≡ Menu
I knew the where, when, and why...in Lisbon, Portugal.

I knew the where, when, and why…in Lisbon, Portugal.

I’ve been writing down my personal pearls of wisdom for years, and over the course of these years I’ve been sharing them with both my online students with the BPSOP, and with my fellow photographers that sign up for my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind workshops ” I conduct around our planet. The one I want to share with you today is one of my favorites and most important…“My three W’s”

Ok, I guess you need to know just what they are, and once again it’s all about the light. People are always asking me how I can get the quality of the light and the saturation/depth in my color without a lot of post processing. First let me digress just a little.

I’m from the old school that shot Kodachrome 25 and way before the invention of the computer much less Lightroom and Photoshop. We did everything in the camera, and the finished photo was on one piece of 35mm film…one exposure! Nowadays, I love the challenge of getting as much in the camera as I can, with a minimum amount of time spend in front of the computer. To me it’s more important to be a good photographer than a good computer artist.

Don’t get me wrong, I do a little on every photo, but not much more that what I did to a print in the darkroom.

So, the three W’s: Know WHERE to stand, WHEN to stand there, and WHY you have to be quick when you’re standing there.

WHERE: Before I raise my camera up to my eye, I determine where the source of the light is coming from. I’ve watched so many photographers walk up to their subject and just start shooting, paying absolutely no attention to the light. I can tell you that light is everything, except perhaps when you’re street shooting; although good directional light can enhance any situation and generate visual interest and tension.

I want to create the third dimension in Form ( a basic element of visual design), by adding Depth. This can only be done when you side light your subject. Otherwise you’re left with only height and width. I also like to back light my subject (especially when it’s translucent) which gives it a glow around its outline.

WHEN: Knowing that (for me) the best times to shoot is during the Golden Hour, when the sun is low on the horizon; generally ten to fifteen degrees above the horizon either at sunrise or sunset…depending on the time of year and if you’re North or South of the equator. I also like to be at a location before the sun comes up and after it goes down.

This is the time for Blue Hour when the sun is at a significant distance to the horizon, and it comes before dawn (another great time to shoot) when the blue turns into reds, yellows, pinks, purples, and oranges…and dusk when the reds, yellows, oranges, and purples, turn blue before turning into black.

WHY: After chasing the light for nearly fifty years, I can tell you that it’s so fleeting you can miss a great photo by seconds. Part of what has helped me through a half of a century of taking pictures (saying it that way sure does make me feel really old) is knowing where the sun, to the degree, is going to rise and set at any location in the world…on any day of the week. I know how long I’ll have before the sun gets up to high and becomes hot and harsh.

I’ll know if there’s a building, structure, hill, or mountain that will cut my time short either by clearing the obstacle in the morning, or losing it behind an obstacle at sunset. Part of my process for determining how much time I have is by an incredible app I have on my iPhone. It’s called “My Radar”, and it shows, in real time with a GPS, where any rain is by showing the actual storm as it moves from one direction to another.. I know this doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal, but I know if I’m about to get bad weather and when it will pass over…sometimes leaving a rainbow behind.

Even knowing the where, when, and why doesn’t guarantee you that you’re going to come home every time with that illusive “OMG” photo, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. As Eddie Adams once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2015 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. 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 questions coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique of your image.

JoeB

Let people know you saw it here!
    { 0 comments }
    What do I think?

    What do I think?

    Ana Maria is a past student living in Madrid, Spain that has taken all three of my classes with the BPSOP. Hopefully her next class will be at one of my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

    I have looked at a lot of her images over the course of the three months of online classes, and I’ve seen so much improvement in the way she now sees, her new approach to her passion, and her ability to “make” instead of take photos.

    The above photo is an example of the photos that she’s now taking, and it’s a really good shot that not only draws the viewer into the frame, but moves him around as well.

    As usual, I show people what the photographer had to say, but in this submission all she said was:

    “Hello Joe,

    I’d would like to know what you think about this picture”.

    Ana Maria

    Take a look Ana Maria:

    http://www.screencast.com/t/fnNVaEhh42

    It’s a strong photo and it’s all about making pictures. Thanks for submitting it.

    Here’s the difference in the exposure the camera told you to take, and the exposure I’m suggesting. If you prefer the exposure from the meter in your camera, then you should continue to listen to it. If you prefer my exposure, I suggest you stop listening to the meter in your camera, take matters into your own hands and learn about the light.

    My suggested exposure.

