I love to find scenes where nature and cityscapes converge. Here, I opted to underexpose in order to emphasize shapes and shadows. This type of control is what makes manual exposure my preferred camera mode. Had I used automatic, the ducks would have detail but the sky would be blown out (overexposed).
No matter where I travel, Long Island will always be home. Although we aren't far from Manhattan, there is an abundance of natural beauty with beaches, parks and farmland. To see more images from my stomping grounds, check the new gallery, "Gems of Long Island"
Sunny days can be ideal for creating art and also salable prints and stock photos. Images of people enjoying the outdoors are popular with a wide variety of clients from those looking for home decor, to marketing companies who need images to advertise their services. In the afternoon, you’ll find infinitely more people than you would at sunrise or sunset. This is actually a good thing, as it opens the door to a whole new series of photographic possibility. By including a human element, the image will have greater reach as viewers can relate to it personally.
I was first drawn to this spot in Venice by the way light and shadows played off each other. Like many of my images, I then waited for what Bresson called the "Decisive Moment". Sure enough, a gondolier paddled into the shadow to make for an intriguing composition.
I located this small island on the north shore of Long Island on a chilly afternoon in winter. It evokes emotions of solitude and strength despite the vast unknown. Storms, dark times and challenges roll through our lives when we least expect it. All we can do is trust that there's a reason, and work to find ways to handle it constructively. Perhaps that's why I love photography so much. It forces me to take whatever is presented, and make something beautiful regardless of the circumstances.
📷 Camera Nerd Details: I carry a 4 stop soft edge graduated neutral density filter with me wherever I go. It's an invaluable tool for creating dramatic skies in a landscape photo. Are there ways to do this in post production? Yes, but it's not nearly as straightforward as doing it in the camera at the time of exposure. Plus, editing images takes time, something a lot of us don't have on a daily basis. Using this simple filter method is so effective and only costs about thirty bucks. Check the ones by @formatthitech on Amazon. You won't be disappointed.
These are images from the Saint John Co-Cathedral in Valletta Malta. It was built between 1572 and 1577 and really shines with gold gilding everywhere and magnificent artwork. One of the masterpieces that hangs here is Caravaggio's "Beheading of St John the Baptist". It's a bit gruesome but an utterly fantastic piece that you must check out on Google. Photography is absolutely FORBIDDEN at the painting. They literally have a security guard watching your every move. The rest of the interior is absolutely fine to photograph and I took dozens of images while walking around in awe.
Techy type stuff: The interiors of cathedrals are notoriously tough to photograph since there's not much light to work with. The deal is that manual exposure works best. Shutter speed of 1/125 to prevent camera shake, fairly wide aperture to get light in, and finally, a very high ISO. Think 3200 or 6400.
A subject with dark shadows and bright highlights is not always ideal for a color photograph. In fact, it's one of the reasons techniques like HDR have become so popular. Yet, for black and white photography, this type of high-contrast light can be extremely effective. The harsh mid-afternoon sun ☀ is no longer a detriment, but an enhancement.
This is a major shift in the way one thinks about exposure. To help recognize these chances, look beyond what is immediately evident and pre-visualize the scene in grayscale. 📷 An image you passed on in color may prove quite dramatic in black and white.
As is always the case in good art, rules are meant to be broken. The same is true with black and white exposures. You have even more flexibility as shadows can be inky black, and highlights can clip the histogram while retaining their visual appeal. To maximize the dynamic range of the camera, use the ETTR technique (expose to the right). Rather than a muddy exposure, you'll enjoy the crisp contrast of the full tonal range.
Capturing sharp images of birds in flight is one of the most challenging techniques for photographers of all skill levels. Like all difficult tasks however, the rewards can be great. Watching these creatures in the wild gives one a true appreciation of nature. The images allow you to share this love of the outdoors with others. Here are the techniques needed to consistently create beautiful photos of our feathered friends.
First, set your camera to continuous high, or the fastest burst mode allowable. This will allow you to shoot many consecutive frames by simply holding down the shutter. Then, select the center autofocus point and the AI Servo mode which helps to track moving subjects. Like most high speed situations, a fast shutter of 1/500 to 1/1000 is recommended to freeze the action. The out-of-focus background is created with an extremely wide aperture such as f2.8 or f4. Finally, the ISO speed varies based on how much light you have to work with. I start low at 100 or 200 and will raise it as needed.
Ok friends, I'm curious to hear your take on this candid from Italy. It was hiding in my catalog but really seems to speak to me now. It has mood and a theme I think we can all relate to. As for the exposure, I believe it works in this dark brooding tone. Whether you like it or not, your comments are welcome and encouraged.
Street scenes require a photographer to work fast or potentially lose the moment. Unlike a posed portrait, there are no re-dos. ❤️ There is rarely time to fish the camera from the bag, remove the lens cap and fuss with your settings. Considering how unpredictable life can be, it's best to prepare for anything.
I start by dialing in all of my camera setting based on the existing light. The precise settings will vary depending on the available light, but here are the main technical considerations.
1) Shoot with a fairly small aperture so you have enough depth of field to keep your subject(s) in sharp focus. As the old war photojournalists would say, "f8 and be there", meaning put yourself in the right place at the right time, set the camera to f8, and you have a good chance to succeed.
2) Select a shutter speed of at least 1/250 which is fast enough to freeze a person walking and also prevent any camera shake. If your subjects are moving very fast, you may even opt for 1/320 or 1/500.
3) Since you'll be using a small aperture and fast shutter speed, a high ISO will likely be required. Just how high should it be? Try 800 first and go to 1600 if the photo is still too dark. The ISO will make your camera more sensitive to the existing light, absorbing it faster and brightening up the scene.
