The Human Web

The Human Web.

I created this image for a photography class I was teaching at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) in Michigan. It was so popular that Jim Riegel, the head of the photography department, asked if he could exhibit it at the KIA faculty exhibit at the annual Kalamazoo Art Fair in Bronson Park in June. Jim was in charge of the faculty exhibit. When June 2 rolled around, he used it as the centerpiece work of art for the KIA exhibit. At the end of the day he told me it was the most talked about work of art in the faculty exhibit. All kinds of people stopped by to ask questions about it and how it was created.  This article explains how I did it.

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Greater Prairie Chicken Excitement!

Greater Prairie Chicken near Elk Chapel Road, Decatur County Iowa.  February 15, 2024. 5:24 pm.

A male Greater Prairie Chicken has taken up residence on the edge of a cornfield about 30-40 feet from a county highway, much to the delight of bird watchers. I got a call from a friend, so I grabbed my camera gear and drove out to the location.  This image (above) was taken with the sun low in the west so this prairie chicken has wonderful, warm backlighting. Compare this light to the next photo.

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“Black and White”

“Black and White”, Giulietta Luna, Columbus Ohio. Click image to see a larger version.

These images were created 14 hours apart, the first at night against a black backdrop and the second in the afternoon against a bright, window shade. In the second she is entirely backlit. It did not occur to me until this week that these two images could be combined. It is a happy accident that they are facing each other.

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Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs, and More

Welcome to my online buying guide for photographers. With over 75 articles it is one of the most comprehensive photography buyer’s guides on the web.

I get lots of photo questions, especially at this time of year, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone who is shopping for a photographer.  If you are shopping for yourself, or for a photographer in your life, this series is for you.

My “best of the best” series recommends the best photo gear, accessories, software, books, DVDs, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. Thanks to the information in these articles I get emails from photographers thanking me for saving them time, frustration, and a lot of money.

This article is published annually in November with regular updates. Re-posted November 20, 2023. Most recent update: December 8, 2023.

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Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend in Beautiful Northern Michigan

Michigan Photography Workshop

Are you ready to take your nature and wildlife photography to the next level? Are you ready to learn the professional secrets that make the difference between good images and great images? Are you ready for a high intensity, action packed, total immersion photography weekend? Come to Park of the Pines on beautiful Lake Charlevoix October 13-15, 2023.

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Portraits: Patterned Cloth As A Backdrop

Candy Poses

I was in a fabric store looking for lightweight (thin), white cloth with a pattern that I could use as a backdrop. My plan was to put a studio light behind the cloth and shoot through the cloth at my subject. The light would wrap around my subject. I had to experiment with the output of the studio light to get the look that I wanted. I was pleased with the final result.

Painting People with Light

Rachel painted with light.

Painting with light is an interesting technique that gives you a different kind of look from using a flash unit or ambient light. As with other kinds of light you can make your subject as light or dark as you want. For these images I went with a darker, low key look. Inanimate objects are the usual subjects for painting with light because they do not move during the long exposures, but I wanted to try it with a live human being so I asked a friend to be my subject.

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POTD: Sabrina

Sabrina

This Picture of the Day was created with a simple one light set up. The studio flash was directly in front of Sabrina’s face to camera right. I usually have my main light above the subject’s face and bounced out of an umbrella which creates a more appealing image, but there are times the rules need to be broken. For this image it worked best for the direct light of the flash (no umbrella) to be level with her face.

How To Set A Custom White Balance on Your Digital Camera

Jennifer before and after setting a custom white balance.

To get the most accurate colors your camera is capable of creating you need to set a custom white balance. Every camera does this a little differently, but it involves taking a picture of an 18% gray card (or something pure white) and using that photo as a standard to create a custom white balance setting. I will show you the process with a Canon camera, but other brands should be somewhat similar. Check your camera’s manual for specific instructions.

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Putting Together a “Studio in a Backpack”

Portable Studio in a Backpack

Portable “studio in a backpack” set up and ready to go.

