The Doug Plus Rox Photography Blog

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the blog of Doug and Roxanne, two photographers who are head-over-heels in love. In this blog you’ll find our musings about photography, camera equipment, image editing programs and more. Roxanne is a talented photographer who enjoys wildlife and landscape photography. Doug is a published author and photographer.  We’re both Canon shooters. Between us we have a bushel full of lenses, and lots of enthusiasm. Currently we’re exploring the area near our home with Lensbaby Composers. Stay tuned for news about our photo shoots and lots of photos. The following image is one of Doug’s Lensbaby captures. He tweaked the image in Photoshop using images of textures on layers with different blend modes.

Graffiti

Graffiti artists wander down back alleys, sometimes late at night with cans of spray paint and a creative mind. Graffiti can be a wonderful subject for photographs. In addition to back alleys, you can also find graffiti painted on the side of freight train cars and abandoned vehicles.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Street Life

Street photography is a different kettle of fish. Many photographers are not comfortable photographing people on the street engaged in their daily lives. Some photographers overcome this by shooting with long telephoto lenses. Other photographers try to shoot from the hip. Other photographers make it a point to ask people if they can take their pictures.

Images created while walking in your hometown can be very rewarding. You can also create compelling photographs of street life in the cities you visit. I’ve created some wonderful images of street life in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Here are some tips for street photography:

  1. Travel light. If you try to shoot on the street with a big camera bag, filled with everything but the kitchen sink, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb and people will shy away from you.
  2. Pre-focus. When you see an interesting subject, point your camera at something near your subject, and pan the camera. Press the shutter button half-way to pre-focus when your subject is almost in frame, and then press the shutter button when your subject appears in the viewfinder and follow through. Your composition may not be perfect, but a bit of judicious editing in post should yield an interesting image.
  3. Start with a telephoto lens. When you begin your street photography journey, shooting with a telephoto lens distances you from your subject. When you build confidence, switch to a normal or wide angle focal length.
  4. Be confident. Act like you should be there with your camera.
  5. Be careful. If you decide to photograph the seamy underbelly of your town, or the city you’re visiting, don’t shoot alone. And if the area is noted as being a bad part of town, don’t shoot there.
  6. Ask. If you’re close enough to a person for him to realize you’re taking his picture, smile and ask the person if you can take his photograph. If you’re in a foreign country, smile and point at the camera.The worst he can do is refuse. Best case scenario, you’ll end up with an interesting image.
  7. Find an ideal location. Find an interesting street corner and wait until something happens. New York photographer and instructor  Jay Maisel says, “Find the stage and the actors will come.”
  8. Shoot from the hip instead of raising the camera to your eye. When you shoot from the hip, people don’t know you’re taking their photograph. With a little practice, you’ll know how close you need to be to your subject to have him in the frame. The composition may not be perfect and the photo may not be level, but you can correct these faults when processing the image.
  9. Wear dark clothes. If you wear bright colors, you’ll stand out in the crowd.
  10. Be ready to shoot. If you have to fiddle around with camera settings, your subject will notice you and turn away

Street photography can be rewarding and exciting. If you decide to try your hand at photographing the street life in your town, be confident and be careful.

 


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Visualizing the Image – Part 2

Master landscape photographer Ansel Adams was a proponent of visualization. He said he never released the shutter until he had a clear picture in his mind of the final image. If you adopt this technique, rather than pressing the shutter button in helter-skelter fashion taking lots of photos and then hoping for a few good ones, you’ll add creativity to the equation and end up with better pictures as a result. Sure you may end up taking quite a few photos of the scene or subject to get the image you want, but you’re working with a goal in mind instead of relying on dumb luck to get a good picture. When you envision the photo in your mind, you’ll know which Lensbaby optic to use, which aperture to use, which vantage point to shoot the photo from and so on.

Sometimes you can tell more than one story with a scene or a subject. Resist the temptation to tell them all in the same photograph. If you’ve got more than one story to tell, create more than one photograph. Use a different lens, vantage point, or composition to tell a different story. When you try to tell too many stories with one image, more is less.

“In my mind’s eye, I visualize how a particular . . . sight and feeling will appear on a print. If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph. It is an intuitive sense, an ability that comes from a lot of practice.”
Ansel Adams


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Visualizing the Image – Part 1

Before you take a picture, ask yourself what you’re trying to portray. Perhaps you’re trying to portray a somber mood when you photograph a landscape on a bleak dreary day, or perhaps your goal is to convey the beauty or your love of the place. Another mood you can portray is power and majesty such as when you photograph a landscape with a thundering waterfall. When you make an image, you also need to know what story you’re telling with the photograph, or what mood or message you’re trying to convey. When you know why you’re creating an image, you can visualize the end result in your mind’s eye. The image you envision may not be totally achievable in the camera. You may have to augment the image with filters in an image-editing application like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. Perhaps you need to add artistic touches with 3rd party filters or other techniques. Some people think this is cheating, but most of the great photographers manipulated their images in the darkroom. The photograph you visualize is actually three images: the image you envision in your mind’s eye, the image your camera captures, and the image that you save after post processing it in your favorite image-editing application. The first and third images should be carbon copies.

Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Learn How to Create Better Images by Studying the Work of Great Painters

Learn How to Compose Your Images by Studying the Work of Great Painters

Studying the work of great painters is an excellent way to learn how to compose your images. When you study a great painting, the answers to the following questions will help you understand more about composition.

  1. How did the painter place the objects to draw the viewer’s attention to the focal point of the painting?
  2. How did the painter use light and shadow to direct the viewer’s eye?
  3. How did the painter use color to direct the viewer’s eye?
  4. How did the painter use curves, lines, and shapes to direct the viewer’s eye?

You can find examples of great paintings online. Visiting a local art museum is an excellent alternative to viewing online galleries, and a great way to spend a few hours when the weather’s not conducive to photography. When you do visit an art gallery, bring a camera with you. In addition to studying great artwork, you can create some interesting photos of people admiring the artwork, pictures of the architecture, or anything else that piques your curiosity.

Warning:
A word of caution is in order here: most art galleries prohibit flash photography, and some galleries prohibit photography. Before visiting a gallery, check to see if photography is permissible.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Up on the Roof

Create Wonderful Photographs from a High Vantage Point

A parking garage is a wonderful vantage point for a photographer. In addition to being somewhat clandestine, you’ve got a wonderful view of your city or town. You can shoot from the rooftop you’re on to the streets below, photograph the grand vista with a wide angle lens, or use a telephoto lens to pluck details from the scenery around you and turn them into interesting photographs.

When you create photos from a rooftop, you can photograph the cityscape, photograph mechanical items on the roofs below you such as air conditioning systems, you can photograph details of nearby buildings, or photograph people.

If you have access to the roof of a multi-story parking garage near your home, visit it when the light is good and there are clouds in the sky. That usually means an early morning visit, or late in the afternoon, but you can also get interesting images at night provided you’ve got a tripod with you, or your camera can capture noise-free images at high ISO settings.

Up on the roof is a great place for a photographer to be.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

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