Sunday, 20 December 2015

Africa From A to Z - V

This week we come on to the letter V with a monkey, a bird and a waterfall, travelling from Kenya, south to Tanzania and ending up in Zimbabwe.
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Vervet monkey
A Vervet monkey in Kenya.
Buy wall art of Vitelline masked weaver
Vitelline masked weaver
Buy wall art of Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
Devil's Cataract, on the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls, is the lowest of the five Falls, with a drop of 60m. It is separated from the rest of the Falls by Boaruka Island, also known as Cataract Island. The Devil's Cataract is the weakest point in the geological composition of the falls.

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 or shower curtains. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

10 Common Composition Mistakes in Photography


Our tutorial today comes from Jose Aires,  and is a guide to a better composition when taking pictures. In it, Jose lists the 10 common mistakes photographers make.

1. Subject is positioned in the center of the frame

Sometimes a central subject works, but normally you would better shoot it positioned to one side, as explained in the "rule of thirds". Some cameras, if not many of them these days, are capable of showing a grid in the viewfinder or a screen with a "grid" that can help us split the scene into those thirds, horizontally and vertically. The main subject should be ideally positioned where those lines cross each other or in a full third, and the rest of the elements aligned with the grid lines.

Again, we have to mention that the rules of composition are a great aid to consider as a starting point, trying to move from centrally composed images, but keep in mind that sometimes it is worth trying to break the rules to innovate, to create something more interesting... let your feelings speak with you.


Cattle Egret Tony Murtagh
2. Subject is too small in the frame, therefore you ended up including too much in it

Although our brains are great at focusing on a subject and excluding its surroundings on a scene, that almost never happens when you look at an image. When taking a shot, always consider if it would look better if you get closer (or zoom in with your lens) so the subject fills the frame and clearly dominates the attention.

The more you include in a photograph, the more complex and difficult for the viewers is to understand and appreciate the idea that is trying to be conveyed.

3. There is nothing in the foreground

It is always a good idea to have something in the image foreground to give the shot depth, draw the viewer's eye and add scale, specially in a landscape or in a still life image. Do not waste this space telling nothing to the viewer.

Wood logs, rocks, flowers, tide marks in the sand or waves, for example, always add a little interest into the foreground. If you are arranging a still life scene, you should try to put something in the right place.
Ardlochy Bay - Tony Murtagh
4. Always shooting standing up or straight on

You must play with perspective! Get down to your knees, move to one side, lay dawn or get yourself to a higher point of view. Many of us get so worried about finding a subject that we forget to think about how we are going to photograph it. If you shoot a subject straight-on you will record its appearance, but you may fail to capture any context or atmosphere. Again, experimenting is key!

5. Including a bad background

We covered that in our tips for beginners, and we are going to highlight it again due to its importance. Always examine your photo background. We should not miss the clutter behind the subject, and it is an easy fix if we move to one side, pick a different angle, change our lens or use a wider aperture (to blur the background).

Get used to the habit of taking a good look around the scene before framing a shot to find the best background and shooting location.

6. Bad use of depth of field

Depth of field is an important and powerful tool for composition as it determines which elements are in focus (clearly visible) in the image, and draw our attention to them.

Shooting with a small aperture creates lots of depth of field, which is often desirable in landscapes and macros (it is needed here because of the shallow depth of field we get being too much closer to a subject), for instance, but if you want your subject to standout from its surrounding, it is usually better to shoot with a bigger aperture to restrict depth of field, specially in portraits or when you want to isolate the focal point from its surroundings.
European Roller - Tony Murtagh
7. Sloping horizons

We talked about this in the landscape vs horizon line post. A sloping horizon in a landscape or even behind a portrait or an isolated subject can be incredibly distracting so make sure it is levelled. Many cameras have a built-in electronic level that can be displayed in the viewfinder or on the main screen to guide you, but if not, there are some bubble level accessories you can fit into the camera hot-shoe (normally used for an external flash unit).

