8 May 2015- THANKS for 4.28 million views!!!!
See Below: TIPS FOR TAKING AND PRESENTING BETTER PICTURES [last updated 8 May 2011].
If you would like to see some really beautiful photography, take a look at my collection of over 27,000 favorites from other Flickr photogs. It is one of the finest collections I've seen on Flickr. See them here: www.flickr.com/photos/8430129@N06/favorites/
Brief Personal Profile:
Been on Flickr since 21 May 2007. Bought Pro account 28 May 2007.
I got into photography in the late 1970s when we went to Israel for the first time. As life got busy I laid off serious shooting for about two decades. Since retirement I have returned to it as an enjoyable hobby. Digital photography and Flickr have helped rekindle my interest.
I like color, black and white, wide angle views and detail. So, you will see a little of it all reflected in my work. I like all kinds of photography, but because I like to travel, most of my work probably falls under the category of "travel photography." Color, architecture, and detail are also hallmarks of my style. I don't consider myself an "artistic" photographer, but I like those who are and their work.
Despite all this, one viewer wrote: "Your photostream is as a box of sweets and I don´t know which photo is best!". I hope there is something here for those who like dark or light chocolate or a chewey, a nut, or a cream. Perhaps you will also encounter a touch of humor now and then.
A special THANKS to those who have written testimonials. Every word of them is the gospel truth! *>)
I welcome and encourage comments about my work.
I'm pleased to share, but please contact me before using these pictures for either commercial, personal, or non-profit purposes.
I live in this beautiful valley:
NOTE ABOUT THE ISRAEL PHOTOS: The photos in the Israel, Egypt, Italy, and Greece sets were scanned from my collection of slides taken with various Minolta SLRs and lenses during 10 trips to the Holy Land between 1979 and 2000. While I did my best to take "good" and beautiful pictures, their primary purpose was educational. The trips were generally less than three weeks in length with extremely jam-packed itineraries. Except for personal time in Jerusalem and an occasional side trip to some places, the sites were visited by bus with approximately 40 other tour participants, in some cases with up to 75 students. All but two of the trips were in June, a time when the landscape is monochromatic and the haze is constant; one was from Jan-Aug and permitted experienceing the color of spring, the other was in the fall. Many of the sites were archaeological ruins. These circumstances did not always permit the best photography. Though they do not always represent my best photographic work, these pictures are an important part of my life and my photographic record. I hope you enjoy them and I welcome your comments about individual pics and the work as a whole.
-----------------TIPS ON TAKING AND PRESENTING BETTER PICTURES-----------------
I love this advice I recently learned from Jeff Clow: "How do you improve you photography? STAND IN FRONT OF BETTER THINGS!"
Here are some tips I've collected on improving composition and on taking and presenting better and more interesting pictures. I also recommend Geoff Quinn's "A few lessons learned the hard (and slow) way on Flickr" at: Geoff Quinn. You may also be interested in David Brooks' Photographic Composition Tutorial and blog about photographic composition theory found here: David Brooks On Composition. You can see 24 articles mostly about nature photography by Darwin Wiggett, here: Darwin Wiggett. Also check out some Photoshop tips and tutorials here Tommy Simms' PhotoshopTutorials.
In the examples below you can click on the picture for a larger view.
* NO FORMULAS: To begin with there are no formulas or recipes for great photographs. But there are matters pertaining to beauty and interest such as principles relating to light, harmony, balance, color and emotion and elements of design such as line, form, pattern, shape, texture and color which enter into making a photograph attractive and interesting. Successful photographs are about knowing and applying those principles when appropriate, but also about perception, thought and creativity.
* GENERAL COMPOSITION: I like Peter Eastway's simple comments about landscape composition. He calls it “superb framing” with the compositional elements balanced within the frame, “no unwanted elements distracting the viewer”, and “a flow from one element to the next. The horizon is straight and you won’t find half a tree or a rubbish bin chopped off on one side."
