uyhsu61jqn7ghbxvttwq23lvek7jpv

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Fill Your Frame: Photo Composition

A couple of days ago, I gave my thoughts on the Rules of Composition and I would like to follow that up with this article from Picture Correct, talking about the importance of "Filling Your Frame" in your photos. It was written by  Etienne Bossot, who runs Pics of Asia, offering photo tours to South East Asia and who for the past four years has been teaching thousands of people at all photographic levels. She is also a commercial and wedding photographer in Southeast Asia.

The more I teach photography, the more I realize that this is something I need to repeat… about 10 times a day. This is actually now one of the first things I talk about when talking about composition, once the camera settings have been covered. Fill Your Frame. To read the full article, which includes some lovely images from Etienne, follow this link:......  Fill Your Frame: Photo Composition
================================================
Here are three very different images of mine, where I have filled the frame with the subject.
A garden rose showing filling the frame photography composition
Garden Rose
Boulton Watt & Murdoch filling the frame photography composition
Boulton Watt and Murdoch
filling the frame photography composition with a Starling on a bird feeder in my garden
Starling Feeding

As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Rules of Composition

With the advent of the mobile phone and tablet, everyone seems to be taking photographs, and for many people all they want is a record of a holiday or family event or a special moment in their lives which they are happy to share with their friends and perhaps to look at some years later when it will bring back a fond memory of times past.

Some of us however want to take their photography one step further and turn it into a hobby which we can develop and improve. So we dispense with our point and shoot camera and stop using our phones and invest in a reasonably decent camera. Personally, although I had been taking pictures for almost 50 years, I only took it up as a serious hobby in 2010 when I purchased a Panasonic DMC-FZ38 prior to visiting Kenya on my first Safari.

To begin with, I looked at the 128 page manual, hardly understood a word, so set the camera to auto and went off on safari. I took some great photos but it was only after I joined a local camera club and started to learn about the art of composition that I began to actually look through the lens and think about what I was doing, instead of simply pointing the camera at an object and pressing the shutter.

Like me, I suspect that many new photographers get confused, or even totally put off, by such things as focal length, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focusing, exposure, etc., etc., and while I believe that it is very useful to understand the more technical elements, and I shall be covering some of those in later articles, I do believe that the most important element for a new photographer to get to grips with, is Composition. All digital camera manufacturers spend a large amount of time and money on software to help the user get the correct camera settings to capture that shot and, as I did initially, if you set your camera on auto, the vast majority of time you will get technically good results. However the one thing that no camera is able to do, no matter how much money you have spent buying it, is compose a photo that is attractive to the eye.

So what do I mean by Composition? Putting it into its very basic form, composition can be said to be the way to create a photo that is aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Google “composition in photography” and you come up with such results as:- 20 Composition Techniques That Will Improve Your Photos: 10 Top Photography Composition Rules: 9 Top Photography Composition Rules You Need To Know: 18 Composition Rules For Photos That Shine: 5 Elements of Composition in Photography: 5 Easy Composition Guidelines: The 10 rules of photo composition (and why they work): 12 Rules for Effective Composition in Photography: etc., etc.!

While you will undoubtedly learn by reading all of those articles, (and I would suggest that you do in time), I will concentrate on a few simple rules that I follow. Before I go further, while some of these are called rules, remember rules are there to be broken. What I am trying to do is to encourage you to think about what you are trying to achieve when looking through the viewfinder. I will start then with something that you have probably already come across:-

The Rule of Thirds


Basically, if you imagine a photo divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, the main subject of the image should be where a vertical line cross a horizontal one, as in this photo of a leopard in the Serengetti. Also the branch runs along the bottom third of the frame. This is much more pleasing than if the leopard was bang in the centre of the image.


the rules of composition in photography - rule of thirds
Leopard In Serengeti

Many modern cameras allow you to place a grid in the viewfinder which can be used to place the object where two lines intersect. While we are talking about the Rule of Thirds, it is generally best to place the horizon on one of the thirds, rather than in the centre of the frame, dependant on whether the main points of interest are in the sky or on the ground.

