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Anecdotes: Maine Workshop

Not a true Vanishing Point, but close.

Not a true Vanishing Point, but close.

Years ago, when the now Maine Media Workshop was just called the Maine Workshop, I took a group out looking for the elements of Visual Design and composition. Now I call it my Artist Palette, and these elements are placed on it so your imagination can easily get to them. We work on this same Artist Palette both in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

Probably twenty plus years ago I was taking a group out late in the afternoon, driving in the countryside outside Rockport (where the workshop Homestead is located) looking for Vanishing Points to incorporate into my students composition. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man sitting on the railing of his back porch. I quickly noticed that the railing contained parallel lines that were almost converging to a point on the horizon.

I couldn’t tell if it was a true Vanishing Point (which it wasn’t) , but the man was great looking…a true Mainer. I turned around and drove back to see what if anything was worth having my fellow photographers shoot.

We pulled up next to the house and I began talking with this man who turned out to be very warm and friendly, and a great guy to boot. I asked him if I could take a quick photo to show the students how to combine a Vanishing Point with an environmental portrait; as seen in the above photo.

I then had the class take over and just stood back to see what they could each come up with individually while the light was beautiful. I went to put away my gear while thinking that they would try their hand at incorporating a Vanishing Point and a portrait. When I returned, I was surprised (to say the least) that they had positioned this man in a chair and proceeded to photograph him. I couldn’t imagine what they were seeing or trying to see, but since they were having fun, I just let them be….and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Not sure what they were seeing.

Not sure what they were seeing.

I still smile when I see this photo I shot of them.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my upcoming workshops at the top of this blog. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country. I’ll be returning to the Maine Media workshop next July 31st for my twenty-eight year. Come shoot with me.

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

JoeB

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    Do you see a triangle?

    Do you see a triangle?

    I teach three online classes with the BPSOP, and I also conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around our planet. In my part I class we work on incorporating the basic elements of Visual Design and composition into their imagery, and one of them is Shape.

    Circles, squares, rectangles and triangles are the basic shapes, and when you create photos using these shapes, they will definitely take your pictures what I refer to as “up a notch”.

    One of the classes I teach is on the Psychology of Gestalt, and during this four week class, we work on the six basic principles in this theory. One of them is called Closure, and it’s about letting the viewer fill in the missing pieces you’ve laid out in the form of a puzzle.

    Where am I going with this? Think about combining what’s learned in my part I class as far as the triangle is concerned with what you learn in my Gestalt class as far as Closure is concerned and you have the gist of what goes through my thought process when I’m making my pictures.

    What I mean is this: I show my fellow photographers a series of diagrams I’ve collected over the past thirty years, that I’m always thinking about when I’m out shooting. One of them I call my PacMan diagram, and it’s to show how we can fill in the missing pieces whether it be in a diagram or a photograph.

    Do you see a triangle?

    Do you see a triangle?

    After looking at the PacMan diagram and the above photo, you can start to see how I use certain methods to keep the viewer as active participant when he looks at my photos. In the photo of the three men taken in Cuba, the initial processing of the pieces (of the final puzzle) will be of three waiters. From that he’ll  fill in the missing and implied lines that connects the three men and will perceive a triangle…creating a sense of unity and will be viewed as one.

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

    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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      Food for digital Thought: The Vanishing Point

      classic Vanishing Point In the pat few years I’ve written several posts that included, to some degree, directional and leading lines and have talked at some length about the Vanishing Point. It’s time to dedicate an entire post on one of the most powerful tools in taking our photos what I refer to as “up a notch”…the Vanishing Point.

      Back in the very old days (as in medieval times) when artists, or draftsmen wanted to show linear perspective, they would either overlap objects to indicate position and create a visual sensation of depth, or they might place one set of objects or subjects below each other to try to create the same effect.

      In the early fifteenth century, an artist named Fillipo Brunelleschi demonstrated a method to create the illusion of making distant objects appear smaller than closer objects. It was a method of perspective that we now refer to as a Vanishing Point.

      Brunelleschi had created a way to create the third dimension (depth) on paper, in a two dimensional plane, existing of only height and width.

      In the modern world, describing a Vanishing Point to a person without specialized knowledge would be the point where parallel lines appear to converge.