I really like this picture, except for one thing...the top of the silly tree in the right foreground. It is one of those "unwanted elements distracting the viewer." It ruined what was otherwise a pretty good shot. I should have seen it in the viewfinder but I was concentrating too much on the house and the mountain. A few steps to the left would have solved this and saved the shot! Lesson: when you have the time for the shot, train yourself to look at everything in the frame. This is more easily done when using a tripod.
* THEME / CENTER OF INTEREST: Like a good movie, photos are usually more interesting if they have a main theme or center of interest which may include tone, color, and/or mood as well as content.
* CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE FORMAT ORIENTATION: Too many pictures shot in the horizontal format gives the amateur away. It suggests they haven't spent the time thinking about how to give their pictures more visual and psychological impact. Although, generally considered peaceful, the horizontal can sometimes be death on interest because horizontal lines are also restful and passive. Using a horizontal frame psychologically imposes the tendency to frame the elements of an image horizontally--something that must be overcome if the subject is dominantly vertical. The horizontal frame corresponds to our binocular vision and the dominant line of the horizon, so it is more natural and comfortable than the vertical. It also reinforces the eye's desire to move horizontally across the image. Put tall and vertical subjects in the vertical format. A mix of formats will liven up a presentation. Cut a frame out of posterboard the same dimensions as your camera's format. Frame the picture with this before taking it. This helps train you to think about format.
* THE FORMAT FRAME: The format frame can have a strong or weak influence on your image. Frames can interact strongly with the lines of the image. Since lines may have independent movement and direction, their reference to the frame edges allows them to create tension, drama, and interest. Thus the frame is important in composition when this knowledge is understood and applied. Frames are less important in loose snapshots. Breaking the rules of frame, such as focusing on the architectural details of a building rather than the whole thing, compels the eye and mind to consider the image "out of its context". This produces abstractions and often what is considered "art" in photography.
Lines interacting with the frame edge:
Here an otherwise static horizontal building and fence become much more dynamic because of the composition within the frame. The vertical lines remain vertical, but the horizontal lines are now diagonals. The lines interact with three sides of the frame, and are particularly noticable on the right side and bottom.
A less traditional, but equally obvious interaction of line with the frame. Cutting off the bold line movement on the top and bottom of the left side of the image elevates this shot a step or two above the realm of the ordinary "snapshot". Consider how much less of an impact this shot would have had in the horizontal format.
Breaking frame rules:
Focusing on this section of the building emphasizes the beauty of the complimentary colors and the lines of the structure. One is not looking at a building but a beautiful picture--almost art--except for the tree in the upper right. We are still working on perfection here!
*FRAMING THE IMAGE: What to include in the frame is one of your most important decisions. Many photographers try to include too many elements which clutter and distract. [See the section on simplicity below.] So, it is important to be discriminating about what you leave in and out. Perhaps the best thing you can do is ask yourself two simple questions. “What is it that most impresses me about this scene?” And, “How can I best communicate what I like about it?” Remember the size of the subject within the frame is important. If it is too large you may not get enough context, that is, sense of location and place, if that is important. If it is too small, there may be too many other competing or distracting elements. If a scene has lots of potential, take a lot of photos at different focal lengths. Experimenting like this will help you discover what you like and serendipity may surprise you too! Below are some examples, poor and better.
Here are two examples of "street scenes" which may indeed capture the look of the town or the street, but they are more in the realm of the "snapshot" than beautiful photography. They are okay for a documentary record of one's trip, but they probably wouldn't be winners in a local photo contest.
* THE GOLDEN MEAN: What makes something visually pleasing? The question of the ages. The Greeks discovered that certain things evoked a sense of balance and harmony, especially in architecture and art. They learned to achieve a sense of balance by using the "Golden Mean" or what is commonly called the "Rule of Thirds." Divide your viewer into thirds both directions. The Golden Mean is at each intersection. Subjects placed here have a greater interest than those placed in the center because they seem more dynamic. Putting your subject in the "bull's eye" is natural, but may be the least attractive because then it is surrounded with equal space, and often it is "dead space," meaning there is nothing important there, or it competes with the main subject. That is not only stagnant, but allows considerable competition for your subject. By the way, snapshots are often characterized both by the "bull's eye" centering of the subject, and lots of "dead space" around the subject.
