Technical: No metadata

Maine, grandkids, sunset, and bubbles – what is there that one could possibly criticize? Susan asked whether there is anything that can be done about the lighting? Well, basically you have two light sources. Sunset red and flash blue light will definitely make a different colorcast in the foreground vs the background. It’s not objectionable. It’s not natural. But any other way to use natural light would make the grandkids too dark in the foreground. Personally I like this shot.

Abi Pool Variation

Technical: Nikon D90, 1/60 sec, f5.6, focal length 150

Susan has essentially the same settings but a different angle. Lately, my style has taken me to photograph subject in a more straight on view with less distortion. That said, sometimes I intentionally go for a low distortion shot on cars. Go figure. As I point out, it’s for you to decide.

There’s a bit of elongation of Abi’s face and jaw. This could be potentially unflattering. The rail is also more distracting now. Sometimes we do the best under the circumstances. By now Abi has been the subject of thousands of photos Susan has taken. There is only so much patience on Abi’s part no matter how much she loves grandma. Posing for one more picture is often not on the agenda. So like Susan I would take what you can. Once again I am impressed that the pop up flash is so effective. It certainly made a difference here.

Asked to choose either today’s photo or yesterday’s, I would pick yesterday. You save everything, but the ones you show are limited. Technically both are good exposures, but, you have to pick one.

Another example is a sign or a storefront. Try to photograph it from straight on. Or try to photograph it from an angle. You will find that one looks like a snapshot and the other like a photograph. You decide. I would consider the snapshot if I was pressed for time and too tired to position myself and properly address my subject.

Abi Pool

Technical: Nikon D90, 1/60 sec, f5.6, focal length 150

Most pools have fluorescent lighting. It’s the worst kind of light to work with. The color cast is often blue green awful. I mean it’s terrible. Now that incandescent bulbs are being phased out, this will continue to be a challenge.

So Susan used her trusty flash. Flash overpowers the ambient light and the color balance is good. That darn camera gets a good exposure more often than not. Shadows on the water are not distracting. It’s a tricky thing to do a profile. You either like the nose or you don’t. This is problematic in adults and especially women. There are some women I know for whom a profile is forbidden. In case you were not aware, women don’t like to look fat either. Kids… well, there’s hardly a single one that doesn’t have a cute nose and clear skin. Great! I like this shot. There are some who would question whether the Abi is looking out of the frame. In other words, if you put more of the background pool in front of her face, would this be a better shot? Again, this is a conscious editorial decision made by the photographer. If nothing else, try to add more of the pool to the right of Abi and see how this looks. But I do not have a problem with this cropping.


Jeffrey Milkshake

Technical: Nikon D90, 1/60 sec, f4, focal length 26

Give a kid a milkshake and look at the concentration. A little fill flash is seen in the catchlight of the eyes. Notice the shadow behind the straw. This could be distracting. There’s a shadow on the cup. Shadows from flash are generally most distracting when they appear on the wall behind the subject. Here, Jeffrey is far enough from the background that this is not an issue. I bet Susan also didn’t notice Jeffrey’s middle finger. I wouldn’t either. But, it’s just another element to consider when you are looking through the viewfinder. By the way, Susan’s square cropping gets the eyes to the intersection of the ‘rule of thirds.’ Overall I like the exposure and color balance, and the glow of the background fast food joint. And so did Susan.

Flash? Not Here!

Technical: Nikon D200, 1/400 sec, f5, focal length 80

I like this shot. There were layers – foreground and background giving depth to the image. At about this spot I was standing next to a woman who had her camera mounted on a tripod with her on camera flash up. I know that many people do not appreciate advice. It has happened to me more than once. So I did not say anything and just looked over her setup. She must have read about this somewhere. You can’t make this stuff up.

My criticism follows. A tripod is too hard to set up on uneven ground and to move around as the battle moves fluidly from left to right. The skirmish continued over about ¾ mile along Battle Road. The on camera flash will add some fill light to make the shadows less harsh and to throw some catch lights into the eyes.

