Category Archives: Workshops

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Composition- Turning Great Expectations Into Great Photographs

By Doug Petry

I enjoyed the chance to prepare over the past few months for a presentation on the subject of Photographic Composition at the Photo Club, and Wednesday evening before a pretty good sized crowd I finally got it done! Phew…..

While doing research for the workshop on Composition I re-discovered a textbook that has been gathering dust on my shelf for years and I’ve mined a few choice nuggets from the book titled “Photographic Composition” by Grill & Scanlon and published by Amphoto.

Basically it boils down to this, Composition is control. The Composition of the photograph is how the photographer directs the viewer toward or through the idea that was the inspiration of the photograph. It gives the photographer influence over the viewer physically, emotionally and intellectually. Composition is control!

One more bit of information from the book that I found enlightening was that the rules of composition were developed after the fact. Basically, art critics analyzed well composed works and came up with the “rules” that we’re familiar with.

They did the work for us in a sense.

But we have to remember that a Compositional rule is useful only if it enhances the idea behind the photograph. If it doesn’t, then the rule not only can be, but MUST be broken!

When I started thinking about Composition my mind went first to the importance of answering the question “what is our Inspiration for taking a particular photograph?” because I think that before you know why you’re taking a photograph, the process of composing it is likely going to be either a) haphazard or b) kind of by rote.

As artists, is that how we want to be making our art? Is it enough to be shooting in a sort of automatic mode (in our brains) even as we pride ourselves in never shooting in the automatic mode on our cameras? Probably not!

Perhaps we’ve figured out how to produce technically excellent work, but we’re so focussed on that side of things that we aren’t as creative as we could be, we’re lacking inspiration. That’s one possible outcome.

Or the other side of the coin is that we may have an amazing artist’s eye and we can visualize great photographs but we too often miss out on seeing them through to their potential because we’re in too big of a hurry or we aren’t properly prepared and that limits our creative options.

So to me, the first step in a good composition is to ask the question, “What am I trying to accomplish with this photograph?” If we can pause and think for a second and visualize what it is we’re trying to say through the photograph we’re on the way to turning our inspiration into a photograph that we can be proud of.

Doug Petry- I think youre going to like it here
But once that is accomplished, how do you go from inspiration to composition to the finished masterpiece.

Well the secret is apparently…..your diet.

Recently there was a post on PictureCorrect.com called “Key elements of a great photograph: the Photographer’s Diet”. I found it interesting and I believe that using this process can help us to make better photographs and to evaluate our work to see how it can be improved. I’m going to quote a bit here from the article.

“Each photograph we take–whether carefully composed or just a quick snap–has elements within it that determine whether it provides a strong visual impact on the viewer:”

Design, Information, Emotion, Timing.

Below is a link to a YouTube video explaining the concept and below that is a link to the Picturecorrect.com post where I first came across the concept.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxudPUCN1Uw

http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/key-elements-of-a-great-photograph-the-photographers-diet/

In the post, the author states, If we can dial in even two of these elements in a single photograph, we’re likely to have an image that works. Add in one to two more, and we’re likely to get a memorable image–one that’s likely to be a portfolio shot.”

Diet slide

So what do these terms mean?

Design is probably best thought of as the traditional elements of Photographic Composition. Check out the link below to learn more.

http://www.photokonnexion.com/3269-2/

Information  refers to some kind of context, the story or idea behind the photograph, you want to make your viewers think, you may just give a hint and let the viewer complete the narrative for themselves.

Emotion – a photograph should cause an emotional reaction in the viewer, you want the viewer to feel something!

Timing  refers to that decisive moment when a photograph looks as though it couldn’t have been taken even a moment sooner or later. It captures that particular moment perfectly.

Try evaluating your work using these four criterion, I think you will find it useful.

These are some of the elements of Composition that are part of that “Design” element that we mentioned earlier and the first one is space

  • Space – the area in which the design takes place, also active & dead space. Subjects and objects are generally given somewhere to look or move into within the image. Active space is the space in front of the subject.
  • Vertical or Horizontal, Panoramic, Cropping the image
  • Decide how much or how little to show
  • Where to place objects within the frame
  • Rule of Thirds

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Some cameras have a rule of thirds grid built into the viewfinder and LCD screen that you can turn to help you with composition.

