I’m excited to announce the release of a new Free Course: Intro to Fine Art Printing!…
I am really excited to be offering a free live webinar next Thursday, April 21 from 7:30pm – 8:30pm EST.
It’s titled “The Art of Seeing – An Intro to Landscape Photography” and will discuss many of the ideas and concepts I discussed in yesterdays blog post. I’m offering it free of charge in anticipation of a new series of webinars that I will begin offering in May on various digital photography topics, including composition and light, Lightroom processing, digital media storage and backup, and the business of photography.
Stay tuned for announcements on these in the near future
To attend this free 60min webinbar, please visit the registration page.
Thank you all for your continued support, your great feedback and comments, and I hope this proves beneficial for all of you.
This Post Has 26 Comments
Great webinar Robert…I really enjoyed it. I was the one asking about your decisions about including or cutting off certain elements within the scene, especially ones that seemed central to the composition. I often get caught up, perhaps unnecessarily, in concerning myself with decisions like this, and being overly self-critical. I’ve been striving to stay loose with compositions for a long time and it’s reassuring to hear that if it doesn’t hurt the overall gestalt of the image, than that’s OK. Seems like a silly thing to hold one up but I do notice it hindering my creative process too often. Again, thanks for the insightful discussion…look forward to many more.
Thanks for the feedback – really appreciate it. As I mentioned in the webinar, rules are only there as a guide to help you find your vision. What matters most is the strength of the statement, and that comes with practice, patience, and passion, These things will always trump technique, rules, and imperfections. Remember, letting the creativity flow is the most important thing you can do, and anything that hinders that, whether technology, rules, or thinking, is an obstacle you must overcome. Hope these thoughts help, and look forward to discussing more in future webinars.
Well done webinar, Robert. Your comment above of, “What matters most is the strength of the statement” is right on. I totally agree.
A key takeaway for me to also keep in the back of my head is that to find a successful vision/path, it’s all about simplicity, emotion, expression, and…….the light!
I’m not a nature photographer per se’, but I do shoot nature frequently. My style is more eclectic. I shoot whatever I see that interests me. I mention this so other readers realize that it’s not necessarily what you shoot (nature, architecture, portraits, etc), it’s what you think about it, how you care about it, and then the simplicity/emotion/expression/light added on top.
In other words, I learn a lot about these topics by looking at your photos and reading your materials. You and your work speak to me about photography and passion, not necessarily about just the singular topic of “nature photography”.
Keep up with your great goals for 2011! You mentioned to me in an email late last year that you were looking to do more things like webinars in 2011, so it’s nice to see them coming to fruition.
Thanks for the motivation and feedback John – yes you are correct in that it is about the feeling you want to convey. I would add and caution however, that is is difficult to gain deep insight into your subject matter unless it is something you study and shoot regularly. It is too easy to become distracted by all of the great things to photograph in our world, so I always advise students to keep it simple, and that includes subject matter.
Yes, I would agree to a certain degree. I know where you’re coming from. I guess there are many ways to look at it.
By shooting whatever catches my eye in my eclectic style (and always striving for high quality when I do it) and then viewing my results, if I see something for which I like the way it came out, I then typically pursue that subject area in a deeper way…..as you mention above.
So, I guess in summary, the best way to state it is that I take a hybrid/eclectic approach in my casual shooting to discover new subjects for which I want to dig deeper and shoot regularly.
I’ll give you a perfect example. I was hiking near the ruins of the motor house of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway (http://www.inclinerailway.org/) last year and became fascinated with trying to photograph the old rusted machinery in a meaningful way. I spent over an hour there in that small area just trying different angles of the scene. I came away with some nice shots, which has since motivated me to photograph old machinery and ruins in a more meaningful and intentional way as one of my primary subject interests. It was a great experiment that paid off in giving me a new subject that I want to dig much deeper on.
I still haven’t found my ultimate favorite subject yet, but I would say this “old machinery” category is getting pretty close. I also like photographing “storm light” before/after big weather events, although I don’t get to do it often.
It’s a great hobby! Many paths to discovery….
I really enjoyed the webinar, Robert. Your comments on pre-visualization, light and simplicity were especially helpful to me. My goal is to improve my landscape photography and your webinar gave me many good points to work on. Thank you.
I’m glad it was helpful for you Betty- photography is not a goal, but a process of seeing and communicating. Always keep that in mind and it will be easier for you to grow from your failures and your successes. Thanks for the feedback.
I throughly enjoyed your webinar. I take photos mainly to support my watercolor paintings. A brief instance changes to quickly for me to paint – and it is often too cold, dark, etc. to sit out and paint – so I have to capture that moment and the feeling it created. Thank you for giving me a bit better vision on how to do this.
I wish you had hit a bit on HDR but you have tickled my interest in ND filters.
Great to hear Caroline – my feelings on HDR are the same as everything else that is part of the craft of photography – it is a tool to be used when it helps to strengthen your work. Too often I see it used now as a technique unto itself, and not necessarily in support of the story. To me the medium should be secondary to the message, and never the other way around.
Having said that, I plan on covering how to use HDR in an artistic way in a future webinar. Thanks for the feedback.
Nice job on the webinar Robert. I really enjoyed listening to you speak about your creative process. That is where I think I need the most improvement, so I appreciated the opportunity to learn from you again.
Thanks as always Tony for your support through the years – always great to share my work of the Hudson Valley with another passionate resident. Hope to meet up with you soon on a photo hike!
