makati NIKON Club Philippines, 2009

Basic Photography Lessons
philippines

[Type the document subtitle]
Julius C del Rosario Jr.

LESSON 1 ARTISTIC INTENT
Why do you want to take pictures? You may want to share with others how you see the world around you, you may want to document your life and that of the people you love, you may have a desire to create images that blow other people away. There are so many excellent reasons to get into photography and why you do so is up to you. I've put this section first because when I learned photography - it was technique first and art second. That is a time honoured way of learning photography. But now that I've done it for 30 years I think it was a backwards way of learning photography. Photography is an art and you are the artist. If you're thinking you could never be an artist I have good news for you - you already are. Even just taking the time to read this page you've shown you have the desire make images that give you pleasure and can affect others - that is art. Now comes the fun part - think about why you want to take pictures. Write down a list of: 1 - Things you like about photography. Do you love the moment of seeing the images in prints or on your screen? Is it the challenge of making the photo? Is it the sharing the images with your friends? Is it the memories you get when you look at your photos later? Whatever it is you like about taking pictures, write it down. 2 - What you want to achieve with photography. Do you want to remember what your kids are like at each stage of their growing up? Do you like flowers or architecture or mountains and want to document them? Do you want to show the human condition? Do you want to pursue a career in photography? Write down what you want your photography to do. 3 - What subjects you want to shoot. Flowers, dogs, kids, models, food, people's feet, whatever. Write down those things you find catch your eye or make you wish you had your camera when you see it. 4 - How you feel about those subjects. Do you love it, hate it, feel afraid of it, laugh at it, wish it was yours? This is actually the most important section of the lesson. When you understand what you feel towards something, you'll find your photography of it

improves automatically. Now grab your pen and start writing. Once you're done, put it on the wall, throw it into your camera bag or put it somewhere you can easily review it. Add or change it as you grow as a photographer. But once you have the list, you have a great tool to make your photography better. You may have noticed the link in top right corner for the book "Drawing on the artist within" by Betty Edwards. I highly recommend this book for learning about bringing out your inner artist - it is a very, very good book which taught me a lot.

LESSON 2 EXPOSURE
Note: Completing this lesson requires a camera capable of manually setting exposure. Note: Be aware that some digital cameras have exposure compensation built in to prevent overexposure. If exposure is too bright the highlights could be "blown out" and detail lost int the brightest parts of the image. By artificially "darkening" the image, the camera makers try to make sure the exposures aren't too bright. This doesn't affect all cameras but it does seem to be the case for some. That means that the exposure needed in lessons 2, 3 and 4 may be slightly higher than suggested in the lessons. You might use the "expose to the right" method. What is the right exposure? Not to make this complicated, but exposure is a choice you have to make. The exposure you choose determines how the image looks. But, we'll start with a basic understanding and work up from there. Exposure consists of three factors: how sensitive the film is to light (remember, I use the word "film" to refer to whatever medium used for capturing the image, whether it is the Digital Camera's sensor or actually film,) the amount of light going through a lens - called the aperture, and how long the film is exposed - called the shutter speed. For a little more about how this works see the Camera Basics Page. For the moment, we'll set an average exposure on an average scene. If you’re camera does not have a built in meter - its really old. But, that’s okay. You’ll just have to buy a hand held meter. If you have an SLR or advanced point and shoot digital camera, spend some time with the manual to find out how to bring up the “Histogram” which graphically shows the amount of light in an exposure.

