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AskJoeB: What do others think about it?

What do others think?

What do others think?

I received this photo and question and I always like to share what my fellow photographers had to say. So many of you have either experienced a similar situation or have had similar questions. Here’s what Terry had to say:

“Joe,

I was primarily shooting the butterfly’s shadow. How much does the actual butterfly being out of focus matter? I got what I intended but am not sure what others might think about it.

Terry”

Hello Terry,

It’s a rather interesting photo and a very good question.

First, in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, one of the first things and one I continue to talk about is the aspect ratio.

I see that you decided to shoot in a square. The problem with that is we don’t perceive in a square, we perceive in a rectangle. It’s almost impossible to generate Visual Tension in a square. I’m not saying impossible because a few have done it. Diane Arbus was one and she took her own life. I’m certainly not implying that anyone that shoots in a square would do the same. If you look at her work you can see how a lot of it is disturbing.

One can only imagine what was going through her mind.  Her subject matter would have Tension if the format was a trapezoid. Strong documentary photos have a better chance of getting away with it. but in my opinion, that’s a limited genre in the entire field of Photography.

I’m going to assume two things: Either you had your aspect ratio set on a square, or you cropped this photo. If you crop your photos you’ll never know where the edges and corners of your frame are. You’ll only know when you’re sitting in front of your computer, and by then it’s too late. If photographers want to be better shooters, then I suggest they use the edges of their frame as a compositional tool. If the composition wasn’t strong enough right before you clicked the shutter, then why click the shutter?

Henri Cartier-Bresson said that when you crop, you destroy the initial integrity of you composition, and if it wasn’t good enough then cropping won’t make it better.

If you had your aspect ratio set to shoot a square, then I would consider changing it to a 3:2 ratio since that’s the way we perceive.

Ok, I’ve digressed enough Terry, take a look at this video:

http://www.screencast.com/t/WSdg7465

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.  In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

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

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: Louis Pasteur

I'm always ready for anything that comes my way.

I’m always ready for anything that comes my way.

In my famous quotes category, they don’t necessarily come from well-known photographers, writers, or musicians. They are quotes I’ve heard over time that have stuck with me for one reason or another. Yes, in order for me to identify with them they need to have some bearing on what I happen to have been doing for the past forty-four years…and that would be taking pictures.

Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors the prepared mind”.

Photographically speaking, that refers to being mentally ready to take on whatever is coming your way…either from behind you or straight at you. In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m constantly pointing out that light, among other things comes and goes so fast that it’s easy to miss out. Sure, it takes talent, but it takes fast reflexes, being alert to the forever changing light, and a very good knowledge of your camera. I sometimes just scratch my head when a fellow photographer signs up for one of my workshops and shows up with a brand new camera and assortment of lens he or she has…and bought and so very proud of.; without ever reading the manual or shooting with it before the workshop.

I specifically remember being at a location in Paris at sunrise. Not just a typical beautiful sunrise, but one that was anything but typical. It had a perfect mix of a glorious sky and beautiful warm light. So beautiful, that one could just stand there and admire it…which incidentally was exactly what this photographer wound up doing. She had purchased a new camera system and four lens, and had no idea how to use it; since I didn’t shoot with the system, I could not help…a sad lesson learned.

I digress.

When you put your camera over your shoulder, you are basically going out hunting that wily-rouge OMG photo, that keeper that you can put on your wall and be proud to say you shot it…when asked.  You need to be ready and alert mentally for anything, because that’s what’s liable to come you way…anything and everything. That also includes always looking over your shoulder.

A well known pool hall expression is…”When you snooze, you lose”. One example is if you had just been shooting on the Aperture mode and suddenly something happened that would require a fast shutter speed, you would probably miss it if you hadn’t thought about it (very quickly) and changed your setting. This is one of many reasons I always shoot on manual…but that’s another story.

In the photo above, I was returning back to the San Juan airport after shooting the coastline from a helicopter. I looked to my far left and saw this incredible sky, and for a moment it had mesmerized me. To my right I saw a jet taking off and quickly got myself into position to shoot the jet as it headed towards the clouds and before the jet was gone…which took about ten seconds. As a result, I was able to capture this amazing (un-retouced) image that has always been one of my favorites.

