Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Photography Tip Tuesday - What the Crop!

What the Crop! - Understanding Aspect Ratios

4:3; 1:1; 1:1.5; 2:1; 3:1; 16:9 - What does all this mean????

In the past we lived in an 35mm film world.

The 35mm film frame was a 1:1.5 ratio. The exact size of the film frame was 36mmx24mm. This fits a 5x7 and 4x6 print size perfectly.

In the past our televisions were 4:3 ratio. All that has changed. Our lives are now 16:9 with widescreen televisions and computer screens, we are changing the way we look at images.

My portraits, for the most part, are still printed in standard aspect ratios. Landscapes are a different story. I prefer wider images for my landscape work. Although I will throw in a square crop every now then if it fits the scene.

Let's take a look at some examples.

This photograph of Cathedral Falls in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, was photographed with the intention of being a 3:1 photograph. The waterfall is a tall waterfall and in order to give a feeling of its size I used a 3:1 aspect ratio. Another contributing factor to this is the fact that this is a panorama using 36 photographs to create the final photograph.

Here is Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center. This is cropped in a square aspect ratio. The choice for this aspect ratio was based on the fact that not using a square crop would have left many elements that would likely detract from the subject of this photograph.

One final example. This was photographed the a few days ago. The Ohio River was icing over at its banks and due to the extreme cold, fog was rising off the river. I wanted to photograph a very low angle so I set my camera right on the ice. This created a blurry foreground that added nothing to the image. The ice is also very bright and draws your eye away from the center of the image.

I wanted to include as much of the rest scene as possible. When I settled on a final crop, I used a 2:1 aspect ratio.

Using aspect ratios like 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1 can still be printed on standard photographic paper by a reputable lab. Therefore having your images printed in these aspect ratios is not an issue. Framing them is a little more difficult. You can always buy a standard frame and have a custom mat cut if you don't want to have a custom frame size made.

Using different aspect ratios to crop your images allows you to remove distracting elements, bring attention to your subject, and infer scale to your subject. So next time you use your crop tool, try a different aspect ratio. The results may surprise you!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Photo Tip Tuesday - Keeping a Level Head

So what does the vestibular system of the ear have to do with photography?  Have you ever looked at the horizon at the beach, a tall building or any other straight line? With your vision they always look straight.  In a photograph, your eye is naturally drawn to things that seem "out of place".  This includes horizons or things that should be straight that aren't. Let me show you some examples and see what you think. Let's start off with something with a definite horizon.  Here is a picture of Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina.  When I took this photo, I was using my tripod.  I still managed to not have the photograph perfectly level.  It feels uncomfortable, almost like you could roll of the left side.  This photograph was only off 1.4 degrees.  That is not very much, yet it stands out like a sore thumb when you really look at it. Roll your mouse over the image to see the difference.  So lets take a look at a building with vertical lines.  This is Cora Mill that used to stand in Gallia County, Ohio.  Again this was shot on a tripod but I was not perfectly level.  The mill is 1.2 degrees off. The mill looks like it is tipping to the right.Roll your mouse over the image to see the difference.  Here is an example from soccer season. The goal is crooked. This one is off about 2 degrees. Again, mouse over the image to see the changes. While these are very subtle changes, it is the difference between a good photograph and a great photograph Getting this correct in camera is the best way to do this. If you are using a tripod, some tripod heads have a built in level. If not, you can get a hot shoe bubble level. Many new cameras however, have a level built in to the viewfinder. Correcting horizons or vertical lines is very easy. Most basic editing software allows you to adjust your image. Basic editors may not give you precise control. I use Adobe Lightroom and find the grid overlay when adjusting the angle very helpful. Here is a view of the crop tool in Adobe Lightroom. Adobe Lightroom and many other editors have an angle tool that you can drag along a vertical or horizontal line to correct the angle. Keeping a level head isn't limited to regular cameras. I often take pictures with my iPhone or iPad. The Apple IOS allows you to adjust your photograph's angle, but I prefer Snapseed. Here is a photograph from my iPhone. The horizon is obviously not level. Using the Straighten feature in Snapseed, I can correct the level of the horizon. Remember, keep your head level and take a few extra seconds to straighten your photographs. Enjoy, Chris

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Smoke on the River

We are experiencing very cold temperatures the last few days.  With the extremely cold air temperatures and the river water being warmer, you get a weather phenomena called "Sea Smoke".  The wind is blowing this smoke across the river today.

