gcquinn's photostream Pro User
More than FOUR Years on Flickr! I still live near San Francisco and work in the city and I still drive across the Golden Gate Bridge every day. (If you want to know more about me, try looking at my gallery of photographs that have inspired me.) I joined Flickr in December, 2006 and it is still very humbling to look at the excellent work on Flickr and it is still an honor to learn from such fine photographers. The experience of these months has been like learning how to write, except in photographs. Here's a list that I've put down here mainly so I won't forget these hard-won lessons!
A few lessons learned the hard (and slow) way on Flickr:
(I started writing these down as I learned them from the first week on Flickr. Its just like me to have a lot of rules(!) so forgive me if I sound didactic. Some of this is good stuff, especially if you are starting out like I was. In the end I have learned that a good photograph touches on something that matters to people -- maybe a myth, maybe an oil spill -- and there's something free and unbounded about it, conditions that often come upon you in a moment and then are gone. Enjoy!)
Focusing the camera helps
Get rid of distracting stuff.
Get a subject
Light is the subject (whether you like it or not)
The eye goes to the light
Subjects like to be the brightest thing
Or, even better, like the brightness thing to be behind them
(two points up there with "focus your camera")
Seek islands of lightness in the background
Calibrate your monitor
Shoot as low an ISO as possible
Use a Tripod
Relax, its just a photograph
Compose to tell a story
don't crop out the context
A blown out spot has no data
Get a variable density filter
After thousands of JPEGs it is better to ... Shoot in RAW
Shoot low (Annie Leibovitz shooting Arnold Schwarzenegger at Sun Valley, Idaho -- www.iphotocentral.com/andrewsmith/search/detail.php/256/A...
Keep your filter clean
I used to think that the foreground was unimportant - (its important)
And since it matters, shoot at a bit depth of 14, not 12
And use Adobe RGB, not sRGB.
Figure out the usual way -- then do it differently.
Checking those settings before shooting helps (letsee, its noon and the ASA is 2400...and auto date stamp is "on").
I once loved a narrow depth of field: I'm older and wiser now.
Stop down the lens
Reset the iso back to 200 after you're done
If you have two subjects -- maybe you have two photographs
Arno's Rules (Arno Meintjes that is)
With regard to animals, include everything from head to tail
If you can't see the feet because of tall grasses, include area for the feet
Unless its a closeup
Try to convey movement
I think Arno's rules apply to people too!
Keep your lens clean
There's something about silhouettes
The eye loves patches of intricate detail
I like the line where light meets dark.
The eye needs a place to go
(Someone pointed that out too).
If someone tells you they know all about composition, they don't.
They say the following:
It is VERY helpful to know about the rule of thirds
Interesting to know about the Golden Ratio
And occasionally good to know about Rabatment of the Rectangle.
Here's a link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds
They say you need to avoid putting important things at dead center.
The eyes are the most important things.
Therefore the eyes should be at one of the intersections of the Rule of Thirds (or of the Golden Ratio)
And then there's spirals, radials, diagonals, squiggles and that layering thing Escher did.
Perspective is important
Sometimes a photograph is just right and breaks all the rules.
Every Flickr photograph was posted for a good reason, even if I don't think so.
I have learned a lot by learning to like an "ugly" photograph.
Learning about color theory is a good idea.
Forget about Explore -- it will ruin you!,,,
...But get a good thumbnail if you still want it..
Shooting for the thumbnail will ruin you!
I used to believe in a "natural" self-taught understanding of composition...
-- but it helps to know the rules.
I have become comfortable with Photoshop layers.
I nearly fainted when I found Photoshop "noise reduction" (that was on June 26, 2008 -- note the difference).
Photoshop is great, but good light and composition trumps it.
And using a tripod, And selecting a low ISO And stopping down the lens.
I obsess about Light like Aubrey did wind.
Some people just know things.
Some things can't be planned.
Portraits are hard to do.
Know where the sun is
Take two people -- don't let them look at the camera -- photograph them and magic can happen.
And tell them not to smile
You can't force a photograph to have something it doesn't
Relationships matter more than beauty
Counterpoint is good
Sometimes the slightest crop makes all the difference
A critical comment is right on if you start arguing with it.
A critical comment is far, far more important than a laudatory one (the ego will survive).
The art of black and white is picking out the right colors
Ansel Adams did that by picking out a filter
Ansel Adams knew which filter to pick.
So did Paul Strand
Boldness is good
A "style" develops despite yourself: One day its there.
Some Photographs Touch us with their humanity
Which is the goal.
I never had time to think about any of this for my best shots.
Portraits are still my goal... I find them intimidating and I have much to learn, but my favorite, so far are of Freda Koblick:
(I am sorry to say that my dear friends Freda and David passed away this summer (2011). Here's a nice tribute you can download from Austria's Menza: www.mensa.at/index.php?menuid=30 )
People seem to like my action shots. This is my favorite:
I went a little crazy with the Golden Gate Bridge -- finally I made a calendar of my shots (You can click on it)
Ansel Adams has inspired me from boyhood -- I appreciate him more as the years go by: that sense that we humans are small and delicate and tolerated by an awsome huge universe: That little town in the high country with its crosses set out in the graveyard; oblivious to the massive mountains and the moon and that huge black sky looking down on it and letting it be.