      In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, we work on ways to keep the viewer an active participant when looking at our photos. How we manage what the viewer perceives and processes is an important step in doing just that.

      How we can get the viewer to perceive a Vanishing Point goes back to the principle of making things appear smaller as they move away from the lens towards the horizon. A Vanishing Point is an important tool when you’re trying to create depth on a two dimensional plane. Besides depth, it will add realism and a sense of drama; it can be coming from any direction the viewer looks.

      A classic Vanishing Point is made up of three elements:

      The Point: is the spot on the horizon or just past it. This is where your eye will eventually end up after you’ve composed your photograph and put whatever subject matter or objects you have incorporated into your composition.

      The Plane: is the image seen through the camera in two dimensions.

      The Line: refers to the parallel lines that appear to get closer together the further away they get. In fact, they remain the same distance apart as they lead to the point on the horizon. These lines are perpendicular to the lens axis and start in front of the photograph. When they reach the point on the horizon, everything you observe comes together, then seems to disappear.

      There are those that say that the parallel lines do not need to go all the way to the horizon, as long as they converge at a point somewhere past the middle of the frame; and/or converge close enough to the horizon to be implied.

      Here are some examples of a Vanishing Point:

      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. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

      JoeB

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        Quick Photo Tip: The Horizon Line Dilemna

        What rule says you can't center the horizon line?

        What rule says you can’t center the horizon line?

        Once again I want to start off by saying that there’s no set rule as to where to put that pesky horizon line; run from anyone that tells you any different.

        There’s three basic choices:

        Putting the horizon high in the frame will accentuate whatever you put in the foreground while at the same time intensifying the feeling of distance. When I talk about this to my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet,   I always warn my fellow photographers that when they tilt the camera up or down the vertical lines close to the edge of the frame will bend either in or out.

        One way that sometimes corrects that distortion is to switch to a wider lens so the tilting up or down is at a minimum. Switching to a wider lens will also help keep everything in focus from the foreground to the background. Another way to help with the focus is to shoot from a higher POV and then when you tilt the camera down it will extend the DOF.

        Breaking through the centered horizon line.

        Breaking through the centered horizon line.

        Putting the horizon line low in the frame will do two things. It will bring attention to a dramatic sky, and it will create a feeling of being small in the scheme of things…as in the vastness of the world around us. I will often put my subject in the bottom right corner of my frame to give the feeling of being alone and small in relation to the infinite reaches of the sky above. Putting my subject in that right corner will also generate Visual Tension. Btw, if the sky is not dramatic and just blue, the viewer will quite possibly tire of it and move along.

        Putting the horizon line in the middle of the frame is to many, breaking a cardinal rule. These are the people you want to stay away from. There are times when it will work, and it just all depends. One never knows until it’s tried, and I’m the first one to encourage trying. As I always told my kids…”Color outside the lines”.

        Putting the horizon line in the middle is often used when you’re reflecting the image in some body of water. It will change the dynamics of your composition by becoming more of a graphic/symmetrical statement; showing the subject in a mirrored reflection. It will also generate Visual Tension. In my classes we work a lot of ways to create Visual Tension, and showing a subject and it’s reflection is one of the ways.

        When you’re reading all the rules to becoming a good photographer, and I say this lightly, placing the horizon smack dab in the middle is high up on the list. Btw, who was the first person to

        tell us that was a real “no-no”????? I think he or she has dressed up in their parent’s clothes and are playing hide-in-seek!!!

        A low horizon line.

        A low horizon line.

        I say it does have merit. Placing your horizon line in the middle can have two effects. first, it can look like someone has spliced two photos together. Second, it can leave your photo un-moving and static. Un-moving in the sense that its important to move the viewer around the frame giving him lots of things to discover. That way he’ll stick around longer.

        One way to work around centering the horizon line is to use elements to break the horizon. In effect, it can tie the two parts together.

        In any event, what’s important to think about is one of my favorite “personal pearls of wisdom”…consider the scene and its outcome. What message are you trying to get across? Simply put, are you emphasizing the sky or the foreground…or neither one?