Btw, imagine what it must have looked like to the pilot and co-pilot.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have one opening left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Keep those photos and questions coming into:AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

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Anecdotes: There Is a Photo God

Enjoying the view of the Old town Square with a glass of wine.

Enjoying the view of the Old town Square with a glass of wine.

I teach three online classes with the PPSOP, and I take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop around the planet. Before the start of my Springtime workshop in Prague I had arrived there a few days early to scout all the locations with Katka, the woman that was coordinating/producing  everything for me. I always do this so I can put my fellow photographers at the right spot for the early and then late light. One afternoon she took me to a wonderful restaurant in the Old Town Square. We sat on the roof and enjoyed appetizers with a glass of white wine. Looking down I asked Katka what the big crowd was doing at the base of the tall Old Town City Hall that seemed to be in the center of the square.

Katka told me that they were standing at the base where the astronomical clock was located waiting for the top of the hour. On the hour, a show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—notably a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) are set in motion. They all come out and the skeleton strikes the bell. Immediately, all other figures shake their heads, side to side, signifying their un-readiness “to go.”.

As it turned out, we were through just in time to go down and watch the action unfold up close and personal. I was standing there looking up as the skeleton began his thing, and when I looked behind me, the place was packed with people taking pictures of the figures above me. It really struck me funny and it sort of felt like they were all taking my picture. Of course I yelled out…”My people, my people” since I always wanted to do that and there was never going to be a better opportunity.

My people!

My people!

:-)

For one brief shining moment…I was a Photo God!!!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to:AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

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Food For Digital Thought: Shape

I saw triangles.

I saw triangles.

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, we work on incorporating the Elements of Visual Design into our photography. One of the basic elements is Shape.

Shapes are all around us and whether the viewer knows it or not, he’ll see them and react. Used in our imagery, shapes will provide a sense of structure and unity to your composition. The four basic shapes are: circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. These shapes when all the sides are the same are perceived by the viewer as systematic, stable, and symmetrical. The shapes that are similar but are more irregular such as an isosceles triangle or a trapezoid have more energy. Besides those that are more prevalent in our world, the diamond is a great shape, filled with a great deal of energy and evokes a sense of motion; not to be overlooked. Repeating these shapes will provide a sense of unity, and can be perceived by the viewer as one group.

Everything in this world is broken down by either being negative or positive space. The same holds true for negative and positive shapes. When we think of shapes, we think of the kind that has mass and therefore considered as positive space. However, a shape can be the negative variety that’s created by the positive space that surrounds it. Imagine an ornate fence that has a row of wrought iron circles at the top and running the length of the fence. The circles are positives shapes and have mass, but what about the area inside the round wrought iron? Those are also circles, but they have been created by the positive shape and have no mass. They are the negative shapes.

There are those shapes that are created without color and detail and are referred to as silhouettes. They can add a graphic and thought provoking feel to your composition and can communicate the type of shape very quickly.

The ability to “see past first impressions” is the key in providing the various shapes to create stronger images. One may look at a series of beautiful sailboat silhouetted against a dramatic sunset racing towards the finish line and just see the sailboats. That’s the left side of your brain at work, the analytical side. However, if you were to switch that side off, and look at the same group of sailboats with the right side of your brain, the creative side, you will see the row of triangles against a very unusual sky. The sky was very gray and just as the sun was setting, it broke out for a minute creating this strange effect and adding a little backlight to the sailboats/triangles. Fortunately I had on a 600mm F/4 lens so I could reach out to the sailboats.

Look for shapes, and introduce them into your photography. Once you train yourself to see with that side of your brain and forget about the labels we put on things, your photographs will take on a new meaning and have a much better chance of being remembered.

To see more shapes, click on this link: http://joebaraban.com/blog/example/shape/

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com

JoeB

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Quick Photo Tip: Setting Up An Action Shot

I set this photo up and shot it as though it was really happening in real time.

