≡ Menu

Personal Pearl of Wisdom: Hurry Up and Wait

What I was waiting for.

What I was waiting for.

When I’m out walking the streets whether it be in Paris, Lisbon, New York, recently in Cuba, or in my own backyard, I pretty much follow the same routine. That is, I look for all the elements of Visual Design, light, and color. Any of these are what I call pieces to a puzzle, and when I can get enough of these pieces, I look for something that can tie them all together. The final touch, the glue, the last “layer of interest” that can complete my work of art…my photo.

If I see something that fits the bill, and I have the time to wait, I’ll find a nice comfortable place to sit (hopefully) or stand and wait. The hurry up part is to get what I think is the best exposure and lock it in to my manual settings. I arrange my composition to allow for that certain something, and when it comes I’ll know it.

It could come in a second, a minute, or ten minutes. The longer I’m willing to devote to it depend entirely on how important I think the photo could be. One thing I know from years of experience is that if and when it comes, I’m not going to have a lot of time to shoot; and as Eddie Adams once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”.

The above photo was taken on my recent third trip to Cuba for the Santa Fe Workshops. We were in a small town an hour outside of Havana, and it was mid morning. The sun was sky high, and it was incredibly hot with little to no shade; too hot to walk around aimlessly. Across the small square I spotted a brick wall with a grouping of buildings behind it.

I immediately saw the yellow and turquoise shapes, and what I also saw were semi-squares that created a pattern.  These are two of the basic elements of visual design. I loved the way the colors seemed to be in harmony and quickly took a vertical approach, minimizing the semi-squares that weren’t yellow. I always take into account what I always tell my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, “It’s not what you put in your pictures that counts, it’s what you don’t put in that matters”.

What I saw.

What I saw.

Ok, the hurry-up part was done, all I needed was that certain something to happen. Several people walked by, but no one was wearing anything colorful. After a longer period of time than I wanted given the time of day and the temperature, I spotted a mother and daughter sitting on a bench behind me.

The daughter was wearing exactly what I was looking for, so I asked the mother if they would cross the street and walk by the concrete wall. The little girl began walking at a faster pace maybe ten feet in front, she suddenly stopped, and stuck her head into one of the semi-squares. I was able to get off one frame before the mom came into the frame, said something to the girl and took her away.

If I hadn’t seen past my first impression and used my Artist Palette, had my composition and exposure set, and was able to minimize an ordinary hot blue sky, I would not have been able to capture this moment in time.

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

Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your photo.

JoeB

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

    Anecdotes: Anderson Consulting

    Mano a mano

    Mano a mano

    Years ago I was shooting the annual report for Anderson Consulting, and they had me travel virtually around the world shooting their clients in action. A dirty job but someone had to do it!

    One of their clients was Spain’s Social Security Department. Shooting in Madrid, Cordoba, and Toledo, I basically had a free hand to photograph the people in their environments; environment portraiture being one of my favorite genres.

    We were there in February during carnival, and I was walking around looking for interesting subject matter in Madrid’s most famous square (packed with tourists and locals) The Plaza Mayor, and saw this local artist starting to draw this young girl’s portrait.

    As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and also my fellow photographers that take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, always decide where you want to be in relation to the sun before you bring the camera up to your eye…and that’s just what I was doing.

    In order to get the side light I wanted both on the girl and the artist, I needed to stand behind her; which is what I wanted to do in the first place. I wanted the artist drawing and the little girl looking over her shoulder at me as if she had just discovered that I was there.

    To get her attention I would make the ‘psst’ sound and each time I did she would turn away from the artist to me, and just as she did I would click the shutter. It didn’t take long before the artist began to get upset, and finally he stood up, through his small piece of pastel on the ground, and started ranting and raving. He was yelling at me in Spanish and since I speak and understand the language just enough to get by, I knew pretty much what he was saying.

    It didn’t take long before we had drawn a crowd, and as it grew people started laughing which made him more irate. He finally throw off his sunglasses, hat, and coat and “put up his dukes”…which made me start laughing;…which made him start jumping up and down.

    Finally two local policia came up on each side and tried to quiet him down, and now he started in with them, which was not in his best interest. They picked him up by his elbows, and with him screaming what sounded like obscenities, carried him away.

    That seemed to be a good time for me to make an exit from that side of the plaza. That was a very long time ago and for all I know he’s still locked up in Spain’s “ho-ho” house.

    Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. The end of July marks my twenty-eight year at the Maine Media workshops. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself for a week and think about nothing but photography. It’s the same week as the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland, and offers a completely different set of photo ops than the beautiful Maine coastline, amazing lighthouses, and quaint fishing villages. The full description is at the top of this blog.

    I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

    JoeB

    Let people know you saw it here!
      { 0 comments }
      Nice and simple

      Nice and simple

      Since my background is not in photography but in painting and design, I still consider myself an artist; specifically a painter of sorts.

      I tell my fellow photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP, and also those that are in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet that a camera on a tripod is just like a blank canvas on an easel.

      Ok, having said this, there are so many out there that don’t know when to stop painting…or in other words, stop adding things to a photograph. Either by arranging existing elements in your composition or by adding elements. I’m about “making not taking pictures”, photographing not what is but what could be., and this is what I suggest others try…but you gotta know when to stop!!

      I use my artist palette when I’m looking for and taking photos, the same artist palette I show my students how to use. The palette that no longer has pigment on it but all the elements of visual design and composition. The key is knowing when to quit, and sometimes that’s the hard part. A lot has to do with security, and being insecure is a tough way to take your imagery forward, and it’s one of the main causes for overdoing it. This especially becomes evident when I see people’s photographs that have been over processed and saturated…to the point of being downright silly!!!

      Let’s take painting for example. Adding more pigment won’t necessarily make your painting better, unless you were an impressionist. What it’s sure to do is make the pigments thicker and your canvas heavier. The last time I checked, paintings are not sold by the pound. The same holds true for photography. If you keep adding more and more light, and more props, it’s not going to create a stronger photo.

      Remember that photography is the art of subtraction. Painting starts out with a blank canvas on an easel and you begin to fill it in until you have a finished work of art. When you have a camera on a tripod you start out with everything and start taking things out…or taking things out that you put in until you have a finished work of art. Therein lies the problem, knowing when to stop…when in doubt, cut it out!!!

      I’ll leave you with this: It’s not what you put into a photo that counts, it’s what you don’t put in that matters.

      Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

      I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

      Don’t forget to keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

      JoeB

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

        Quick Photo Tip: Shooting Through Things

        Through a fence.

        Through a fence.

        One afternoon while I was walking the streets of New York looking for interesting subject matter, I decided to look at things in a different way. Instead of my usual straight on approach, I began looking at things through fences, holes of various shapes, and shooting reflections off buildings. It didn’t take long to see things in an entirely new way, and I was really getting into it.

        As I tell my fellow photographers that take my online classes with the BPSOP, and those that sign up for my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, always think about coloring outside the lines.

        Reflections off a building.

        Reflections off a building.

        This works especially when you’re either getting bored or have temporarily lost some of those creative juices that feeds the desire to go out and take pictures. If it’s some new inspiration you’re looking for then I can promise you that seeing things in a new way will be just the spark you’re looking for to get that camera bag out of the closet and start shooting again.

        Having said this, here’s another tip: Take your camera off auto-focus so you’ll have control of your DOF. I know for some this might be a scary notion, but just remember that there was a time when you actually had to focus all by yourself. Nowadays, the auto-focus feature is a luxury, not a necessity.

        Shot through a hole.

        Shot through a hole.

        Manually focusing will enable you to focus past the fence, hole, or surface to whatever your subject matter is. Then, you can try different F/stops to get the desired effect as far as how much you want the foreground to be sharp. Try shooting at the widest aperture all the way down to the smallest. It won’t take you long to figure out what the best look will be.

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

        I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

        JoeB

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

           

          All seven steps.

          All seven steps.

          I teach online with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their photography. I also show them how to use their eye, and to see past first impressions. to not look at things but to see them.

          There is a skill in photography called ‘seeing’, a few have it naturally, most people don’t, but can be shown the way.

          The first step is the ability to frame just the part of the scene in front of you that makes a good, interesting photograph; this will take time to develop.

          The second step is to fill the frame with your subject and to photograph ‘bits of things; pieces of the puzzle. Instead of the building just the window, instead of the window, the texture of the faded, peeling paint.

          When out on the street and you look at the scene in front of you there are probably 30 or 40 good images you could take. Seeing is the ability to pick them out one at a time. Each potentially being the individual pieces that makes up the finished puzzle.