Leading Lines


These lead the viewers eyes into the picture either to the main subject or on a journey through the whole of the picture. In the image below of the Old Town in Stavanger, the viewer is taken into the picture by the lines of the timber boards of the building towards the centre while the curves of the pavement and road, coupled with the pedestrians walking down the road, help the viewer complete their journey.

the rules of composition in photography - leading lines
Old Town Stavanger

Symmetry

To demonstrate that the rules are no more than guidelines, the next one contradicts the Rule of Thirds. If your image is symmetrical, then it could benefit from being centred either on the horizontal, or vertical centre line. This works particularly well for reflections, as is the case below, where the mute swan and its reflection are centred along the horizontal centre line, or for architecture where in the shot from the Dome of St Peter’s, the image is centred on the vertical line.

the rules of composition in photography -symetry
Mute Swan

the rules of composition in photography - symetry
View From Dome Of St Peters

Rule of Space

This rule is talking about giving the subject in the photo, space to move into the frame. This particularly applies to animals and vehicles. The first photo below, of a Secretary Bird, was taken on my first safari before I had begun to learn anything about photography and as you can see, it looks a little odd, with the bird looking out of the frame, and all the space behind it. The second image was taken three years later when I was aware of the need to give the subject some space to move into.


the rules of composition in photography - rule of space
Secretary Bird

the rules of composition in photography - rule of space
Secretary Bird

I hope you will agree that the second one looks more natural and is better on the eye.

Rule of Odds

Generally speaking, it is thought that photos with an odd number of subjects is more visually appealing and natural looking than those with an even number, where the viewers eyes may flick around the image, unsure of where to settle. The main reason that I have included this is that it gives me an excuse to include my award winning image of a three-headed giraffe. Other than this, which was a purely lucky shot, I do tend to use the rule of odds if taking a close up of flowers or the like.

the rules of composition in photography - rule of odds
Three Headed Giraffe

Patterns

I will close on patterns, which can be found everywhere, both in nature and architecture and the image below, which shows reflections in the Birmingham Symphony Hall, combines patterns with one of my personal favourite composition techniques, the use of reflections.


the rules of composition in photography - patterns
Birmingham Symphony Hall Reflections

I hope that I have given you a brief insight into composition and that when you next look through your viewfinder you will at least stop and think for a few seconds at what you are looking at and how the shot may be improved. But just remember, these rules, and all the others you will come across, are simply guide lines to help you go in the right direction, they are not railway tracks that you have to stick to rigidly. Finally I will end with the words of Pablo Picasso - Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

Tony Murtagh
===============================================

As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Taking and Processing Fog & Mist Photos

Todays article gives some very extensive tips on the best way to take and process photos in the mist. It is written by Max Therry‘, whose passion for photography developed during his time in art school, where he would borrow his friends’ cameras and take photos of everything unusual around him. When this passion gained almost obsession-like traits, he bought his own Sony system and vowed to take as many photos as he could. After about a decade of filling up multiple hard drives, he says it’s time to share his experiences with whoever’s interested.

Taking beautiful images of mist and fog can be challenging, but it’s a skill worth learning. Fog and mist usually form during the night and are seen at their best in the early morning as the sun rises. Be prepared to get up early to catch the best shots! Follow this link to read the full article............. Taking and Processing Fog & Mist Photos:
======================================================
Here are three of my images taken in misty conditions, though I am sure they would have been improved had I read Max's article before taking them!
tips on the best way to take and process photos in the mist
Turbines In The Mist
Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm viewed in the evening mist from New Brighton, Wallasy, on the Wirral, England. The wind farm is located on the Burbo Flats in Liverpool Bay on the Irish Sea.
tips on the best way to take and process photos in the mist
Birds in the Mist
Birds coming out of the must as dawn rises on the River Danube in Romania.
tips on the best way to take and process photos in the mist
Birds at Dawn
Birds at Dawn on the River Danube in Romania.

As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual Mode

Mastering aperture prioroty and shutter priority is the starting place for photographers who wish to move on from using the automatic setting on their digital cameras and todays article, by Andrew Goodall, explains in an easy to understand way what these functions are, and how to use them. Andrew writes for Natures Image Photography and is a nature photographer based in Australia. He manages a gallery in Montville full of landscape photography from throughout Australia.

