Photo: Breeze in the Wind

Breeze in the Wind

Ashley, resting against a palm tree during a windy afternoon. She’s so cool… probably because of the wind and all.

You can see she’s holding her glasses in her right hand. I told her to take them off since they weren’t working; you couldn’t see her eyes or face because you’d just be looking at her glasses.

Her plants were blue, but I changed them to black with color-channel desaturation. No spot-editing needed! I don’t like spot editing… some photographers enjoy it though.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/250, F3.5, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-10-10T12:10:52-04, 20081010-161052rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Photo: Hiding Behind Sunglasses

Hiding Behind Sunglasses

When you hide behind sunglasses, you’re hiding in plain sight!

I got Sarah from The Rebel to come back for this shot. She was out of cigarettes, so we compromised by using her neon-green sunglasses as a prop. Once again, she’s looking off-camera. I’d say she’s camera-shy if she wasn’t so good at posing.

Her t-shirt is for the Bad Religion band. I haven’t heard any of their music, but I like the name. Religion is bad if it’s dogmatic rather than being based on logical self-improvement.

I ran out of model release forms after this, so I stopped looking for people to take pictures of, even though I had some time left on my lunch break.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/500, F3.2, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-09-24T11:55:05-04, 20080924-155505rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

You can use the models' likenesses for anything not defamatory. You are one of my "licencees."

Photo: Studying

Studying

I met this girl at the college. She was studying some book about history, at least till I found her. She’s not actually studying in the photo, but it reminds me of how someone would look at you if she was busy studying. This is posed, though.

For editing, I brightened this a lot, which helps because she was dark compared to the background. Now the sky is just white. I took the lines out from under her eyes, made her lips a bit redder, and dilated and reshaped her pupils. She looks alive now. I think it was reflections from the glass building nearby that made her pupils seem non-existent in the original. Eyes are a tricky thing, but you can improve them if you’re careful and precise.

The focus is on her hair instead of her face, darn it. It’s still a nice photo though. I’m going to watch focus more closely in portraits, because it’s really important to keep it on the eyes instead of what’s in the middle of the frame.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/500, F3.5, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-09-26T12:04:15-04, 20080926-160415rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

You can use the models' likenesses for anything not defamatory. You are one of my "licencees."

Photo: Get Back

Get Back — a man in sunglasses, making the ok hand gesture

A fellow at Daytona Beach College who made the perfect photography subject (sunglasses are always good). It looks like he’s trying to back away, which is the reason for the humorous title. The background is clutted unfortunately, but at least it reveals that the camera is tilted.

[sniplet 4×6-lustre]

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/500, F2.8, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-01-16T10:05:13-05, 20080116-150513rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

You can use the model's likeness for anything not defamatory. You are one of my "licencees."

8 Tips for the On-Cue Photographer

Be prepared. — Photo by Richard X. Thripp

I was reading 5 Reasons to Take Your Camera Everywhere in 2008 over at the Digital Photography School Blog, and it really resonated. You need a camera with you to take any sort of photos—this is a point that is not stressed enough in photography guides and classes. I’ve produced my best work on outings not intended for photography: Sky of Fire, Two of Us Against the World, and Sky’s Camouflage, for example. The article is good, but I want to add eight tips so that once you have your camera with you, you’re ready to use it:

1. Leave the SLR at home. Get a small point-and-shoot (P&S) camera so you aren’t loaded down. Make sure shutter lag is slim to nil; the venerable Canon PowerShot A620 (photos) has been in my pocket since 2006, though it’s harder to come by as its gone out of production.

2. Keep one, versatile lens. While this contradicts the above tip, there are some situations where you’ll need an SLR. P&S’s aren’t typically suited for low-light, so if you’re out in the evening or anywhere indoors, where P&S’s can’t work with the ambient light, take an SLR and a fast lens. My choice for such situations is the Canon EF 50mm f1.4 (photos); open the aperture and crank up the ISO speed, and you’ll be able to hand-hold without a flash even for night-time street photography. Then there is bright mid-day, where a slower, zoom lens will be your best bet. I still use the Canon Rebel XTi kit lens (photos); it’s a good start for wide-angle photography and produces sharp photos at f/8.

3. Drop the camera bag. While a bag for your lenses is acceptable (though picking one lens will save weight), your camera needs to be at the ready for baby Lucy to skip through those mud puddles. I’d never be quick enough to get the shot at the top of this article with my camera cooped up in a cozy bag. If you have a P&S, stow it in your pocket, or sling an SLR around your neck.

4. Freshly charged batteries are a must. Murphy’s law states that your batteries will fail just when you need them the most.

5. Have space for 100 photos on your memory card. While you may not capture that many brilliant photos, you won’t have time to swab the decks when that seagull grabs the fish, or those clouds form your Aunt Mary’s face. With the burst modes on modern cameras producing three photos a second, you’ll want plenty of temporary space for crazed snapping.

6. Set your camera. That 15-second exposure with tungsten white balance won’t cut it for a spontaneous afternoon portrait. Set your ISO speed, white balance, and flash preferences, then choose your aperture or shutter speed in the priority modes, and have the camera take care of the rest. If you’ve forgotten to do this, dial in Auto mode real quick for that fleeting Kodak moment; sub-optimal results are better than an over-exposed, blue mess. Use RAW mode for editing leeway, though note that the larger file sizes will slow you down from shot-to-shot.

7. Brace yourself. Blurry photos of your precious moments are no fun. Turn up the shutter speed as much as you can; the same as your lens’ focal length at minimum (i. e. 1/50 second for the EF 50mm f1.4, or 1/80 on the XTi because of the crop factor). Hold still, keep the viewfinder glued to your face, and support the lens barrel with your other hand while you click three shots, then delete all but the sharpest. If you have a P&S, don’t keep it at arm’s length as you’ll shake the camera more.

8. Turn off auto-focus. Even on SLRs, auto-focus causes the biggest delays from click-to-shoot. If your subjects will be consistently far from your camera, lock in the focus and switch to manual mode, then enjoy the lightning-fast shutter lag. Alternately, half-click your shutter button a few seconds in advance and hold it—then when you push down all the way, you’ll get a quick photo with the settings the camera locked in.

Photography is as much about skill as it is being in the right place at the right time. When life’s picture-perfect moments pop up, be sure to have your camera at the ready.