Photoshoot: Spanish Monastery (Preparations)

Posted by Gary Ramey on May 21st, 2012

The Cloister’s of the Ancient Spanish Monastery is extremely popular site for weddings, receptions, and quinceañera’s in South Florida.

History of the Cloisters

The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux was built in Sacramenia, in the Province of Segovia, Spain, during the period 1133-1144. It was originally dedicated in honor of the Blessed Mother and named the “Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels.” Upon the canonization of the famous Cistercian Monk, Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading influence in the Church during that period, the Monastery was renamed in his honor. Cistercian monks occupied the monastery for nearly 700 years. The Cloisters were seized, sold, and converted into a granary and stable due to a social revolution in that area in the mid-1830’s. In 1925 William Randolph Hearst purchased the Cloisters and the Monastery’s out- buildings. The structures were dismantled stone by stone, bound with protective hay, packed in some 11,000 wooden crates, numbered for identification and shipped to the United States. Click to read more »

 

Moon Watch: June 2012

Posted by Gary Ramey on May 15th, 2012

There will be three opportunities to shoot the moon in June. The full moon will rise in the middle of the blue hour on June 4.

Location: Miami, FL (All Times EST)
Sun Moon
Date/Phase Rise Set Rise Set
June 3/99% 6:28 AM 8:10 PM 7:35 PM 5:32 AM
June 4/Full 6:28 AM 8:10 PM 8:39 PM 6:32 AM
June 5/98% 6:28 AM 8:11 PM 9:38 PM 7:37 AM

Read my posts How to Shoot the Moon, Night Photography, and Night Photography Tricks Revealed.

 

How to Photograph Children

Posted by Gary Ramey on April 30th, 2012

The Top Three Things to Do When Photographing Children

  • Spend a lot of time with your subject
  • Get down on their level
  • Use a wide open aperture for limited depth of field

Copyright 2011 Maria HendersonThe photograph on the right was taken by Maria Henderson, one of my students. This a wonderful example of the top three things you should do when photographing children. The depth of field is shallow with the eyes in sharp focus and her angle of view is nearly level with her subject. The composition enhances the immediacy of the shot and emphasizes the child’s enthusiasm. Click to read more »

 

Review: Crafting Reality: Painting with Light

Posted by Gary Ramey on April 23rd, 2012

Captain America and 3-D BoyCrafting Reality: Painting with Light is an inspiring eBook by Eric Curry. The photographs in the eBook look like HDR images but they are created in quite a different way. Small sections of the subject are illuminated from different directions then merged together with Photoshop. Eric goes into detail about how to take the photographs and the settings to use in Photoshop.

Throughout his eBook, Eric emphasizes that you should think and plan your shots.

So often during my public presentations and coaching new photographers I advise them to think in terms of “concepts.” Do not just go out into the environment and photograph neat stuff you happen to see, but take the next step and envision an idea first, then try to create that vision you see in your mind’s eye.

This is good advice and Eric spends a lot of time telling you how to plan a photoshoot. He tells you what he does and why as well as which equipment he uses. Crafting Reality: Painting with Light is an extremely thorough how-to book and I highly recommend it.

You can find more videos about painting with light at Eric’s YouTube Channel and on his website American Pride and Passion.

 

Moon Watch: May 2012

Posted by Gary Ramey on April 20th, 2012

There will be four opportunities to shoot the moon in May. On May 5 the moon will rise before the beginning of the blue hour and on May 6 the moon will rise at the end. The blue hour is the time immediately after the sun sets and the sky turns a deep blue. The moon will officially become full Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT. Because this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee, its closest approach to Earth, it will also be the year’s biggest.

Location: Miami, FL (All Times EST)
Sun Moon
Date/Phase Rise Set Rise Set
May 4/97% 6:41 AM 7:54 PM 6:33 PM 5:13 AM
May 5/Full 6:40 AM 7:55 PM 7:42 PM 6:00 AM
May 6/100% 6:39 AM 7:56 PM 8:51 PM 6:53 AM
May 7/97% 6:39 AM 7:56 PM 9:57 PM 7:52 AM

Read my posts How to Shoot the Moon, Night Photography, and Night Photography Tricks Revealed.

