Some days are rushed, but others present a perfect opportunity to play with your camera. Last week, a friend gave me a bouquet of daffodils. They looked so bright and springlike, that I decided to shoot some pictures of them.

The hour was early, and light came in only one window. First, I stood by the window to shoot the flowers, which jumped out against the darkness of the room behind. Later, though, I tried other positions, such as standing in the room and shooting toward the window. Then I wondered how the flowers would look in my upstairs room with the skylight, so I dragged the bouquet up there to shoot some more.

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The Zen of Letting the Image Find You

[Please welcome Jim Crotty to Photodoto. Jim is a pro photographer with a studio in Dayton, Ohio, called Picture Ohio, LLC. He shoots using Canon EOS digital, both the 5D and 1D Mark II, as well as Canon L lenses. His personal and stock work involves nature, landscapes and wildlife. Like many photographers, he started young, developing prints in a black and white darkroom. His work can be viewed on his site at or on his Flickr account under username — JW]

I have finally gotten around to writing my first article for I’m thrilled to be part of such a talented online community of photographers.

Rather than starting-off with an article that has to do with the more technical aspects of photography, I thought I’d talk a little bit about artistic approach.

Nature and landscape photography is the type of work that I find most enjoyable and represents the foundation of my photographic career—a foundation that I still try to stay actively involved with while becoming more involved in commercial photography.

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Silhouettes: An Old Art Form Made New

Silhouettes were a popular art form in the early 1800s. Film did not yet exist, but skilled artists could look at subjects and then cut out remarkable likenesses using black paper and sharp scissors. People had silhouettes made of loved ones and framed them like portraits. The fad declined in popularity after cameras became more universally available.

Still, silhouetted images can be striking. They are also remarkably easy to create with digital cameras and worth mastering. If overdone, they can be tiresome, but when well done they can be fun.

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Make your photos pop out of the page

Photo Pop-OutsPhotojojo, the site with the oddly familiar name and really cool DIY tutorials, has a swell tutorial for making your own Photo Pop-Outs. All you need is a little bit of foam core, some tape and a knife, and a photo. Super easy to make and very cool. These look like they’d make great gifts.

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Vary Your Viewpoint

The term “viewpoint” describes the camera’s position in relation to its subject—near, far, above, below, for instance. Many photographers never change their viewpoint. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they hold their cameras at chest or eye level and shoot straight ahead. Doing so allows them to take clear pictures of buildings, animals, people, plants, cars, and landscapes, so it’s not a bad strategy.

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Postal Pictures: Gifts by Mail

If you want to delight your friends and family, send them a picture by snail mail. While I am a great fan of online photosharing websites, especially, I have discovered that people are thrilled to receive a nicely presented print. Yes, you can always stuff a snapshot into an envelope, but a frame makes it a gift. Frames also allow recipients to display pictures on a table or shelf.

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Polling Place Photo Project

Here’s a neat photo project you can get involved in this Tuesday.

The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that seeks to empower citizens to capture, post and share photographs of democracy in action. By documenting their local voting experience on November 7, voters can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America. —

You’ll probably be there anyway (well, statistically, probably not, but… oh, nevermind), why not bring your camera along?

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Weekend assignment: Three shots

Imagine you were stranded with a camera but only enough film/battery/storage for three shots. Just three. What would you shoot? Would you be more careful with your composition? Pay extra special attention to your shutter speed, focus, and other settings? In short, will you focus more on what you are doing? Consider this an experiment. Let’s find out if being more thoughtful about what and how you are shooting (rather than using the machine-gun method) changes your photography in a significant way.

To participate you must make this vow to yourself: “On Saturday (or Sunday), on my honor, I will shoot only three photographs. And to help keep myself honest, I won’t look at them until the following day.”


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