Tag Archives: still life

One way to improve your photography

If you want to get better at photography, you can find a lot of free advice on the inter webs.  Buy a new camera or lens, use new software, travel to an exotic location, take a workshop or a course, read books, study the masters, etc.

My free advice isn’t any of the above and it won’t cost you as much money as some of those things will.  And I don’t see it come up very often on-line.  Take my advice and not only will you learn new things – you’ll be exposed to different genres of photography, and you’ll be able to practice what you’ve been exposed to.  What’s the secret?

Join your local camera club.

The weather’s been gloomy around Central Florida recently.  solid grey clouds, rain and drizzle, and not much light to make photographs with.  So I was happy that there was a Still Life Event at the Orlando Camera Club meeting last Monday.  They brought in interesting items to photograph and had tables, lighting, and backdrops to use for set up.  I brought a camera, tripod and flash (although with my tripod, I ended up not needing the flash).  It was a lot of fun to choose items and arrange compositions.  It’s something I don’t usually do – but that’s a good thing.  Here are three photos from that evening.

TelephoneTelephone

Keb Mo bluesKeb Mo blues – Playing around with compositing: I made the foreground shot of the guitar & Blues sign at the Still Life event.  I added the background photo of Keb Mo that I made at his concert in the Plaza Theater in Orlando on Feb. 1 2012. 

Wrench, bolt, and lockWrench, bolt, and lock

I belong to the Orlando Camera Club (http://orlandocameraclub.com).  I’ve also attended meetings at the Port Orange Camera Club (http://www.portorangecameraclub.com) and the Oviedo Photo Club (http://oviedophotoclub.com).  Membership in any of these will benefit your photography.  Some things most clubs offer:

  • Photo competitions in different genres with feedback
  • Events (like the still life one I went to)
  • Guest speakers on many related topics
  • Workshops (free or inexpensive) about many subjects
  • Field trips to local photo ops
  • Libraries of photo books that you can borrow for free
  • And other people with similar (and diverse) interests to share your passion with

I’m sure that wherever you are, there’s a camera club that you can join too.

Here’s one other post I’ve written on still life photography, and you can see some of my other still life photographs in this set on Flickr


Update on the blog hosting change:  It does look like the transition’s been successful.  The email subscriptions seemed to go out ok last week and I haven’t received any problem reports.  One issue I’m aware of is that the move appears to have broken RSS subscriptions.  So If you’ve come here directly to find out why your Central Florida Photo Ops RSS feed isn’t working – I’m sorry.  I don’t think I can do anything about it.  You’ll have to re-subscribe.


And finally, I’m sure you heard that Leonard Nimoy passed away on Friday and will be buried today.  Of course I didn’t know him, but I felt I knew his famous Mr. Spock character that saved the day (and even the universe) so many times over the years.  May he rest in peace.


Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos! And live long and prosper.

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Fort Christmas Still Life Practice

I went back out to the Fort Christmas Historical Park recently with fellow Photography Interest Group member Tom M. I’ve written about this place before (here, here. and here).   There are 7 restored cabins, each with several rooms arranged to show life in the 1870s through the 1930s.  It’s a wonderful place to practice still life photography.

Some examples:

Kitchen table still life
Kitchen table

Edison's iPod Still Life
Edison’s iPod 

Cobbler Still Life

Cobbler’s bench – That shoe needs a little work, probably more than just a new Safeheel.

You can find out more about still life in this Wikipedia article.  Normally, one of the creative aspects of still life is choosing and arranging the subject matter.  That’s already done for you in the Fort Christmas exhibits.  You’ll have to be content with using your point of view, focal length, and lighting to create pleasing compositions.

A zoom lens with a wide to normal range is very useful.  Many times you’ll be limited in where you can place your tripod, so the zoom will come in handy.  My 24-120mm f/4 lens worked well.

The lighting here is a challenge:

  • It’s dim inside the rooms, so bring your tripod.  And bring along a flash or two to give you some flexibility to add to the ambient illumination.
  • In addition to being dim, the lighting will also be mixed.  There are incandescent bulbs in the rooms and sunlight coming in through the doors and windows.  If you use a flash, you’ll add a third variable.  You can try to gel your flash, or use the flashes to overcome one or more of the other light sources.  Or you can do as I did and deal with it in post processing by using selective color balance to address any local color casts.  (For more on how I do this, see this post.)
  • You’ll also need to watch out for dynamic range.  The doors and windows will be very bright compared to the room interiors and it’s often difficult to eliminate them from compositions.  I bracketed my exposures and hand merged the appropriate ones to address this.  You can also try using HDR software.

I used some different post processing techniques to emphasize the subject colors and the lighting and I like the way they turned out.  Still Life Photography at Fort Christmas is a fun and challenging photo-op.  If you haven’t been, give it a try.  You can see other photos I’ve made at Fort Christmas in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some still life photos!
©2014, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.