Pictures when no color or beautiful scenery

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This topic contains 83 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  James Staddon 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #16270

    Hannah Moore
    Participant

    What do you take a picture of when there is no color or beautiful scenery?

    #16271

    Mr. Quebec
    Participant

    Shooting when there are no colors or anything that strikes the eye can be challenging.
    A picture may be seen as something that shows a particular emotion. Fallen leaves or frozen trees can express sadness or gloom, for example. When there are no colors, what can be done to help is to edit in B&W to make that feeling even stronger. Perhaps also selective coloring can be a good help. In my opinion, architecture also can be a good subject when the clouds are gray.

    #16273

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    This is a question I’ve asked myself often, @hannahm, and I have no doubt that many, many other photographers struggle with this same problem. Therefore, I think it would be well worth the time to take this question and make it a major topic for discussion on the next PRO Critique and Q&A webinar. @mr-quebec has shared some excellent ideas, and I am looking forward to going deep into solving this problem on April 9 @ 3pm. We’ll see you there!

    #16278

    Hannah Moore
    Participant

    Thanks for the advice, @Mr. Quebec, I’ll have to try B&W.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  Hannah Moore.
    #16284

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Nothing is beautiful? Now that I find hard to believe. 🙂

    Seriously though, I know exactly what you mean. (You’re specifically thinking of winter-time, right?)

    I find some of the most beautiful objects to photograph in the winter-time! It’s not very expensive to get into macro photography, you just need an old manual-aperture lens or two!

    EJM_9480

    I agree with @mr-quebec, there’s only so much you can do…

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    #16290

    Frazer Family
    Participant

    I absolutely agree, buddingphotographer, there is never a time when nothing is beautiful, but I admit that winter is an extra challenge. Here are a few of my thoughts, though really, nos. 2, 3, and 4 are just a breakdown of no. 1:

    1. Train yourself to see beauty at all times, in all places. Last year I got really practical about this and set myself the challenge of taking one unique picture per day on our wooded, 4-acre property. I didn’t quite reach my 365-picture goal, but I took over 300 and some of those were taken on days that were not “beautiful.” Though the “colourless” days didn’t produce my favourite photos, the challenge really helped me start thinking outside of the box and by the end of the year, I did see a definite improvement in my ability to capture beauty where it wasn’t obvious.

    2. Like Mr. Quebec suggested, shooting for black and white can be interesting. I personally don’t actually like true black and white, but almost black and white can be quite nice (see 20160228_ELF_8411.jpg).

    3. Choose a sunny day. A bright blue sky reflected in a partially frozen river can hardly be called not colourful! And, as also mentioned by Mr. Quebec, architectural structures often make a scene smile when all around is dirty snow and mud! (see 20160222_ELF_8396.jpg)

    4. And, finally, if you can only get out on flat-grey-sky, sunless days, look for colour in unexpected places. Driving home on an overcast, snowy day, I got this shot: https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/colour-in-the-cemetery/#post-16233 It’s not spectacular, but it has a beauty of its own.

    I hope this gives you a few ideas. Winter photography is not when the casual photographer. It takes determination to get out when it is difficult, creativity to work with dull (or extreme contrast) scenery… and warm clothing! 🙂

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    #16369

    Hannah Moore
    Participant

    Thank you all for your ideas.
    I do understand, buddingphotographer, what you’re saying, especially when you don’t have to go anywhere to get a picture.You just get it of your snow flakes! But, as for me, I have to try to “think” of something to take a picture of and that can be challenging!
    For the Frazer Family, The train of thought I had was, “What do you take picture of when there is no snow, no leaves on the trees, no green grass, and “no” color. Add to that a dreary day! This year in Vermont has been a pretty odd year, with hardly any snow to do anything with. I think the solution for me is to think outside of the box. Getting ideas from other photography, also can get you to think outside of the box as well. I will have to try to think of “different” things to take pictures of now!

    #16379

    Frazer Family
    Participant

    Hmm… yes, that is really challenging – more so than snow and overcast, I think. I tried recently to get out and get a few shots, but at least I had the sun out, a nice foreground object (some rushes and someone’s horse) and a still somewhat snow-covered mountain in the background. If this is discussed at the next Pro Critique webinar, I’ll be very interested in hearing James’ suggestions.

    Have you considered branching out into other areas of photography? I used to think I wouldn’t like still life photography… until I tried it. Then I discovered it was really fun, with endless opportunities for creativity!