First exercise - set your ISO to 100, set your camera to ƒ16 and the shutter to 1/125th of a second. (Some digital cameras are limited to ISO 200 - which means you have to cut your exposure by one stop, i.e. use 1/250th instead of 1/125th of a second) With this setting, take your camera out during a sunny day, put the sun behind you and shoot anything - you'll have a well exposed image. This is called the "Sunny 16" rule. To make life interesting, and your photography more creative, you can change the setting and still have the same exposure. Try going to ƒ11 at 1/250th of a second. Push it a little further at ƒ8 at 1/500th of a second. These are all the same exposure because the same total amount of light is hitting the film. Of course, you're not always going to shoot with the sun behind you on a sunny day. For other situations you need to be able to find out your exposure with a meter. This can be in your camera or hand held. Looking at any scene, your meter will give you a suggestion as to what exposure to use. Most of the time this is fairly accurate. Using your meter, take a reading off of something with mixed tones in shade on a sunny day - you'll find the exposure is two or three stops slower than the "Sunny 16." One of the best things to do for more accurate metering is to meter the light hitting the specific subject you’re shooting. If you’re shooting something in a small patch of light, walk right up to it and find out what the meter suggests. Then, go back to where you’re taking the picture from - and with the camera in manual - set the exposure to what was suggested. If you’re shooting a Caucasian person, you can meter of their cheek, open up one stop. If the meter said f8, then change it from f8 to f5.6, or if you want, change the speed - if it said 1/250 then set it to 1/125, etc. This is a rule of thumb and changes from person to person. With other races you may want to leave the exposure as suggested by the meter, and with darker skin you may want to close down one stop. If in doubt, take pictures a variety of exposures and make note of which one worked. You can also use your hand to help determine exposure in a variety of situations. First - on a sunny day, do the f16 rule, setting the camera to f16 at 1/125 of a second. Hold your hand in the sunlight and meter it. You’ll probably notice the meter says you should change the exposure. Note how much the meter says your hand is off from the f16 rule and keep that in mind. Lets say the meter said you should expose your hand at f22. That is one stop darker than what is actually needed. Now walk into the shade and meter off your hand again. If it says f11, you know that is one stop too dark, so set your camera to f8.

Knowing what your hand is for exposure can help you set exposure in most situations - just make sure your hand is in the same kind of light as the subject you’re shooting. A little more accurate way to do exposures is to buy an “18 per cent grey card.” Most camera stores and photo departments should have these. To use it, just put it beside the subject you’re shooting, and meter off of it. If you’re further away than is practical to walk up to the subject - set the card in the same kind of light as the subject and again meter off the card. Second exercise - either with an 18 per cent grey card, or using your hand as described above, meter something in dark shade and find out the exposure there. A final note - A meter is very handy for getting your exposure, but it does have a limitation. As said earlier, the meter thinks the world is 18 per cent grey. Most of the world is kind of like 18 per cent grey, but not all of it. Look at what you're shooting. If its black (or very dark), your meter will try to make it grey - and make the exposure too light. Conversely, if you're subject is white, the meter will try to make it darker - or 18 per cent grey. There are two more lessons on high key and low key photos which will help you handle more extreme situations. As a point of reference, these are the typical “whole stops” for exposure; Aperature - f1.8, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 and 22. Shutter - 1 second, 1/2 second, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000. Many cameras have more stops at either end of these scales, but these are typical. As well, most modern cameras have half stops or third stops. These make learning a little more difficult, but keep the above numbers in mind to do proper exposures.

LESSON 3 EXPOSURE (HIGH KEY)

A high-key photo is basically white on white. This style of photography conveys a feeling of lightness and clarity. Exposing for this is fairly easy. With an in camera meter, you can measure the light hitting a white area, and open up two stops - such as changing the aperture from ƒ11 to ƒ5.6. Exercise: Put a large piece of white paper or white fabric on a table beside a large north facing window, place an egg in the middle. Take a picture with the whatever exposure the in camera meter suggests. You may have to use a tripod to keep the camera still if the shutter speed is too slow. You can also shoot a fair-haired person

in light clothing against a light coloured background for a "high key portrait." Next, meter off a white area and open up two stops - as described at the top of the this page. Compare the images. You can also use a hand held meter to measure the light hitting the subject, which will be more accurate than the in-camera meter. Lesson 4 low key exposure This is the opposite of the previous example. A low key photo is pretty much black on black, or at least very dark on dark. This kind of photo can create a sense of intimacy, foreboding, sadness, and / or heaviness. The problem with shooting dark on dark is that the camera will try to lighten the image up making the picture look washed out and grey. For this shot you'll need a really dark cloth, preferably black, and an object that is dark or has some dark tones in it. You could shoot a portrait of a dark haired person in dark clothing against a black or dark background for a low-key portrait. Note: Shooting an object or person that is very light or white against black has a different effect and is not really considered "low key", although it can be striking image anyways. Exercise: First, shoot the image with what you camera says is the right exposure. Very few in-camera meters will render this scene accurately. Now, take a meter reading on something dark/black that has the light hitting it and close the aperture two stops (i.e. if it is ƒ1.8 you'll want to go to ƒ4.) Compare the two images and see what difference it made.