I set this photo up and shot it as though it was happening in real time.

Since I can remember, I’ve been accused of someone lacking in patience. I don’t necessarily agree with that except for when it comes to “making pictures”.

One of my all time favorite “Pearls of Wisdom” is, “I don’t photograph what I see, because I never see what I want; so I photograph what I’d like to see”. What I mean is that I love throwing a camera over my shoulder and go out to “take pictures”.  This is usually when I’m traveling, and sometimes I get photos that I really like and sometimes I don’t.

With my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet,  I talk a lot about the difference between taking and making pictures.

What I prefer to do is go out and “make pictures”. I like to set things up and then stand back and shoot in a repertoire fashion. In other words, I have complete control of the action, and I’m after a photo that looks real…as if I just happened to capture it. The look of being at the right place at the right time.

In all these images, I set the action up, and then photographed it as though it was really happening. Give it a try sometime. It will take some pre-visualization on your part, but you’ll like the results…and you don’t have to rely on a virtue called patiences for it to happen!!! :-)

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

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

JoeB

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AskJoeB: I’m not sure

Flare

Flare

I received this photo from a past student, and I always like to include what that person had said. The reason why is because a lot of you out there has had similar questions, or has come up against similar issues or ideas. Here’s what Anna Maria had to say:

“Dear Joe:

I took a class with you at the BPSOP a couple of years ago.
After reading your post “My Favorite Quotes: Hank Williams” I was interested in having a critique of this picture I took last week at the roman theater of Mérida (Spain). As I read in your post, I was trying to chase the light taking pictures of my daughter.
I wanted to know your critique since I am not sure if the rays of light causing that chromatic aberration are very distracting or is the opposite and they make the picture more interesting.

Thanks in advance,”

Anna Maria

These are "rays of light"

These are “rays of light”

This comes up quite frequently in my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. In this photo Anna called them “rays of light”. It’s not rays of light, but flare as a result from the light source close to the edge of the frame.

Take a look at this video:

http://www.screencast.com/t/rfLefcFNP

It’s a nice photo Anna, thanks for submitting it. I would have composed it so the child was leaving the frame to imply content outside of the frame and generate more Visual Tension.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. At the end of this month, July 26th, for those that find themselves with time on their hands I’ll be at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. A great place filled with energy and photographers talking about photography at the Homestead. It’s also the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. it offers a completely different set of photo opts, as in design ,people watching (portraiture), movement, lights, and color.

I have teo spots open for my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Portugal next May 21st. A beautiful city with lots of history and photo opts.

I have one spot left in my “Autumn in Provence” workshop starting October 21st. seeing and shooting in Provence is fantastic, but being there during the Fall Foliage is just downright magical.

April 27rth, 2016 in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a workshop to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. I’ll put you in locations to shoot photos you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

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

JoeB

 

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Life Before Photoshop: Hawaii

Look ma, no Photoshop  I teach a four week online class with the PPSOP, and I also  conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. What’s the single thread that connects all my fellow photographers to one another? It’s the fact that the vast majority began their love for this creative institution after the advent of the digital camera. Virtually every month , I  try to educate these students of mine that you don’t need Lightroom  or Photoshop to make good photos. I’m not saying there not great tools, just that you don’t need them to make a good photo.

I recently had a student ask me if I bracketed my photos and combined them in HDR to get the “correct exposure”. This is a clear sign that validates my thinking. First of all, she had been told that there was a correct exposure….What????? First of all there’s no such thing as a correct exposure. every picture I’ve ever taken had a different “correct exposure”. How can there be a universal correct exposure? Beat’s the hell out of me. I guess it’s just another one of those things that lie just above my pay grade.

My exposures are based on what I’m feeling at the point of creation. It has solely to do with the message I want to send to the viewer. Bright and sunny, or dark and dramatic…it just all depends…doesn’t it????

Second, I’ve been shooting for forty-four years and most of that was when you bracketed and choose the best exposure. There was no other way to do it; at least when I was shooting color. HDR was the initials of a girl I went out with!!!

