Ever Wonder…

Did you ever wonder what happens to all your photos if you should pass away? I am 97 years old and had that thought.

How to preserve your photo work, I took my best images and made a coffee table size photo book of them with Mixbook (mixbook.com) and gave copies of the book to my family members and friends. Now the best of my photography is preserved in book form for future generations of my family and friends to see.

I found that Mixbook was the easiest bookmaking software offered on the Internet and it is on a Cloud so you don’t have to download it and take up room in your hard drive.

Demise of Stock Agencies

The one thing that I regret is the demise of many stock photo agencies, due to the fact that so many people shooting digital photos today think they are good enough to advertise their photographs for sale on their Websites on the Internet at very low prices. Sure they have pretty pictures but what makes them think other people want them.  If they sell one or two a year they call themselves professional photographers. The definition of a professional photographer has always been one who earns at least one half their income through photographic work.

In the days before digital photography, there were hundreds of small stock photo agencies that catered to the amateur and professional photographer, selling the rights to photos for decent prices, from $150.00 to thousands of dollars for one time use, depending on the size, type of use, and the amount of the run. Also, if an agency client lost or damaged a color slide, the agency could collect $1,500.00 from them, according to the law. In my lifetime as a stock photographer, I collected twice from lost color slides. The photographer and agency split the price that the client had to pay 50-50, as the agency does all the selling and collecting of payments and keeps all the records of sale. All the photographer had to do was take and send saleable photos to the agency on a regular basis. The more photos you had with the photo agency, the better your chances were to make money with them. At one point in time back then, I had over 10,000 color slides in five different photo agencies that produced a good side income for me.

“Gone are the good old days of easy money with stock photos”

Those days are gone forever with the creation of the digital camera, as most of the small photo stock agencies quit the business or were taken over by the larger ones. Like Getty Images, who by the way bought out some of my smaller stock agencies, so that I have been connected to Getty Images for the past 10 years. That meant that my color slides must now compete with the millions of photo works in Getty’s files and they have only produced about one or two sales a year since then. Gone are the good old days of easy money with stock photos.

Seminars in the 70’s and 80’s

Back in the 1970’s and 80’s, there were only about two dozen photographers from the Photographic Society of America (PSA) who presented photo workshops or all-day photo seminars. I am happy to say that I was one of them, with six all-day photo seminars presented to large photo organization across the USA and over a hundred photo education programs to camera  clubs.

“PSA was considered the largest photo organization in the world”

I also presented photo educational programs at the annual national convention of the Photo Society of America that had over 20,000 members, both amateurs and professionals. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, PSA was considered the largest photo organization in the world.

Today, photo magazines have page after page of advertising that sponsor all-day photo seminars and workshops by camera manufacturers, often using new and young photographers who made a name for themselves in the digital age of photography. Individuals who never knew anything about photography before the digital age are now advertising their workshops on the Internet.

“This could be the Golden Age of photography”

This could be the Golden Age of photography with new things coming. At 97 years old, I wish I could be around to see them.

On Photo Manipulations

I don’t subscribe to the notion that the image you capture in the camera is the image you have to end up with. At age 97, with 85 years of photography under my belt, I have come to believe that my photos are just a starting point. From there, I bring my creativity and artistic sensibility (I am also an oil painter) to bear on the images I create, some of which I call “derivations”.

And as such, I fully realize that my work may offend some purists who believe that absolute realism should be every photographer’s goal.

“The purist does not create anything new”

The purist does not create anything new unless they actually create a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, etc., and then take a photo of it — thus, it is a photograph of their original creation. When the purist photographs outdoors, or takes a portrait, they are just making a copy of what Mother Nature has created.

When we were all shooting film, we tried very hard to improve the color slide with all kinds of sandwiched filters or double images, darkening parts of the photo, etc. We did a lot of manipulation of both color slides and prints. In the darkroom, we would dodge and burn parts of the print to improve the impact of the image. Even Ansel Adams used various methods of exposure to get his great photos.

“The original image is just the beginning”

The original image is just the beginning. I believe the photographer should be allowed to be as creative as other artists, and use whatever means to create the desired image.

