Category Archives: Photography Advice

Harvest Is Fast Aproaching

Ready for Harvest - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 - All Rights Reserved

It is just about time for me to head over to the Palouse for one of my favorite times of the year. In talking with the farmers in the area, they feel we are just about a week to ten days away from the wheat harvest. If you ever want to capture some great images with large tractors, awesome skies and the actual work that is involved during the wheat harvest, make plans to get to the Palouse during this month.

As you prepare to go to this region for photos, plan ahead for the heat which can get into triple digits at times. In addition the conditions are very dusty during harvest in the dry-land farming areas so be prepared to protect your equipment. Even with some extreme conditions, I think you will be rewarded with great images, make new friends and have the opportunity to develop an appreciation for this beautiful region.

I know I will be going over so maybe we will run into each other.

Communicating through Your Photographs

Morning View from Steptoe Butte - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 - All Rights Reserved

I was reading a post by my mentor Scott Bourne on Photofocus this morning. The article is entitled “Five Ways to Get People to Connect with Your Photographs ” and I found the thoughts to be very interesting and useful.

As I read it through a couple of times, I felt the urge to share his thoughts so you can incorporate them into your image making. I believe if you give these ideas a try your work may become more provocative to the audience that views it.

Utilize Patterns for your Composition

Patterns - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 - All Rights Reserved

One of the ideas I like to use as I am compose images in the Palouse, is to simply look for patterns in the fields. These simple patterns can create very striking images as the lines lead you through the image and are also pleasing to the eye.

I also like to visualize these images in both color and black and white. The two images in this post provide an example of the composition that is available by just looking at the patterns that the farmers have created in the fields.

Patterns b&w – Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 – All Rights Reserved

As you travel the Palouse making images, remember this simple concept to enhance your photography. The images in this post were created during the recent workshop that I co-directed with Scott Bourne.

Photography Exposure Tips

Clouds above the Hills - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

At times a particular scene can be difficult to expose properly. I came across an article by Scott Bourne that addresses some of the issues and gives some valuable tips. It is entitled Advanced Photography Exposure Tips and can be found at Photofocus.
I think you will enjoy reading the article and will find the tips to be valuable as you create your own images.

Viveza 2 – Great Selective Tool

Morning Light on Rolling Hills - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved

Last month I attended a convention in Reno where Nik software was being displayed and demonstrated. After attending the session, I purchased Viveza 2 which is designed for precise selective photo editing.

The software uses control points that select based on color, tonality, and texture of the object they are placed upon. Several control points can be used and they communicate with each other so a precise and natural selection is obtained.

The selective process is simple, fast and accurate. It makes it unnecessary to create complicated masks and selections. Some of the new features in this version include shadow adjustment, structure and levels and curves.

The images below show a before and after example based on using the program.

Flowers on a Hill - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved


Flowers on a Hill - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved

I highly recommend this product and it can be used with Photoshop, Aperture and Lightroom.

Adding a New Perspective to Your Landscapes

Rosalia Railroad Bridge - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 - All Rights Reserved

A few weeks ago I was mentioning to my mentor Scott Bourne that I would like to purchase a fisheye lens to add a new perspective in some of my images.

He asked me if I had used the Lensbaby with its fisheye attachment. I had to say that I hadn’t used the Lensbaby at all. My feeling was it just wasn’t my style. He suggested I try it with the fisheye attachment if I wanted to capture that look. I decided to try it out on my next trip to the Palouse actually believing it probably wasn’t what I needed.

The picture at the top of this post shows one of the images that I took with that setup. I was presently surprised as it definitely gives the perspective I was looking for. I am very happy with that setup for fisheye images. I might mention that it is not useful for all shots but from time to time it does provide an interesting perspective.

Let Your Phototography Show Your Passion

Moon above the Wheat Fields - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved

I spent the last couple of days at a workshop presented by author Terry Gogna who wrote the book “How I Can Get Myself to Do What I Need to Do” . He was a very exciting speaker and gave much advice. I was especially intrigued with his thoughts on motivation and transferred his ideas to my photography.

He discussed 3 types of motivation. External motivation can come from rewards like money or praise. Internal motivation is intrinsic and comes from needs within us. Both of these types of motivation are standard topics whenever motivation is discussed.

The third classification is what really intrigued me. He called it spiritual motivation. This is what really stirs our soul and what we are very passionate about. I feel this passion as I photograph in the Palouse. Its natural beauty and the sculptures that are carved by the farmers really stir my inner soul.

As you are photographing remember this third area of motivation and develop a project that allows you to get to you inner soul. Your images will convey that passion and will be more effective.

In a Rut?

Deserted Barn - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

I was sent an article a couple of days ago by a friend and I thought I would share it with you. It is entitled “Choose Your Rut Carefully” and it was written by Lori Woodward Simons. The article deals with how an artist gains a following and becomes known for a particular style or subject.

I have been enjoying photographing in the Palouse for the last few years and that subject has been something I have been known for. As I read the article it made me think about that subject matter and how it fits into my overall work of photography.

I think as you read the article, it will make you do some thinking about your style and how you want to be known. Being in a “rut” can be good or bad depending on your interest and goals.

Photographing from a Hot Air Ballon

Balloon over Countryside - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

I have had the opportunity to photograph several times from a hot air balloon. It is a thrilling experience that can give a very different perspective to your images. Photographing the Palouse really allows you to take advantage of the high view as you look to the beautiful landscape below.

Rich Earth - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

The first time I rode in a balloon and shot I was very apprehensive but I quickly realized it is a very calm, quiet ride that makes photographing very enjoyable. Hopefully you will get the opportunity for this exhilarating experience to give a different view to your images.

A few suggestions that I would offer as I have learned from experience. Take equipment that you can handhold because there is not much room for a tripod. When I have been in the balloon there have always been several occupants. If you are alone with the pilot there would be more room. Take at least two lenses, one being a wide angle and the other a telephoto so you can cover all possible views.

Red and white Balloon - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

The photos in this post were taken around Walla Walla, Washington during the annual balloon stampede which takes place on the second weekend of May each year. Visit that festival and you will be entertained by the color of the balloons as well as the beauty of the Palouse region.

To be Simple

To be Simple is to be Great!

While on Christmas vacation, this sign caught my eye in a restaurant. It isn’t a great image but I liked the message. This is a meaningful message to me in life as well as in photography.

I have posted messages about simplicity before but the sign at the top of this post reminded me again of the importance of simplicity in your photos. The picture below is very simple but allows me to wonder what is the story behind this deserted homestead. I ask questions like “did anyone ever live here?’, “where did they go when they left,?”, or “do their descendants live in a newer house and farm the land in the background?”

Deserted Homestead - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009- All Rights Reserved

In a simple photo, the viewer gets the message of what you feel is important in the image. If they want to they can fill in the blanks or read between the lines. When you look for simplicity many times it is just as important to know what to leave out of the composition as it is to know what elements to include.

Remember, keeping the concept of simplicity in mind as you create your compositions may provide you with stronger message in your images.