Ok, read my lips…YOU DON’T NEED HDR TO CREATE A CORRECT EXPOSURE. IN FACT, YOU DON’T NEED HDR AT ALL!!!

In the above photo, I was shooting a project for United Airlines. One of the toughest assignments I’ve ever had. Five weeks in Hawaii shooting pretty much whatever I wanted..oh the horror!!!

We were invited to take some photos of a popular Luau at the hotel we were staying at. My assistant was standing right next to me giving me readings from my Minolta One-Degree spot meter. Yes, it actually reads just one degree of reflected light at a time. I want to know everything about the light and when it changes. It’s why I never use the meter in my Mark III after crossing over to the digital world. It’s just not as accurate as I want it.

A new reading every few seconds.

A new reading every few seconds.

I wanted to maintain the aperture, so my assistant kept yelling out the changes in shutter speeds., until it was too dark to show the fire-eater and the environment around him, and too slow to stop the action. I was able to achieve this on one piece of film, and one exposure.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com

JoeB

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Quick Photo Tip: A Visual Dichotomy

A visual dichotomy at work.

A visual dichotomy at work.

Di·chot·o·my
noun \dī-ˈkä-tə-mē

A difference between two opposite things : a division into two opposite groups. A division into two mutually exclusive groups or entities.The dichotomy between theory and practice.The process or practice of making such a division of the population into two opposed classes.

Ok, now that all of you know what a dichotomy is, I can get to the reason of why it can be an important part of our thought process when looking for subject matter to photograph.

I’m always telling my online students with the PPSOP  and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, to look for that which is un-predictable. Something that conveys more than one idea. It’s all about keeping the viewer interested in what we have to say. That could be in using Line to move the viewer around the frame, or entertaining him with interesting Patterns, Shapes, and Textures at a location you found; to name just a few. As in the photo above, it could be in an interesting dichotomy that shows an American Flag, a sign that says Tamales for sale, and with an Hispanic woman posing for me in the back of her trailer.

The photo tells a story, and it’s one that the viewer will write himself. He has all the ingredients: An Hispanic woman, an American Flag, a trailer, and a sign that says Tamales for sale.

So when you’re out looking for ideas to shoot, keep a dichotomy in mind. Look for interesting parts of a puzzle that mean something totally different when photographed by themselves, but when added together convey a completely new and different meaning; that often works well together.

Man and his dog.

Man and his dog.

Here’s another example of a dichotomy at work. This huge bearded tough looking man with a very small pet.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com

JoeB

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Food For digital Thought: Proofread

I love Zydeco!!!

I love Zydeco!!!

How many of you have ever written a letter, poem, story, e-mail or perhaps an epic novel? If you did  you proofread it before you hit send, submitted it to a magazine, or your literary agent. It would make perfect sense, right? After all, it’s all part of looking good and proving to others that you’re half-way literate.

Well, would it not hold true for taking pictures? Wouldn’t you want to make sure that proverbial tree or lamppost wasn’t growing out of your girlfriends or mother-in law’s ( maybe you would in that situation) head, or including the rest of someone’s hand or foot? Truth be told, most people don’t think about it right before they snap the shutter; they’re always in a hurry. Sadly to say, those people rarely proofread so it’s probably no surprise there.

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet, I tell my fellow photographers to always adhere to my three checks. First, the four-corner check. I take a quick gander at each of my four corners. If for no other reason, to make sure I had the right lens shade on for unwanted vignetting, or if my filter was the cause of the same problem.

Next, I always do my Border Patrol, which entails running my eye around all four edges of my frame to make sure what I wanted in my composition was in my composition, and what I didn’t want in my frame wasn’t. This includes making sure all of my subject’s fingers and toes were included.

Last,  I do my “Fifteen Point Protection Plan”. To make sure among other things, that there’s enough negative space defining the positive space, and making sure there’s balance between those two thoughts….as well as the things I would see in my four-corner and border patrol.

Redundant, you say? Yes, and redundancy is a good thing…at least in creating strong, and memorably photos it is. The key to this is remembering to always do it, as I have for the past forty-four years. The more you do it the faster you’ll get at it, until it becomes second nature and can be accomplished in mere seconds.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

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

JoeB

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AskJoeB: So, what do you think?

