Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Finding the Right Light in Alaska

I live in Southern California, where it is relatively easy to recognize good outdoor light. Not so in Alaska, where we participated in our family's 2nd-ever reunion.  With the skies overcast and the sun perpetually in the sky, it is sometimes hard to see the telltale shadows of where the good light is coming from.  Furthermore, the camera has no idea that you’re shooting in difficult light (ain't that always the case!) – if you’re pointing the camera the wrong way, even if the scene looks great to your eye, it WILL give a horrible underexposure which, given the wide range of brightnesses already in outdoor scenes, is very, very difficult to compensate for later on.

I tackled this challenge by not employing any exposure compensation when taking the images – I didn’t want to risk any blown-out highlights at all. Instead I let the camera underexpose (as all camera exposure meters are wont to do with bright subjects) and then brighten them in Photoshop when I returned home. 
Read on for more...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Published in National Geographic

Just like it is the wish of every soccer player to compete for the World Cup, so too is it the dream of every photographer to be published in National Geographic. So imagine my surprise and excitement when they licensed one of my images!  In my life, I had worked on some projects which I felt were worthy of publication in their magazine, but with all the talented staff photographers they had available to them, how flattering that they sought me out for one of my stock images!

Of course I had no idea how they were going to use it; at the time I only knew that it would appear in the July/August 2008 edition of National Geographic Adventure magazine (which some would argue is not the same thing as the formal National Geographic magazine, but hey -- I’ll take what I can get!). The image I sold them was this Chinese Stop sign:

And about two months later the issue went online and I discovered how they used the image: