inside the frame, “path to the Oasis”


Guest blog Lisa Duty


Fireworks 102

Always love shooting fireworks. The challenge every year is the fact that lighting changes so dramatically from location to location and you can’t really fine-tune your settings till the fireworks start going off. Over the years I have developed a starting setting group then dial in the numbers as I go. The settings are totally different if your using a flash, for example a flash would have blown out the people in foreground because I had the camera set up for available light, mood would have been totally lost. I switch between flash and no flash depending on if I need the face lite or not. In a perfect world I would have been set up on a tripod where I could lower my ISO to reduce grain but… the pace of trying to cover the event from a news standpoint doesn’t allow it.I could just see me taking out a kid or spectator lugging around a whopping tripod. So…all is hand-held and on the move.
My starting point for that is a 24-70 zoom, ISO 1600, F4.5@ a 60th of a second and just on the fly. Carefu lgoing below a 60th second shutter then you lose the crispness of the fireworks and they become motion blurs.




Fireworks 101 Inside The Frame

Inside the Frame. There is something magical about kids and fireworks, sparklers in particular. Motion blurs have always been my favorite but with this image I wanted to capitalize on the smoke and fire combination.  The key here was to balance the flash with the available light to give that low light background and make the colors pop in foreground. Nikon D4, Nikon 24-70 lens,ISO 800,250sec @F5.6. Flash on auto -1.7 stops


Life lessons through the lens " South America "

What do photographers do on vacation? Take pictures of course. Looking through a lens becomes a way of seeing things that just don’t look the same in regular vision.  The feel of what is in front of you becomes more intense and focused.   All of this was brought back to my attention over the last three weeks, during a sixteen day trek across the equator in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Peru including Machu Picchu. Several lessons were relearned on this voyage, beginning in the Galapagos. We were aboard the “Nemo” a 60 foot catamaran along with eight other guest and five crew members. Leading us on our voyage was a naturalist, “Ruly” who’s passion for this particular corner of the world was infectious. He has spent most of his life on the islands, some by himself for as long as eight months studying the endemic marine iguana. His teaching started out with giving us the lay of the land, rules of the boat and what we were to embark on in the next four days. Respect for nature poured out of this guy in every sentence, totally dedicated to his mission of preserving the beauty and integrity of this water wonderland. Ruly’s lesson for me came the second day on a hike of Santa Cruz Island, home of the blue and red footed boobies, a bird much like a large seagull with amazing color. One mile into our four mile trek we came upon our first “Boobie” on a nest  with the male close by watching over. All the hikers, including myself, scampered to get in position to take pictures. It sounded like a photo shootout with ten cameras going off at the same time.  The bird immediately thought it’s world had been invaded and showed itsrestlessness. Ruly belted out "Wait", then his voice lowered as everyone turned toward him, “Stop…slowdown… back off.. find a spot.. sit-down and just watch. Respect the animals space, let him get comfortable with you  then honor him with a picture". It hit me like a brick, for in every-day news life, a lot of times, is fast-paced, you shoot and move on to the next one. Respect for my subjects time was what had faded from my own work. Lesson one, learned.

      The second half of our journey was spent trekking across Per including Cusco, Machu Picchu, Puno and Lima. I would say my second reawakening realization came from myself, as my wife and I would walk through the various cities looking at all the massive cathedrals and watching the people interact in their own world. I would steal shots of natives from the area, shoot the stone pathways and landscape shots but was feeling something lacking, just another tourist with a camera. My inhibition to interact with my subject was largely due to the language barrier which always creates some distrust from foreigners, and without that trust you don’t get the real deal of wherever you are. Just as this feeling had climaxed one evening, I met Victor in a back alley of Puno, something snapped back into place as we made eye contact. Victor was a seventyish Peruvian gentleman with the native look and a great charisma.

t He was standing against a pastel of old crumbling stucco walls, surrounded by three younger kids, one with a old typewriter,typing as Victor dictated, the other two kinda framing the ends. I was drawn in, I had to know more, this was not a grab shot. In my best broken Spanish and his best broken English we struck a happy medium, interacted about fifteen minutes,  I walked away not only with a image that he was happy to give but the story and a true feel for the people for the first time since our arrival. .I think Victor trusted me with his time because I had given him mine and a non-verbalized barter was struck. My confidence was back just that quick.  I continued the rest of the trip interacting with the same advice for the people as Ruly had given me for the bird's lesson>>> Photographers don’t just take pictures, they create images by feeling what’s in front of the lens.

More life lessons to come from South America