Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography: Blog http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Judith Monteferrante Photography. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:24:00 GMT Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:24:00 GMT http://www.judithmphotography.com/img/s8/v81/u301397341-o507391668-50.jpg Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography: Blog http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog 120 120 Break Some Rules for the New Year http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/11/break-some-rules-for-the-new-year
  • Forget the Golden hours of Dawn or Dusk: Shoot in mid-day with an infrared converted camera or digital SLR for high contrast images or on a cloudy or foggy day to create mystery. B&W or toned is often best.
  • Ignore the rule of thirds for greater freedom: Move with your feet and not just use your zoom lens. See the world from all angles to find a unique perspective.
  • Avoid Program or Auto modes as well as Scene modes if you want to advance your photographic skills: Learn aperture priority with exposure compensation to adjust your exposure; darker for silhouettes or lighter. Or, even better, use manual and adjust your aperture or shutter speed to achieve the look you want. Take control!
  • Ignore the Histogram only after you learn how to interpret it: The histogram is just a guide since every picture will have a different histogram. Just avoid blowing out the highlights (look at the binkies) and try for detail in the shadows. 
  • Don’t always shoot with the sun at your back: Side lighting will reveal texture and detail while back-lighting can create rim light or silhouettes.
  • Learn the rules but then try breaking them to see the effects? Have fun and look around you. Slow down by using a tripod. Learn by making mistakes.

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Judith M Photography black and white photography creative photography photo tips photography tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/11/break-some-rules-for-the-new-year Mon, 01 Dec 2014 00:30:00 GMT
    Photography of Silhouette’s, Shadows and Reflections: http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/11/photography-of-silhouette-shadows-and-reflections Photography of Silhouette’s, Shadows and Reflections: Less may be more

    1. Back lite photos (light from behind the subject) present two choices: either fill flash to help light the subject create a silhouette.  By changing your camera settings in aperture priority to add Minus 1 ½ to Minus 2 exposure compensation, the subject will go nearly black. The silhouetted subject needs to be distinct enough on its own to be recognizable without the additional detail provided by lighting.
      Color, B&W or toned is another choice to make. In general, I Lose the color if it does not add to the picture.
    2. Shadows may create a more compelling photo than the subject itself. Line and pattern are key. Let your eye fill in the blank details. Less is more.
    3. When shooting for shadows: remember soft diffused light close to the subject – such as a large umbrella or soft box or even clouds (relatively closer than the sun) will produce softer shadows. If the light source is distant and unmodified – i.e. direct- the light will be harsh and thus, will create sharp shadows. Know what you want to achieve and thus select the correct lighting.
    4. Reflections can include or exclude the object it is reflecting. Day or night, reflections can add an extra dimension or can even stand alone.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography photo tips photography photography tips reflections shadows silhouette http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/11/photography-of-silhouette-shadows-and-reflections Sat, 01 Nov 2014 14:15:00 GMT
    Pet Photography:THE JOY OF A DOGS LIFE http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/9/the-joy-of-a-dogs-life Sense of Place

    An assignment I was given at the Griffin Museum of Photography Atelier 21 program recently was “A Sense of Place”. We were told to walk around and shoot images of the area where you live, spend your weekends, were you work, etc. Thinking about that I planned on staying around my home and area. I did not want to include the gardens since so much of what I do is flower and still life photography. I decided to photograph the day to day life and joy of my pets. Since it was not easy walking with them on a dual leash and shooting with a DSLR, I was not happy with the results.  So I changed the concept to more of a illustrative approach such as for a Children’s book: “THE JOY OF A DOGS LIFE”. I used the new Topaz Impression application after basic processing in LightRoom. More to do and text to write!

    Cuba's wake up time with his toy "Baby".

    Tony and Cuba waiting for their morning walk.

    Down the driveway!

    Pure joy running on the morning dew covered lawn.

    Starting the exploration:

    Their favorite place: What do you think? A fun assignment. Try it yourself with Topaz Impression.

     

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography Impression Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante Topaz Topaz Labs Impression bed book creative photography dog dogs exploration home illustrative joy walk walks http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/9/the-joy-of-a-dogs-life Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:00:00 GMT
    Landscape Photography: September 2014 Photo Tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/8/LandscapePhotography Landscape Photography:

    1. Look for bad weather with great skies before a storm as well as the post storm quiet. This gives you freedom to go beyond the golden hours of predawn and dusk. Protect your gear with a shower cap or just dry off with a towel when done shooting.

    Even rainy days can present unique opportunities. Try shooting through your windshield for a unique blurred water look.

    2. Trust your instinct. If a site looks inviting, explore it further looking for angles and the direction of light to enhance the effect you envision. Walk around. Apps will help you predict sunrise, sunset and moonrise. I recommend TPE, The Photographer's Ephemeris.   Here is a link to a good review of Shooting the moon with help from this app.

    3. Learn to tell a story or awaken the viewers imagination. Look for a strong element in the foreground to anchor your image, mid ground to balance and give direction, while choosing a background that will tie it all together and set the stage.

    4. Capture an impression of what you see using light, movement and all your camera settings. Control of aperture and shutter speed (actually shutter duration) will provide the necessary tools if you take control. Supplementary fill flash of the foreground may be helpful to add interest to the foreground. Adding texture or other painterly effects can help.

