Photography Tips & Tricks

The title should really be : what's in the bag and what's in the head. Some notes on the work before the picture is taken, vision, technique and equipment.

Green Paradise: click for bigger version

“Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.”

Vision
The more I'm valuing life, the more I'm really looking at the world. For this, concentration and awareness is very important. You have to be here and now to see a situation clearly. It takes time to develop your own style. Transfering your vision into an image which conveys your message is a process of years, rather then days.

Vision is one of the most important attributes an artist needs. Apart from very talented people it needs a lot of training. Even now, after 20 years of photography, I'm still learning.

Technique
There aren't any techniques more needed then patience. With this asset you can conquer any difficult situation. To wait for that special light situation or for the animal to move just a bit more to this or that direction ... patience is the answer.

Anticipating for these moments is also very important. Trying to visualize what a certain situation will look like with different variables. And not to be satisfied with that first shot.

Usually, with a little more effort, it can become better with different composition or from another angle. Walk around your subject if possible. And when nothing works at that moment, just remember the situation and come back another time.

Another thing which is often overseen, is to return often to a scene you would like to capture. Every minute conditions change, so every other day or even hour you can capture a totally different picture at exactly the same place. This to vital to ‘grow’ into a scene and be able to find the right conditions for that particalur situation.

Filters
Lately I'm learning to use filters more efficiently. Especially in low light situations with high contrast, NDG (neutral density gradient) filters prove to be of enormous artistic value. See my latest work for some examples.

Green Paradise: click for bigger version

“A closer view can be the door to a broader world.”

Equipment
I started my 'career' when I was fourteen or so with a Praktica LTL3 and a 50 mm lens. Soon I discovered the macro world and for this I needed more. At that time I was still a very young man with a small amount of pocket money, so I used a magnifying-glass to be able to photograph insects and flowers.

1985
When I was able to afford a better quality of camera and lenses I bought a Nikon FE with a 55mm Nikon macro lens. Wow, now I could really get close to my subjects.

The dark zone
Then, for some years, I did not photograph very much. But in my late twenties I got the 'fever' again and joined an amateur photographers club (fyi: FC'59, Delft, The Netherlands). Until that time I did not know much about the technical quality of an image. In the club I learned which variables were important to get right before taking a picture.

1994
So I started using a tripod, quality film (Fuji Sensia and Velvia), making a strong composition before triggering and taking multiple exposures in difficult lighting circumstances.

Multiple exposures were easy to make with the next generation of camera's. So the new shopping list was a Nikon F-601 with a 35-80 mm F4-5,6 D lens and 70-210mm F4-5,6 D lens. Now, after some years with this new camera I'm very sorry I sold my Nikon FE. No fancy batteries and no plastic and no-nonsense. Just a robust and trustworthy camera.

2002
At the beginning of this year I bought a Nikon TC 201Teleconverter (2x). The bad thing is that exposure time is doubled and the ocular is darker. The good thing is that now I have a better tool to isolate the essence of a situation in landscapes.

In September a Tokina 20-35 mm wide angle zoom followed. This lens showed to be essential to capture special landscape situations and to be able to make compositions which were not possible before.