Digital photography has given almost anyone with a camera the potential to become a creative photographer. These days even compact cameras offer features that once were only found on ‘serious’ SLR cameras. The trouble is, most people who have grown up with point-and-shoot cameras have very little idea what these features are all about. After buying a good digital camera with the best intentions, they soon give up and switch to automatic.

Are the settings on your camera really so hard to understand? Of course not, but it can seem that way at the start, especially if they are not explained to you in simple terms you can understand..........to read the full article, follow this link:-  Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual Mode.
========================================
One of my personal favourites, is using Aperture Priority to help blur the background when taking close ups, as may be seen in the following examples.

Bluebells
Foxglove at Watersmeet, Lynmouth, Devon

European Roller

As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year’s Resolutions for New Photographers

We start the New Year with an article especially for those of you lucky enough to have been bought a new camera for Christmas. It is from our friends at Picture Correct and is written by Wayne Turner who has been teaching photography for 25 years and who has written three books on photography. He has produced 21 Steps to Perfect Photos; a program of learner-based training using outcomes based education.

Many of us have received or bought ourselves new digital cameras for Christmas, and with this comes the zeal to create great images. Sadly, the chances of this happening are small, as most of us know that a camera doesn’t take great images, the photographer does. So what resolutions can you make that will start your photography journey in the new year on the right footing?

To find the answers to these questions, follow this link:.................New Year’s Resolutions for New Photographers:
======================================================
I dont have anything to add to Wayne's advice, so I would like to post a few images taken before Christmas, showing the snow we had here in Birmingham, England.




As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Christmas Light Photography Tips

Today we have a topical and excellent article from our friends at Picture Correct, giving you all the advice you need to help you take images of Christmas Lights, both in the home and outdoors. It was written by Chuck DeLaney who has been a professional photographer for over 30 years. Since 1998 he has been the director of the New York Institute of Photography, America’s oldest and largesphotography school

At this time of year, many of the world’s cultures and religions celebrate holidays that involve lights. While the use of lights and candles is often explained in terms of the rites of the particular culture, most scholars agree that the lights came first; the explanations followed. After all, since humans gained control of fire, light has been used to illuminate the darkness – especially, during the depths of winter – rather than curse it.

To read the article in full, which includes some very good images to illustrate the advice given, follow this link: Christmas Light Photography Tips.
============================================
Here are a couple of my attempts at photographing Christmas Lights, both taken in London last Decmber.
Buy wallart of Christmas Angels
Christmas Angels

Buy wallart of Old Bond Street Lights
Old Bond Street Lights
Christmas lights and decorations looking down Old Bond Street, London.

As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows, duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

How to Photograph Birds in Flight

Today we have a great article from Picture Correct, written by Clive Anderson, which gives some valuable tips on how to learn to photograph birds in flight. For those of you who have tried this, you will know that it can be quite difficult to obtain a sharp, well positioned image. If you follow thesed basic tips you will soon be taking photos that you are pleased with!

Being able to capture good images using a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera can be extremely rewarding. And some of the best pictures that we can take tend to be the hardest. Once we have a pretty good understanding of some of the camera’s functions both on automatic and manual mode, we can focus on the job of putting this information to good use. One of the hardest images to capture tends to be of something that is moving, but there are ways to make it a little easier to master.

Follow this link to read the article in full, and to start improving your bird photography...... How to Photograph Birds in Flight:
===============================================
I have to admit that I have not done much practise on this topic and consequently, while I have dozens of images of "birds on sticks" I only have a few decent ones of them in flight, including the following two. 
Buy canvas print of a Black Kite
Black Kite
Black kite at Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania.

Buy print of a European Eagle Owl
European Eagle Owl
A European Eagle Owl at a falconry display at Dunrobin Castle, Dunrobin, Scotland.

As usual, my work is available to purchase as original  Wall Art, in a variety of formats from stretched canvas or framed prints, metal or acrylic prints,or simply as standard prints for you to mount in your favourite picture frame. They are also available as greeting cards or printed onto iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, throw pillows or duvet covers or tote bags. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.