Many photographers find it difficult to take photos of people not because it’s physically hard but because the interaction required can be off-putting. It’s much easier to point your camera at a landscape or a building and push the shutter than it is to point it toward a person because that person might look at you or talk to you. Trees don’t look at you funny. Buildings don’t ask what you’re doing. But here’s the thing: a lot of those same photographers *want* to take photos of people but because it’s out of their comfort range they don’t. The challenge, then, is to do it anyway. Go take photos of people. Start with your friends and family. Begin by suggesting poses — “pretend you’re James Bond and model your finger guns!” or “everyone do the chin shelf!” Then once everyone is loosened up just start capturing the fun. Some of the best shots come when everyone is goofing around and not paying attention to the camera at all.
The most excellent photo above by pablo.raw is an example of what you can capture when people are relaxed and having fun. The subject isn’t shying away from or feeling intimidated by the camera, she’s interacting with it and being herself. These are the kinds of things you want to achieve and the best way to achieve them is to feel at ease behind the camera. And of course the only way to feel at ease is to practice. It may take you some time but in the end it’ll be worth the effort.
Did you know DC has a roller derby? Have you ever gone? Maybe you should so you can try your hand at some panning like pablo.raw. Panning is one of the more challenging techniques in photography. The goal is to clearly capture the subject while blurring the background to give you a sense of movement. We’ve posted other photos that give an example of this but Pablo’s photo really demonstrates how much movement you can get. It’s more challenging to pan indoors or in low light conditions so photogs will use a flash to help freeze the moment. This is called slow sync flash and it allows for a slower shutter speed with more light coming into the camera. From there it’s up to the photog to decide if they want to sync the flash with the front or rear curtain as both give different results in the final image. Some sleuthing on Flickr will give you some great ideas about how this feature can be used. After trying your hand at it make sure you post your best shots to the photo group!
P.S. Tonight is the opening of Exposed DC at Longview Gallery. As someone who has previously had photographs in the show and attended many of the opening night festivities I can tell you that it’s a super fun awesome good time. That’s not even including all the yummy noms that will be offered. The show runs until April 6 so if you can’t make it tonight you’ll have ample time to check it out later. The photographs are for sale as well so it’s a great, and relatively inexpensive, way to begin your private art collection. Tickets are $15 ahead with a limited number for $20 at the door.
“Red Line train to Glenmont.” Even with all the troubles that Metro has given us in recent history, the system is quite pretty. From the Brutalist architecture, to vistas on some of the fly over tracks, Metro can still provide beauty in our daily lives. And that’s before you take the time to do a long exposure of a train coming into a station.
Pablo certainly captured that beauty with this Red Line train entering Union Station. He caught it just right so that the individual cars run together at one end, making it look like a single car. And at the other end, there are the light lines streaming along. And if you look closely at those light lines, you’ll see the wonderful movement made in the long exposure; solid lights and letters moving together forming a unique pattern. And you can clearly read the station sign and the warning on the tracks through the train’s arriving movement. Quite the sight and always a pretty one to see.
By the way, if you’re interested in great photography, our friends over at Exposed DC are getting ready to kick-off their 2014 Exposed Photography Show. They’re having a launch party at Bluejacket tonight and it will be well worth going to. This juried photography show is going into their seventh year and it is always worth seeing (both Kerrin and myself, as well as many of our regular contributors, have had photos in previous years of the show). Hope to see many people at the party!
courtesy of pablo.raw
Oh, look at the cute little baby! Seriously for a moment, look at the baby. Particularly his face. One of the best ways to have a dramatic picture of a person is to have a close up of their face. Pablo shows this to great effect. He does have the added assist of taking a picture of a cute baby; but even then he get the kid’s big eyes and a sense of contentment in his expression. In many ways this reminds me of a video essay I came across a few months ago which deconstructs the “Spielberg Face.” While Pablo doesn’t quite get to the level of Spielberg, he does show the technique very well.
courtesy of pablo.raw
This past Friday, DC was treated to a fascinating public performance called bound(less), put on by the group Project Bandaloop and sponsored by the Kennedy Center. Bound(less) is an aerial dance performed on the face of the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Ave, and it provide a number of wonderfully unique photographs for our contributors, like Pablo’s above. The dancers suspended in mid-air, the horn player in the window, and the blue light, all give the image an other-worldly feel. It’s almost as if the photo is from a dream.
The reason I’m pointing this out is to show how blessed DC is with public art. Almost every week there’s something going on for people to see. And starting this weekend is the big public art festival of Artomatic. Eleven floors of art; some very good, some very bad, but all up to the viewer to decide. I’m going to be there Friday night; I hope to see you all there.
courtesy of pablo.raw
I decided to do something completely different for the Featured Photo segment today. What you see above is called a sterographic projection, or polar panorama. By using a photo editing program, like Photoshop, a photographer can take a regular, 360 degree panoramic photo and turn it into a little planet. If you have the skill to do it, you can make some fascinating photographs.
Pablo creates a unique world here of a statue in the National Gallery of Art. It’s as if the goddess Gaia has been born from Khaos and looks on the blank slate of a world that she is about to give form.
courtesy of pablo.raw
The eyes, the eyes, the eyes. I’ve said it before: to get a good wildlife shot, you have to aim for the eyes. Now, Pablo’s shot may not be a strictly true wildlife shot (wild flamingos not be native to the DC area, especially in the colder months), but it certainly is an excellent animal shot. And once you get beyond staring at the eye, you start seeing the wonderful detail of the bird’s feathers and beak, which is nicely highlighted by the black background. A shot to be proud of, that is for sure!