Tip of the Day: Shoot What You Love!

Antarctica IcebergBeing a photographer (or artist in general) is by definition a freeing and exciting experience. But what happens when you become stuck, when you lose focus, when you become so wrapped up your next shot that you forget what an amazing experience it is to be able to do what we do?

Shoot What You Love!

When asked recently about my dream location to shoot, I answered with “I am living my dream and anywhere I dream to shoot, we go.” and that is the truth. Last weekend it was sunflowers in Missouri, the weekend before it was the meteor shower in South Arkansas, this week? Who knows? That’s the point, shoot what you love! Dream it and do it! If you can’t get to Africa or Asia this week, then shoot in your own backyard.

Take a walk/train/drive/plane and find what excites you, what moves you and start there. My favorite experience shooting was at 2:30 am on an Antartic expedition and I was the only one awake and on deck. I was in shirt sleeves and the sun was beginning to peek up from the clouds, and the silence and stillness was breathtaking. I captured one of my most award winning photographs and still one of my favorites.

We get to show people a side of nature and life and the world they would never get to see on a regular day, and that is worth shooting!

Tip of the Day: Don’t Worry About Style

cropped-HP0112-copy1.jpgThese days we hear a lot about developing your own personal style with all kinds of advice on how to magically pull the style rabbit out of the hat.

Truth is, you don’t need to waste another minute worrying about personal style. Photograph subjects you love and the style will magically happen all on it’s own. Before you know it, people will recognize your style, perhaps even before you!

Here is my checklist for what to do until your “style” finds you:

Work On Improving Your Vision

How you see your subject is the only thing you have that no one can duplicate, others may copy but that’s another subject!

You improve your vision by becoming a critic. Criticize your own work ruthlessly then be just as critical of every image you see. If you look at your work from last year and think it’s the best you can do, you are done and won’t improve this year. We’re bombarded with imagery more than ever, make a habit of analyzing as much of it as you can.

Embrace Challenging Subjects and Light

We all love the golden light at sunrise and sunset, but that only gives you an hour of opportunity every day. Force yourself to photograph during the harsh light of day and you’ll find great images can be made around the clock.

Tighten Your Technique

Are you getting the best image quality every time?

  • Use a sturdy tripod
  • ALWAYS use a remote and mirror lockup when possible
  • Bracket and blend you shots so everything in the frame is at the optimal exposure

Shoot More Often

You may have heard it before, but “The First 10,000 Images are Your Worst”.-Henri Carter-Bresson.

You’re going to photograph a lot of stinkers whether you like it or not. Get them out of the way as quickly as you can.

Developing your “style” will happen after years of photographing the scenes you love, the way you love to see them. It’s a continual process that never ends.

I best shut this down and get back to developing my “style”!

 

International Photographic Competition Results Are In… Gold Again!

We at Ed Cooley Fine Art Gallery are so excited and proud to announce that Ed has been awarded the “Gold Photographer Award” by the Professional Photography Association For the second year in a row.  The award is recognition for outstanding achievement in the International Photographic Competition and we want to congratulate Ed on his hard work! Please enjoy the following photographs and follow the links to see more on our website. Thank you Ed for all you do and THANK YOU readers, collectors, clients and fellow nature lovers for supporting our passion to bring beauty to so many lives!

image“Morning Glory” Mt. Rainier National Park

“When photographing I wake up day after day dreaming about mornings like this. I could hardly believe my eyes as Mt Rainier was gloriously bathed in one of the most beautiful sunrise displays I have witnessed.”

Eilean Donan Castle“Dreams of Scotland”

“Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most recognised castles in Scotland, and probably appears on more shortbread tins and calendars than any other. It is, without doubt, a Scottish icon and certainly one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands.”

0001-2

“Spring Eternal”

“Nestled up to the edge, I snapped this photo. I felt honored to have found this place of pure relaxation. I sat there for awhile observing this natural spa. Refreshed and hiking out I felt younger than I have in years.”

image1“Dolce Vita”

This vibrant image of Venice captures everything loved by locals and visitors alike. The beauty of the location and intensity of the colors elicit an immediate emotional response of dreams and desire to be a part of the image.                                                                       *Photo is set for release in November, 2015

Once again, Congratulations Ed and Thank You! Be sure to stay tuned as we announce more of the pieces awarded and click on the links for more information about the winning photographs.

 

 

Tip of the Day: Head for Nasty Weather

Summertime - Tuscany

In last weeks “Tip of the Day” I showed you an incredible mountain scene in the Rockies photographed with an iPhone 6! The great color and drama in that photograph was a three day thunderstorm moving in from the Southwest.

Notice the outdoor photographs that really impress you; they’ll have one thing in common — dramatic skies!  Clear blue, hazy, summer days are great for a sun tan but the light is so flat and boring your photographs won’t inspire.  Spend that time touring with your family or scouting locations for the next storm front to move your way.

Without a doubt, my favorite conditions are when stormy weather is moving into or exiting an area.  That special light just before the storm cuts loose makes everything so colorful and surreal that people won’t believe the scene “actually” looked like that.  Outdoor photographers spend more time waiting for the light than you can imagine. Sunrise and sunset make wonderful photographs but take a hot and muggy summer day with huge boomers building up and you can really get the magic happening.

Now when a photographer talks about “Light”, it’s not just light he is referring to.  It’s the whole combination of lighting, weather and conditions that is make up the magic sauce we use to create compelling photographs.

Don’t pay attention to those who tell you not to photograph in the middle of the day.  With the right conditions and technique some of your favorite photographs are just waiting on you – right in the middle of a hot summer afternoon!  Also learn to read the weather forecasts for your area paying special attention to fronts as they move through.  In many cases the day before they hit will be your best time to snag a keeper with beautiful color and skies.

Waterfall of the Gods

Godafoss, Northern Iceland

 

At the end of the first century, the leader of Iceland made Christianity the official religion of the state.  It is rumored that after making that proclamation he threw his statues of the Norse gods into this waterfall which is now called Godafoss.  (The suffix foss designates a waterfall in Icelandic.)