Pardon me! But that ain’t happening here! You can’t see the whites of their eyes let alone the iris of the eye. Duh!? And then the intensity of light falls off as the square of the distance. For example the light from the flash will be ¼ strength at 2 feet away and 1/16 at 4 feet and so forth. Honestly, you would need a lot more light than the puny flash on your camera in order to make any difference on a battlefield. I hate to be harsh but a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

My friend Susan uses on camera fill flash for her grand kids at close range and it’s good. But there is such a thing as too much. Or in this case ‘not enough flash to light a battle.’ It was a ‘running and gunning’ battle. The British and colonial actors were moving constantly along Battle Road. You have to go with the flow. I had considered a mono-pod but decided that the higher shutter speed with compensate for motion blur with the telephoto lens.

School Events

Technical: Nikon D90 1/125sec, f3.5, ISO 800, focal length 18mm, flash fired

Susan emailed: Sending you a “Forward” that I sent to Abigayle after bringing cookies and reading her favorite “MiMi Books” to her class for her turn to be Star of the Week!  The photos are not the best but they tell a story.

Big Story is WHO showed up at Abigayle’s special day!     The Funky Chicken that you guys brought to Scott’s Wedding…..way…way back!  A big hit especially with Abi!

Yeah, the funky chicken! So the first image is not a keeper. I have lots of pictures from behind. Hard to trash them, but out they must go. Here’s where you have to move around to the front. It’s often hard to do in a cramped space without disturbing the kids’ rhythm. Waiting a moment until they are use to you and ignore you is the way to go.

Technical: Nikon D90 1/100sec, f3.5, ISO 800, focal length 18mm flash fired

In the second image Abby moves to the foreground. Perfect. You want her (primary subject) to be distinct. This works.

Technical: Nikon D90 1/125sec, f3.8, ISO 800, focal length 22mm, flash fired

Vertical composition. It’s not used often enough. It’s the right way to go here. Whole body and off to the side cropping – good.

Technical: Nikon D90 1/60sec, f5, ISO 800, focal length 65mm, flash fired

And the funky chicken. This stuffed animal has been around a long time. It’s held up rather well.


Technical: Nikon D90 1/200sec, f5.6, ISO 200, focal length 18mm

Well done Susan. The winding slide provides good framing. Fill flash compensates for the bright background. It also balances the light which would be blue tinted in the shade. I keep telling myself to remember to use fill flash. Susan has continued to show me its value.


Technical: Nikon D90 1/125sec, f5.6, ISO 220, focal length 56mm

Susan’s granddaughter Matilda. A snowy day is grey. The fill flash makes the colors ‘pop.’ You could do this in Photoshop. Grey scale the image and then color back Matilda. Susan didn’t do this here. The colorful subject against the grey background shows you that the fill flash works up close and will not expose the whole scene. In other words don’t go to the stadium and expect to use your flash on your favorite team down on the field. The next time you see all the flashes going off at the Superbowl….or during this summer’s Olympic games… I love the cropping on this shot with the negative space to Matilda’s right. It’s something I’ve been experimenting with too. Something else to try is closer cropping. But this is swell and really perfect here.


Technical: Ektachrome slide no data

Paris in the ‘80’s. Slide film. One ISO. The only variables were the shutter speed and f-stop. There are so many errors present in this shot that I made. Cropping is interesting as the trees lead to the Arc de Triomphe. After that, it’s downhill. My eye was curious to see the foreground people. There is too much sky. The horizon should move upward. More people (remember National Geographic) but then you have to decide if the foreground is focused or the monument is the key element.

You could go HDR nowadays. Lately, I have done this on occasion, taking several shots and planning to stack them in Photoshop. I just keep forgetting to Photoshop post processing. I can imagine a vertical panorama shot to emphasize the long Parisian boulevard.

There is telephoto compression and the long Champs Elysees is foreshortened. The color balance is off and needs correction. The Arc de Triomphe is not in focus. This may be partly due to weather, heat, and haze. On a warm summer day these effects will blur objects far away. The photographer and lens may not be at fault. The only way to reduce this problem is to move closer. But then you lose the telephoto effect. I would do this over, if I were there again.