VBPD SOCCER CLUB

I shot a game for the Va Beach PD Soccer Club. They played against Newport News and the game ended up a tie at 1-1. Good game.












Full set at Flickr: VBPDSC pics



SURFING

I would love to be able to take shots like this, mainly because I'd love to have the underwater or waterproof camera equipment they usually use to get these shots. Most shots I take of surfers have to be with a telephoto from the shore and you just don't have the ability to capture shots this dynamic from there. To see more work like this, please visit surfermag.com.









MOTHER

Something I wanted to do with a follow-up to a maternity shoot I did months ago. I got a couple other non reflection shots I want to work on that I happened to get at the same time; but this one came out pretty much how I wanted it to. In fact, I pictured the mother not interacting with the picture and the baby laying there; but of course you have to kinda go with what the baby does. I actually like the fact that he was staring at the camera better that just laying there sleepy like. Something more powerful about that.



You can see a bigger version at my deviantart page if you wish: Click here

And thank you so very much to Amber for letting me run into the middle of her day while she is in the middle of not only taking care of a newborn and her little girl, but also getting ready to move out of the country.

UPDATE: The response on various sites I have put the picture on has been great. Thank you to everybody for your comments. This picture after one day is already the sixth most popular photo in my deviant gallery and has about 60% as many favorites as other pictures that have been up for nearly two years now. On other sites where I don't have as strong a presence, the photo has still received about five times the amount of favs and comments as my other photos. I'm glad everyone has liked the work so far and I've also seen several tell me they had to look twice to see the baby vs belly reflection.

MOTHER NATURE TAKES A VACATION

One day soon I hope to be pushing my own writings on you, but for now you will have to settle for me pushing a book by a friend of mine. I've met a lot of interesting people through the bellydance community and Karla is one of them. Many of the performers dance in their spare time and do a variety of things in their day to day lives. Although I believe Karla has the normal daily grind type of job as well, she also has managed to work on another of her passions when she has time and is now a published author.

Karla Reese both wrote and illustrated "Mother Nature Takes a Vacation" and when "Mother Nature goes on vacation. Soon enough, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer trade places leading to confusion and chaos. The animals don’t know how to behave, tornados and hurricanes blow, things get turned upside down and sideways. Will Mother Nature return in time or will chaos rule?"

Please visit the website for more information on the book:
mothernaturevacation.com

or you can purchase it online through these retailers:
Barnes & Noble
or
Amazon books

and if you live in the Virginia Beach area, it can also be purchased at the Heritage Store.

HAVE A LAUGH

I guess you could call these pictures I wish I took. But they are just pics I've come across that make me laugh. The ones I felt ok putting up on my blog anyways. Hopefully they can pass on a smile to you as well.










UNDERSEA VOLCANO ERUPTION

Continuing the series I started with the shuttle pictures a few days ago, this will add to the "photos I wish I had taken" section to continue to offer some cool pictures for your viewing that I come across. I am always on the lookout for interesting photography, so hopefully I'll offer up something new that you'll like. Though this has really made the rounds, so you might have seen them already. These are images from an underwater volcanic eruption off the island of Tonga in the South Pacific.












These pictures were taken by Dana Stephenson of Getty Images.

DEVIANT ART

For those of you that use deviant art, I'm just pimping my work there. Check it out and follow me if you wish, I should be adding more and more throughout the summer. And most of my scenic work is available to purchase as prints through them as well. For those not on deviant art, it's free to create an account and you can either just follow people and mark favorites or upload your own art, be it photography, drawings, crafts, whatever. But even if you just browze the site there are some outstanding photographers on there, feel free to browze through my favorites to look at some of what is out there.

My Deviant Art Page

My current Top 5 "deviations":
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TAKING BETTER PICTURES PT 4: CAMERA POSITIONS

I shot several sample pictures today to try and show the effect camera position and lens choice/zoom length can make in shooting portraits. Like any rule in an artform, these are meant to be broken-- but broken on purpose, not because you didn't pay attention. And that is really what this part is about, paying attention to the choices you make while shooting and giving yourself options.

