Monday, 24 March 2014

Developing Your Eye for Photography

Developing Your Eye for Photography

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Developing Your Eye for Photography

Posted: 23 Mar 2014 09:31 PM PDT

Although there is much pleasure to be derived from taking a technically excellent photograph, there is a strong argument that a truly great shot depends most on your eye.

Look at the photographs you see every day in magazines, the press, or on display in a gallery. The shots you really take note of are the unexpected–the ones that catch a moment that could have been unnoticed and missed forever.

landscape photography

“Ruin” captured by Linus (Click image to see more from Linus.)

So for most beginning–but serious–photographers, you need to work at developing your eye.

Most of us–and probably all of us who hanker after taking a memorable photograph–can recognize a great view or a breathtaking sight. After all, this is why there are scenic routes, lookout points, and sightseeing trips all over the world. However, how many of the photographs taken at such set opportunities fail to grab you in the same way that the actual scene does? Often it’s because the picture has a clichéd air to it: it’s the same view of the same scene that a thousand other photographers have snapped before.

Look for an aspect of a shot that others will have missed. A different angle, something incongruous that only you have noticed, a certain shadow… Quite often this happens by accident, and you only see how good or how average your photograph is when you upload it and start editing. So take multiple shots in each session, and then study them critically to see how cropping, adjusting the colors and other editing techniques can turn an ordinary photograph into a great one.

travel photography

“Orleans, France” captured by Clive Orange (Click image to see more from Orange.)

You also need to develop your ability to look at ordinary scenes with a fresh eye, to spot the beautiful or unexpected in ordinary surroundings. Heading for a well-known beauty spot is in itself clichéd, and unlikely to produce a memorable picture. However, how many people take photographs around the place you live? How many people take photographs on your street?

outdoor photography

“Sugar Cane” captured by Alan Nixon (Click image to see more from Nixon.)

Look local, get out and about in your area, finding the less well-trodden path the over-looked backwater, and see what your eyes are showing you. Remember to change your viewpoint; as shots taken low down or looking down are often the most dramatic and unusual. Look up too, as it amazes me how many people just look around themselves at eye level, never spotting the architecture and life that is going on above their head.

architecture photography

“Fountains Abbey” captured by Gavin Long (Click image to see more from long.)

Once you have found the sort of photography that means the most to you, whether that is landscape, action, wildlife, urban, macro or portraiture, you can learn more about the techniques and equipment need to take better and better shots. Your eye and your ability to see a good shot come first.

About the Author:
Margaret Cranford ( is a photographed based in Clevedon, North Somerset in the UK ( She creates and sources watercolour paintings, photographs and prints.

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What is the Resolution of the Human Eye? (Video)

Posted: 23 Mar 2014 03:17 PM PDT

In a mathematically baffling, scientifically swerving 10-minute video, professional geek analysts Vsauce delve into comparing the universes of cinema and real-life to answer one seemingly simple question: What is the resolution of the human eye? Watch host Michael Stevens take a lengthy stab at it below:

First: What Is Resolution?

Stevens starts by defining megapixels as not equal to camera resolution. Though we often think of an image’s resolution as something like, for example, 1920×1080, resolution is actually determined by light, sensor size, what’s being encoded, and the subject’s proximity to the lens. Pixel density doesn’t even matter at a certain distance away. 

So Stevens redefines the question as, “How many pixels would you need to fill your field of view to convince you you were looking at real life?”

Problems With the Question

There are a few problems with translating eyesight into technological terms:

  1. Our eyesight includes–and automatically ignores–things like our noses or glasses, which are hard to replicate on-screen.
  2. We all have a blind spot in each eye. (If you didn’t know this, close your right eye and move your thumb slowly from your central field of vision to the left–it will disappear, and it’s freaky.)
  3. Our fovea: this refers to the central two degrees of our field of view, which are the only things in full focus at any given time.

Our eyes blur out noses and glasses, and focus on the middle of our field of vision.

