Many times, I am asked how I find the photos that appear in the Brainerd Dispatch? My response is always, "80 percent of the images are a direct result of my editors and friends." Throughout the years in central Minnesota, residents have been very kind and considerate and passed along photo tips to me as a friend. This degree of trust has been built one person at a time. I learned from my first editor Les Sellnow that a person's request is the most important idea or thought the resident has that day. So always be respectful no matter what it is.
When Mary Tabor walked her dog recently, it was below zero and her breath could been seen in the morning light.
As a photographer I use techniques that illustrate what I see. In other words, how do you use the camera as a tool in capturing a person in cold weather. In order to see water vapor in the air on a cold day, it must be backlit. There also should be a dark background to separate the illuminated vapor.
When I am shooting a sporting event, many times I help fellow photographers set their cameras for the lighting. This happens when you have been around as long as I have been. I do not really think it means that I am more knowledgeable but instead I have been at this for a while, or 40 years. Since digital entered the field, I am an advocate of high ISO setting and very fast shutter speeds.
How many times have you wanted to photograph someone or something against the direct sun? My favorite is late afternoon or early morning golden sun over water or ice. Last week, I waited at the Corps of Engineers access on Gull for any angler to walk across the ice to their vehicles. In winter, the sun is low in the southern sky making it easy to photograph against the low angle of the sun.
For all you shoppers out there this is your favorite time of the year. For me, following the swans always coincides with Thanksgiving and Christmas. The swans are out in the lakes and rivers but the freezing temperatures brings them to areas where we can expect to see them for photography. I can tell when we are close to the right time of the year because the Bald Eagles are also moving into the area, fishing and hunting on the dwindling areas of open water. The swans love the shallow water where rice beds grew during the summer.
The concept of photographing Christmas lights late at night never seems to produce the best results. Instead, head out just as the sun sets and use the twilight sky as your background. Shoot your wide angle photos with the sky until you lose your color in the background. Those twilight skies will give you a beautiful blue with the Christmas lights. This old trick comes from news photographers who shoot a number of Christmas decorations but really need that blue background to set off the colorful lights. Remember that lights look better on the image if they are overexposed.
I had a great discussion with a student of mine last week about keeping photos simple but complete. If we shoot for our family, they will always appreciate those wide, sweeping photos that include everyone.
If you shoot for a readership that does not know your subjects, then another principle applies.
This principle is — always keep it simple, but tell the story — or as I like to say "crop until it hurts."
When Warrior Riley Kline went out for a pass Saturday in the Section 8 5-A final game against the Moorhead Spuds, I never realized the image would show a moment just before the catch. I really like to shoot football especially during the day because it means I have a chance to capture great color as well as stop action. When shooting sports, I always shoot on Shutter Priority. How can an old timer like myself resort to the "Auto Modes"? Another good friend of mine, Bill Marchel, confessed he many times uses the Shutter Priority setting when shooting wildlife.
When you are faced with illustrating a story with your photograph, you have to consider creating an image that tells the story within the information contained in the image. It must be simple but compelling. The more simple your image the more compelling it is. Choose a frame from the scene on location and work with placing it over the image or shoot through the frame to create depth. I have chosen the image of the felled pine tree on a hill overlooking the College Drive construction project. Watch for background elements that standout to complete the composition such as the school bus.
Recently I was assigned to photograph the girls basketball clash between Esko and Pequot Lakes. A point of interest of that night was that Pequot Lakes Patriot Emily Lueck was poised to surpass her 2000 point in her high school basketball career. It was unknown if the game would be stopped when Lueck passed the mark or not. As it turned out the game was not stopped when Lueck hit the basket breaking the 2000 point mark. Many parents struggle with capturing their children on the field, court or pool during sporting events.