LESSON 5 DEPTH OF FIELD
Depth of field - also sometimes known as depth of focus - is an area many photographers feel some confusion over. By changing the aperture in the lens, you can make the resulting picture have more of the picture in focus from near to far, or you can limit the picture's focus on one place. At ƒ1.8, the focus point will be much more defined with things in front of and behind the subject becoming softer looking the further from the subject they are. This is a very nice way to bring attention to the subject. At ƒ22, the focus will seem to be sharp from very close to the camera to pretty

much infinity. This is great for giving a sense of the place you shot the image, or for including many people in the image and keeping everyone clearly in focus. However, there are limits to how that will appear in the final image. Exercise: Find a subject/object that is still or will be in one place for a couple of minutes. Stand about 2 feet from the subject and focus on it. Set your ƒstop to 1.8 (or a close as possible to that based on the light) and set the shutter speed to get a proper exposure according to your meter. Now set your ƒstop to 16 and change the shutter as needed. Step back to about 10 feet from your subject and re do the above settings - first at ƒ1.8 then at ƒ16. To really push this exercise, try all the above steps with different lenses or at different lengths if you have a zoom lens - i.e.. try it at 35 mm and at 200mm, or whatever your zoom lens range is.

LESSON 6 SHUTTER EFFECTS
You've probably seen those pictures of a race car or bike rider where the subject is in fairly sharp focus but the background is blurry with streaks denoting speed. Perhaps you've seen a waterfall that looks like flowing silk. Or you seen a picture with someone totally frozen in place during an athletic moment. These are a result of creatively using the shutter on the camera. High shutter speeds, such as 1/500th, 1/1000th, 1/2000th or higher (remember these are fractions of a second) create a stopped motion. Alternatively, slow shutter speeds such as 1/15th, 1/4, or even whole seconds, creates a sense of motion through blurring of some part of the picture. Exercise: This is best done on a lightly clouded day that isn't too dark or too bright. Find a friend with a bicycle or who likes to run. Go to an open area and set up your position. Have your friend ride or run past you many many times. You'll need to do lots of exposures to get the shots. First set your shutter speed as high as you can for the light - hopefully around 1/500 to 1/2000 - with the aperture as open as you can set (i.e. ƒ1.8). As your friend moves past you, keep him or her in the viewfinder, turning yourself at the waist to constantly point your camera at your friend. Take lots of pictures for several passes. This is known as "panning." You might want to try a couple of

passes without tripping the shutter and practicing keeping your friend in the viewfinder as he or she goes past you. Now, set your shutter speed as low as you can - I'd suggest around 1/30, remembering to set the aperture as high as you can for the light. Repeat the above panning motion to keep your friend in the viewfinder. Take lots more pictures, remembering to keep turning yourself at the waist as your friend goes by.

LESSON 7 COMPOSITION WITH THIRDS
The most used lesson in artistic composition is the rule of thirds. While there are lots of ways to compose pictures, this short cut always makes an image more interesting than most where the subject is dead center. If you're shooting a close up of a person's face or other object, putting it in the center is the thing to do. But, if you have a picture with a person in the center and lots of scenery around him or her - well, it could be improved. Exercise: Take a piece of paper and draw two horizontal lines dividing the paper into thirds. Now draw two vertical lines again diving the paper into thirds. Note the four places where lines intersect each other. Now go take a picture of anything placing the main subject at one of those four positions one third of the way from the top or bottom and one third of the way from the side. In fact, try placing the same subject at all four intersection positions. Take a look at the pictures.

LESSON 8 DIAGONAL COMPOSITION
A nice dynamic method of composing a photo is to have a diagonal line running through he photo, from corner to corner or from 1/3 down from the top to 1/3 up from the bottom. The line could be a street, a fence rail, a road or a shoreline. Anything which creates a line or division in the picture. Whether the line rises or falls creates different feelings about the photo. Typically, for english speaking people and others with "left to right" direction of writing, if an line descends into the picture from top left to bottom right it appears to be

entering the picture. If the line rises from bottom left to top right, it appears to be leaving the picture. You can use those concepts to create specific feelings in your picture. Such as, a person standing beside a lake shore - if the line descends, it would suggest the person is entering the picture and thus would be, perhaps, happier and more inclusive. If the line is rising it would suggest the person is leaving and is thus more distant and removed. Exercise: find a location where you can use a line to run diagonally through a picture. Take two pictures, one with the line descending into the picture from the left, and the other rising to right.

LESSON 9 CURVES
Another dynamic composition tool is to include a "S" curve. As the name suggests, a major element of the composition would be an object such as a stream, path, railing, or other curved object that creates an "S." If the S is right facing and starts in the lower left corner and exits the upper right corner - the feeling for most english speaking people is that the picture is moving away from the viewer. If the "S" is reversed, and starts in the upper left corner coming down to the lower right, the picture seems to be coming towards the viewer. This effect is from, I believe, learning to read left to right. Exercise: Go out and find an S Curve to photograph. Explore right facing and left facing curves and see how they feel to you.