Negative Space

  • Negative space is the area between and around objects in a photo. Use it to see shapes and sizes more effectively, and produce better composed images.
  • The area occupied by the main subject is known as Positive space
  • Try to ignore the objects in the scene altogether and instead concentrate on the gaps between and around them. This forces you to pay more attention to your composition, and helps you see shapes and sizes more accurately.

 Form/Shapes

  • Form refers to when shape takes on three dimensions. Form is created by shadows and highlights on an object in the photograph.
  • When the light is behind your subject, that creates backlight, and backlight creates silhouettes. Silhouettes are two-dimensional and they are shapes.
  • When the light moves to the side or front of your subject, that creates shadows and highlights, giving the subject form.
  • Shapes can be geometrical and/or abstract. 
  • Square & Rectangles represent strength, human-made things, they imply stability & trust
  • Triangles are dynamic and imply movement
  • Circles & Ovals represents unity, wholeness and perfection
  • The way subjects connect to each other in a photo will often form shapes that draw the eye from subject to subject.
  • If a photograph’s composition lacks shape, the photo becomes too busy or awkward to fully appreciate.

Texture

  • Texture can be used to convey information about a subject, rather than just making for a visually appealing image.
  • Texture fills in empty spaces
  • Texture can be the subject of the photograph
  • TextureBalance
    • When different parts of a photo command your attention equally, perfect balance is achieved.
    • Informal balance occurs when dissimilar elements balance each other out on each side of the frame.
    • Morraine-Lake-008Watermarked_edited-1
    • Light against dark – A small area of white in a photo can be balanced by a larger area of black, and vice versus. Each one does not have to have the same intensity.
    • Colors – A small area of vibrant color can be balanced by a larger area of neutral color. Vibrant colors provide more intensity and therefore large neutral areas can be used to compensate for it.
    • Texture – Small areas with interesting textures in a photo can be balanced by larger areas of smooth, un-textured elements.

    Homework this month is to try out the Photographers DIET by evaluating some of your current work and by using this technique when shooting new images.

     

     

 

Critiquing Photographs – Workshop by Ralph Fuchs

On Wednesday October 21, club member Ralph Fuchs led a workshop on critiquing photographs.

This is a topic that holds a lot of interest for members of the club because it seems to be something that most of us find difficult to do. I’m sure we all want to have the ability to properly critique our own photographs and it’s also helpful to be able to assist our fellow photographers to develop their skills by providing an impartial critique of their submitted works.

Going beyond, “I like it” or “it’s nice” or “I don’t like it” is necessary if we want to develop our own photography skills and help our fellow members to improve theirs. Ralph had some great PP slides and a critiquing worksheet that I’ve included here so we can all continue to practice critiquing photographs.

Ralph got most of his information from the PhotoSIG tutorial “Guide To Critiquing Photographs”.

Below, I’ve listed some of the important points from his presentation.

  • Critiquing is beneficial to the photographer whose work is being critiqued but is also tremendously helpful to the person doing the critique.
    • By thinking about what makes a photo “good” or “poor”, you are adding to your own knowledge base. Knowledge you can use to improve your own work.
  • The critique must be viewed as a constructive exercise.
    • Identify things that could be improved upon but also things the photographer did well.

 

Technical Aspects to consider:

  • Exposure
    • Is any area overexposed or underexposed? If so, can you say why you think that happened?  How could the photographer prevent this in the future?
  • Focus
    • Is the main subject in focus? Is it a sharp or a “soft” focus? Is the focus appropriate for the situation?
  • Depth Of Field
    • Is the DOF shallow or deep? Does it work for this shot or should there be more or less of the photo in focus?
  • Lighting/White Balance
    • Is the light soft or harsh? Does the lighting enhance or detract from the photo?  Is the white balance set correctly?  Is there a yellowish, orange or greenish cast to the photo?

