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Alan Ross
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Here’s a clip from a one-on-one live virtual photography coaching session with one of my students. He was in Colorado and I was in my studio in Santa Fe. Pretty cool, right?

Here’s a link to find out how I do it: http://bit.ly/2y4PWOu
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Over the years hundreds of people from all over the world have asked me for personal help. There was just no way I could do it. That’s all changed because of the internet.

Today I provide virtual photography coaching sessions for people who want to be better photographers and can’t get to my studio in Santa Fe.

This is perfect for people who want to have a more intuitive understanding of what’s necessary to create an image that expresses their vision.

Read all about it here: http://bit.ly/2f4jLEW
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THE POLARIZING FILTER -- YOU CAN'T MIMIC IT IN PHOTOSHOP!

A polarizing filter is one of the few filters that are equally effective with color imaging and with black-and-white. It can:

• Minimize or eliminate reflections in glass, water or most any surface except metal.

• Darken skies in color photos as well as in black-and-white

• Cut through haze

• Increase the saturation of colors

There Are Two Types Of Polarizing Filters

There are two basic types of polarizing filters. They essentially accomplish the same thing, but…

The original “linear” polarizer pose problems with most modern through-the-lens metering systems

The comparatively new “circular” polarizers were developed to minimize or eliminate metering issues.

Polarizing Filter Factors

Most filter manufacturers list polarizers as having a variable filter factor, usually 2 to 4 depending on the effect of the polarization. I personally just use a factor of 2.5 (1.3 stop correction) because any further darkening, say, of a sky is an effect I want, and do not want to override.

Click here to read more and see sample images -- http://bit.ly/2AhRZkw
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Here’s a clip from a one-on-one live virtual photography coaching session with one of my students. He was in Colorado and I was in my studio in Santa Fe. Pretty cool, right?

Here’s a link to find out how I do it: http://bit.ly/2y4PWOu
Add a comment...

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Over the years hundreds of people from all over the world have asked me for personal help. There was just no way I could do it. That’s all changed because of the internet.

Today I provide virtual photography coaching sessions for people who want to be better photographers and can’t get to my studio in Santa Fe.

This is perfect for people who want to have a more intuitive understanding of what’s necessary to create an image that expresses their vision.

Read all about it here: http://bit.ly/2f4jLEW
Add a comment...

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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SPOT FOR CAMERA AND LENS

I often write about visualization–the difference between what the camera sees (the literal) and what the photographer sees in his or her mind’s eye as the final print (the expressive.) The two may be quite similar or quite different, but being able to interpret what you see and picture the final image on paper is critical to the making of an expressive image because it dictates what techniques and equipment will be required to execute your vision successfully. The first consideration is point of view–how to choose the best spot for camera and lens.

This may seem almost simplistic, but you would be amazed at how many strong, compelling visions are lost in the final image because the photographer didn’t take the time to find the most favorable position.

Why does it matter so much? If you don’t set your camera and lens in the rights spot, you may wind up with elements in your final image that compete with your vision and weaken it. And yes, you can fix some of these things with cropping and Photoshop, but not always, so it really pays to get it right from the beginning.

Read the rest if the post here: http://bit.ly/2gQ85pL
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HOW TO SEE LIKE A PHOTOGRAPHER

One of the things I enjoy most about being a photographer is the opportunity to share the knowledge and experience I’ve gained during my 40+-year career looking through the lens. I consider teaching both a privilege and a responsibility, and I do a lot of it.

Something I get asked to address in nearly all of my workshops, both private and small-group, is how to see like a photographer — how to visualize, how to make that leap from snapshot to expressive photograph, how to create an image that’s “Ansel-worthy.”

What does it mean to see like a photographer?

For me, to see like a photographer means that I am constantly looking at things for their photographic potential and visualizing what a finished image might look like — whether as a literal expression of what’s in front of me, or as an expressive interpretation of how I feel, what I think, or what a particular moment or place means to me.

Here’s an example of how and what I see:

A couple of months ago, my wife, Julie, and I were on our way into Yosemite Valley for an upcoming workshop and stopped at Inspiration Point to soak up the grand vista and stretch our legs.

I made a few images with my Canon digital, while Julie snapped away with her iPhone. When we got back to the car, she asked me what I saw.

Without even thinking, I told her that I’d noticed the many dead trees, the incredible water tumbling over Bridalveil Fall and the relationship between the reddishness of the dead trees to the green of the live trees. While I didn’t feel there was enough potential drama to get the big camera out, if I did work the scene, I would likely use an orange-to-red filter to lighten the rusty trees, and darken the green forest to emphasize the whiteness of the fall.