I rarely get the focal point exactly on the "Golden Mean" but again, I think you will agree these are much more interesting and dramatic than if the light of the lighthouse or the window were in the center of the photo.
* DEPTH PERCEPTION: A strong sense of depth in an image tends to increase the viewer's feeling of being at the scene. Various elements enhance or reduce the sense of depth in a picture. The most important and common one is linear perspective--diminishing size and converging lines. Aerial perspective is created by haze, with lighter shadows and loss of color through distance. Color also provides perspective as warm colors advance and cool colors recede in an image. Related to color are tones--with the lighter tones advancing and darker ones receding. Selective focus and sharpness are also important factors influencing depth in a photo. Using this knowledge, here are ways to increase a sense of depth perception; their opposites generally reduce depth:
1. Give scale by including objects of recognizable size at different distances in the image.
2. Select a point of view that provides a range of distance.
3. Use diffused lighting such as in a mist. Distant objects are less distinct with progressively lighter shadows. Backlighting also produces this effect.
4. Varying the sense of sharpness across the image.
5. One of the easiest ways is to use a wide-angle lens showing a large foreground, or close to the nearest objects in it.
6. Keep bright tones in the foreground, dark tones in the rear.
7. Place warm colors against a background of cool colors.
Nearly all of the above principles are present in this photo. Can you identify them? Wide angle with viewpoint showing distance. Though it is not strongly evident, the sun was low in the sky directly above the mountain peak; therefore, it is almost a backlit shot. (Actually it is called "contra jour" light, meaning "against the light" which can be very luminous and stricking as in this view.) Warm colors and tones in foreground, cool colors and tones in background. Even though the sky is clear, notice the effect of the atmosphere through the loss of color and distinctness in the distance and that each receding layer of mountains becomes lighter in tone.
* PLACEMENT OF HORIZON: A centered horizon also creates a static, often uninteresting scene. Put the horizon up or down a third and you will increase interest and drama. High horizons exaggerate the foreground and the distance. Low horizons emphasize the sky or what is in it.
* GET CLOSER: Especially for portraits. In most instances (especially for family albums) seeing the whole head or torso and head is much more interesting than a full length view which may require a magnifying glass to figure out who it is you are looking at. Filling the frame isolates your subject and powerfully directs attention to the main object or theme. It also eliminates the "dead space" which may be surrounding the subject. It is called "dead space" for a reason. Closer is important in other kinds of photography too because there seems to be a natural interest in observing things close enough to see detail.
*EYE DIRECTION: Look at the photo below. What direction did your eyes take in looking at it? What went through your mind? Of course you wanted to know what they were looking at, so your eyes moved from right to left--following the direction of the gaze of their eyes. This points out a very important element in people photography. In pictures with people in them, eye direction is one of, if not the most important element in the photo. This is because eye direction creates a strong direction in a photo. Why? Well, we humans have a very strong attraction to the faces of other humans. When they are present we instantly look at them. And through a life time of conditioning we look at the eyes. If they are looking at something, our eyes naturally follow in that direction. This is important to know because eye direction creates an implied line and direction which leads our eye in that same direction. When that occurs it is almost always a very important aspect of an image. Direct eye contact between the camera and the subject is a very strong attraction. This is highly useful information in people photography
If the gaze of the eye is directed out of the image, like this photo, we do not know what the object of their attention is. This can create questions, mood, doubt, and ambiguity because the matter is unresolved in the viewer's mind. This isn't necessarily bad so far as photographic interest is concerned. (Click on this image to see a bit more detail in the description about who is looking at what.)
* DETAIL: If you will look, your photos will have another photo inside them. It is in the detail. Working with your subject a while and asking yourself what is still here may bring it to your attention.
I liked this big window, but I also realized the most important part could be a stand-alone shot of its own. Note that each one required a different format.
* SIMPLICITY: There is an old adage (principle) in art--"less is more". Simplicity has an elegance, grace, beauty, interest, and strength all of its own. It works on this principle: The fewer things you include in your picture the more important each one becomes. Here is another version: "The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in." Henry Green. The principle may apply to colors as well as content of the picture.