    My suggested exposure.

    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.

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

    JoeB

    Let people know you saw it here!
      { 2 comments }

      Life Before Photoshop: Rubbermaid

      Look ma no Photoshop

      Look ma no Photoshop

      I just returned a couple of weeks ago from my 27th year at the Maine Media Workshop. As in most of the time I talk to either my online students with the BPSOP, or those in my personal “Stretching Your Frame of Mind”, the challenge, at least for me, is to create as much as I can in the camera and not always rely on post processing.

      It’s sometimes amazes me how lazy my fellow photographers can be when it comes to their own approach to taking pictures. It’s unfortunate that the majority of the photographers I teach got started in photography during the digital revolution. The revolution that condones the use of computers to create their photos; even sadder is the fact that these same photographers think that computers and cameras go hand in hand.

      When it comes to post processing, I’m far from being a purist. I use Photoshop on just about every photo I take to some degree. However, I try to get it “in the camera” first, before I sit down in front of a computer.

      The above photo was taken for Rubbermaid to be used in their new upcoming catalog. I had two truckloads of their new outdoor line called “Sundial” follow me up and down the coast of California. As long as I shot everything outdoors, I had ‘free rein’ as far as what I wanted to do. Some ideas were simple, and some were more complicated with a lot longer set-up time.

      My idea was to dress these models up in vintage clothing and create an impressionistic look. We shot on the patio of the Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur; a great place to eat with a fabulous view.

      Since any chance of soft late evening light was lost because of the mountains, we had to shoot much earlier when the light was going to be bright and harsh. when I was shooting I would often bring along my 20X20 silk so I could soften the light when I had to; and I had to since those were the days when the name Adobe was synonymous with a type of house in the Southwest part of the country. Nowadays you could create this in the computer, but what fun would that be? untitled447

      Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. My new “springtime” workshop is now posted on my blog. This time it’s in Sicily, so for those that’s always had this wonderful country on your bucket list now would be a good time to see and photograph it.

      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 questions coming it to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

      JoeB

      Let people know you saw it here!
        { 0 comments }

        Anecdotes: Seton Hospital

        Hello to all new to my blog. My name for those that don’t know it is Joe Baraban, and I shot advertising, corporate, and editorial photography for forty-eight years. I know teach my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops all over our planet, and I also teach online with the BPSOP.

        Over these past forty-eight years there’s been funny incidents that have happened along the way, and I find myself reminiscing when it comes to some of these stories. Some were funny then and still funny and some were amusing at best but now seem funny…due mostly to time and my age!

        I was shooting a brochure for Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas and on the shot list was their emergency room facilities; which they were both proud of and well known for.

        My idea was to create something that was common among emergency rooms and make it look as though it was happening in real time. I also wanted some action to make it even more believable. Easier said than done as I would soon find out.

        The answer came to me as I was standing in the hallway next to the emergency room doors to the outside. An ambulance pulled up to deliver a patient that wasn’t really sick. She had just been transferred from one hospital to Seton. Still, it gave me the idea that wound up working out pretty good.

        In the above photo, I was on a gurney next to the one you see, and moving down the corridor at the same rate of speed. I used a sync delay that fired the strobe right before the shutter closed instead of the strobe going off right after the shutter opened. This is what gives it that blurred but sharp look. To re-create a real situation, I had some of the hospital staff playing the role of the actual emergency team.

        The woman laying on the gurney and in obvious distress was a volunteer, and the only one around that was available. We did several rehearsals, and each time the woman started laughing. For some reason she thought it was the funniest thing she has ever taken part in, and couldn’t stop. Had there been anyone else around I would have replaced her because she thought it was a lot funnier than I did!!

        So one of the male ambulance drivers pulled me over to the side and made a suggestion….a really good one. The portable oxygen mask was brought out and placed over her face to hide her laughter. It worked like a charm. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and the show must go on.

        Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. My new “springtime” workshop is now posted on my blog. This time it’s in Sicily, so for those that’s always had this wonderful country on your bucket list now would be a good time to see and photograph it.

        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 questions coming it to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

        JoeB

        Let people know you saw it here!
          { 0 comments }
          One picture tells a story.

          One picture tells a story.

          How many times in your life have you heard this old adage? For me, I’m putting it at a million to be one the low side. I’ve also said it to my online class with the BPSOP and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops as many times. One picture is worth a thousand words can fit all types of applications, for all types of people.