          After a while you’ll realize that you have been walking around blind. It’s an epiphany, a sudden exciting realization that brings you into your own personal reality…perhaps for the first time.

          The third step is ‘seeing’ the lighting and only taking images when the lighting is good, this takes a lot longer; a lot more discipline.

          The fourth step is deciding on the best composition for your images, keeping in mind that balance is a basic element of visual design. Cropping only in the camera, and using the edges of your frame as a compositional tool.

          The fifth step to consider is applying color contrasts, keeping in mind those colors that are in harmony, and juxtaposition of the light to your images; one of the best ways to generate Visual Tension.

          The sixth step is simplifying the images, paring down the subject to its bare essentials. Remembering that it’s not what you put into a picture that counts, it’s what you don’t put in that matters.

          The seventh and last step is grabbing the ‘moment’. The moment it all comes together, recording it to secure it’s place in our history…by clicking the shutter.

          It’s a long, long learning curve.

          I didn’t mention the word camera because it’s the least important part of the whole process. Clicking the shutter is the easiest part of photography.

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

          I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

          JoeB

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

            Quick Photo Tip: Get On Your Knees

            Do you trust this man?

            Do you trust this man?

            I’ve been teaching online with the BPSOP and conducting my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet for many years, and one thing, among many, stands out. My fellow photographers will almost always bring the camera up to their eye, and whatever that height is to the ground is what POV the photo will take.

            One reason is that it’s the easiest way to shoot. No muss, no fuss, no dirt on the knee or shirt to wipe off….therefore no problem. But there is one problem, and that is all your photos will take on the same look. If that’s your intent, then to each his own.

            However, if you’re tired of all your photos looking the same, I suggest you approach your subject from a different point of view. Try looking at it from way down low, then way up high. Walk around and take a look from the side, then the back, then the other side. Of course the direction of the light is extremely important, and for me, dictates where I’m going to position myself.

            If you’re able, try to combine both the light and a different POV. They can have a profound effect on the outcome of your end result, and can most definitely keep the viewer interested when you do.

            The above photo was taken as part of an advertising campaign for CenterPoint energy; Houston’s main electric service provider. The client told the advertising agency who in turn relayed to me that they wanted to show how reliable their repair service was, and that their men were always there when you needed them most. You could be comfortable knowing that you were in good hands with the men at Center Point.

            How do you represent that in a single photo? By your POV. To get their message across as quickly as possible, I wanted to show not only the man, but all the components as well, i.e., the power lines and poles, the truck, strength, and the man. To add the comfort level, I got down on my knees, and with a 20mm lens was able to capture all the ingredients…I made him larger than life.

            Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2106 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

            I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

            JoeB

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

              Anecdotes: Bicardi Rum Shoot

              A Wonder for the World

              A Wonder for the World

              I first talked about this shoot in a previous post that was called “Life Before Photoshop” where I said that the behind the scenes story would come out at a later date.

              I love all the categories I write for my blog, but the one that brings back the funniest memories and moments is the category I call Anecdotes. These are stories that actually happened over the course of my forty-eight years as an advertising, corporate, and editorial photographer; the names might have been changed to protect the innocent.

              Looking back over the years there’s been some pretty amazing things that have happened on a shoot. Some are downright unbelievable because no one could possibly say or do some of the things they do. I’m here to tell you that at my age I’ve seen enough to boggle the minds of both young and old alike.

              I was shooting a national advertisement for Bacardi Rum, and the Art Director wanted me to put a full size pool table on a white sand beach. From experience I knew that Sarasota, Florida had some of the best beaches in the country, and had a totally un-obstructed view to the setting sun.

              As most of you know by know Light is everything to me, and it’s what I stress both in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

              I called the producer I had worked with over the years and had her start assembling all the pieces that are always need to pull a fairly large production. From shooting the different beaches to show to the client, to renting a full size pool table and having a company deliver it, set it up, and take it away.

              Then you have the usual details like hotels, car and van rentals,  assistants, and anything else you can think of as far as aiding in the production. In this photo, a hand model was needed so agency photos were also sent to the client for approval.

              Last but certainly not least was taking care of all the needs for Miss Bacardi, who came with her own entourage.

              From the outset, I knew there was something special about Miss Bacardi but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Perhaps it was her question as to why someone would put a pool table on the beach????? Why only one instead of the several you would find in a pool hall???