* BACKGROUND: Background is important to many aspects of photography. When focusing on detail you don't want a distracting background. The same is true for portraits. Backgrounds can be softened by a shallow depth of field. Use a wide aperture to put the subject in focus and the background out of focus. Also, learn to look at the background to make sure telephone poles aren't coming out of the top of your subject's head, or that the light will darken the center of interest, unless of course, that is your intent. Background is particularly tricky in street portrait photography, because, as in the example below, the background can be very distracting. Awareness, patience, and knowing how to blur the background with effective use of depth of field are essential for good street portraits.
This is a nice scene, but if I would have paid attention more closely to the background I would have noticed the lamp covering part of the spire. Two or three steps to the left would have corrected this.
The conception wasn't bad, but the execution was terrible.
* VIEWPOINT: One problem with many amateur photographers is that they take every photograph from "eye level" or what authors call the "six-foot" shot. To turn the ordinary into the extraordinary find a new or unusual perspective. It increases interest, especially in travel photos where everyone takes basically the same shot. This is known as the "cliche" or "postcard" look. Higher or lower can often make a difference. This one pushes you into the creative side of your brain. Author Bryan Peterson suggests asking the question, "What does the world look like when viewed through the eyes of... (fill in the blank)," and then try to shoot from that perspective.
I was on my knees and bending down in order to emphasize the wet cobblestone. Notice that it takes up almost half of the picture. The tower of the building from below gives an unusual amd dramatic viewpoint. The view from atop Diamondhead is one of the more unusual and, therefore, interesting shots of a lighthouse.
Again, I got down low to look this guy right in the eye. Aerial perspectives are difficult to come by and on this one the plane window was dirty and the sky a bit hazy, but Photoshop came to the rescue.
* FOCUS: Although there are times when soft focus is desireable and intended; sharp focus usually increases interest in your work. Shutter speed is very important here. Though they aren't too convenient, tripods go a long way to helping you get a sharp focus.
*USE YOUR DIGITAL DARKROOM: Some "purists" feel like they should not use an image editor to alter their work. It is commendable to do the best you can with the camera, but every great professional film photographer, whether he worked in black and white like Ansel Adams, or in color, used the darkroom to enhance the images they presented to the world. An image editor is today's dark room. But it allows you to do more with your images than the old chemicals did. If we are trying to create beautiful or artistic images for people to view, if we are trying to communicate, learning to use an image editor is indespensible in putting your best work before the public.
This image was actually edited slightly in Photoshop Elements 2, which came with my computer. I knew enough to change the contrast and increase saturation. Though doing this improved the image dramatically from the in camera version I still didn't feel like it represented what I "saw" that morning.
During the past year I've learned a bit more about editing images. This week I upgraded to the full blown version of Photoshop. And though I know very little of what it can do, the above version represents a dramatic improvement over the earlier version. I darkened the mountains and increased the blue of the sky so there was a sharper contrast between them. The mountains are much more distinct now. I also increased the green saturation slightly, and deepened the tone while brightening the front of the barn. I also eliminated two little leaves dropping down from the top of the right side of the frame. I reduced the noise and sharpened it. Notice the detail of the mountains and the barn are more distinct. To me the image represents much better what I "saw" that morning. And I'm pleased. Stay tuned. As I learn more about PS, there may yet be a third version!
*SHARPENING: Many photo editing programs give you the option of sharpening your digital photos. Author Rick Sammon argues that "all digital pictures need sharpening, some more than others." He also asserts that "all" digital photo pros agree on that. My experience leads me to agree with Sammon. Two cautions, however: 1) learning to use the sharpening tools is a bit confusing and will take a little study or help from someone with experience; 2) if you over sharpen, you can create what experts call "halos" and other problems. It is a wonderful tool, but needs to be used judiciously and with knowledge.
