≡ Menu

It ain’t over til it’s over.

While shooting an assignment for United Airlines I had gone to Ho’okipa Beach on the north shore of Maui to photograph windsurfers. Ho’okipa is regarded as the best place in the world for this sport. The international championship was just a couple of weeks away, so all the best windsurfers were there practicing.

It was late in the afternoon and incredibly overcast; about as gray a day as it gets in Hawaii. As a result, all my fellow photographers standing all around me had decided to leave. Since one of my long time favorite Personal Pearls of Wisdom is, “It ain’t over til it’s over”, and one I’m always sharing both with my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I followed my own advice and stayed.

I had My 600mm F/4 Nikor lens and body mounted on my tripod and I was watching these three windsurfers go through their trial run. I was basically watching them as though I had a pair of binoculars; purely for interest.

As I was following them, the sun poked it’s face out for just a couple of minutes, and during that time the windsurfers moved around to create a triangle, while being backlit. Since I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the basic elements of visual design into their imagery, and Shape is one of them, I’m always on the lookout. FYI, the four basic shapes are: squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles.

I was very lucky to get this shot, and as Eddie Adams ( a Pulitzer prize winning photographer) once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”.

So, the next time you’re out shooting and the weather isn’t cooperating,   stick around and see what happens because you just never know. Always remember that “it ain’t over til it’s over”.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage, and I can tell you from experience that it’s magical.   In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

JoeB

{ 0 comments }

Anecdotes: Rubbermaid Furniture

Shot for the Rubbermaid Furniture catalog.

Shot for the Rubbermaid Furniture catalog.

Over the past forty-four years of shooting advertising and corporate photography one can’t help to have been involved with some pretty funny stuff; especially in the advertising world where people tend to be weird. This was always acceptable when and if the interested parties had enough talent to transcend hard stares coming from the management side  of the advertising agencies.

One one project I worked on, I came in contact with one of the strangest and most talented art directors I had worked with in my career. The agency was in Chicago, and the client was Rubbermaid Sundial Furniture.

It was scheduled to be two weeks of shooting which meant a large budget,  so the account department wanted me to fly up and meet with them, the client, and the art director assigned to the project in person.

I flew to Chicago and immediately cabbed it to their building. I walked into the agency and gave the receptionist my name. I was led to the art director’s office and told to wait. As I sat down, I started looking around and couldn’t believe what I was seeing…which was one of the strangest things I had ever encountered.

Everything in his office had been covered and wrapped in Aluminum Foil. From his desk to his chair to the coat rack. His drawing board, T- square, pencils and pencil holder, stapler…everything!!!

I was flabbergasted…so  much so that I started laughing..and I’ve seen some pretty weird stuff in my career. When this guy walked in he didn’t say a word about how his room was decorated…he completely ignored it and as a result I didn’t mention it in case he wanted the satisfaction of me thinking he was one of the oddest people I had ever met; and obviously had come from somewhere deep in the middle of the Earth.

The Art Director.

The Art Director.

The shoot involved having two trucks loaded with Rubbermaid’s entire line of furniture following Gary and I down the coast highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and allowing me to do anything I wanted. As it turned out, we had a great time and he was one of the most talented art directors I had ever worked with.

FYI, the above photo has not been post-processed in any way. Straight out of the camera, and shot on Kodachrome 25 film.

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage, and I can tell you from experience that it’s magical.   In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

JoeB

{ 0 comments }
Several elements from his Artist Palette.

Several elements from his Artist Palette.

I teach an online class with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. I teach photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design and composition into their imagery, and each week of the four week class they are given a lesson to work on for that week.

In the second week we work on ways to generate Visual Tension. I’m not talking about the tension that comes from mental or emotional stress, I’m talking about the visual tension that comes from forces acting upon one another. I recently had a student in my part I class send me a photo to be critiqued, and along with the photo, he described his thought process this way:

While driving across Osage County in Oklahoma, I came across this wind farm being erected, and drove around until I found a single turbine and an oil well pumper side by side. I couldn’t cross the fence line, so I used the barbed wire and fence post for the foreground and to help frame the turbine and pumper. I also placed the blades of the turbine near the top wire to form a triangle. I also thought the fence post leaning toward the edge of the frame added tension”.

As always, I do a video critique of each photo that’s submitted, which is a huge help since I can explain myself while using the cursor to move around the various parts of the composition. In the videos, I point out what I like and why. I discuss the elements of design that are present in the photo.

