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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Number One Reason Not to Throw Away

Sometimes when you take a photo and look at it there is no feeling, no emotion. The photo just falls flat and dull. Throw it away. That's it save some room on your hard drive and DELETE. OMG did I just say that. What I really meant was keep it, save it, cherish it, and look at it at a different time. Today I will show exactly what I mean. I took a photo that was that dull, delete photo but looking at it later I found a surprise in that photo. That never would happen if I just hit delete. Read on to learn more.

Very often when you are out shooting you pop off a couple hundred photos. You know that there will be some jewels in that mix and you will see them right away. Others are blurry and out of focus and just not usable. Then there are the questionable photos. These photos are what I refer to as Facebook quality, standard snap shot. Nothing special. What if they are, can you see them in a different light?

Take this photo I shot recently. The performer is an amazing "Crooner" Ron Boudreau. I approached him about a month ago to take some photos of his performance and he invited me back to his latest show at Chances Casino. After sifting through about 300 photos for the evening this one struck me as not bad, but not emotion evoking.

I scrolled through the photos a few times and this photo just kept calling me. I loved the expression on his face, the background has a quality of interest but too busy for the performer. It wanted something, so I sat for a long time and really looked at it. Since it was loaded into Lightroom I finally just started playing with some of the sliders and cropping.

First off let's minimize the back ground some and move the subject to the left third of the photo. Next we need to fix the exposure some and finally let's go black and white. Some photos just lend themselves to that one treatment. It's not something that should be used every time but that was exactly what this photo kept saying to me. It matched the performer, the location, and the lighting.

Here is the result and I don't think anyone would be disappointed in this.

And there it is folks. DO NOT throw away a photo that is on the border just sit quietly and let the photo tell you what it needs. Not every photo will but sometimes you will find that jewel in the rough

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Focus Behind the Camera? Sure.

Ever hear of back button focus? No? What is it? Is it important? Why would I use it? Answers to these questions and more will be answered in this week's blog. Read on for 100 reasons why back button photography is the way to go and how to set it up.

When you are composing a photograph you as the photographer have the ability to choose where your camera will focus. If you are using a canon you will most likely have nine different points to choose from and three different focus types.

First let's address the focus types. The most common one to use is single shot. When using this mode you depress the shutter part way down your lens auto focus takes over and you press the shutter button all the way and presto a perfect photo:) The next option is AI focus. Much like single shot depress the shutter part way and the camera will auto focus on the point or points you have chosen. The nice thing with this mode is if you continue to depress the shutter part way and you subject moves you auto focus continues to track that subject and stay focused till you snap the shot. Last is AI Servo. In this mode your auto focus will track the subject constantly and even "learn" what it should be focusing on. Now this technology sounds amazing, and it is, until you start recomposing your shot and your camera tracks everything except the subject you want to shoot. Step in back button focus.

Through your camera menu settings you can disable the shutter button for focus and use one of the buttons on the back to focus with. Now you may ask yourself "why would I do that shutter focus is obviously the best way and that's why the camera company uses this default" right? Wrong. Camera companies use this feature because using a shutter button is normal practice and has been since cameras were invented, but remember the camera of our fathers and grandmothers did not have auto focus. Focus was gotten by turning a dial on the lens to bring the elements into alignment thereby achieving a crisp clean focus. Now with the flip of a switch and a press of a button a little red light appears in your view finder telling you the focus is perfect on your subject. So enough history, why use back button focus?

Look through your viewfinder at your subject, press your shutter part way down, look at the little red light in your viewfinder flash as your auto focus locks on to your subject, recompose, shoot. Now shot two. Look through your viewfinder at your subject, press your shutter part way down, look at the little red light. Get my point? This is very time consuming. Now change your camera to back button focus. Look through the viewfinder, press your back button, recompose and shoot. As long as your subject stays the same distance away from your lens you can recompose and shoot to your heart's content. This is the true beauty your shutter no longer has any use except what it should be for, activating the shutter, not focusing. If you choose to use your AI Servo mode you will find that again because it is independent of your shutter tracking your subject will be smoother and pressing your shutter button will be more fluid and controlled.

Anyway sorry for the lack of recent blogs. I hope you go out and try this new style of using your camera and as always I look forward to hearing your comments and getting your emails. Till next time.