Also, many tripods have a level built-in if you are looking into buying one.

It is specially very important to make sure that your water photos look leveled, as a sloping horizon normally ruins a composition.

8. Blurred images due to small apertures and slow shutter speeds settings

We should really pay attention to this one, combined with the depth of field we are trying to get. Sometimes we are so worried about getting everything in focus that we set the aperture much too small, which calls in a need for a really slow shutter speed as a consequence.

Remember the aperture and shutter speed are closely linked to each other, they work together to keep in balance a good exposure. The more you close down the aperture (smaller opening, larger f-number (f/11 and beyond turns things difficult for a hand-held photography) the slower shutter speed will be required to keep the exposure balanced. If the shutter speed is too slow, you can either open up your aperture or increase the ISO, or both, until you reach the correct exposure.

9. No focal point

The main subject in a photograph should be effectively positioned and be the central point of interest in the composition (emphasized). We must draw the viewer's eye exactly to where we want. Size, color, shape and how the object contrasts with the rest of the elements in the image are ways to isolate and direct attention to it.

10. Not knowing where your camera controls and functions are

You MUST read your camera manual. Knowing your camera and all of its buttons and settings is vital. Being able to do that takes practice. As we said in top tips for beginners, you should be able to adjust ISO setting, shooting mode, focus point, exposure compensation, aperture and shutter speed without taking the camera away from your eye. Believe us, it will make a difference in that photo you can not afford to miss!

If you liked the article, please forward it to your friends and come visit us at http://www.photocommand.com.

Article Source: 10 Common Composition Mistakes in Photography

Friday, 18 December 2015

Friday Photography Quotes

This weeks Friday photography quote comes from Brigitte Bardot.

Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot (born 28 September 1934) is a French former actress, singer and fashion model, who later became an animal rights activist. She was one of the best known sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s and was widely referred to by her initials. Starting in 1969, Bardot became the official face of Marianne (who had previously been anonymous) to represent the liberty of France.

Bardot was an aspiring ballerina in early life. She started her acting career in 1952 and after appearing in 16 routine comedy films, with limited international release, became world-famous in 1957, with the controversial film And God Created Woman. She later starred in Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film Le M├ępris. For her role in Louis Malle's 1965 film Viva Maria! Bardot was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress. Bardot caught the attention of French intellectuals. She was the subject of Simone de Beauvoir's 1959 essay, The Lolita Syndrome, which described Bardot as a "locomotive of women's history" and built upon existentialist themes to declare her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France. 

Bardot retired from the entertainment industry in 1973. During her career in show business, she starred in 47 films, performed in several musical shows and recorded over 60 songs. She was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1985 but refused to receive it. After her retirement, she established herself as an animal rights activist. 
CLICK BELOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BRIGITTE BARDOT

Our regular readers will know that we have been publishing quotes from famous photographers every Friday. I am delighted to say that they are now available to purchase as posters or framed prints making an ideal addition to a photographers studio or shop, or as a gift for an amateur photographer. In addition, we can supply them as iPhone and Galaxy cases, greeting cards, or even printed on throw cushions.

To see all the options for that perfect gift, go to our Quotations Gallery and chose your favourite quote and turn it into the perfect gift for your favourite photographer (or yourself :-))

Thursday, 17 December 2015

6 Tips for Capturing Dramatic Skies in your Landscape Photography

Todays article is from our friends at Digital Photography School and is written by Hillary Grigonis who enjoys sharing her love of photography by writing how-to posts for CreativeLive, a resource for free online photography classes from world class instructors. When she's not writing (or writing about photography), she's snapping photos for her lifestyle photography business.

Hillary gives six very useful tips for getting that great shot of the sky.:

Don’t let the land in landscape photography fool you–a great landscape photo relies just as much on the sky. Boring gray skies make for boring landscape photos. But capturing a dramatic sky in camera is trickier than it seems. With the sky lighter than the land, the camera will typically overexpose the sky, turning a brilliant blue into a vague and unexciting gray.