*GET THE SHOT: A bit of philosophy: You either get the shot or you don't. Excellence is often a matter of inches, of thinking and trying. In the example below I didn't get the shot. The top of the tree is not within the frame of the sandstone background and that makes this a "nice" shot, but not an "excellent" one. I recognized the problem when I looked through the view finder. But, rather than figure out a solution--and there were probably several such as piling up rocks or widening the field and setting the camera on timer mode and holding up the tripod--I accepted "good enough"! I've learned, and I hope you do too. Get the shot or move on. If you don't you will only be exposing less than your best to the world. (See the kind, but the pointed comments of my friends on this one. )
* PATTERNS AND REPETITION: Generally speaking, if the pattern is strong or bold it will be more interesting visually. Bold patterns or repetition will likely take the center position of your shot. The secret is to isolate the pattern from its surroundings. Since patters are predictable, something which interrupts or disrupts it will immediately become the center of attention. Patterns evoke a sense of consistency, stability, reliability, and security.
*TEXTURE: Texture is generally achieved by sharp focus and lighting so the detail is observable. Unlike other aspects of design, seeing texture often depends on low-angled sidelight. In the foreground of a landscape, texture may heighten responses of viewers as their sense of touch is aroused. Texture in the background can often help create an emotional and interesting composition. In a more artsy, creative, or philosophical way, texture may also refer to the overall "feel" of your work.
This photo was taken without the light conditions mentioned above, nevertheless, the "texture" was noticed and commented upon by many viewers. The ice-covered thistles are side lit.
* CROPPING: Some think it is close to a mortal sin to alter their photos in any way. I've found that once you've got your photo in hand you can often see that even ordinary shots have possibilities with some careful cropping and a bit of straightening of base and side lines. Effective cropping can enhance both interest and beauty of your shots for maximum effect in presentation. I readily admit that many of the photos in my collection were greatly improved by carefully cropping them.
The wider view gives context to the scene, but the cropped close up lets us see in better detail what really interests us.
Here, cropping produced a "panoramic" format, placing the emphasis on the mountain range with the barn as a nice detail of interest. Which scene do you prefer?
* LEVELING: Almost any subject can be noticably slanted vertically or horizontally. While some photographers do this intentionally--and for a particular reason--most do not. Horizontal and vertical lines are immediately compared by the eye with the frame edges. The smallest deviation is noticeable. When lines are not level or straight vertically it upsets the visual equilibrium of the viewer. In this day of digital photography and image editing software this problem is relatively easy to fix. When you rotate the picture for correction you will have to crop down the size also to compensate for the blank spaces at the edges of the image.
I intentionally slanted this one for effect. You will have to be the judge of whether or not it worked. The horizon on the Mediterranean is not level. It is noticable and uncomfortable to viewers--see the comment by kelpwoman inside. A slight tilt to the right in PS would have done the trick.
At first this one was tricky because the corner facade is a combination of flat and round structures. The flat part isn't square and the verticals aren't true. Trying to get that part of the building straight didn't work. Finally, I realized that the green bridge needed to be level, then the building would just do its thing. Did I make the right choice?
* USING A FRAME: Although a cliche in photography, framing your picture with something in the foreground such as hanging leaves or branches of a tree, between bushes or rocks, or part of the side and roof of a building is sure to make your photos attractive. It limits the viewing field and places attention on the subject as well as creates a sense of depth, perspective, and "being there". This is particularly true in wide angle shots. It seems to add a touch of planning and professionalism which takes photos out of the realm of the "snapshot". Don't let the frame dominate the scene or distract the eye.
*MOOD AND ATMOSPHERE: The mood or atmosphere you create in your photography is one attribute that will differentiate your shot from those taken at the same scene by others.
Admittedly the clouds in these are largely responsible for their mood. But as you will see below, mood can be created in many ways.
The color version is a "so-so to poor" shot. The BW salvaged it, and the high contrast also gave it a mood associated with rural decay that I wanted to evoke. How do you react to this comparison?
* BLACK AND WHITE: I know a couple of things about B&W. First, it isn’t easy to do, at least for me. But, the results are often very attractive. B&W has a certain simplicity that provides an interest and drama all its own. There is a reason why in this day of color Steven Speilberg shot “Shindler’s List” in B&W.