Before Digital Photography

In the years before digital, not many people would take the time and the monetary expense to really learn and take photo images because of the cost of each shot.

If you were shooting black and white film, you had the expense of developing the film and making prints. Those who shot color negative fim, also had large expenses for developing by photo shops or E.K.

“You had to hit the exposure right on the button”

If you were shooting color slides, you had to hit the exposure right on the button — each color slide back in the 1970’s would cost you about twenty five cents every time you pressed the shutter button. So unless you loved photography, you did not go into it the way the general public has adopted digital photography.

“I am very glad to see the creative talent”

I am very glad to see the creative talent that has blossomed from people who probably never knew they had it in them. I think it all happened because of the ease of using a digital camera and the low cost of each shot, which is zero after you subtract the cost of the original card, plus the fact that you can edit the photo in your computer to create the image you envisioned.

The Magic of Selective Vision

Photo composition is the foundation upon which we build our photo images by the correct selection, arranging, organizing and combining the visual elements within the picture area to produce a harmonious and pleasing photograph.

The following rules of photo-composition are for guidance only, not for absolute and complete obedience by photographers. No picture was ever made by rules alone, since Photo-Composition involves your personal tastes and preferences. Your natural instincts are worth more in photography than many rigid rules.

However, your must know the rules before you can break them and only break them when you have a good reason for improving the photographic image.

Photo-Composition is based on artistic composition up to a certain point. The artists of old always used composition in all their works and of course broke the rules when they thought it was necessary for the improvement of the painting or drawing.

Artists of course have the advantage over the photographer. They can move objects around in their picture frame to suit their own artistic desires. Thus, if a tree is not in the right place in Nature, the Artist will move it to another place on his canvas to make a better composition. If a fence or house is not situated correctly in the natural scene the Artist moves them around to suit his own artistic needs.

Photographers are limited to the use of objects in the scene before them.  But that does not mean they have to photograph them like a tourist, head on, without looking around for the best angle and lighting conditions in which to take the photograph.

A photographer s job is much harder than that of an artist who can take artistic liberties by moving objects around to suit their needs. The photographer must find a scene that has the best composition by finding the right angle, choosing the right lenses, being there at the right time of day for the best lighting condition and using creative exposures.

The Basic Elements of Photo-Composition Is Composed Of:

MASS – LINE – FORM – VALUE – COLOR

MASS

Equals objects, such as trees, houses, mountains, lakes or any other large or small object within the picture area. These are the objects the photographer is  stuck  with and has to do the best with what is in front of the camera s lens. MASS comes in two sections: Formal Balance and Informal Balance.

FORMAL BALANCE

Sometimes called Equal Balance or Classical Balance. It illicits feelings of Dignity and Repose but makes Static, Unimaginative photo images as the objects in the picture area are of Equal Size, one balancing the other equally like two children of equal size on a playground seesaw. The seesaw will not move up or down. It stays horizontal with each child balancing the other on the board.

This type of balance has been used in large public buildings where each side of the building matches each other with wings and the entrance is in the middle. It makes the building uninteresting and boring after the first look.

A photograph with this type of balance will also be boring and very un-interesting so be sure to avoid it whenever possible, unless you have a definite reason to use it.

INFORMAL BALANCE

Gives UN-even or UN-equal Balance in the picture area. If you have a LARGE object in the picture it should be COUNTER-BALANCED with a smaller object or Objects to make a good Photo-Composition.

Pictures the seesaw again with a 5 year old boy on one side and his Father on the other side. The BALANCE will be UN-even as the Father is larger and will make the seesaw heavier on his side. The boy will be high in the air and the Father will be at the ground level.

In a photographic scene, if you have a Large tree on the right side of the picture frame then you must try to balance it with a smaller object such as a house, a small tree or even the figure of a person on the other side of the picture frame.

The way you balance the objects in your picture frame will determine the success or failure of the image. Many times you will have to resort to the use of different types of lenses in order to create the balance you want.

A 24mm wide angle lens can create unbalanced composition very easily by taking the objects in front of the lens at close range. This will make the front objects appear very large in the picture frame while the rear or distant objects will appear smaller even though they are actually larger.

