Print your Photos, You’ll be Glad you Did

Hummingbird with a surprise lily

Digital photography has created lots of exciting new processes, but I fear one of the pitfalls is that too many of us have moved away from physical prints of our photographs. I am a passionate advocate of making prints.  I even go so far as to display my photos on this blog in a digital frame as a way of reinforcing the idea.

Computers, tablets and smart phones are great devices. I have them and use them. I even keep lots of photos on them. But, I never consider those photos to have any sort of permanence. They’re too easy to loose, and they’re actually hard to share and enjoy.

We still have our album of wedding photos from 38 years ago, and we still get it out and look at them occasionally. The grandkids love to page through the old photo albums and laugh at our 1970′s styles. Visitors to our house look at the photos on the walls, the array of family photos on the buffet. But, in all the years I’ve used computers and digital photography, I’ve never had a child, grandchild, relative or friend ask to page through my iPad or computer or backup disks to look at the pictures I have stored there.  Someday I’ll be gone. A lot may change between now and then, but given today’s technology, I doubt if anyone will see any of my photos that haven’t been printed.

When you make a print, you’re making a commitment to create a physical thing. The print requires an investment, and it has a presence. Its scarceness gives it value. If it gets damaged or lost, it’s gone forever, so we tend to handle it carefully.

Of course, you probably don’t want to print every photo. In fact, you probably shouldn’t print most of your exposure. But, think about the images that you’re especially proud of, or the ones that captured a special moment that you don’t want to forget. Those are the ones that deserve to be turned into something real and tangible.

Someday, someone will be glad you made the effort.

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Using Motion to Create a Fine Art Photo

Moving model wrapped in tulle

This is another in my series of photos where I use motion to create interesting shapes and patterns. Since both the model and the light are moving during a long exposure, I never really know what the finished image will hold. I love the surprise of finding a few gems buried in the assortment of results.

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New Fine Art Photo – “Come Dance with Me”

B&W Fine art photo titled "Come Dance with Me"

I’ve grown to love the surprise of creating fine art photography using motion. I have some general ideas about the finished image, but the actual outcome is always a bit of a surprise. Besides the model, this photo features tulle, an LED rope light, a strobe and a very slow shutter speed. The image here is a single frame with no Photoshop effects.

As with all of my fine art photography, prints are available. Feel free to contact me, or stop by one of the art galleries where my work is represented. You can find a complete list on my website at www.craigstocksarts.com.

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One of my Favorite Places

 

Purple Fence 2014

This photo is from one of my favorite spots. It’s a simple snow fence along the I-155 Townline Road exit. Part of what makes the setting unique is the sodium vapor street lights that are along the exit ramp. When they turn on at night they cast an orange glow on everything in the foreground. If you look carefully you’ll notice that the corn in the middle-ground looks natural since it’s further away from the lights.

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Exposure Choices in Digital Photography

Which is the correct exposure

These two photos were taken minutes apart, but look vastly different. Which one is correctly exposed?  Got your answer?  OK, keep reading for the rest of the story.

Now, what if I tell you both pictures were taken in the dark at 10:30 PM under a full moon. The image on top is a long exposure that seems to turn moonlight into sunlight and night into day. The bottom image shows what the scene really looked like when I was standing there. So, is one more “right” then the other?

Digital photography allow us to control four basic elements; exposure, focus, perspective and color. Modern cameras can automatically handle exposure pretty well by themselves – most of the time. But the camera doesn’t know what we want. That’s why most of the controls on our cameras are related to exposure control. The controls won’t make sense to us if we don’t understand what they do, or when we might want to use them

I’m in the process of preparing class materials for a class on the basics of digital photography. It’s my job to explain the four basic elements of photography in a way that makes sense, so you can enjoy the process, avoid frustration and get better results.

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