How to Be a Better Photographer

Ansel Adams: Move Over!

For this project, I chose to take photos in our house’s garden. Flowers contain natural beauty so I thought this would be a good place to practice some new photography techniques.

The main suggestion I tried while trying to become a better photographer was to use different lenses. I used a three different lenses to capture my photos. I used a magnifying lens, a wide angle lens, and a fisheye lens. I chose this suggestion because I knew I had these lenses lying around and having never used them before I thought it would be interesting to give them a shot. I also wanted to see if these lenses made it possible to incorporate other suggestions into a photo. For example, with an ordinary lens it may not be possible to take a picture with an interesting foreground and background, however it may be possible using a different lens.

The first lens I used was a super close up lens that magnifies the field 40 times.

Stamen of a geranium flower magnified 40 times.
Stamen of a geranium flower magnified 40 times.

As you can see, this is an extreme close up of the stamen of a geranium flower. An ordinary lens would never be able to capture such an interesting image. The lens really opened up a new door for me to be able to capture super close up’s. It is interesting to note that while the stamen itself is in good focus, the surrounding area is not. This is to draw the viewer’s attention to the main point of interest of the photo. It also must be taken into consideration that when using this lens only a portion of the photo will be in clear focus.

The next lens I tried was the wide angle lens. A wide angle lens is a type of lens that has a smaller focal length than the focal length of a normal lens. This allows for a wider range to be captured in a single photograph.

Antique handprint surrounded by geraniums.
Antique handprint surrounded by geraniums.

This photo again contains the geraniums and also has my hand print in a slab of concrete from August 7, 2002. The wide angle lens was the key for this photo. It allowed me to capture the hand print, and also have the geraniums on either side. Without the advanced wide angle lens, I would not have been able to capture this photograph. I also used the technique to capture an interesting background to compliment the foreground. Instead of just focusing on the geraniums and the handprint I wanted to bolster the nature theme by having the trees and bushes in the background. Again the wide angle lens helped my to have enough background in the image to be interesting. The two tips in this case worked together to make for a cool photo. The wide angle lens allowed for there to be enough of a background to fit in the image.

 

The final lens I used was the fish eye lens. A fish eye lens is a lens that uses visual distortion in order to create a wide panoramic image.

Geranium sign in front of none other than geraniums.
Geranium sign in front of none other than geraniums.

The fish eye lens in this photo captured another view point of the garden. Tlens allowed for the interesting take on the photo by expanding the periphery of the picture.

The photo I am most proud of is this photo of my front porch and surrounding garden:unspecified-5

This was my favorite photo because it really summarizes what I was shooting for in this assignment. My main goal, as mentioned before, was to use the lenses to incorporate other suggestions in the book, namely the “put an interesting foreground in front of an interesting background.” This photo accomplishes exactly that: the foreground contains the geraniums and porch while, the background contains the trees and bushes in the distance. Again, this lens allowed for the background and foreground to come together in an interesting way. The photo is also sharpest in the center and slightly out of focus in the corners. This allows for the attention of the viewer to be drawn to the center. The two parallel vertical posts also act as threshold of sorts looking out into the distance.

Lenses used for taking the photos
Lenses used for taking the photos

It is interesting to note that each of these lenses are small lenses for an Iphone. The cost of all three was less than $15. It is really amazing how an Iphone with small lenses can take such spectacular photos.

These tips can be found in Ten: Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft Without Buying Gear. 

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