Here’s the video I created for him: http://www.screencast.com/t/lh1Au4Ci

Here’s his reply to the video:

“Thanks Joe. I have to admit that before this class, I probably would have just walked up and shot OVER the fence instead of incorporating it into the scene. Or worse, I might have crossed over the fence (illegally) to get closer for a different angle. Thanks to you, I am seeing photography in a whole new way, and enjoying it all over again! I have a whole new philosophy–“Work with what’ya got, but WORK with what’ya got”.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog.  In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

JoeB

{ 0 comments }

Quick Photo Tip: Checking The Four Corners

I'm always checking my four corners, even when I'm out street shooting.

I’m always checking my four corners, even when I’m out street shooting.

I’ve been shooting professionally for almost forty-five years, and to this day I still go through my three checklist exercises to make sure what I want in my composition is there, and what I don’t want in my composition isn’t. These three practices are what I teach and preach to all my fellow photographers that either take my online classes with the PPSOP or attend one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

I have written posts on two of them that hopefully you might have read: My Fifteen Point Protection Plan, and my Border Patrol. My third exercise is called my Four Corner Checkoff, and it’s very simple to use, and worth the couple of seconds it takes to complete….that is if you remember.

Right before I pull the trigger ( that’s Texas talk for clicking the shutter), I glance at all the four corners to make sure all is as expected. Among other things, I’ll look to see if there’s any vignetting from a poorly attached lens shade, or the wrong lens shade on the right lens. Until I bought an ultra thin Polarizing filter, I would occasionally get dark areas in the corners from combining a lens shade and a filter.

Then, there’s just the common variety of mistakes like including tree branches, parts of un-wanted buildings, fingers and hands being cut off, etc.

I realize that all three of these exercises are tantamount to redundancy, but as far as I’m concerned, being redundant is a good thing; it’s saved me on many an occasion.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. 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 conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be making my third trip to Cuba next March. Come join me and experience Cuba the way it is now, not the way it will be soon.

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

FYI…today’s date in 1977 was the day Elvis died…at the age of 42. He had forever left the building.

JoeB

{ 0 comments }

Life Before Photoshop: Toyota

Look ma, no Photoshop

Look ma, no Photoshop

In my never ending quest to show my fellow photographers that take my online classes with the BPSOP, or in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, what it was like way back when when Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest part of the country, and Lightroom referred to a room that was light. I present to you and them another in my series “Life Before Photoshop”.

It was tough times, although no one really knew it. It was just SOP (standard operating procedure) to create photos in the camera. I guess I’m lucky in that respect since I had a pretty good imagination, loved to solve problems, and was extremely savvy as far as the ‘light’ was concerned.

I often wonder what my work would have looked like had Photoshop and Lightroom were around. I can tell you that I’m sooooo glad they weren’t. The reason…because everyone could take really good photos with that kind of help, and as a result I just might have been lost in the shuffle…maybe!!!!!

:-(

That said, I love the fact that it’s around now because I tweak all my photo to a small degree…why not? However, I get as much in the camera as I can since I still after all these forty-four years of shooting still love the challenge. I still love the notion that I’m a good photographer because I use very little to no help after the fact.

In the above photo, I was shooting an ad for Toyota. It was a mentoring program they had going where they used well known athletes to mentor kids that aspired to be like them; in this case high school football players.

The big problem to be solved was to get a good exposure on not only the college quarterback but on each one of the kids; no easy task without post processing since there were so many kids to direct. There were also too many first names to remember so I assigned each of the boys a number starting from left to right. The kid on the far left was number one…and so on. Looking through my viewfinder, I directed each boy separately by calling out his number.

So, as you can see, none of the boys are covering up each other, and each boy’s head is positioned in such a way as to get the maximum light on his face…using the white T-shirts to bounce light.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog.  I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage, and I can tell you from experience that it’s magical.

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

JoeB

{ 0 comments }
I exposed for the two men.

I exposed for the two men.

I like to have complete control over all aspects of my final composition/photo. That means being in control of the final exposure as well. Letting the meter in your camera decide your exposure takes you out of the control you need to create strong images with lots of Visual Tension/energy, and interest. I can tell you that the meter in your camera, no matter the brand, is not giving you the right information.

One of the many areas I cover both in my online classes with the BPOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet is how to take meter readings that will provide you with this tension, interest, and energy.

