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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) I like people to see things as I've seen them. It's my form of expression. I see pictures all around, but you know what? I can never go anywhere without some kind of a camera. So the camera I keep in my pocket here, it's a little point-and-shoot. I don't want to be without it.
I feel I don't have my speech if I don't have a camera. I think in that way and I express myself that way. So I look around here, frankly, and I haven't done very much research here, but I do see immediately some magnificent flowers over here. So this is a little S90 Cannon, and you may have variations of this camera. But the main point I want to make is, don't underestimate the power of your small point-and-shoot. Whenever you've seen me do with larger cameras, I can do with this.
So come on, follow me over here, while I actually look up at some of these, these magnificent flowers. There are a lot of these here in Palm Springs. If I had my digital SLR, I could have done this, probably the same image. I might not have done with that much differently. The amazing thing is I could blow this up and it would look almost the same, but the point is, I can always have it with me too. But another point is that, don't be afraid to use this like you would a digital SLR. I would use probably a macro with that, but there's almost a macro type of capability on most of these cameras. It's amazing what is in your little point-and-shoot.
Okay, I'm looking for more images here. And what I like and love always around Palm Springs where I see the mountain there and frequently see palm trees. It is called Palm Springs; I guess that's why they're palms. But here we have weeping willow on me, so I'm going to the use of weeping willow for framing. You know, even though you may be using a camera like this, you still must compose. That's your capability of storytelling. So don't underestimate what you can do with your point-and-shoot. There's a little movement, but that isn't bad necessarily.
That maybe makes it even nicer, so I am going to just, I'm using this. I'm using it sensitively, and there we are. This just works. That works very nicely. 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. So I love this, what I see here. I see something strong, graphic color, this very welcoming staircase that's leading you up to the magnificent palm tree there. I'm going to go to a pre--I'm going to go maximum width on my lens, because I want the umbrella to be large in the foreground. Then I move around. I ask myself, where is the most strongest composition? And so I'm concluding that I will get it just right. And work with your camera. Don't be afraid to turn it around and work it different ways. I see the graphic.
I see the strong color. I love the graphic here and everything, but let's just go in on the stairway. I'm going to the widest angle. It's the equivalent of 28-millimeter lens on traditional camera. And I'm going to come in closer. And what I want to do is I'm not actually showing this floor here. I'm getting the maximum effect from the wide-angle lens. It's seeing, imagining, and using your piece of equipment, whatever it is, to a maximum.
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