Another way to create unequal balance is to find a position that will cause one object to appear larger or smaller because of the angle you took the photograph. The next time you are out creating photographs be sure to keep these rules about Balance in mind and try to incorporate them in your work.

BULL S EYE COMPOSITION

A definite  NO, NO  in good photo-composition. When you place the Main Subject right  smack  in the center of the picture area it is called a Bull s Eye. This should be avoided at all times, unless you have a definite reason for doing it.

With the main subject in the center of the picture frame the eye will go in to the picture and stay in the center of the frame looking at the Bull s Eye Main Subject and will not move around in the picture to see and enjoy any other items. The eye will get tired very fast and lose interest in the photograph.

Your purpose in taking photographs is to have people look at them, enjoy them, talk about them and buy them. If they cannot get interested in a photograph they will not bother to look at it and will definitely not buy it.

It is best to always have the Main Subject OFF CENTER. Even if it is just a little Off Center it will improve the picture s composition and not give you a Bull s Eye picture.

THE GOLDEN MEAN

Sometimes called  The Rule Of Thirds . The artists of old discovered it and good photographers always use it to improve their photo-composition.

When you take a picture area and divide it into  thirds  Horizontally and Vertically, where the lines cross in the picture area is a  Golden Mean , or the best spot in which to place your Main Subject or Object of Interest as it is the Focal Point of your picture.

Rule of Thirds

There are Four Spots where these lines cross the Upper Left the Lower Left, the Upper Right and the Lower Left . You will note that all these  Golden Means  spots are away from the center Bull s Eye position in the picture frame. The two best  Golden Mean  spots are the Upper Right and the Lower Right because the eye enters the picture frame at the lower left hand corner of the picture frame, travels to the center of the picture area and then reaches the right hand  Golden Mean  position where it stops to look at the  Center Of Interest .

The reason the eye enters a picture at the lower left side is because we are taught to read from Left to Right. This is a psychological fact that has been proven over the years.

Next time you are in an art gallery or art museum that shows the Old Masters paintings, notice how many have the Center Of Interest, a figure, a haystack, a house, an animal, etc. in one of these Golden Mean positions.

Be very careful that you do not place to centers of interest in two Golden Mean positions, especially on opposite sides of the picture frame. This will cause the eye a lot of trouble as it will keep going back and forth from one Center of Interest to the other and will get confused and tired and want to leave the picture area.

Get use to visualizing the view finder in your camera as having the cross lines of the  Rule Of Thirds  (Golden Means) and try to place your main subject at a Golden Mean position. You will find your photographs have more style, interest and impact because of it.

IMPLIED LINES HOLD THE PICTURE TOGETHER

Implied line are not actual lines that you can see in the picture area, they are  implied  and are made up by the way objects are placed in the picture area. Sometimes actual items or objects do make lines such as, railroad tracks, telephone wires, etc.

These  implied lines  can actually create a response in various ways:

THE VERTICAL LINE

It denotes Dignity, Height, Strength, and Grandeur. We find vertical lines in trees, tall buildings, fences, people standing up, mountains, etc. A tall building shows height, strength, dignity and grandeur. Trees show height and strength.

THE HORIZONTAL LINE

Denotes Repose, Calm, Tranquillity and peacefulness, such as a person lying in the grass sleeping, flowers in a field, the flatness of a desert scene or lake. You can make your photograph illicit these feelings if you look for them in the picture area and use them in your photographs.

THE DIAGONAL LINE

This like gives the sensation of Force, Energy and Motion as seen in trees bent by the wind, a runner at the starting line or the slope of a mountain as it climbs into the sky. By knowing this you can create Force, Energy and Motion with your camera easily by tilting the camera to make objects appear to be in a diagonal line. A dignified church steeple when photographed at a slant will change to a forceful arrow pointing towards the sky and show motion.

THE CURVE

Here is a line of great beauty and charm and nothing gives a better example than a beautiful female form with all it s lines and curves. Of course there are other examples: The curve in a river or a pathway through a flower garden.