I've recently been intrigued with photographing signs of decay, rust, and overall disrepair. It's the texture that first catches my eye, and then I start to ponder the history of the subject. This was once somebody's dream home in the colorful town of Burano, near Venice. Yet, even in its current rundown state there is still something beautiful about it. This of course could be an analogy for a lot of different things but I'll leave that interpretation up to you, the viewer.
Long exposures give photographers the ability to create an alternate reality. This is perhaps most prominent in waterfall photography. That beautiful appearance of silky water is typically captured with a slow shutter speed. This can be anywhere between one second, and 1/60th of a second. Couple this with a graduated ND filter, and you can create something dramatic with dark clouds and a well lit foreground.
For this type of work, a tripod is super helpful. Also, overcast days are ideal for waterfall photography. The clouds work as a natural softbox, providing diffused even light. This is far more pleasing than a scene that's dappled with sun and shade. With a little bit of planning you can increase your chances of success. I try to arrange my waterfall shoots on a partly cloudy day, or very early in the morning when the sun is still low in the sky.
Question 🤔 Would you get on this plane? It was somewhere in Costa Rica, and ominous dark clouds suffocated the sky. Because of its diminutive size, the weight restriction for carry-ons was about 15 pounds. I had to leave most of my clothes behind in order to take my camera gear. I knew it was going to be a rough ride when they cleaned the 🤮 from a previous passenger.
Despite this, I was desperate to get to the Osa Peninsula and photograph wildlife in the jungle. Monkeys, Dolphins, exotic birds, and Cayman all awaited. So I boarded to the heavy scent of bleach and proceeded to sit directly behind the pilots. From this perspective, it was quickly apparent that they were flying solely by instrument. There was no visibility and the engine whined loudly. Each rise and fall of the plane turned my stomach like riding a rollercoaster. Sheets of rain washed over the windshield. I truly thought...it. was. over. For the next hour, I braced myself, prayed, and promised "I'll be good if only you let me live."
Thankfully I'm here to tell this story and the images are on my website in the Costa Rica, Lost Paradise gallery.
It seems we are always reaching for something. Money, happiness, success, promotions, love... Impatiently, we claw our way towards it, rarely pausing to enjoy the pursuit. Boxes get checked off the bucket list and we move from one thing to the next. Yet, in my travels around the globe and also through life, I'm learning it's the actual journey that brings the most joy.
The same is true for me in photography. The few seconds I actually press the shutter are fleeting, but the experiences, relationships, and knowledge attained along the way remain forever. Having a photo to commemorate it is a visual representation of this inner quest.
Before I head out, I no longer create "shot lists" of things I must photograph. Instead, I commit to going with the flow, taking it all in, and letting situations unfold organically. This has led to more adventure, and therefore, more meaningful photographs.
Each morning, I thank God for all that he's done in my life. From the once barren ashes of sorrow has grown immense joy. Over the last 18 years, the vehicle for this transformation has been the camera.
I commemorated this with a new piece on my right arm. The stem of a rose, complete with thorns, rises from the lens before opening into an exquisite blossom. This was a bit of a collaboration between my original idea, and the creative talent of artist @brendangrimes. I know not everyone is a fan of ink, but I view it as an outward representation of an inner change.
Thanks so much to all of you for sharing in my work and being part of this journey with me.
If you had to pick an image from your catalog that best represented how you feel today, what would it be?
I woke up filled with optimism. Sure there are suspicious clouds, but also vast fields of beautiful possibility. Reigning over all of this is the Lord. I walk with gratitude, always striving to keep my eyes on Him. It's not about a large gaudy church with gold gilding and stained glass. Instead, I'm working to grow a quiet personal relationship with God.
What are you pondering as we head into the weekend?
Every Autumn, a little known Dahlia garden grows behind an administrative building at Eisenhower Park. It's overgrown now with knee high grass and unkept flower beds. Still, the resilience of the Dahlias is evident in the way they reach towards the sun.
While my main subject here was obviously the flowers, what I was really looking for was interesting light and shadows. I worked simply with my Pen F and 20mm f1.7 lens. I also used a circular polarizer to accentuate the deep blue sky. Most of the shots were taken from a low vantage point as I found that more interesting.
Throughout my life, the most dramatic changes always seem to take place in Fall. 🍁 While transitions are not without obstacles, I am on the precipice of exciting new adventures both personally and professionally. For this, I am filled with hope and gratitude.
No matter the season, photography has been a consistent source of freedom and comfort. Sharing this craft with others brings me unparalleled joy. Whether I'm teaching a workshop or posting an image, it's a way to connect on a deeper level. So today, as we shift into Autumn, I wanted to offer two pieces of writing to ponder.
From Shakespeare's "Hamlet": This above all: to thine own self be true. - - - - I once found this line somewhat self centered. Now I realize, the only way to impact others positively is to follow your own heart.
From John Mayer's song "Somethings Missing": When autumn comes, It doesn't ask. It just walks in where it left you last. You never know when it starts. Until there's fog inside the glass around your summer heart. ♥️
I thank you once again for accompanying me on this fantastic journey thus far.
Your friend - Chris
J O Y sometimes develops in the simplest of ways. From a good cup of coffee to a long drive with stirring music, or a solitary stroll with my camera. I've never felt quite as in-tune with the way my inner emotions manifest into outward creations. The camera no longer feels merely like a tool, but rather a personal translator to help express my feelings.
I've been reflecting quite a bit on my path, the amazing places I've been, and also those I've yet to see. When I open my eyes each morning, here's what excites me... A n y t h i n g is possible! Sure there are days when I may not feel chipper, but that's the best time to head out and create art.
Hoping you are all having a fulfilling weekend. As always, I'm truly grateful to be sharing this journey with you. ✌️