Three Reasons To Use A Tripod

15 01 2010

Are you tired of being being disappointed in your photographs?Do you want to take your photography to the next level? One simple way to step your game up is to learn when to use a tripod.

Here are three key reasons in photography that I use my tripod: Image Stabilization, Long Exposure Photography and Creative Photography.

IMAGE STABILIZATION

Stabilization : Yellowstone National Park, MT

Although most lenses have a built in image stabilization feature – sometimes it is not enough. When using my telephoto lenses I use my tripod as often as I can. This way I can reduce the shake of the camera caused by the lens being extended at length. A good rule of thumb is anytime your shutter speed is equal to or less than your focal length -get out the tripod. (ex. 300m < 1/300 or 200mm < 1/200.)

LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY

Lake Yellowstone : Yellowstone, MT

When an exposure over 1/15 is used I highly recommend using the tripod. Long Exposures are needed to capture vibrant colors in low light situations. Two perfect examples of this would be sunsets and fireworks. You may be able to get away with shorter exposure times for sunsets but a stop action photograph of fireworks just doesn’t work. By increasing the exposure length the trails and colors of the fireworks are more vivid and dramatic. It is nearly impossible to keep the camera still for the duration needed to utilize long exposures.

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

Fast Motion : South Mountain / Phoenix, AZ

In some situations you may want to extend your creativity and blur motion. This can only be done with the use of a tripod. By combining your tripod with the proper settings all static items will remain still in the photograph while objects moving will be blurred. This technique takes time and a lot of trial and error. It took me over two hours to get the above photo. (If you want to experiment with this type of photography I suggest you check the settings of this photo on my flickr page and be prepared to exercise some patience.)

The tripod is also essential if you need to bracket exposures. Bracketing exposures create images that are +1 fstop from the original setting and -1 fstop from the original setting. This technique is helpful to make sure you captured the image perfectly or if you plan on making the set of  photos into a HDR (High Dynamic Range) image.

These are by no means the only reasons to use a tripod. Unless I am photographing concerts I always have my tripod with me – you never know when it’s going to be put to use. (As demonstrated below!) How do you use your tripod? When does it get used the most? Please share your thoughts and experience below.

Lower Salt River Photo by KBL

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com





Top 5 Favorite Photo Spots

12 01 2010

Ever photograph a place so magnificent you never wanted to leave? You know, the spot that lives not only in your photography but also in your mind forever. I have been fortunate enough to photograph so many wonderful landscapes that I wanted to share my top 5 spots and the photos.

5. New York City : I love NYC! Growing up right outside of the city in NJ – I took NY for granted. I developed a true understanding and appreciation for New York after I moved to Arizona.

South St Seaport

4. Magdalena Rd. / Flagstaff, AZ : If you head northwest on route 180 in Flagstaff towards Snowbowl you will come across a meadow. That is Magdalena Rd. (I am also partial to this spot because Kristina painted a picture of this photo for my studio.)

Sedona

3. Sedona, AZ : There is something about Sedona. The majestic Red Rock in the high desert setting and the blue skies that are a photographer’s dream.

Schnebly Road / Sedona
2. Yellowstone National Park, MT and WY : Doesn’t everyone have Yellowstone on their list? After our trip there this summer – I know that this is one of the greatest places in the world. We drove through the park and went from seeing geysers to wildlife to cowboys riding their horses on the plains. If you’ve never been – do yourself a favor and put it on your list to visit.

Yellowstone

1. Mormon Row / Grand Teton National Park, WY : This is one of those famous spots that everyone has to take a picture of when in the Tetons. I was no different – only mine has Buffalo.

Mormon Row

Do you have any favorite spots you’ve photographed over the years. Take a moment to tell us about them in the comment section and post links to the images. If you would like directions or exact locations of my top 5 spots – drop me a line and I’ll do my best to get you there. Contact GRT2 via Email

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com – Thanks!





Five Photographers That Rock

2 01 2010

Everyone who has ever been successful has mentors. If mentor is too formal a word for art than people they admire and look to their work for inspiration. The access to online portfolios, flickr and tweets about photo shoots has expanded my view. But ultimately there are a handful of photographers over the years whose work has stuck with me – so here is my list of FIVE Photographers that I respect and admire their work. (In no particular order.)