THE  S  CURVE

This line goes further than just a plain  curved line. It is called the  Line Of Beauty . It is Elastic, Variable and combines Charm and Strength. It has Perfect Grace and Perfect Balance. You have seen this  S  Curve hundreds of times in drawings and paintings and other works of art.

Examples: the double curve of a river makes an  S  curve. A path, row of trees or bushes that curve one way and then the other way create the  S  curve. Look for this type of design and use it in your photos to add interest and beauty.

THE LEADING LINE

The line that leads your eye in to the picture area easily like a road or fence, a shoreline or river, a row of trees or a pathway. A successful  Leading Line  will lead your eye in to the picture and take it right to the Main Subject or Center of Interest.

An  UN-Successful  Leading Line  will take the eye in to the picture but will ZOOM the eye right OUT of the picture if there is no Stopper to hold the eye in the picture frame; such as a tree, house or other large object on the right hand side of the picture frame which will STOP the eye from going out of the picture. The Center of Interest or Main Subject will act as a Stopper and hold the eye in the picture frame.

The best Leading Lines will start at the Lower Left area of the picture frame but not in the exact corner. Again, the eye likes to enter a picture frame at this point and the Leading Line will help it get in to the picture easily and swiftly.

IMPLIED FORMS ALSO HOLD A PICTURE TOGETHER

Implied Forms  are a combination of  Implied Lines  and they help to hold a picture together. The eye enjoys these interesting forms and will stay in the picture area to examine each one of them, if they are present.

THE CIRCLE

Is made up of a continuous  Curve  and it s circular movement keeps the eye in the picture frame. There are many circles in nature and man made objects and if you find them in an image before you, be sure to make good use of them in your photograph.

Circles can be made up of children playing  ring around the roses  or a small pond or lake is usually in the form of a circle and of course many race tracks are a form of circle.

THE TRIANGLE OR PYRAMID

This has a  solid base  and will show Stability. It also has Height and Strength. The Pyramids of Egypt have survived  for thousands of years while other types of solid buildings have crumbled in to dust in less time.

A Triangle can show up in your viewfinder as three points in the scene, such as two trees on the grounds pointing to a cloud in the sky. Sometimes a fence in combination with a stream and a farm house can form the Triangle Composition.

THE RADII

Is a connection of  Lines  meeting in the Center and it is also a expansion of  Lines  leaving the Center. The Radii is usually found in Nature Subjects. The best example of the man made Radii is the spokes of a wheel.

The eye has two ways to go when it comes upon the Radii. It can either be drawn in to the picture area or it can be led out of the picture area. You must be careful how you used the Radii and try to have the eye led into the picture.

THE CROSS

A showing of  Opposing Force  that will give the picture a feeling of Cohesion and Relationship. The horizontal bar of the Cross will act as a  stopper  while the vertical pole can act as a leading line. The windows in a large skyscraper will form crosses and will keep your interest in the building.

The Cross also has religious meaning and the subtle use of the Cross can give hidden meaning to a photograph.

THE  L  OR RECTANGLE

This makes an attractive  frame . It can be used to accentuate important subjects. Many times it is a  frame  within a  frame . A tree with an overhanging branch at the  right  side of the picture area will form a  Rectangle  and help frame the Main Subject in the picture. By doing this you will make the Center of Interest stand out and be noticed clearly.

VALUE OF COLORS

Color can also help in Photo-Composition by drawing attention to the subjects and objects. The eye will ALWAYS go to the  Brightest and Lightest  coloris in a photograph. You must watch the play of Colors at all times and make sure they are doing what you desire in your image.

VALUE

The Value of colors are Intensity, Brightness and Luminance Factor. Thus colors are said to have Strong or Weak Values. They can be Warm or Cold, Advancing or Receding. The  longer wavelengths  from Red to Yellow are usually described as Strong, Warm, Advancing colors while the  shorter wavelengths , the Greens and Blues may be described as Weak, Cold and Receding colors.

Pastel colors are Quiet and Moody while Bright colors are Strong and Active. However, certain colors  react  very strongly with each other to give  Strong Contrasts  and to many people these will become  Discords  rather than  Harmonies .

