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Composition Tip # 1

30th September 2010

Creative framing is one of the secrets to taking top notch photos.


Often, the photographer feels compelled to frame the entire subject. But you may find it equally interesting to be more selective about how much of the subject to include in the viewfinder. Suggestion: Move Closer I call this zooming with my feet.

Here we’ve included most of the wooden sculpture. You can see that the background is slightly distracting.

By moving closer to the sculpture, we have paid special attention to the face and also eliminated the background.

The large number of balloons make for a very colorful scene. However, the balloons don’t stand out very well because of the building in the background.

For this shot, we concentrated on a single balloon. By moving closer to the balloon, we are able to isolate its bright color against the blue sky.
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Fun Tip # 1

15th September 2010

This is the first “Fun Tip” that I’ve written. It has no purpose whatsoever except that it’s a fun thing to do.

What does a fish see?

A fish views the world differently than we do. A fisheye lens attempts to duplicate that view, but the cost of one can set you back $600 to $1000. Some cameras including the Nikon D3100 and D5000 let you reproduce this fisheye effect for FREE.

This is the “before” photo. To get the most from this effect, you should compose the photo so that it is centered. Also leave empty space around the main subject (not too close to the edges)

Using the Retouch Menu on the Nikon D3100 and D5000, I’ve turned this shot into a pseudo-fisheye photo. Experiment and you may encounter just plain fun!

Suddenly in early August, the summer turns busy for me.

My son Paul asks me to drive with him from our home in Grand Rapids to Orono, Maine to pick up a new vehicle (see below) to be returned to Michigan. This is a trip of 1000 miles each way through Canada and rural Maine. I agree to accompany him provided that I can enjoy a fresh Maine lobster and spend a few hours in Acadia National Park. Paul shakes on the “deal” and we’re off.

Our drive takes us through eastern Michigan, over the St Clair River Bridge into Canada, past London, Toronto and Montreal where we stop for a late lunch. Then eastward towards the Canada-USA border and finally south to Orono. After sixteen hours in the car, we arrive in Orono and settle down in the hotel for some sleep.

The next morning we are up early and conduct and conclude our vehicle purchase. By noon we point the car towards the resort town of Bar Harbor on the Atlantic Ocean and also the gateway to Acadia. Here’s where the lobster part of the “deal” is satisfied.

picturesque church in rural Quebec close to the Canadian-USA border


Acadia is largely situated on a few islands along the rugged Atlantic coastline. Visitors often spend weeks exploring the vastly different environments of the park. But now, I have only a few hours to satisfy my scenic cravings for this gorgeous part of the USA. To move this story along here’s the outcome:

Promise 1: our chef preparing a Maine lobster

Promise 2: a few hours at Acadia National Park

I stuff myself with lobster and stuff in a few hours of picture taking on the Atlantic.

Fast forward a few weeks (it’s still the busy month of August) and we’re visiting our daughter and grandkids in Oregon City, but only for a short 2 days. We decide to take a day trip over the coastal mountain range to Seaside and Ft Stevens on the Pacific Ocean. Again I am able to stuff a little more picturetaking into the visit.

the grandkids playing on banks of the Columbia River with Grandma

fishermen hoping for the big salmon catches

huge freighter entering the Columbia River from the Atlantic Ocean

clouds at sunset over the coastal range

While the purpose for being on both coasts has nothing to do with photography, I am able to walk away with some fun and interesting shots. As is often the case when traveling, when you’re pressed for time, it is still possible to squeeze in those pictures. Travel is one of my passions, but I also enjoy recalling the pleasures of travel through photos.


This is the vehicle that we picked up in Maine – a full service kitchen on wheels. We’re looking forward to some quality food.
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