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Composed In the comfort zone.

Composed In the comfort zone.

As Westerners we were brought up to read from left to right. As a result, that’s the way we perceive, from left to right; that’s our comfort zone.

Humans rely on on the perception of the environment that surrounds them, and we as photographers can manage what the viewer perceives and processes when looking at the information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph.

While it’s always nice to keep the viewer in his or her comfort zone, sometimes it’s also good to take them out of that zone of contentment. How you ask? By composing your photos so the viewer has to go move from right to left instead of left to right.

In the above photo, I wanted to keep that tranquility, that repose created by the young cold grazing with his new mother. That’s the comfort zone I created by composing so the viewer moved down the fence line from left to right. Has I wanted to take the viewer out of his comfort zone, I would have positioned myself so that the viewer would have to move from right to left since I used the fence as a vehicle to move the viewer around the frame.

Take a look at the image now that I’ve flopped it in Photoshop. I  certainly don’t condone doing this after the fact, it’s merely a way to show the power we have as photographers to control how the viewer perceives and processes our photos.

Out of the comfort zone.

Out of the comfort zone.

So, the next time your out and about with your camera, find a location and subject matter that you can compose either from left to right or right to left and see the amazing difference for yourself.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. I have two openings left in my next “springtime” workshop in Portugal  starting October 21st. Next July 26th I’ll be back at the Maine Media Workshop for my 27th year. a fantastic place full of energy and lot of photographers on the campus to share your experience with. I always pick this same week as it’s the week of the Lobster Festival down the road in Rockland. A different set of photo opts: people watching and portraiture, color, light, and design.

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

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

JoeB

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Student Work: January BPSOP Class

So many elements from her Artist Palette.

So many elements from her Artist Palette.

I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the Elements of Visual Design into their photography. I also show how to use specific devices to gain visual interest, i.e., Visual Tension, Shadows, Vanishing Points, Negative Space, and Silhouettes. I teach online with the BPSOP, and I conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet, and the knowledge of these elements is what they will walk away with.

Form, Pattern, Texture, Shape, Balance and most important Line are the basic elements, and over the four week online class, we work on putting these elements on what I call the Artist Palette. By the end of the class, these photographers are now armed with the ingredients to “make” strong photos. These photographers are painters who have chosen the camera as their medium.

As I’m constantly reminding my students, a camera on a tripod is just like a blank canvas on an easel. Since my background is not in photography but in painting and design, I show them the way I use to use these elements when I had a paintbrush I my hand, and how to make the transition to the camera.

I love to show what my classes did during the four weeks and I hope you will be as impressed as I am with the fruits of their labor.

Take a look:

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban, and check out my upcoming workshops at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me some time.  Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of you image.

JoeB

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Creating the sensation of height.

Creating the sensation of height.

One of the many ways to create visual interest and tension is to get the viewer to  believe what he’s seeing is actually what he thinks he’s seeing (make any sense?), and one of the ways to do that is to trick the camera (which has one eye…the lens) into creating a sense of perspective, or depth, or height (that requires two eyes), or all three at the same time. Sound complicated? Well, in actuality, it’s fairly easy and straightforward.

It starts with an idea you have that’s implanted into the viewer’s imagination. It needs to be something he’s familiar with whether it be from watching TV, reading a book, or perhaps something that he’s actually experienced in the past.

Then you need just one thing…a wide angle lens, a great sunrise, and the perfect environment.

An entire lesson is what my online class with the PPSOP works on, and when the occasion arises in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I can physically show my fellow photographers exactly what I mean and how to achieve it…in the camera.

The above photo was taken during one of my Maine Media Workshops (watch for it next July 26th, 2015). I was looking for just the right location to show the class how to use a wide angle lens to create the feeling of height, visual interest and tension. It was about thirty minutes before the sun came up and I desperately wanted to find something that had potential. It’s important here to tell you that the workshop was during the last week of July and the first week in August, and although it was chilly that morning the high that day was going to be close to 85 degrees.

Having said that, We passed by a huge lot filled with Rock Salt used to spread on the highways during the upcoming winter months; an idea immediately began forming in my mind. I had my assistant put on a yellow hooded sweatshirt I just happen to have in my assortment of props and wardrobe I always carry around…just for this moment.

I put on my “go to” lens which was my 20-35m, and I set the focal length at 20mm and got down close to the ground. I positioned the lens right behind a big chunk of salt so I could “anchor it in the foreground, creating layers of interest” and depth by getting “up close and personal” to it. while providing texture to the salt. I waited for the sun to just come up enough to light the top of the pile, keeping everything else in shadow.

It worked like a charm, creating the feeling that the man was considerably higher that the fifteen feet he actually was, and the rock Salt created the snow, and the look/idea I was hoping for.

The production shot was taken after my shot and from a different position; when the sun was up much higher and the sky much bluer. It’s merely to show you how high my assistant actually was, and how I could trick the camera…and the viewer.

Taken 30 minutes after sunrise.

Taken 30 minutes after sunrise.

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

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

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

JoeB

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I'm the one wearing black and lying down in the middle.

I’m the one wearing black and lying down in the middle.