    5. HDR (High Dynamic Range) is another tool you can utilize to show the full tonal range of an image. By capturing multiple images in rapid succession in aperture priority with a fixed aperture but with varying Shutter Speed you can produce an image that your eye can see but the camera cannot yet capture effectively in one shot. Set up for 3 to 5 exposure bracketed shots (each varying by one f stop for under, correct and overexposed images) on Continuous High with a tripod or steady handhold. Process these images in Photoshop with merge to HDR, NIK HDR Efex Pro or Photomatix Pro.

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) HDR apps creative photography landscape landscapes photo tips photography tips rain storms texture http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/8/LandscapePhotography Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:00:00 GMT
    Ships and Shards - A story: July-August 2014 Photo Bytes http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/6/ShipsandShards It was my pleasure photographing porcelain shards dating from 1625 to 1865. These were illustrated with writings from the 1838 Amanda Babson diaries and the ship’s journal entries of Captain Edward Babson who sailed the Cadet, and then fired onto the old porcelain by artist Diane Chen KW. These are now a permanent installation in the collection of the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA.

    Shipwrecks were quite common during storms and war with hidden danger around every corner. Treasures buried in the sands and journals left behind provide hints of a seafaring family’s way of life. 

    With this set up in my studio, tethered to a laptop for instantaneous review, shards were photographed against a graduated grey background –

    overview as well as macro detail shots.

    Then after assembly, embedded in sand and mortar as if found that way beneath the sea.

    Final Installation is on four walls at the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. (see below). A fifth wall will have Chinese export plates transformed by Diane KW using the diary and logbook documents.  Hope you can visit.

    Judith Monteferrante Photography

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Cape Ann Museum Diane Chen KW Fine Art Photography Judith Monteferrante calm collection disaster museum porcelain schooners shards ships shipwreck war http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/6/ShipsandShards Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:00:00 GMT
    June 2014 Photo Tips: Travel Photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/6/june-2014-photo-tips-travel-photography TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS:

    1. Shoot iconic structures from a different vantage point. Move around. Follow the light to choose front, back or side lighting. Early morning and dusk are favorites but stay later waiting for the deep blue sky post sunset and use a tripod for longer exposures.
    2. Do some close ups or macro images. This helps to tell the story by exploring one aspect of it. These iris are in Monet's Gardens. 
    3. Look for patterns or reflections. This helps train your eye to see and makes a more interesting picture. Remember, you need an interesting foreground, mid ground and background for a good landscape!
    4. Try double exposures in camera. Read your manual! This makes a well-known scene look completely new and fresh.
    5. Consider B&W or Sepia. This gives an air of drama or antiquity to your image depending on your location. And remember, just have fun.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Amsterdam Fine Art Photography France Giverny Holland Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante Paris creative photography dutch flowers macro photo tips photography photography tips travel windmills http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/6/june-2014-photo-tips-travel-photography Sun, 01 Jun 2014 17:10:14 GMT
    May 2014 Photo Tips: Using a Fisheye Lens http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/5/may-2014-photo-tips-using-a-fisheye-lens A fish-eye lens is an ultra-wide angle lens (short focal length) that produces strong visual barrel distortion intended to produce a hemispherical image or a wide panorama. They use special mapping to achieve these extremely wide angles of view but give you a characteristic convex non-rectilinear appearance to your image.  Typical focal lengths for full- frame sensors would be 15-16 mm (I shoot with a Nikon 16 mm on a FX sensor – D800 or 4 – not a DX ie. digital sensor). The name was introduced in 1906 by Robert W. Wood when he imagined how a fish would see objects from beneath the water. It was used primarily for meteorology or whole sky- sphere pictures initially. There are 2 groups of fish-eye lenses: Circular Fish-eye (180 degrees in every direction) – not as common and Diagonal Fish-eye (covers the whole picture frame but only 180 degrees on the diagonal field of view), but again lots depend on your sensor type (digital DX or full format FX). In general, however, there are only two middle straight lines – one horizontal and one vertical with zero distortion. Depth of Field (DOF) is almost limitless. Most of the time even at F/5.6-8 with focus on the nearest or the chosen object, the DOF will almost be to infinity.

    But with that out of the way, let’s have some fun.

    1. The main reason to use a fish-eye lens on landscapes is to emphasize the foreground and still allow you to include the sky. Remember, you must have something of interest in the foreground, so move around and select carefully.
    2. Landscapes with the horizon at the middle: should have little distortion, and will look like a panoramic picture. So if you need a very wide angle landscape (nearly 180 degree view), this may be the perfect lens. Often, however this may be boring, and at times you may want to emphasize the curve of the earth in the image and embrace the distortion but placing the horizon line close to the top or bottom of the frame. However, avoid getting your limbs in the frame. Never forget basic composition so look for leading lines, color, etc. to vitalize your landscape.      
    3. Use the fish-eye lens to enhance shape or structure in architecture: such as the curve of a building or object. Fish-eye lens will bend and distort verticals so either embrace or avoid or correct this (Tilt shift lens or post processing in LR or PS).    
    4. Try using a fish-eye as a vertical image (instead of horizontal by rotating your camera 90 degrees) to be able to include the foreground and more sky.   
    5. Also try pointing directly up at the sky or somewhere in between. In these pictures, the palms and sky take on a completely unexpected look. 
    6. Move closer to your subject to exaggerate DOF (versus a telephoto lens which will flatten it). However, with portrait subjects close to the lens, facial features will become quite distorted. Unless you want this comical effect, avoid getting too close to people. A good use would be to keep people closer to the mid ground to help capture them in their environment or place. 

    See my new business listing on:  http://www.GoTree.biz

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography fish-eye fish-eye lens fisheye landscape landscape photography photo tips photography photography tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/5/may-2014-photo-tips-using-a-fisheye-lens Thu, 01 May 2014 13:00:00 GMT
    Photography of Musicians http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/4/photography-of-musicians Photography of Musicians:

    1. Strobes (or Flash) vs. Available Light:

    During a performance, flash is typically avoided due to its distracting effect. Occasionally off camera flash on a light stand on stage is allowed, but don’t overwhelm the stage lights. Use  Spot metering mode on the main musician’s face which should be in the light since the background is best left dark. Using aperture priority, an aperture of F/4-5.6 is a good starting point, but you may need a wide open aperture of F/2.8 with a fast lens. This will limit the DOF (depth of field), but keeping the performers in one plane will help. Usually a high enough ISO to allow a reasonable shutter speed should be quite doable if you have a fairly current low noise hi ISO camera. If not possible, seize the effect of motion or learn to anticipate pauses and shoot then. In the studio, I shoot with 4 to 5 strobes and always in Manual mode with F/8-11 typically and 1/125, with an ISO 200 (to 400). I meter the foreground and background with a hand held light meter and adjust the lights accordingly. If using a white background, overexpose it by one to one ½ stops. If black, keep light off the background for pure black.

    2. On Location: During an indoor performance, learn to keep quiet and keep a low profile. Look for simplicity and avoid distracting elements in the frame as much as possible. Keep to the side to separate the musicians from their microphone. Try to show the interaction among the musicians. Capture the musicians enjoying themselves; their “music face”.

    3. Prepare: Creativity is a must and look for a theme or storytelling quality. Plan ahead with some possible scenarios. Listen to your client regarding what their needs and ideas are. Props are important and may be instruments, microphones or items of clothing such as jackets or hats. Push the limits for possible poses. Keep in mind the style of their music and the instruments they use. Meet with them in advance and review some possibilities. Note their hair color since if dark haired against a black background they will benefit from hair light. Have at least a dark and a white background with possible gels to add color. Prepare as much as you can in advance. I test some lighting scenarios on myself the day of the shoot.

    4. Clothing: Solid colors without logos or patterns are the best. At least two changes of clothing – one relaxed and one more formal with choice of dark and light outfits. Dark or black clothing against a dark background is slimming. Keep tones and styles similar if shooting 2 or more people. Avoid sleeveless tops except for the young – long sleeve is best. Avoid lots of jewelry. Simple casual clothes such as jeans and a white or black T shirt are timeless.

    5. Expressions:  Look for facial expressions and posture. Vary the positions and have some looking at the camera, some looking away, some looking at each other.  With or without their instruments. Some contemplative, some smiling. With and without singing and or playing. Make it a two way conversation.

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Photography instruction bands concerts musician photography musicians photo tips photography tips portraits studio http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/4/photography-of-musicians Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:00:00 GMT
    Spring into spring with Flower Photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/3/flower-photography
  • Vary your depth of field (DOF = Zone of acceptable sharpness) to see what looks best. Get close to your flower and have a background that is distant from your flower with nice muted or complementary shades. This first cone-flower at f/9 (more wide open aperture) has a softer background than the one shot at f/22 with the same 105 mm macro lens (focal length). OR use a more telephoto lens zoomed in at 200 or 300 mm while able to be more distant from the flower. The key factors that influence DOF: aperture, focal length and distance to the subject.     
  • Change your position. Don’t just shoot down on a flower or flowers. Look at them from below or from the side. Early morning dew as on this tulip adds to the dreamy quality. You can bring a spray bottle to help if nature disappoints. Adding glycerin to the water will help produce larger droplets.
  • It wind is your enemy, go with it. Try long exposures on a tripod to capture the flowers motion in the wind. Or hand hold and zoom your lens in or out while twisting the camera to produce this effect (Spin-Zoom).
  • Find an object of interest in or around your flower to spice up your image. Here this green tinged insect brings in the background colors.
  • Look for abstract or graphic elements. These colorful roses add a softness or drama to the rose petal curves. B&W will bring out the texture.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Flower photography Photography instruction flowers photo tips photography tips spring summer http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/3/flower-photography Sat, 01 Mar 2014 18:51:16 GMT
    February 2014 Photo Tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/february-2014-photo-tips Here is another review of some of my older images that I liked. I then analyzed them looking for why and how they worked for me. You should do this too on your images.

