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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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      Anecdotes: My New Best Friend

      My new best friend.

      My new best friend.

      A million years ago, I was shooting the Annual Report for Apache Oil and Gas. They were about to start drilling in Egypt so they sent me there to basically shoot what ever I wanted that would capture the flavor of the country.

      I was more than a little surprised when I found out that the hotel I was staying in was right across the road from the famous Pyramids of Giza. Not only did my room look out to the pyramids, but there was a casino in the hotel.

      The biggest sand trap I had ever seen.

      The biggest sand trap I had ever seen.

      For some reason most people think more on the romantic side about the pyramids, and a lot of that is owed to Cecil B DeMille for his portrayal in his iconic movies. In actuality, the pyramids are not even outside of Cairo and besides the hotel, there’s a shopping center where tourists can buy everything imaginable that has to do with the pyramids or the Sphinx. Oh, did I forget to mention the eighteen hole golf course next to them????

      Upon arriving at the pyramids, you’re swarmed/accosted  by guides that promise you secret ways to enter the pyramids, and know one else knows these passages. One such man would not leave us alone, and kept showing us all his badges he had concealed under his coat. He said that he had all the necessary permits to allow us to take photographs, and was not to be denied…I liked him right away!

      As it turned out several more of these guides kept bothering us about our cameras, but Mohammad was always right there to protect and defend.

      One of the photos I took at the pyramids.

      One of the photos I took at the pyramids.

       

      Check out my website at: www.joebaraban.com, my online class with the BPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet. 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.

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

      JoeB

       

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        Food for Digital Thought: Form

        Light from 9:00 O’clock

        My background is not in Photography, rather in Art. Up until I was twenty-0ne I had either a colored pencil, brush, or a piece of charcoal in my hand.

        I studied just about everything there was to study as far as courses in art were concerned. Throughout my years of study, I was always interested in the elements of visual design, and how they made a drawing or painting stronger.

        When I changed the medium to a camera, those elements came with me, and now as I help students in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet become stronger photographers, these same elements play a key role in developing their eye.

        One of the elements of visual design that I talk about is Form. To many of my fellow photographers, Form can be taxing and difficult for photographers to capture, although if you pay attention to where the source of the light is, it’s really quit simple.

        Form simply refers to the three dimensional qualities of an object. Since the camera has just one eye, it can only see in two dimensions…height and width. Where the light is coming from is critical on creating the third dimension, depth.

        Light from 3:00 o'clock

        Light from 3:00 o’clock

        To best create the illusion of depth, the light should be coming in from the side. On my imaginary clock, for straight sidelight the light needs to coming from either 9:00 o’clock or 3:00 o’clock.

        Value refers to the lightness and darkness of an object, and it defines Form. I talk mostly about the sidelight on a subject or even a landscape, but what you also have to consider in sidelight is the shadows that will be created. The soft to strong contrast within a composition will also define the limits where the  highlights and shadows edges are placed.

        It’s the shadows that give the illusion of depth, and as I always tell my students, shadows are your best friend.

        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.

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

         

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          A sense of rhythm and harmony.

          A sense of rhythm and harmony.

          The psychology of Gestalt has been around since the 1920’s and was founded by a group of German psychologists. I started reading about it several years ago and began applying these six different concepts to the way I was approaching the way I took photos.

          It’s all about managing what the viewer perceives and processes when looking at the visual information we lay out to him in the form of a photograph. Visual input is a part of our everyday lives, and it’s our objective to present this information in a way that will keep the viewer around longer…looking at our photos. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I like it when people look at my images for a long time.

          Besides the part I and II classes I teach online with the BPSOP, relating to the elements of visual design, I now teach my fellow photographers how to incorporate these six concepts in a class strictly on gestalt. These are also areas I talk about in my “Stretching Your Frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

          One of these concepts is called Similarity.

          Similarity is perhaps the easiest of all the concepts to recognize and therefore explaining it without going into too much detail.

