Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer: A Photo Essay

Hello! I am properly back this time, I promise. Weekly posting shall resume!

This week, I will be talking about summer nature photography and the concept of a photo essay.

A photo essay  is a series of images that documents an event or tells a story. We often associate photo essays with news photojournalism, but this does not mean they don't apply to nature photography.
What are the keys to a successful photo essay?

1. Set the scene.

In nature photography, we can become myopic about our subject matter. Close animal portraiture is nice, but does not provide any environmental context. A good photo essay should include other elements of the animal's habitat so the viewer can get a complete picture of the story.

By including both macro and scenic shots of the flower beds, I've also introduced some variety into my photographs. Now, the reader immediately has some idea of what this story is going to be about - we are outside, in a garden.

2. Introduce the main characters.

The key measure of success of a photo essay is whether not it portrays a clear story. This is easiest to achieve if you have an idea of what you want to convey before you begin shooting. My story, for example, is going to be about insect life in the heady summertime.

To simplify things a bit for the blog post (I never like to include too many photos - I feel like it becomes overwhelming), I've focused here on grasshoppers. Open, grassy areas are excellent spaces to hunt for grasshoppers, who aren't exactly the most elusive of insects. In addition, their large size makes them an accessible subject matter even to those without dedicated macro lenses. If you want some tips for insect photography, click here.

3. Subplot

If you are doing a series on an animal, it is a good idea to include different behaviors from that species, if possible. It adds more dimension to your story.

Here is a shot of a slant-faced grasshopper doing what grasshoppers do best: eat. Eating is always an interesting behavior to document.

4. Conclusion

This is the part we've been waiting for! What was the point of your story? What happens in the end? This is also the point at which you might urge the viewer to action, or force the viewer to make a decision.

We, of course, know what summer means to insects.

So, what do you think? Have you ever created a photo essay? Does yours include text, or is it only pictures? And do you think that this photo essay was successful? Let me know in the comments below!

Want to see more tips? Check back every Friday for a new post. Click here to follow me on Tumblr and here to follow me on Bloglovin! Don't forget you can also use the nifty sidebar to subscribe via email or RSS feed

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Special Effects: Advanced Photography Part II

I'm back - sorry for the delays!
Now, on to today's post. On this blog, I've mostly discussed traditional photography, emphasizing things like aperture, shutter speed, and composition. However, there are also special tricks and tips that one can employ to create unique images (without post-processing edits).

Click here to see Advanced Photography Part 1.

How to Use Shutter Speed to Create "Special Effects" with your Images

As discussed in my photography basics series, photographers adjust aperture and shutter speed to obtain accurate exposures. However, you don't have to do this. You can manipulate the shutter speed or aperture to achieve goals other than exposure.

Dreamlike exposures can be created by artificially prolonging the shutter speed and then moving the camera during the shot, producing unusual motion blur.  For this shot, I used a very slow shutter speed and a high aperture to compensate. You will need to experiment with different  exposure times to achieve the effect you desire without completely washing out your image. For each shot in this style that I like, I take about 10-15 "duds" - so keep trying different combinations.

f/32; shutter 1/8
Obviously, the longer the exposure and the more motion you create, the blurrier the end result will be. Compared the previous example, the example above is more painterly, with less detail preserved. This is due to the longer exposure.
Additionally, you should experiment not only with moving the camera body during the exposure, but also with zooming in and out with the lens.

What do you think about this technique? Have you tried it? Let me know in the comments.

Check back next Friday for the next installment of...TwoFeetPhoto. Please remember to share, follow, and subscribe via the fancy sidebar options! Here is my tumblr and here I am on bloglovin.

Friday, July 4, 2014

On Hiatus

Hello all,

The Blog will be on hiatus until July 11.

Thanks for reading,