Robert, I really enjoyed your webinar. You effectively communicated what drives and inspires you and your photography. That helped to translate my own thoughts and feelings on my photography. I came away with thinking to just go with your “gut”. Do what you do because you love it. Find what really draws you into nature. Worry less about the technical aspect. This has been hard for me though. A battle between two schools of thought from within. I’m highly technical by nature. Analytical, methodical, a perfectionist at times. But before all of that, there was a kid in me with a sense of creativity that had no bounds. When I go with my “gut” and let go of the mechanical aspect in me, it always bears a fruit of satisfaction that keeps me motivated. Keeps me coming back for more. Thanks again. I really enjoy your work.
Thanks Michael for the great feedback and sharing your own beautiful thoughts – I have to say I know EXACTLY what you mean. I too am quite analytical and methodical by nature, but realized long ago we are driven by our emotions – our gut as you call it. The technical aspect of photography, the craft, is of paramount importance especially today. Learning this is critical to being able to use the medium effectively. But as I mentioned in the webinar, it is nothing more than a medium, and as such is always subservient to the message. When I am truly inspired, the camera almost becomes invisible, and I just use it as a way to capture what I am “seeing”, and feeling – without too much thought. These are skills anyone can achieve with enough time and dedication.
Robert, your webinar last night was outstanding. You are truly a gifted speaker and teacher, as well as a gifted photographer. I don’t think I could ever get tired of listening to your insights on photography. The emotions expressed in your images move me. I hope you do more of these webinars and that our paths cross again soon. I would like to learn more about composition and story telling in images, and hope you touch on these topics again in the future. And of course which camera settings to use when, as I’m still working on that.
Thank you so much for your guidance in purchasing my new tripod. All the parts have arrived and I took it out for the first time a couple weeks ago. Still learning to deal with getting it positioned exactly as I need it to be.
Wow – thank you Lynda, I am very honored and grateful for your comments. There are so many aspects of landscape photography that are impossible to cover in a single hour, so I am hoping to offer some more webinars on specific topics in the near future. But paramount is the overall question of why you photograph – answer that and everything becomes much easier – that was really the whole point of the webinar. Great, now how so I set up my tripod??? lol – stay tuned…
Thank-you, for the webinar, Mr. Rodriguez! Very nicely presented! I look forward to any more you’ll be doing.
Thanks for attending Hillel!
I think it is great that you offer these webinars. So many things you said made sense to me, focusing on the feelings you get rather than the technical aspects. When I focus on the how and not the why when I take my photos, I often come back with all “failures”. I rush because the light is coming or going, and hearing you speak reminded me to slow down and enjoy the moment… Because after all, that is what we are capturing. I’ve thought a lot of my work was a result of just luck. Like you said, luck has something to do with it, but not everything. Really good stuff and great work, hope to attend one of your workshops in the future.
Good to hear you really understood the basis of what I was getting at – inspiration comes first, then the process of capturing. Every moment in nature is special, and when we think of it that way, we are able to slow down into a creative space that forgets what time it is. Thanks for the feedback.
I want to thank you for taking the time to inspire others through your work. Your “Webinar” I felt provided thoughtful insight into your approach and your passion for nature and photography certainly came through. The pace was spot on and with each example I took away concepts that I will apply as I wonder around around the lower Hudson Valley tring to capture the “Mood” , “Look” and “Feel” of the seemingly ordinary world around us. As you have shown, it is extraordanry and with the light and the moment one can capture and create images that imvoke an emotional response by a viewer. There were many “take” aways for me…simplify, see the light, leave mystery for viewer, be patient , study , persevere and enjoy. Yes the camera is an important tool, but the mind and heart provide vision and motivation. I look forward to any future projects and continue to follow your dream , your vision!
Thanks John – appreciate your generous and kind words – I think you have really captured what I wanted to bring across, which is difficult in this day and age where there is so much focus on technology, instant results, and getting the “trophy” shot. I say have fun, check out all of the new stuff, but don’t forget to ask “why” as well as “how”.
Your great webinar got me thinking about lenses. I’m going on a trip to Alaska and looking to upgrade the stock lenses that came with my Canon T1i. I want to take wider angle landscape pictures with a faster lens and better optics. The camera came with an f3.5 18-55mm and an f4 55-250mm. The only good point is that they both have image stabilization – but it’s in the lens not the camera body. I am looking to purchase one good lens now, what would you suggest. If you don’t want to name manufacturers specs would help.
Hi Caroline – I’m not sure what your budget is, but for general landscape work, I would recommend either the Canon 17-40mm f/4 L lens or the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens. These are both excellent optically, and great for wide angle landscape photography.
Both will give you basically the same focal lengths, but there are some differences. The 17-55 is faster and has IS, but is also more expensive. The 17-40 does not have IS and is not as fast (f4) however, it is less inexpensive. In addition it is an L lens, which means it is weather sealed, and mechanically better. Also remember that for most landscape work, speed and IS is not really needed since you would be using smaller apertures for depth of field (f8 – f16) and also using a tripod which negates the need for IS. I have owned and used the 17-40 for six years, and it is one of my favorites.
One other thing to consider is that since your camera body has a 1.6 sensor magnification, these lenses will actually be around 27-64mm. This may or may not be wide enough for you, in which case you might want to consider the Canon 10-22mm f/3.5 lens.
Again, it all depends on your needs, budget, and shooting style. Hope that helps! I plan on doing a free webinar soon on gear and equipment including lenses, so look for that soon, maybe a month or so away.
Great webinar Robert! The webinar format was very useful as an educational tool. The information was helpful for me to better understand how to transform my photography skills and experiences. I appreciate your in-the-moment approach to current and ever changing visual conditions. I look forward to future webinars.
Great feedback Steve, I’m looking forward to announcing some webinars in the near future – stay tuned…