    1. What do you do on a dull gray day with haze, fog or mist? Add a tint. This is easy to do in Lightroom by adjusting the White Balance (WB) with the temperature slider towards yellow to add warmth or the tint slider towards magenta. WB can be adjusted the same way in Camera RAW in Photoshop, or you can add an adjustment layer to modify the hue/ saturation, add a tint to Black & White, or pick a color for the Photo Filter or choose a warming or cooling filter among other choices. 
    2. It is hard to expose for the Landscape and the Moon. This African scene from the shores of the Zambezi River works however with the orange harvest moon and the darker tree with the darker grassy hill. However typically to expose properly for both as well as to maintain the size of the moon your mind sees, it is best to shoot each separately. Use a telephoto lens to zoom into the moon and just expose for the moon alone and then zoom out and shoot a wide angle scene to include the moon.  Afterwards in Photoshop, just exchange for the larger and properly exposed moon.
    3. What do you do with back lit scenes too distant to use fill flash? Create a silhouette. In aperture priority, use – 1 to – 2 exposure compensation to allow the silhouette to go completely black. You can still adjust the black point afterwards as well. You do need a clearly recognizable figure for a silhouette to work well.
    4. Photography of glassware has special lighting requirements to add the black or white line to the edge of the glass. First you need to be in a darkened room to avoid reflections on glass. White Line: Against black, add white foam core to the edges of the scene with black foam core or other background directly behind the glass. Light only the white edges. This can also be done by using a white sheet or translucent material as the white and then lighting it from behind. Black Line: is the reverse. Just light the white foam core or the translucent material behind the glass with the light (or just use a softbox as your white panel). Add black material to the edges or just the absence of light to these areas will create the black line.
    5. Reflections will be crisp if you use plexiglass – black, white or mirrored. Reflections enhance the dimension of a still life. If you just use glass over white or black paper, there will be a double line in the reflection, due to the refraction by the thickness of the glass. 
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Black line Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography glassware photo tips photography tips reflections silhouette white line http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/february-2014-photo-tips Fri, 31 Jan 2014 22:45:00 GMT
    January 2014_Photo Tips_Wildlife Photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/january-2014_photo-tips What makes animal or any wildlife photography special? What makes someone want to linger over an image? Emotion or feelings provoked by the image are often responsible. Memories also induce our minds to wonder, while good composition leads the way.

    Let’s review six key elements that I believe add to this magic: eyes, patterns, reflections, action, environment and/or the young.

    1. The Eyes have it! It has been said that the eyes are windows to the soul. Eyes draw us in and evoke an emotional response. Eyes (or near eye) need to be in focus and best if shooting at their level and not down. Eyes need to be at a good location according to rules of composition. For example, at an intersection point on the grid for the Rule of Thirds or in the top 1/3rd if a head shot or head and shoulders. A catch light is important as well, since this conveys a spark of life and a connection. Front lighting, flash with the white card up or using the focused flash beam with or without the Better Beamer to extend this distance.
    2. Patterns or Symmetry create a graphic pattern. Learn to look for patterns and shapes. Zebra stripes are like fingerprints, and are unique for each animal. If the message of the image is this pattern, think of what distracts from this. Color does, so convert to B&W with a definite white and black point but minimal in the mid-range (or grey tones). If the grey tones remain, you would just have a color photo with the colors removed. Black and white often reveals more about the subject by enhancing contrast and texture with control of the position of your light. Silver Efex Pro 2 has some great presets to try. Toned images such as Sepia add warmth and an old world feel. 
    3. Reflections double the impact. Look to shoot after a rain storm or near a quiet body of water such as a puddle, pond or lake without sun shining directly on the water.
    4. Look for Action that you can either freeze or blur. Avoid shooting when animals are eating with their head down or resting, usually mid day. Most activity occurs in the early hours of the day or around dusk. When light levels are lower, it is easier to use a slow shutter speed and pan. With mid day light, freezing the action is much easier. Typical shutter speeds to freeze action would be 1/125 for large animals, 1/250 for medium animals, 1/500 for small animals or large birds and 1/1000 for small birds. Use continuous servo Auto Focus with predictive focus tracking and Continuous Low or High speed shutter release mode to follow action. Choose the auto focus area mode, such as Dynamic to track action and select 21 focus point option! Read your manual, since options will differ depending on your camera. Panning for Motion requires a slower shutter: 1/60, 1/30 or slower and may require a low ISO, stopping down to a small aperture such as f/22-32 and / or using a Polarizing or ND filter. Target the subject’s shoulders or torso and keep the panning vector aligned with the animal’s direction of travel. Set for high speed shutter release, and move smoothly through he series, continuing the pan even after you releasing the shutter button. Turn off vibration reduction during panning. Lots of trial and error here. 
    5. Sense of place will help you tell a story. Environment is important in setting the stage and to create a sense of place. Dusk and Dawn, the Golden Hour, has always been important for the photographer, and getting up early and staying out late is typical. During the golden hours, the sun is at an angle where it will illuminate mist, fog or dust, giving you a great golden glow when the weather conditions permit it.  It is best to avoid cluttered background either with your position, by zooming in or by using a more shallow depth of field (shooting wide open – one or 2 stops smaller than the max aperture: such as f/4 to f/5.6 with an f/2.8 lens).
    6. Everyone loves a baby or a family scene. Plan your trips around the time of year young can be anticipated. This generally means spring in the US but the opposite for Africa. For example on the Serengeti most of the wildebeest calves are born during a three week period, usually the beginning of February. The lioness will share the task of raising young with her sisters and multiple sets of cubs may be seen at the same time especially during our fall in Kenya.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Photography instruction animal photography bird photography nature photo tips photography photography tips wildlife http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2014/1/january-2014_photo-tips Wed, 01 Jan 2014 15:00:00 GMT
    December 2013 Photo Tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/12/december-2013-photo-tips Winter Photography Tips:

    1. Remember the three basics to getting a good shot: SAS – concentrate on the SUBJECT then see how you can draw ATTENTION to that subject then SIMPLIFY by making sure nothing is in the shot that will distract. Avoid having the horizon dead center, remember the rule of thirds and look for leading lines which will draw the eye into the photo. _-4
    2. Exposure challenges with snow: The modern digital camera has a very accurate matrix or evaluative through the lens meter (TTL) that measures the light reflected back adjusts for average luminance (50% lightness or middle grey). Therefore snow may meter too bright if it is a large part of your image. The camera exposure in aperture priority or shutter priority may then compensate and make the snow more light grey. You want the snow to be pure white and slightly overexposed.  The color balance may appear blue tinged (will suggest the cold but may be not what you want). Therefore when shooting in aperture exposure mode, add +1/3 to 2/3 exposure compensation if needed and perform an in camera White Balance for the most accurate color or just use a Cloudy white balance to warm up the Blue if desired. Avoid Auto White Balance.
    3. Cold protection: Remember to dress in layers, wear hi tech snow boots, a hat, and gloves made for cross country skiing or, if planning an all-day shoot, use ice climbing gloves. Keep your spare batteries warm in an inner pocket of your snow jacket and pack plenty of them, since the cold will discharge batteries much quicker. Avoid breathing on your lens. Breathe through your mouth to avoid getting condensation on your viewfinder. When going from a warm to cool place or the reverse, protect your camera and lens with a sealed plastic bag lined with a white towel inside to absorb the condensation. This may take a few hours. Keep the gear in your car when working covered with a white towel when out of the bag. Choose a memory card suited to extreme temperatures. Avoid changing lenses in winter weather.
    4. Great Skies: In the winter, dawn and dusk still add wonderful color and mystery to your photos. Grey skies can add drama. Plan on shooting during a snow storm or right after one for the most mystery and controllable light. Avoid full sun or mixed and dappled light for a landscape with snow. Niles Beach in winter
    5. Remember foreground, mid ground and background elements: Zoom out or stand back to look for foreground elements to balance out the photo and add interest or flow to the rest of the image.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Judith M Photography cold cold weather landscapes photo tips photography seasonal snow winter winter photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/12/december-2013-photo-tips Sun, 01 Dec 2013 18:15:00 GMT
    November 2013 Photo Tips_Portrait Photography Deadly Sins http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/10/november-2013-photo-tips Five Six deadly sins to avoid in Portrait Photography:

    1. Wrong focus point:  Focus on the eyes or the eye closest to the camera. For head and shoulder shots, eyes should be in the top 1/3rd of the view. Eyes are the window to the soul and give the portrait life! Also position the camera at the same level as their eye line or slightly below. If they are too tall, have them sit or you can move further away and zoom in. This is essential for children and pets as well. If doing a group photo, keep everyone in the same plane (equal distance from the camera) to give you more option in the choice of aperture (f/stop) and still keep everyone in focus. This concept is also important for macro photography.
    2. Lack of attention to the Background: Unless you are doing an environmental portrait where the background helps tell the story, pay attention to the background to avoid distracting from your picture. Distance from the background is important (greater is better- as much as 10 feet if possible) as well as adjusting the depth of field to blur the background (create Bokeh by using a wide open aperture such as 1.4 or 2.8 - remember proper focus will be even more important). Or get closer and have the subject fill the frame.
    3. Using the wrong lens: Again, unless using a wide angle lens close to the subject to capture the environment as above, avoid wide angle lenses since they distort (such as making the nose more prominent). Stepping away from the subject and use a telephoto lens such as 200-300 mm is the most flattering and is used by fashion photographers. Some portrait photographers favor the 85 mm prime lenses (with FX - or full format cameras) or 100 mm macro (if a DX format - digital cropped camera) but most prefer a focal length from 120 to 200 mm.
    4. Taking boring, routine portraits: Get to know your subject before you start shooting. Ask them to bring a prop from their hobbies or profession, or just something that is important to them. An interesting location or great textured wall or background may be another option to consider. Turn the camera and shoot vertical (portrait orientation). A simple flower, fruit or favorite hat may help bring out the soul of the person and enliven them and thus the picture. Change perspective or add a slant; mix up your style; try something new. Remember your goal is to bring out their personality and character.
    5. Poor posing techniques: Most people are intimidated by being in front of the camera, so make them feel comfortable first by just chatting. Guide them into some attractive natural appearing poses and avoid having them sit squarely facing the camera. Good posture is always important. Start with having them facing 45 degrees away from the camera and then have them turn their head to face the camera. (45 degrees is a good angle to remember)  Another is to sit sideways in a chair with the legs angled.  Watch the position of their feet and hands.
    6. Poor lighting: Choice of light will enhance or soften features, so this is another crucial aspect. Avoid outside locations on a sunny day unless early morning or dusk or just look for shady spots. Cloudy days are more forgiving. If using flash, all your portraits will be vastly improved by taking the flash off the camera and positioning the flash or any light source to one side at around 45 degrees and slightly above the subject pointing downward like the sun. Window light (with sheer fabric or frosted shower curtain softening it if it is a bright sunny day) should also come from around 45 degrees from your subject so that light can illuminate while shadows define. If they are facing the window directly, light will be flat which may be useful to soften wrinkles. Beauty light is similar with a piece of white foam core or fabric held at any angle below the frame of your picture and angled upward towards the chin, to eliminate harsh shadows or soften them.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante Portrait Photography background creative photography focus lens lighting photo tips photography photography tips portraits posing http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/10/november-2013-photo-tips Thu, 31 Oct 2013 17:15:00 GMT
    October Photography Tips_2013 http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/9/october-photography-tips_2013 This month I thought I would review some of my older images. This was prompted by 2 recent sales of some of these prints -from Africa – both of zebras. It is always a good idea to review old images and consider carefully what worked and what didn’t work to gain perspective. It is also a good time to fine tune techniques.