Considering the Composition of a Photograph:

  • Centered vs “Rule of Thirds”
  • Fore, Middle & Background
  • Cropping/Framing
  • Color/Tonal Range
  • Diagonals, S-curves, etc.
  • Leading Lines
    • Do the lines & over-all composition make you want to look deeper into the photo? Is your eye drawn into the photo or out of it?
  • Dark vs Light Areas
    • Are there too many bright areas? Too many dark areas?
  • Balance
    • Is the photo “balanced”? Would other objects or other light/dark areas improve the balance?  If the photo is off balance, is there a reason for it?

How Does a Photograph Make You Feel?

  • Is the photograph relevant to the theme?
  • Did the photographer succeed in telling his/her story?
  • What mood do you see?
  • Is this the mood the photographer intended?
  • Does it make you feel happy? Sad?  Angry?
  • Do you like the photo? Why or why not?
  • Would you hang this photo on your wall? Why or why not?

 

CRITIQUING WORKSHEET

Theme:                        Open:

Print:                           Digital:

Image Number:  ______________

Technical

  • Exposure
  • Focus
  • Depth Of field
  • Lighting/White Balance

Composition

  • Rule Of Thirds
  • Fore, Middle & Background
  • Cropping/Framing
  • Colour/Tonal Range
  • Diagonals, S-curves, etc.
  • Leading Lines
  • Dark vs Light Areas
  • Balance

How You Feel About It

  • Relevancy To The Theme
  • Does It Tell A Story?
  • Artist’s Intended Mood
  • Does It Make You Feel Happy? Sad? Angry?
  • Do You Like The Photo? Why?  Why Not?
  • Would you hang it on your wall? Why?  Why Not?

Here’s a copy of Ralph’s critiquing worksheet if you’d like to download it as a Word document: CRITIQUING WORKSHEET

I’ve included  one of my own photos that I submitted a few years ago, here for critiquing practice.
deer in field

Looking at this photo and keeping in mind the info in the worksheet above I would say that technically it’s pretty good, exposed well, reasonably sharp, a shallower depth of field might help to isolate the deer from the background a bit more but it was actually shot at F5.6 (the lens’s maximum aperture at 300 mm focal length on a cropped sensor body so that presents a difficulty.

How is the composition? Well the deer is smack dab in the middle and some might see that as a problem but it’s head/eyes/ears are actually pretty close to an intersect point in the rule of thirds grid. One problem that was mentioned was the way the ears are chopped by the line of the hillside. Perhaps cropping differently would improve it.

Below I’ve cropped it to leave space in front of the deer (in case it wants to run away), pulled in a little tighter to fill the frame up and brightened it up a bit. Does this improve the photo? It’s subjective of course but I think it does, to my eye it now seems more balanced and more interesting. I think that cropping it actually improves the telling of the story, it’s a wild animal, it’s wary but curious, what is it thinking about? Perhaps it’s thinking “why is he shooting with a Sony? Why is he standing on the seat and sticking up so high over the top of his car? Where am I going to go for lunch?”

Who knows what it’s thinking, but it has free will and at some point it’s likely going to run away and now it has somewhere to go. The point is, a thoughtful critique can improve just about any photograph so it’s great to have some people around who are willing and able to provide us with the feedback that we all need.

 

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Thanks Ralph for all the work you did preparing and sharing this workshop with us!

 

September Workshop – WiFi & Photography

DSC00919Wednesday night was the first workshop of the season and club member, Kevin Fuhr presented a workshop on using Wi-Fi in photography. It proved to be a well-attended and interesting evening and Kevin did a fine job presenting what is obviously a growing aspect of photography.

Many of us have never used Wi-Fi with our cameras and I admit that beyond the obvious use of getting a good quality image onto Facebook a little faster, I hadn’t given it any thought.
Kevin showed us a few different options available for use with just about any DSLR or mirrorless camera as well as a dedicated Canon accessory that is clearly designed for serious, deep pocketed photographers.

He showed us three different versions of Wi-Fi equipped SDHC cards that were quite reasonable in price:
FlashAir – from around $60, Eye-Fi mobiPro around $130, Eye-Fi X2 Pro around $110 (discontinued but still available).

Kevin demonstrated how the technology would be very useful for instructors or presenters or professional photographers tethering the camera to a monitor or a computer running Lightroom or a similar program and being able to quickly examine the images on a large screen.

One of the possible uses of Wi-Fi that interests me is to control the camera’s shutter and possibly other functions remotely. It seems camera manufacturers are also thinking along those lines as Wi-Fi capability has made its way recently into several cameras. Bill, one of our club members, demonstrated the built in Wi-Fi of his new Sony mirrorless camera and through the built in Apps, it can easily download images to phones or tablets, and they in turn can operate the camera shutter remotely.

It seems like Wi-Fi technology is here to stay and we can look forward to many exciting new applications of the technology as camera manufacturers scramble to compete in this fast moving area.

Open Forum Discussion, May 20, 2015

Facilitated by Wally Kruger & Ralph Fuchs

The May workshop was the second open forum type of discussion held this season. The first was in November. The intent of the open forum is to give members an opportunity to discuss any photography related topic they think might be of interest to other members, seek answers to questions they may have or problems they’ve encountered or to share information. A wide range of topics were discussed on May 20.

  1. Shallow Depth Of Field by Wally Kruger
  • Since shallow depth of field (DOF) is the theme of the May 27 submissions it was thought it might be beneficial to review the subject.
  • DOF is the range of distance in front of and behind the subject when the focus is sharpest at the subject. Generally this is about 1/3 in front of the focal point (the point of sharpest focus) and 2/3 behind.
  • Shallow DOF is small, sometimes as little as a fraction of an inch.
  • DOF is controlled primarily with the lens f stop. For example a lens set at f/2.8 will have a much shallower DOP than that same lens set at f/16.
  • The sharpest images are usually obtained not at the maximum or minimum apertures of a lens but as a rule of thumb are best about 2 f stops from either end. For example, a lens with an aperture setting range of f/2.8 to f/16 would provide the sharpest images within a range of f/4.5 to f/11.
  • DOF can be used creatively such as to blur out a cluttered background.
  1. Photography Training
  • A question arose where one could get training in photography.
  • There are many on-line sources on the internet (Picture Correct, Digital Photography School, Lynda.com (cost of $25 per month, KelbyOne (cost of about $20 per month).
  • Courses are also provided at a number of sources in St. Albert and Edmonton (St. Albert Further Education, Burwell School of Photography, McBain Camera plus others).
  1. Lightroom B&W Photography question by Beth
  • Beth is having difficulty getting good results post processing B&W images. Adjusting the saturation, contrast, etc. just doesn’t seem to do it.
  • It was suggested better results might be obtained by shooting in color and converting to B&W.
  • There are a number of software packages available, such as Silver FX, Topaz, Nik which might help as well.
  1. Metadata For SAPC Monthly Submissions question by Beth
  • The metadata information that needs to be provided with print submissions is identified on the Club web page as well as on the tags that are available for attachment to the prints.
  • When submitting digital images, Irena can pull the metadata off the image and all that needs to be provided with the image is the location and the name of the image.
  1. Post Processing For Theme Submissions
  • How much post processing can be done for theme submissions? One can make adjustments that traditionally could be made in the darkroom or can be made using Lightroom 5 without use of plug-ins. Nothing can be added or deleted from the image other than a few dust spots.
  • In the open category, anything goes.
  1. Lens Micro Calibration by Don Durand
  • If the auto focus with a specific lens constantly produces a soft image you might benefit from micro adjusting your lens. Some higher end cameras have a feature that provides for adjustment of focusing errors in the lens’ auto focus.
  • There are a variety of templates available on the internet for measuring focus error.
  • A prime lens will have one adjustment, zoom lenses may have two.
  • The distance from which to take the photos should be 10x the lens focal length and don’t forget the 1/3 in front of the subject and 2/3 behind rule.
  1. Shooting Summer Events by Ralph Fuchs
  • Summer presents many photo opportunities because of the large number of events taking place, including: sporting events, festivals, farmers markets and rodeos, to mention a few. Some points to keep in mind are:
    • Go prepared for changes in the weather. Bring a rain cover for your camera. Placing tape over the openings in your camera such as the memory card and battery access to prevent dust or moisture entering.
    • Back button focus, which is a feature on many cameras, helps ensure a sharp focus on moving subjects.
    • When shooting fireworks, a couple of different approaches were discussed. Ralph has had some good success shooting in manual mode at a shutter speed of 8 or 9 sec., f/22, ISO 200. Barry shoots in aperture priority and bulb. It’s a good idea to set your focus prior to the beginning of the display while there’s still some daylight. Have your camera set up in advance of the display because once it starts you won’t have a lot of time.
  1. River Shooting by Hedy Bach
  • Hedy commented that the colors came out all wrong of photos she was taking of the North Saskatchewan River and wasn’t sure why. The water a muddy, brown, unattractive appearance.
  • It was suggested that a polarizing filter might provide improvement.
  1. Neutral Density Filters
  • A discussion on the use of ND filters concluded that:
    • ND filters work well when photographing waterfalls by reducing the light and allowing slower shutter speeds.
    • ND filters are also helpful when photographing models at mid-day in bright light.
    • Variable ND filters can work well and reduce the number of filters one has to purchase but there are some pitfalls. One is uneven light reduction resulting in a cross-hatch pattern seen at the upper end of the filter’s light reduction capabilities.
  1. Studio Lighting by Andrew MacLeod
  • “Studio Lighting Guide” by Lyndsey Adler is a very good book available covering many aspects of studio lighting.
  • Western Canadian Fashion Week is coming up on September 17 to 26 and may provide a field trip opportunity. Photographing this event is by invitation and the number of photographers is limited.
  • Andrew showed us “fyuse”, an iphone app that is supposed to be the next “Instagram”
  1. St. Albert Art Gallery by Barry Ryziuk
  • In 2017 the SAPC will be celebrating its 25th anniversary and one of the special events being planned is a show and sale at the St. Albert Art Gallery.
  • Because of the many requests they get there is quite a rigorous selection process. The club will have to make a formal application part of which will include examples of the type of artwork we intend to include in the show.
  • More details will be provided over the next few months.
  1. Access To Private Property by Barry Ryziuk
  • Barry identified that he has, on a couple of occasions, encountered landowners who objected to him trespassing on their land to photograph old farm buildings.
  • Because of a high number of break-ins and thefts and vandalism as well as drug activity, many landowners have become very suspicious people on their land or even cruising the country roads looking for photo subjects.
  • We must respect landowners’ rights and not trespass on private property without permission.
  • An added comment subsequent to the meeting was that due to liability issues, anyone photographing on private property should not identify themselves as representing the SAPC or as a SAPC member or the club could be held liable in the event of damages or injury.

