Use a Reflector

On March 17, 2011, in Hawaii, Photography Tips, by admin

Pineapple Fence Posts, Paia, HI

What do you do when the lighting in your composition is uneven?  What do you do when the lightng casts deep shadows over importants details?  Use a reflector to cast light onto the important details hidden in the shadows.

The picture on the left is natural light without a reflector.  Note the shadow on the lower left of the pineapple and the bamboo stakes of the fence.  The shadow does add depth to the pineapple, but there is a little too much shadow in the image.  Using a reflector I added light to the lower left of the pineapple and on the bamboo stakes.

Photoflex makes a series of LiteDiscs.  I always carry their 22″ model in my backpack.  It folds up small and has a case to protect it.  I also have the 36″ model which I take when I know I will be shooting in bright sunlight, especially flowers.  Besides reflecting light into shadows, a reflector can be used to create shadows.  This is helpful at high noon when light is harshest.  At that time of day you can use the large reflector to put your subject in shadows and soften the light.

Details from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a wonderful place for indoor photography.  Unlike other religious sites, the Basilica is very tolerant, even encouraging, the use of tripods.  A friend and I went there one dreary day and had a great time.

On the left is detail from one of the arch supports for the Knights of Columbus Incarnation Dome.  The upper floor features three such dorms.  For you Notre Dame fans, there is also a “Touchdown Jesus” located in the north apse.

On the right is the ceiling of one of the many small chapels lining the side of the Basilica.  The detail in these is truly spectacular.

I was not as impressed with the lower church where the crypts are located.  This area is lacking in color, consisting of browns and grays.  The exception is the crypt church.  Two stained glass windows and the organ are worth spending time with.

I suggest that you take a quick tour of the upper church before you start taking pictures.  There is so much spectacular detail, you want to make sure you get your favorite areas first before you run out of time.

Because it was a rainy day, we did not spend any time photographing the exterior of the building.  Rain ir shine, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a great photography destination within the DC beltway.


On February 18, 2011, in West Virginia, by admin

River House Deck Chairs

My wife and I were visiting our neighbors at their river house in West Virginia.  While I was busy washing the dock, my wife helped build these new adirondack chairs.  When they finished, they put them on the dock and had a nice cocktail while I put up the cleaning supplies.

When I returned to the dock I noticed how the bright colors of the chairs really stood out from the background.  I had the girls position the chairs and move outside the frame.   I originally thought of this as a “throwaway” image.  However, once the girls saw the image they immediately fell in love with it.  Our neighbor now has a print hanging on her wall.

The bright chairs in the foreground grab the viewers eyes.  The background trees reflecting on the river combined with bubbles on the river make for an interesting, second subtle element in the image.

This image always garners comments at our shows.