    1. Solarization or polarization effect – Sabatier effect-  with Photoshop and a curve adjustment level to create a colorful background for my “Motherhood” image of a pregnant zebra mare with young zebra from my first trip to Africa. The zebras were masked to exclude the effect on them. This effect was popularized by the surrealist photographer Man Ray in the early twentieth center. This occurred when his darkroom assistant accidentally turned the light on while a print was in the developer causing a partial reversal of the tones in the image. Using a Photoshop curve adjustment level with an inverted V and the other adjustments OR use a duplicated image and blend with the Difference mode can also work. I do not think PS filters work as well. Different images react in different ways, so experiment. 
    2. Digital Infrared (or Infra Red) photography – with my old Nikon D2 converted to an IR camera by LifePixel which they did by removing the IR blocking (hot mirror) filter in front of the sensor and replacing it with a filter that removes visible light. (These conversions work best on older cameras).  I had a color IR conversion done, so I need to convert my images to B&W or reverse the channels so the sky remains blue and ground is red-orange. I prefer B&W. This “Woods effect” is caused mainly by foliage that strongly reflects so that it appears white while the Sky appears dark black. Focus is less sharp. Landscapes work best. People appear soft and veins become prominent.  Pepsico stroll
    3. Light Painting a Landscape or Structure at Night – using long exposures, prefocusing then switch to manual focus, tripod, remote shutter trigger and then lighting part of the subject during the exposure (flashlight or multiple on the flash itself triggering of the flash). This photo was taken late at night during a light drizzle, no other light source anywhere near the scene and total cloud cover. I was surprised to see stairs when I reviewed my images later. Shutter Speed 30 seconds, but longer SS usually needed, f/8 and ISO 400 are starting guidelines. If very long exposures are anticipated, use a higher ISO to freeze the stars. My exposure for this picture was Shutter Speed of 5 seconds (which really is duration), Aperture of f/2.8, ISO 200, 0 EV. Lots of trial and error. Remember to choose a setting with minimal if any available light. Bring a headlamp for setup, but then need to turn it off. The first to try this was Pablo Picasso. Again, experiment and always have fun! 
    4. HDR – I am not a big fan of HDL but some images with a wide range of light benefit from HDR. My newer Nikon camera can now do this in camera but requires a switch to jpeg format first. Photoshop as well as other vendors speed the post processing. Enough said. Lots to read if you are interested. May work even better on your B&W images. 
    5. B&W landscapes – photographed in color and then converted to B&W. Today, there are so many ways to convert to B&W but I usually use Nik Silver Effex Pro recently. This is an individual choice. Shoot in Raw format and look for lines, shadows, shapes and patterns as well as side lighting to enhance texture. Remember to keep the wide tonal contrast range with a black point for some pure black and white point as well as varying tones of grey. 
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Africa Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante black and white photography creative photography photo tips photography tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/9/october-photography-tips_2013 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 12:00:00 GMT
    September Photo Tips 2013 and the Making of the Lismore Castle Book http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/8/lismore-castle-ireland-and-september-photo-tips  

    Were were all invit...
    By Judith Monteferrante
     

    The link to the book preview to "Once Upon a Time, We were invited to a Castle"  Lismore Castle in Ireland. Take a look! Full preview available.

