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Blog Post, Photo Critique

Public Photo Critiques - March 9, 2019

Good afternoon everyone, thanks for following.

I’ve started a new bi-weekly public photo critique that I’ll be doing here on my blog, as well as tied in with my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. I’ll be posting the call for photos every other Wednesday, and you have until Friday evening of that week to send me something that you would like critiqued. I’ll do a blog post like this and post the critiques to all of my social media accounts that evening or the next day (today is Saturday because I was super busy last night).

That’s it. I would love to see more people take advantage of this.

Most of my photo comments will come from the items that I teach in my composition and lighting classes, which you can check out here. Those two are good for all photographer levels and any camera (even phones).

Let’s get to the photos.

Our first photo is from Sydney Haney from our Facebook page. Sydney sends in a landscape shot with a beautiful waterfall, some still water, and cliffs. Looks to be in the fall time range maybe. Here is the shot.

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Thanks so much for submitting. I appreciate it.

Okay, so this reminds me of some photos that I have done in the past. It’s clear to me what you are trying to show me. It’s obviously a long exposure shot of a gorgeous waterfall (where is this BTW?), and looks to be late fall time frame since I see the ice around the waterfall.

This photo I like, look likes you did very well on the long exposure. You possibly exposed it too long as the detail in the waterfall’s center is hardly noticeable. When taking a shot like this I would take multiples and varying exposure lengths to see which one I liked. You may have, and this may be what it is, not sure. I do find interesting the look of the water below the waterfall. It’s not a glassy and flat as I would expect it to be with a really long exposure, so given the fact that its a cloudy day I would say this is possibly a 2 second exposure? I like very much that the waterfall, as well at the surface of the water are on the rule of thirds lines, I am clearly drawn there first.

With that said, I am a bit lost in the left side. I feel like the photo is over-weighted to one side because everything in the left is small and busy. What I do catch is the one tree half way up and what looks to be a walkway, which instantly makes me cringe. :) Sorry, the reason I say that is I am thinking nature nature nature, beautiful waterfall, nice cliff, tranquil water, man made walkway. Ugh. Now, you cannot move it, for sure. So what I would do differently is forget about the landscape orientated shot. I would love to see more reflection of this waterfall in the water, so I would turn the camera to portrait mode, put that waterfall in the top of the frame and have it’s reflection in the bottom of the frame. Almost a mirror image in it. I could see that working out well and you lose the walkway and “sort of” deadspace on the left. One other little personal note, it looks like you have a filter on this for something. I am not a fan at all of filters, but that’s just my personal taste.

Still a great photo. Thanks for sharing. Hope to see more.

Next up we have a landscape photo from April Atwood from the Facebook page. April sent in a landscape type shot, but not your wide vista type. This is a small scale shot of a tree during a snow event. Here is the shot.

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Thanks for submitting April. I really appreciate it.

In looking at your photo I actually have more questions that I feel like I have answers. My main question was what are you trying to show me here? I believe it is the tree with the snow. I feel like the photo is very busy with a lot happening in it, which is where I am getting a bit confused on what I am trying to be shown. To me, I feel like the wood behind the tree is very distracting, as well as the huge fence behind it. I get caught up in the color off to the left and the slight red (possibly a tail light) on the right.

I’m going to go with you are showing me the tree. I do see the limbs on one of the rule of third lines, I like that. It catches my attention. I do like some of the snow on the ground a bit.

What would I do differently? I’d look for a less busy spot. I feel like shots of the snow coming down are very difficult. You walk a line of landscape and action photography that I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with any of the ones that I’ve taken :). If I was shooting just right here then I would get down on the ground and take a shot along the top of the snow. This will give a different perspective that may work out. Another thing that you could do is crop the photo to be less busy. You are already cutting off the top and some branches, so maybe trim is some more. I took the liberty to show an example. Just what I would do,

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Thanks again for sharing. Hope to see more.

So that’s it for this photo critique. Thanks again to those who submitted. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more photos for my next one in 2 weeks. Until then, don’t forget to follow me on all of the social medial platforms and check out my events page for a TON of upcoming classes, workshops and exhibitions.




Blog Post

Photo Tip - At Least Two of Everything!

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Scott’s Bi-Weekly Photo Tip

Good evening everyone, thanks for checking out my blog. Now that 2019 is going strong we have reworked a few things. I’ll be doing bi-weekly public photo critiques and bi-weekly Photo Tips that alternate. So one week you’ll see me to critiques and the following week I’ll post a tip.

All of the photo tips are things that I teach in my classes and/or private lessons. Most are things I’ve done or noticed through my many years of shooting, and each should help you in some way. They will be short and sweet most of the time. I welcome any questions on any of the social media platforms or on here, comments are allowed.

This Photo Tip is titled “At Least Two of Everything”, and I mean everything.

When you go out to shoot, make sure you have extra everything, ready to go. I have learned my lesson so many times, getting there and not having cards, or the cold zaps my batter and I didn’t bring a second one. You just never know what will happen, so do your best to be prepared.

I’ll start with some items that I make sure I at least double up on each time I go out.

Memory Cards - Memory cards can break very easily, no matter what type you have. I have been instances where I’m shooting away and suddenly I get a message that my card is corrupt. Ouch, that one hurt. At the time it wasn’t for client related work so I was okay, but I learned my lesson. Now I not only bring multiple cards but throughout my shoot I also switch the cards out so if one crashes I don’t lose everything. My latest camera actually has two card slots so I have each photo writing to both cards for redundancy.

Batteries - This is a no brainer, but you would be surprised as to how many people don’t have backups. You should have a fully charged backup at all times, but especially if it is cold. The cold will zap your batteries very quickly.