If I am visiting family and friends and traveling by car, I often bring my “studio in a backpack”. I never know when I might be asked to do some portraits and having some studio gear along helps create better images (especially when natural light is not a very good option). If you want to do portraits on the road (or even at home), these items are very useful. You can order these items from Amazon via the link at the end of this article.

Continue reading

Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs, and More

Welcome to my online buying guide for photographers. With over 75 articles it is one of the most comprehensive buyer’s guides on the web.

I get lots of photo questions, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone who is shopping for a photographer.

My “best of the best” series recommends the best photo gear, accessories, software, books, DVDs, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. Thanks to the information in these articles I get emails from photographers thanking me for saving them time, frustration, and a lot of money.

This article is published annually in November with regular updates. Most recent update: November 17, 2023.

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Beth Presler at Lake LaShane

Beth Presler, Lake LaShane.

Beth and I were on a mission to create fall color water portraits. Shooting at Lake LaShane was not part of the fall color plan. In advance of the day of our shoot I scouted several lakes, steams,and rivers in the area to find the best fall color. Only one location had the kind of fall color by the water that I wanted, Slip Bluff Lake.

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Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

Welcome to my online buying guide for photographers. With over 75 articles it is one of the most comprehensive buyer’s guides on the web.

I get lots of photo questions, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone who is shopping for a photographer.

My “best of the best” series recommends the best photo gear, accessories, software, books, DVDs, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. Thanks to the information in these articles I get emails from photographers thanking me for saving them time, frustration, and a lot of money.

Continue reading

Putting Together a “Studio in a Backpack”

Portable Studio in a Backpack

Portable “studio in a backpack” set up and ready to go.

If I am visiting family and friends and traveling by car, I often bring my “studio in a backpack”. I never know when I might be asked to do some portraits and having some studio gear along helps create better images (especially when natural light is not a very good option). If you want to do portraits on the road (or even at home), these items are very useful. You can order these items from Amazon via the link at the end of this article.

Continue reading

Inexpensive Gifts (Starting at $8) for Photographers

Flash adapter and umbrella for an shoe-mount electronic flash.

Flash adapter and umbrella for a shoe-mount electronic flash.

There are a lot of practical and inexpensive (more or less) gifts for photographers. Here is a nice list of items starting at $8. To make it easy to track them down, these items are individuality linked plus most of these items can be found in the Misc Goodies section of my photography store which has direct links to Amazon.com. Prices are current as of the date of this post, but prices do fluctuate. Some items can be temporarily unavailable. These items are not listed in order of price.

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Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More

Welcome to my online buying guide for photographers. With over 75 articles it is one of the most comprehensive buyer’s guides on the web.

I get lots of photo questions, and many of them begin with “What is the best . . . .” They usually come from photographers or someone who is shopping for a photographer.

My “best of the best” series recommends the best photo gear, accessories, software, books, DVDs, online photo labs, and a whole lot more. Thanks to the information in these articles I get emails from photographers thanking me for saving them time, frustration, and a lot of money.

This article is published annually in November with regular updates. Most recent update: February 10, 2021.

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Using the Histogram to Check Studio Flash Exposures

Sarah, Professional Fitness Trainer

Sarah, Professional Fitness Trainer

When using studio flash units, usually the best way to check your exposures is to use an incident light meter which is capable of metering flash exposures. But what if you don’t have an incident flash meter? Or what if you have a subject that absorbs a lot of light? Or a subject that reflects a lot more light than your typical photographic subject? You can double check your exposure settings by using the histogram on your camera. FYI: Do not trust the LCD image on the back of your camera to judge your exposures.

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Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend in Beautiful Northern Michigan

Michigan Photography Workshop

Are you ready to take your nature and wildlife photography to the next level? Are you ready to learn the professional secrets that make the difference between good images and great images? Are you ready for a high intensity, action packed, total immersion photography weekend? Come to Park of the Pines on beautiful Lake Charlevoix June 12-15, 2020.

Continue reading