    September High Five Photo Tips:

    1. Ideally travel light: one body (unless you have the room for a spare), enough memory cards, and a lightweight monopod. My favorite is a roller camera bag. Remember you need to protect against heat, cold, sand and moisture. Extra trash bags come in handy. I don’t like to carry extra weight, and would rather walk around just with the camera and lens for freedom, and leave all the extras in the hotel or car.Ballroom Dining

      2. Travel opens up a wide scope of genres for the avid photographer to explore, and choice of lens or lenses is important. If you can select one glass, opt for a fast zoom such as an 18-200mm DX or 28-300mm FX etc. Sometimes you’ll find the focal point far off in the distance, but other times it could be right under your nose, as such a variable focal length lens that starts with a healthy wide angle and follows through to telephoto is ideal. If you have extra room or would prefer a wider choice consider: a portrait prime lens (e.g. 50mm or 85mm), a wide angle lens or fisheye (e.g. 10-24mm) and a telephoto (e.g. 70-200mm or 80-400mm).Castle from Blackwater River with Reflections

    3.  Shooting in RAW will offer the greatest flexibility on your return and highest resolution files. It is best to download your images to a laptop or photo storage device every night which will also allow a quick review to make sure all your settings are ok. When you go off shooting, take twice the amount of cards/capacity with you than you would expect to need as well as spare batteries, lens cleaners and a towel if it rains to dry your camera and a pillow case to protect your camera from sand if needed.Irish Countryside

    4.  Each night, after a busy day with your camera, take the time to add keywords and locations of places, people and activities featured in your photos while still fresh in your memory.Candlelight Dining

    5. In choice tourist destinations, it can be difficult thinking of novel ways to shoot recognizable landmarks and sight-seeing subjects. I prefer to focus on originality and plan for a story I want to tell. My Lismore Castle Book is one such example. This helps me plan what shots I took each day, remembering to get the long views at different times of the day, macro and detail shots and enough people and location shots to anchor the story. Take a look at the book preview on the link above to see what I mean.Night view of the Castle

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Judith M Photography Lismore Lismore Castle Lismore Ireland Photography instruction castle creative photography photo tips photography photography tips river. http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/8/lismore-castle-ireland-and-september-photo-tips Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:00:00 GMT
    July - August 2013 - Upgrade to Lightroom 5 http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/7/july---august-2013 Why you should upgrade to Adobe Lightroom 5? :

    1. The Spot Removal brush - which is really an advanced healing brush - has been greatly improved and works more like the content aware healing brush in Photoshop. You can paint over the entire defect in a continuous motion and then even adjust the correction source. Terrific! On the bottom of the picture, you can check visualize spots: then adjust the size to help locate spots by edge detection on smooth surfaces, the sky, dust on tables, etc. Very helpful. See example below.
    2. The Graduated Filter has always been one of my favorite additions to Lightroom. Now there is an additional Radial Filter,  that gives more control to global and localized adjustments such as off center vignettes and adding highlights, which is an improvement over the Adjustment Brush tool. See below.

    1. Perspective can now be fixed with vertical correction and also level to correct the horizon easily with the new Upright Tool. In the Lens Correction module>Basic - check Enable Profile Corrections (don’t check remove chromatic aberration) and check auto, level, vertical or full depending on the image. If not enough and you need more control, select Manual on the top bar.

     

    1. If you would like to work on your files on a laptop (such as after a shoot while traveling) or on a work computer without the original Hard Drive connected, you can create Smart Previews (at time of download or after) that will allow you to work in the Develop module without the original images. These are 20% of the size of your original files and allow for faster downloads and then you need to create only standard previews. When you re-link to your hard drive, it will update your original files and connect them with your develop or metatadata updates keeping the smart preview and the original.

    Orchid duet

    1. Some additional Notes: Negative Sharpness reduces apparent depth of field while negative clarity creates softening. Audio and video can now easily be added to slideshows, even on a PC. And the best part, all your settings and presets from the prior version are remembered. On MAC however make sure you check - store presets with catalog. Plus the Book module has been greatly improved. Great! Lightroom 5 is priced at $149 as a standalone purchase, with upgrading pricing of $79 available to current Lightroom users. Subscribers to Adobe's Creative Cloud service will also receive access to Lightroom 5 with their memberships.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Lightroom 5 Lightroom upgrade photo tips http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/7/july---august-2013 Mon, 01 Jul 2013 17:00:00 GMT
    June_Capturing Sharp Photos http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/6/june_capturing-sharp-photos
  • Use a tripod to keep the camera rigid.  Invest in a good steady but lightweight tripod such as carbon fiber one.  Manfrotto if you like clips or Gitzo if you prefer rotational twist on the legs. Next a great ball head. I prefer Really Right Stuff products for this or Arca Swiss monoball 2. Best to go into a good local camera store for help with deciding on what you need based on your camera and lens weight, as well as your height.  B&H in NY or Hunts in the Boston area.
  • Use a shutter release.  Pressing the shutter will cause vibrations than reduce the sharpness of your photo.  Use a remote – wired or remote – switch. Or use your camera’s self-timer with a short delay such as 2 seconds.
  • Mirror lock up to reduce the vibration from the movement of the camera’s mirror (if it has one) when the shutter releases. This presents more of a problem is the shutter speed is less than 1/30 second.
  • Most cameras have a sharpest aperture and it’s not at any extreme f/stop; that is when wide open due to aberration or stopped down due to diffraction. F/8 to f/11 is usually a safe bet.
  • For a moving subject, choose the shutter speed (in Manual or Shutter Priority) that is high enough to freeze the subject movement. This may require an increase in the ISO.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography creative photography photo tips photography photography tips sharpness http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/6/june_capturing-sharp-photos Sat, 01 Jun 2013 12:00:00 GMT
    May_People and Portraits http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/may_people-and-portraits 1. Remember, portraits are usually in the vertical orientation, so do not forget to rotate the camera out of the landscape or horizontal mode. Try both orientations since sometimes horizontal may work best! Break rules only after you understand them.BEGGAR Leave some negative space.