LESSON 10 BALANCE
There are a few ways to achieve balance in photos. The first is through symmetry - where you have equal size subjects on either side of the photo. This creates a static, solid look with little movement. The second is to place dissimilar size objects on either side, but to use the center of the photo as a balance point in an asymmetrical composition. Just like an adult and a child on a teeter-toter, the adult has to be much closer to the center balance point for the child not to be held way up in the air the whole time. If you have a grouping of objects on one side, you'll need something further out on the other side to create balance. An asymmetrical composition creates a sense of movement and action, even if the subject is a stone. Exercise - collect a bunch of rocks, some similar size and some dissimilar. On the sidewalk or other handy surface, try creating several symmetric and asymmetric compositions, taking pictures of each. This exercise is based on exercises in Drawing on the Artist Within, which is on the upper right corner of this page. This is an excellent book for learning about creating art - the basics are taught through drawing but are applicable to all art forms and just learning to be creative. I highly recommend it.

LESSON 11 NEGATIVE SPACE
One way of making sure your composition is strong is to pay attention to the positive and negative spaces. The primary subject of your photo, a person, building, toy car, whatever, is the "positive space." Negative space is everything else. Something you see in a lot of photography is things sticking out of heads, wires across the scene you didn't see when taking the picture, and so on. This is just from paying so much attention to the subject that photographers forget what is in the background or surrounding the subject. Exercise: take pictures of three different subjects outside. Doesn't matter what they are, a person, a car, a building. While taking the picture, don't worry about

the subject, just pay attention to what is around and behind the subject. Use the background to compose the shot - for this exercise, the actual subject is not important. If the background is not working for you, move around until it is zoom in or zoom out to change perspective, get low, or go higher. Whatever makes the background a pleasing photo.

LESSON 12 PICK A SUBJECT
For this lesson, pick something near by you can photograph on a regular basis. It could be your car, your cat, your "significant other", your guitar. Anything that you like to look at. Exercise: Every day for the next 10 days take some pictures of it. Look for different ways of seeing the same subject. Place your subject in different places, different light situations, try some of the different exercises in composition - find an S curve in the subject, or place your subject into an S curve, same with diagonal lines, etc. Just keep shooting and learning about the same subject. What you learn from this simple exercise will carry through into most things you shoot. Enjoy.

FREE MODULES
How to Photograph Firewoks Displays - Photography Techniques How to Photograph Firewoks Displays? These are most questions that i had received from readers and most had a feeling that its really hard to capture. I could understand that as capturing a fireworks display always involve the elements of both darkness and brightness. The darkness of the sky or the surroundings and the brightness of the fireworks or sometimes the foreground. My simple adviced to all is “grab you camera equipments and give it a try” whenever theres a fireworks displays in and around your area. Below are some useful tips to help you get started. Planning Planning is the most important when photograhing Fireworks Displays and this is what most people tend to ignore. Always get to the location early. Be sure of where the fireworks are being setup and what part of the sky will it be lighting up. Try asking the organisors if possible of what they are planning. Look around the location and take note of the lightings and surroundings. You might want to decide now on what lenses and the focal lengths to use. Remember the first and most important thing in fireworks photography is planning and anticipation. Framing and Focusing Where to aim your camera? This is one of the most difficult part in photographing fireworks dislays. You normally need to aim your camera before the fireworks goes off. I normally spend most of my time looking in the sky rather then looking at my view finder so that i could see whats happening around me and also anticipate the moment or the right time to shot. Always manually focus your camera or put it on infinity. Its quite impossible to use auto focus mode in low light and you may end up missing a lot of shots. So set your focusing in advanced and fix your focal lengths but remember to ajust your focusing if you happen to change your focal lengths. Shutter Speed Its not necessary to set your shutter speed to a very low setting. The temptation to keep your shutter open too long is because its dark and you need to do that. The problem is that fireworks itself are bright and you might over expose them and you may end up not having a clean and nice shot. What you may get is too much of the smoke in you photograph. Aperture What aperture to use in Photographing Fireworks Dispalys? Many people thinks that they need to open up the aperture in order to capture them right. But remember, the lights that fireworks emit is quite bright. I normally set my aperture between mid to smaller f stop and i find it tend to work well. And again it will also depends on what shutter speed you have selected. ISO