(Disclaimer: Yes, I know I shot these at the worst time of day in harsh direct sunlight; no reflectors or fill flash used. But they will work for the purposes and explanations used here) (Also, all images were shot ISO 100 and at f4, including the zoom examples)


This first example is a pretty basic one and I probably could have shot dozens of examples, but these two will have to do. One thing a lot of beginning photographers do is shoot standing up, except for those ones that just love to shoot from extreme angles. Now if you are shooting a headshot of roughly someone the same height as you, then shooting just standing there is great. But most of us shoot pictures of people of all sizes and that being said, you want to pay attention to your camera level when you're shooting. (I'm talking the placement of the camera, not just where you point your camera throughout this lesson)

One easy way to "feel it out" is that if you are pointing your camera slightly up or down to frame your picture and you are not intentionally shooting an extreme angle, then you need to stretch up or kneel down to get your lens pointed level at your subject. This requires me to stand on my tip toes when shooting a headshot of someone half a foot or more taller than me for example to avoid that slight looking up the nose angle. But mainly it seems to effect people that are shooting full body or 3/4 shots of someone while only a few to several feet away. In the example above, picture one was shot standing straight up and framing in full body. Whereas in picture 2 I knelt down to about stomach level to shoot straight across at the model.



A rough way to keep it in mind using the examples I just posted: Picture 1, a headshot-- the white line cutting across the image represents the camera level. The model was about half a foot shorter than me, so I crouched a bit to shoot this. You want to shoot headshots about eye/nose level. Picture2, a 1/2 body shot-- shot with the camera about chest level. Picture 3, a full body shot-- again, shot at roughly stomach/waste level.

This might seem nit-picky but can make a difference between a picture looking like a snapshot or not. Most people take pictures just standing there and pointing the camera, even with children. We all see children looking down everyday. Down on a level field with them, we can often see more than we open our eyes to everyday just walking around them. Does it mean your "snapshot" looks bad? No. But give it a try, I think you'll be surprised with the results. Not just with kids pictures either, it's just easiest to see the with them because of the height difference.


The last thing I wanted to bring up is "zoom" length. On all of these shots, the model tried to keep roughly the same pose and I tried to frame in at the same place as well after moving back for each shot.



All of those were shot at f4, but you can see how the further zoom ranges also add to background blur. The other effect you'll note is the compression, this is easy to see with the background as the treeline closes in behind the model in each shot. But it can also make a difference in the image of the person as well, which is why you see a lot of those fashion photographers on tv with giant zoom lenses shooting a model from further away.

Image 1 is shot at a 17mm focal length, standing only a few feet away. Not a good option for shooting a portrait, though I have seen this way too often by photographers. You can see the distortion in the models body/face from the wide angle curve. Now this can make an interesting effect when done on purpose, especially on horizontal shots where you fill the frame with a lot of background while keeping the subject closer to the undistorted middle section so their body isn't distorted. Also can be interesting when used in other ways as well, shooting down on subjects at extreme angles, etc.

Image 2 is shot at 50mm and Image 3 is shot at 100mm. This area is kind of a sweet spot for portraits. (Usually about 85mm) But it seems to pick up what the eye would naturally make of the scene. It can also be cool if you just run around with a 50mm fixed lens on your camera and see what sort of images you come up with on an outing. (Another thing nice about the 50mm lens is that usually you can drop the f-stop down to 1.8-some higher or lower- and get some great low light shots without turning up the ISO)

Image 4 is shot at 200mm. You can really see the compression of the background up to the model and how much more out of focus it is even still at the same f4 as the other shots. I like the pop of this difference on a lot of shots, especially outdoor. Having a not too busy background should be a goal in portraits, not capturing the entire detail of the wilderness setting you are in. (I'll be covering background on another installment though).

This example is just a basic shot again of Picture 1 taken from standing position, Picture 2 taken from kneeling down to be straight across from the chest/shoulder area. (Though I wish I had her look at me in picture 2, looking away IMO worked for the first shot, but not the second...anyways...)


Other than the model looking away in the second picture, personally I prefer it as a portrait. The first looks just too much like I just pointed a camera down at someone sitting on a bench and snapped a picture. Now if the angle had been more extreme or the framing tighter, that might have made it more "artistic".

The important thing to keep in mind is to give yourself options. Take pictures a couple of different ways. Most of us use digital now, so take advantage of it. Give yourself options when you go through them the next day. These "rules" usually make for better habits and then better pictures; but like I said are always good to break when done intentionally. And to prove it, my last shot was taken from me laying on the ground shooting up (I usually avoid shooting up the nose, but for this shot it was needed for what I pictured in my head).

Oh...and thank you to my guinea p---- er, model: Angela for helping me today.