 

The following excerpts from the Alberta Petty Trespass Act highlight some of the key points of the legislation:

Prohibition
2(1) Every person who

(a) without the permission of the owner or occupier of land enters on land when entry is prohibited under section 2.1, or

(b) does not leave land immediately after he or she is directed to do so by the owner or occupier of the land or a person authorized by the owner or occupier is guilty of an offence.

(4) There is a presumption that access for lawful purposes to the door of a building on land by a pathway apparently provided for the purpose of access is not a trespass.

Notice
2.1(1) Entry on land may be prohibited by notice to that effect, and entry is prohibited without any notice on land
(a) that is a lawn, garden or land that is under cultivation,
(b) that is surrounded by a fence, a natural boundary or a combination of a fence and a natural boundary, or
(c) that is enclosed in a manner that indicates the owner’s or occupier’s intention to keep persons off the land or to keep animals on the land.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), notice may be given
(a) orally,
(b) in writing, or
(c) by posters or signboards visibly displayed

(i) at all places where normal access is obtained to the land, and
(ii) at all fence corners or, if there is no fence, at each corner of the land.

(3) Substantial compliance with subsection (2)(a), (b) or (c) is sufficient notice.

Apprehension without warrant
4 Any person found committing a trespass to which this Act applies may be apprehended without warrant by any peace officer, or by the owner or occupier of the land on which the trespass is committed, or the servant of, or any person authorized by the owner or occupier of the land, and may be forthwith taken before the nearest judge of the Provincial Court or justice of the peace to be dealt with according to law.

