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By: Steve Kohls on January 30, 2012 - 9:36pm - Add new comment

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.

By: Steve Kohls on February 20, 2012 - 11:46am - Add new comment

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.

By: Steve Kohls on November 4, 2011 - 3:52pm - Add new comment

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.

By: Steve Kohls on January 24, 2011 - 7:03pm - Add new comment

Since the introduction of automatic flash fill on camera, photographers have been jumping for joy with the results. Well, sometimes not for joy but in anger. 

While photographing the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing tourney on Gull Lake, I realized how important it was to use flash fill but with a modification. 

By: Steve Kohls on December 22, 2010 - 6:29pm - Add new comment

Our area is blessed with lakes and woods but very few places where photographers can photograph moving water showing motion in the winter. 

The exception is Stony Brook in Fritz Loven Park in the City of Lake Shore. With your tripod in hand, head for the rushing water as it tumbles over the rocks in the brook. 

By: Steve Kohls on January 7, 2011 - 11:53am - Add new comment

We are blessed with a frozen landscape that has lasted over a week because  of the rain and later snow during the New Year's weekend.

One of my favorite subjects in winter is birch trees covered in snow. The problem is white birch bark against white snow will many times illustrate a blank scene for the viewer.

Remember to work with the snow and birch bark against a blue sky or a black background.

Using this technique, the viewer can experience what you saw in the field.

By: Steve Kohls on December 1, 2011 - 7:09pm - Add new comment

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.

By: Steve Kohls on December 19, 2011 - 2:46pm - Add new comment

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.

By: Steve Kohls on December 20, 2010 - 4:22pm - Add new comment

Many, many times I have heard from people how they photographed something during a snowfall and it turned out really dark and the snowflakes were not visible. 

First of all, your camera turns everything medium gray because that is what a meter does. So to turn the snow white, go to the compensation dial and plus up the exposure to overexpose the scene. This will make the snow white.

By: Steve Kohls on December 26, 2011 - 8:01pm - Add new comment

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.