Pictures with Purpose

With so many images being produced these days, it becomes more important than ever to lock in an eye catching story. Storytelling and purpose is the cornerstone of photography once you’ve mastered the fundamentals.

Telling a good story is a task that many fall short on in photography. Some have an innate natural ability to do this, while others struggle. No worries, it can be mastered by a few conscious steps.

In landscape photography, inserting yourself within the proper elements must be calculated, using structure and atmosphere and timing. For example, colorful sunsets alone will only get you so far in this era of non-stop images being produced. Building a great story around your sunset is essential!

The next time you’re at the beach and you see a great sunset forming, even before you set up your tripod, look around. Strive to incorporate it into a story with purpose. Seek a tangible blueprint of sorts. If the sky is clear without clouds, lower your composition with less sky and seek an interesting foreground through structure instead. Find your foreground perhaps from that shapely clump of seaweed strewn out on the beach or maybe work in that jetty of rocks you see nearby to form a leading line.

If something in the distance can be added without distraction, such as a singular silhouette of a surfer or sailboat, add it. Look for an estuary as it drains into the ocean, eroding the sand away. Use outgoing surf and a slow shutter speed to create lines of interest. Don’t be afraid to drop your tripod to a low point and seek a rock or seashell as your subject, pushing it into a forced perspective using a super wide angle lens. Refine your objectives by adding or leaving things out.

Simplicity rules in any strong landscape photograph. Using any of these techniques will make your colorful sunset pop, holding the interest of the viewer and making your images stand out from the rest!

All the best,

Mark Jansen

Luck favors the prepared Landscape Photographer.

Do you ever wonder how those amazing landscape shots are pulled off? Most likely, they’re not created by the lucky opportunist, pulling off the highway during a mid-day road trip.

They come about by someone who does careful research and planning. Conversely, if it’s a quickly developing opportunity, they know what to do right away with focused attention. These photographers have the experience and gear selected for his or her creative pre-vision and can tap into it quickly. They know what lens to use and what aperture. They have a solid tripod adjusted and ready. They can quickly gather all the elements before them that are needed to create an amazing landscape shot.

Proper equipment is important, as is knowing its form and function. But as with any creative process, knowing and using the rules of composition are the creative corner stone. Knowing how to use them as tools, as well as using all of the above effectively, combined with a little luck, will favor the prepared landscape photographer.

All the best,

Mark Jansen


Mirrorless Versus DSLR Cameras.

Mirrorless Versus DSLR Cameras? This is a heated subject for many beginners just getting into photography. With so many options flooding the market these days, it’s a wonder anyone can make a choice. I myself see advantages to both types, and for the most part stay with what I’m most comforatble using.

I’ve done some research here and have broken things down a bit. That said, technolgy is changing daily, but for the most part what I’ve found here is pretty much true.

I hope this helps you when you make that big jump into photography or you’ve been rooted in one or the other format and have been thinking about moving on..

That said, please  keep this in mind. Photography is all about telling a great and compelling story. How you choose to tell your story has little bearing on what you use to record your story with. Continue reading

Mastering the Basics of Photography

Whether you’re shooting a DSLR, mirrorless, or even film, all cameras do the same thing once you dig through the array of options packed within. They capture light onto a light-sensitive emulsion or sensor.

Each camera comes with a complete array of adjustments to sculpture light as it passes through the lens. Understanding these basic adjustments takes some time, but once mastered will provide the photographer with an unending pallet of creativity and control.
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The Woes of the Beginner Photographer and Editing Images.

We live in a world of amazing technology, everything is at your fingertips. iPhones are so simple to use and take great shots right of the box.

Many are seduced by the quality of smart phone images, and capturing interesting images with them in classic photographic destinations. They are encouraged by family members that they have an ability not yet tapped, and that they should move on to bigger fish, that being the digital SLR, or mirrorless camera.

In the beginning, the big purchase camera has the security of those green program auto DSLR settings and in-camera Jpeg camera processing of images. That will only suit them for a while as that’s not why they bought the more sophisticated capture device in the first place.
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Camera Lenses for the Task at Hand


The management and transport of camera lenses in the field can be a challenge. I like to suggest looking into your camera bag
and finding out what lens you actually use the most before heading out the door on any shooting assignment or even one of our workshops.
You’ll soon realize that you seldom use all of your lenses. Newcomers seem to select an expensive lens for everything, from telephoto to macro, for fear that they will miss that important shot because they don’t have a particular lens.

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