Most of my fellow photographers have the meter in their camera set on Matrix. The problem with that is the meter doesn’t know exactly what you want. It will read a large area of reflected light, and that’s not the best way to have control of the final photograph.

For me, I want more control than that. I want to know what every area of my composition reads so I can compare one part of the frame to the other. I want to know what it’s going to look like before I look at it on the back of my camera, and certainly before I sit down in front of a computer. By that time I had lost control and now I’m left to devices, computer software, and programs to help out.

The next time you go out, try setting your meter on ‘spot’ so it will read a smaller portion of your composition. Read the highlights and then the shadows and see what you get. If you really want to master the light, get a handheld meter like the one I’ve used for the past forty-four years. I use a meter that’s not made anymore but you can find them in mint condition on e-Bay.

I use a one degree spot meter that was made by Minolta, and in it’s day, it was the state of the art. I can read just one degree of light at a time and can compare readings from the highlights to the shadows…and everything in between.

Minolta One-Degree Spot Meter

Minolta One-Degree Spot Meter

In the past couple of years, this meter has become very popular again. I guess there’s more people out there that want the challenge of being a good photographer and not a good computer artist.

Of course these days you don’t need that, but to me it’s fun and challenging to get exactly what I want in a photo…before I click the shutter.

In the photo above, I wanted that sunrise energy so I read the reflected light on the two men. Once I set my camera to expose for them, the early morning sky behind blew out creating the Visual Tension, interest, and energy.

I’m sure some of you out there are horrified because I clipped the highlights. All I can say is…get over it. Stop being predictable and following rules written by people along time ago that never colored outside the lines.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog.

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

JoeB

 

{ 0 comments }

AskJoeB: A good Use of Light?

It's about the light.

It’s about the light.

I recently had Gary, a follower of my blog, submit a photo for a critique. I always like to copy what each photographer had to say since so many people out there have had a similar experience, or have wondered about a part of photography that involves light. Here’s what Gary had to say:

Hello Joe,

I have read your blog for awhile and have been practicing the technique of using window light to create portraits. I know you say window light, specifically north or south window light, is a great way to light your subjects.

I have sent you a portrait of my cat because he is a great subject, doesn’t mind being photographed for hours nor having his picture shared online. My first question is about the light in this photo. The light is pouring down on the cat instead of coming across him. I believe window light needs to be coming from a high window coming across the frame in more of a diagonal fashion. As made famous by the painter Johannes Vermeer.

Is this still a good use of light though? My second question is the placement of the cats face and body in the frame. Taking a second look at the photo, I think I should have placed his eyes more towards the top with his left eye in the exact middle line of the frame. Lastly the image was taken on a Mamiya M645, standard 80mm lens on Fuji Across 100.”

Gary

 

Gary, I too am a great admirer of Vermeer. Since my background is in art rather than photography, I took several classes in Art History and Vermeer is one of the painters we studied for his use of light. It turned out to be serendipitous because my first studio was the first floor in an old house. I also had one of the bedrooms upstairs that happened to face North. At that time, very early in my career (as in the beginning), I couldn’t afford lights so I lit everything including portraits with the light coming into the window. Interestingly enough people really liked the way I was lighting them, not knowing that it was the best possible light I could have used…even if I could have paid for electronic flash.

In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, We work and talk a lot about light. It plays a huge part in taking our images what I refer to as “up a level”.

Btw, when I could afford lights, I still preferred (and still do) North light.

Take a look at this video:

http://www.screencast.com/t/XqcMcFEs5g5s

Gary, I hope this helps, and thanks for sharing it.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to watch for my upcoming workshops in 2016.

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

JoeB

{ 2 comments }
Registered and released

Registered and released

I’ve been an advertising and corporate photographer for forty-eight years, and in that time, I’ve had my share of legal problems over the unauthorized use of my images. For some incredible reason, people think that they can just come and take my photos for their own use and not pay for them. Since I’ve spent the majority of these years in film, it was a constant issue, and one that was very hard to find out about.

I had to see my photo in a magazine, a brochure, on a billboard, or for a second on the television. The only other way was to have someone (usually another photographer) recognize my shot and call me to let me know. I once was sitting at a light and glanced over to a bench next to a bus stop and saw a photo that I knew a friend of mine had taken. I decided to call him and “lo and behold,” he knew nothing about it.

