Technical: Nikon D90, 1/80 sec, f9, focal length 18


Susan emailed that she likes the play of the leaves’ shadows over the sculpture. Another recent news story about ‘love’ in Maine revolves around a one woman brothel run from a dance studio in southern Maine near to former President George Bush’s Maine compound. She shot video (of course) and the latest news is about who’s being ‘outed.’ This image is a lot more innocent. I actually like the vertical crop of this square sculpture. The subject is isolated and distracting background is kept to a minimum. The shadows do indeed add some interest. Good job Susan.

Ryan and the Gull

Technical: Nikon D90, 1/400 sec, f10, focal length 70


That’s one way to get the gulls excited. Action! So there’s a choice, Susan. The image is about Ryan flying and copying the gull. If you crop the image and keep just the sand, Ryan, and the gull, it would be a sweet isolation shot. I’m not sure you need the boardwalk or the overexposed sky. Give it a try.

Susan shot Ryan chasing the gulls. Funny, they never catch them. If we could keep up, I’d have shot this one from face on. That would have been a good one. The joy of the moment is represented, though. I wish you could have run a little faster than the kid and the gull. But I doubt I could have done it either.

And before I posted the original, Susan sent me her cropped version. Isn’t it wonderful that she read my mind. Yes, indeed, it’s a stronger image. Good. It’s a real coincidence that her email arrived just moments before this post came out.


Technical: Nikon D90, 1/125 sec, f5.6, focal length 170

Kevin has a thing about chipmunks. He hates them. It’s good he doesn’t have a gun. But Susan shot this one. The upper leaves are overexposed. It’s because there is too much dynamic range in the light. To make it simpler, the upper background is too bright. You can compensate in the camera. Usually the meter will under expose the chipmunk. In order to get everything to look naturally unnatural, you would shoot two images exposing for the light and dark. Or, you could shoot raw and manipulate in Photoshop. I’m less inclined to overthink the image. If you’ll notice the chipmunk is pretty dead center in the image. It tends to get that way when you don’t take time to compose because the critter will only be there a split second.


Technical: Canon DSLR

This image is interesting once again because of the contrast color of the blossoms. It’s not as strong as the last image because the cropping could be tighter. The image lacks a strong center point on which to settle. Is it the pink? Or, is it the center of one of the others that we should be focusing upon. What is it that we are being asked to notice? Good questions that might help to make this a stronger image. You could probably crop this post processing.

Where to Crop?

Technical: Canon G11, 1/800 sec, f4, focal length 6.1mm

Susan, it’s a pretty good shot as you have cropped already. Editing is a personal choice. I think that there are a number of elements to this picture. Cropping one thing or another would change the image. This is something to think about as you press the shutter. Take a couple more shots, horizontal, vertical, zoom in, zoom out. That way you have options in the edit and crop of post production. Sometimes the best shot is not seen in the viewfinder at that moment. It’s easier with digital. I tend to go with tighter cropping and more zoomed in detail. But it’s hard to make any general rule. I like this shot. The elements in play are the kids. Do you emphasize them more? If you do, you lose the beach and the houses. Are the houses in the background important to the image or the story? The reflection of the kids’ legs adds another interest. Keep them or not, it’s your decision as photographer. Considering the image it looks as though it doesn’t need anything more and subtraction would not help. Oh! And you were in the water when you shot this! Good for you!

London Time Lapse

Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1.3 sec, f14, focal length 50mm

David will have to explain how he pulled off this image. The exposure is 1.3 seconds. It looks like a double exposure but the metadata says it was all done in one exposure in the camera. As an engineer, David has produced some very imaginative shots from a technical viewpoint. This is one shot that I admire and will wait till he explains the process. You really got me on this one. (see reply, David explains)

Grand Central

Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/25 sec, f3.5, focal length 10

David shot this image with a wide angle 10mm lens on the Canon 7D. You can see the distortion of the people leaning into the center of the image frame. I like the shot for it’s even exposure. The white balance of daylight and mixed fluorescent and incandescent is a nightmare. The incandescent glow is nice. The shot could have done without people. I think without a crowd the image would be diminished. I might have tried a long exposure to get people moving in focus and blurred by motion. Because this is editorial and not architectural, the wide angle distortion is rather pleasing and acceptable.

HDR & Normal

David shot this with a tripod and presents two exposures of the scene. I guess there is more detail in the normal image. I suppose that is better. There is more mood in the HDR. It’s a matter of taste. Shooting RAW also gives you options. It’s a problem to shoot indoors and aim at the outdoors. The window light will overwhelm the interior lights. And then there is the issue of mixed color balance in daylight and incandescent. You could use fill flash indoors to balance the light also. It’s nice to have options. Too many choices and I just go ahead and shoot. You can peek (chimp) at the LCD and then adjust. And, don’t miss the fact that a tripod was used to get these image exposures and registration.


Technical: Nikon D90, 1/200 sec, f16, focal length 82

Susan was concerned about the background here as it pertains to distracting from the subjects. You really don’t have a choice. So the image is what it is. But if you are thinking about this as you shoot, you might wait another second for the kids to move to the left a bit more. And, no fill flash. You’re too far away. Zoom in more. It will take out the background. Or crop to a panoramic and eliminate the top and bottom distractions. A smaller f stop … f4 or so would decrease the depth of field and make the background an unfocused pattern. There are lots of tricks you can try. But keep in mind that you’re there to see the game and enjoy. Lisa always said that my kids would not recognize me without a camera to my eye. Come to think of it, you said it too.

Lastly, but most important, enjoy yourself. You are not shooting for Sports Illustrated. So have a good time and fire away and make mistakes. My comments are to help. But don’t get too cerebral and not have fun yourself.


Technical: Nikon D90, 1/200 sec, f14, focal length 55

Susan has entered the world of sports photography. Image you on Sports Illustrated. Kevin would be impressed. Don’t get any hopes. SI just cut staff, big time. They are a weekly and the fantastic photos of not too long ago have given way to the new editorial group. Too bad. So for sports, pay attention to the background. Close up shots are better. A few wide angle will set the scene. It’s in the details that sports images are made. It’s the sweat on the brow and the intensity of the look in a player’s eye. All that… but it’s a kids game. So you got a great shot of kids having fun. The background is what it is. SI will not be calling. But keep at it. Oh, and use a high shutter speed… 1/500 or so to catch the action without blur.