              There’s no denying the fact that she was beautiful and had a near perfect figure, but I could only figure that God ( in his omnipotent wisdom) forgot all about what to put on the inside of her head.

              The day of the shoot happened to fall on the day of the Super Bowl, and we finished up in time to go to the bar of our hotel and watch it from the beginning.

              Right before the game I went to a phone (no cell phones in those days) to place a small bet with a friend back in Houston. The game was being played on the West coast which was on Pacific time, which meant that it was starting three hours later for those on the East coast. It was being played in Houston two hours earlier than the East coast. Keep in mind that the game was actually starting at the same time from coast to coast.

              When I returned and told my crew who I had called in Houston to place a bet, Miss Bacardi told me that it was a dumb idea to bet with someone that would know the final score before I did.

              True story…they are all children dressed up in their parent’s cloths!!!

              Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 206 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime.

              I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

              JoeB

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

                Maine Media Workshop: August 2016

                Pemaquid Point lighthouse with Peter.

                Pemaquid Point lighthouse with Peter.

                I recently returned from my 28th year at the Maine Media Workshop. The campus is located in Rockport, Maine, and it’s one of my favorite things to do every August. I’ve picked this week every year because it’s the same week as the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland.

                This year was no different and with a good group of photographers we spent a great week together shooting and discussing their images.

                My workshop is called “Stretching Your Frame of Mind”, and I teach people how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their photography. I also show students that take my online class with the BPSOP how to make these same elements work for them as well.

                As I’ve done in the past when I get back home, I put together a post that’s made up of entirely their photos taken over the course of the week. These photos were taken at locations I’ve been going to for many years, as in the photos taken at Pemaquid Point lighthouse…along with a photograph that calls for a production; as in the photo the class did together of Ghost face…a character in the Scream series.

                Enjoy the show:

                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…come to Maine in 2017

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

                JoeB

                Let people know you saw it here!
                  { 0 comments }
                  My favorite sunrise, clear with a chill in the air.

                  My favorite sunrise, clear with a chill in the air.

                  What do you do if you know you’ve just taken a great photo…a keeper…an OMG shot???? Do you do react differently when you’re alone verses when you’re shooting with someone else?

                  I teach an online class with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around our planet, and I just love it when one of my fellow photographers submits a photo that he or she is very proud of.

                  Is it a series of fist pumps, hootin’ and a hollering, jumping up and down? An end zone really stupid dance? Maybe you’re the discreet or quiet type of photographer that just whispers “yes’ under his or her breath…or just maybe an ear to ear smile to a small smirk with one raised eyebrow.

                  Here’s how it often happens to me: After a conversation with yourself in the mirror, you’ve decided to set your alarm clock at an ungodly hour so you can get to a location at sunrise that you’ve always wanted to shoot. You load your equipment in the trunk, and after a quick stop at a convenience for a cup of black coffee, your off. As you’re driving, you’re head is halfway out the window looking up at the slightly brightening sky, hoping and praying to see some color and stars towards the area of the horizon where the sun will be coming up; an hour or two later.

                  You arrive at your destination and everything so far looks good. You still have a couple of minutes before the start of the Blue Hour. This is a great time to work on silhouettes, and I for one love this time of the morning, especially when there’s a little nip in the air.

                  Now the sun is coming up and the Blue Hour has turned into the Golden Hour. For the next thirty to forty minutes (depending on the time of year and your location) you’re shooting everything and anything that has this beautiful light falling on it. You see an opportunity to shoot something that has caught your attention out of the corner of your eye. Bracketing to make sure you’ve captured a good exposure, it’s now forever embedded in your mind and more importantly on your card. There’s a sensation that comes over you because you know you got it, and it makes you feel really good.

                  During the drive back home your mind flirts with visions of all the beautiful and different shots you took, but that one, that keeper keeps coming back and all you can do is just smile.

                  So next time you’re on  holiday, set the alarm clock the night before with all the best intentions of getting up and going shooting, don’t roll over with the pillow on your head because it’s dark outside and there’s a chill in the air. Get up while the others are sleeping, get dressed grab your equipment and tiptoe out; you just never know when something will make you feel really good.

                  By the way, if you’re interested in knowing where I first heard this phrase, just click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8JzwrD5dvk

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

                  I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

                  JoeB

                   

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

                    Food For Digital Thought: The Histogram

                    Did i really want to be looking at a Histogram?