But, with a little fine tuning, it is possible to capture a sky that is the cherry-on-top of a great scene on land. Here are six tips for capturing more dramatic skies in your landscape photography.

Just follow this link to learn the six tips and to see some stunning images of the sky....   6 Tips for Capturing Dramatic Skies in your Landscape Photography
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Here are a couple of my own images where I am pleased with the look of the sky.
Sunrise in the Mediterranean
Sunset at Koper
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 or shower curtains. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Featured Artist Caroline Coles

For today's feature, we spoke to artist and illustrator Caroline Evans but inadvertently posted it under the name of Caroline Coles, so please visit the Caroline Evans post.



Featured Artist Caroline Evans

For today's feature, we spoke to artist and illustrator Caroline Evans and this is what she told us:



As a lover of all fauna and flora, my work is a celebration of Nature’s beauty and all that she offers. I am an award-winning artist and illustrator who works in three specific genres – abstracts, fantasy and realism.
Contemplating His Fate

All my work is original, including my Abstracts where I have used my own photographs of flowers and leaves taken from my garden or original artwork and digitally manipulated them to produce the finished pieces. 
Facing My Fears
While some of my work carries definitive ‘messages’, all are created primarily to captivate and uplift my audience through an eclectic mix of strong colours, shapes, lines and imagery. I strive to encourage people to use their imagination and find a connection to my art by entering their own world of beauty and colour. My more intricate Fantasy work encompasses a lot of hidden elements, all of which can be interpreted differently depending on the viewer. 
Summer Celebration - Nocturne
I produce my artwork intuitively – by that, I mean that I do not visualise the finished picture but allow it to evolve as I go along. This also extends to the type of medium I use on my originals and I will often combine more than one. If the fancy takes me on the day, I will add further embellishments such as beads, semi-precious stones, metal leaf or even some fairy dust... 
The Beauty Behind The Mask
I am a member of the Association of Illustrators (UK), the UK Coloured Pencil Society and a resident Gallery Artist at Nude Tin Can Gallery, St Albans, England.

One of the pure joys of being an artist is to end up with a piece of art that ‘works’ – not only is it extraordinarily uplifting, but it’s also fun! Thank you for looking through my artwork and welcome to my world...

You can view Caroline's work on her website:

You can also find Caroline at 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Birmingham Centenary Square

I visited Birmingham at the weekend and though it wasn't a photography trip, and though the weather was wet and miserable, I did take a few photos.

These were taken in Centenary Square and show the new Birmingham Library, and the Birmingham Wheel.
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Birmingham Library
The Library of Birmingham is a public library in Birmingham. It is situated on the west side of the city centre at Centenary Square, beside the Birmingham Rep (to which it connects, and with which it shares some facilities) and Baskerville House. Upon opening on 3 September 2013, it replaced Birmingham Central Library. The library, which is estimated to have cost £188.8 million, is viewed by the Birmingham City Council as a flagship project for the city's redevelopment. It has been described as the largest public library in the United Kingdom, the largest public cultural space in Europe, and the largest regional library in Europe.2,414,860 million visitors came to the library in 2014 making it the 10th most popular visitor attraction in the UK.
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Birmingham Wheel
The Birmingham Wheel in Centenary Square, Birmingham at dusk.
Buy canvas wall art of Reflections of Birmingham Wheel
Reflections of Birmingham Wheel
Reflections of the Birmingham Wheel through a glass fronted office block.

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 or shower curtains. 

Africa From A to Z - U

This week's letter is U and as I have no images of animals beginning with U, I am posting images taken on Unguja (also referred to as Zanzibar Island or simply Zanzibar) which is the largest and most populated island of the Zanzibar archipelago, in Tanzania, Africa.

