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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

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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

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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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              Photograph by Nick DePasquale

              Photograph by Nick DePasquale

              I recently returned from my latest springtime workshop that was held in Sicily. We based out of Palermo for three days, then Catania for another three days.

              While shooting in Palermo, we took early morning and afternoon trips to Trapani, and Cefalu’. After a leisurely private motor coach ride to Catania, we spend the day relaxing and shooting around the city center. We also spent time shooting in Ortygia and Taormina.

              The workshop was once again full, many who have taken my online courses with the BPSOP, and I can speak for everyone when I say that Sicily was everything we all expected. The food was always an interesting dining experience, the people were warm, friendly, and didn’t mind their picture being taken; right out of central casting. The villages we shot in were all by the sea, and as picturesque as one would imagine; just like the postcards.

              As usual, I select hotels that are centrally located with photo opportunities virtually right outside the door. Many were no more than a twenty minute walk. The group always traveled to the other locations by a private bus, comfort being one of my main concerns.

              Each day during the critiques, I was always looking forward to seeing how people were seeing things so differently when given the same subject matter. So many of the photographers have taken one to seven other workshops with me and as a result I love observing how their eye and their ability to see rather than look at things has improved so much. The group

              I have written several posts about my workshops, and I always like to show some of the images my fellow photographers were shooting. I realize that there are a lot of photos to look, but I’ve actually narrowed down the amount by half!!

              I wanted to give you a visual feeling for the country as well as showing you some of the remarkable images taken by my class.

              I hope you’re as impressed as I am.

              Enjoy the show.

              Visit my website at www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to watch for my upcoming 2016-17 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Look for me to be in Cuba next March 11th, and my next “springtime” workshop to be next May 17th in Vienna and Budapest.

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

              JoeB

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                Food For digital Thought: Figure-Ground

                Long lens at it's minimum focusing distance/widest aperture.

                Long lens at it’s minimum focusing distance/widest aperture.

                I teach three classes online with the BPSOP. My Part I and II classes deal with the elements of visual design and composition, and my third class is on the six concepts in the psychology of Gestalt. I also work on these in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

                One of the six concepts is called Figure-Ground, and to master it is to take your imagery what I often refer to as “up a notch”.

                Figure-Ground refers to the relationship between an object and its surroundings, or background. Do you see the figure in front of you or the background? There are times when it’s easy to pick out the figure, which is the object (the positive space) from the ground, which is everything else (the negative space).

                There are also times when it’s difficult to pick out the figure from the ground, so it’s important to keep a balance between the Negative and positive space as well as making the figure a “quick read”. In other words, be sure to make a clear distinction between the figure and the (back) ground.

                Dark against light.

                Dark against light.

                I typically like to have the subject (figure) stand out and be clearly defined. In these situations, I want the ground to support the figure. I can do this controlling my depth of field by using a longer lens with the widest aperture; focusing solely on the subject.

                The use of contrast by either placing a dark objects against a lighter background or light objects against a darker background are two ways. I can also separate the figure from the Ground by the use of color and size.

                Light against dark.

                Light against dark.

                If you’ve ever read anything about Henri Cartier-Bresson, you would know that he used Figure-Fround all the time when creating his photographs. In fact, he was a master at it.

                Another use of Figure-Ground is to create the feeling of the figure being small and alone. By making the ground the overwhelming part of your composition, this message will come across to the viewer.

                The feeling of being small and alone.

                The feeling of being small and alone.

                An interesting bit of trivia is the intentional modification of the Figure-Ground that comes in the form of Camouflage. This is when we want to blend the figure and the ground together. Strange as it might sound, Grant Wood (as in the famous painting called American Gothic) helped develop the camouflage used during World War I.

                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 August 17th 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, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                JoeB

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                  Let the viewer fill in the rest of mom.

                  I suppose I see as many or probably more baby photos as the next guy…why you  might be asking? Because I have four kids and two grandkids, and my wife has two kids and five grandchildren which would seem to qualify me as a semi-expert on baby photos.

                  That’s not counting the times when someone shows me their kids on their phones…ad nauseam!!

                   If you’re at all interested in showing off your kids/grandkids and not having the person you’re showing them to break out in hives, then here’s a great tip for you and it relates to one of the six concepts of Gestalt I teach online with the BPSOP and in my “Stretching Your frame of Mind”  workshops I conduct around our planet…the concept is called Closure.

                  So, the next time you’re in a position to photograph one of your kids or grandkids, think about this concept and allow the viewer the chance to fill in the rest of the image…as in the parent. I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that they will think it’s a really good photo and will even think you’re a creative photographer…besides being relieved from seeing just one more baby photo.