          Similarity occurs when forms, colors, sizes, and objects look enough alike to be perceived s a group or pattern in the viewer’s mind. All these different elements, when occurring in your photos, give a sense of rhythm and will connote harmony.

          The viewer loves to see photos that are designed with a variety of colors, shapes, and forms, and when the viewer sees these similar characteristics, he’ll perceive the elements as being related due to the shared characteristics.

          Here’s a few examples of what I mean:

          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.

          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.

          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.

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

          JoeB

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            Quick Photo Tip: Using Body Language

            After winning the tournament...could you tell?

            After winning the tournament…could you tell?

            One of the ways to bring visual interest and tension into your imagery is the use of body language. It’s a way to communicate without the talking, and can disclose a person’s character or attitude without a word being said. this is very important in still photography for obvious reasons.

            I teach an online class with the PPSOP, and I conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops around the planet. One of the areas we work on is ways to create Visual Tension,  and the use of body language is one of them.  I shoot a lot of environmental portraits, so for me body language is an important part of the overall composition. Body language is one of the pieces that make up a good photo, and other pieces of the same puzzle will influence how we interpret non-verbal information by the subject.

            The use of hands is so important in expressing thought and conveying the feeling of warmth or strength. If the way people use their hands wasn’t significant, and you doubt that it can help you take your imagery what I refer to as “up a level”, then one only needs to think about sign language and the way the hands are used in a way to send a message to others.

            What about the face? A simple expression can send so many different meanings and can portray the range of emotions we all have; don’t we all occasionally carry our disposition, mood, and temperament on our faces.

            When taking photos of just one person, the body language can be both compelling and enchanting, but when there’s two or more people, then the outcome can be extremely entertaining and thought-provoking when put in the right situation; especially when light plays a big part…as it always should.

            The next time you’re taking pictures of people, try to incorporate some body language and see how much it helps in generating visual tension and interest.

            Here’s are a few examples of both one and more than one subject. Can you tell by their body language what’s happening?

             

            .

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

            JoeB

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              Let kids be kids.

              Let kids be kids.

              Fortunately, I’ve never had to photograph kids to make a living, but over the course of my almost fifty years as a professional photographer, I’ve had my share of  advertising and corporate assignments where children of all ages were the end users for the company that made the products that fed them, clothes them, protected them, fixed them, and played with them; as a result I took the little darling’s  pictures.

              My approach was always to lower my thought process to their level and photograph them the way they wanted to be photograph. Whatever pose they had in mind is the pose I almost always went with. As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet go with the flow. Don’t try to force an idea on them, because I can bear witness to the fact that it’s a good way to get them NOT to do what you want…just to spite you!!!

              I’ve had many kids that wanted to be photographed with their pet. YIKES!!! I can tell you from many years of experience, as far as subject matter goes kids and animals are the two hardest  to photograph…especially at the same time!! Forget about anything predictable (not a bad idea anyway) and again, let them dictate how they want to be photographed with their pet.

              Alex and her dog Lucy.

              Alex and her dog Lucy.

              Eye to eye

              Eye to eye

              Another tip is to get down on their level. I’ve seen way too many photos where the photographer bent over and took the picture from their height.If you’re down where they are, it’s a lot more engaging and whatever direction you’re able to give them will work better “eye to eye”.

              I’ve even gone to the extent of having them look in the viewfinder and let them take my picture first. You would be surprised on how often this works. Last but certainly not least, is to pay them. You would really be surprised with how often this works!

              Finally, if you’re good enough you can direct them to do something that might look natural, but in reality the idea was conceived by you, the photographer.

              😉

              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 Photogaphy is having me come out for a three day weekend intensive workshop  beginning July 15th. The description is at the top under workshops. I’ll be making my presentation the evening of the 14th and is open to the public.

              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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                Life before Photoshop: Ho’okipa

                Look ma, no Photoshop!

                Look ma, no Photoshop!

                Ho’okipa Beach is on the north shore on the Island of Maui, and probably the most renowned windsurfing site in the world. I was there working on another project and went up to see what we could get since the international championships was just a week away.

