Work Like an Amateur

To succeed as a professional, one must retain the spirit of an amateur. The literal definition means, "doing something for pleasure, or the love of." Thankfully, we don't need a dictionary to follow our hearts. When you are enthusiastic about what you're shooting, it translates to the viewer. Photography after all, is a universal language we can all relate to. 

It's the Little Things

Once the spectacular morning light vanishes, I turn my attention to capturing the nearly endless details of the surrounding sights. The FDR Memorial for example features subjects that protrude from a sheer wall. Rather than photographing this straight on, I used a wide aperture to create something more unique. At f2.8, the background is thrown completely out of focus. This brings sole attention to the face. 

When the Lights Fade

The artificial lights on the monuments quickly fade as the sun rises. While the structures no longer appear to glow, it's still a prime time to make great photos. Using a small aperture of f22, I created this sunburst as it scattered over the horizon.

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Where the Day Begins

The volume of tourists that swarm Washington DC is comparable to Europe's most popular sites. The grandeur of each monument along with the city's rich history make it a world class destination. 

Perhaps there's no better place to start the day than at the Tidal Basin. This scenic reservoir thrills visitors each Spring with a brilliant display of Cherry Blossoms. The flowers can be incorporated into any number of creative compositions. For a classic interpretation, one can use the branches to frame the Washington Monument. To further accentuate the delicate blooms, a flash is helpful. In a pinch, you could even use a flashlight to "paint in" a similar effect. 

Lightroom for the iPad is Here!

For those users with Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription, you can download the free Lightroom app for the iPad. I gave it a quick spin, and was impressed by its nearly full set of tools. You can change exposure, white balance, highlights, shadows, vibrance, saturation and more. The interface is fast and responsive, clearly well thought out by Adobe's developers. The one downside is that it's restricted to cloud members. 

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For more details, check the review at Engadget here

Adobe also has an official page showing the app's capability here.

 

A Lone Red Rose

A visit to the Nation's capital wouldn't be complete without pausing at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. The names of 58,272 fallen and missing soldiers are etched into the reflective stone. Attempting to capture the sheer magnitude of this scene in a single frame is quite challenging. Rather than using a wide angle lens to show more, I opted for a telephoto lens to isolate a lone red rose. It's a solemn, but touching reminder of this tragic war. 

What Makes This Image Great? #2

By finding a raised perch to shoot from, the photographer has cleverly invited us into the scene. From above, we see a young woman in a bed of grasses. Noticeably absent are distractions such as a wristwatch, pocketbook, and phone. Her dog rests close by, ready for whatever adventures may follow. We can picture ourselves there, far from the routine of daily responsibilities. 

Creative photographers understand that guidelines can be limiting if you never stray from them. Anscombe has boldly placed her subject across the center of the frame. She’s also chosen a wider perspective as opposed to filling the frame with a telephoto lens. These artistic choices are both in sharp contrast to the rules of composition we often read in photo magazines.

A good photograph doesn’t need to be overly complicated to portray emotion. The lighting here is subtle yet effective. By using a slight vignette, Anscombe brings our attention to the subject rather than the environment. All four corners appear darker than the center of the image. The vignette is a stylized look that can be done in post production, or even with light modifiers attached to a flash.