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Maine Media Workshop: August 2016

Pemaquid Point lighthouse with Peter.

Pemaquid Point lighthouse with Peter.

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the show:

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

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

JoeB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    JoeB

     

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      Food For Digital Thought: The Histogram

      Did i really want to be looking at a Histogram?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      🙁

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

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

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

      JoeB

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        My Favorite Quote: Dr. John

        At the right place at the right time.

        At the right place at the right time.

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

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

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

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

        🙁

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

        Right place, right time

        Right place, right time

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Always at the right place ,at the right time.

        Always at the right place ,at the right time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

        JoeB

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          Food for digital Thought: Color

          Color was my subject

          Color was my subject

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Here’s a portfolio of examples

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

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

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

          JoeB

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            Six seconds of visual interest?

            Six seconds of visual interest?

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Here’s what it all boils down to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

            JoeB

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              Ad #1 Beach activities

              Ad #1 Beach activities

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

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

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

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

              Ad #2 Meeting rooms

              Ad #2 Meeting rooms

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

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

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

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

              Ad #2 Fine dining

              Ad #2 Fine dining

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

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

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

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

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

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

              JoeB

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                AskJoeB: A photo from a recent class.

                From a recent class.

                From a recent class.

                Harry submitted this image for me to take a look at. I always like to show what the photographer says to me. Although it’s not in question form, here’s what he had to say:

                “I took your part I and II online classes with the BPSOP over the summer and don’t think my submitted images were particularly good, but the material presented in class has stuck with me. I just finished a nature and wildlife photography class at the local college and I referred to your class material repeatedly, and I always have my artists palette with me! Here’s one of the photo’s from my recent class. Other students may not have seen this as “nature and wildlife” but I couldn’t resist the Line, Shape, Pattern and Texture, with a payoff at the end, a fisherman! I can’t thank you enough for your wit, wisdom and patience as a teacher.”

                First of all thanks Harry for the kind words. Not only do I create the artist palette for people in my online classes, but also in my “Stretching your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

                I really liked your photo and I’m pretty sure the viewer will also enjoy looking at all the elements of visual design that are so much a part of it.

                Take a look:

                http://screencast.com/t/tLVZTjxXFo

                Thanks for the submission and I’d love to see more of your work.

                Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my upcoming workshop description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I have recently written the description for my next “springtime” workshop to be next May 17th, 2017. We will be spending three days in Vienna, and three days in Budapest. I hope you can join me for a wonderful week in two of Europe’s most beautiful cities…during festival time.

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

                JoeB

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                  Seeing with the right side of the brain.

                  Seeing with the right side of the brain.

                  I was very lucky to have studied art all the years I was being educated, from high school all the way through college. During those years I took just about every art class you can think up: drawing I, II, III, painting I,II,III, composition I, II, and III, watercolor, figure-drawing, pastels, printmaking, Art History, and some I can’t even remember.

                  I studied all the elements of visual design and composition, and not knowingly, applied them the moment I picked up a camera and looked through the viewfinder. I had found my medium because it was instant gratification. No longer did I have to worry about meeting some deadline and having to stay up all night (sometimes for more than one night) finishing a drawing or painting. I could do it all in a blink of the ‘eye’….so to speak!

                  In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around our planet, I show my fellow photographers how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their imagery. I give each of them what I call my Artist Palette, and by the end of the class or workshop, that palette is filled with all the elements, including elements of good composition as well.

                  I talk a lot about right and left brain thinking. The left brain is the analytical side while the right side is the creative side. For example, if you were to look at a fence around a little league baseball infield, the left side would see a fence around a little league baseball infield. If you were to look at that same fence with the right side of your brain, you would see Pattern, Shape, and Line; three of the basic elements of visual design.

                  In the photo shown above, the left side of the brain sees a group of commercial greenhouses. Since I always look at things with the right side of my brain, when I looked at the buildings I saw Pattern, Texture, Line, Shape, and Form; all basic elements of visual design.

                  So my fellow photographers, the next time you strap on a camera and go out shooting, click off the left side of your brain and click on the right. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll start seeing.

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

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

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

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

                  JoeB

                  Let people know you saw it here!
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                    AskJoeB: Your Opinion

                    What's my opinion?

                    What’s my opinion?

                    Valeriano sent me these two photos to comment on. I usually like to  copy the question the photographers that submit photos write and some explanation of why they took it, but this time  he choose not to say anything and only wanted my opinion of the photographs.