A few days after we returned home, I was chatting with Julie and looking out our window. I caught myself unconsciously moving my head a few inches to one side and back, playing with how the clumps of trees outside seemed more (or less) spatially organized relative to the border formed by the window frame with my head in one position or the other. (And I did this without missing a beat in our conversation!)

I just can’t help it…I’m ALWAYS looking, always seeing, always evaluating, even when I’m not “working.”

Ansel Adams called this process visualization. His ability to consistently look, see, evaluate, visualize and express was one of the main reasons he became the photographer he was. It helped him create those jaw-dropping images that beg the question…”how’d he do that?”

While I was working with him, Ansel Adams helped me see like a photographer.
Conceptually, seeing photographically isn’t that hard to understand, or at least I don’t think it is. But teaching it on a practical and “doable” level has its challenges. How we react to a scene, an object, or an element of nature is something unique and so highly personal.

Looking at Ansel’s own words on visualization, however, I think it is possible to learn to see photographically. “We must examine and explore what lies before our eyes for its significance, substance, shape, texture, and the relationships of tonal values. We can teach our eyes to become more perceptive.”
In more practical terms, here are some of the things I suggest to workshop students as they practice how to see like a photographer:

LOOK…in front of you, behind you, above, below, near, far. Wander off the path in all directions. Take the time to really see what’s there. During an “Expressive Photography” workshop I did for Carmel Visual Arts last year, we took the old coast road off Highway 1 as a field session. Everyone went at their own pace, stopping to photograph what interested or moved them.

When we compared notes and images the next day, one of the students had made an absolutely stunning abstract image of some colorful mushrooms she found growing under a log. Almost to a person, everyone in our group wished they had seen those mushrooms and photographed them. The person who got the image was the one who took the time to wander and LOOK.

DON’T JUST LOOK WITH YOUR EYES. Try and engage your other senses and take a moment (or five!) to think about what attracts you to the scene or the object in the first place. What made you want to pick up your camera? Focus in on that as you start to evaluate what you’re going to photograph and how.

SLOW DOWN, THINK, EXPERIMENT. Once you’ve isolated what you’d like to photograph, don’t be in a rush. Slow down and experiment. Is some element in the subject made clearer by moving the lens up, down, left or right—even if just an inch or two? Is the image stronger in black-and-white or color? Will a filter enhance some of the tonal values and help you better capture the mood or the feeling of the place? Will the image suit your personal interpretation or expression of the scene, if, for example, you darken the sky either in the darkroom or in post-processing?

ESCHEW SURPLUSSAGE. Mark Twain used these words in his essay, “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses”. It’s good advice, especially when it comes to photography. If it’s not needed, don’t include it. I frame a scene with my hands or use a cropping card to experiment with what elements I might want to include or exclude from a particular scene.

Click here to read more and see sample photos -- http://bit.ly/2gHJxPw
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ANSEL ADAMS' DARKROOM -- A TOUR

Lot’s of folks have asked me what it was like to work for the master himself and what Ansel Adams’ darkroom was like.

Click here for the tour! http://bit.ly/2g8SKUT
Ansel Adams' Darkroom - A Tour
Ansel Adams' Darkroom - A Tour
alanrossphotography.com
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CAN THE ZONE SYSTEM GO DIGITAL?

IN A WORD…YES!

The Zone System (ZS) can be an integral and important part of any digital photographer’s workflow because it allows you to plan and predict an image’s tonal values rather than letting the camera make the decision.

The computerized metering systems in modern cameras are really amazing, and a lot of the time they will give you practical exposures, but in difficult or extreme lighting situations, the scale of the subject’s brightness is simply greater than the camera’s technology can handle.

The Zone System:

Lets you be aware of whether, or how much, the scene brightness exceeds your camera’s limits.

Lets you make an intelligent decision about how to expose when the tones/contrast in a scene are “bigger” than what your camera can capture.
Helps you avoid blown-out highlights.

Lets you know how much exposure range you need for successful HDR captures.

I've laid out all the steps for using the zone system in digital photography. Click here to read -- http://bit.ly/2yV9Fh3
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Over the years hundreds of people from all over the world have asked me for personal help. There was just no way I could do it. That’s all changed because of the internet.

Today I provide virtual photography coaching sessions for people who want to be better photographers and can’t get to my studio in Santa Fe.

This is perfect for people who want to have a more intuitive understanding of what’s necessary to create an image that expresses their vision.

Read all about it here: http://bit.ly/2f4jLEW
Add a comment...
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