Category Archives: Teaching

Craig took me up today to practice for the CPPA aerial seminar. We have a flight plan in mind that will circle you around campus once and then fly by the casino on our way back. If you want to deviate from it, let us know right away. After you pay the fee, you will be put on a list. You may choose your flight time, first come first serve.

aerial 01

This is my daughter, Betsy, 8, during takeoff on her first small aircraft flight. You may feel the same. This is where I will be sitting and coaching you. We will communicate through headsets. Put the mic right up against your mouth. It is voice activated. If you can hear yourself then we can hear you too.

aerial 02

This is Craig Beins. He is an amazing pilot. So good at understanding what you want to accomplish. I have worked with Craig for 10 years. Never came back without a picture. He is going to circle you around campus. Be ready as soon as you get on the plane. Bring two bodies if you can. Don’t forget to put your camera strap around your neck!

aerial 03

Do not shoot this type of scene. It is too loose. Nothing to hold your attention. Just information. Nothing more. Nothing interesting.

aerial 04

Shoot tighter. Look for good composition. Look at the light. Shoot lots! And by the way. Open the window. The wind will keep it up in the air.

aerial 05

It’s really no different than shooting out of your car traveling around 100 miles per hour. It’s windy. You will need to hold on to your camera tightly. You will need a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 of a second. I suggest aperture priority. Lens at it’s widest aperture. Set the ISO to get the shutter speed. Do not rest the camera on the window and do not rest your body on the back of the seat. Sit up straight and shoot out the window without touching anything. You will avoid heavy duty vibrations.

aerial 06

Don’t forget to shoot verticals.

aerial 07

I prefer to use an 80-200 2.8 lens. If you shoot Canon, I will have it with me to lend you. If you shoot Nikon, you can use mine. Auto focus is fine to use. Make sure your focus is on Continuous for Nikon or AI for Canon.

aerial 08

Shoot tight. Look for good angles and good light.

aerial 09

Continue shooting and using your zoom to compose. Notice this one is wider than the one above?

aerial 11

Don’t shoot directly overhead like this. Notice the strut in the way on the right? Shoot to the right of it instead of in front of it.

aerial 12

Shoot farther away and lower like this (compare to picture above).

aerial 13

Looks like the Chips are working hard to make up for last Saturday.

aerial 14

Saw it. Opened the window. Shot it.

aerial 15

This is where you will meet us.

aerial 10

It will be exhilarating, and educational. If you are timid of flying, don’t worry, you will be focused on the task at hand. Who knows. Maybe someday you will specialize in aerial photography!

Last night the stars were aligned (that is the moon…) with Bay City Hall.  The rising moon seems larger and a bit orange because we see it through lots more atmosphere when it is low to the horizon. A full moon came up just after sunset on May 27, 2010.  This was taken from atop Veterans Bridge in Bay City, Michigan with the equivalent of a 825mm lens. To keep the image sharp, I used the self timer at 2 seconds to allow the camera to stop jiggling after I pressed the shutter release. I used a Nikon D300s with a 200-400 F4 lens mounted on a tripod. The exposure was a 1/2 second at f/5.6 at ISO 200. I used Kenko’s 1.4 teleconverter. © Kent Miller

JRN 220 Portraits Lecture

Posed Portraits

1. Put your Subject at Ease

a. How do you feel when you are photographed?

b. Get to know your subject without equipment

c. Make eye contact primary. Use a tripod.

d. Otherwise it’s like staring down a gun barrel

2. Natural Portrait

a. Forced smile?

b. Smile vs. Spontaneous laughter

c. Smile vs. Serious

d. Let subject be themselves

e. Limited direction

f. Keep looking for moments until you leave

g. What do you want to say

h. Reveal something about character of person

i. Wait until your subject gets tired of posing on their own

3. Light

a. Can make a boring portrait great

b. Directional lighting – 3 dimensional

c. Soft lighting – Window – Doorway

d. Look for light

e. Reflector

f. Do not use direct sunlight

g. Raccoon Eyes

h. Bounce flash

4. Have an idea

a. Look at other portraits for inspiration

b. Do something interesting then do something different no matter how outrageous

c. Use Props

d. Use the background to help tell a story about the person

e. Go early. Stay late.

