Multicolored neon lights turning and spinning at night are irresistible to a photographer. Even though I have photographed amusement parks at night for years, it’s still exciting to do it again because the pictures I take are never the same. The colors are always dazzling, and the abstracts are captivating. Sometimes I am happy with these images as I shoot them, like (#1 and #2), and other times I use them as composites as in (#3, #4 and #5). When I took the latter image I immediately thought of a black hole, so I added “stars” to complete the concept. The star field is actually a picture of glitter sprinkled on black velvet.
Underwater photography is a specialty that most of us don’t delve into, but I think it’s fair to say that most nature photographers are intrigued with the creatures seen in public and private aquariums. They are beautiful, bizarre, mysterious and often ethereal. Photographing them can be challenging because there are technical issues to deal with in order to get the best possible images.
Architecture is one of the subjects photographers love to shoot at home and abroad. Even if your passion is shooting landscapes or people, it’s hard not to get excited by a stunning work of architecture such as the B’hai temple in New Delhi or the twin towers in Kuala Lumpur. From impressive city skylines like New York and Philadelphia to a Navajo Hogan in Monument Valley, and from the interior of a Buddhist temple in Thailand to a Bavarian castle in Germany, architecture is awe inspiring. It is art in the form of stone, steel, wood, and glass. It is often a glimpse into our past, and it is so varied throughout the world that it is endlessly intriguing.
Studio photographers have used black acrylic glass to create subtle reflections in product shots and portraits for many years. It’s a wonder prop because it adds an elegant quality to the photographs of many different types of subjects, from people to glassware to flowers.
The ultra intense colors emitted from phosphorescent paint under a blacklight grab everyone’s attention. These colors exist nowhere in nature and any photographer who loves to think outside the box should experiment with the amazing possibilities this technique affords.
On-camera flash is convenient and very fast to use, but it’s not a flattering type of light. It’s a flat type of lighting with seemingly no depth, it creates unattractive shadows, and any surface that has sheen to it will reflect the light back into the lens.
After you buy a good camera that allows you to change lenses, it will become obvious to you that it is not the camera that enables you to be creative in photography. It is the lenses. The features on your camera, like fast auto focus, a large LCD screen, accurate Metering modes, and various custom functions are all important, but it is the lenses that have everything to do with the artistry of the images you take.
After I had been taking pictures seriously for two or three years, I realized that photography taught me to see things I had never noticed before I picked up a camera. I had been fairly oblivious to contrast, the shapes of shadows, details, texture, light, color, and graphic design. The camera helped me finally pay attention to all of these things. It is truly remarkable how much you can miss. For example, BP (Before Photography) I would have walked right past the overturned cart in a rural area of Missouri and not given it a second thought. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that this had any artistry or beauty. Similarly, BP I would have missed the bold graphic design, warm color, and rich texture in the detail of a cathedral door in Strasbourg, France.
My biggest surprise in shooting the famous Carnival of Venice was how accommodating the costumed people were to be photographed. I had assumed that they would become quickly annoyed with all the photographers stopping them and wanting pictures, but the opposite was true. They came out just to be photographed. Some were out as early as 7am and in the sunrise lighting they posed in front of the...
Chromatic aberration is an inherent problem in the manufacture of lenses. It is the failure of the glass to bend the light in such a way that it focuses all the colors at the same point, and it occurs because lenses have a different refractive index for different wavelengths of light. It is characterized by color fringing, or unwanted colors at the edge of objects. The colors can be red, cyan, green, magenta, blue, or yellow. You usually can’t see this fringing until you magnify the image quite a bit, but at 100 percent and higher it’s quite obvious. I’ve enlarged (#1) to 300 percent, and in (#2) you can see what I’m talking about. Chromatic aberration is quite pronounced in wide angle lenses, and it’s most obvious in the corners. The picture of this famous pool in the Gellert Hotel, Budapest, Hungary was taken with a 14mm lens. The center of the lens is largely devoid of these unwanted colors. Telephotos also have chromatic aberration, but it is usually not as bad.