                    A conversation that often comes up is when one of my students taking my PPSOP class tells me that according to their Histogram, the exposure was the correct one. During one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I’ve walked up to one of my fellow photographers, when there was a few seconds of great light still left, and saw him/her standing there looking at that worthless chart on the back of their camera…the Histogram!!!

                    EGADS!!! YIKES!!! WHAT???

                    So let me get this straight. You’re telling me that you need ( or should be doing) to look at something the Digital Gods (those would be the geeks) created with the sole purpose of letting you miss what could have been the best photo you’ve ever taken? REALLY???

                    When I do encounter that problem during one of my workshops, I always tell people to get that off their camera…why? Because you don’t need it to create good photos. It’s going to do more harm that good, and that’s the reality of it all. The absolute last thing I want to be doing is to have a camera ( a machine) telling me if a photo is ready to be taken. I want and can decide that all by lonesome…thank you very much!

                    Ok, so it’s not all their fault. The majority of my students didn’t begin their passion for photography until after the advent of the digital world. They only know what they’re led to believe, and they’re led to believe that in order to take good photos you have to pay attention to Histograms, and those ridiculous blinking areas on the back of your camera telling you that you’ve clipped the highlights.

                    All I can say is don’t stand there and miss the shot, be a student of light and know take matters into you own hands…How? By bracketing. By bracketing you’ll be able to get the exposure in the camera without needing to look at a Histogram. By putting your brackets next to each other on your monitor you’ll start to realize when you’ll need to underexpose more and overexpose more. Try setting your camera to bracket automatically. then you can study the different exposures and have a clearer idea about shutter speed/aperture combinations.

                    The above photo was taken without the help of a Histogram. If I had been looking at the back of my camera waiting for it to tell me that it was ok to shoot, I would have missed the shot.

                    🙁

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

                    I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

                    Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique.

                    JoeB

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

                      My Favorite Quote: Dr. John

                      At the right place at the right time.

                      At the right place at the right time.

                      I just love working on this category, and when I hear, see, or read something that directly relates to information I’ve been sharing  with my fellow photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP or my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, it really makes me smile!!

                      One of my all time favorite singers is Dr. John, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend from New Orleans. One of my all time favorite songs he wrote is “Right Place Wrong Time”, and of all the quotes I’ve been sharing with all of you this one probably means the most to me.

                      It hits home because of the one and only time (a million years ago) I showed up at a location at sunrise all ready to shoot, only to discover that the location only received light at sunset. It wouldn’t have been quite so bad had I shown up alone with my assistants but noooooooooooo…the Art Director, agency account executive, and last but certainly nor least was the client!!!!

                      We were at the right place at the wrong time!!! What did I do you ask? With my tail between my legs we all got back in our cars went back to the hotel and waited until sunset. It was a bummer extraordinaire.

                      🙁

                      From that moment on I made a promise to myself that it would never happen to me again, and to this day ( a million years later) it hasn’t.

                      Right place, right time

                      Right place, right time

                      There’s two different way I approach photography: The first is if I’m just walking around a city in the US or some village in Europe or Asia either by myself or with a group from one of my workshops. If I was able to scout the locations ahead of time to see when it received the best light for the longest time all the better; if not I just showed up and just made do with the light we had.

                      A lot of the time we were there mid morning to mid afternoon when the sun was at it’s zenith, and for the most part it was fine as most of these old medieval towns or Asian villages had narrow streets with tall buildings surrounding them. The best advice I had at that point was to look for areas in shadow and use the contrast between light and dark to their advantage.

                      The second approach is the more serious approach and that is to scout all my locations ahead of time to determine exactly where the sun will come up and go down to the degree; as well as knowing where it will be all day.

                      For as long as I can remember I’ve been using a program called Sunpath, and a hand bearing compass called a Morin2000. It’s a far better combination that one of those apps you put on your phone…far more accurate and it’s great when shooting indoors with window light.

                      I don’t want to be at a location at sunrise when I should have been there at sunset. Depending on the subject matter, the idea, and the location, I might want to backlight, but on the other hand side light might be the best way to achieve what I want. If I’m really lucky, I might be able to do both.