In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind Workshops” I conduct around the planet, I’m always telling my fellow photographers that putting a ‘C’ in a circle next to your name not fully protect it.  People always think it does, but I have some bad news for you…it doesn’t. Your image has to be registered with the Library of Congress to even be able to sue for infringement. Not only does it have to be registered, but if it was not registered before the commencement of the infringement, you will be severely limited in how much you can recover from settlement or suit.

Because most infringements of photographs involve an advertising use – and it’s virtually impossible to prove the amount of profits “attributable to the (advertising) infringement” – if the image is not registered prior to the infringement, you can only recover the license fee you could have charged for the use in an “arms-length” transaction. Compare that recovery with what you can get if registered before infringement; statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work infringed plus attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, court costs and interest.

I was teaching at the Julia Dean Workshop in Hollywood and made a comment on the size one of my students had embedded her name and copyright mark on her submission for review. It was too large and quite distracting. Another of my students asked me if I had ever heard of a company called Digimarc. I said I hadn’t so he proceeded to fill me in on what is proving to be one of the best pieces of advice ever given to me in my long career.

Digimarc offers a way to protect your image with an invisible embedded watermark;a very simple and subtle way to help identify infringers of your image. The real beauty about using Digimarc is that they will monitor your images by continuously searching the internet (worldwide} for any infringement of your copyright. For more information, you can click on the Digimarc logo seen on this blog. Btw, I receive no monetary compensation if you register. I do it as a professional courtesy to my fellow photographers.

For this post, I’ve called on my attorney to make a statement about his experience on Copyright issues. Dana LeJune is a Houston based lawyer who is one of the foremost authorities on the current issues involving copyright infringement. Here’s what he had to say:

“Copyright infringement in the areas of music, film, photography, and architecture is at an all-time high. Home builders are hiring draftsmen (usually, licensed architects won’t risk it) to redraw house plans, ad agencies are downloading images from Google, or scanning them from magazines, and teens are using file-sharing to pirate popular music every day, in every part of the country.  Because litigating such a case can be very expensive for the copyright holder, the contingent fee arrangement may make prosecution affordable for the “little guy.”

Here’s what you need to understand: if the work was not registered before the infringement began, the potential recovery is often insufficient for the lawyer to pursue using the contingent fee arrangement. Without the ability to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, and because of the likely inability to prove what profits were attributable to the infringement (in an advertising use), most lawyers will decline to accept the case.

The moral of the story is, REGISTER YOUR WORK REGULARLY. Photographers have a special prerogative to register their works, en masse, so there’s not a huge financial disincentive. Just make sure to list the name of each photo in the registration separately, even if on an attached list. This way the single registration for several hundred images will (probably) permit the recovery of multiple statutory damage awards for a single registration.

If you have any questions that are not answered by my website, www.copyrightsuit.net, I don’t charge for telephone consultations, so don’t hesitate to ask me a question. You may also email me at dlejune@triallawyers.net. Good luck and wealth for the rest of 2015 and 2016.”

That’s pretty sound advice, and it comes from someone that knows what he’s talking about. If you find that someone has used your photo without authorization and it was registered, calling my attorney would be an excellent idea. If it wasn’t registered, it wouldn’t be. Registering these days has been made as easy as it gets, and you can do it online with the Library of congress. There’s people that actually talk to you if need be.

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

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

JoeB

{ 0 comments }

My Favorite Quotes: Ralph Waldo Emerson

No blue ribbons here.

No blue ribbons here.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a writer and poet who led the Transcendentalist movement in the mid 19th century. I’m not by any means a big lover and follower of quality literature and poetry, and not a follower of Transcendentalism, but what I remember reading about him was that he was a big supporter of individualism…and so am I. Only recently did I find a quote he said somewhere in the late 1800’s. It immediately stuck to me as it fits perfectly into the way I present my way of thinking to both my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

He once said, ” Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. This really hit home to me a few weeks ago when I was asked to give a talk and show my work to a local camera club at their yearly Christmas dinner.

First, let me say that being a member of a local camera club has a lot of advantages. If you’re into the social aspects as in: meetings where you get together with people that share your love of photography, drink diet cokes and unsweetened ice tea while exchanging current trends, or enter into club competitions where the best photo is not always picked, then a camera club is the way to go….and can be a lot of fun. You can also take workshops given by other members…if you’re so inclined.

