but I like attention when it comes to people looking at my photos. I want them to walk away shaking their heads in amazement after being totally immersed in my imagery. If indeed you feel the same way, then think about incorporating visual tension into your photography.

                        Visit my website at: www.joebaraban, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime and we’ll create some visual tension together.

                        Keep sending me photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                        JoeB

                        Let people know you saw it here!
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                          I blow out highlights!!

                          I blow out highlights!!

                          During my last (my 28th year) Maine Media Workshop, I was working with a fellow photographer and the moment before she clicked the shutter, her LCD screen exploded with blinking black areas going on in the hightlighted areas. This meant that those areas were being overexposed or “clipped” as what’s said by those that don’t know what they’re talking about.

                          I think “visually undesirable” is what I’ve been told by students (who were told this) that take my online class with the BPSOP. I’ve also had similar conversations in my own “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

                          I digress.

                          “Egads”, I yelled to no one in particular, “make it stop blinking, I’ll tell you anything you want to know!!” The student relayed to me that she had been told that whenever she encountered the blinking, to immediately stop what she was doing because she was about to overexpose an area. It also annoyed her (not knowing what it meant) and how did she take it off.

                          Seriously? The only reason anyone (not in their right mind) would want to do that is if they wanted to be led (blindfolded) down that one way path to mediocrity. Or maybe they wanted to have the slightest chance in winning a blue ribbon at their camera club’s annual competition.

                          Here’s what I think…Get that blinking stuff off you camera. Go to settings on your camera and where it says “highlight alert” disable it. Believe me it’s a better thing you do than you’ve ever done before…why?

                          Because one of the ways to generate visual tension is contrast and another is the use of light. Those blown out (clipped) areas brings energy to your images. I don’t always blow out the highlights because there’s a time and place for everything. That said, whenever there are bright highlights in my composition I’m always looking to blow them out.

                          It’s easier said than done because if you use the meter in your camera, more than likely it’s going to give you an average exposure of the highlighted and shadow areas; based on what the meter is set on. For best results, set your meter on spot and try exposing just for the areas in shadow; this will blow out the highlights.

                          For most of my almost fifty year career, I’ve used a Minolta One-Degree Spot Meter. It’s an external hand held meter (you can find them on e-Bay) that can read just one degree of reflected light, which gives me total control to do as I please to my photo.

                          I prefer the energy, so next time blow out the highlights my fellow photographers and you won’t spend eternity in photographic purgatory.

                          Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2017 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me in Vienna/Budapest next May and enjoy two beautiful and historical cities.Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                          JoeB

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                            Anecdotes: Apache Oil and Gas

                            The one I pre-visualized

                            The one I pre-visualized

                            I was shooting the annual report for Apache Oil and Gas, and the company sent me to Egypt to pretty much shoot whatever I wanted that represented the people and country. The reason being that they were going to enter into a partnership to begin drilling there.

                            The one photo they did want was a photo of a new tower that was recently built in Aswan; a city just south of Cairo. When I got to Aswan, I was driven out to somewhere close to the middle of nowhere, and there was absolutely nothing around except this tower.

                            Photo #1

                            Photo #1

                            As the sun was getting ready to set, I was doing the best I could to try and create an interesting picture out of basically nothing but a tower and some rocks.

                            In my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, never give up! There’s always something you can do and whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be better than what most people would shoot…why?

                            Because not only do I show people how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their imagery, but I also give my Did It Do It list for good composition out to my fellow photographers; on that list is pre-visualization.

                            Btw, I also send them a link to one of my favorite quotes said by Eddie Adams.

                            Photo #2

                            Photo #2

                            As I was thinking and scratching my head, this man appeared out of nowhere and came up to see what we were doing. I thought to myself, “Did I just get really lucky or what??? I told our driver to ask him if he would be willing to be in my photo, and that I was willing to pay him the equivalent of ten dollars in his currency.

                            Even though that was more money that he would see in several months, he was simply to shy to pose for me; and the money wasn’t really a factor. We finally got him to be in it providing he was far away from the camera…photo #1.

                            Photo #3

                            Photo #3

                            As he became more comfortable, I moved him closer to the camera, knowing where I wanted him to end up…photo #2

                            FYI, the featured photo above was what I had pre-visualized all along.

                            When I was done and gave him his modeling fee, his friends decided to get in on some of the action; they were also each paid, but just half…photo #3

                            Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

                            Keep sending in your photos and questions to: AskjoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                            JoeB

                            Let people know you saw it here!
                              { 4 comments }