                    Well, in that case let’s just get to the video critique of both images:

                    http://screencast.com/t/MhAKz5ODp

                    Here’s Valeriano’s second image and video:

                     

                    My opinion.

                    My opinion.

                    http://screencast.com/t/di0FFxjVEHK

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                    As I tell people that take my online class with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, before you raise your camera up to your eye determine where the sun is in relation to your subject. If your subject is anything translucent, try to backlight it as it will appear to be glowing…as it does in Valeriano’s two images.

                    Really nice photos!!

                    Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my upcoming workshop description at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I have recently written the description for my next “springtime” workshop to be next May 17th, 2017. We will be spending three days in Vienna, and three days in Budapest. I hope you can join me for a wonderful week in two of Europe’s most beautiful cities…during festival time.

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

                    JoeB

                    Let people know you saw it here!
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                      My Favorite Quotes: Unknown

                      Try looking at what's above you.

                      Try looking at what’s above you.

                      Every so often, I like to submit a quote to all my fellow photographers out there. These are quotes I’ve written down over time that I find from all different sources, and don’t necessarily come from photographers. It’s kind of a library of thoughts I’ve accumulated that were said at one time or another sometimes going back at least a hundred years. By now I know most of these quotes from memory and I’ll refer back to one when the timing is right.

                      It’s a pity that this author is unknown since it’s one of my all time favorites. At some point in time, someone once said, “If you always do what you did, you’ll always get what you got”.

                      In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, I’m constantly working with people that have a particular way of looking at things. A particular way of composing, and a whole lot of them live by the rules laid down by people that only require you to  achieve mediocrity.

                      It’s all about coloring outside the lines, and looking at new ways of seeing things. It’s  about going out and forgetting about putting your subject in one of the intersections required by the Rule of Thirds. It’s about not worrying that your subject is leaving the frame instead of making sure there’s plenty of room for your subject to walk into.

                      When you go out shooting. leave the left side of your brain at home. That’s the analytical side that only sees a tree. Go out with the right side of your brain turned on, that way you’ll see a tree but you also see the texture of the bark, the shapes created by the leaves, the Negative space between the leaves that defines them. Study the way the light falls on the tree, whether front, side or backlit.

                      If you’ve always brought the camera up to your eye and composed from that height, try getting on your knees. Lay on your stomach and get some dirt on your shirt. Follow the light and let it be your guide as far as where to stand in relation to the subject.

                      Stop fearing shadows, instead embrace them because they are your best friend. Don’t leave just because the sun has gone down. Shoot in the blue hour, using silhouettes as your center of interest.

                      Try shooting through things, or shooting the reflections coming off buildings or glass. When you’re walking around looking for subject matter, don’t just look straight ahead; make your field of vision 360 degrees. Look from the ground in front of you to the sky above you because you just never know what you might see happening.

                      Reflections off the hood of a car.

                      Reflections off the hood of a car.

                      Instead of going out shooting after breakfast or before dinner, go out before breakfast and after dinner. This is when the light is the best.

                      If you try some of these ideas, I can guarantee you that your images will begin to go (what I always refer to) up a notch. Stop doing what you’ve always done so you can stop getting what you’ve always got.

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

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

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

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

                      JoeB

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                        Selective focusing saved the day.

                        Selective focusing saved the day.

                        Since so many of my fellow photographers always hand hold their camera, it’s very difficult to stop down to F/22 to get everything in your composition in focus; without having to jack up the ISO. The problem I’m always hearing in my online class with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet is that inevitably, they always forget to change the ISO back which as you know can lead to more issues.

                        If I’m walking around with a camera over my shoulder and not knowing what to expect, my go to lens, the lens I almost always have on my camera is a 16-35mm Canon lens. I shoot everything from landscapes to portraits with it, and have always loved the len. On of the main reasons is that I can get more in focus at a shallower DOF with a wide angle rather than any other lens that’s longer.

                        However, there are times when I can’t stop down enough and be able to hand hold. This is important to me as I always want to have complete control, so it’s the reason I’m almost always on a tripod…and very fast with it. That said, I’m occasionally hand holding my camera and come up against a situation where I’m not going to be able to stop down enough (I never jack up my ISO because I will most likely forget to change it back) to get everything I want to be sharp.

                        So, what do you do? Go the opposite way and use “selective focusing” to get the shot you want…and just maybe it will turn out to be a better idea.

