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Stock Photography - what it is all about

March 17th, 2022

Stock Photography - what it is all about

This is a recording of a Zoom meeting with the Shutterbug Excursions group in March 2022. I cover the basics of Stock Photography including how much you can earn, how big your portfolio needs to be and what sort of images sell. I also cover some of the issues of selling photo prints and fine art photography. The original hour long session turned into a 100 minute extended discussion with the audience that adds a lot of interest and flavor to the presentation!

The 10 photos you must take on the Hawaiian island of Kauai

May 25th, 2021

The 10 photos you must take on the Hawaiian island of Kauai

It has been a while since I have been able to travel to Kauai, so in anticipation of my next visit (and hopefully useful for your trip) are my top ten locations that you must visit and photograph if you are lucky enough to visit the island. Think of it as my top 10 instagrammable spots on an island full of them!

Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian chain of islands and so is rightly known as the Garden Island for its exuberant foliage and geology. It was not for nothing that both Jurassic Park and one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed here – the whole island is magnificent. But where to start with the top 10? I decided not to rank them as I had already struggled to get this list down to ten and I decided to put them in the order of your drive from Lihue. You could theoretically do all the stops in 2 days, but of course, you would miss the best light! Incidentally, I’ve found this to be the best guide to Kauai if you want to find all the spots that would have made my top 100! And don’t forget that you can always visit some of the local photographers to get ideas for locations as well – the gallery and store in Kapaa also runs photo tours that will efficiently get you to the best locations and provide guidance and advice on how best to shoot them. They also rent out lenses if you need that long telephoto for the birds off Kilauau Lighthouse!

We will start with the counter clockwise direction towards Hanalei and the north. After a nice drive of around 30 minutes from Lihue on Kihue Highway (route 56) you will find my first gem. It is just after the sign to the Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens (which is worth a visit if you have time and it is open). After going up a short hill, look to the left and this view opens up in front of you. It is one of those less well known views on the island – a panorama of the gorgeous landscape that was a key part of the Jurassic Park movie. You can imagine the dinosaurs roaming through this countryside!

Art Prints

This is best shot early in the morning, not long after sunrise, so you get the striking side lighting. It would also be nice to have some clouds – which is more normal on Kauai – but you can’t have everything. There is a great shot just to the right of this one with the trees and a small pond reflecting the sky. I parked in the small road on the right directly opposite the view.

My next easy to reach spot is the Lighthouse at Kilauea. The small town of Kilauea is lovely in itself and has a great small bistro and a bakery that sells its own bread and pizzas. Well worth the stop! The lighthouse is now a nature reserve for sea birds, but the view of the coast here is magnificent.

Art Prints

What sells on Fine Art America

June 28th, 2017

What sells on Fine Art America

This discussion made me realize that I didn't really have that good a view of which of my own images have sold on Fine Art America. I decided (while listening to a long conference call in my "day" business) to go through all my sales and post the image and profit it made. This is now on my blog, Backyard Silver

What really surprised me was the prominence of Washington DC images in my sales. Makes me realize I need to go through my library and maybe make some more artistic versions of other shots - digital painting or black and white perhaps.

Steve

Make money from your photos by selling them online

July 22nd, 2016

Make money from your photos by selling them online

I've been selling my digital photographs online for about 8 years now and have grown my income from nothing to over $30,000 per year just from licensing digital copies of my photos for use in magazines, website and other publications.

My well reviewed eBook, Getting Started in Stock, is now in its 3rd Edition and gives you simple step by step instructions for selling your own photos and making money from your hobby. Check it out at BackyardSilver.com

Moon rising over Washington DC - Digital download

July 22nd, 2016

Moon rising over Washington DC - Digital download

This popular image of the full harvest moon rising over the impressive monuments on the Mall in Washington DC can be downloaded as a digital file for use as a screen saver, to print your own postcards or greeting card, or for a large wall print on your home printer. Available for immediate download at BackyardStockPhotos.com.

Oil on Water Abstract images how to do it

January 9th, 2013

Oil on Water Abstract images how to do it

When the weather turns cold and wet, taking outdoor shots can become a bit of a challenge, so beat the blues and learn some new techniques and maybe capture an unusual image that will wow the public!

Close-up photography offers a world of challenges lighting, focus, composition and technique and practicing with household objects teaches you a lot about the technical issues of reflections and exposure. This article gives you an idea of a subject to try. By the way, if you want a book for your Christmas list that is a treasure trove of detailed information about light and how to photograph many types of surfaces Light Science and Magic is the definitive guide to Photographic Lighting.

Glass is a perfect subject to address these challenges as its transparency and reflectiveness add to the excitement. My first experiment was with olive oil droplets floating in water in a plain glass.

This does need a close focusing lens, extension tubes or a macro lens. The camera is vertically above the glass, which itself is sitting on a glass topped table. About 12 inches below the table is a colorful image the front of a magazine or one of your own prints. Light the magazine with either flash or sunlight and focus on the droplets of oil floating on the surface of the water. As the droplets float around they change shape and form/reform into different sized micro lenses.

Handling wide dynamic range without noise in the shadows

January 9th, 2013

Handling wide dynamic range without noise in the shadows

As photographers, we often come across scenes that have such a wide range of tones that we know our image is not going to capture it all. A sunset with objects in the foreground is a case in point - the bright sky is either blown out, or we lose detail in the shadows and any attempt to brighten them up introduces a lot of noise. Yes, HDR techniques can handle a wider range, but that often produces an unrealistic image that is far too contrasty to be real.

Lightroom 4 introduced a new capability - the ability to edit 32bit images. In non technical terms that means that the image file has as much information as a "high dynamic range" shot because it is created from 3 or 5 separate exposures taken at differing shutter speeds, but you edit it as though it was a normal picture. You can bring up detail in the shadows and darker areas of the shot to show the reality, but you can do so almost noiselessly. The image illustrating this blog post is an example - the detail in the sides of the boats is crystal clear, even though the sky is not overblown. You can see the original image if you search for "ventura sunset boats" in the search box above to find it in my gallery. Try looking at a full resolution preview of the little boat in the center of the image to see the clarity of the approach.

I've written a full explanation of how to use Lightroom to create images like this - please click for more information to see the full tutorial on editing 32bit TIFF images in Lightroom.