        There is another way to solve this dilemma, and this will resolve any nightmares you might endure from worrying about where you put that last horizon line. Don’t show the horizon at all. If the centers of interest, or the main subject is below the horizon line, then it makes life so much easier.   This is really a good idea when the sky is overcast.

        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. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

        JoeB

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          Pass or fail?

          Pass or fail?

          Since humans rely on their perception of the environment that surrounds them, visual input is a part of everyday life. This is a part of what I teach in my online Gestalt class with the BPSOP. I also talk about it at lengths during my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

          One of the six concepts we work on is called Continuance, and it’s about directing the viewer to areas in our composition while moving him around the frame.

          Instead of putting up my usual photo, this time I put up a diagram that I show to my fellow photographers.  The last time I counted, no one passed the test!!!!

          If you can use this concept, and apply it to your thought process, you’ll create images that not only will keep the viewer around longer (isn’t that just what we want?) but can also stand the test of time.

          The viewer will look where they're looking.

          The viewer will look where they’re looking.

          The next time you’re out shooting, think about this diagram, and try to incorporate the theory behind it into a photo. Think of the arrow as an analogy as far as directing the viewer to look in the direction you want. You can also get the viewer to look in the direction you want (or directions) by having people in your photos act like arrows and use their eyes to do the looking. If you can create two directions, all the better.

          When I saw the man walking down the cobblestone street in Tuscany, I immediately saw it as a way to lead the viewer in the opposite way the man was walking. It might not be one of my best photos, but it sure does show how important the Psychology of Gestalt is.

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

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

          JoeB

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            My Favorite Quotes: Genesis 1:3

            "And there was light".

            “And there was light”.

            Trust me when I say that I’mvery far from being a religious person, but the other day I was listening to a piece on PBS and the book of Genesis was being quoted. I can’t remember exactly what the gist of the conversation was, but the moment this phrase was said, my ears picked up. The direct quote from Genesis 1:3 is,…then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

            My ears picked up because I remembered walking back to my hotel in Paris during my workshop there from what was a “bust” as far as the afternoon light was concerned. As you can see in the above photo that it was about as dark gray (and threatening rain) as it gets especially so close to sunset.

            I tell my online class with the BPSOP, and my fellow photographers that join me in one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops to always be ready because you just never know when something will happen. As always, I still had my camera attached to my tripod and both were resting comfortably on my shoulder. I was asking no one in particular if I could just have a minute of light, and at that moment, as I always do, I was looking all around me from front to back. As I turned around the sun came out for a matter of seconds, and I was able to capture this photo. Needless to say it made my afternoon.

            I guess somebody up there likes me!!!

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

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

            JoeB

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              Life Before Photoshop: Isuzu Campaign

              Look ma, no Photoshop!

              Look ma, no Photoshop!

              Yes, those were the day my friend, those were the days. The days when Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest. When you had to be a good photographer and not a good computer artist. When you had to create everything created in your imagination in the camera. When you sometimes had to actually focus your own camera’s lens…can you imagine? Oh the horror!!!

              Don’t get me wrong, as I always tell my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet,  consider being a good photographer and capture as much as you can in the camera…including the best exposure.

              I also tell them that I use Photoshop all the time, but to make the minor adjustments that I couldn’t achieve before clicking the shutter. For me, the challenge/fun  is doing it on location and not in my office in front of my computer.

              I guess that the hardest production shots to pull off in the camera were in car photography. It was very difficult to get it right, and if you didn’t the car clients would not be happy. When the digital age really took hold, it spelled death to the car shooters that made a living just shooting cars. A great many of them had to close the door. agencies and clients were shooting the cars CGI style…in the studio against a blue or green screen. They would either go out and shoot the environment/landscape separately, or just buy one from a stock agency. The results were and still are mostly awful; the main reason is the light never matches.

              Ok, now to the photo above.

              This was shot for the cover of the Isuzu full line car brochure. I had a location scout find a road that would lead into the sunset and make the dirt the car kicked up glow from being backlit. I gave her the Sunpath readings and with her Morin 2000 hand bearing compass, she was able to pinpoint where the sun was going to set. I was positioned right over the road in a cherry picker so that the car would come out from right underneath me.