In my online classes I teach with the BPSOP, I teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate the Elements of Visual Design into their photography. I also conducts my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops with the same idea in mind. The first workshops I ever taught (1983) was at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine.

In those days my workshop was called, The Poetry of Light, and while I covered the design elements, the main focus was in the Light. To this day I tell people that light is everything, except when street shooting where capturing the moment might supersede great light.

As I look back at the twenty-six years I’ve been teaching there, one week in particular comes to mind. From the first early morning shoot to the last sunset shoot of the week, we had overcast skies. The mornings were shrouded in fog, and when it finally lifted one could look up and enjoy a weeks worth of gray skies.

I was desperate to find some subject matter for my group; even if it was to be without any light. I had remembered that Andrew Wyeth had summered nearby and painted his famous “Christina’s World”, so I obtained permission to take the class there to have some fun, and after three days of overcast skies, the class was actually smiling…albeit just a little.

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth.

Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth.

The class and I decided to re-create the painting and I was elected (unanimously) to portray Anna Christina Olsen. We were then allowed to shoot inside the house, which was great since the light coming in from all the windows made for a great day of shooting. In those days, there was no limit as to the number of people that were in a class, and there were a lot of faces to create smiles on. Now the classes are smaller and a lot more intimate.

Btw, at the end of the week the class surprised me with a gift…a T-shirt that said, The Poetry of Fog with Joe Baraban.

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

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

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

JoeB

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Look ma, no Photoshop

Look ma, no Photoshop

In the first part of my career, I shot a lot of oi and gas related photos, and the one that always made me shudder was the oil rig. If I had a dollar for every rig I’ve shot over the course of my forty-five years, your truly would be writing this while looking out at the incredible view from my house on my private Island somewhere in the Caribbean.

The only thing that kept me sane was the challenge of always shooting a particular subject that I hadn’t shot before.  As I tell my online students with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet is what Marcel Proust once said, “The only true voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. This has always been one of my mantras, and I adhere to it every time I go out shooting.

I was asked by the design firm working on Apache’s Annual Report to go to Louisiana and take a picture of an oil rig that was sitting in one of the bayous that inundate the state. My assistant and I packed up the gear, and everything else I could imagine that might be of some creative value: A xenon light and fog machine were put in the back of the Suburban along with various power packs, umbrellas, and soft boxes that I hoped and prayed I wouldn’t have to use.

As we approached the company office, we went over a small bridge and I immediately stopped, for there rising out of the swamp was an oil rig sitting on the horizon. Could that possible be the one, I hoped.

We followed our directions ( way before Google Maps) and pulled up to their office. I went in and was taken back to the small conference room that looked out to a small boat that was moored next to a dock. After meeting our contact, I asked what the boat was for. He said that they used it as a short cut to go to one of their rigs. I asked him if it could be the one we saw coming over the bridge a couple miles away. He said let’s find out and we jumped in the boat and headed to the rig.

Sure enough it was the same rig. We stopped so I could take a reading. I pulled out my Sunpath chart as well as my Morin 2000 Hand Bearing Compass. As luck would have it, the sun would come up directly behind the rig the next morning. I arrange for two boats to head to the small bridge prior to sunrise. One for the worker, and one for me to be in. Right before the sun came up we laid down some fog and waited for it to settle. I had the man take my Zenon light and act like he was looking for something. I wanted to create some visual interest while the subject was actually the oil rig off in the distance, and I knew that the fog would make the beam stand out.

As it turns out, it’s one of my favorite industrial shots, and it was completely done in the camera with absolutely no post-processing done to it.

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

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

Keep those photos and questions coming into:AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I”l send you a video critique.

JoeB

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AskJoeB: What do others think about it?

What do others think?

What do others think?

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

“Joe,

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

Terry”

Hello Terry,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoeB

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My Favorite Quotes: Louis Pasteur

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

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

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

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

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

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

I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

I have one spot left for my “Autumn in Provence” workshop to be next October 21st. We’ll be shooting during the Fall foliage.Keep those photos and questions coming into:AskJoeB@gmail.com.

JoeB

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Anecdotes: There Is a Photo God

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

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

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

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

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

My people!

My people!

:-)

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

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

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

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

JoeB

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Food For Digital Thought: Shape

I saw triangles.

I saw triangles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoeB

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Quick Photo Tip: Setting Up An Action Shot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoeB

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AskJoeB: I’m not sure

Flare

Flare

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

“Dear Joe:

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

Thanks in advance,”

Anna Maria

These are "rays of light"

These are “rays of light”

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

Take a look at this video:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoeB

 

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Life Before Photoshop: Hawaii

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new reading every few seconds.

A new reading every few seconds.

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

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

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

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

JoeB

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Quick Photo Tip: A Visual Dichotomy

A visual dichotomy at work.

A visual dichotomy at work.

Di·chot·o·my
noun \dī-ˈkä-tə-mē

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

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

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

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

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

Man and his dog.

Man and his dog.

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

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

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

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

JoeB

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Food For digital Thought: Proofread

I love Zydeco!!!

I love Zydeco!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoeB

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