The Twin Cities SMUG welcomed renowned nature photographer, Steve Gettle, to their latest meeting. Steve is a part of North American Nature Photography Association. His photographs were amazing, and we were treated to a fabulous slide show at the end of his discussion. He shoots mainly scenery, birds, mammals and macros.
He shared some of the decisions he makes as he’s building a photo:
- What you want to communicate such as text, shape, pattern and color. To improve your pictures, decide your message.
- What do you want to include, and what you exclude that does not fit your message? This can be done while composing the picture, or after when you crop.
- Control your background.
- Decide if the subject dictates vertical or horizontal. If undecided, Steve suggests shooting both ways.
- Organize the elements with rules of composition, such as rule of thirds, leading lines and implied motion.
He also explained the quality of light:
1. Sweet Light: when the light is high, or bright overcast day. This is good for macro, but the sky will most likely be blown out.
2. Warm Light: This is the light early or late in the day. It gives a warm glow to the subject, and is great for scenery and landscape.
3. The Edges of Light: Just prior to sunrise or after sunset. Steve said this is not good for wildlife.
4. Bad Light: Bad light is flat, lifeless, no color. Harsh light will add more contrast than the camera can handle.
He suggested changing the angle from which you shoot, depending on your conditions. Shoot up when the sky is blue with clouds, and shoot low in other conditions so you focus on something other than the sky.
Decide on Depth-of-Field:
- Depth-of-Field (DOF) will control the background.
- Use DOF to isolate the subject.
- Pull viewer into the scene with everything sharp. Direct the viewer’s eye with shallow DOF.
You can also use the shutter speed control on your camera for action shots. Also, for intentional blur, use a slow shutter speed.
Steve’s presentation was an amazing learning experience for all of us at our SMUG.
Michele has been coming to the Twin Cities SMUG group at the Ridgedale Library for over a year, and has gained so much knowledge from this group. She uses a Canon 5D Mark ii and shoot mostly with natural light. You can also find her on Facebook.