          The quote has been attributed to several sources throughout the years from a Chinese proverb to Arthur Brisbane, a newspaper editor who said it in 1911. In any event the meaning has really come to light in the digital era as truth in our new transparent culture. It’s now talked about ad nauseam in social media, but the simple fact is that it’s all about being able to (very quickly) convey so much meaning with so little or no explanation at all in one photograph.

          For my fellow photographers it especially has meaning since we talk about it in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “stretching your frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet. Just let your image do the talking for you since you’re not going to be around to share your thought process with the viewer. Unless you’re going for an abstract in which case you’re leaving it up to others to see what they want to see, then it needs to be what I refer to as a “quick read”.

          If you’re trying to tell a story, then get to it because it’s not easy to hold the viewer’s attention for very long. Imagine that you’re a cinematographer shooting a scene at twenty-four frames a second. Stop the projector and take one frame out and show it to the viewer. That’s what you’re up against when you’re shooting stills and have to portray whatever it is you’re trying to portray in one image…not like motion where you have some time to get the message across. Btw, did you know that one page in a screenplay is equal to one minute on the screen?

          The methods we use to gain attention to our photography varies, but what’s important is how we manage 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 life, and when you’re trying to gain attention, by telling a story, we want to take immediate control of what the viewer sees when contemplating the message we’re putting out.

          In other words as the Notre Dame football teams were know for…”rock em sock em” when it comes to telling it in one photo.

          Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for 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 making my third trip to Cuba in a couple of weeks. I still have one spot left so come join me and experience Cuba the way it is now, not the way it will be soon. My new “springtime” workshop is now posted on my blog. This time it’s in Sicily, so for those that’s always had this wonderful country on your bucket list now would be a good time to see and photograph it.

          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 questions coming it to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

          JoeB

          Let people know you saw it here!
            { 0 comments }

            pearl of wisdom

            I have found that in my online class with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, so many people think that to create a mood, especially one that pulls at the proverbial “heart strings”, while drawing out an emotional response, you have to underexpose your photos. I mean underexpose to the extent that the viewer has no idea what he’s looking at. My fellow photographers also will try to underexpose a scene that was taken at a time of day where there is no possibility of created the kind of mood they want…as in high noon!!!!!

            My answer is always the same, and fairly simple. If you’re trying to take a picture and your message to the viewer is dark and moody, then start out with something that’s already dark and moody and occurring naturally in nature. Or, at least a good start and adding ancillary lighting to finish the job.

            Ok, you can’t expect to find this happening outdoors naturally if you go out after breakfast…say mid-morning. You also can’t expect to see this if you go out after an afternoon nap and before dinner. If those are the only times you can shoot, for one reason or another, then go indoors where it will be easier to create a mood. This is also a good idea if it’s overcast outdoors…I don’t mean stormy, stormy is good. I mean a midday gray overcast sky.

            If you can go out early or late, then it’s going to be a lot easier to pull on those heartstrings and create a photo that’s moody. Look for areas in shadow with little or no ambient light coming in. Or better yet, look for those dark areas that has a little natural light coming in from somewhere out of the frame and hitting your subject.

            If you expose for the brightest part of the composition, as in the light falling on your subject, then everything else will be darker and the mood will be forthcoming.

            Having said this, if you want a piece of advice don’t rely on the meter in your camera to help; because it won’t. Shoot on manual because the meter doesn’t know that you’re going for a mood. It will read the area in shadow and try to give you some detail in said shadows. If and when that happens, you can kiss the mood goodbye.

            Shoot on manual (which is what I’m always preaching to the choir), take control and put your camera on spot metering, and expose for just the highlights. Do that, and you’ll achieve the mood you were after.

            Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and watch for my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime, and we’ll be moody together. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be making my third trip to Cuba this March. I still have a spot left so come join me and experience Cuba the way it is now, not the way it will be soon. My new “springtime” workshop is now posted on my blog. This time it’s in Sicily, so for those that’s always had this wonderful country on your bucket list now would be a good time to see and photograph it.

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

            JoeB

            Let people know you saw it here!
              { 0 comments }

              AskJoeB: Rays of light

              Is the flare distracting?

              Is the flare distracting?

              Ana Marie has taken my online classes with the BPSOP, where my fellow photographers learn how to incorporate the elements of visual design into their imagery. We also discuss these elements in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

              She recently send me this photo after reading a post in My Favorite Quotes category; one that was once said by Hank Williams. As I like to do, I forward what she had to say since so many has had a similar question at one time or another.