    #16444

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    @hannahm, you’re right, when there’s not much else to photograph in the wintertime, I can just “just get it of your snow flakes”. But before I knew about snowflakes, I photographed other stuff! 🙂 @frazer-family “hit the nail right on the head”! When you can’t see anything pretty outside to photograph, find something inside! Before I found out about snowflakes, and even after, I did some waterdrop photography, which was a lot of fun! I was pretty happy with the results, considering that I didn’t use anything but my camera and kit lens! (Well, a little beet juice helps for water coloring… [And a remote shutter release makes things a little easier. 🙂 ])

    I also did some macro with flower bouquets, old film cameras, and all sorts of things! There are no shortage of subjects if you start thinking of stuff to photograph!

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    #16449

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Very creative! @hannahm, do you want to make a guess at what his shutter speed might have been for capturing this shot?

    #16467

    Hannah Moore
    Participant

    Oh, No!!!! You would have to ask me! All right, my guess is… AROUND 1\20?????

    #16470

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    @hannahm, what would have made you guess a 1/20 sec. exposure? 🙂 You actually guessed it correctly!

    The reason I’m surprised is, most people would have guessed probably 1/1,000 at least, if not more! After all, it takes a very high (or fast) shutter speed to capture a water drop in mid-air! Just curious, did you have a good reason for guessing as low as you did, or were you just taking a wild guess?

    Normally, unless you have a steady hand, you’re going to get motion blur with a shutter speed of only 1/20 of a second! To tell the truth though, since flash was involved, the literal exposure time was much shorter, even though the camera’s physical shutter speed was only 1/20 of a second. If you’re interested, I could try to give you the technical explanation… Actually, you could ask @emilym about it, I think that was covered in the lessons she had on flash photography. 🙂

    Here’s a hint… Remember that any time you use a flash, you’re actually working with 2 separate exposures.

    #16471

    Hannah Moore
    Participant

    Well, I have to say, I practiced taking pictures with Joshua dropping the ball in and I taking the picture, just to get a close idea!!
    I know, It’s very blurry, but all that matters is that I got it right!!!!!

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    #16475

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Aha! Hey, that’s actually a very good idea, the best way to learn is to try! Now, you did guess the correct shutter speed, but as you said, your picture is very blurry (unlike mine), so what is the difference? Why are two pictures taken with the same settings so different?

    First things first… Most of that blur that you see is from the camera moving, courtesy of the slow shutter speed. Once you stop that motion blur, you’ve gotten rid of one of the major problems! Figure out a way to keep the camera still while you take the picture. Hint: It starts with the letter “T” and has 3 legs. 🙂

    Second, you’re going to need more light. I see that your picture was taken at ISO 1600, which is a bit high to be getting nice grain-free results. The problem is, if you put down your ISO, you’re going to have to lower your shutter speed to compensate, which means even more blur! So obviously, you’re going to need another light source. You’re never going to get a high enough shutter speed to stop the motion, unless you go outside on a bright summer day and use direct sunlight. But thankfully camera manufacturers have included a little light source on top of every entry-level and enthusiast DSLR. It’s highly underrated, and in fact many professionals will tell you not to use the on-camera flash! (There’s a reason for that, but that doesn’t apply in this case. 🙂 )

    Try those 2 tips, and see what you can come up with! I’m sure that you’ll be able to get much better results with a little experimentation! To encourage you, here’s one of my first attempts at water drop photography:

    IMG_3117-r
    As you can see, there’s some motion blur in the drop, the whole thing is slightly out of focus, and the background leaves a lot to be desired.

    After several tweaks, I was getting stuff like this:

    WaterDrop

    Keep trying! And let us see what you get, I’m always interested in seeing other’s experiments!

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    #16478

    Frazer Family
    Participant

    That is fascinating! When I saw James’ question, I took a look at your metadata and was puzzled over how you froze the droplet at 1/20. A flash, of course! I know next to nothing about flash photography, but I’m seeing that there is a lot to learn! Does it make any difference if the flash is at the beginning or end of the exposure? And why can’t you see what is there when the flash isn’t lighting it up? The rest of the exposure time must effect the photo too… Surely something would show up? I really don’t understand the “why” behind all that.

    Just a side note… indoor photos don’t have to be closeups… The attached are a couple I took just for fun and here’s another that several of us put together for a specific project: https://www.lenspiration.com/forums/topic/opportunity-ppt-142-weve-a-story-to-tell-to-the-nations/#post-12598

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