 

Black and White Photography with a DSLR

Posted by Gary Ramey on April 8th, 2012

Why Shoot in Black and White?

The answer is simple; black and white is timeless. Black and white images transcend the here and now to stand on their own. It is easier to see the art in a black and white image because the image is removed from reality. Rather than mentally comparing the photographic image to the actually subject as perceived by the eye, the viewer is forced to examine the image as something separate from reality — something that has a life of its own.

Using a DSLR to Take Black and White Photos

Even though you can use Adobe Photoshop to convert a color photograph into a black and white photograph, the best results are obtained by taking the photograph in black and white. There are those that would contend that Photoshop is better but I prefer being able to get instant feedback via my LCD while taking the photo. Being able to evaluate a shot immediately after taking it is one of the main advantages of using a digital camera. I don’t have to imagine what the image would look like in B/W — I get to actually see it. I prefer to not lose that ability. Besides, if you save your images in camera raw and JPEG, you get the best of both worlds. The camera raw file will be in color and can be processed later. I prefer to have the most opportunities to make creative decisions. For me, creativity occurs before, during, and after the shoot. Click to read more »

 

Night Photography

Posted by Gary Ramey on March 31st, 2012

Nighttime is one of my favorite times to take photographs. There is always the element of surprise! Long exposures make it possible for your camera to record something that you can’t even see. Click on the thumbnails to see the larger versions in a lightbox.

17th Street Causeway BridgeThe only caveat for shooting at night is that most of the automated features of your camera will not work and you really need to use your camera in Manual mode and understand the relationship between ISO, speed, and aperture. When I’m taking photos at night, I try to take two of the three settings out of the equation. Since it is difficult to focus at night, the first thing I do is to stop down my lens to a small aperture such as f/8, f/11, or f/16. This increases the depth of field so that focus is not so critical, i.e. the greater the depth of field, the more of the subject will be in focus. Next I set the ISO at the optimum of my camera. Since I have a Canon camera, I set the ISO to 100. If you have a Nikon, set the ISO to 200 instead. The reason for using the camera’s optimum ISO is to reduce noise. Long exposures are inherently noisy so it is important to do as much as possible to reduce noise. Sometimes you will have to increase the ISO to get the shot. The duration of the shot is the main thing that you will use to get the exposure. Increase or decrease the shutter speed until you get the correct exposure. Click to read more »

 

Moon Watch: April 2012

Posted by Gary Ramey on March 30th, 2012

There will be three opportunities to shoot the moon in April but April 6 will be the only day that the moon rises during the blue hour. The blue hour is the time immediately after the sun sets and the sky turns a deep blue. The best day to catch the moonset is April 7 because the sun rises at 7:05 AM and the moon sets 22 minutes later.

Location: Miami, FL (All Times EST)
Sun Moon
Date/Phase Rise Set Rise Set
Apr 5/98% 7:07 AM 7:40 PM 6:43 PM 5:58 AM
Apr 6/Full 7:06 AM 7:40 PM 7:50 PM 6:40 AM
Apr 7/99% 7:05 AM 7:41 PM 8:58 PM 7:27 AM

Read my posts How to Shoot the Moon and Night Photography Tricks Revealed.

 

Video: HDR & IR Photographs

Posted by Gary Ramey on March 11th, 2012

I uploaded an HD video compilation of some of my high dynamic range (HDR) and infrared (IR) photographs. I created the music using Sony Acid. Hope you enjoy.


Use the following links to find out more about HDR and IR:

 

Review: The Digital Photography Book, Part 4

Posted by Gary Ramey on March 9th, 2012

The Digital Photography Book, Part 4Summary: The Digital Photography Book, Part 4 by Scott Kelby is a worthy addition to his series of digital photography books. It picks up where volume 3 left off and, like the other books in the series, contains many useful tips written in a non-technical, conversational style.

Scott Kelby, author of The Digital Photography Book(the best-selling digital photography book of all time), is back with another follow-up to his smash best-seller, with an entirely new book that picks up right where volume 3 left off. It’s even more of that “Ah ha, so that’ s how they do it,” straight-to-the-point, skip-the-techno-jargon stuff people can really use today, and that made volume 1 the world’s best-selling book on digital photography.

Click to read more »