With sub-zero temperatures and a wind chill in the -30 degree range, be sure to bundle up and stay warm.


Friday, January 3, 2014

First Snow of 2014

Yesterday was the first snow of the 2014.  By the time enough snow had accumulated the light was gone.  Checking the forecast I knew it should be clear this morning for sunrise.  The Gallipolis City Park was decorated very nicely for the Christmas season with some new light displays.  I had not gotten lighting I had been hoping for to photograph the park after it was decorated.  So this morning I got up early to see how much snow we had gotten.  Much to my surprise we had gotten about 3 inches.  Enough to cover the grass.  It was a little before sunrise and the sky was very clear(it was very cold out too).  I grabbed the camera and tripod and headed to town to see what I could photograph.  The skies were still dark but headed to that deep blue just before daylight.  I found the angles that I liked and took a few pictures.

The first angle was standing along the sidewalk.  I wanted to capture the light post on the right along with some of the lights in the tree.  Luckily I arrived before anyone had walked on the sidewalk leading up to the Bandstand.

Next I wanted to capture the more of the lights in the trees and the large fir tree that sits in the park.  In order to do this I actually was setup with my tripod in the middle of First Avenue.  Luckily traffic was sparse.

Enjoy the snow today, take it easy on the roads.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten from 2013

2013 is over and time to reflect.  It was a busy year with my day job as a flight paramedic, this limited my time for photography.  This made narrowing the field easier for my favorites.

Since work took up much of my time, the aircraft became the focus of my camera several times.  Here are two of my favorite images of the Eurocopter EC-130 that I spent a lot of time with. This was a brand new aircraft in January when we received it.  It is an amazing machine and I enjoy flying in it.

This photograph was from the morning we made the announcement about putting the aircraft in service to the news media.  This was taken as sun was rising behind the helipad.

This photograph is a long exposure.  The star trails and the lighting from the helipad lights made for a great photograph of the helicopter.

I always enjoy being outside, this year that time was limited.  I did get out a few times and two images are from being out.  The first is an early morning spring sunrise over the Ohio River.  

The next photograph is from a day of hiking.  This baby robin was laying in the grass waiting in the grass for its mother to return.

I always have a great time photographing high school seniors.  This is my favorite type of portrait.  These are my three favorites from my senior sessions this year.

I had an amazing time with my family this year at Walt Disney World.  This is one of my favorite places to photograph. The imagineers do such a masterful job with laying out the attractions that, other than the crowds, distractions are almost non existent.  So the last three photographs are from are from Walt Disney World.

Our all time favorite resort at Walt Disney World is Caribbean Beach.  The island feel and it is so laid back we can really settle in and relax.

The World Showcase at EPCOT Center is my favorite place to photograph.  After the fireworks, the park clears out and I usually spend an hour here after the park closes.  I walk around with my tripod and photograph the different countries.  The China Pavilion usually has the most people lingering around, this time I was able get a photograph without people passing through my frame.

My all time favorite of 2013 is also at Walt Disney World.  I have attempted this photograph several times and not been happy with the results.  This year the 8mm fisheye lens was the key.  I was able to get the composition I was looking for.  I decided on a square crop the eliminated all the other distractions and leads your eye through the fountain and the iconic Spaceship Earth.

Looking forward to 2014 I have several projects planned. Be sure to subscribe to the blog, follow me on Facebook or Google+.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Seniors 2014

2014 Seniors, it is time to start thinking about your Senior Portraits.

Let your Senior Portraits tell your story, who you are.

What your Passion is.

Book now, call 740-709-6351 or e-mail to chris@ohiohikerphotography.com


Friday, May 10, 2013

Out for a Hike

Today I took a few hours to go hike. I had a new Sigma 50mm f1.4 to play around with so I thought I would share a few photographs from the day. Enjoy, Chris