Water reflections are often a GOOD thing in photography.
I love the reflections on streets and in puddles after it rains.
A reflection in a water drop is a “classic” macro shot.
But, sometimes water reflections are a bad thing.
For instance, here’s a “first try” shot of a starfish in a tidepool.
The starfish itself is nice, but the water reflection causes a hazy, faded, look.
In this case, the water reflection is a bad thing – creating glare.
(It can also be a bad thing when shooting streams or lakes when you want the camera to see through the water.)
Luckily, there’s an easy (and not very expensive) fix to this problem.
Click on photo to purchase, or view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.
A CPL (circular polarizer filter) cuts right through water reflections and glare.
I always have one in my bag because there are so many uses for them.
In the above situation, it made a world of difference in getting a good shot of the starfish.
I wrote about the many uses for polarizers not that long ago.
Sometimes I refer to my polarizer filter as my “glare-be-gone” filter.
(Yes, the work great on window/glass reflections also.)
If you want to go back and read my original post on Circular Polarizing Filters you can find it here.
If you’re interested in my thoughts on CPL recommendations, I’ve copied just that portion of my previous post for you:
I use a Lee Circular Polarizer ($300) primarily. Lee Filters, however, are often very difficult to find. Photographers often wait six months or longer to get them. In addition, a Lee CPL is expensive and requires an additional adaptor ring ($52), foundation kit, etc. I’m a huge fan of Lee Filters, but I realize they can be cost prohibitive for people who aren’t primarily landscape photographers.
I also use a B+W CPL ($144.95) and I’ve always been very happy with the results. The cost is substantially less than buying an entire Lee system, and all you need is the filter itself – no adaptor or accessories.
When I first started using a CPL I used a Hoya ($45.90). The Hoya CPL doesn’t require any accessories. In my opinion, the quality of the Hoya is not as high as the CPL made by B+W. However, if you’re a casual amateur photographer it’s fine.
I frequently get asked how I “do that” with my photos.
Well, get my photos to look better than Average Joe.
There are a lot of things that go into taking professional quality photos.
One of the most dramatic ways for a hobbyist, or amateur, to improve their shots is by shooting in RAW.
It sounds scary and intimidating if you’re new to photography.
In fact, it’s very easy and it will make a huge impact on the quality of your photos.
Let me explain RAW to you in layman terms.
• What is RAW and what does it do? RAW is a file format. It captures ALL the image data of a shot, which gives you flexibility to interpret that data yourself. Most beginning photographers use JPEG which compresses data and causes the loss of some information. (Setting your camera to shoot in RAW is very easy – check your manual to see the particulars for your camera.)
• Do I need a professional camera to shoot in RAW? No, many (but not all) point and shoots now allow you the option of shooting in RAW.
• If I have an expensive camera and I shoot in JPEG won’t the camera do a better job of capturing an image than I could do as a beginner? Even smart cameras don’t come close to recording what we see with the human eye. RAW allows you to capture all the information in a shot, and then process it to look the way you saw it. (Or, if you like to shoot artistically, it allows you to interpret the data to match the creative vision in your head.)
• RAW equals higher quality images and higher quality prints.
• The negative of shooting in RAW is photos need to be edited/processed. They aren’t “ready to serve” right out of the camera. (A lot of people edit their JPEG files also, so this point might be mute.)
• The other negative of shooting in RAW is it results in bigger files. Bigger files require more storage than small files.
• RAW allows easier white balance and color adjustments – and the editing you do is nondestructive. (This means the original data recorded by your camera isn’t altered by your editing – you can always redo/change it later.)
• RAW allows much more flexibility with the brightness of your photo. This means you have better control over brightness, shadows, the level of blacks and highlights. Why does that matter? Well, if you’ve ever taken a photo that’s just a little overexposed, or needs the shadows lightened a slight bit, you understand. You can’t make as big of adjustments with a JPEG, and JPEG editing lowers image quality.
• Because RAW captures more data, it allows you greater detail in your images.
• RAW allows you to choose your color space. Did you know the color space for an image should be chosen depending on where it will be viewed? Is your photo being printed or being viewed on the web? Don’t you want it to look its best, regardless? RAW allows you to choose what’s best.
In short, the advantages of shooting in RAW far outweigh the negatives.
Why not give it a try –
Taking your images to the next level is easy once you’re shooting in RAW.
In general, there are a few things you can do to make more interesting photos, though.
(This is true whether you’re using photography to document life, or as an artistic tool for creative expression.)
Today, I’ll talk about two ways to make your photos more interesting.
Most people see an interesting subject, raise the camera to their eye, and snap the shutter.
Changing up your point of view will often make that same subject look more interesting.
Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.
For the above shot, I got behind the bike, squatted down low to the ground, and composed the shot in manner which included the bike, the path, and the ocean. The bike itself leads the viewer’s eye into the frame and towards the water. The result is more visually appealing than if I had faced the bike head on, standing up, and clicked the shutter.
It’s more work to move your body vs. standing in one spot and shooting. Who knew?
Physically moving around a subject, and experimenting with different points of view, will lead to more interesting photos.
Another way to add interest to your photos, is by intentionally intriguing the viewer.
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The above photo is titled Fly Me To The Moon.
It requires a little work on the part of the viewer.
I took this shot on my way home from a cross country trip. I was exhausted. It was a beautiful night, with a full moon. I had left rural countryside and flown into Los Angeles.
All of these factors contributed to my mood, and style, when I shot it.
The road reflectors lead the viewer’s eye into the frame where they discover the tail lights of a truck. The scene, with the full moon above, then falls into place.
To me, at least, it’s a more interesting photo than if I had just taken a sharp, in focus, photo of an L.A. freeway.
As you compose your photos, try to visualize the end product.
Is there a better way to catch the viewer’s eye?
Or will you just take the “expected” shot?
Remember, there’s a big difference between taking and making a photo.
Almost anyone can take a photo, but photographers make photos.