Frame Your Photos with Stone Arch

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Just edited my 500 photos down to a few (only 72) and picked this shot of my colleagues to demonstrate “framing.” There are natural and manmade frames everywhere you look. Framing your subject focuses the attention on your subject and gives nice balance to a photo. The frame gently guides your eye to what is important. I loved the arch in Valletta, Malta, and asked Bert and Ruth to stand under it. It was late in the day, so the light bounced off one side of the arch and filled their faces with light. Look for frames in the form of tree branches, porches, swing sets, tunnels, tubes and more. The whole set of Malta images are at http://tiny.cc/QWL0H (Tamron 18-270mm; 20mm, F/5.6, 1/800 sec., ISO 200)

Photographing the Windmills in LaMancha

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I travel a lot for work and get to sightsee for one day on many of these trips. While I am sometimes sad I am seeing the world without my family (I’ve created a scrapbook page called My Travels Without You), I am grateful for the chance to experience other cultures, food, history and more. Last year I went to Madrid. It’s a year already! I leave for this year’s trip to Malta next week. We visited the sight were Don Quixote “battled” windmills. This shot was one of many from different angles as we walked around the property. It’s one of the few that did not have other tourists in the background, a frequent issue when shooting on vacation. The best tip for that problem is patience! But I post this one for three reasons:

1) I am sure you are sick of seeing so many photos of my built-in model;

2) It’s a good example of the rule of thirds;

3) It’s also an example of leading lines. When taking photos, imagine that there is a tic tac toe board on your screen. Put the main interest of your subject (like eyes, or head, or Disney Castle) at one of the intersecting points, or in the upper or lower third, or the right or left third. This makes a more exciting photo than when the subject is smack in the middle. So always try to offset in some way. But remember, rules are made to be broken and sometimes the middle is the best way for a particular shot, especially if you are trying to create exact symmetry in your image. In this shot, the horizon and the windmills are positioned from middle to the upper third of the image. And the road is a good example of a leading line that guides your eye right to the first windmill and then the windmills themselves guide you right through the rest of the shot.

Look for shots from Malta next week.

Scene Modes? They Really Do Work!

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I really feel like I cheated to make this picture on our trip to Mexico last week! I used the “night portrait scene mode” instead of bracketing exposures and playing with the flash to get just the right balance of exposure on her while still having a nice sunset in the background. I had literally a few fleeting seconds of her attention before the sun set below the horizon. So I put the camera on a scene mode, which I never do! And guess what? I got one of the best sunset pictures of the trip!