The following links provide additional information regarding trespass laws in Alberta. It might be a good idea to read them to become better acquainted with the legal requirements.

http://www.uer.ca/forum_showthread.asp?fid=1&threadid=56442

www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/acts/P11.pdf

www.slsedmonton.com/userfiles/file/Trespass.pdf

 

 

Some club members hunting ferns at Lois Hole Provincial Park (no trespassing involved!). Photos by David Oman.

fern1 fern2

February Workshop: Shooting with a Model, with Andrew MacLeod and Roxy

workshop2workshop1The February 18 workshop night, “Shooting With A Model”, was another great success for the Photo Club.  This workshop was a follow-up to January’s “Studio Lighting” workshop .  Both workshops were facilitated by our own Andrew MacLeod but this time he shared the podium with gorgeous model, Roxy.  The workshop kicked off with a discussion of what it’s like working with a model and covered a variety of topics such as:  How does one go about engaging a model, how can you communicate your objectives to the model, what does the model expect from the photographer, and many other topics.  Both Andrew and Roxy made great contributions to the discussion and it was especially interesting to hear the model’s point of view.  After the discussion, members had an opportunity to try shooting with Roxy.

It was a very interesting evening and thanks to Roxy and Andrew for a great job.

-submitted by Ralph Fuchs

 

Workshop with Andrew MacLeod – Jan. 21, 2015

January 21, 2015

-submitted by Charla LeBlanc

Guest speaker Andrew MacLeod, owner of Gecko Photography based out of Edmonton came to speak to the Photo club about flash photography. With him he brought model Ali Gartner to help demonstrate various techniques using flash, utilizing the smart board to instantly show us his images. Andrew set up various light sources as well he played with various settings on his camera; all of which yielded a wide array of images. Andrew encouraged members who brought their cameras to take images with the lighting setup. Andrew noted, the closer the light is to the subject, the softer the shadows will be, the further away the light is to the subject, the sharper the shadows will be.

Visit Andrew’s photography page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeckoNation/timeline

November Workshop Night

While Wally and Ralph continued the “intro to photography” workshop, the rest of the group tried out a new discussion format, led by Ray. We covered some great topics because we have a talented bunch of people to add to the discussion!

Ray started us off with tips from a workshop he attended, hosted by Greg Gorman in Mendocino, California on fine art nude photography. http://www.gormanphotography.com/index.php#mi=1&pt=0&pi=4&p=-1&a=0&at=0  Earlier in the year, he also went to the Palm Springs photo festival and took a similar workshop – maybe don’t follow the link if you’re at work, even though it is fine art…. http://2014.palmspringsphotofestival.com/connect-2014/workshops/greg-gorman/

This led into a discussion about photographic style, and how to figure out your style. Technical topics included portraiture and setting focus vs. exposure, especially when reframing a shot.

Here were some of the online resources that people mentioned:

Barry reminded us about signing up for 2 upcoming field trips. The bug room at the museum has limited space, so email Barry soon. As well, there is the Rutherford House trip in December, and Ken would like to hear from people, especially if they want to go out for lunch after.

Feel free to add more about the workshop in the comments.

 

The Passion for Motion

Sieg Koslowski

Our first workshop of the year was presented by our own Sieg Koslowski. Sieg has been a part of the SAPC for over ten years, and has held some of the highest points in our competition/submission rankings. His skill at the craft is something many of us strive for, and through his humble manner, he shared some of his tips for motion photography, while wowing us with an array of photos in an interactive evening.