              “Dear Joe:

              I took a class with you at the PBSOP a couple of years ago.

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

              Thank you in advance, Ana Marie”

              Ana, take a look at this video which should answer your question:

              http://www.screencast.com/t/2CZwwe9b0

              Thanks for your submission, and I hope to work with you on one of my “Springtime” workshops in your fabulous city of Madrid.

              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.

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

              JoeB

              Let people know you saw it here!
                { 2 comments }
                With hover (just move the mouse)
                The left-hand jockey
                The right-hand jockey

                In sales jargon we’re use to hearing, the expression two-fer means “an item or offer that comprises two items but is sold for the price of one.” So what in the world does that mean to photography and to all my fellow photographers that love to make photos as I have which is closing in on fifty years.

                It means (to the photographers that have heard me talking about it in my online classes with the BSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops) don’t just settle for one variation of a final composition when you can easily walk away with a two-fer and not spend that much more time doing it.

                When I’m out shooting, and when I’m composing, I’m already thinking about the second variation, and a lot of the time the third. In doing that, it gives me a much better chance to come home with a Keeper. It might be something as simple as shooting both horizontally and vertically. I will often change my POV from eye level to climbing up on a ladder to look down on the subject. I can tell you one thing I always do and that is to change the direction of the light. I’ll move around or have the subject move around so they are both side and back lit.

                I’ll usually go out with just one or two lens that will cover anything I want from 17 to 70mm. I don’t mean just standing there and zooming in and out. I mean having the ability in shooting with a wide angle lens, a fairly normal focal length, and a medium telephoto.

                Light is so fleeting that I seldom have time to try different filtration such as a ND or a polarizing filter, but if the timing is right they can offer me other different looks. The Polarizing filter can get rid of unwanted reflections (although I love reflections since they can add visual interest and tension). It can also darken the sky and make clouds stand out.

                You have to remember that this will only work if the sun is at  ninety degrees to where your lens is pointing to. You’ll also have problems trying to use a wide angle lens with it. A Neutral Density filter, especially one that’s at least two stops can make running water look smooth and also make the clouds appear to be moving.

                In the above portrait, having the jockey looking into the lens gives off a completely different feeling as when he’s looking out of the frame. It took several seconds and a slight shift of my POV since the horse was moving around to leave with two versions of an environmental portrait. Of course shooting at sunrise didn’t hurt as far as the quality of the light is concerned.

                So there’s many ways to make your image look different and it can be done in less than a minute; as long as you’re thinking about it in the first place. Next time you go out think about that two-fer…two keepers for the price of one!!

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

                JoeB

                Let people know you saw it here!
                  { 0 comments }

                  Food For Digital Thought: Lifestyle Photos

                  An everyday occurence fror him.

                  In the last couple of years I’ve seen a trend develop concerning my fellow photographers that take my three classes with the BPSOP, and also in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet.

                  It seems that everyone wants to have a website and actually try to generate some income from it. I’m often been asked what type of photos would need to be in it in order for people to be interested in buying their services.

                  My first question to anyone is what do you like taking pictures of? That’s so important, because if you don’t love your subject matter, you’ll never be happy with whatever outcome befalls you. Second question would be where do you want this new generated income to be coming from. Are you looking for people to buy prints from your site, or do you want someone to hire you to shoot original photography.

                  If you’re only interested in selling prints, then the subject matter should be generic in nature. In other words, color photography of land or seascapes, flowers, abstracts, or B/W editorial or photojournalism. Of course any of the areas I’ve mentioned can also be shot in B/W.

                  If you’re interested in being hired to shoot editorial, corporate, or advertising photography, then it’s very important to be able to shoot people. People like to see people in photos, and for an editor, art director, or graphic designer to hire you you need to be good at what’s called Lifestyle Photography.

                  Lifestyle was one of the areas I was best known for back in the days when I was shooting for all three of these avenues. It’s about capturing people in everyday life. Situations that are common to the people that will be looking at your pictures. Situations that they are involved in every day of their lives. Needless to say these Lifestyle photos need to be shot by portrait or people photographers and handled in an artistic manner.

                  Although Lifestyle photography depicts common everyday occurrences, it would also include those moments that are not seen everyday, but still include people interacting with other people or people being alone with nature. For example a lone cross country skier alone against the elements. Lifestyle, but not an everyday occurence.

                  Think of situations that you’ve experienced or seen being experienced by others. Finding these happening in real time…real life may take you a long time to accumulate enough images to put on a site.

