Archive for July, 2009

Passion and Desire

Posted in Action Photography, Baseball, Preparation on July 25, 2009 by bobshank

What drives you to be out there with your camera? What motivates you to keeping going behind the viewfinder? Why do you keep taking photographs?

People have a lot of passions that drive them to do a variety of different things. Passion is defined as “intense emotional drive or excitement” in Webster’s Dictionary. You can spot someone with passion a mile away. It comes pouring out in obvious ways that cannot be missed.

Passion is what drives you when the going gets tough. Passion keeps you up late at night figuring out how to do better what drives you so much. Passion is what keeps the fire burning.

Too many photographers give up after they have a great start. But passion will keep us going.

There nothing quite like being behind the viewfinder when the action is in full swing. This weekend I photographed 3 baseball games. I cannot believe that some people honestly believe that baseball is a boring sport. The action is quick and if you blink you are sure to miss the shot. Anticipation and preparation are definitely the name of these games–both baseball and sports photography.

As a baseball coach, I learned to instruct the players to always be ready. They could blow bubble gum bubbles or whatever in-between pitches, but when the pitcher was about to go into his windup each player was to take a prep step and present their glove to the ball, thereby being in a totally ready position.

Photographers must be equally prepared and ready for the next action shot. Knowing when and where the action is about to take place can go a long way in helping to capture the action shot desired. There is nothing I like more than freezing the ball in place just as it is about to fielded by an infielder, or as the ball is about to be hit by a batter!

The next action is out there ready to be captured by your camera. The only question is will  you be ready to capture the action?



Posted in Photography, Preparation on July 24, 2009 by bobshank

Have you ever been in the middle of a shoot and realized your camera’s white balance was set in the wrong position?

This happened to me a today. Of course, this is one of the many reasons why shooting in RAW makes so much sense, because you can quickly correct this mistake in post processing. The problem is much more difficult when shooting JPGs.

The scenario is pretty common… you shoot one event with a specific white balance setting, say incandescent lighting. Then on your next shoot you are in bright daylight. After awhile when you are looking at a photo on the back of your camera you see that the photo is much too blue.

Other settings can also be set incorrectly and cause problems in a shoot. This is why a pre-shoot checklist is such a good idea. I’ve decided to make a checklist and keep it n my camera bag, right on top of my camera so I have to see it before I use my camera the next time. Hopefully, this will prevent me from using the incorrect settings.

Shooting Modes

Posted in Camera, Equipment, Photography on July 23, 2009 by bobshank

Which shooting mode do you use: Auto, Program, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, or Manual?

Many people get a new camera and are a little overwhelmed by all the different settings and options. They want to get out there and start taking photographs instead of reading through a boring owners manual. So they set their camera on Auto and go out and capture some nice shots. The only problem is they never get around to learning about the other modes and forever shoot in the Auto mode.

Auto mode will certainly let you capture some nice photos, but I do not prefer to have my camera making all the choices for me. Call me a control freak if you want, but I want to make the critical decisions on exposure, shutter, iso, and so on. After all, this is where the creative side of photography really comes out. You can be much more creative in shutter priority, aperture priority, and manual modes than in auto mode.

Give it a try. For one week or at least one day, set your camera in shutter priority mode and make the commitment to keep it there. Don’t change it! This is not always easy, but the effort is worth it. Shutter priority allows you to predetermine the shutter speed. Let’s say you’re shooting a sporting event. A fast shutter speed is necessary to freeze the action or stop the ball in the frame. So set a fast shutter speed that still allows you to get enough light to take the photo. Or, let’s suppose you are taking photos of waterfalls and you want to create photos that feature a silky waterfall that exhibits the flow of water. Now you will need a much slower shutter speed and a tripod. Set your shutter speed on 1/30 of a second, compose the shot, and take the photo. A cable or remote release can be invaluable for these shots, too.

Aperture priority mode is the one I most often use. This shooting mode allows me to shoot with a wide open aperture and thereby use a shallow depth of field. I like using this mode particularly for wildlife and sports photography. Focusing can be tricky at times, but when it works the subject stands out from both the background and the foreground. Alternatively, let’s say you want to shoot landscapes all day. Now a small aperture is necessary. Set your camera on the appropriate setting, say f/16 or f/22. Now the depth of field will be much larger and keep much more of the scene in focus. Are you beginning to see why these modes might serve you better than the auto mode?

