Building Photography Basics – What Should You Know?

I know, I know, it’s been awhile since I posted. It was a long winter, but now that Spring has sprung, I’ve renewed my passion for photography. It’w wonderful to see nature come to life again. I thought I would write about the basics to help myself refresh the fundamentals.

Photography is a visual art form that, just like painting, relies on a set of basics to help aspiring artists go from absolute beginner to professional photographer. And what are these photography basics?

The first basic principle we would like to share with you is called the Law of Thirds. Law of Thirds just refers to where you should place your subject. Take a look at the viewfinder and mentally divide the scene into three parts horizontally and vertically.

If your camera has a function that draws three lines across horizontally and three lines vertically, even better. It would be easier to determine where you should place your subject. As you are taking pictures, make sure that your main subject is one of the one-thirds of the frame. Do not put it in the middle.

Another basic principle in photography is the principle lighting. You should always take your picture where the light is pouring down on the subject. Do not click when the subject is against the light, unless if you want for your pictures to look dark.

The principle of the law of thirds and taking pictures with full light are really just some of the photography basics that anyone interested in photography should take to heart. I did this recently for a shoot for a door company and had to remind myself of this rule. There are many other so-called basic principles that you need to take note of. For your own sake, get a 101 photography so you have a reference. But in order for you to hone your skill, make sure you that your join photography clubs and allow yourself to be mentored by people who are better than you.

As you are learning, make sure to take lots and lots of pictures because that is the only way that you can increase your skill.

Concert shoots update

Sorry it has been a while since I logged in. I haven’t been shooting much since I am planning for my wedding next month. But I had a major breakthrough last weekend. I have been doing photo shoots of various concerts in the area, and I have struggled with motion blur in darker venues. It has been a big challenge for me and has been extremely frustrating.

I decided, what the hell? I may as well just play with settings that go against the training I have had.  Well, lo and behold to, I discovered that the ISO settings have been way too low for my shoots – usually in the 800 range, which is normally recommended. But I decided to just jack the settings and went to 3200 – what a difference! I am now able to shoot at 1/30 second shutter speed and my shots have been outstanding.

Eureka! 🙂

nick_pickle_park Cheat-Sheet-May2015

Spring has finally sprung

At long last… SPRING has arrived and the air is clean and clear again. A perfect time to get some photography in. It’s time to shake off the long cold winter and get outdoors.

I can’t wait to take my trusty Nikon out on some photo shoots. There’s always good wildlife shots to take when the grass starts to breathe real air again. The squirrels dig up the acorns they buried in Fall, the robins scurry from one spot to another looking for the awakening worm, and the green buds on the trees peek an open eye at the warming weather.

Once it’s greener I LOVE taking shots of the great lakes and streams of Minnesota. The ice melts and if you can find areas where it hasn’t melted all the way you can get some glacier-like ice patterns on the shorelines. But the sparkle of the water in those glorious X patterns look like butterflies of sunshine.

Here’s a shot I took while kayaking in Wisconsin. A beautiful reed area that I found as a shortcut on the Wisconsin River.

Long Live Spring and Summer!


Come on Dave, gimme a break…

Yesterday I referenced David Lee Roth when talking about photo shoots of celebrities. I should have said “David Lee Roth, circa 1979.” I watched his band, Van Halen, last night on late night television and wow! As cool as that guy is, his voice is just a shadow of what it used to be.

Sadly, it all made Van Halen a characiture of themselves. It was embarrassing. Yes, DLR came out with his nunchuk style swinging of his mic stand in the frenzy of the opening song which was cool, but it was soon apparent that he can no longer sing. Not only that but he lost his timing too. I’m a musician in addition being an amateur photographer, and he was out of time, out of tune, and outta luck. (deep cut Van Halen reference there…)

Hang it up Dave. It’s time. At this point, you’re a liability to the band. I get that you can make millions on this tour, but it’s looking like a money play more than supporting new music. By the way, A Different Kind of Truth is a GREAT album – please make more of those, and stop looking foolish on national television.

Photo shoots, A-listers, and limousines

There must be something about being a photographer that makes me want to rank with the best and most notable lens aces. Sure, there’s National Geographic level, but I’ve always connected more with the Annie Leibovitz’s of the world.
To see the John Lennon and Yoko Ono shoots (made famous in “Rolling Stone” magazine) puts a timeless stamp on the art of photography. The kind that makes you ask, “who shot that?”
That’s who I want to rank with.
I can fantasize sometimes about doing a shoot – planned or better yet, unplanned – of some major celebrity rolling up in a shiny black stretch limo, setting foot upon some red carpet in Hollywood. The sunlight at sunset just right, creating the perfect lighting glow on their skin and smile.
The real prize would be the expression on their face that captures the moment – whether it’s nervousness, fatigue, joy, calm, or whatever “defines” the celebrity.
I’m not really into celebrities per se, but it just seems like being a portrait photographer on a more mobile level creates a real challenge: capturing the moment amidst the chaos.
Then again, there are artists like Madonna and David Lee Roth that understand and appreciate the art of photography, and this would be fun as well to pose them. These are artists that know their image, and would be a collaborator in the crafting of an epic design. I’m sure I could learn a few things.

My new thing has been to go and see bands play at clubs and practice my shutter clicking. It’s a challenge to shoot in a low light environment, let me tell you. But the payoff is to get the lighting right, and snap a shot of the musician in mid-scream or whatever contorted expression makes good art.


Here’s a shot of one of my favorite Minneapolis bands, Hollowstone. This is a nice pic of their singer, Chelsea Wrathchild. She’s clearly singing an intense part of the song, but I just love her expression. It’s up to the viewer to interpret, but to me, it spells “rock star.”

More artists please! 🙂