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sidepull


Jun 23, 2009, 5:29 AM
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exercises to grow as a photographer
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I've always wanted to become a better photographer in general, and of climbing in particular. I'm interested in the latter because I want to do a better job of capturing my experiences so that I can share them with others. I find that just pointing and clicking produces un-spiring pictures. I want to be able to show pictures to a non-climber and have them think "wow!" instead of "ick - I'd hate to get into one of those harnesses" (sport climbing) or "you aren't very high off the ground are you" (bouldering).

I realize there are (at least) two problems. Problem one is that when I'm climbing I'm forced to compromise between climbing time and photography time. I see several simple solutions for this problem so I'd rather not discuss it here. The second problem, which for me is more fundamental, is that I don't really know how to use the capabilities of my camera. Selecting "auto" seems to rarely produce inspiring images. So, to develop a better photographers intuition, I've been trying to find "exercises" that I can do to understand the capabilities of my camera, the fundamentals of design/layout/composition, and the dynamics of light.

So far I've found the following sites that seem helpful:
http://www.gadling.com/...cises-for-the-brand/
http://www.cheapshooter.com/...r-photography-today/
http://www.dpmag.com/...-skills.html?start=2

I'd love other ideas for exercises or other URL's.


wes_allen


Jun 23, 2009, 12:53 PM
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Re: [sidepull] exercises to grow as a photographer [In reply to]
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My two step program to better climbing photography. Patented, trademarked, and you must buy me beer if you use it.

Step 1: Check out a lot of climbing photos, some from here, but esp. from mags, or the websites of really good climbing photographers. Don't just look at them and go "Wow! that is cool" Break down the images, find the flaws and compromises that were made. Find what they were trying to draw your eye too.

Step 2: Go climbing, but only climb enough to get yourself in position to shoot a couple routes. Seek open shaded routes if you can. Put your camera in AV mode, F4ish. Watch ISO to make sure you are getting at least around 1/250th or so. Take control of the AF points and place them on your subject's face. Shoot a whole lot. Come home, dump cards and look at the images. Pick the ones you like, throw away the ones you don't. Tweak a bit in PS/lightroom/apeture. Throw away a few more until you have maybe five images left. Find somewhere to post them were people will honestly point out the flaws, and not tell you how amazing you are (eg, not facebook, or even here, really). Accept the feedback, and start over again at step one. Repeat ten or so times, then look back at where you started.


sidepull


Jun 23, 2009, 2:23 PM
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good stuff. others?


spoon


Jun 23, 2009, 2:43 PM
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Re: [sidepull] exercises to grow as a photographer [In reply to]
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Digital Photography School is a site with a lot of tutorials for various techniques you might find useful. They also have a weekly shooting assignment to help force you to think about new things on a regular basis if you run out of ideas. Most of them don't apply directly to climbing, but I'm sure the skills would carry over to some extent.

http://digital-photography-school.com


marc801


Jun 23, 2009, 4:06 PM
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You might also want to browse around:
http://www.dpchallenge.com/


sidepull


Jun 24, 2009, 5:23 AM
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cool - thanks!


JoshCaple


Jun 25, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Re: [sidepull] exercises to grow as a photographer [In reply to]
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The 6 most important things IMO...

- Be solid in your rigging (if you're gonna take climbing photos)- really really have your ropework tight.

- Take LOTS of photos. Seriously, lots. Make all the mistakes, but...

- Critique them: look at what you did, what do you like & what would you change next time. If you're onto something good, reshoot until its perfect.

- Check out what other photographers are doing. Don't copy their shots but reverse engineer them. It gives you an idea of where the bar is at & what makes a good photo.

- Work Hard

- Have fun, be inspired. If you're not doing both of those things it will show in your work.


sidepull


Jun 25, 2009, 12:31 PM
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Thanks Josh.

I'm actually focusing on bouldering photography, so I'm not sure about rigging (above having a good tripod), but I appreciate the rest of the advice.


wes_allen


Jun 25, 2009, 1:22 PM
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sidepull wrote:
Thanks Josh.

I'm actually focusing on bouldering photography, so I'm not sure about rigging (above having a good tripod), but I appreciate the rest of the advice.

There are times when doing bouldering stuff that some rigging will be useful, like so you can lean out over the edge without worrying about falling off. Or rig off a nearby boulder to get a different angle.

And tripod? I would ditch that first off. Unless you are doing some kind of really long exposure light painting, your shutter speed to stop the action should be more then enough to avoid camera shake. And being tied to a tripod will really, really limit your ability to get shots. If anything, bring a mono pod with a remote release and use the camera on that to get different angles.


sidepull


Jun 25, 2009, 1:55 PM
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Good, good. Thanks.


bboysmeth


Jul 8, 2009, 7:04 AM
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I'll put out a couple things that i have found to be helpful.

1... shoot climbs that you are projecting or climbing with friends. Shoot a climb that you have totally wired up, so you know whats going to happen, and where. I think the best shots come from very deliberate ideas. If there is one specific move on the route that inspires you, set up to capture that move specificly ( so their arm is not in their face, there's an acceptable background, etc.) and so it is shot from an angle that really captures that one single move. If the route, the line itself is beautiful and inspires you, set up to capture the whole route..

2.... use of light. light can be really hard while shooting climbing. Shooting on overcast days can give you easy exposures, without having to worry about distracting shadows. Shooting in the shade is really nice for that too. have fun, and keep posting some photos


kriso9tails


Jul 8, 2009, 5:02 PM
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Re: [sidepull] exercises to grow as a photographer [In reply to]
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This should help.


the_alpine


Sep 11, 2009, 2:39 PM
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Mr. Pull- It seems that you'd like to be able to get some sweet shots with some sort of point and shoot as opposed to an slr, no?

The most important rule - composition. Good composition will overcome bad lighting every time. The biggest killer of good composition is the ol' taking-a-shot-at-eye-level-while-standing-on-the-ground. Thats another problem with tripods, they put the viewer at roughly eye level.

Show your viewer the scene you're seeing in a way they've never seen or imagined it.

As far as exercises go - shoot nothing from your feet.


kriso9tails


Sep 11, 2009, 2:53 PM
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the_alpine wrote:
Good composition will overcome bad lighting every time.

True... except for all the times when it's not... which is most of the time.


the_alpine


Sep 11, 2009, 3:06 PM
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Re: [kriso9tails] exercises to grow as a photographer [In reply to]
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Ah, you're right. I should've said strong/compelling/creative/fantastic or another word more gooder than good. Wink


kriso9tails


Sep 11, 2009, 3:29 PM
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Composition and lighting are two things that just shouldn't be separated. Photography is more about manipulating light than it is objects, so when composition is being considered, it's the composition of light reflecting off of objects, filtering through them or being obscured by them as opposed to the composition of the objects themselves.

This is true right down to the light working its way through the lens. composition can be altered with a mere aperture adjustment, focal length adjustment, by keeping the same framing but moving closer or farther and changing linear perspective, or by moving a light source, etc.

So is composition important? Yes, it is of the utmost importance, but lighting -- even where strictly ambient light sources are concerned -- is intrinsic to this. Good lighting and bad lighting are relative notions. As far as I'm concerned, there's the proper lighting to achieve the effect that the photographer wants and without this, composition is irrelevant.

my 2 at least


climbsomething


Sep 11, 2009, 4:06 PM
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This is strictly personal preference talking, and not an exercise suggestion, but use natural light. Studio lighting, color gels, multiple off-camera flashes outside have a time and place, but IMHO, not often.


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