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With Poise


I definitely have a small obsession with photographing horses.  Every time I see them I think about pulling off the side of the road for a shot.

With Poise

I think I’ve had this shot in mind for quite some time.  Majestic looking horse or other animal with mountains rising off in the distance behind.  Here’s a little trick for you.  When you want to condense the background, or make something distant seem more prominent in your image, instead of getting up close to your subject matter and shooting with a wide angle, stay far away from your subject and shoot with a telephoto lens.   You can see below the dramatic effects this can have, ensuring that the mountains that are far off in the distance remain a prominent part of the image.

Poise Utah William Woodward

Anatomy of a Road Trip

Today I’m going to try something a little different.   Instead of a polished, developed photo, today we’ll look at a few of the behind the scenes moments that make up a successful road trip, or any type of travel for that matter.   Here’s a few tips and tricks that I’ve recalled from recent explorations.

Follow the light, wherever there is good light there is opportunity for good photography.

Don’t let a bad situation hold you back from going out and exploring.  My tripod was lost with my checked lugage, but as I’ve said before “When the world leaves you without a tripod, find something else to rest your camera on.”  The shot below turned out to be an awesome one, and I wouldn’t have had the chance had I waited around for my tripod to get back!

Enjoy the moments that you have.  Sometimes I’ll find myself almost too caught up in photographing something beautiful, but don’t forget that it’s nice just to enjoy the beauty.  Take moments and just enjoy where you are.

Watch the tide.  Otherwise your feet will get wet.  If you take your shoes off, it’s okay for your feet to get wet. :)

A well packed bag will make getting to your gear that much easier, and when a moment happens, you’ll be able to get ready quickly.  Some essential gear: comfy shoes, main camera, music (this is definitely an essential!), and extra cleaning supplies for that pesky travel grime.   Your extras may be extra lenses, a film camera (for the nostalgic types), remote shutter release, filters and the like.

Always try something different.  If you experiment, you never know what kind of shot you may get!  Also, be careful when leaving your camera and tripod suspended over the water to take a picture of your setup.  This could have ended badly.

Get LOST.  Get off the grid.  I’ve found the best photos in areas of “No Service”.  Also, it helps break the addiction you have with your cell phone.  Admit it.

When possible, take a few videos, they are fun to watch later!

Pack light, but if you don’t, have a full sized vehicle to pile all your crap in.  Also, if you end up somewhere without a room to sleep in, this doubles as a decent bed.

A change in perspective can warp an entire scene.  Look for elevation, such as mountains, buildings, etc to try and get a bird’s eye view.   (If it’s this windy, don’t wander too far from your camera).

And last but definitely not least, even though I’ve become pretty good at travelling alone, having someone to join you on these adventures makes them all the sweeter.

99th St to the Bridge

10 Minute Photo

I know you’ve already submitted your photo to the challenge, but if you did, and didn’t get an email back from me, I didn’t receive it!  If you didn’t (you know who you are), do it today!  It’s really the last day!

Give me a Rest!

I’m not tired, but I’ve got a nice little tip for ya.  I’ve found that a lot of times there is a pretty cool view from the driver’s (or passenger’s) seat of a car, but if you’re not careful, you’ll get some gross reflections or shaky photos, especially in the evening.  So here’s what you do:

  1. TURN OFF THE CAR! Not if you’re driving, but usually you’ll have enough time at a stop light.  Worst case, someone honks at you if you take too long.  They’ll get over it.
  2. Get the camera as close to the glass as possible.  Doing this will reduce your risks of any reflections from inside the vehicle.
  3. Use whatever you possibly can to hold the camera in position that is not your hands!  Taking your hands off the camera will keep the shake out of it, helping make your photos nice a crisp.
  4. Use the timer mode and shoot away.  :)

99th St to the Bridge

Using the aforementioned techniques, I only got this nice little shot, out on Long Island, New York.  I was trying to catch a view of the city from a different view, but it didn’t work out.  In the process, though, a lot of other neat opportunities popped up that would never have crossed my path.  Moral of the story, if it doesn’t work out, look for new ideas!
99th St New York William Woodward

Fireworks with a Glow

Under Construction! 

When it rains it pours.  It seems that my laptop has had the wonderful issue of needing to be sent back to the manufacturer, in order to get a couple of issues looked at.  Nothing serious, but I’ll likely be without it all of next week.  On top of that, the following two weeks we’ll be putting the finishing touches on the COMPLETELY RE-DESIGNED WEBSITE!!! Needless to say I’m excited :)  But these two events happening at the same time will unfortunately string my time a little thin, and I believe I’ll probably step back to only a couple of photos a week.  Updates will be coming as they arrive, but we’ll be back in full swing by the end of the month!  Thanks for continuing your support!

Fireworks with a Glow

This was one of those ‘slam on the brakes that scene was awesome’ moments.  I would say that something like that, where you’re completely not out looking for a photo, but one just slaps you in the face as needing to be taken only happens once in a great while, but when it does, it’s super exciting.  This lonely fireworks stand was somewhere in northern Illinois or southern Wisconsin, on some rural road.  The folks running it were travelling with this big tent and a load of fireworks, staying in motels and making a few different stops during the holiday season.  We had a nice across the street while taking photos conversation, and after I was happy with the shots, I stopped in for some fireworks!

Photo tip from this shot, even though you are shooting HDR, as long as you are on a tripod, the photos that you use don’t have to be from the same set of brackets.  Say, for example, your +2 exposure had a car passing by that you found distracting, take the same set of brackets again, and use the +2 from that series.  It’s an easy way to get the best scene that you envision.

Fireworks Illinois William Woodward

Evenings on the Streets of Cusco

Come Say Hello! 

I’ll be at FotoEnvy/Studio Works building at 317 W. Jefferson Street for most of the afternoon/evening.  Here’s a map to the location.  Stop in and say hey!

Evenings on the Streets of Cusco

Some 3000m above sea level, and in the southern hemisphere’s winter, it was a bit brisk in Cusco.  That did make for a nice temperature to wander around and not get warm walking up and down the large hills and narrow streets. Around every corner was a new scene, old lights illuminating the sidewalks, people bustling to and fro.


When you have lots of moving objects in your scene, it’s important to blend a single image back in to the final product to get rid of the ‘ghosting’ effect that you’ll have in your tonemapped image. Layer the two images in Photoshop and using the masking tool, mask thru the hdr down to one of the bracketted photos.  (I usually pick the 0 or +2EV for moving things, but use what is most interesting to you!)

Evenings of Cusco Peru William Woodward

Silk Smooth Reflections

Silk Smooth ReflectionsWide Angle

As promised, I worked the last couple of nights on the new photos with my 10-24 wide angle lens.  Just like when you have anything new to you, it takes time to figure out the intricacies of what can be accomplished, and the best ways to do so.  Wide angle lenses can have some creative and interesting characteristics, and it’s been quite fun getting to know them as it get’s used more and more.

Silk Smooth Reflections

Tip of the day:  Ripples getting in the way of your super awesome reflection? Although you can usually get everything in focus at around f6 or better on a wide angle lens, sometimes going so far as f16 can give you a small enough aperture to let the shutter stay open for longer, letting any ripples or motion in the surface smooth out and disappear.  One thing to take care, is that if you are shooting in HDR, that you don’t start getting in to overly long exposure times, because most cameras won’t expose over 30 seconds without some extra tricks. This means that your center exposure needs to be 8 seconds or less. As you can imagine, this technique works on more than just rippling water, you can use it in pretty much any situation that has moving components that you want to see fade away.

Silk Reflections Illinois William Woodward