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In the Douglas Kirkland on Photography series, well-known photographer Douglas Kirkland explores a variety of real-world photographic scenarios, sharing technical insights and critiquing the results.
In this installment, Douglas discusses the importance of developing a sense of photographic vision: keeping your mind and eye open for photographic opportunities, and maximizing those opportunities through composition and other creative decisions. The course begins with Douglas reviewing images from his personal collection. He discusses the importance of observation and exploration for a photographer, how to see art in everyday situations, and why one should always have a camera nearby.
Douglas then goes on location to shoot in and around Korakia Pensione, a resort in Palm Springs, California. He explains his creative and technical decisions as he shoots, and describes how natural lines created by architecture and light can help make an effective photograph. The course continues on a hike through a Palm Springs canyon, where Douglas captures images in the field, working with moving water, highly textured rock faces, and even some local wildlife. Finally, Douglas wanders through downtown Palm Springs armed with a simple point-and-shoot camera, proving that with vision and an open mind, great images can be made with simplest equipment.
Download a free companion guide to Douglas Kirkland on Photography: A Photographer's Eye from the Exercise Files tab. The guide contains photos, detailed camera-setting information from the shoots in this course, and more tips from Douglas on improving composition and maximizing available natural light.
(music playing) Today, we are in Palm Springs where I would like to talk with you about composition. I'm going to show you three pictures taken from the same window. Again, be sensitive of what is there. All are done from the same window within a twenty-four-hour period. What I am seeing is a very exciting image, because I am seeing the light of the sun sparkle through the palm. That is so cool.
Now, what am I doing? I am taking that some of that too-strong light off, but you know what I did is-- this is spontaneous. I've closed the door a little bit. Now we have sparkles of light. When you see something like this, get the picture, because in fifteen or twenty minutes, it probably won't look that way. So what I am seeing here is, again, this beautiful combination of colors, and the globe. This is your search. This is your creativity. By getting the wide and the close, the entire story becomes even more powerful.
What's great here is--look at this. The sun is just starting to reach across the top of this range. That's excitement. So I'm going to just--I'm using this. I'm using it sensitively, and there we are. I heard the other day, what's the best camera to use? The one you have with you when you need to make a picture. (music playing)
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