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

                  JoeB

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                    Life Before Photoshop: IBM

                    Look ma, no Photoshop

                    Look ma, no Photoshop

                    In 1983 I was hired to shoot a series of ads for IBM. One of the ads featured a class of young students painting a mural of the United States. I wanted strong window light coming in from 9 o’clock to side light providing depth to the room. The clock is one of the most important topics I talk about in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

                    In the old film days, the days when the word Adobe meant a type of house in the Southwest part of the US, I couldn’t rely on post processing to help create the illusion of depth.; for that matter, for anything. I also couldn’t rely on finding a room that would give me nice sidelight on the kids; let alone count on a sunny day. There was too much money involved for the advertising agency and client to reach a level of comfort in my ability to arrange for everything needed..for example late afternoon light at 9 o’clock.

                    So, what do you do? You bring out the “big lights”, 12K HMI’s, the lights I often used both in print and when I was acting as a director/cameraman on TV commercials. These lights were 12,000 watt daylight balanced lights that needed a big generator and ballasts to operate…and a package that included a gaffer, assistant, truck and portable generator would run about $2000.00 a day for just one light, CTO gels (warming gels since the light was on the blue side) and barn doors.

                    An all day shoot.

                    An all day shoot.

                    In order to create an even exposure from one end of the kids to the other it took six lights and several hours to set up and shoot. It was the “good old days” where it was fun creating the look on one piece of film and one exposure.

                    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 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.

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

                    JoeB

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                      Playing with my fork.

                      Playing with my fork.

                      How many times growing up did a parent, usually your mother, tell you to stop playing with your food? How many times have you been guilty of saying those same indelible words to one or more of your children?

                      I don’t know about you, but I lost count way back when. As an adult I also admit to saying those words or something like them to each of my four kids…and grand kids. By the way, if you were lucky as I was, you wanted your mom to say it more than your dad, if you know what I mean.

                      Well, my fellow photographers in both my online classes with the BPSOP and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, I’m here to tell you to start playing with your food again; only this time with your camera.

                      Since I’m always carrying my little Lumix DMC-LX7 in my pocket, I’m always at the ready when that illusive photo epiphany suddenly reveals itself to my imagination. It can be just about anywhere, including a bathroom. I see it a lot at restaurants, dinner tables (mine or friends), or anywhere where food and/or utensils are served and used.

                      This epiphany or sudden revelation usually occurs when some form of light comes into play, and as you know by now…light rules the photo world. You find the light and you’ll find the shot.

                      The above photo was taken during the beginning of breakfast on the terrace at the Royal Hotel in San Remo, Italy. While waiting to be served, I noticed the early morning light casting a shadow on our two-top. I began moving around the fork and silver tea service until I had the composition I wanted. By the way, all this was happening while Mikki was patiently watching…waiting until I was through “playing around” so she could pour herself a cup of coffee.

                      Played with this one for a while.

                      Played with this one for a while.

                      So the next time you have one of those photo epiphanies and you have your camera with you I encourage you to start playing with your food. I promise I won’t tell your mother.

                      Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. We’ll play with our food together.

                      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.

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

                      JoeB

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                        My Favorite Quotes: Ansel Adams

                        I knew where to stand, when to stand there, and how long I had standing there.

                        I knew where to stand, when to stand there, and how long I had standing there.

                        Here’s a quote that I absolutely relate to, and in one form or another I’ve been preaching it to my online class with the BPSOP and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops that I conduct around our planet for as long as I can remember. It was said by one of my all time favorite photographers Ansel Adams. He once said, “A good photograph is knowing where to stand”.

                        One of the most common mistakes I see is when one of my fellow photographers is at a location, walks up to an object or a subject, takes the camera that’s dangling around his/her neck and starts shooting. Oblivious to where the light is coming from, and the environment surrounding said object or subject.

                        Now I’m not saying that you can’t walk away with a good photo, I’m saying that the chances of walking away with a REALLY good photo greatly diminishes. If a good photo is enough to satisfy you, then I say to each his own and more power to you. If you’re looking to improve your chances of going home proud to have taken one of the best photos ever, then I suggest you adhere to a few steps that’s been my line of thought for nearly fifty years of shooting.

                        First of all, and the most important step is knowing in what direction the light is coming from. Is your subject one that will look better if it’s side lit? Perhaps to show off the texture? Is part of your subject translucent where backlight will make it glow? Do you want it to be a silhouette? Do you want to emphasize the shadows? These are all possibilities that are front and center in my thought process.

                        Let me digress for a moment and interject this thought: If I’m walking around some city street looking to capture a moment in time, then that moment can trump directional light; but to me that’s the only time.

                        “In a perfect world” is a personal pearl of wisdom I mention from time to time. In this scenario, I’m talking about being able to scout a location before you actually go and shoot to determine where the light is coming from. If you’re like me, you like to shoot at sunrise and sunset when the sun is low on the horizon…the golden hour.

                        The last thing I would ever want to happen is to be at a location at sunrise when I should have been there at sunset, and vice-versa; or at a location that doesn’t get early morning light until mid-morning. Conversely, a location that loses the late afternoon light well before it’s time for me to start shooting.