I have previously posted images of animals on the island, (colobus monkeys and cattle egrets) and of its mangrove swamps, so today our images are all from the island's capital, Stone Town.

We begin with the Stone Town Market, followed by a close up of a stall in the fish market.
Buy canvas print wall art of Zanibar.
Stone Town Market
Buy canvas print wall art of Zanibar.
Fish Market
Leaving the market, we look down an alley way leading away from the market.
Buy canvas print wall art of Zanibar.
Alley Way
Leaving the market area, we take a look across Stone Town harbour.
Buy canvas print wall art of Zanibar.
Stone Town Harbour
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 or shower curtains. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.





Friday, 11 December 2015

Friday Photography Quotes

This weeks Friday photography quote (a couple of days late) comes from Edward Weston:

Robert Heinecken (1931–2006) was an American artist who referred to himself as a "paraphotographer" because he so often made photographic images without a camera. He is today considered one of the most influential post-war American photographers and he worked across multiple mediums, including photography, sculpture, video, printmaking, and collage. Culling images from newspapers, magazines, pornography, and television, he recontextualized them through collage and assemblage, double-sided photograms, darkroom experimentation, and rephotography.
CLICK BELOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ROBERT HEINECKEN
Our regular readers will know that we have been publishing quotes from famous photographers every Friday. I am delighted to say that they are now available to purchase as posters or framed prints making an ideal addition to a photographers studio or shop, or as a gift for an amateur photographer. In addition, we can supply them as iPhone and Galaxy cases, greeting cards, or even printed on throw cushions.

To see all the options for that perfect gift, go to our Quotations Gallery and chose your favourite quote and turn it into the perfect gift for your favourite photographer (or yourself :-))

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Brent Mail Photography

I recently came across Brent Mail, not as you may think, a Daily Newspaper, but an award winning Australian Photographer who is an Associate of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. 

Brent is passionate about photography and life, and loves to share that passion and knowledge of photography with others. He has set up a website to do just that, http://brentmailphotography.com, and the first thing that you will notice when you visit, is that Brent offers three, totally free photography courses plus weekly photo tips.

These free courses alone make it worthwhile for you to visit the site so I strongly recommend that you click below and get started, personally I found the Landscape course invaluable.

I would also suggest that you visit his blog where you will find some great posts, often with video interviews or examples of Brent's photography showing how he works.

As a professional photographer and trainer, Brent also produces a series of Photography Training Videos which take you behind the scenes on his photo shoots and explain exactly what he is doing and how he create his images in easy-to-understand English, and he does not hold anything back, giving you access to heaps of great photography tips and tricks.

The following images are from two of his courses, How to Capture Amazing Sunset Images
and How to Photograph Kids – Naturally:
How to Photograph Kids – Naturally

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Featured Artist Richard Reeve

Today's featured artist is photographer Richard Reeve.



Richard is a British-born artist now resident in beautiful Pennsylvania. Primarily a photographer, he also produce digital artwork based on his photographic images as well as the occasional digital design from a blank canvas.
Floating Fall Leaf

Richard prefers not to be constrained to one genre of imagery, but likes to use his eye to look for an unusual composition wherever he goes, and is seldom without a camera of some sort, be it a phone, “proper camera” or even his little self-assembled Recesky film camera.
Electric Moon
He was fascinated by photography in his early teens, but lack of quality equipment and the cost of film developing prevented him from taking this too far .  As with many photographers, the advent of digital cameras was a boon to Richard and allowed him to pursue his long-dormant interest. 
Peppers And Beans
Richard loves the artistic freedom that being behind the lens brings to his psyche. He finds that using a viewfinder is akin to being in another world, one where he can concentrate on the moment to create something that he likes, and that, ultimately, he can share.
No Smoking
In addition to his own photography work, Richard started and administers two groups on Fine Art America/Pixels. 
You can view Richards work or follow him on the following sites:

Check out all of our featured artists.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Africa From A to Z - T

This week we move on to the letter T with a variety of wildlife from Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius. 

