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Photo tips by Michael Seewald
Can one lens do it all? Are zoom lenses better than 'fixed'
Does having only one really long zoom lens, say instead of having a
batch of fixed lenses, or even some smaller range zooms,
make sense? I mean, can you replace your 28mm wide angle;
50mm 'normal'; 105mm 'portrait' and a 300mm telephoto, all important lenses,
with something like a 18-270 'zoom'?
Well, I say sometimes, depending on
needs. If this is just a hobby, I think it's perfect. I think my
28-300 Tamron lens (a name brand lens maker only, as is Sigma)
works great, but that camera if more of a 'snapshot' camera, as I have a
medium format camera for my 'art photos', where I need a larger file (used
to be a larger negative).
And it is not that 'inferior' to 'brand name' zooms
(Canon again, for example) with smaller ranges, such as a
28-70mm and then a 100-300mm. In fact, the following article shows you
that there is very small difference, yet you would pay two to three times
more for the Canon!!!
See article here and see photos from both types (Canon vs
1. After finding
and photographing an interesting subject ask yourself “what really moved me
about this scene”? Then ask yourself “did I really capture it and ‘it
alone’? You will most likely find much more info than is needed, thus
diluting its ‘strength’.
2. When coming
upon an interesting scene, try to see what it looks like from varying
angles. Does the light accentuate the subject better from one side or the
other? This starts the ‘making’ process, thus replacing the ‘taking’
composing your photographs look around for an interesting wall, sidewalk,
street, row of plants or whatever you can that is heading towards your
subject. This is known as a “leading line’, and if included in your
composition, will lead the viewers eye into your scene. At the same time,
be careful one does not lead your eye out.
composing your photograph, keep the ‘center of interest’ out of the center
of the frame. Preferably, place it half the distance between the middle and
one of the four corners. This keeps the art from becoming static. (See my
‘garden with umbrellas’.)
photographing weather that includes lots of bright days, try not to take too
many photographs near the middle of the day, except for those for record
keeping purposes. The softer light in the mornings and afternoons make
your subject matter ‘come alive’ instead of being ‘blown out’ from lack
of details in the shadows and highlights.
6. Bring a
light yet sturdy tripod with you to get even more interesting photos. You can take photos
of places where the average photographer has given up due to lack of light.
With a tripod, you can easily shoot up to an hour before or after other
photographers do, and get much more dramatic effects.
7. Don’t be too
afraid to get in too close to your subject. Photographers whom get in, seemingly too close,
end up making the award winning images. Try a few where you actually say
to yourself- ‘I think I’m too close in’. You will now make some very
8. Don’t be
afraid to try something new. Dare to be different. Get on your belly to
shoot flowers. Get on the floor and shoot up at the kids. A bugs eye
view can create some very interesting images. You should not be surprised
to make some award winners this way.
9. Keep an eye
out for patterns. They can make ‘artsy’ and interesting photos. But to
make them even better, include something of interest that breaks up the
pattern. At an outdoor market, for example, a collection of red apples
with a single green one thrown in does the trick. Make sure it's not
dead center though- see tip #4.
10. To capture
people in places you might feel awkward about, try using a wide angle lens,
if you have one. Just pre-focus to 5 feet and then take photos without
lifting the camera to you face to compose. Just point it from your hip,
and shoot. You get un-even horizons but fun, paparazzi style images.
composing, try to remember not to split the horizon line right in the
middle. Either place it one third from the top or one third from the
bottom. Remember to keep the center of interest on one of these two planes
also, left or right of center.
balance purposes, and to help define the forms or elements in your
photographs, just close your eyes a little and view the scene while
squinting. The elements you now see won’t include the entire minutia,
giving you a better chance to balance the ‘big objects’, which are now much
easier to define and place properly.
Click on image to enlarge. Photo copyright Michael Seewald, all rights
Massai Warrior, Kenya, Africa, 2002
Sponsored by Stan Webb of Wichita, Kansas
Seewald's photographic 'fun-shops'
proudly sponsored by:
Camera Repair, San Diego.
"Taken my cameras here for decades, always top notch work.
I need my cameras
working properly in distant places,
and I trust them to keep them in tip top shape." MS
This line of carbon fiber and aluminum tripods won't
break the bank.
We've got point and shoot tripods all the way up to heavy
duty, large camera supports.
on first order, just mention ‘Seewald workshop discount’
Custom photos on metal, Seewald gets his super large 'infused images' onto
hot metal, and the results? HOT! Located n Temecula Calif., just 45 min. north
of downtown San Diego.