HUE

Is the scientific counterpart for the more popular word  Color . Red, Yellow, Green and Blue are the Primary HUES, while Orange, Blue-Green, and Violet are Secondary HUES.

COMPLEMENTARY COLORS

Colors that go with each other will Complement each other and are desirable in any painting or photograph. If you place the Primary and Secondary colors on a  Color Wheel  you will find that Red will be opposite Green; Orange will be opposite Blue and Yellow will be opposite Violet. These  Opposites are Complementary Colors and can be used together to create the best Color Harmony.

For example, a Red barn in a Green field of grass has harmony. The Blue and Orange sky of a sunset has color harmony. Always look for Complementary Colors in the visual image you plan to photograph and use them to create better photographs.

Adding Clouds or Sunsets

Adding clouds or sunsets to a bare blue or white sky without using layers: If a photo has a sky area you do not like, such as a bare blue or white sky, you can add clouds or sunsets to the sky area. This is done by cloning and placing the main photo and the cloud photo in the same window of your editing program. You have to make sure that the cloud photo will match the sky area of the main photo and the direction of the sunlight. You can also use part of the cloud photo to fill the sky area if it fits in better.

Chatham Beach Shack

This was a famous photo-scenic in Chatham, on Cape Cod, years ago. It was located off the Shore Road near the Chatham Lighthouse. However, the severe storms in the past years have washed away that part of the beach area along with the beach shack and fence. The sky was devoid of clouds, so I cloned them in.

Camera info: Nikkormat, 80 to 200mm Nikon zoom lens, Kodachrome 64 film. Copied original color slide to digital.

Clouds

Using a fairly large cloning circle, you start cloning the cloud photo at the point where you want it to start in the main photo, usually at the edge of the horizon line, and you clone in the complete cloud image in one sweep, so that if it does not look right you can delete it completely with Alt-Z and start over again until it looks OK. Sometimes you will have to do this routine over and over again. It is easy to do once you master the technique, but it may take some time learning how to do it.

When you are satisfied, you now have to get rid of the telltale areas that shows that you cloned in the clouds, such as where the clouds meet the horizon line, or where the clouds or new sky meets a roof top or tree tops. Here you have to work closely with your cloning tool and clone in the sky color tight against the area it touched. You may have to zoom enlarge the main photo to make it easier to close the gap between the sky and other areas.

Sunsets are handled in the same way as clouds. It is best to have a dozen or so good cloud or sunset photos, so start taking some now.

Chatham Beach Shack with Clouds

The finished product has both the original scene and the clouds from another photograph.

Cape Cod Sand Dune

Most beach areas on the Cape have small sand dunes, and if you find the right angle, you can produce a pleasing photograph. The morning sunlight was nice and warm in color and brought out the golden color in the beach grass, but it had a beautiful blue sky without a cloud in it. Here again, I cloned in the clouds.

Camera info: Canon 300D with 24 to 200mm Tokina zoom lens, set on automatic, and handheld.

Jenne Farm and the Sugar House

Mileage, Photos And Directions to:
FAMOUS VERMONT PHOTO-SCENIC
JENNE FARM AND THE SUGAR HOUSE

(Both are off Route 106 out of Woodstock, Vermont)

First of all you have to drive to Woodstock, Vermont as your starting point. Woodstock is a quaint Vermont tourist town with hotels, motels, restaurants and gift shops. It is one of the largest towns in the area. Many photographers stay in the Woodstock area motels and use it as their home base for shooting the famous photo scenes in that area.

SHOOTING THE JENNE FARM

The iconic Jenne Farm scene has to be photographed in the early morning when the sun lights up the front of the famous red barns. In the autumn you have to be at the top of the hill, looking down at the farm by 6:30am with your camera on your tripod. Then you wait with at least 25 to 40 other photographers for the sun to rise over the hills behind you and light up the front of the house and barns. You will only have about a half hour of the golden light on the scene, so you have to take advantage of it. It is best to get their around 6:00am to claim your tripod location as it gets quite crowded and the early bird gets the best spots for the best composition.

You can set up your tripod on the road by the two trees on the left. This area gets very crowded very early, or you can go out into the field on the left of the road where there is more room for more photographers.