Starting in Kenya, we have a Thompson's Gazelle and a Topi Antelope.
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Thomson's Gazelle on the Masai Mara in Kenya
The Thomson's gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii) is one of the best-known gazelles. It is named after explorer Joseph Thomson and is sometimes referred to as a "tommie".
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Topi Antelope on the Masai Mara, Kenya
Topis (Damaliscus lunatus jimela) are a highly social and fast antelope species of the genus Damaliscus. The species is to be found in the savannas, semi-deserts, and floodplains of sub-Saharan Africa.
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Tawny eagle in Ngorongoro crater, Tanzania.
Tawny Eagles (Aquila rapax) are medium-sized to large raptors that live in Asia and Africa. It breeds in most of Africa both north and south of the Sahara Desert and across tropical southwestern Asia to India. It is a resident breeder which lays 1–3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree, crag or on the ground. Throughout its range it favours open dry habitats, such as desert, semi-desert, steppes, or savannah, plains.
Buy Canvas Wall Art of Seychelles Tortoise
Seychelles Tortoise in Mauritius
Seychelles Tortoises have been introduced into Mauritius to replace their own giant tortoises which had become extinct by 1840.

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 or shower curtains. Simply click on the  image and you will be taken to my gallery where you will find full details.




Friday, 4 December 2015

Friday Photography Quotes

This weeks photography quote comes from Diane Arbus.
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Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer and writer noted for photographs of marginalised people — dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers—and others whose normality was perceived by the general populace as ugly or surreal.

In 1972, a year after she took her own life, Arbus became the first American photographer to have photographs displayed at the Venice Biennale. Millions viewed traveling exhibitions of her work in 1972–1979. Between 2003 and 2006, Arbus and her work were the subjects of another major traveling exhibition, Diane Arbus Revelations. In 2006, the motion picture Fur, starring Nicole Kidman as Arbus, presented a fictional version of her life story.

CLICK BELOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIANE ARBUS



Our regular readers will know that we have been publishing quotes from famous photographers every Friday. I am delighted to say that they are now available to purchase as posters or framed prints making an ideal addition to a photographers studio or shop, or as a gift for an amateur photographer. In addition, we can supply them as iPhone and Galaxy cases, greeting cards, or even printed on throw cushions.

To see all the options for that perfect gift, go to our Quotations Gallery and chose your favourite quote and turn it into the perfect gift for your favourite photographer (or yourself :-))

Monday, 30 November 2015

Featured Artist Susan Sadoury

Today's featured artist is Susan Sadoury.



Susan Sadoury (°1948, Spokane, United States) makes paintings and drawings. By choosing mainly formal solutions, Sadoury formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious process of composition that is behind the seemingly random works. The thought processes, which are supposedly private, highly subjective and unfiltered in their references to dream worlds, are frequently revealed as assemblages.
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Abstract 30/15

Her paintings feature coincidental, accidental and unexpected connections which make it possible to revise art history and, even better, to complement it. Combining unrelated aspects lead to surprising analogies. By experimenting with aleatoric processes, she creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles. 
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Beacon
Her works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned. By applying abstraction, she tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations. 
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Chaos in Black
Her works doesn’t reference recognisable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted.
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Circles
Susan told us that she has been painting on and off for 40 years with a few classes along the way, several at Edmonds community college, with Gene Waggoner Marysville, Wa and others. She was with the Maryville Art Guild for several years. Her newest passion is for abstracts, finding the freedom, the colors and the strokes wonderful. 
Buy Wall Art by Susan Sadoury
Ode to June
Painting abstracts fulfills her totally and she has fallen in love with it. Join her on her journey as she explores the many techniques of abstract and go back often to see what new wonders she has discovered. May you enjoy them as much as Susan does making them. 

See her work at Susan Sadoury Artwork.

Check out all of our featured artists.