Get up early! Do it for a few reasons. I haven’t got up early in a while so when I did this past week on a couple of mornings I realized a few things. I realized how much I missed the peace and quiet before the ‘world’ gets going. It was so nice to be up and out the door before dawn and off towards the ocean. It was refreshing, soothing and invigorating all at the same time! As a photographer I would argue that early is the best light of the whole day. Yeah sunsets are nice (real nice usually) but a sunrise can’t be beat. At the beach the other morning were other photographers, joggers, walkers and just folks who drove up to the beach to see a sunrise. All of that was happening while you may have been sleeping. Get up early!
West Beach in Beverly, MA
And of course when you’re up early you should have your tripod. The light before sunrise will be dim so you want the best image you can get. Bring along a neutral density filter for when the sun starts rising and the light is much brighter as you may want to get that slow’mo look to the water if your at the beach. I adjust my ISO to get the ‘look’ I want usually trying to keep my aperture around f8 if possible. Sometimes I may go up to ISO 800 to get the slow’mo look I like (most folks wouldn’t think so if you’re using an ND filter!). I may drift my ISO down to 100 or 50 when it starts getting more lighter.
See what I mean? I stopped by these boats on my way home. Look how peaceful it was! So, ‘Get Up Early’ if you want to get great images. Oh, and don’t forget to take a moment……and just admire the view yourself!
Image processing is important too! As a photographer I need to think about my ‘art’ and what I’m trying to convey to the viewer. Taking a technically accurate and proper photo with one’s camera gear is really important for an image to be successful. But, that’s just the beginning. In the ‘film days’ we clicked the shutter and sent our slide film off to be processed. You had to ‘get it right in-camera’. Today with digital photography one has some ‘latitude’ when creating an image. Take the photo….then ‘process’ it yourself at your computer to get to the final image.
Processing in my opinion is a key if not critical step as part of the overall process of creating an image that ‘feels right’. If an image doesn’t feel right then is it truly fine art? Is it complete? Will anyone be interested in looking at the image? I can’t answer that but what I can say in my own images I:
Have a strong idea as to what the final image will look like when I’m done at my computer. I usually know this at time of capture! Plan ahead….
Get the shot in as technically capable manner as possible so my ‘processing’ will be easier.
Create the final image and make sure it’s complete. I check every part of the image, color balance, overall content, the edges and all four corners. It’s all got to feel right to come together and be complete!
For the viewer of any photograph: enjoy the images you look at and try to think what the photographer is trying to convey. Enjoy their work and put your own thoughts into the image as well.