                  Or, try setting  these scenarios up and then shooting in a reportage style. In other words, set up a situation and shoot it as if it were really happening.

                  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. 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.

                  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.

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

                  JoeB

                  Let people know you saw it here!
                    { 0 comments }

                    AskJoeB: A pattern

                    A Pattern

                    A Pattern

                    Lonnie sent me this image to critique and as I always like to do, I let you read what he had to say to me:

                    “Joe,

                    Here is a “pattern,” if you will, that I found appealing…actually shooting upwards while lying on my back under a dome in a park.  Please critique.  Thanks!

                    Cheers,

                    Lonnie”

                    I teach online classes with the BPSOP, and I conduct my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops all around our planet. In both my online part I and II classes, I show my fellow photographers how to incorporate the basic elements of visual design into their photography. One of the basic elements is Pattern, and for those that haven’t had a chance to read my post on it, click on the link .

                    Lonnie,

                    Take a look: http://www.screencast.com/t/30RqCeb9

                    I hope my critique and link has helped, and thanks for sending it in to me. I know that there are so many others out there that like to photograph with an abstract point of view, so making them stand the test of time is not often easy.

                    Visit my website at: joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. This March in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops I’ll be leading a group to Cuba.

                    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.

                    JoeB

                    Let people know you saw it here!
                      { 0 comments }

                      My Favorite Quotes: Robert Capa

                      Close enough?

                      Close enough?

                      In this category although I always quote an artist, I don’t always quote a photographer. I’ll often quote someone like Kenny Rogers, or Marcel Proust because what they had to say fits in with I often say both in my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet.

                      Robert Capa was a well known war photographer and photo-journalist. who documented five different wars. In 1947 he co-founded Magnum ( a international free-lance photographic agency) along with photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson. He once said, “If you’re photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough”.

                      There’s been discussions concerning this quote, and many think that he was referring to being up close and personal to the wars in which he photographed and incidentally, he was in the first wave of soldiers that hit Omaha Beach.

                      I’ve followed his work for some time, and to me his quote goes well beyond the photos he took during those five wars.

                      All my fellow photographers that I’ve helped since 1983 when I first started sharing my knowledge have come to known my “Personal Pearls of Wisdom”. One of them is “get up close and personal”. What I mean is that so many photographers will see a subject and without moving start shooting; this might be five feet away or twenty. They will keep at a distance which usually means that there’s not a lot of depth that can be created by anchoring the subject in the foreground while creating layers of interest.

                      I’ve found that many photographers are easily intimidated and are not comfortable with being close to either a person or even an inanimate subject . Nor are they willing to change their POV like getting on their knees to compose a photo. Therefore, they’re more at ease with keeping their distance and that falls under another Pearl of Wisdom I call “make don’t take pictures”.

                      So, the next time you’re out and about with your camera and see an interesting photo opportunity, think about what Robert Capa said. You just might find it to be true in your approach to picture taking, and if it is, just for once try to do it his way.

                      Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and keep an eye out for my upcoming 2016 workshops. Come shoot with me sometime…pictures that is!! 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. 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.

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

                      JoeB

                      Let people know you saw it here!
                        { 0 comments }

                        Anecdotes: Anderson Consulting

                        Game, set, and match.

                        Game, set, and match.

                        Although it feels like centuries, some thirty years ago I was hired to shoot the annual report for Anderson Consulting. By all accounts, it was a great project that took me around the world shooting their clients.

                        One of their clients was the Social Security Department of Spain, and my assignment was to just shoot the people of their country. What a great job I thought to myself upon hearing what they wanted me to do. What more could I ask for since I love to shoot environmental portraits, and to travel around doing just that (with a complete free hand in what subject I picked to shoot) was just about as good as it got.

                        We based out of Madrid, and we were there during their Carnival…another story of really weird people dressing up and walking around the Plaza Mayor, Puerta Del Sol.  Besides shooting in Madrid, we also went to Toledo, and Cordoba to shoot there as well.

                        While in a small plaza in Toledo, I had a 300mm F/2.8 lens on a tripod and I felt as if I were a submarine captain in World War II looking through a periscope hunted enemy targets. Instead I was looking in the viewfinder, and after I had loosened all the knobs, I could freely swivel my camera around the crowds back and forth looking for subjects/targets of any height.

                        As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, constantly look around you, be aware of any movements and especially look behind you because that illusive ‘OMG” photo is lurking somewhere out there and just waiting to be captured.