              The dirt is actually called Fuller’s Earth. It’s a very fine powder used to accentuate dust or even explosions in cinematography. We spread it over the existing dust from the lift all the way down to the horizon. When the sun was at the degree I wanted, I had the car start driving to the sunset. I was communicating with the driver via walki-talki, to have him adjust the speed to maximize the glowing dust.

              It was a lot more fun than sitting in front of a computer to achieve something similar…if I even had the skills!!!

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

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

              JoeB

               

               

               

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                Quick Photo Tips: Front and Center

                Front and center.

                Front and center.

                I don’t remember when I first fell in love with my 20mm F/2.8 lens. I’m sure it had to do with the fact that I was shooting Kodachrome 25 (the ISO), and when I wanted a high speed film, I switched to Kodachrome 64. That was in the film days and that was the film of choice. Being that slow made me use a tripod, and it was the best thing I ever did, because now I’m as fast with it as most people are when thy hand hold.

                I digress.

                The 20mm lens became my all purpose lens and I shot everything with it from portraits to landscapes.  Because it was so fast, I didn’t have to stop down very much to usually get what I wanted in focus. I could also get my subjects “up close and personal” and if I kept them in the middle, or if I kept my camera level when I did put them close to the edge they wouldn’t be distorted. That also included not having their arms and legs too close to the lens or they would be weird and too large for the rest of their body.

                I loved to put my subjects what I always referred to as “front and center”. In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m constantly getting my fellow photographers to get “up close and personal” to their subject. For one thing it generates Visual Tension and interest. For another, It anchors them in the foreground and creates layers of interest and depth. Since the camera just has one eye (the lens) it can only see in two dimensions…height and width. You can trick the camera into creating the third dimension…depth by placing your subject front and center.

                Btw, I also like to put them smack dab in the middle and to hell with that silly “Rule of Thirds” thing that everyone thinks you have to follow to create good photos.

                So try it next time and see if you like it. Put your subject front and center and close to the lens. Once you see how it works and you get over the hump in giving it a try, you’ll see that it’s not such a bad idea after all.

                Here’s some examples, and all of them were shot with a 20mm lens. Some were shot during the film days and some in the more recent digital age:

                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. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

                JoeB

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                  Making pictures is a lot more fun than taking them.

                  Making pictures is a lot more fun than taking them.

                  The first workshop I ever taught was at the Maine Media Workshop in 1984, and up until the last few years I’ve been teaching while shooting advertising and corporate photography ever since. That’s thirty years of looking at my fellow photographer’s photos.

                  Thirty years later, I’m semi-retired and now teaching online with the PPSOP, and still conducting my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet.

                  If I were to pick out one thing that I’ve seen over the course of my teaching career, it would be the fact that the majority of all my students just go out with their camera and take pictures. I wrote a post about it called “I came, I shot, I left”, which somewhat touches on the subject at hand.

                  One of my favorite lines that I say to my students 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 does that mean you say? It means that I’m in the business of making, not taking pictures. My background isn’t in photography. Truth be known, I didn’t hold a 35mm camera until I was twenty-one. I was an art student who loved painting and design. The day I picked up that camera was the day I changed my favorite medium, a paintbrush, to a 35mm Pentax Spotmatic with a 50mm lens.

                  I still consider myself an artist. Now, instead of a canvas on an easel where I was making works of art, I have a camera on a tripod, and I’m now making pictures.

                  If you’re out with a camera over your shoulder with the intent of coming back with your ‘work of art’, and you’ve taken my online class or my workshop, you have an ‘Artist Palette’ with you. You’re using the elements of visual design to help you see things you wouldn’t normally see and be able to make a picture from what you looking at by using one or all of these Elements.

                  Think about going out and making pictures; here’s what I mean: Before you click the shutter, take some time to walk around your subject, center of interest, or even the entire location your about to shoot in. Shoot it from different points of view. Before you even bring the camera up to your eye, look where the sun or light source is coming from. Position yourself to side light then backlight your subject. I’m not a fan of front light, but there’s time when it works so look for it as well. I wrote a post about looking at things in a new way. It’s also about making pictures.

