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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Becoming a Better Photographer

On June 9, 2008 I stopped into a small electronic shop in Hollywood and bought my first point and shoot camera. On January 10, 2009 I picked up my brother-in-laws fancy SLR camera for the first time. And then on April 8, 2009 Mr. Rogue brought home our very first SLR camera the Canon 50D. That purchase was a slippery slope, multiplying by exponential degrees a burning passion for photography, and I have been sliding down that slope ever since.

Over the past two and a half years I have sunk myself in all things photography. Books, blogs, forums, my Photo Phriday studies and of course hundreds of hours practicing. I would consider myself damn good, so good in fact that I am now better than most people I know, I have read all the books I can get my hands on (which is a TON) and now when I read tutorials on photography I find that they are too basic. My problem is that, now that I am good, how do I become great.

After two weeks of brainstorming I have decided on four courses of action. If you have noticed just recently I have started adding my camera stats under many of my photos. I am doing this so I can hopefully figure out the last niggly bits of why some shots are successful and some are not. By forcing myself to write those stats under every photo, which is really time consuming, I am hoping that some things about exposure and aperture will become clearer.

I have also started organizing what I consider my best photos so I can create a portfolio on flickr. My goal once I have the portfolio up is to start communications with several photographers that I greatly admire. I am hoping that they will be able to mentor me, offer me words of wisdom and hints on how to push my photography further.

Also I have been thinking a lot about my most recent trip to the Galapagos. Many of those wildlife photos are much more successful than the ones I take at home. It has to do with gaining access into the radius of fear in animals. The radius of fear is the distance in which an animal will allow you to approach before it senses danger and runs away. For some, like the kaibab squirrel I tried to photo in the Grand Canyon last year, it could be several hundred feet. For others like pigeons it could be only a foot or two.

The reason my Galapagos photos turned out better was because of the radius of fear did not exist, or at the very least it was only an inch or two. This allowed us to get right up close to the animals and of course the closer you are the better the photo comes out. I need to make a greater effort to get closer. There is much online that I have not read about getting closer to the subject, some use blinds, while others visit the same sight every day until the animal gets used to your presence. My large 500mm lens helps greatly getting closer into wild animals circle of trust but I need to work harder at it. I am not quite sure how I am going to go about getting closer but it is now on my list to make my photography better.

The last thing I think I need to do is use my tripod more often. My dad and I have been doing a good amount of research and although I do have an amazing tripod I do not use it as often as I should. I blame the beautiful weather we have in sunny California. Because of the amount of light we get my settings are usually high enough for my liking, however that does not negate the fact that my photos would be even BETTER if the camera was mounted on a tripod. I plan to go and do some tests with and without the tripod in the near future to see what exactly that degree of difference would be.

Bottom line, get better and better.

2 comments:

lilmansworld said...

but I will miss your not so lady like stance!(galapagos boat) You really are an excellent photographer!

paul peggy zeus said...

You are simply amazing.

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