In the winter time you have to be at the Jenne Farm right after a good snow storm to get photos of the farm before the snow is disturbed by snowmobiles. Be sure you have snowshoes if you plan to go out into the field to get your shots. Again, you have to be there in the early morning for the best lighting on the scene.

SHOOTING THE SUGAR HOUSE

A beautiful red Vermont sugar house located at the bottom of a white birch-lined country road. Come here right after you shoot the Jenne Farm. The road to the Sugar House is located a half mile down Route 6. Take a right turn when leaving Jenne Road and take the first road on the left, about a half mile down the road. Drive-up the road until you see the red sugar house, then continue up the hill for about 2/10 of a mile and look back at the scene.

To find both of these famous photo scenes,

Set Mileage as follows:
0.0 At routes 4 & 106 in Woodstock, Vermont take Rte 106 south (at the corner where the Woodstock Inn is located).

8.1 Small road on the RIGHT is the Jenne Road. Turn Right, and go to the top of hill and you will be looking down to the JENNE FARM.

For the Sugar House:
8.6 Back to Rte 106. Turn right on Route 6. Take first road on LEFT to the SUGAR HOUSE

Vermont Shooting Tips

Shooting Tips for Digital Photographers in Vermont

Since you are shooting “digital” and do not have to worry about film costs anymore, you will probably shoot many, many more images that you would have with film. Take photos of everything that interests you as you can delete the bad ones when you get home. Shoot each scenic from many different angles and in different lighting conditions.

Make sure your photo storage card is large enough to hold hundreds of images, if not bring along a 2nd one. To save space on your storage card, reset your camera from the highest mega pixels to a lower number of mega pixels to get more photos on the card. Unless you are blowing up your photos to 24 by 36 inches or larger, or cropping severely, you will never notice the difference.

Be sure you bring along plenty of spare batteries for your camera. Or bring rechargeable batteries and a battery charger so you can recharge the batteries overnight. A battery charger and an extra battery pack will be helpful if your camera uses special battery packs.

A good sturdy tripod is a must for sharp photos. I know it is much easier to handhold a camera and pop off pictures as you see them but you will be surprised how much sharper your photos will be with the use of a tripod or even a monopod.

Some photographers take along a six foot step ladder to help them get up higher for a different angle and better picture at many scenes.

A good polarizing filter will help bring out the true color of the foliage in sunlit scenes. It will also darken a blue sky so that white clouds will stand out more.

Since you can retouch digital photos, you now can take photos with wires in the sky, and telephone poles or other objectionable items in the photographs and then eliminate them with the cloning tool, or other special tools, in Adobe Photoshop, Corel’s Paint Shop Pro X, or many other photo software programs. You can really have some fun by combining items from two different photos to make one better photo.

If your digital camera has interchangeable lenses, you can lessen your equipment load by using one 24-200 or 300mm zoom lens for all your shooting. Many times a scene will change by the time you try to change from a wide-angle lens to a telephoto lens. It also eliminates the need to carry two cameras with different size lenses on each.

Be sure you change your camera’s white balance as the weather changes from sunlit scenes to cloudy lit scenes, or in the shade. If you go indoors, make sure you change to the lighting conditions you find, such as tungsten (Bulbs) or fluorescent light. I know you can also correct lighting condition in your computer but it is easier to do it on the spot. You can also use these white balance changes to create interesting images, as each one is like a different filter than we used to use when we shot film. The cloudy day or shade balance filter will cool down a sunlit scene, and the sunlit filter will warm up a scene.

You don’t have to use your camera by the book. Break the rules and you may create prize-winning images.

Unique Birthday Cake

I just had my 95th birthday with thirty relatives and friends attending a big party on March 12th. It was planned by my two daughters from the West Coast, who came East to help me celebrate. After a delicious lunch of Chicken Piccata and a wonderful lobster dish, they wheeled out the most unique and one-of-a-kind birthday cake that has never be created. The cake was a duplicate of my famous yellow covered Vermont Photo Guide book, “How To Find and Photograph The Photo-Scenics In Vermont” (see photo). They also had a DVD playing on the TV, showing all my best photos.