Good Photography can make the RV Boondocking Lifestyle Shine like No Other!

Most of the 'Travel Photography' (amateur/snapshot) I see... I'm trying to be gentle here... is pretty poor.

It's not my intention to hurt anyones feelings... but... let's face it... it often looks like the photographer just shoved the camera out in front of him... while he looked another direction... and tripped the shutter!

There's no sense of composition or lighting. No thought, apparently to the perspective... Little or no thought appears to go into the pictures. Heads and feet are cut off... subjects seem to just wander off the picture. Photos look all lopsided, awkward, confused and cluttered.

I don't believe this lack of good photography comes from any particular apathy on the part of the photographers. More likely it's from two things... first, a simple lack of basic instruction... and second a marketing system that gets folks to thinking that: "If you buy this brand new whiz bang electronic miracle picture taker, we'll have you taking pictures like Ansel Adams this afternoon! No experience required!"

Yeah... and I got a mountain top cabin in Kansas I'll sell you!

Here's a lil' photography tip... The camera you use is maybe 20% of a good picture... if that. You, the photographer, are the other 80%.

All your camera can do... when it's all said and done, is what you, the photographer, tell it to do. It can't point itself to compose a picture. It can't think. All it can do is record what you tell it to. If the GOOD picture was off to the left and a little higher... oops! you missed it... whether you have the latest, greatest Canon Digital SLR or not! You're left with what you get from lack of simple training... Mediocrity.

Sorry... that's just how it is.

Don't get me wrong... the best tools can sure help ease your work... but if you take the best tools out there... combine them with zero knowledge of carpentry and start cutting lumber and bangin' nails.... you're expecting quite a bit if you think you'll end up with a fine, well crafted house!

Howsomever, if you gain some knowledge of proper composition... You can do just fine with your photography... you can do some beautiful work, as a matter of fact, with some pretty inexpensive cameras... if that's all you can or want to afford... Remember... the art is in your head, and in your eyes... not that piece of metal and plastic in your hands...

Kind of like a sculptor... the art is in his vision... not the mallet and chisel in his hands.

This site has been illustrated, mostly, with a little, rinky dink, Kodak CX6445 point and shoot. I bought it years ago for taking pictures for doing custom work in my old custom leather shop... all I needed was something to take to shows so I could record tooling patterns and leather color so I could build matching pieces for existing leather gear.

My 'Good' camera for years was a Pentax Spotmatic. I loved that simple old camera... right up to the point it was blown apart by a horses foot! It was eventually replaced years later with a Nikon N50... While Nikon is a top of the line brand... the N50 was pretty much an amateur level model.... all I could afford at the time.

When we finally went digital a few years ago, I bought Heidi a Fugi 4 mega pixel rig. While it's a VERY entry level Digital, it takes great pictures! It ruined me when it came to using film! I was solidly hooked on digital... but, my problem is I tend toward ignoring my own advice... and want a far better camera than I can currently afford...

So... I've just wandered along with that little Kodak... which has performed superbly as far as I'm concerned.

The point is... you can take fine pictures without breaking the bank... The main component needed for good photography, once again, is resting right between your ears!

One of the best pieces of good news for students of photography, in my view... has been Digital Cameras! Oh Yeah!

Now, you can take thousands of pics. Beyond the initial cost of the camera... and it don't cost you a dime! You can practice, study, try again, check your work on your computer and refine your skills... without ever spending a penny on film! :-) Oh Yeah!

Remember the old days when rolls of film, from your last vacation, resided in the junk drawer, sometimes for years, because you didn't want to, or couldn't, afford the developing and printing charges?! Now you can load them in your computer and do your own!... even 'play' with the images, using a variety of software programs, for building your scrapbooks!

That's photography tip #2! Take a lot of pictures... compare them to the 'Pros' work... look at how they compose... the direction the lighting was coming from... apparent time of day... you can gain a lot that way.

So... you're taking a lot of pictures... but what are you supposed to be looking for? Well... first... let me just say that if you are taking Nature/Scenic pictures... early morning, or late afternoon will give you the best light and shadow for capturing some spectacular images.

Beyond that, when you are composing your photographs, you should be thinking of maybe six basic principles for good photography...

  • Simplicity
  • Rule of Thirds
  • Lines/S curves/Triangles... basically geometry
  • Balance/symmetry
  • Framing
  • Avoiding Mergers and Border Mergers

Pay attention to these principles and your photography will dramatically improve... master them... and who knows?

But what are they you ask? I have to be honest... I'm likely not the best guy to teach you that. At best, I'm still an amateur myself... Pick up a book or two at the library or bookstore... or... maybe better yet... do a google for photographic composition. You'll find all the instructional sites and illustrations you could hope for.

My goal here is not to teach you. I'll leave that to the pros, far more skilled at this than I... I'm just trying to get you to seek out their information.

Two good sites I found with a quick search are;

A Kodak Sponsored site

John Harvey - Learn Composition

Study up on the basics of proper composition for good photography. Pay attention to what you learn, and you'll jump to the head of the class and be hearing: "Oh Wow... what a beautiful picture!"



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