That said, Roger M. Clark of Clark Vision did the math a few years ago and found that the answer, if you found a screen large enough to encompass your entire field of view, would have to be 576 megapixels dense.

But that number’s misleading, the author writes, because our eyes don’t function like cameras.

“The eye is not a single frame snapshot camera. It is more like a video stream. The eye moves rapidly in small angular amounts and continually updates the image in one’s brain to “paint” the detail. We also have two eyes, and our brains combine the signals to increase the resolution further. We also typically move our eyes around the scene to gather more information. Because of these factors, the eye plus brain assembles a higher resolution image than possible with the number of photoreceptors in the retina.” – Roger M. Clark

What that means is that the 576-megapixel screen assumes our eyes digest all visual information equally–which, when we consider that we only digest what’s in our fovea fully, we know just isn’t true. The image on the 576-megapixel screen would be too consistently detailed, when most of what we see is actually blurry.

What we see in our fovea sight range is actually more like seven megapixels.

Even when we can see a full field of vision, we're only focusing on the center.

Even when we can see a full field of vision, we’re only focusing on the center—including a blind spot, here marked by a black circle.

Outside that seven-megapixel fovea range, we’d only need one megapixel more to fool us. Which sounds like very little–until we remember that we simply don’t have the technology to accurately pull off a mechanism that would be able to fool our eyes like that, and the whole question is built on a silly and impossible premise.

Life is Not a Movie

Ultimately, Stevens concludes, the two are incomparable. In a touchingly philosophical finale, he pays homage to the distinction between real life and the world of film:

“Like a camera censor, we only have a finite and discrete number of cells in our retina. But the brain adjusts our initial sensations into a final perception that is a wishy-washy, top-down processed blob of experience. It’s not made of pixels and, furthermore, unlike a camera, it’s not saved in memory with veracity like a digital camera file….

“We play roles in the movie of life. But it’s a special kind of movie. Cinematic victories and struggles are often discrete, resolved, like pixels, with unbelievably perfect beginnings and endings. Whereas the real world is all about irresolution… Life doesn’t appear in any particular pixel resolution or narrative resolution. Things are continuous. The world was running before you came around, and it will continue running after you are gone.” – Michael Stevens

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Interesting Photo of the Day: Fire in the Australian Sky

Posted: 23 Mar 2014 12:49 PM PDT

The Australian outback gets blazingly hot—and here’s proof. This aerial inferno shows an expansive empty farm field overwhelmed by a sun-kissed sky and delicately textured clouds:

Rural Australia (Via Imgur. Click for larger size.)

It’s unclear where this shot was taken exactly, but it was captured by Simon Diete, whose HDR-enhanced images bring out the robust emotions in the natural world. The sun looks closer than ever, seeming to be literally burning a hole through the ozone–almost post-apocalyptically. But it’s also a beautifully composed shot, with the left-hand third of the frame held steady by the weather vane and metal tank, seemingly the last man-made remnants left in the world.

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How to Expertly Mix Strobes With Speedlights (Video)

Posted: 23 Mar 2014 10:47 AM PDT

As a portrait photographer, part of your job is to instill confidence in your clients, most of whom are relative strangers. To do this, you don’t want to be fumbling around with your lighting setup and looking like you might not know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. In the hour-long video below, Bob Harrington shows us some advanced techniques to seamlessly blend speedlights with strobes:

As useful and awesome as they are, not everyone can afford a light meter, and Harrington recognizes this. What’s great about this seminar is that he shows us how to make great photos without one. Sometimes it’s hard to even decide which settings you should start with. Fortunately, Harrington made this cheat sheet with a few key settings he considers to be great starting points:


Using just a speedlight, it’s possible to capture great dramatic shots, but dramatic portraits aren’t always desirable. In the case of headshots for actors and models, bringing in a strobe can help fill in the shadows left by a speedlight for brighter, cheerier images.


In addition to lighting techniques, Harrington also spreads out helpful tips about posing the model, approaching clients, etc. throughout the video. One of the most important things he stresses is to relax, enjoy, and have fun!

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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