                        In the shot with the man playing the trumpet, While walking around an outdoor event, I heard the jazz trio and went to investigate. I wanted to take this man’s portrait but I couldn’t get him all sharp while getting “up close and personal” to his trumpet. I decided to shoot wide open and just have the front of the instrument sharp and let everything else be soft. It still says the same thing I was trying to say, and to me it “colors outside the lines”…one of my favorite things to do.

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

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

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

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

                        JoeB

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                          First the light

                          First the light

                          As most of you know, one of my favorite topics to discuss with my fellow photographers is “The Light” . You also have heard me say that the only thing that would trump great light is in street shooting where capturing a moment in time or stopping an action is more important.

                          In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet I have what I call my “Personal Pearls of Wisdom”. These are thoughts and ideas I’ve accumulated over the course of my forty-eight years as a professional photographer and my thirty-two years as a workshop instructor and teacher.

                          One of these Pearls that I’ve been mentioning for a very long time is, You find the light and you’ll find the shot. Time and time again when I’ve been out shooting the light has saved the day for me. I’ve also found that after all these years, the light can make just about anything look good.

                          Sometimes I find the subject first with light already working to my advantage, and sometimes I find the light first and place a subject in it. Since I’m not one of those so called purist that refuse to change anything in their composition ( but have no problem altering said composition in post-production), I have no problem…why you ask?

                          I guess it’s because of my background being in painting and not in photography. I still consider myself an artist/painter, I’ve just changed the medium from a paintbrush to a camera. To me, a camera on a tripod is just like a blank canvas on an easel…I paint…I make pictures the same way I use to paint.

                          In the above photo taken during my workshop/photo tour in Cuba, we where outside Havana walking around a small populated area. I saw this wall and didn’t think much of it, but as the sun came out from behind a cloud, it left this light on it. The man was standing off to one side in the shadow. I asked the man to come over and stand next to the wall in a position to get light on one half of him.

                          The second photo was taken on the streets of Havana, where I saw the light on the wall as it silhouetted the taxi driver. I saw the light and I saw the shot.

                          Found the light and found the shot.

                          Found the light and found the shot.

                          So the next time you go out shooting look for the light all around you, and more than likely there will be a photo there just for the taking!!!

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

                          The Los Angeles Center for photography has invited me to come out and conduct a three day intensive workshop over the August 19th weekend. I’ll be making a presentation of my work on Thursday August 18th and the public is invited. The full description can be see at the top of this blog, with a link to the site. I hope to spend the weekend with all of you.

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

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

                          JoeB

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                            The Master Shot

                            The Master Shot

                            Back in the old days, besides being a print photographer for advertising, editorial, and corporate clients, I was also a director/cameraman and worked on TVcommercials.

                            First POV

                            First POV

                            The first set-up was referred to as the Master Shot. It was like an establishing shot where all the other set-ups from the storyboards were derived from. For me, it was the set-up that triggered my imagination to segue into another POV…and different lighting scenarios if needed.

                            Well I’ve brought that idea to my online class with the BPSOP where I’ve given as one of the four week assignments. I also talk about it to my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

                            This a great exercise because so many of my fellow photographers walk up to a subject at a particular location, bring up the camera to their eye, take a picture, them move on usually leaving a lot unseen on the table.

                            Second POV

                            Second POV

                            So, the next time you go out shooting, take a “Master Shot”. This is the first composition you set up before you start looking for other ideas. It’s the first thing you see and shoot before you start “seeing past your first impressions”. It sort of loosens up your thought process. It’s just like stretching before you jog or hitting a bucket of golf balls before you start playing, or taking a few swings in the batter’s cage before your game begins.

                            Third POV

                            Third POV

                            Then take two or more photos of the same location/subject. These two shots should come to you while you’re taking the first shot…and looking for ways to segue this first photo into a better way to look at it…at the same time. What I don’t mean is to stay in the same position and just zoom in or out in the same composition.

                            For example:

                            Up close and personal or back up
                            Change lens
                            Up high then down low
                            Different light
                            Change a prop
                            Put in a person, or take one out
                            Etc.

                            If you’re diligent about creating a “Master Shot” like I’ve been doing for the past forty-eight years, I can tell you that the results will be immediately seen and your work will move up at least one notch…if not several.

                            In the photos I’ve featured as examples I show to my classes, the top photo was the “Master Shot”, and the others were different ways of looking at the same subject.

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

                            The Los Angeles Center for photography has invited me to come out and conduct a three day intensive workshop over the July 15th weekend. I’ll be making a presentation of my work on Thursday July 14th and the public is invited. The full description can be see at the top of this blog, with a link to the site. I hope to spend the weekend with all of you.

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

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

                            JoeB

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