Thursday, May 29, 2014

Photographing Concerts I Prefer the Balcony

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.6, 1/45
From a higher perspective I can see everyone that is performing. While I am back much further the angle to see everyone is much better than when on the floor.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.6, 1/50
As you can see from the second photo I am missing seeing everyone.

From up high I chose some overall shots with my Fujinon 18-55mm, but I also spent a lot more time using the Fujinon 55-200mm lens and picking out performers.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.4, 1/25

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.5, 1/45

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.7, 1/40

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.6, 1/45
As you can see you can clearly see people's faces from shooting slightly above them. Now if the performers were on risers then you may get away from shooting on the main level with them.

While I prefer the upper shots they are not the only ones I take. You see I do like to move around and shoot some variety.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.8, 1/30

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.8, 1/40
 The lower view you pick up the audiences heads which lets you know their is an audience. This also gives a layering affect so you create more depth into the photograph.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.8, 1/45
From the floor I had to move more to find a shot in between the audiences heads. If you like to just pick a seat and shoot from there, go to the balcony. You will be more pleased without moving as much as I had to do to get the variety you see here.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.5, 1/45

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lisbon, Portugal Scene Setters

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 800, ƒ/9, 1.3 sec
Who, What, WHERE, Why, When & How

In Journalism 101 the five Ws and H are taught as the questions whose answers are considered basic in information-gathering. Importantly, none of these questions can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no".

Last week while teaching Multi-Media Storytelling Workshop in Lisbon, Portugal we covered getting images that help give context for their stories.

Below here are some possible scene setters that help address the WHERE for the storyline.

When you examine the Five Ws and H most of those questions can be captured visually. The adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. It also aptly characterizes one of the main goals of visualization, namely making it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly.

This is why visual storytelling can be extremely powerful. You can get across a lot of information to the audience in a very short period of time.

While one image can capture "WHERE" a series of photos in a multimedia can do even more. Depending on the sequence, some music and the human voice can pull you even deeper into the context of the story.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/13, 1/180
Here is a photo of Nazaré, Portugal where I am at Sítio (an old village, on top of a cliff) overlooking Praia (along the beach). This is how you as a tourist give context.  Shoot too tight and you could be anywhere in the world. Don't make that mistake or you could have just stayed home and taken photos in your backyard.


Context photos are difficult when you use a shallow depth-of-field. Compare these two photos with where changing the aperture to gave a greater depth-of-field.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 200, ƒ/3.7, 1/1000

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 640, ƒ/10, 1/500
Wide Angle Lens

Personally I prefer to get close with a wide angle verses using a longer telephoto lens, but here in these photos it does work.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/500
Remember when you travel and you want to take establishing shots that capture where you were and not just photos of you that could have been taken anywhere.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Still image is still king in social networking

Hotel Avenida Palace, downtown Lisbon, Portugal [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/90] 
I am now back after a week long Visual Storytelling Workshop in Lisbon, Portugal. While doing the workshop I started watching how the students were already engaging their audience and then it hit me—The Still Image is King in Social Networking.

Here you can see how Esther Havens successfully shares a photo and gets more than 86 "LIKES" on Facebook.  Note one thing different than most people who share photos—CAPTION!

A short caption with a strong image engages enough people to click on "LIKE" and this doesn't include all the people who saw the image and may enjoyed it even more, but just don't click "LIKE."

Here my friend John Spink, photographer for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution shares a personal photo and just adds a small caption.  Look at the number of LIKES—73 total.

Again the key to pushing those likes up is a strong photo and good caption that entertains those that follow him.

Another friend Chuck Burton, Associated Press Photographer, shares a photo of his dad. Again please notice the photo is interesting and the caption adds more information making the photo have even more impact.  68—LIKES.

After talking to the students about how they already have an audience, but just need to post strong images with a short caption that tells a small story Amanda Ross, one of the students, started doing this and experienced for the first time her posts taking off with "LIKES."

This is that post that she shared. WOW 82—LIKES.

Social Networking Tip

People enjoy Social Networking because they enjoy the small snippets to catchup and keep connected. The key to being what Seth Godin calls a sneezer is being entertaining. You need to keep it brief in the social networking circle. If you want to post longer posts then you need a blog.

If you want to understand the idea of a sneezer read Seth Godin's book Unleashing the Ideavirus.

