technological skills

Composition

Composition can be daunting. The good news is you can learn about it and get better with time and practice!

When I’m in the field, I always look for interesting shapes, patterns, lines and texture. Once I find a potential subject, I evaluate the intensity of the light, its direction and the need to use filters or not. I identify distracting elements, determine my focal point and move around to find my composition. I establish the depth of field, what should be in focus and which lens to use. Then I set up my tripod, which is essential in order to get sharp images. After taking my shot, I check the histogram and the clarity of my image on the back screen. From there I can adjust my composition accordingly. I find that seeing my image on the small screen tells me right away if the composition is good or not.

I believe that a poor image cannot be fixed with a software so I prefer to take the time to compose my images while I am in the field. I also prefer to spend my time outside rather than in front of my computer!

If you’re ready to learn how to get better images, sign up for an upcoming workshop or ask for a private workshop.

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Get off Auto, create your best images this summer!

Just added 3 workshops in English and 3 in French, all in the Comox Valley, and on Saturdays afternoon.

  • Learn how to use your camera on manual mode

  • Learn about exposure, depth of field, focus, and key elements of composition

  • Use technical and creative elements together to improve your images

  • Get more confident with your camera and your skills

  • Get more one-on-one time by being part of a small group of 5 participants

  • Take your newly acquired knowledge to your next trip

Book now!

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Graduated ND filters

Graduated neutral density filters, or graduated ND filters, are used by photographers to control very bright areas of a scene. A graduated filter is made of glass which is half dark and half clear with a soft or hard edge between the two parts. Graduated ND filters come in different density, typically from one to 10 f-stops.

Fix or hand-held the filter in front of your lens. Place the darker area over the part you wish to darken (i.e. bright sky). The clear part of the filter will keep its normal brightness. You’ll notice that once you have placed the filter in front of your lens, you’ll need to re-adjust the exposure. You can use a graduated filter to emphasize an area of your image by darkening a less important area, knowing that the viewer’s eyes are naturally attracted by lighter areas in a photograph.

Note: The transition between the dark and clear parts of a filter can create an unnatural line in your image so use the proper density filter.

Nature Photography - Field Tips

It’s mating season and if you are into that kind of pictures then there are a few things to consider before heading out.

First you need to learn about your subject: mating call, mating ground, habitat, food source, droppings and even tracks. For bird photographers, there are several websites dedicated to bird songs. Start memorizing songs and calls, it will be easier for you to locate birds once you’re in the field.

Mating season on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Mating season on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Find your subject’s resting or nesting area and return there very early in the morning. Wait for them to wake up and start their day. Did you know that some birds tend to face east in the morning to warm up in the sun? Leave plenty of space for your subject and observe them while they pursue their activities. With a good zoom lens, you’ll be able to capture their routine. Be patient! You might need to stand still in inclement weather or in an awkward position for a very long period of time before you get a rewarding image.

I hope you enjoy the awakening of nature as much as I do!