f. Be flexible in case a better idea comes along

5. Capture the “Inner Person”

a. Face – show what the subject reveals

b. Eyes – looking at the camera vs. looking away

c. Body language

Candid Portraits

1. Photojournalism is candid photography.

a. Subjects are unaware

b. Observe but do not direct

c. Documentary photography

d. Reveal emotion

e. Capture intimate moments without interrupting

f. Tell a story

2. Anticipate a moment

a. Shoot a lot

b. Move yourself

c. Shoot more

d. Shoot until you get the moment

e. Reveal something about your subject

f. Be at the right place at the right time

g. A couple holding hands might kiss

h. A child with a snowball is likely to throw it.

i. Remember to shoot a fraction of a second before the action.

j. Don’t stop too early

3. Subject should not be looking at the camera

a. If they do. Don’t shoot.

b. Wait for them to grow tired of posing. They will go back to what they were doing.

c. When the subject looks at the camera, it’s obvious the subject is camera aware.

4. Preset your camera

a. Aim your camera and focus on something at the same distance as your subject. (Hold your finger half-way down)

b. Concentrate on your subject’s expression.

c. When the moment arises, swing your camera to your subject and shoot.

5. Out in the open

a. When subject is engaged in an activity they are likely to forget about the photographer

b. After shooting the photo, lower your camera and walk away so as not to draw attention to yourself (get name later)

6. Big Game Hunter

a. Use a telephoto lens

b. DSLR – 80-200mm lens or 300 mm lens

c. Shoot then get name

Eleven of my students participated in my first Aerial Seminar on November 7, 2009. Expert pilot Craig Beins took each student up from Mt. Pleasant Airport for their first time photographing various areas in the Mt. Pleasant area. Each student had 15 minutes to photograph the area they desired, including Central Michigan University, the casino, farm lands, homes, and places they are shooting for class assignments. It was so great to see the smiles on their faces as they made pictures from 1,000 feet up in the sky.

location light 02

Sihang Zhang poses in the hallway just before my students set out in groups with pocket wizards, strobes, light stands and umbrellas. F5.6 at 1/200, ISO 400. Strpbe is on half power. 200 mm lens about 40 feet away. The umbrella provides a beautiful soft light espcially when fairly close to your subject.

location light 05

Nate Kostegian, right, and Joe Tobianski set up a light in the hallway of CMU’s new education building. F6.3 at 1/80th. 70mm lens. Slower shutter speed to lighten background.

420 poker student photos-4

Studio student, Krista Tacey, brought in her childhood piggy bank and set this up during a hands on still life exercise. An SB 800 Nikon Speedlight was used with a Lumiquest Softbox III. A gobo was used to darken the background and eliminate a distracting reflection. In this case the gobo was a black piece of foam core held underneath the light and between the light and the piggy bank. The image was cropped slightly all around the scene to add impact.

In class last Wednesday, my JRN 420 students and I had a fun time photographing each other as an exercise for studio portraits (see their blogs above). While this is a mug shot and not the type of photos we are trying to make, these do illustrate what each light does. Four lights were used for the top left photo. The main, fill, rim, and background lights. We turned off one light at a time to see how each strobe affects the lighting. The rim light was turned off for the top right photo. Then at bottom left, we turned off the background light. At bottom right the fill light was turned off. Try to imagine what Aliscia would look like if lights were turned off in a different sequence. What purpose does each light serve?

Studio-Demonstration_titlesThanks for posing, Aliscia!

Compare the two photos below. The top photo was shot bouncing the flash on the wall to Martha’s left. The bottom photo was taken with the flash turned around and aimed directly at her. Huge difference! The reason the light is so soft in the top photo is because the light source was about 6 to 8 feet in diameter coming from the wall. In comparison, the bottom photo’s light source was extremely narrow at about one inch by three inches. Notice also the fall off of the broad light lit up the background while the harsh lit photo had little fall off keeping the background dark. Also, with the broad light source the intensity diminishes. Notice the five stop difference between the exposure for each photo. Which do you prefer? Why?