Snapshots to Great Shots

When I first got my DSLR camera I bought a book from Amazon.com that was really helpful. It was called ‘From Snapshots to Great Shots’. I read the book from cover to cover and really found the information to be extremely helpful in teaching me about my new camera. The excitement that comes from getting a new ‘toy’ is great. I was so eager to go out and take pictures. I took pictures of everything and while those pictures weren’t great (i.e. they were actually really bad) it was those mistakes and learning from them that taught me what I wanted to do better.

This morning on the bus I read an article about ‘9 Quick Fixes for Bad Shots’ which was a helpful reminder of some of the most common issues that new photographers like myself make. The world can be an overwhelming place and when you try to capture it with your camera it is pretty rare that you actually ‘nail the shot’ you want initially. Often you will come home and put the images on your computer and then explain to people that it looked better when you were there. For example, standing in front of a 14,000 foot snow capped mountain with a river winding its way through a lush green meadow as the sun rises really looks amazing but I guarantee the first time you try to shoot that scene you will come back home and think your pictures suck. If you don’t then never put the camera down because you might be the next Ansel Adams. As they say, practice makes perfect and without the mistakes you can’t learn what you need to do to get better. HOWEVER, knowing the 9 quick fixes and avoiding them while on the scene taking the picture will make that learning curve much less steep.

Photo of the Day – Phoenix Sunburst

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After a hike up to Camelback Mountain I took a bunch of photos as the sunset behind a mountain in the distance. Hiking down in the dark was a struggle but with my headlamp on and some locals to lead the way I made it down the rocky path without tearing an ACL or turning an ankle.

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2 thoughts on “Snapshots to Great Shots

  1. Thanks for the link, very useful … brilliant. – great shot again, how do you manage to take photos like that straight into the a strong light of the sun????

    • The HDR (Auto-Bracketing) and then merging the photos together later in Photoshop allows me to shoot into the sun without blowing all of the other details in the photo. This is because the really underexposed image is used for the sun and then the ‘regular’ exposed or overexposed images are used to complete the foreground of the image. Alot of this is done automatically by the Photosoftware but there is some manual work that goes into it but nothing that is too time consuming – otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it.

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