    child

     

     

     

     

     

    Mother

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2. A great portrait does not always need the face - add mystery. Less may be more!

    fireman

    3. Props or the environment are often an important part of the portrait. This includes clothing. Be aware of everything!

    motorcycle with grey hair bearded man

    4. Look for a plain or simple background. Avoid distracting the eye with a busy background or an over-bright sky. You may need to move your subject. Sometimes standing a bit further away and zooming in to throw the background out of focus will be needed for a background to be less distracting and make your subject stand out easily.

    child

    5. Be aware of various skin tones and preset your White Balance to a neutral target (custom white balance (WB) with a white or grey WB card or by shooting a color checker WB card to correct later.

    threesome

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography people photo tips photography tips portrait portraits http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/may_people-and-portraits Wed, 01 May 2013 21:30:00 GMT
    April Photo Tips_Wildlife Photography http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/april-photo-tips_wildlife-photography
  • lion cubs Be at your subject’s eye level to create an intimate environment. The worse position is shooting down on the wildlife subject. You may need to lie on the ground. Moose Peterson uses a Frisbee disc to slide on beaches to get close to shore birds. 
    Lion in B&W
  • Eye connection is important.  Eyes need to be sharp and clear, even if the rest of your subject or scene is not. A Fresnel accessory for your flash (Better Beamer) for fill light will help extend flash distance and allow you to get catch-light in the eyes even if the animal or bird is in the shade. This is the signature of a professional nature photographer.
    Dik-Dik
  • Shoot with a wide open aperture – generally one to 1 ½ stop above the max aperture. Need to de-emphasize the cluttered or distracting background that does not add to the image.wide open
  • Remember the basic rules of composition. Rule of Thirds, for example, recommends you place the animal at one of the crossbars, facing into the scene and not away.leopard in B&W
  • Look at the light – the quantity, quality, direction and temperature and adjust the time, direction and place of your shoot. Move and adjust. Mid day with clear blue skies usually will not work, but a lightly overcast sky will add depth since the contrast range is within the range of most camera’s capabilities. Early or late in the day (the Golden Hours) will generally be best.elephants at dusk If you are planning an African safari, I have a pdf guide to help you plan and then experience the best photography photo safari experience. Email me if interested - from the contact page http://www.judithmphotography.com/contact.html.
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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) . Africa African safari African wildlife Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography animals creative photography mammals photography photography tips safari wildlife safari http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/4/april-photo-tips_wildlife-photography Mon, 01 Apr 2013 14:00:00 GMT
    March Photo Tips_ Breaking Rules http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/3/march-photo-tips_-breaking-rules I always say you need to know the rules before you break them! But when you do, here are some exceptions:

    1. Taking pictures in the Golden Hour around sunrise and sunset.  Requires more stamina and early to wake and late to dinner, but the light is gorgeous and an accepted rule for professional nature photographers.  Mid day is a challenge but the shadows create magical contrast and quiet more intimate scenes. There are lots of ways to counter the harsh light, but that is for another blog posting.  This is also a great time to shoot with an infrared converted camera. Always have your camera at hand, any time of day.Mid day arabian horse 2. Rule of Thirds.  This is a good start but not the only guideline for composition. It is essential however to not place the horizon line in mid image.  That is a snapshot, not a photograph. Avoid fly by shooting, where thought is not required. Slow down. Move and reposition. Back lite whales These Orca whales divide the scene but the dramatic back lighting and reflections overcome that restraint. These tomatoes are another example.tomatoes

    3. Trust your TTL (Through the Lens) camera metering. Metering is set to put mid gray in the middle of the tonal range. Therefore, if your image is mainly white, this will be metered as mid gray. Thus, the resultant image will be midtoned and the snow, grey and not white.  For a largely white scene such as a snow scape or fog scene, when shooting in aperture priority, add +1 or more exposure comp. snowed in boat winter evergreen seedlings

    4. All photos should have a bell shaped histogram and thus average.  Wrong. Every image should have its own shaped histogram depending on the tones in the image. A purely black and white zebra, will only have tones at both ends of the scales.  An image with dark to mid tones, like this cabbage and pepper abstract, will have a left shifted curve. There is NO NORMAL.cabbage and pepper abstract histogram

    5. Always shoot with the sun to your back.  Most of the above images prove that wrong and boring. Nothing is as magical as back light and as revealing of texture as side light. Move and explore the potential of light.lion, backlight, in sunset, as silhoette

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    judith@judithmphotography.com (Judith Monteferrante Fine Art Photography) Fine Art Photography Judith M Photography Judith Monteferrante creative photography photo rules to break photo tips photography photography tips rules http://www.judithmphotography.com/blog/2013/3/march-photo-tips_-breaking-rules Fri, 01 Mar 2013 14:00:00 GMT