Shot using the lowest ISO possible. Capturing the Mood and Surroundings When photographing Fireworks Displays many people tend to just capture the Fireworks and forgetting the foreground or the background. Remember Fireworks Displays are often relates to celebrations and occasions and I personally feels your picture must relates to the occasionsand it must tell you where, what and when. Dont forget to include other elements such as people, landmarks or other perspectives to make your photograph more meaningful and the Fireworks Display looking more spectacular. Take as Many Shots as Possible and Track Results Keep taking as many shots as possible and do a quick check occasionally. But remember….. dont check after every shot or you may end up missing the action!!! You might not have enough time. If you are using Digital Camera take advantage of it and keep on taking. Portrait Photography Tips - How To Improve Your Portrait Photography Technique When you look at portrait photography, you will see that it is different from other branch of digital photography. You can see that your subjects are human beings who speak their own words, have personal feelings and want to look good in the pictures. Surely you won't hear the mountain complain when you didn't capture the best side of it. Right? One of the important portrait photography tips is that you will want to look at the details around your subject before you snap the picture. Sometimes it only takes a small thing to ruin the perfect picture. It can be an old scar, a folded skirt, or simply a pole in the background. Imagine your client complain about the slipped bra strap in the picture. You will have a lot of trouble explaining to your client why you didn't notice that. Now, portrait photography doesn't always mean that you only take close up face shot of your subject. You are not using that picture to apply for driving license. The essence of this portrait photography technique is to capture the natural side of your subject. Lets say your niece is blowing off the birthday candle. Don't you think it is only logic to include the candles that you can show what your niece is doing? Your niece will look silly instead of natural with only her head in the picture. Then, for those who are using compact digital camera, you can look into the setting of your camera and select the portrait mode. This will then slow down the shutter speed and allow more light to go into the camera. This will then create a shallow depth of field (how shallow it can go depends on your camera) hence enhancing the details of your subject. You will see the difference when you compare portrait photography taken with portrait mode and other mode. The last thing you can do to improve your portrait photography technique is to talk to your subjects. Professional photographers don't just take good pictures. They also want to know what their subjects want and how they as professional

photographers can enhance that. After all it is their pictures you are taking and they have all the rights to look good in the pictures. Photography Techniques to Enhance Your Work Although the age of digital cameras has made it easier than ever to get good photos, you still need good photographic techniques to get the best results. It is alright to just point, shoot, and hope for the best. You will often get some great shots this way. But you will get even better results with your digital SLR camera if you understand some photography techniques. This will help you go from getting just good shots to getting amazing shots. The added benefit is you are in control of the situation and can reproduce the results over and over again. With a digital SLR camera you can afford to experiment. If you don't like the result, you can just delete it and start again. Photography Lighting Techniques Lighting can be either your best friend or worst enemy. Lighting techniques in photography are varied and can be easy or they can be difficult, it's upt to you. It will depend on what you are shooting. Maybe you want to take photos of cityscapes at night or photos in full sunlight - for good results you will need to understand good photography lighting techniques. Once you understand the basics of photography lighting techniques you will transform your photos into works of art. Indoor Lighting Photography Techniques There are different types of lighting you can use for indoor shots. Try using natural lighting that comes from windows, ceiling lights, candles, log fires, and any other indoor lighting. Many photographers use this to give a natural feel to their work. Often, though, there may not be enough natural light indoors. If this is the case, take a tip from portrait photography lighting techniques. Portrait photographers use big lights to flood their subject for the best results. The good thing is you can experiment with the light you have indoors. Try taking a photo of your subject in different parts of the room using different types of lighting. This will give you an idea of what works. Experiment with the early morning sun streaming through the window then try backlighting the same subject and see the different effects. Indoor lighting subjects include a whole host of techniques and methods. It will become a natural instinct the more you play around with different effects. Black and White Photography Techniques