Having said that I’ve spoken at many camera clubs over the years and have judged several of their yearly competitions. At some point during my visit several of the members have pulled me aside and said that although they love my presentation, if they were to submit photo composed the way I compose, they would be made to stand in the corner and subsequently ridiculed in front of the entire membership.

Ok, maybe they didn’t say it exactly that way, but as far as the way I seen things, the truth is that my photos would never be accepted into their show; certainly not win any ribbons.

:-(

Here’s my standing reply to these few souls that have evidently lost their way, “Start your own camera club”.

These are the photographers that were given coloring books when they were young and were told to color inside of the lines. As a result, now, as grown-ups, they strictly adhere to all the rules of photography and woe be to those that deviate in any way.

I’m talking about the staunch supporters of the Rule of Thirds, never clipping the highlights, and the Leading in Rule, to name a few. They will never give up their life long beliefs nor have any of them ever been interested in my online classes or workshops…which is absolutely OK with me!!

Live by the rule, die by the rule seems to be their hidden agenda and mantra.

The few of my fellow photographers that want to venture out into the creative world where coloring outside the lines is the best way I know to taking photos “up a level”, and that stand out among others…then as Nike would say, “just do it”.

To be sure, I’m not saying to never follow the rules, or not join your local camera club. I’m saying to not live and die by those rules If you don’t believe in always following the rules, and following the same path as your camera club members, then don’t. Go your own way and blaze your own trail then maybe you can help others that feel the same as you (or more importantly don’t) get together and follow the path you’ve blazed.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

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

JoeB

 

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Anecdotes: United airlines/Hawaii

It was me all along.

It was me all along.

I was shooting for five weeks in Hawaii for United Airlines and the Hawaii Department of Tourism. Along with some of the top hotels, they had formed a coop in which they all shared in the expenses.

I had sent my producer over a week ahead of time to scout locations for me to look at once I got there and to ultimately shoot. I had told her that I wanted to include some typical well-known tourists attractions, because they would look different when I shot them….why you ask?

For the simple reason that the tourists would get there sometime after breakfast and before lunch, or after lunch and before dinner. Either way, they would be there in the worst possible light, while I would be there before the sun came up and right before it set.

In these types of locations, it’s all about the light, and very few of my fellow photographers ever thinks about that. In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m always stressing that the light is critical if you’re trying to take your photography what I refer to as “up a level”.

Knowing where the light is going to be, how long it will be there, and when it will leave is fundamental in coming home with that illusive OMG photo. The only time light can be second in the thought process is when you’re street shooting and “the moment” will and can trump beautiful light…especially if you’re shooting B/W.

One of the tourist attractions my producer found was on the Island of Kaua’i. It was the Kilauea Lighthouse, and it was one of the more popular attractions on the Island. At a popular lookout point I checked the light with my Sunpath readings coupled with my Morin2000 Hand Bearing Compass. After determining that it was a sunset shoot, I set out to add something to what would otherwise be a fairly predictable photo; even at sunset…another “layer of interest “.

There was a big enough budget that I could do pretty much what I wanted in terms of props. In this case the prop was a forty-five foot sailboat I chartered to have it tack back and forth close to the cliff. Since I knew where the sun was going to set, it was easy to backlight the huge sail.

We arrived at the lookout well in advance to make sure we secured the best spot, free from other tourists that might get in the way; not an option considering what the sailboat cost.

Right on time the sailboat came around the cliff and as it did, all the tourist that were also there started hooting and hollering while clapping at their good fortune. While the rest of the ‘weekend photographers’ shot with their small cameras with even smaller lens, I had my 600mm F/4 Nikor lens on.

The crown couldn’t believe it when the sailboat started going back and forth with the lighthouse overlooking it; they hooted, hollered, and clapped some more. Finally one of them came over to me to see what I was doing since I had a headset on with a voice-activated mike.

What I was doing was talking via a powerful walki-talki to one of my assistants that was on the sailboat with another walki-talkis. I was the one that was instructing the sailboat to tack back and forth. When the word got around to all the others, they began to hoot and holler louder than they had been…and applauded my entire crew.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine MediaWorkshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

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

JoeB

{ 0 comments }

Cuba: April 2015

Taken at one of the cultural events the group goes to.

Taken at one of the cultural events the group goes to.

Last November, the Santa Fe Workshops asked me to lead a photographic cultural tour to Cuba. It was a great experience not only for the group that was full, but for yours truly as well.