So, what do you think?

So, what do you think?

Valeriano, a past online student of mine with the BPSOP sent me this image to talk about. I always like to include what each photographer has to say, because so many of you out there have had similar problems or thoughts about one of your photos. Here’s what Valeriano had to say:

Hello Joe,

I’d like your critique about this photo. In particular I’m concerned about the slight motion in the clouds. When I shot this I was not thinking about getting a motion filled shot.

Though I just went with using a small aperture (f/16 or f/22 can’t remember precisely for this particular shot) in order to get everything in focus from foreground to infinity.
I was using a polarizing filter, which obviously cut the exposure of -2 stops, though slower shutter speed.

So what do you think about it? The main subject here is the sky, and the cloud placed on top-left third which is slightly blurred by motion. Is that something which can work for this kind of landscape photography or not?
Thanks for your critique.

Valeriano.”

In both my online class and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around the planet, we work on how to incorporate the Elements of Visual Design into your photography. We also talk a lot about matching the light to the shutter speed and aperture combinations so you get the maximum depth of field or the fastest shutter you’re after.

Take a look at this video and it will hopefully demonstrate what I mean: http://www.screencast.com/t/jITnXaeR5LF

It’s a beautiful image with great light and color, so thanks for sharing it.

Here’s the link to the post on giving meaning: http://joebaraban.com/blog/giving-meaning-to-photographs/

One thing I forgot to mention in the video is the placement of the horizon line. Since you wanted to emphasize the sky, you were correct in placing the horizon line in the bottom thirds. when you want to emphasize the foreground, you place the horizon line at the top. If you have a mirror image, you place the horizon line in the middle. Of course I don’t adhere to any rules so forget what I just said and do what you think feels right. Ansel Adams once said, “There are no rules for good pictures, there’s just good pictures.”

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have two spots left on my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Portugal next May 21st. My workshops in Myanmar and Provence are full at the moment, but if you’d like to be placed on my waiting list please let me know. My 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop will be next July 26th, and in April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’m leading a workshop to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. What an incredible photographic experience. Photos that you would see in National Geographic are yours for the taking.

Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and receive a video critique.

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: Hank Williams

I saw the light and the welder first, then moved the bankers into it.

I saw the light and the welder first, then moved the bankers into it.

One of my favorite quotes is actually the title to a famous country and western song entitled, “I saw the light”, sung by one of the true country legends, Hank Williams.  Not that I’m a die hard lover of country music or a religious person, but years ago whenever I was shooting on location, chasing and finding the light, I would sing a couple of verses to sort of celebrate my good fortune and timing.:

I saw the light, I saw the light
No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light.

If you’re interested, here’s Hank singing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtolv9kM1qk

Btw, my crew thought it was REALLY getting old!!!

The analogy I’m drawing is what I teach in my online class with the PPSOP, or in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.  I tell my fellow photographers that light is everything; you find the light and you’ll find the shot. The only exception is in photo-journalism/street photography where capturing the action can be more important.

I’m always looking all around my environment and peripheral vision for that moment when I see the light hitting or falling on something. Light is so fleeting that once you see it, you have to act fast or you’ll lose it. Sometimes the light returns, as in a cloud moving across the sky, but I’ve found after forty-four years of shooting that once it’s gone…baby it’s gone!!! Light will make the difference between going home empty handed, or being less satisfied because of a gray day when you could have slept in.

When you do see it, while running towards it, you should also be thinking about how you’re going to use it. Sometimes there’s a subject or center of interest already in the light, and sometimes I look around for something to move into the light.The faster you can determine that the better your chances are in capturing it.

Are you going to side light, back light, front light? These questions need to be addressed and put in order of importance. In other words, try to light your subject from as many points of view as you can. I always try to start out back lighting or from the light in the ten or two position. Then I’ll look at my subject as it’s side lit. Finally and rarely will I front light anything…why?

Because when you front light, you lose the third dimension, depth. The one exception is when the background behind your subject is dark, making it stand out.