                      Scouting ahead of time will also enable me to develop a shot list. Let’s say for example I’m at a large marina that’s nestled into the side of a small group of hills. My first shots would be as close to those hills as possible, then as the sun began to drop behind those same hills I would want to get as far away from the hills as I could which would by me some more time before losing the light altogether.

                      Always at the right place ,at the right time.

                      Always at the right place ,at the right time.

                      Let’s also say that the mega-yacht I’m suppose to shoot is moored close to the end of the marina and even closer to the hills. If the sun is coming up right behind the hills, early morning light won’t be hitting the vessel until mid morning. I don’t want to be there at sunrise, I need to be there at sunset so that late afternoon light (golden hour) will be hitting the yacht.

                      So, my fellow photographers the best advice I could give you is to make sure you don’t show up all excited and ready to shoot great photos only to discover that your morning has been a waste of time…be prepared!

                      For those of you that would like to see where my epiphany, my sudden insight into this post came from, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6RtVmc5dSE

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

                      I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

                      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!
                        { 0 comments }

                        Food for digital Thought: Color

                        Color was my subject

                        Color was my subject

                        When I go out shooting, I never look for a particular subject. For example: flowers, fences, boats, cars, buildings, planes, trains, rivers, oceans, etc. What I look for is color, and color is often the subject. A white picket fence is not just a picket fence. It’s a ‘white’ picket fence. The type of flower is unimportant; it’s the color that attracts me to it.

                        Coming from a background in color theory, painting and design, I have over the years, trained my eye to look for color, and it often requires looking past your initial impression. The use of color can come either first or last in our thought process, and for me, it’s usually first and foremost.

                        When I’m working with my online students with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops, I’ll put color on their Artist Palette as one of the basic elements of visual design.

                        Since my background is also in Journalism (as in a BA) I love to write and tell stories. Now, my medium is photography, so I will often use color as my way of communicating ideas. For me, color is a stimulant for our eyes, and ties the elements of a photograph together. Color affects every moment of our lives, and has an enormous impact on our photography. Knowing color is one of the first steps in taking consistently good photographs.

                        Being a student of the color wheel will help you as far as creating harmony and balance when composing. Harmony, as it applies to photography is a way of more than one color making sense to one another.

                        Studying the psychological effects of color is a class in itself. For example: Blue is calming or depressing. Brown is earthy and provides an element of comfort. Orange is an attention grabber. Purple is sexy, powerful, and regal.

                        Yellow is cheerful. Green is the color of freshness. Black is mysterious. White is associated with cleanliness. Red, the most powerful color of all, stimulates the heart and brain. It’s sexy, angry, ambitious, and can imply risk-taking. Artists use color to achieve several effects.

                        Color can give you a sense of mood as well as a sense of place, and time. It can also be used to move the viewer’s eye around your composition.

                        Here’s a portfolio of examples

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

                        I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

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

                        JoeB

                        Let people know you saw it here!
                          { 0 comments }
                          Six seconds of visual interest?

                          Six seconds of visual interest?

                          Inspiration for these posts come in all flavors anytime day or night…no matter what I’m doing. So to tell you that this one came from surfing my cable television provider on a particularly dreadful evening where you wonder why you have to pay so much to get absolutely nothing of any content or cerebral stimulation.

                          As I had my thumb sitting on the up button, watching the programs whiz by at close to warp speeds I suddenly stopped, backed up and began watching the PBR Network. An obscure channel (at least for this city boy) that’s all about professional bull riding…as in PBR…and by the way not to be confused with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

                          I quickly became enthralled, fascinated as to who had the biggest testicles the bulls or the cowboys willing to ride these four-legged monsters whose main purpose in life as I see it…is to kill, maim,  mutilate, or seriously injure those that decide to get on and ride it for eight seconds right into the history books as heroes and legends for unnamed prizes, big trophies and or cash.

                          In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, I’m often telling my fellow photographers that visual input is a part of our everyday life ,and if we can make it our objective to present this visual information in a way that makes  it worthwhile for the viewer to stick around, we’ve done our job as an artist and photographer. Make him an active participant by moving him around the frame via line, having him discover things in your composition while he’s moving around the frame, and create what I refer to as Layers of Interest.

                          These Layers of Interest should work together in harmony and be balanced. There should be some sort of rhythm that makes the viewer comfortable while looking around for things to discover. I can tell you that once the viewer sees something interesting, he’ll look for another.