A few months ago they asked me to lead another group that went this past April, and of course I wanted to go back. It’s a fantastic country, with wonderful, friendly, and engaging people. The photo opportunities range from the cultural events we go to as part of the tour, as well as the “dawn patrols” and afternoon to late evening shoots we all go out shooting on our own.

I’ve been contacted again by Santa Fe to lead another group back to Cuba next March 15th. Once again I said oh yes!!! The Santa Fe Workshop is a top organization, run by professionals that have their participants wants and needs at the top of their list of things to do on a daily basis. I know that when I go, I don’t have to think of anything except shooting and working with my fellow photographers.

You might think that after being there twice, I would have seen and photographed enough to fill a long slideshow to the family. But as I often quote a 19th century French novelist named Marcel Proust to my online class with the BPSOP, and in my own “Stretching Your Frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, “The only real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

One could keep going back to Cuba and find new photo opportunities each and every time, and I’m looking forward to doing just that. Here’s a slideshow of photos not that I took, but those from my group. As you can see, they’re truly indicative of the kinds of subject matter you see when you’re there with me. I would put a lot of these images up against the majority of self-professed professional photographers that are out there right now.

Enjoy the show:

I hope these images reach down into the soul of every photographer out there looking for places to see and photograph while inspiring you to join me. If Cuba has always been on your bucket list, I strongly suggest you see it before it changes forever as our government’s relationships with theirs becomes more and more open.

I can guarantee you as I did with all the photographers work you’ve seen in both these posts, an experience you’ll be talking about for years to come. Come join me next March 15th as I see things again with new eyes. For those that are interested, I can tell you that my group fills fairly quick. Now that we have an embassy in Cuba, the classes will fill even faster. Here’s a link to my trip in March: http://www.santafeworkshops.com/photography-workshops/workshop/1591

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.

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

JoeB

{ 2 comments }
Look ma, no Photoshop

Look ma, no Photoshop

I often wonder what kind of photographer I would have turned out to be had there been Photoshop way back when. Way back when Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest part of the US. What would I have done differently? It’s always a topic talked about with my online students at the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

Remembering back when whatever you did in terms of creating a photo that the client would buy, had to be done in the camera because way back when there weren’t personal computers.

The big companies were just starting to use computers, and these giant behemoths I was occasionally sent to photograph took up an entire floor to generate the power that can now be found sitting on my desk in my iMac 27 with 32 GB of RAM, a 4.0 GHz processor, and a three terabyte Fusion hard drive…maybe? Close?

In my opinion, I wouldn’t be near the photographer had I had access to Lightroom, Photoshop, and all the plug-ins that one can find out in the geek-produced/induced digital market. I would have wound up with a sore butt from the hours that would have been needed sitting in front of a computer to achieve what I did in the camera.

In terms of my imagination, and my eye, and always thinking about “coloring outside the lines” these things would not have been any different. It’s using that imagination and my ‘eye’ instead of digital help that I’m talking about. Using the Elements of Visual Design and composition, and being a student of the Light is what made me whatever I am today, and not a computer.

I even know how to focus manually!!!!

:-)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a purist in any sense of the word. I love Photoshop, and I use it on every photo I take to some extent…why not!! I just personally like the challenge of getting it in the camera.

In the above photo, I was shooting for Rubbermaid outdoor furniture, and had two truck loads of their entire line that followed me down the California coast. We were in Big Sur at the Ventana Inn. Actually, we were on the roof of the Nepenthe restaurant and it was mid day.; not the ideal time to shoot as the light was hot and harsh.

I needed the light to be soft so it might replicate the period of time we were going for; it wasn’t going to happen without help.

If this would have been shoot in the digital age, creating that feeling in front of the computer would have been easy, but it wasn’t. Instead, to get that feeling I set up my 20X20 silk to diffuse the harsh light. coming from a sun that was directly above us. As you can see, this isn’t a small item, and it took an hour and a half just to set it up in the wind.

Think about a 20X20 piece of silk…that’s 400 square feet of sail, and if not tied down correctly on huge stands that were held down with sand bags, it would take my assistants over the ocean and deposit them in really cold water inhabited by things that can eat you…or maybe just play with you until you drown.

400 sq. ft. of sail.

400 sq. ft. of sail.

The good news is that it wouldn’t take me ( as I would be the only one left) near as long to break down what was left of the set.

