December 01, 2007
HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Candlelight is a beautiful source of illumination, especially when lighting up the faces of young children. This shot required a tripod and careful consideration of where to place each chanukiah so that all of the flames remained visible. The numerous candles throw plenty of light on the subject while creating some interesting reflections in the tabletop and a warm glow on the wood panels that form the background. Candle-lighting photos often fall short of their potential because of too little light and faces end up floating in a sea of darkness. If you're going to try a shot like this, but don't want to use this many candles, try adding a small amount of room light or a few extra candles placed just out of view, to the side and rear of the subject.
HOW I GOT THE SHOT: I love this image for one simple reason: I shot it after a two-minute stroll from my home. In my classes, I teach my students how to elevate their level of awareness and increase their powers of observation. If you can't see what's in front of you with your eyes, you'll never capture it with your camera. Often we take for granted what's right outside our front door, thinking we have to travel to the exotic Himalaya or a tropical island to see the grandeur of nature. This shot also appeals to me because of the variety of color in the vines amid a swath of green, where a farmer planted a small vegetable patch. I timed my arrival to about an hour before sunset, when the low angle of the afternoon sun backlit the scene and added sparkle to an already rich display of color.
HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Shooting this image was rather simple. The task lay in its discovery. For the past eight years, I have been admiring the growth cycle of the pomegranate tree in my garden, but until I shot this image, I never realized the number of points on the crown varies from fruit to fruit. And by the time the fruit reaches this stage of maturity, the crown usually closes up. This photo was taken in an orchard near Shlomi, on Israel's northern border. There were hundreds of trees and thousands of individual fruits. I was looking to photograph pairs or groups of fruit when I was lucky to spy this one, hanging from a branch above my head. I used a macro or close-up lens to capture the crown's detail in sharp focus. The height of the fruit forced me to hand-hold my camera instead of using a tripod. Because even the slightest hand motion can blur an image, I pressed the camera hard to my face and held my breath to minimize camera movement during exposure.
HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Satisfying landscape photographs are among the hardest to create because you need a good location and to arrive when there is good light. Getting to this site required rising while it was still dark and driving about 25 minutes to the edge of this reservoir, which I had spotted the day before. As I walked along the shoreline, I passed over many nice shots with plants growing up from the water. I finally settled on this image with the added dimension created by the canopy of leaves along the top. This compositional technique, known as framing, is dynamic and easy to use outdoors. I like this frame in particular because of the contrast between the dark tree leaves and the warm, first light on the water plants.
November 27, 2007
HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Shooting directly into a bright light source is a great opportunity for a dramatic photo in the form of a silhouette. The key is making sure you set the correct exposure for the light source and not the foreground. In this photo, I was able to include the light itself because it was far enough away and not all that bright, at least when compared with the sun. Shooting directly into the sun will create the same kind of image, but for the best results, use this technique early in the day or late in the afternoon, when the sun is at a lower angle and less intense.