Manual mode is the one I learned on back in my film days. I had a Minolta x370 and used manual mode just about all the time. It might take some getting used to if you haven’t done it before, but the control you gain is definitely worth the effort. Let’s say you are photographing an animal toward the end of the day. Shadows are getting longer and the sunlight is beginning to fade. You can capture the available light more easily in manual mode because you can adjust either the shutter speed or the aperture setting as  you wish. If you are getting close to having too slow of a shutter speed, then you can instantly switch to adjust the aperture. Once you learn the controls of your camera and learn to watch the light meter in your viewfinder, it will become almost automatic for you to make the necessary adjustments.

Give it time and don’t give up. Learning a new way of doing things might take some time and effort, but once you do I seriously doubt you will use auto mode much anymore. And your creativity will be free to take you to new places!

Manual mode

Catching Up

Posted in Photography on July 22, 2009 by bobshank

The last few weeks have been very busy for me. I photographed several different events, including High School Musical 2 at the Sherman Theater and some more Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy baseball games. I also led a Photo Walk here in Stroudsburg/East Stroudsburg as part of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. I presented “How I Photograph the Pennsylvania Elk” for the Pocono Photo Club. And I just finished framing 12 photographs for my photo display which will hang at the NEPA Credit Union in August and September.

So, now I am busy catching up with some lose ends, mainly working to post some photos on my website. Yes, life has been busy, but good. I keep learning some new things just about every day, too. I have also made some new acquaintances and friendships. To me, this is one of the best parts–making new friends and enjoying photography with colleagues and fellow photographers.

There is plenty for me to catch up on here with my website. I will be sorting through hundreds of photos and then posting them to my gallery. It will take some time to do this since I am so picky, but I find it an enjoyable task. Seeing the photographs after a shoot is always a lot of fun!

How I Photograph the Pennsylvania Elk

Posted in Elk, Wildlife on July 21, 2009 by bobshank

Tonight I was privileged to give a presentation at the Pocono Photo Club. My title was “How I Photograph the Pennsylvania Elk.” It was a wonderful time for me to share how I find and photograph the elk of PA. Some people aren’t even aware that is an elk herd here in our state.

I am fortunate to have a camp in the midst of the elk range and we often have elk in our yard! I thoroughly enjoy getting out to photograph the elk in their natural habitat. My good friend, Dick McCreight, and I lead photo trips called the “Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience.” These photo trips include meals and lodging, 3 photo workshops, and plenty of opportunities to get out and photograph the elk in all their beauty. It is a great experience; hence the name!

Tonight I shared some of my photographs of the elk and how I go about photographing the elk. It is a passion for me and I always enjoy sharing this photo passion with others. You can find out more about our PA elk photo trips here.

I want to thank the Pocono Photo Club for giving me the opportunity to share my photo passion.

Photo Display

Posted in Photo Display, Wildlife on July 20, 2009 by bobshank

I am gearing up and getting ready for my first official photo display. The photos  will be hung on August 1st and will be on display for two months. This is an exciting opportunity for me to share some of my photographic work with others in a public setting. I have Bill Weitzman to thank for this. Thank you very much Bill!

The process of printing larger photos, 11×14 in this case, and framing them is a good project. I like the look and feel of these larger photos and once assembled in the frames, they look great!

Narrowing down the final number of photographs to 12 was not easy for me. I did settle on a display topic of “wildlife” in a general sense, so the photos include the Pennsylvania Elk, Birds of Chincoteague, and a Pocono Deer.

I have displayed my photos on my website, but having them appear in a gallery is an exciting new venture for me. I hope others enjoy my work!


Posted in Networking, Photo Walk, Photography on July 19, 2009 by bobshank

I heard about Flickr awhile ago. Other social network media took priority for me and I paid little attention to Flickr. I concentrated mostly on Facebook and really enjoy this way of reaching out to others.

This changed last night. Following our Photo Walk when we were sitting down and talking with one another at Dansbury Depot, the suggestion was raised to create a Flickr page so we could post and share our photos with each other. I like the idea and decided to give it a try. Besides, the others made it sound pretty easy.

So today I created my Flickr profile and was off and running… well walking maybe. It took me a little while but it seemed to work and I actually understood most all of the steps. Then I discovered how to create a group so the participants could post their photos. And guess what? It actually worked!

You can see this Flickr group here:

Check it out and let us know what you think about the photographs. Are you on Flickr? If not, considering doing so. I can speak from experience that it is not difficult to do and there are many benefits. Hello, Flickr!