                          Creating depth by using wide-angle lens to anchor your subject up close and personal is another way to keep the viewer around. The use of light, communicating ideas using color are others.

                          Here’s what it all boils down to:

                          When I’m shooting and right before I click the shutter, I ask myself if the photo I’m about to take was a print hanging on a wall during the opening of a new trendy gallery…surrounded by other photos. There are people dressed up in matching clothes, holding cheap Merlot or Chardonnay wine in plastic glasses, milling around looking important and occasionally looking at the photographs.

                          Would any of them stop from self-indulgence and look at my photo for at least six seconds, or stroll by with nothing more than a cursory look. If I can’t say with the utmost assurance to myself that yes they will stop, then I re-think my composition and not go any farther as far as committing to the final act of taking the picture.

                          Eight seconds is a very long time to expect someone to study your photograph as well as it is riding a bull. For me, I like the challenge, but perhaps six seconds is more like it; still a long time. If you adhere to some of my ideas and practices, you’ve got a very good chance to last the full eight seconds and take home one of those coveted trophies…maybe a silver belt buckle in the shape of a camera would be more appropriate.

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

                          The Los Angeles Center for photography has invited me to come out and conduct a three day intensive workshop over the August 18th weekend. I’ll be making a presentation of my work on Thursday July 14th and the public is invited. The full description can be see at the top of this blog, with a link to the site. I hope to spend the weekend with all of you.

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

                          JoeB

                          Let people know you saw it here!
                            { 0 comments }
                            Ad #1 Beach activities

                            Ad #1 Beach activities

                            I often wonder what it would have been like if I had access to the products that are now being made by Adobe, instead of in the way back when Adobe was a type of house in the southwest part of the US.

                            Would I not care as much about getting things right in the camera since I didn’t have to? Would there be less stress about making sure my exposure was within 1/3 of a stop of what the art director or designer wanted? Especially since he couldn’t fix it either.

                            I’m not just talking about exposures, but what went on inside the edges of the frame; props for one thing. If it wasn’t convenient or if there was a size constraint, or logistics or timing made it impossible, you could always add them later.

                            What if you were shooting a group of people and in each exposure there was always one person that wasn’t smiling, or looking away, or in the middle of a blink and you couldn’t do anything about it; which is why you shot so many rolls of film. Now you can just mix and match and wind up with everyone looking just right; or even add a guy because he was not available add the time of the shoot.

                            Ad #2 Meeting rooms

                            Ad #2 Meeting rooms

                            Well, between you me and the lamppost, I wouldn’t trade those times for the world.  I’m glad to be a product of the film (stone age) era, and now being able to use Adobe as I see fit; to enhance, but not fix and to improve on but not rely.

                            In the digital world, I see way too often someone in my online class with the BPSOP or in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” Workshops I conduct around our planet telling me or referring to the notion to not worry about it because…”I can fix it later”.

                            I always love this category because I can show my fellow photographers that you can actually create before clicking the shutter, and resolve any problems with thought and imagination.

                            In this campaign I did for the Kanapali Beach hotel, I was to use a certain species of butterfly in three completely situations. This was a big part of their branding and it was everywhere, including a tiled butterfly at the bottoms of their many pools.

                            Ad #2 Fine dining

                            Ad #2 Fine dining

                            My producer found an Entomologist on the Island that would find me six butterflies of the specific species the hotel wanted; so I could have extras in case any were damaged and rendered un-usuable. As luck would have it, he also was looking for this particular variety. They were not cheap, and he was not willing to negotiate with us (since we were in advertising) so the price was five hundred apiece.

                            Since the set-up time for each ad took most of a day, we spent three days shooting three ad, and wound up using four butterflies. While it was a fun and challenging project, looking back I would not have minded some post-production help. Unfortunately each image shown here was shot on one piece of film, and one exposure.

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

                            The Los Angeles Center for photography has invited me to come out and conduct a three day intensive workshop over the August 18th weekend. I’ll be making a presentation of my work on Thursday July 14th and the public is invited. The full description can be see at the top of this blog, with a link to the site. I hope to spend the weekend with all of you.

                            I have added a new workshop to my 2016 schedule. On September 21st, ten photographers will get together with me at my evening “meet and greet” to begin a fantastic five-day workshop in New York, New York. Check out my description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me.

                            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!
                              { 0 comments }