                All the top windsurfers from all over the world were going to be there, so I figured it would be a great photo opportunity. In those days I was selling a lot of stock photography, so I thought why not make a few bucks while adding to my sports portfolio.

                We arrived in the afternoon, and on that day it was overcast; rare for Maui. We had just this one afternoon off, so I couldn’t spend more than a few hours…so we waited, hoping for a break in the weather. I was set up on a pullout that overlooked the beach, with my 600mm Nikkor f/4 lens on, and was watching the windsurfers until there was just a handful of them left.

                By that time all the other tourists had left, but as I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and those that take my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop I conduct around our planet, “it ain’t over til it’s over”…as in dark!!

                Sure enough waiting around paid off because for less than minute the sun peaked through the almost solid gray sky, and as Eddy Adams once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”….and I was.

                The three remaining windsurfers came around and for a matter of seconds had formed a perfect triangle. As the sun was back lighting the sails making them glow, I was shooting…and screaming in pure joy!!!!

                What you see in the above is one exposure, on one piece of film.

                Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule. 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.

                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.

                On July 15th I’ll be doing a three day workshop in LA and also a presentation on the 14th. 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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                  What do you think?

                  What do you think?

                  Karen submitted this photo of three seagulls. She asked me what I thought about the photo, and I like to share what each of my fellow photographers had to say. In this case, all Karen said was ” Joe, what do you think about this photo”.

                  The first thing I immediately felt was how closed in the photo seemed…Why you ask? Because of the square format.

                  As I’m always reminding my students that take my online class with the BPSOP, and in my own “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, we don’t perceive in a square, we perceive in a rectangle; which is why I always use a 3:2 aspect ratio. In my opinion it’s very difficult to achieve visual tension in a square, especially in a landscape.

                  I’m not saying you can never achieve tension, because it depends on the subject matter. Diane Arbus comes to mind as someone that could generate tension in a square, and if you know her photos, you’ll know why I’m saying it. Sh also committed suicide.

                  Take a look at my video: http://www.screencast.com/t/c900iYDpgchJ

                  As I said Karen, cropping is not necessarily a cure-all for creating strong photos. There’s so much more involved as far as deciding on what’s important in your composition. I would suggest you try getting it in the camera and not cropping it later in front of a computer. It’s just one opinion, but if you strive to being a better shooter, then design your shot before you click the shutter.

                  Here’s what it would look like if it was in a 3:2 aspect ratio. Which one do you like?

                  A rectangle

                  A rectangle

                  Thanks for the submission, and I hope my critiqued helped.

                  I want to announe my new upcoming three day intensive workshop at the Los Angeles Center for Photography this coming July 15th with my presentation on the evening of the 14th. I hope to see some new fces out there and say hello to some old ones: https://lacphoto.org/events/stretching-your-frame-of-mind-with-joe-baraban/

                  Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. July 31st starts my Maine Media Workshop. It will be my 28th year, and it’s a great way to immerse yourself in taking pictures for a week. Come shoot with me.

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

                  JoeB

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                    Cuba/March/2016

                    Taken during "Dawn Patrol"

                    Taken during “Dawn Patrol”

                    While the experience and images of Cuba are still so fresh in my mind, I wanted to share this wonderful country with you in a visual presentation.

                    For the third time, the Santa Fe Workshops asked me to lead a group to Cuba, and for the third time I was as exited as I was the first time I was asked. Together with their point man Kip Brundage, a top photographer in his own right, one couldn’t ask for a more professional experience.

                    These photos were all taken by my fellow photographers that had signed up for me to shoot with them through the streets of Havana, as well as smaller towns that were withing an hour’s ride from our hotel.

                    Many of them had taken my online class with the BPSOP, or had been with me in one of my own “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops. For three, it had been their second time in Cuba with me.

                    To be sure, things in Cuba are rapidly changing and just within a couple of years, the differences for me were very apparent.  From the new Paladares  (privately owned restaurants) offering cuisine for even the discerning foodie, to the increase in tourism shown by the endless line of huge tour buses.