                        For as long as this old mind can remember, I’ve been using a program called Sunpath, and with the readings I get from it (anywhere in the world), I use a hand bearing compass called a Morin2000. This enables me to know exactly where the sun will come up and go down. If I’m able to scout the location ahead of time, I’ll know where to stand, when to stand there, and how long I have to stand there.

                        If scouting is not possible, I at least walk around and look for places to stand...in relation to the source of the light.

                        As far as the environment that surrounds my subject is concerned, I want to make sure it’s in sync. In other words, the relationship between the subject and what’s around it is of equal importance; especially the negative space that’s between them…defining them. I call it taking care of “the whole enchilada”.

                        Balance is one of the basic elements of visual design, and it refers to how you distribute the positive space (everything that has mass or weight) evenly in your composition. Strive for balance, but don’t worry about everything being an unimaginative fifty-fifty proposition as far as equal weight and size. All the elements can be of different importance on their own, but will add up in your finished photo. Balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. If it’s balanced, it will feel right.

                        The photo above was part of a advertising campaign for Pacific Bell where we went to four small towns (actual places) and set up a phone booth and photographed it. We arrived in Nameless, Tennessee the day before to scout the location, decide when to shoot it and where to put the phone booth. Without prior knowledge, this photo could not have been set up before the sun came up and taken moments after sunrise. It felt right!

                        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 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.

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

                        JoeB

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                          Framing within a frame.

                          Framing within a frame.

                          Ok, I know what a lot of you are probably thinking when I say the word Tension., but it’s not what you’re thinking. When you hear the word tension you more than likely associate it with mental or emotional stress since that’s the most popular definition. After all, how many commercials have you seen or heard where they talk about “the tension headache”, and that their pill works better than all the rest to get rid of it?

                          I’m talking about the kind of Visual Tension that’s comes as a result of forces acting against one another; which creates energy and visual interest. When Visual Tension is present, it’s the feeling that something is going to occur that will change the dynamics of the message we’re trying to get across to the viewer.

                          In the psychology of Gestalt, we want to make the viewer an active participant when looking at our photos, and generating visual interest is a good way to keep him around longer looking at our imagery. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want.

                          In my three online classes with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, we work on several ways to create Visual Tension, and one of the ways is called, “Framing within a frame”. This happens when we place a frame of some sort around our subject or centers of interest. This can be anything, including one of the four edges that surrounds our composition. BTW, it’s one of the reasons why it’s best not to crop your photos, so you can use the edges of your frame as a compositional tool.

                          The frame directs the viewer’s eye to not only the subject, but the environment it sits in; giving it a frame of reference. Framing within a frame adds depth and it’s the feeling of the frame closing in that also provides tension. Also, when you put a frame around your subject or center of interest, it will lead the viewers eyes directly to it and the energy it generates to focus his/her attention takes work and work takes time, which requires energy, and energy equals tension.

                          Here are some examples of “framing within a frame”:

                          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 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 question and photo to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique.

                          JoeB

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                            Explaining the How and the why.

                            Explaining the How and the why.

                            Several of my students that take my online class with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet say to me that what they like most about my classes is not only do I show people how to make stronger photos, but why they are.

                            The how comes from teaching people how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their imagery: Line, Pattern, Form, Texture, Balance, Color, Light, and Shape are the elements that my students will eventually wind up putting on their new Artist Palette. With this palette (that also has shadows, silhouettes, and vanishing points on it) they can start using the right side of their brain (the creative side) instead of the left side (the analytical side).

                            For example, a photographer looking at a tree with the left side sees only a tree. That same photographer looking at the same tree with the right side sees patterns made by the bark, the texture of the bark, negative space separating and defining the leaves and branches, the lines that make up the trunk and branches, the way the light falls on the tree (side, back, or front lighting), and the color of the leaves.

                            The why is all about perception. The goal is to present your photo in such a way as to take control of how the viewer perceives and processes the information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph. If that same tree is presented in such a way as to keep the viewer around longer by looking at the warm late afternoon side light emphasizing the patterns and texture of the bark, then you’ve done your job.

                            If that same light is coming from behind the tree, it passes through the negative space that was created to define the leaves. It will turn the tree into a two-dimensional silhouette but because of those green, yellow, red, and orange leaves being translucent, they will glow; and don’t forget about that wonderful shadow (your best friend) that lies on the ground stretching out to the camera…again you’ve done your job, and a job well done.

                            In the photo above taken at LaDefense in Paris with the left side of my brain, I saw a man sitting on the steps. with the right side I saw Line, Pattern, Texture, Shape, and Figure-Ground…a dark subject against a lighter background.

                            The people that look at your images created by the right side of your brain will undoubtedly find more visual interest than those created with the left side…they just won’t necessarily know why…it will be our little secret!

                            🙂

                            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 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: AskJoe@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                            JoeB

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