I was only able to watch a few hours of the 2-day webinar by Frans Lanting today and yesterday, but I still came away with quite a few things that were very helpful to me.

Overall, I was very impressed with Frans’ humble confidence as a presenter, engaging regularity in asking questions, and flowing magnitude of relevant stories and examples explaining what he was presenting. A pro in every respect! However, I was also very saddened by his apparent disbelief in a Creationist worldview. To display his amazing work in landscape and environmental documentation and talk about stunning creativity in the animal world without once mentioning the name of God or the Creator (as far as I know), is dumbfounding to me. How can that be possible? For me, I couldn’t help but marvel in Jehovah’s love for balance, creativity and beauty in the many examples that Frans presented.

Reminds me of the story in Luke: “And when [Jesus] was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, ‘Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.’ And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, ‘Master, rebuke thy disciples.’ And he answered and said unto them, ‘I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.’” Wow. Imagine that!

3767_San Diego-California-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 35 mm, 1-10 sec at f - 22, ISO 50

On a more technical note, here are a few points he made that I think were great:

  • What effect is emphasized when you use front lighting? Color.
  • What effect is emphasized when you use back lighting? Shape.
  • What effect is emphasized when you use side lighting? Anyone remember? Texture.
  • What effect is emphasized when you have ambient lighting from, say, an overcast sky? In his opinion, all the above.
  • He said of angles of light something to the effect of “When I want to shoot a particular subject, I look for the particular light that emphasizes what I want to say with that subject. I work with light in a deliberate way.”
  • He uses his camera as a “sketchpad”; he sees a shot, tries to capture it, analyzes it, makes necessary changes, and takes another shot which he analyses again until he gets the shot he wants. There’s a whole art to this in and of itself.
  • “I come back to the same location over again because then I know where the magic light will be.”
  • He uses reflectors, strobes, and artificial light in natural environments just like you would use in a studio.
  • “If you can’t find an interesting image in your own backyard, you won’t find them all over the world.”
  • How to stay safe when shooting dangerous animals? His advice was “Dangerous animals are typically polite animals who would rather be left alone. Pay attention to body language. You get into trouble when you’re working too fast.” He also mentioned that he reads much about the animals he photographs.
  • I absolutely loved the descriptive language he used in critiquing images! “Thin color”, “crisp wings”, “maturity of an image subject”, “I feel there are more pictures here” and on and on. It was so much fun to listen and learn!

9328_Portland-Oregon-USA_Canon EOS 40D, 17 mm, 2.0 sec at f - 14, ISO 100

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