                    For the first time I saw cranes rising above the narrow streets, jutting into the blue skies over Havana, and of course the beginning of traffic jams. I walked by huge cruise ships that were either docked in the harbor or on the horizon waiting to come in.

                    What hasn’t changed is the people. They are still warm and friendly and anxious to invite you into their small humble homes for coffee and conversation. For the most part, they are willing to be photographed and only once in a while ask for something in return.

                    I had many people refuse money (a CUC…about a dollar) but would smile when you offered them, a pack of gum or a candy bar. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you see the joy of a child you just gave a small toy to.

                    I can tell you that they absolutely love people from the United States, and eager to talk and spend time with you. Havana is still well worth the visit, but if I were you I would go sooner rather than later.

                    Btw, I happened to be there at the same time as President Obama, and watched his motorcade drive by hundreds of cheering Cubans. It was very cool and definitely part of history.

                    Enjoy the show:

                    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.

                    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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                      My Favorite Quotes: Man Ray

                      Inspired by color, patterns, shape, and Texture.

                      Inspired by color, pattern, shape, and texture.

                      I always think that I was fortunate to not have studied photography, but to have studied art instead.  That’s not to say Photography isn’t art because I’ve been preaching to my fellow photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, that a camera on a tripod is just the same as a blank canvas on an easel.

                      I still consider myself an artist, I just changed the medium from a paintbrush, pastels,  and colored pencils to a camera. When I did it was “instant gratification”, instead of the hours and sometimes days or weeks finishing a drawing or painting.

                      When I got my first camera and looked into the viewfinder, I saw a rectangle. Since we perceive and process information in a rectangle (3:2 aspect ratio), I simply applied everything I had learned from studying all the elements of visual design in my drawing and painting classes to Art History and Color Theory into my new found passion….photography.

                      Throughout my education in Art I studied its history from the Italian Renaissance painters of the 15th and 16th century, to the Impressionists, Post Impressionists, to the 20th century modern artists…my favorite being the very founder of abstract art, Wassily Kandinsky.

                      Although Dadaism and Surrealism were not my favorite movements, there was one painter I liked, Man Ray. I tolerated his paintings, but what I enjoyed was some of his photography. Over the years I’ve occasionally seen his work in museums and galleries and one day, not having anything to do, I googled him up and found one of his quotes that I immediately related to.

                      Man Ray once said, “Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information”.

                      I could relate to this because on a couple of occasions when I’ve been talking to one of my students, I was told that I could explain the ‘how’, but what they liked most was that I could also explain the ‘why’. In other words I could show them how to take stronger images, but then I could explain why they were.

                      One of my online classes is all about the psychology of Gestalt. In this class I talk about the fact that humans rely on perception of the environment that surrounds them. Visual input is a part of our everyday life, and as photographers it’s our prime objective to present this visual information in a way that takes control of what the viewer sees when looking at our imagery.

                      This is where the elements of visual design and composition come into play. These elements have been a part of art since the beginning, and knowing how to use these elements when creating your photos will always answer the ‘why’. Once you’ve put these elements on what I call my ‘Artist Palette’, it enables you to see what others can’t and this has always been the inspiration that has kept me going…after fifty years of taking pictures; the same inspiration my students walk away with.

                      I guess the only way to really explain it is when you take my classes or join me in one of my workshops. 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.

                      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.

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

                      Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your photo.

                      JoeB

                       

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      Man Ray’s work made Dali seem like Thomas Kincade.

                       

                      Dadaism

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                        Student Work: BPSOP Classes

                        She used her "artist Palette".

                        She used her “artist Palette”.

                        Besides my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, I teach a four week class with the BPSOP. Actually I teach three classes: A part I, II, and a class on the six concepts in the psychology of Gestalt.

                        My part I and II classes are centered around the basic elements of visual design, and how to incorporate these elements into your photography: Texture, Pattern, Shape, Form, Color, Light, and the most important of all the elements…Line.