Here’s what I saw when I see the light:

Imagine me singing away when I’m seeing the light!!!

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal.Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage. In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll see and take pictures of subject matter you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Come shoot with me and we’ll sing in two part harmony.

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

JoeB

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No histogram here.

No histogram here.

Actually, the actual line came from one of my favorite all time movies, On the Waterfront from one of my all time favorite actors, Marlon Brando. Here is the actual scene for those old enough to remember it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_GGVDVrIcM

I’m writing this post as a result from another of my students taking my online class with the PPSOP just telling me that the Histogram is a great tool for figuring out the proper exposure.. It’s also come up a number of times when during one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’ve walked up to a fellow photographer during the last rays of golden light coming from a beautiful sunset and he was studying the histogram on the back of his camera.

“What????? Are you kidding me?????”  I say to them. Ok, let me get this straight, they’re standing there looking at some diagram on the back of their camera, deciding if the exposure is correct? When there’s seconds of great light left? You do know what could and will probably happen…right? When they decide on the right exposure, the light will be gone. Light is so fleeting, that even for someone like me who has made light the number one priority in his photography over the past forty-four years, and is damn good at it, still has to react quick ( as in very quick) to get the shot.

I can say that in all these years, I’ve never thought about a Histogram, or any device created by the Digital Dork Gods that are suppose to make you a better photographer. What about these insane yet comical blinking lights that they also put on the back of your camera…why? So you won’t clip the highlights. Why would these digital dork Gods want to put these helpful tools on the back? To lead you down a one-way ticket to mediocrity. Why would you want to take a normal picture with a averaged exposure that a Histogram will do for you? I suppose it’s the safe thing to do, and to me safe means average.

Be a student of light and exposure, and the best way to achieve that is to learn how to bracket. Learn the shutter speed/aperture combinations, know when to overexpose more and when to underexpose more. Yes, I know that you really don’t need to know all that because that’s what Lightroom is for. Knowing how to adjust exposure in front of a monitor will definitely make you a better computer artist/digital technician but why not strive to be a better photographer. When it’s all said and done, twenty, thirty, or forty years down the road, you won’t have a clue as to what makes a good photo. What makes your pictures stand out from all the others.

In all these photos, including the one above, If I had looked at a Histogram to decide on what exposure looked the best, I would have lost the light and the shot in every one of them.

Btw, all these photos were created by bracketing and are all created in the camera, not sitting in front of a computer.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have a couple of openings in my Springtime in Portugal workshop. Next July 26th  I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. It’s a great place to spend a week immersing yourself in your passion…without any interruptions. I have two spots left in my “Autumn in Provence “ workshop next October 21st. An incredible experience seeing this part of the country during the Fall foliage.

In April of 2016, in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours, I’ll be leading a group of photographers to the coastal cities of North and Central Viet Nam. You’ll be able to see and shoot photos you would only see in magazines like National Geographic.

Come shoot with me sometime…like Marlon Brando, be a contender.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gtmail.com and receive a video critique of your image.

JoeB

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Life Before Photoshop: Asics Tennis Shoes.

Look ma, no Photoshop!!!

Look ma, no Photoshop!!!

For those out there that have been following these posts, I hope you’re enjoying them as much as I did when I was taking them…way back when Adobe was a type of house in the southwest part of the country.

It was never in question whether I could solve the clients problem or not. If I took on the project, then there could be only one ending…a happy one where everyone lived happily ever after. If there wasn’t a happy ending, you never worked for that advertising agency again. you became Persona non grata. If the art director went to another agency, and it happened all the time, your name went with him.

There wasn’t anything to help you in those days in the form pf post processing. Hell, in the early days there weren’t even computers….just me and my Kodachrome 25.

I teach an online class with the PPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. In both cases, my fellow photographers are not allowed to use any post processing. Everything they submit has to be right out of the camera. I want people to become better photographers, not better computer artists or digital technicians. don’t get me wrong. I’m not some old guy that can’t flow with the times; quite the contrary. I use CS5 to some degree  on just about every image I take..why not? Having said that, i like the challenge of getting it in one exposure, in the camera. To me, that’s what being a good shooter is all about.