                        While scanning the crowd, I saw this woman holding a fan close to her face. The first time I saw here she quickly turned away…the game was on!! I wanted her picture, and she was doing everything she could to avoid me. What I had in my favor was her extreme curiosity as to what I was doing and she couldn’t help herself to periodically look in my direction. At that point come hell or high water, and if it took me the rest of my life, I was going to get my shot.

                        In those days I was shooting film, and you had to focus your own camera. While her head was turned I pre-focused on her, and since I was at F/2.8, and at the minimum distance for that lens to get her sharp; I didn’t have much latitude as far as my DOF was concerned.

                        Since I was focused on her, I pretended to scan the rest of the people but was not actually shooting. Not knowing whether she was looking or not I looked back in her direction, and before a blink of either her or my eye, I clicked the shutter. I got her!!!!!

                        I smiled at her and reluctantly she gave me a half smile back as she knew at that moment that it was game, set, and match.

                        Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog as it becomes available. 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 those photos and questions coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.

                        JoeB

                        Let people know you saw it here!
                          { 0 comments }

                          This is a follow-up to my first post on one of the concepts of Gestalt I teach  in one of my three online classes with the BPSOP, as well as in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet This concept is called Proximity and if used in your thought process, it will help you make stronger more memorable photos.

                          Besides what I talked about in my first post, another way Proximity can make your images stronger is by grouping your subjects together so that a relationship or common bond is created. Research suggests that the viewer prefers to see similar objects grouped together, and by placing objects close together you will be offering the viewer an explanation of the message you’re trying to get across.

                          One example is when you purposely arrange the elements of your composition so that they relate to one another and becomes a visual unit.

                          We all love repeating forms, shapes and colors, and if you can include these in your grouping, it will create a pleasing rhythm and a sense of unity that will keep the viewer around longer. Another good example is watching a flock of Geese fly overhead. I, for one, find it visually interesting and will usually watch them until they become dots on the distant horizon.

                           A well known set of diagrams will show you how it can work in your favor. In diagram (1), you see the nine elements scattered around and although they all look alike there’s not a visual bond between them and they are perceived as nine similar squares. In diagram (2) by placing the nine elements together, they form one big square and are perceived as one unit.

                          Diagram (2)

                          Diagram (2)

                          In the above photo, my goal was to have the viewer perceive this group portrait of all the clowns of Ringling Brothers & Barnum& Baily Circus as one unit. I also shot them with a 35mm Widelux panoramic camera so I could get close while getting them all in.

                          Here’s some more examples:

                          So, the next time your out and about, consider this concept in your composition. I think you’ll find it a big help in taking your photos what I always call “up a level”.

                          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 critique for you.

                          JoeB

                          Let people know you saw it here!
                            { 0 comments }

                            AskJoeB: My question is about focus

                            It's about focus

                            It’s about focus

                            Greg, who has taken my online classes with the BPSOP, sent me this new photo to take a look at before starting. When I get a submission to AskJoeB, I like to include what he or she said about the photo, including any questions.

                            Here’s what Greg had to say:

                            Hi Joe,

                            I’m signed up for your August “Stretching Your Mind” class with BPSOP, but saw the Ask Joe post on your blog, so thought I would send an image to you. My question is about focus.

                            I deliberately focused at the point where the handrails stretch off down the wooden walkway, about 1/3 in on each side. Do you feel that my focus point is appropriate? Where would you have placed it?

                            By the way, I’ll be going back soon to give some more time to the shapes on the left side framework.

                            Greg”

                            Greg,

                            There’s several things I like about your photo. That said, take a look:

                            http://www.screencast.com/t/7qlcGfWvZzO

                            I tell my fellow photographers in both my online class, but my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops as well…give yourself choices. Not only in the exposure, but what you want to be sharp. By only shooting one way you lower the odds in coming home with what I call a ‘keeper’. One that can stand the test of time and not be deleted when you go back later for another look,

                            11ASKJOEBGREGScreen Shot 2015-12-17 at 9.54.27 AM copy Look at your image now that I’ve taken it down a couple of stops…especially the shadows. If it were me, I would stop taking advice from the meter in your camera. Take matters into your own hand and bracket. Put all the exposures on your screen and compare them. This is  great way to become a well-rounded photography.

                            Thanks for your submission.

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

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

                            JoeB

                            Let people know you saw it here!
                              { 0 comments }