Stevie D of the Raging Lamos by Ben Cornish

BEN CORNISH: Who is Ben Cornish? Ben is a filmmaker that lives in Denver but growing up he was one of my best friends. Ben was the person who always had a 35mm camera or a video camera with him. I know somewhere there are umpteen boxes of VHS tapes and photographs from our high school days and thereafter. I’ve always liked the diverse subjects Ben shot. One day it would be a skate session and then maybe a concert we were going to later and probably along the way he would pull the car over to take a picture of a cool tree by the side of the road. Ben made it ok for me to take photos and to have a camera with me often.

GLEN E. FRIEDMAN: If you don’t know who Glen E. Friedman is – look it up. Glen documented two groundbreaking subjects in history (and my life) – early days of skateboarding and the east coast music movement (both punk rock and hip-hop.) Glen’s unique composition and powerful portraits are the envy of many photographer. Often before going to shoot a concert or a portrait I will look at one of his amazing books to get ideas on position, lighting and composition. I know I am not alone when I say – Glen E. Friedman has influenced me more than any other photographer. (Period.)

TODD OWYOUNG: Todd is a Concert Photographer from Los Angeles, CA. The thing that always strikes me about Todd’s work is the amazing colors. Concert photography is usually a fight with light. He is able to make the lighting work for him and produce excellent work. What I admire most about Todd is his transparency. Usually his posts include what lenses were used and his camera settings. As I refer to Glen’s books I also refer to Todd’s website to gain insight on technical aspects of concert photography. He has helped my progression as an artist.

CHADWICK FOWLER: I have known of Chadwick for a while now – but I first met him spring of 2009. Chadwick is a professional photographer from Phoenix, AZ that specializes only in great shots. His business is segmented into Commercial Photography, Concert / Music Photography and Portrait Photography. He has a passion for getting the best photo at the perfect moment. More than that he has a passion for his craft (photography) – I know because I have seen him in action. Chadwick sets the bar high for us photographers in Phoenix and we are all better for it. Check out his work. www.chadwickfowler.com

CRAIG BLANK: I’ve known Craig since the early 80’s. Craig was one of our best friend’s (older) brother. I don’t know what to say about Craig’s photographs – whether it’s about his architecture work, product work or portraits – His photos always capture that thing. (It’s difficult to put into words.) Again, these are the shots I am continually seeking. Craig is probably one of the most technical photographers I know (graduated from School of Visual Arts in NYC.) When I see Craig’s work it always makes me pick up my camera and photograph something.

There’s my list. These are the artists that I work to be named with at someday. Who are your favorite photographers – I want to know so I can expand my circle influence. (Happy 2010 to everyone.)

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit: www.grtaylor2photo.com





The Silence of Photography

20 12 2009

The deafening silence of photography is powerful. When making photographs or viewing photos no sound is captured. The sound of the people, the music or the weather lays within our minds.

I was inspired to shoot some Tempe architecture by viewing my friend Jon VanderMey’s photos of his local architecture and sights.  ASU has some great buildings for photography – so I took advantage of this great winter day and went on a photowalk.
Typically I do a lot of concert photography and there is always sound associated with each picture. Not so today. More than the picture I made I enjoyed the silence of the subjects. I was able to create my own soundtrack to today’s shoot. Do you know how powerful that can be?
What do you think about or listen to when you are taking photographs?




Has Digital Photography Raised or Lowered the Creative Bar?

15 12 2009

Has the creative bar been raised now that the point of entry into photography has been lowered?

My mind wonders sometimes and during an afternoon in traffic school I posed this question to myself. Now that almost anyone can afford a camera whether it’s an entry level DSLR or ‘Point and Shoot’ – what has happened to us creatively?

I’m sure there are plenty of arguments for both sides but I think that the creative bar has been raised. Professionals now are separating themselves exhibiting a higher level of expertise more than ever. If we took three photographers (professional, serious hobbyist and amateur) and shot 5 photos of 5 different objects – I’m sure the professional would take away the best pictures. No brainer…they have the most experience and the highest level of technical skill.

The new reality is that the professional has to be on their game so that they do not come back to the pack. No longer can a professional photographer show up and deliver mediocre photographs. My sister’s cousin’s brother could have delivered mediocrity – but a pro…no way. That’s why they are a professional and not someone who take photos occasionally.

Granted, there may be more professional photographers but creatively the hobbyist is pushing the professional to justify their title (and fees.)

What do you think – Has the creative bar been raised? I really want to hear what others have to say about this topic…drop me a line – GRT2