The above photo was part of a advertising campaign for Asics Tennis Shoes. This ,particular shoe was worn by members of the Woman’s Olympic Volleyball team, and the client wanted a shot that was full of action while showing the shoe.

I created a way to make it look as if she was jumping for a ball by building a frame that could support her weight. To get it without the use of electronic flash just wasn’t going to work. We built a harness that had a large bungee cord attached to the top. We could pull her down, let go, and it would spring back with her with it. I used a shutter speed that was slow enough to record the ambient light in the gym, and a synch delay that would fire the large strobe in the soft box at the end of the exposure instead of the beginning. This is what creates the slight blur and feeling of motion. When we pulled her down and let go she sprang back up we would click the shutter at that moment.

Right before i started to shoot, we wafted some fog juice to add to the drama.

The production photo.

The production photo.

Since it was before digital, I could only get an idea of what I was getting by taking a Polaroid before the actual shot. After that I would bracket all over the reading my meter gave me. If it wasn’t right on the money, I had nothing to help make it right. Back then, it was just the way it was, and if you didn’t think you could pull it off, you just didn’t do it.

I never turned these kinds of assignments down. I loved the challenge of solving the problem, and never thought I couldn’t do it.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come enjoy Portugal, my next Springtime Workshop next May. I still have a couple of spaces left for my coordinated trip with Epic Photo Tours to Myanmar. A country full of rich photo opportunities, and offers a lifetime of memorably experiences. Come shoot with me sometime.

Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and receive a video critique.

JoeB

 

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Santa Fe Workshops: Cuba 2014

One of so many great photos taken by my class. This one was from Vikki.

One of so many great photos taken by my class. This one was from Vikki.

I recently returned from leading a fantastic photo tour/workshop to Cuba. Several months ago the Santa Fe Workshops asked me to lead a group of photographers to this small island just ninety miles off the coast of Florida. However, in our unfortunate and misguided political reality, it might as well be a million.

Because of the embargo that was placed in October of 1960, we are not allowed to travel directly to Cuba. Having said that, the Santa Fe Workshops has set up a person-to-person cultural exchange program whereas people can travel to this exciting and romantic country with special visas. These visas are for the purpose of exchanging ideas and sharing the different aspects of each countries cultures relating specifically to the arts and the artists living there; whether they be photographers, writers, dancers, or musicians. The management team at Santa Fe have been doing this for years, and have developed a very good working relationship with the government. As a result they have become adept at making the Cuban experience a life long memory.

I’ve been leading workshops since the eighties, and I can tell you that this was one of if not the most memorable experiences I’ve ever been involved in. The way it was handled was to be expected from Santa Fe, but it far exceeded my expectations. Our Cuban guide and the three Cuban photographers that always traveled with us were professional, courteous, knowledgeable in Cuban history, and were very talented photographers in their own right; also really good guys to be around.

Our producer, Kip Brundage, who works with and produces these Cuban workshops, has years of experience in the advertising and corporate community and one could not ask for a more qualified and approachable person.

With our first class accommodations and great restaurants to be found everywhere, not counting the freedom we had to explore Havana on our own, made the trip all the more memorable. I for one can’t wait to go back.

I had a full class, so this slideshow of photos taken strictly by my fellow photographers might be a little long, but as you’ll see the extra effort to view their work will be worth the time. For me, these photos have captured the essence of Cuba.

 

I hope to lead another group at some point, so stay tuned for future details. I can absolutely you one of the best experiences of your life whether you’re a photographer or you just want to see the country and perhaps make friends with these warm, photogenic, friendly, outgoing people.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I still have a couple of spots left for my next “Springtime” workshop to be in Portugal next May 21st. Although my workshop to Myanmar in conjunction with Epic Photo Tours is full, as is my “Autumn in Provence” workshop so I’d be happy to place your name on a waiting list. In April of 2016, I’ll be taking a group to Viet Nam so although it’s a long way off, if you’re interested let me know.

Keep those photos and questions coming in to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

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