Flashlights - When I go out before sunrise or after sunset I usually have a headset to light my way. What happens if that dies? I always have two just in case.

Tripod - If you are out taking landscape photos, especially long exposures, then you MUST be using a tripod. If you are in a position that you have to use a tripod, then always bring a spare. I have had people show up at workshops and their tripod breaks. Luckily I usually hand them mine, but if I didn’t have one then they would be lost.

These are just a few things to think about before you walk out the door There are many more, but these are always on my mind.

Don’t forget to check out my workshops and classes to learn more about photography. We have so many different ones to offer and they are always a great time.

Have a great night.

Scott

Blog Post, Photo Critique

Public Photo Critiques - Feb 1, 2019

Good afternoon everyone, thanks for following.

I’ve started a new bi-weekly public photo critique that I’ll be doing here on my blog, as well as tied in with my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. I’ll be posting the call for photos every other Wednesday, the next one will be Feb 13, and you have until Friday evening of that week to send me something that you would like critiqued. I’ll do a blog post like this and post the critiques to all of my social media accounts that evening or the next day (today is Saturday because I was super busy last night).

That’s it. I would love to see more people take advantage of this.

Most of my photo comments will come from the items that I teach in my composition and lighting classes, which you can check out here. Those two are good for all photographer levels and any camera (even phones).

Let’s get to the photos.

Our first photo is from Jose Pacheco from our Facebook page. He sends over this cool little snow man looking to be in an urban area with a lit tree up behind it.

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Thanks so much for submitting Jose. This is a very unique snowman. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with the foil and scarf like that, and I really like it. I can definitely see why you wanted to get a shot of this.

So when you have a subject like this you really have 2 options. 1. Treat it like a portrait 2. Add more background into it to create a little more like a landscape. Here it looks like you went with Option 2, and I believe it was probably because of the lit tree in the background. Great thought, and it would work out great probably if you didn’t have all of the urban lights behind it.

Given the background here, I probably would go with Option 1, treat it like a portrait. This means you will crop into the photo and remove most of the background. You lose your lit tree, but with it being so busy behind it I think you would have to do that. Also the tree is blurred from the depth of field that you had, so It is what it is.

Another distraction in the photo is the pole on the left. Long lines grab the audience’s attention more often than not, and I personally find myself looking right at that pole. So when you crop the photo I would get that out of it as well.

I took the liberty of throwing a quick crop on to demonstrate what I was walking about, I hope you don’t mind.

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Another think I like about this crop is that it puts the face on the rule of thirds, which really brings the focus into that area. Which I believe you want.

Thanks again for posting. Hope to see more photos!

Next up we have a landscape photo from Nancy Hausrath from the Facebook page. Nance sends in this small scale landscape photo taken in the winter near a river. Some nice frozen drops and moss on the rocks. Thanks for submitting Nancy.

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I like this photo a lot. The frozen branch at the bottom creates a long line and really draws you right in. The moss adds in some detail and color into the composition as well. I feel like I could easily put myself right here and feel the experience.

One thing I would do here is a crop on the photo. You have a shallow depth of field, which is giving you plenty of blue in the background. I’d forget the little fall in the back and focus on the super sharp foreground with those unique ice formations and the reflection in the water (that kind of hides itself in this shot because there is so much more going on).

I’ve taken the liberty to do a crop to explain what I meant, hope you don’t mind.

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As you can see, it completely changes the photo. I LOVE it like that. The background is no longer busy, focus is brought in on this very cool ice formation and the stick and reflection balance each other out.

Now that I’m looking at it cropped I’d say the whites are a tiny bit blown out. Maybe just a little less exposure on it and you’d be there.

Great photo. Thanks again for posting. Hope to see more photos!

So that’s it for this photo critique. Thanks again to those who submitted. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more photos for my next one in 2 weeks. Until then, don’t forget to follow me on all of the social medial platforms and check out my events page for a TON of upcoming classes, workshops and exhibitions.

Blog Post

Photo Assignment for 5/13/17 - See The Light

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This week's photo Assignment is about light. It's supposed to be sunny this week, so get out there and use that light. I'd like to see different photos where light is used differently. Could be sunset, sunrise, reflecting off water, windows, whatever you think. Please post your photos as comments on the Facebook post. Comments as I'll critique next weekend. Ends next Sat at 11:59pm and critiques will be Sunday the 21st.

Blog Post

Photo 301 Class Registering - Shooting Motion, Low Light and More

Now register for Scott's Photo 301 class. 

@The Studio in Front Royal

This is for anyone who has a camera with the ability to shoot in manual mode and has the understanding of how to set aperture, shutter speed and ISO on their camera (My Photo 201 and Taking Better Photos - Lighting and Composition classes will prep you for this class)

This class is geared for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level. If you have learned what aperture, shutter speed and ISO are, its now time to take them to the next level. Learn how to shoot:
- Motion - We'll talk about many different motion scenarios from wildlife to sports to landscapes (cotton candy waterfalls to be exact). I'll discuss many tips and techniques that I have used over the years and what tools will help you in most situations. You'll learn how to stop action, slow it down, and create advanced photos that actually show motion.
- Depth - Learn to use depth of field in your photos, especially portraits, to take those boring photos to the professional level. Don't blur the edges of a photo in post processing, get a true natural blur in camera.
- Low Light - Here is the evil of most photographers. How do I shoot in low light conditions. We'll discuss the topic at length, go into examples of settings in conditions, tool and techniques that I use, and more.
- Lens and accessory recommendations and buying tips And much more There will be up to 3hr class time Light snacks provided. Class is rain or shine. Full refund given if canceled more than 7 days prior to class. If less than 7 days no refund returned unless your spot is filled. By purchasing this class you agree to this cancellation policy.

View the class in our events below or register HERE