Here's my favorite Pelican (note his jaunty leg tag)
The series --
Here's a panorama of My Half Dome shots:
More photos of mine: flickr.com/photos/gcquinn/sets/72157602513573303/
Favorite Shots From my Contacts
Here's one of THE BEST portraits I've ever seen -- Lusitano69 published it on his photostream to honor the unknown photographer form the 1960s in Portugal:
Here's a favorite shot (this one's from ehpien)
Here's another one (its beautiful and because I spent some childhood time at a lighthouse like this one):
And here's another one (also a great shot and because my infant son and I found this train by accident in Houston):
Some thoughts on Neutral, Variable Density filters They solve the eternal problem of the sky being too light and the subject too dark: These magical devices come as either round filters, or (BETTER) a rectangle that you either hold by hand or place in the manufacturer's filter holder, the idea being that exposure of the sky will be brought down to the f stop of the subject. The results have been extraordinary for me.
There are several manufacturers, I'm using HiTech
Make sure it says neutral density (otherwise things might turn a little pinkish)
They have ranges of exposure differential from one to four F stops:
one F stop is listed as 0.3 (as in "ND Grad 0.3")
Two F stops, 0.6
They come as "Hard," which is a quick transition, and "Soft," a slow transition, and "reverse," Which starts dark and becomes light for low horizon sunset shots. (as in "ND Grad Soft 1.2).
Photos of gcquinn (3)
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"Read your thinking on photography, from which pode experience. Like your work, learning ceaselessly."
24th January, 2011
˙·٠•● Peter Nguyen says:
"your profile has taught me more than i've read from many thick books. A truly photographer (not by equipments, not by technique). Thanks u so must!"
19th September, 2009
"I just wanted to let you know that I love your photos and I am continually impressed by the richness and depth of them. You're an awesome photographer and when I grow up I want to be just like you!!!
Keep up the beautiful work!"
28th July, 2009
"Geoff was the first friend I met on Flickr. I had published just a few pictures on the site when I received a comment on one of my photos. I was astonished by the sensibility and deepness of this small text and wondered which class of pictures could do such a good WRITER. Well, great pictures also, made with the same sensibility and deepness.
First I considered Geoff as a great marine photographer, as he lives in a spectacular marine environment and enjoys wandering around the San Francisco beaches. But later I discovered his portraits, then his great mountain shots (some inspired by Ansel Adams), then his inspired nature pictures, then his ethical social images... Geoff is a great and complete photographer. He likes to tell: "The more I take pictures, the less I know about photography". I agree definetely with him!"
17th November, 2007
"Geoff has an eye for composition, color and drama, he continues to post superb pictures that are full of life and tell great stories.
A versatile photographer with a portfolio ranging from seascapes to portraits, from macro's to cityshots.
Read his list of lessons learned on flickr. These are well worth taking note of!
And Geoff not just wrote them down but shows he can use them very, very well.
But enough talk, stop reading this and go check out his photos!"
14th September, 2007
"More than three thousand people already have viewed Geoff's photo of the Queen Mary 2, passing the Golden Gate Bridge -- and I am sure, this pic would fit well on many walls of some San Francisco Bay living rooms. But not only spectacular seascapes are created by Geoff, I'm impressed by his portraits too, done with humanity; I think it is a great honor, to be portrayed by such a sensible artist, surely a congenial mind compared with Freda Koblick, a sculptor and painter, one of his adorable contacts and portrait-topics (living in a converted synagogue). The friendship with her brought him to notice instantly the famous photographers Cunningham or Ansel Adams. A photographer has to be open minded. We feel this, when we discover his series taken on the Mount Saint Helens, but even more, when he WRITES comments to pics. My heart was touched when I read his pelican-statement for "Lost Patrol in for the night": "I happen to adore Pelicans. I think it comes from growing up in La Jolla, California, where every kid surfed, or body surfed or in some way hung out in the water long enough to see these guys gliding in formation along the waves, catching the updraft along the wave face, wingtips just kissing the rising water. And just before calamity, before the wave would break, they would pop up and dip down to the next line of rising swell, dignity intact. They are fluid until they spot a fish and then all elegance is lost as they flip over and hit the water in what can only be called an ungainly and crash. They come up with a fish every time though and dignity is preserved." -- My last comment: Geoff seems to catch photos alike the pelicans a fish: with dignity: I hope (because I am only a second languager from Germany): soon we can read some more testimonials with the topic: Geoff Quinn..."
2nd August, 2007
- Geoff Quinn
- January 2007
- Hanover, New Hampshire
- San Rafael, California, USA
- I am:
- Male and Taken