Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bite Size Tips: 5 Ideas For Better Black and White Photography

11:20:00 PM

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Black and white photography is tough to do well, but the results can stop people in their tracks.

Capturing a powerful image though takes a bit of thought.

Here are a few tips to capture some amazing black and white images. Keep in mind, always shoot RAW.

  1. Look for contrast: Make sure you have contrast in your image, from the brightest white to the darkest black, if not your image may look less interesting and lose impact. Images with more contrast are likely to add more interest to the viewer and also keeps their attention span longer.
  2. Look out for shadows and textures: Carefully choose to photograph images that have shadows and textures and make sure that you shoot from an angle or direction from which the textures are illuminated from a side so that they create a sense of depth with the shadows created. This also helps add more drama to the image.
  3. Look for tonal range: If you are wondering what tonal range means, it is having areas of varying tones of grey, very similar to having various colours in a colour photograph. This helps add interest to the picture.
  4. Look for patterns: Patterns can look very interesting in a black and white image, because it lets the viewer focus on the pattern without distracting them from any colours. Use this as an advantage to make some compelling images.
  5. Try HDR: Not many photographers try HDR in black and white. Try it, and it sure can create brilliant images because of the higher dynamic range.

Each one of these ideas can be turned into a specific project, so get out a shoot and work your way through each one!

These tips should get you a few more interesting shots in black and white. However, if you really want to put the accelerator down on your BW photography skills, then consider checking out Kent Dufault's guide – “Better Black and White

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Kehrtwendung

10:03:00 PM

Millionen Menschen besuchen täglich die von Oliver Curtis fotografierten Orte, ohne sie wirklich wahrzunehmen. Ihre Aufmerksamkeit ist nur auf einen kleinen Punkt an diesen Orten gerichtet: die Sehenswürdigkeiten.

Auch Oliver Curtis besucht die Freiheitsstatue in den USA, Stonehenge in Großbritannien oder das Mausoleum Mao Zedongs in China. Entgegen all der Touristen dreht er sich jedoch vor den berühmten Orten um 180° und hält seine Kamera in die scheinbar falsche Richtung.

Das Gegenüber der berühmten Orte zeigt schöne wie sehr langweilige Aussichten. Für Oliver ist seine Serie eine Einladung, sich umzudrehen und Neues zu entdecken. Sein Projekt nennt er deshalb „Volte-Face“, auf Deutsch: Kehrtwendung.

Ein Säulengang

Lincoln Memorial, Washington D. C., USA

Skulpturen und Zeitschriften

Kolosseum, Rom, Italien

Eine Ebene Wiese

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, Vereinigtes Königreich

Ein Brunnen im Nebel

Taj Mahal, Agra, Indien

Menschen sehen aufs Meer

Freiheitsstatue, New York, USA

Treppe und Mauern

Reichstagsgebäude, Berlin, Deutschland

Landschaft

Parthenon, Athen, Griechenland

Ein Mann auf der Straße

Klagemauer, Jerusalem, Israel

Eine Gruppe von Menschen mit hochgehaltenen Handys

Mausoleum Mao Zedongs, Tian’anmen-Platz, Peking, China

Eine Frau betrachtet ein Gemälde

Mona Lisa, Louvre, Paris, Frankreich

Menschen an einem Geländer

Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilien

Weitere Bilder der Reihe findet Ihr auf der Webseite von Oliver. Folgen könnt Ihr ihm auch auf Twitter. Die Serie ist auch im Buch „Volte-Face“ bei Dewi Lewis Publishing erschienen.

Habt Ihr schon einen dieser Orte besucht und erinnert Euch noch an die andere Blickrichtung?


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stand by Me – A comparison of Photographic Styles

5:54:00 AM

Jay and I usually shoot together – and sometimes we find ourselves standing side by side – tripod legs crossed one over the over – as we prepare to shoot. Sometimes we come away with shots that are pretty similar, but most of the time, we find that our finished images are completely different from one another.

We have very different photographic styles. Jay tends to include as much as possible in his images. He wants more details, more beautiful color, and more drama in his imagery. I, on the other hand, work to simplify my compositions. I search for simplicity, and I love subtle light. A single shoot at one location results in completely different images from each of us. Of course, we are both influenced by each other’s work as well. So you’ll see some of Jay’s high-contrast imagery in my portfolio… and some of my subtlety in Jay’s collections.

So, what do we shoot when we are standing side-by-side? Here are some fun examples of our photographic styles…

  • Bedford Reservation, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio (OH), USA

    Jay’s Photo – Bedford Reservation, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio (OH), USA

  • Varina's Photo - Bedford Reservation, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio (OH), USA

    Varina’s Photo – Bedford Reservation, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio (OH), USA

Jay’s shot of bluebells blooming in Ohio shows the overwhelming beauty of this Brecksville Reservation in Spring. Although I came away with some photographs of the pretty blue bells as well, my favorite shot from that day doesn’t show the flowers at all. It’s a simple image of a water droplet clinging to a fresh, green stem. Is one shot “better” than the other?