One of the things that makes B&W a challenge and a joy is that you have to adjust your mind set when shooting B&W, and learn to see things differently. This is because tonal values in color may be similar but still have dramatic difference, whereas in B&W they may be very dull and uninteresting. So here are a few suggestions to improve seeing and shooting better B&W. Look for the following:
Contrast: While strong tonal differences in color may be busy and repelling, in B&W contrast is everything.
Photos of Bachspics (7)
- Outernet 1,455 photos, 23 members
- Project Weather 636,691 photos, 94,067 members
- in explore 878,044 photos, 74,395 members
- Portraits du monde 198,661 photos, 10,744 members
- The Gallery Of Fine Photography [DISCONTINUED] 40,685 photos, 5,104 members
- LDS Photographers 31,250 photos, 1,190 members
"There are gems to be found here on flickr, and Bachspics is one of the best. I found him some time back, and quickly became enchanted with his brilliance behind the lens, as well as his willingness to share his considerable talent and knowledge through his generous tutorials. I've bookmarked him and refer back to these informative narratives many times.
Thank you, Dan for going the extra mile for the flickr community!"
June 1st, 2009
Rita Crane Photography says:
"Bachspics has done a great service to his Flickr visitors by having this great series of tutorials on his profile page. I wish it were somewhere on the FLICKR help pages where all Flickr photographers might see it and benefit from it. A wonderful and generous gesture. Thank you Bachspics!!"
April 27th, 2008
"wow, I just finally took the time to examine your profile, and my goodness I am stunned! Such a wealth of information and remarkable shot, good teaching, wonderful testimonials (many from people I really admire on flickr)...
all I can say is ABOUT TIME I GOT OVER TO YOUR STREAM!!!!!!
AND, wow, you only have 121 contacts and I get to be one of them??? I am honored!
December 28th, 2007
"It was one of your pictures that caught my eye. Your gift of written experience (on your profile) that lead me to discover artistry through your lens. Your capture of colorful people is unique, educational and a joy to view. An enlightened exercise for the eyes! Beautiful colors, angles and imagination. I think I should tag my pics BB and AB (Before Bachspics and After Bachspics)! ha. Can't wait to get out there and take pics with some semblence of composition! Thanx for sharing...."
November 17th, 2007
"I want you to know yours is the only profile I have ever felt the need to save for future reference.
You have an incredible photo stream, and I have made you a contact because I wanted to see all the work you do.
October 23rd, 2007
Bachspics has been a most wonderful person to find on flickr, not only for his tremendous images, but also for his help. His tips for taking and presenting photos should be read by anyone intent on improving their skills. And his encouragement for others through his gallery is a tremendous bonus."
September 22nd, 2007
"There are prolific shooters, and good ones...it is a rare case the two are but one - and Bachspics is of that small group. His eye for quality is also superb, as evidenced by the images that fill up his collection. A willingness - indeed, desire - to share his experience and knowledge is a wonderful trait, one that only adds to his stature as one of Flickr's finest members."
September 16th, 2007
"Bachspics is truly an artist with a keen eye for details and beauty. His photos are images of poetry. I especially enjoy his doors, windows and lantern captures.
You must see Bachspics TIPS ON TAKING BETTER PICTURES, excellent tips and guidelines, they are so helpful and inspiring, such as his marvelous work. Thank you for sharing your world and images."
August 15th, 2007
""Gorgeous. Unexpected. Joyful. Hopeful. And that is what his entire photostream is about. It is extremely artful! I look forward to seeing his new posts."
June 22nd, 2007
"Bachpics has more photographic talent than he will admit and an office full of 35mm color slides. His many trips to the Middle East during the 80's gave him opportunity to photograph parts of the world that much of the Western world was not yet familiar with. He likes the bold use of color and contrast and Flickr has given him a way to share with the world images which precious few people have seen. Comb through his pics for some real gems."
June 21st, 2007
- May 2007
- Logan, Utah, USA
- I am:
- Male and Taken