                  Think about scouting the location ahead of time to check on the direction of the light. Maybe there’s some props you’d like to bring to help tell some kind of story. Being a storyteller is about making pictures. Maybe adding a person would help, so you drag one of your kids (you do have to pay them something if you want their undivided attention), or a spouse or friend. If you live in or close to a large city, Google up that cities Tourism Bureau or Film Commission for places to shoot; they love to help photographers. What about festivals (lots of photo ops) that come once a year? These are the kinds of things that change your thought process, and now you’re also in the business of making pictures.

                  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. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

                  JoeB

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                    AskJoeB: What Could I Have Done Better?

                    "How to make it better"

                    “How to make it better”

                    Janet from Ohio sent in her photo of a woman fishing (I’m guessing fishing for Catfish) and as usual I like to have everyone read what she had to say. The reason is that so many of my fellow photographers have had similar situations, and have asked themselves the same thing. Here’s what Janet had to say:

                    “Hi Joe,

                    I was out shooting last night and getting ready to go home when I saw this woman with an orange/red jacket.  She was  fishing even though it looks more like she’s deep in thought.  I thought the color of her jacket and the bucket would be a nice echo of the sunset.  Even though I like the last sentence, I actually just  thought the color would look great in a photo.

                    I am proud to report that I walked up to her and asked if she would mind if I took her picture.  My first try was sad.  The middle of the bridge was coming out of her head!  So I tried again.  As I looked through the view finder, I did make sure that everything in the picture was what I wanted in the picture.

                    I like almost everything about this photo.  I like the negative space around the bridge, the colors – sunset, jacket etc., the reflection of the bridge and the lights from the other side.  The one thing I don’t like is the white thing that looks like a bucket in the foreground.  Actually it’s part of the dock and isn’t movable. I did little post processing.  I lowered the highlights a little to increase the color in the sky.

                    So, what could I have done better?”

                    Janet (from Holland, Ohio)

                    The firs thing I want to commend you on is the fact that you approached her and asked to take her picture. In my online class with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops, I’ve had so many photographers tell me that they have a hard time asking people to do something for them. It can be something as simple as asking them to move over a little to help the composition, or to ask to take their picture.

                    I call it “Getting over the hump”, and after you do it once, it becomes easier and easier. Not only will you get a yes most of the time, but you’ll walk away smiling after making a new friend that’s also smiling. Btw, always offer to email them your photo.

                    Here’s the video:

                    http://www.screencast.com/t/Y6zzrYySeDhs

                    FYI, she’s both deep in thought and fishing. Since fishing is one of my loves, I can tell you that it’s is a form of meditation…any silent thought is a way to meditate. I can assure you that her reverie will end in an instant the moment she feels the pull on her line!

                    For others that have not taken my class, here’s what I mean by my fifteen point protection plan: http://joebaraban.com/blog/dont-forget-to-take-your-fifteen-point-protection-plan/

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

                    Keep sending in your photo and question to: AskJoe@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                    JoeB

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                      Student’s Work: September Classes

                      Shot by Ana in her vineyard.

                      Shot by Ana in her vineyard.

                      As I’ve mentioned before, I teach an online class with the BPSOP, and I conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around our planet. Actually, I teach three online classes. A part I, part II, and a class on the six concepts in the psychology of Gestalt.

                      Coming from a background in art rather than photography, I studied the basic elements of visual design, and now I show my fellow photographers how to incorporate these same elements into their imagery: Line, Pattern, Texture, Shape, Form, Balance, as well as negative space, perspective, vanishing points, shadows, and silhouettes are introduced in my part I and II classes.

                      Each week of a four week class I give a different lesson, and my students are to work with these elements while composing their photos. After the four weeks, they now have what I refer to as an Artist Palette, and these elements are on it.

                      In my Gestalt, students had to have taken my first two classes before signing up. In this class I show my students how to manage what the viewer perceives and processes when looking at the visual information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph. We work on the six concepts: Figure-Ground, Similarity, Law of C0mmon Fate, Continuance, Closure, and Proximity.

                      In this slideshow are photos from all three classes, and I hope you are as impressed as I am as how their level of photography jumped up several levels from where they began.

                      Enjoy:


                      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. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

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

                      JoeB

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                        My Favorite Quotes: Johnathon Swift

                        I saw a Ferris wheel, but what else did I see?

                        I saw a Ferris wheel, but what else did I see?