                        Without Line, none of the other elements would exist; in fact you and I would cease to exist since we have an outLINE. What about planes, trains, automobiles? Those as well would come to an end.

                        We learn all the ways to generate Visual Tension, a week on just shadows (your best friend), silhouettes, and the ability to “see past first impressions”. We work on ‘making’ not taking pictures, and basically seeing with new eyes.

                        The following slideshow is made up of a couple of months of my part I and II classes work. These photos were all shot by my fellow photographers, students that have begun to look at the world with the right side of their brain…the creative side.

                        When you’re looking at all the photos (and I know there’s a lot), you’ll be able to see just how they’ve used the elements to create strong images; they now use my “artist Palette” whenever they go out shooting. Now, they’re not just looking, but seeing.

                        Enjoy the show.

                        My next class starts this Friday April 8th. Sign up for my part I, and I can guarantee you’re work will rise to a higher level in four weeks.

                        The July 31st. 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.

                        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.

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

                        Keep those photos and questions coming to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique of your photo.

                        JoeB

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                          The very first baby photo

                          The very first baby photo

                          For all you new to be parent’s or grandparents, the first baby photo is usually taken in the hospital room, and I can tell you from experience, it’s probably the worst place on earth to take a photo; regardless of the subject matter. A photo that could only be counted as time goes by as the very first..especially if said first photo was taken by a phone!!!

                          Here’s what’s going to happen: The room will be dark, with the only light on being above the bed the new mom is laying in.  This is going to put those well-known “Raccoon” eyes on mom, you know the ones, the ones where deep black sockets replaced the actual eyes. Except to those in the cast of The Adam’s Family, going through what mom just did might not make her look as good as she could, , and dark eye sockets won’t add too much.

                          So, if you want some advice, and it’s the same advice I give to my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Fame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, think about the light first and foremost. All it takes is a little thought and knowing how to expose properly to add visual tension and interest to take a photo that can stand the test of time and be considered worthy of sharing it with others every chance you can get…no matter how old the baby grows up to be.

                          In the above photo, I simply opened the curtain to let some available light into the room. I then exposed for the mother so I could blowout the window behind her…a very good thing and never let anyone tell you different. I used a real camera (not a phone with a built-in camera) and choose a narrow DOF to place the emphasis solely on the mom and baby.

                          Always take an alternative photo.

                          Always take an alternative photo.

                          So my fellow photographers, what kind of first baby picture to you want to take?

                          Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshops. Come shoot with me. 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.

                          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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                            Standing just inside the building.

                            Standing just inside the building.

                            I always try to be at a location either very early or very late in the day so the light is softer and warmer, and the shadows are longer…The Golden Hour. That’s not always possible especially when you’re somewhere that’s just a small part of the overall shoot. You just have to weigh all your options, then decide what’s the most important location to be at during the best light; providing the most photo ops possible in a short amount of time.

                            While working on a project for a company that raises crayfish in Louisiana, I was given a shot list that had to be covered in the three shoot days that was budgeted. As always, I sit down with the client and designer ahead of time in a pre-production meeting and talk about their wish list. What’s the most important photo? What will be on the cover? To me, it doesn’t matter as I will spend the same amount of energy for a photo that will be small and one that will be a full page.

                            In my forty plus year career, I think that the expression I disliked the most is when someone would say to me, “It’s not that important of a shot, so don’t spend too much time on it”…Really? I shouldn’t care what it looks like?

                            I digress!!!

                            Since we shot all day, there were times when the sun was high in the sky, rendering everything hot, harsh, and contrasty. The above photo was shot during that time of day. So what do you do, especially when you’re taking a portrait of some local workers and you don’t want “Raccoon eyes”? You know those eyes that have deep shadows from the sun being almost overhead?

                            You place them just out of the sun, where the light is just missing their face and the reflections coming off the ground help bounce light evenly on all their faces.

                            Works like a charm, and it’s what we often talk about in my online classes with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. 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.

                            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.

                            Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to check out  my workshop schedule.

                            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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