A few photographic mementos from the State Botanical Garden of Georgia
© 2018 Ludwig Keck
Peachtree Corners Festival – 2017
The Peachtree Corners Festival, on the second weekend each June, starts with a concert evening on Friday. Here are some views from 2017.
© 2018 Ludwig Keck
Monuments, statues, all sort of sculptures, are all around us in urban settings, parks, and many other places. The are fun to photograph. Here are some thoughts on how to go about it and what you might do to make your images expressive and unique.
When you photograph a sculpture you are working with another artist’s creation. You can document it like for a catalog, but that might not provide the most exiting image. You can interpret it in your own style and come up with a photo that does justice to the sculptor and yet allows you to express yourself.
You might consider showing how the sculpture “lives” in its environment. Here are a couple examples.
The two photos above tell their stories almost completely by themselves. These sculptures work in their environment and are enhanced by their setting.
Sometimes showing the surroundings is less effective like here with the African American Family Monument also in Savannah, Georgia.
Now the nice thing about sculptures is that they hold still. You can take your time to wait for better light, even a better season. Here are three more views of this statue.
Here we have the typical tourist snapshot on the left. The light is blah, the background is distracting, the processing does nothing to enhance the image. The center image has the trees in the background leaved out covering up the building and bringing the viewers attention more to the sculpture. It is also more contrasty to bring out the details. You will agree that the the image on the right is better photograph in this group.
The first one was taken in late afternoon with an overcast sky. The one on the right was taken the next morning, about 8 am, with the morning sun bringing life to the sculpture. The side view and side light bring out the individuals, giving volume to the figures. Take your time, come back when you can find better light, maybe fewer visitors that might block just the angle you like, and even better foliage as shown here. That is the charm of statues. They wait for you.
Approach sculpture as you would a portrait shoot. Move around, find the perspective, the view, that works best for you.
Some angles work better than others. Experiment. Take you time, the subject isn’t getting impatient.
Monuments are meant to be seen in totality to convey their story, but you need not feel that you must tell their story. It is fine to get close, to show just part of the subject.
Hey, photographers, look at me!
© 2018 Ludwig Keck
Happy New Year!
A New Year Resolution for me and to share
It wasn’t meant to be this image. My Happy New Year post was preempted by events. Let me explain. I had been taking photos of light decorations. To get the exposure right I experimented a bit and found that 1/50s at f/4 and ISO 100 worked for the effect I was after. That meant manual settings, of course, including not letting the camera adjust the ISO setting for me – all manual. Then last Friday I wanted to get some images of the progress of our new Town Center construction. The fist shot became this “post card”.
We had glorious sunshine. So bright I could barely see the camera settings. Actually, I didn’t even try. Now if you remember the “f-16 rule” you already know what happened. An exposure of f/16 with the ISO and shutter speed the same usually gives good exposure on a bright sunny day. With ISO at 100 and 1/50 second that one stop over, with f/4 that four more stops. Overexposing by 5 stops is definitely “unrecoverable”. So here it is in all is embarrassing glory. See, I did manage to make something of it!
Moral and Resolution for 2018
Before putting the camera away, set Auto ISO sensitivity control to ON. Set the camera to any auto mode. For me that is usually Auto Aperture with f/8, letting the camera pick the shutter speed. That way when grabbing the camera for a quick shot you will very likely get a decently exposed image for that first photo. Then you can take a few seconds to set the camera more appropriately.
I do have the habit of checking the histogram for the first photo in a series. That saved me last Friday. I set proper exposure and got the rest properly exposed.
So that’s my bit of advise to you for the coming year. May 2018 bring you glorious images all year long!
© 2017 Ludwig Keck
Formal full-length portrait photography
A some-what fictitious approach to a photo shoot.
OK, GB, I am just about ready with the camera here. Are you ready on the set?
“Yes, I’m standing on the marked spot. Which is more photogenic, my left side or my right?”
Your right side works better, GB. That way you are looking away from the rocks behind you. That gives you visually open “breathing space”. However, your front looks a little frumpy and rumpled. May I suggest you turn your whole body about 90 degrees so we see your right side and your head in profile.
“How is this?”
Great angle. You are leaning a bit too much to the front. Makes you look like you are about to flee the set. Can you stand a bit more upright?
“Well, flight was on my mind, ha ha. This better?”
Much better. I like when you reach up higher, your neckline is more elegant. But now your feet are too far apart. That makes you look heavy. Can you put your weight more on one leg and move the other a bit forward. Either one, as you please.
“Hey, I am the talent and it is I who is supposed to be fussy. Are all photographers so bossy?”
Well, the good photographers make sure their subjects look their best. Now your right leg is just a bit too casual. Can you pull it back a bit?
“Picky, picky. Next you’ll complain about the light. All right, this better?”
Oh, you look great now! We’ll call it a wrap. Thank you for your time.
© 2017 Ludwig Keck