We don’t think so. They’re just different.

Vermillion Cliff, Arizona

Vermillion Cliff, Arizona

And how about these photographs from Vermillion Cliffs in Arizona? We were both shooting at the same time – a few hundred meters apart. (Jay’s hoodoo is actually visible in the upper left-hand corner of my image… though it’s nearly impossible to see at this size and resolution.) The finished images look completely different… even down to color balance! Why? Because Jay used a flashlight to “paint” the stones in his image… and a shutter speed of around 30 seconds. The light in his image is golden because of the color of the light he used.

My shot looks totally different because I used ambient light. The sun had already set – perhaps a half-hour before we took these shots – and the sky was dark except for a soft afterglow on the Western horizon. The extremely subtle light cast a soft, pink glow on the rocks, and a very long shutter speed – 266 seconds – captured enough light over time to show off a strange, magenta landscape.

Residual Light - Varina Patel - Vermillion Cliff, Arizona

Vermillion Cliff, Arizona

Here’s a shot Jay took at Pine Glades Lake in Florida. His goal was to capture the reflected light on the water, and that cuddly little alligator in the foreground.

Jay's Photographic Styles: Everglades National Park, Florida

Example of Jay’s Photographic Styles: Everglades National Park, Florida

Once again, I captured something entirely different. A few minutes later, the sun dropped below the horizon and the golden glow of the sunset disappeared. I photographed the deep blue light scattered in the sky and across the water… using a long shutter speed to smooth the ripples from the surface of the lake. Once again, the two shots are as different as night and day… and yet, both represent the same beautiful location.

Example of Varina's Photographic Styles: Everglades National Park, Florida

Example of Varina’s Photographic Styles: Everglades National Park, Florida

Is one better than the other? That depends upon your perspective. Which images appeal to you? What do you look for in your own photography? And how do your images differ from those of the photographer standing next to you? 😉

Jay and I both photographed double rainbows over Loch Eilt in Scotland, but I zoomed in to fill the frame with a single tree and the colorful double arches. Jay went wide to include more trees on the island, and the grass in the foreground. This is pretty typical of our differing styles. Jay tends to include as much as he can to show the whole scene, and I’m always looking for ways to simplify.

  • All Inclusive Jay's Photographic Style - Glen Eilt, Scotland

    All Inclusive Jay’s Photographic Style – Glen Eilt, Scotland

  • Varina's Minimalist Photographic Style - Glen Eilt, Scotland

    Varina’s Minimalist Photographic Style – Glen Eilt, Scotland

We took these shots of Pine Glades Lake during a workshop in the Florida Everglades. I used a 10-stop neutral density filter to get a long exposure shot just before sunrise. Jay waited until after the sun rose and captured dancing raindrops, and the early morning glow on the surface of the water.

  • Jay's Photo - Everglades National Park, Florida (FL), USA

    Varina’s Photo – Everglades National Park, Florida (FL), USA

  • Everglades National Park, Florida (FL), USA

    Jay’s Photo – Everglades National Park, Florida (FL), USA

Shooting in the rain forest in Olympic National Park in Washington means you might get rained on. After playing with a variety of compositions in the woods, I took this soft-focus shot through the windshield of our parked car. The heavy rain produced a soft blur for an abstract effect.

Through the Rain - Varina Patel - Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Jay took his shot a few minutes before the storm really settled in. He wanted to show the distinct beauty of the arching branches against a backdrop of tall pines.

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

We stood on a steep hillside above the beach on Oahu to take these shots. I chose to frame a shot of palms with backdrop of surreal “water-sky”. Jay zoomed in to capture a more traditional portrait of the islands that showcased the shifting colors of the scene.

  • Lanikai, Oahu - Hawai'i, USA

    Lanai Kai, Oahu, Hawaii (HI), USA

  • Lanai Kai, Oahu, Hawaii (HI), USA

    Lanai Kai, Oahu, Hawaii (HI), USA

My shot of an iceberg at Jökulsárlón in Iceland is very different from Jay’s. He chose to include the motion of the water for a more dynamic image. My shot is quieter and my focus is on texture and tonality. You might notice that our colors are different here, too. That’s because Jay took his photo a little later than I took mine. He is starting to get a bit of color in the sky as the sun thinks about rising. I took my shot well before sunrise, while the world was still a deep blue. Of course, we see a bit differently, too. Our color choices reflect our own memory and interpretation of the scene.

  • Jay's Photo - Jokulsarlon, Iceland

    Jay’s Photo – Jokulsarlon, Iceland

  • Varina's Photo - Jokulsarlon, Iceland

    Varina’s Photo – Jokulsarlon, Iceland

And here’s a shot from Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. We waited for a long time for the fog to lift that morning, and we captured a collection of photos. My photo is very simple, and I chose a black and white conversion to simplify it even further. Jay’s shot is wider – once again – and makes the most of the gorgeous colors that showed up a little later in the morning.

  • Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

    Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

  • Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

    Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

It’s always fascinating to open up our photos after a trip and compare our different collections. We’ve learned to see through each other’s eyes in a way – so I often have a pretty good idea of what Jay will be shooting when we arrive on location. Of course, there’s nothing better than having someone to travel with – especially if that person is also your best friend.

One of the most interesting aspects of shooting with others is seeing how different your images are in the end. How do you challenge yourself to come up with something unique when you’re shooting with others?

About Author Varina Patel

There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.

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10 Reasons Photography Will Lose You All Your Loved Ones

5:15:00 AM

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This may sound funny, but when we pursue a photographic career, we gradually slip out of certain social circles into a more intimate space. Photography starts with a slight tickle in our life, and it gives us two options. The first one is to be delighted by it, but quickly drop it after realizing that it’s not the discipline for us. No hard feelings – many photographers have started out with other creative disciplines and finally fallen into the lovely claws of light. The other option is to become so in love with photography that eventually we become “passionate photographers”. Here, the title of professional or amateur is no longer valid. If you have a true passion for photography, then you’re a passionate photographer. And there’s nothing left to discuss.

We love to wake up early

Photo by Sanah Suvarna on Unsplash

Not everybody has a good time waking up, especially early in the morning. We, as photographers, love to wake up when the light is soothing and the streets are less crowded. This is something not well appreciated by others, especially those who may live or travel with us. Just as you should not be willing to trust a tattoo artist who has no tattoos, don't trust a photographer who has trouble waking up early.

We love overcast days

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

This point is similar to the previous one. Photographers love the soft light of overcast days. Many people love to stay inside, perhaps to have a little brunch or just chill during overcast weather. Instead, we’re lured outside. Simple as that.

We lose track of time

Photo by Álvaro Bernal on Unsplash

We will, without a doubt, lose track of time while talking about anything that has the slightest, most remote relation to photography. A small and random social pleasantry can result in a two-hour (or longer) conversation (or monologue) if it triggers a photography-related thought. Meanwhile, our companions will just walk away from us.

We make movies impossible to enjoy

Photo by Elijah Flores on Unsplash

We always have something to say when it comes to movies. We make comments about the awesome light, the incredible cinematography, the Director of Photography’s poor decisions and, most annoyingly, we pause the movies a lot so we can appreciate the still image. I understand why regular people can’t stand us, at least for certain activities.

We love to wander the streets alone

Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

Regularly, friends and loved ones like to remain calm in a fixed place to chat and have a nice time. For them, wandering aimlessly through random streets is not the most appealing thing to do. For me, as a former street photographer, I love to be in my zone – and that is on the streets, lost and happy.

We often skip meals

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I don't know if this is standard, but for me it definitely is. I’ll skip food if I have a chance to get good pictures. I just don't need the food. I get extra energy from, I don't know, photosynthesis (how awesome is that photo-synthesis!). I would rather keep walking the streets than waste time in some restaurant. This one has a higher level of freakiness, because I have been on photo walks (which I don’t always enjoy) where I have refused to eat in order to keep shooting. My fellow photographers have a different way of seeing things. They need to eat. I don’t get it.

We see public transportation in a different way

Photo by hannah cauhepe on Unsplash

We see public transportation as a world of possibilities. By travelling alone, we won’t make anybody feel embarrassed about our weird habit of taking pictures of people inside the metro, for example. Also, we'd rather be at a train station than in a shopping mall. The weird list just keeps getting weirder.

Forget about asking us to delete a picture

Photo by jacopo marello on Unsplash

I don't know why, but this is a common request from friends and family when we take a couple of shots of them using our style. They will ask to see our pics, then ask us delete the ones they don't like. How preposterous is that? I’ve met photographers who don't delete a single picture they take, and their decision must be respected above all. I do delete photos, but during my editing process. I never do it in the camera, no matter how awful the shot.

We don't like to Photoshop things for you

Photo by seth schwiet on Unsplash

“Hey, you’re a photographer, right? Could you please Photoshop this flyer for me?” Need I say more? These types of requests are just totally off the table. Please stop homogenizing completely different disciplines that use a powerful tool for completely different purposes.

We won't share images right away

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It is okay for you to ask us to take a couple of pictures for them in a casual, ordinary moment? There’s really no problem with this at all, but things will be a lot easier for your social media dynamics if you lend us your own phone to do this. Using our camera to take random pictures will definitely take longer and feel like an eternity compared to your usual social media behavior, which is to publish things right away.


Obviously, this was a humorous post. But it doesn't mean it doesn’t contain grains of truth. The big conclusion here is simple: find a loved one who has huge patience with you in this matter (trust me, it wasn't easy for my partner to develop this patience). And remember to be less selfish when being part of a hanging-out group – that is to say, friends and family who are normal and not crazy about photography. They love us, so let’s give them some quality time once in a while.

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About Us

Time Trap Photography is dedicated to freezing those special moments in life that can be revisited and admired for generations to come. - Shannon Bourque

The lens in focus

“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” — Unknown

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