Black and white photography techniques can produce some really nice results. If you are using a digital SLR camera, you will most likely have the option to capture your photos in black and white mode. Don't use this mode. Use full colour so you get the full depth of light and shade. Use a photo manipulation program like Adobe Photoshop to transform your image into black and white. This gives you the flexibility to manipulate the output which you would not have if you took the photo in black and white. If you really want to experiment with your camera in black and white mode, try using side lighting. Side lighting will create shadows on ordinary objects and give them a different perspective. This is an effective black and white photography technique that has great results on objects that are highly textured. Experiment by changing the camera angle and different lighting techniques. Use side lighting to enhance your black and white landscapes, people and buildings. Street Photography Techniques Street photography can produce some amazing results. They are shots of day to day occurrences; outdoor shots taken as asnapshot in time. Standing still or squatting while you watch and listen is a good technique; focus on what is happening around you. See the world differently. There is nothing more interesting than a candid shot of a moment in time. Here are some street photography techniques that may help you when out on the street: - Tune into your surroundings. Learn to sense moments of climax such as laughter or loud voices. - Be relaxed and enjoy your surroundings. - Use crowded places you can walk in and out of to get your candid street shots. - Don't be invasive of people's personal space, try using a zoom lens. This will not always work and you can lose some of the emotion you are trying to capture. - Learn to take photos without bringing the camera to your eye. Practice taking photos from any position. There is so much to learn about photography and, the more you learn the more addictive photography becomes.

Close Up Photography, an Emotional Approach to Nature Photography
From wide open spaces to rugged mountains, rolling meadows to dramatic coastlines they all play an important part in the nature of landscape. However, with

such a view it is often hard to appreciate the beauty because there is nowhere for the eye to settle and concentrate on. Why not take a fresh approach to nature photography and concentrate on part of the view and take time to consider color, shape and texture to really appreciate the finer features of the scene. Enter the world of close up photography that lies just beyond the familiar but so rich in detail and beauty. If we look through our close up lens with an open mind, imagination and childlike curiosity there are many close up photography opportunities for us to consider. As nature photographers we can take this concept further, for example that distant bright yellow patch becomes on closer inspection a riotous stand of broom flowers. Closer still we see clearly the intricate detail in each flower and seedpod that we can record in our close up photography. Now go really close, look at the seedpod with its gossamer covering of fine hairs and we start to appreciate how things fit together. Whilst this is not a scientific approach it provides a raw and basic understanding, offers enlightenment and lets us become an integral part of nature. So by going close up and concentrating on a small part of the whole we have simplified our close up photography subject, made it basic, powerful and memorable,. There is no need to go far, finding close up nature photography opportunities should be seen as a journey of the soul, inner vision and contemplation rather than visiting a far off place. Often the deeper we look into our close up photography subjects the more rewarding they become. Without hesitation they reveal their treasures allowing us time to admire their quality. With this awareness the nature photographer with a passion for close up photography is indeed privileged. Appreciating that all these parts form an important relationship with each other makes it is easier to understand that the whole is made up of many unique parts and like pieces of a jigsaw they combine together to create a complete picture. Indeed, only by appreciating the significance of the smallest parts of our surroundings can we can start to make sense of nature as a whole and incorporate this awareness into our close up photography. Emotion and drama and be found in often overlooked close up photography cameos, like a delicate flower growing defiantly in a boulder crevice, its tenuous grip on life dependent on the sustenance from the crevice debris. Yet it lives on

year after year, testimony to its determination and resilience. It is this inter-action that is so enduring and compelling that makes these interesting subjects perfect for nature photography. As a close up photographer getting close up to nature allows a greater understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the natural world. For example a cold clear winter day with breathtaking crispness can be ideal for close up photography, in these conditions there are magical patterns in snow, frost and shimmering icicles. Ice patterns make perfect winter close up photography subjects; they literally capture a moment frozen in time. Depending on the prevailing weather conditions some have smooth curves whilst others show harsh jagged lines providing creative close up photography opportunities. Early morning in spring and summer can be a wonderful time to find close up photography subjects. Flowers and grasses covered with dew or fine rain make fascinating close up photography studies, the fine hairs hold onto droplets of water almost defy gravity. In the right conditions there may be insects that after a night’s inactivity have become encrusted with minute droplets. Butterflies make excellent close up photography subjects and look stunning covered in dew as they sparkle like a myriad of jewels. Light quality plays an important role in our close up photography, if it is too harsh the increase in contrast will actually block out the very close up detail we are trying to photograph. It is far better to have diffused light that occurs with high thin cloud cover. It provides a much softer quality of light and allows the detail, texture and nuances to be clearly seen and recorded in our close up photography. Color also influences our interpretation of the subject, vibrant colors like red and yellow for example suggest dominance and power, whereas muted tones like grey and browns convey basic, earthy and tranquil feelings. So, if we approach our close up photography with childlike wonder and a renewed vision the natural world is undoubtedly a beautiful place. To fully appreciate it requires a little time and an inquisitive mind, it will reward you with the knowledge that even the simplest of things can bring satisfaction, contentment, harmony and inner peace.