In order to show how to make your idea infectious, the book examines what makes a powerful 'sneezer', how 'hives' work, and applies the concepts of critical velocity, vector, medium, smoothness, persistence, and amplifiers. As Godin shows, the now-familiar idea of viral marketing is one very specific form of ideavirus marketing. Most businesses will not be able to engage in true viral marketing, but all can use the ideavirus approach.

I recommend diving into understanding how social networking operates for those who are really successful. We are no longer living in the world where a marketer can effectively just push their agenda. You need to really be interesting and this alone will create a following.

Read The Power of Pull that does a great job of explaining the concept of how you must create something of interest for people to pay attention. Just telling people they need this is not as effective as creating content that draws them to you.

There is another book that I would also recommend to those who are trying to get their work viewed and making them relevant for clients to hire regularly.

Seth Godin wrote another top-seller Tribes:We Need You To Lead Us

“Real leaders don't care [about receiving credit]. If it's about your mission, about spreading the faith, about seeing something happen, not only do you not care about credit, you actually want other people to take credit...There's no record of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi whining about credit. Credit isn't the point. Change is.”
― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Most of the photographers I am meeting are wanting to change the world through their photographs. Many of them call their work humanitarian photography.

If you are wanting your images to change the world let the work speak for itself. Share those images and give people something they can digest in a quick glance on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or whatever social network you choose. The key is the photo, if strong, will stop them and then read your caption.

When people move from "LIKE" to "SHARE" you are now creating change.

What follows after you do this for a while? People will follow you on Twitter and request to friend you on Facebook. This is where creating a separate page just for your photography can be a good thing. This way you are able to post those images with captions and create a following separate from your close friends.

You can also just share with your friends or the world. Just choose when you post if you want the Public, everyone, or just your friends to see the post.

Why the Still Image is King?

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets". The reason for the success of Twitter is the short message. Instagram even in the name communicates that keeping it quick and short will be more successful than a larger post.

Instant Messaging also is successful due to the brevity of the message.

YouTube has grown as well as it's own social networking platform. My recommendation is to build a following on a project with still images and captions over a period of time that builds up to the release of the video.

Your audience will be more interested in taking the TIME to watch your video if they have an idea about what it is about. This is why trailers are done for movies. Think of the still image as quick trailers that will create the audience for the release of your video.

Your audience will more likely stay tuned into the video if they are willing to commit to the time to watch it. If you are successful as a person worth following they will commit to watching it.


This really has nothing to do with this post, but I wanted to share some of the photos I made while in Lisbon. Here they are below. I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Photography tips from our workshop in Lisbon, Portugal

James Dockery, coordinating editor for ESPN, talks with David White and Amanda Ross about how to improve their photos and showing them on the camera some settings that made a difference. [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/6.4, 1/90] 
We have been having to address some digital workflow issues this week with a few students. After going through this I thought you as a reader of the blog might enjoy hearing what problems many were having and how to avoid them.

Free Space

The number one issue we had with many of the students was the amount of free space they had on their laptops. They had no room to add software, photos and video due to being so full.

Good rule of thumb is to have about 20% of free space on your hard drive.

Filling your hard drive until it's almost full is just recipe for a disaster. First, your computer needs some free space for creating swap space to manage memory use. Even when you have adequate RAM, the operating system will reserve some space at startup for memory swap space. In addition, individual applications usually use some disk space for temporary storage.

On a Macbook Pro go to the hard drive. Highlight it and then hit ⌘-I and it will show you the free space on your computer.

More free space is great but try to have a minimum of 20% free. This is a good place to read about my workflow for photos if you want to know what to do.

Here James Dockery, Amanda Ross and Jeff Raymond are in downtown Lisbon waiting to eat at Restaurante Cabacas. [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/9, 1/2.5, flash is bounced across the alley into the wall to help fill in on their faces] 
Shoot, Edit, Review & Shoot Again

The ideal way to do a story is to shoot it and then review your work. After editing all the work see what is missing and then schedule more time to go back and shoot some more.

All our students have spent time with their subjects and then everyone has gone back to shoot even more photos and video to improve their story.

Amanda Ross is shooting and reviewing what she is doing as she goes. [Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 25600,  ƒ/3.7,  1/60]
Crank the ISO up

When you are out shooting street scene at night, crank your ISO up so you capture the moment. If you have a Fuji X-E2 you can shoot at ISO 25600 and still get OK quality photos. Yes there is a little noise, but you will be surprised at what you can get at high ISO on some of the newer cameras.