                        Most of you will know Johnathon Swift as the guy that wrote Gulliver’s Travels; one of the few books I read more than once. Among a much smaller crowd, he’s known for a quote he said a long time ago. A quote I have read once or twice in the past forty years as an advertising, editorial,  and corporate photographer. He said, ” Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others”.

                        As I often tell my fellow photographers that sign up for my online classes with the BPSOP, or the ones that shoot with me in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, use the Elements of Visual Design to help you “see past your first impressions”. If it’s a tree, then what else is it? It’s an object made up of Texture, Patterns, Form (when side lit) Shape, and most important Line. It’s about the Negative Space between the branches that are defining those leaves and branches.

                        Depending on the time of day, it’s about the shadow the tree creates. When shot early in the morning or late in the day when the sun is gone the tree becomes a two-dimensional silhouette against a brighter sky. It’s all these things that most people can’t see…why, because they just don’t know how to see… with the right vision.

                        In the above photo, the left side of my brain, the analytical side, saw a Ferris Wheel. The right side, the creative side saw motion, a circle, a triangle, patterns, lines, light, and color.

                        Once you learn how to see with this vision, a whole new set of photo opportunities will be at your disposal. no longer will you say that when you went out shooting, you just didn’t see anything interesting. There’s ALWAYS something interesting to shoot.

                        Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to check out  my workshop schedule. Come shoot with me sometime, and see what you’ve never seen before. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

                        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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                          I placed the silver panels to manipulate Line...creating depth.

                          I placed the silver panels to manipulate Line…creating depth.

                          In my four week online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, work on incorporating the Elements of Visual Design into their imagery.

                          We also work on several other elements that help to create stronger compositions, and one of the is perspective. In this concept, we are usually referring to the spatial relationships between objects in a photo. However, in one of my one week lessons in the four week class are ways to create depth.

                          One of the ways is to anchor the subject in the foreground thus giving the illusion of space and distance. Since the camera has one eye, it can only see in two dimensions…height and width. We can trick the camera and suggest the third dimension, depth.

                          Another way to create the feeling of depth is the manipulation of line. By arranging lines in your composition in such a way, you can move the viewer around the frame. The best way to create the feeling of space and distance is to move the viewer from the bottom of the frame to the top. Since we were brought up to read from left to right, having him start out from the bottom left and move him across the frame to somewhere in the top right keeps him in his comfort zone. That said, sometimes it’s a good idea to take him out of his comfort zone and move him from right to left….creating more visual tension.

                          A Vanishing Point is one of the best ways to manipulate line and lead the viewer around the frame. These are lines that are parallel to the lens axis, begin behind the camera, and converge at a point somewhere in the composition. To create a classic Vanishing Point. these parallel lines would converge at infinity or at a point on the horizon.

                          Here’s some examples of creating depth by the manipulation of Line:

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

                          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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                            Anecdotes: Gotta get my girls

                            Gotta get my girls

                            Gotta get my girls

                            After forty-five years of shooting editorial, corporate, and advertising photography, one acquires stories and anecdotes along the way. Some funny, some not so funny, and some you wish didn’t happen quite the way it did. That said, I always told my four kids (the youngest being twenty-seven) that bad decisions usually make the best stories.

                            However, one of the funnier moments happened years ago while shooting an annual report for an agricultural company. We had gone to a farm to take a portrait of the owner, reported to be one of the largest landowners in the county. After meeting him, you could have knocked me over with a feather when we were told that he held an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.

                            He was a very slow talking quiet man who was not accustomed to having his picture taken. He was shy and had to be talked into it. I told him that I wanted to shoot him out in one of his fields, and he said that was fine, but he didn’t want to be photographed by himself.

                            He took us out to a field, dropped us off and said he would be back in fifteen minutes with his girls. I though he wanted to have his picture taken with his wife and daughters. Since the light was bad and the skies were gray, I figured the more the merrier, and what difference could it make…especially if that was the only way he would have his picture taken.

                            After nearly thirty minutes, he should up with his girls…two of them. He said that they were his favorites and they followed him everywhere he went on his farm. I could hardly show my excitement, and as I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and also my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, the one thing that can replace good light is humor.

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

                            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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