  • Sieg uses shutter priority in order to freeze the action with the intent to show motion. The ISO is dialed up or down as needed, and a fast shutter speed is selected. Let the camera take care of the rest. 1/2000 second is not unusual for his shots.
  • Or course, you can also show motion by slowing down the shutter speed, allowing for a flow and blur. This is great for plane propellers and waterfalls for instance.
  • Wait for that moment when the motion peaks, like when a ball is tossed up and is just about to fall. The pause in the motion is what you are looking for. You can even use a shutter speed of about 1/60 second with a high ISO. Of course this will take practice to hit the moment perfectly.
  • Watch for blur. Look at the extremities like fingers or the fringe of clothing. If there is still a blur in your image you may wish to increase your shutter speed.
  • Sieg also takes advantage of rapid fire shooting, setting his camera to take five to seven shots per frame. This increases the chances of getting a perfectly frozen photograph with proper focus.
  • Many times your subject may be still in the photo, but one aspect remains that shows movement. An example of this is a horse that is solid as stone in the frame but for his tail dancing in the motion of his gallop. Hair and the element of water will also give you more movement in a photo.
  • The lenses Sieg uses are the 18-200mm and 50-500mm (Sigma) for the Nikon.
  • Like all other photography, when shooting people and animals you want to focus on their eyes as much as possible. That’s where shooting with rapid fire comes in handy as it increases your chances of getting that bird’s eye in focus as it streaks through the sky before you.
  • When you find yourself at a zoo or other facility with glassed in animals/subjects, shoot with your camera’s lens directly against the glass rather than from a distance. This reduces the possibility of glare. Another trick is to wear a black glove. Sieg uses his gloved hand to help shield possible glares from the sun or other light sources.
  • Sieg showed a photo of a bear shaking water off his coat, not unlike a dog shaking off water after a swim. Some tips on achieving the perfect shot here is to have the light sources behind your subject. Begin adjusting your settings to shutter speed 1/1250 second, a low ISO and aperture f/5 (if going Manual). Even from a focal length of 270mm the focus is crisp.
  • While we see Sieg’s photos as beautiful and inspiring, he points out that every picture can be improved upon. That is to say there is always something to try next time or to try working with in post-processing. For instance, if you saturate your photo 30% more, Sieg has found that it usually makes the image look better.
  • Birds offer great opportunities to work with motion. Small birds especially flap their wings faster than larger birds. Using a shutter speed of about 1/4000 second stops the blur. Look at the outer fringes of their wings. If there is still a blurring happing, increase your speed. Remember to have a good and bright light source, like a sunny day.
  • As noted above, water is a great way to introduce motion in your photos. Some ideas are the flow of a waterfall. Using a shutter speed of one to four seconds will blur the flow nicely, but you may need to use a neutral density filter for bright days. Oregon offers many of the world’s best waterfalls, according to Sieg.
  • Sports offer a lot of motion. Even when you freeze the moments you can get more motion with rain or water on a sports field or splashing in a pool or lake. Freezing the motion of water from a drinking fountain is a fun way to show motion. Try using a shutter speed of 1/3200 second for this.
  • Watching kids in a wedding party can inspire motion in an otherwise still environment. Catch that yawn, wiggle or giggle.
  • Cliff diving offers many opportunities for motion shots, both in the jump and in the splash at the end. Again watch for that moment just before the jumper hits the water, and then shoot. Sieg has found that Twin Lakes by Invermere is a great place for cliff diving in the summer months.
  • The Silver Skate Festival in February each year offers lots of movement. And if an indoor arena is more to your liking, the Ice Palace at West Edmonton Mall offers figure skating and hockey throughout the year.
  • The Ice Palace also hosts many different competitions like cheerleading and martial arts, offering a plethora of motion potential.
  • Many musicians provide a flurry of motion when they play, like a fiddler or drummer. This is a good place to fine tune your skills as a photographer. And don’t forget to watch the audience for more movement in your photos.
  • “Every reflection is like an abstract painting.” Sieg reminds us that there is beautiful movement in the flow of water that shouldn’t be overlooked, even when it’s reflecting another object or simply colour. Add in the element of a bird or other object and you can introduce yet another magical element.
  • Of course rodeos brings lots of activity. Some pointers to remember are to have all four feet of the horse off the ground for great motion. A cowboy hat that’s come off the rider’s head is another great way to bring in movement. And yes, water and mud on the ground also provide a fantastic way to show movement.
  • Once you get to know how a certain sports game plays out, you can intuitively know the next progression of events. And if you’re correct in your hunch, you can be focused on the right area at the right moment and freeze a great motion moment. Catching that moment of conflict or contact will be a breeze.
  • With races, whether people or animals, Sieg’s favourite spot is just after the first curve around the track. This is where you have the most action as they come around the corner in a fury.
  • You can also merge four shots to create motion. Whether birds in flight or kids jumping off a wall, this composite shot can show motion in a clear and crisp manner.

Truly it was a pleasure to share in Sieg’s passion of motion photography. I know I have been inspired to pump up that shutter speed more.

Sieg, we wish you all the best with your new adventures in Calgary.