The photo of the lady with the camera above is shot at ISO 25600. Then the photo below is shot at ISO 400 in the middle of the day. Yes the noise is non-existent at ISO 400 but I can live with the quality of the 25600, especially when the choice is no photo at all in this low of light.

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/7.1, 1/800] 
Shoot Textures

When you travel just shoot the textures you find. You can use these later for title slides or backgrounds for lower third title slides.

[Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 800, ƒ/4, 1/500] 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Photos from Sintra, Portugal and Moorish Castle

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 250, ƒ/13, 1/125
We are having a lot of fun here in Lisbon, Portugal this week working on our storytelling. We have taken some breaks like here where we went out to grab some snacks and on the way back stopped and got some photo of the landscape.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 800, ƒ/13, 1/500
Here two of the students climbed on top of a van to shoot over the chainlink fence.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/280
Here is one of the pastries we enjoyed while taking a break and learning more about the culture of Lisbon.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/16, 1/500

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/3.7, 1/1000
Later today we went over to Sintra, Portugal where we went to the Moorish Castle.  Here are some photos that I took while climbing around the castle.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 400, ƒ/3.9, 1/850
Some of the tips I can tell you from our outing is to be sure you have your camera with you all the time and be ready for those special moments. I took with me on the excursion today the Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm and the 55-200mm. I also had two extra batteries which I did need one of them.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/3.6, 1/800
Most of the time I had the 18-55mm on the camera which let me shoot some semi wide-angle shots and then some portraits like of this lady in front of one of the shops.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 1000, ƒ/4.4, 1/500
I love using the 55-200mm to pick out some closeup shots of elements around the streets of Sintra, Portugal. You can isolate things from all the clutter of the streets.

I hope you enjoy some of the places we have been with our class on Storytelling this week. Later I hope to share some of the stories the student have put together this week. They are still interviewing people and editing their projects. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Workshops help calibrate you

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/240
When you participate in a photography workshop as I am doing this week in Portugal you are able to see where you are in relationship to others. This helps you see if you have mastered a skill and subject.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/110
Here I am on the subway in Lisbon with one of the other instructors James Dockery. We were taking the class to a location to have some time shooting at night on the street.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/240
Here Jeff Raymond the leader of the workshop talks to the students about some of the technical settings on cameras.

A good workshop will give you some instruction time of some new concepts for you and then also give you some time to execute these new concepts and practice using them.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/300
James Dockery talks to the students about his experience working as an editor at ESPN. Your instructors need to be people who are at the top of their field who can not just teaching you something you don't know, but also are leaders in the industry.

Find a workshop where you are challenged and will be stretched.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/30
Find a workshop that will give you access to something you want to photograph. This will help you get excited and stay engaged.

You are also more likely to make photos that you want to share with your friends. You will be excited to show people what you learned to do.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/40
You should have fun where you get to see your instructors show you how to make the most of a situation as James Dockery did here with a lady just at the train station in Lisbon. How do you talk to people and engage with them to get a good photograph.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/9, 1/30
What I am liking the most out of this missions storytelling workshop is the support we are getting from one another. Pick a workshop where you will not be put down for what you don't know. Find a place where the instructors and others in the class will be encouragers.

We are working on workshops now for the rest of the year to give you an opportunity like the one here in Lisbon. Stay tuned as I give you opportunities to sign up to learn and grow this next year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Remain Calm and Steady for great Travel Photos

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/22, 1.1 sec
One of the things many people decide to leave at home when traveling is there tripod. However, this is one of the most useful tools when traveling for this photo for example. I was able to stop down the lens to an aperture of ƒ/22 to then create a star effect from the lights.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/35
The lower photograph doesn't have the star effect due to the shallow DOF [Depth-of-field].

One of my favorite thing to do in new locations is to shoot sunrises and sunsets. Just as fun is those photos just after the sunsets like the ones here that you can still see some blue sky.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/30
You can see some in our group using the tripod to get their shot. I recommend carrying a cable release or to use about a second delay timer to trip the shutter so you do not introduce any camera movement when firing the camera.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/3.2, 1/5
Here the shutter speed is 1/5 of a second which made the people in the train station in Lisbon, Portugal blur. In this situation I put the camera on a column to keep the camera perfectly still.

My recommendation is to find a tripod that folds up very small and yet will go up pretty high to around eye level when standing. They make carbon fiber tripods that are very light and just as good but not quite is light is some of the aluminum made tripods.