:-(

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2105 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime.  July 26th will be my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop…the granddaddy of them all. I’ve always picked this week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops: color, motion, people, energy, light, and design. A great way to break up photos of the beautiful coastline, fishing villages and lighthouses that Maine is known for.

BTW, happy birthday America…live long and prosper.

JoeB

{ 0 comments }

AskJoeB: “Working the Subject”

Working the photo.

Working the photo.

Valeriano recently sent me a photo he had taken of a lifeguard tower in silhouette. Since then he’s submitted another photo of the same towers. As usual I like to print what each photographer had to say because a lot of you out there have been in a similar situation or have had similar questions running through your mind. Here’s what Valeriano had to say:

“Hi Joe,
I’m submitting this photo to have your invaluable critique.
I’d been “working” the subject (the lifeguard tower) a bit that day. Walked around a lot, shot it with different lenses, composed vertically, horizontally, from down below and looking up, etc. Out of all the different compositions I’ve found while doing this exercise, I thought this one framing the subject through the fence was the more pleasing to me. I also decided to shot it with a side-lighting (4-5 on the clock) in order to still retain some details in the fence. I could have also done it by backlighting the scene (positioning myself in a different spot) but because of this amazing late afternoon light and these little white puffy clouds in the sky I preferred this lighting choice. While shooting some photos on this setup, changing filters, exposure, etc. two guys waled through the frame along the shoreline, and I decided to include them in the photo so to also add a bit more of sense of scale.

Thanks for your critique.
Valeriano.”

Valeriano, one of the  lessons I give in my online class with the BPSOP, and I also talk a lot about it in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, is showing people how to create visual tension. I’m not talking about the kind of tension that comes with mental or emotional strain, I’m talking about visual tension occurring when forces are acting upon one another. You have three of the ways in this photo: Contrast, the use of light, and framing a subject within a frame.

You also have an almost classic Vanishing Point created by the fence line. A great way to move the viewer around the frame.

Take a look at this video:

http://www.screencast.com/t/8CQVhyT8

Except for the problem with the filter, it’s a really good photo with lots of strong light and color combined with visual interest and tension.

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 still have a couple of spots for my upcoming Maine Media Workshop this coming July 26th. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in your photography without any of your day to day distractions…like a family and work. I always pick this week (after 27 years) because it’s the week of the lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers a completely different set of photo ops than what you would expect to see on the coast of Maine.

For those interested, here’s a link to a couple of posts I did on past workshops in Maine:

http://joebaraban.com/blog/2013-maine-media-workshop/

http://joebaraban.com/blog/workshop-stuff-2014-maine-media-workshop/

Keep sending me your photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

{ 0 comments }

My Favorite Quotes: Anonymous

A simple idea can tell a big story.

A simple idea can tell a big story.

Through the years, I’ve collected a lot of quotes that were said by an artist of some measure and how the quote relates to my way of thinking; especially how the quote fits in to my three online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

“ I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good.”Anonymous

One of the many discussions I have at least once if not a hundred times in my four week classes with my fellow photographers is about making sure you’ve left the viewer with a clear understanding of what message you were trying to get across. I call it a “quick read”, and unless you’re image is an abstract, in which case you’re leaving the viewer to decide on what the photo is saying. You don’t want him/her walking away scratching their heads.

There’s always the possibility you’ll be standing next to your print at some exhibit or maybe even your camera club’s annual show where you’ll be able to talk about it. Sometimes it’s interesting to hear the story behind the photo and you see the photo in a new light. But in most cases a photo shouldn’t need a story to back it up. It has to speak for itself….as I said, a quick read.

Right before I click the shutter I always ask myself if the viewer is going to see and feel it the way I was experiencing it when I finished my composition and ready to pull the trigger…Texas talk for clicking the shutter release!!! It’s like taking an out of body experience and putting your mind in the mind of the viewer. Then I can step back and see if I’m getting my message across.

In the above photo, not very long after 9/11, I did a photo story on rural Texas, and how these people showed support for our country. In context with the other photos and subsequent text, I think the message came across as clear as day.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime.

This coming July 26th I’ll be at the Maine Media Workshop for the 27th year, and I always look forward to returning. It’s the granddaddy of them all and a great place to immerse yourself in photography. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. It offers you a completely different set of photo opts that the beautiful Maine coastline one would expect to see and photograph. People watching and portraits, energy, color, and all the elements of Visual Design one would find on my “Artist Palette”.

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

JoeB

{ 0 comments }