How to blur the background

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Leopard with Thomson Gazelle. Serengeti Tanzania 2014. 1/125 sec at f/4.0 420mm focal length

A common question asked by new photographers is “How do I blur the background?”. The answer lies in the aperture setting on your camera.

Aperture is the opening in the camera lens that light travels through. The larger the aperture the more light enters the camera. The size of the aperture is given in terms of a f-number or f-stop. Since this is a quick and easy tip I’m not going to get into all the details of how it works, just what you need to know to get that blurry background. [click to continue…]

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You can create spectacular images using your iPhone. apps - PRO HDR , Instagram

You can create spectacular images using your iPhone. apps – PRO HDR , Instagram

There are a million apps out there for iPhone Photography users. Here are 3 that I use on a daily basis.

Snapseed

This is like the all in one toolkit for iPhone Photography users. It’s been around for a while and has just about everything you need for edit images on your iPhone.
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Do you want to take better photos right now? Here are 3 simple techniques to create more interesting photographs.

1. Change Your Perspective

Look back at all the pictures you have taken. Look back at all the pictures you have acquired in your lifetime. I can bet that 99% of the images taken were shot at eye level of the photographer. This is not necessarily the “wrong” way to shoot photographs but always shooting at eye level limits the camera to one perspective.

Take a look at the images below of Pastor Samuel making cement in his orphanage in Kenya. One was shot at eye level and the other from ground level. Which one has more impact?

Eye Level
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Ground Level
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2. Think Negative

It’s time to think negative, negative space that is. I really like using this technique. It can work with the Rules of Composition (say the Rule of Thirds) but does it in it’s own way. Even if you don’t know what the heck the Rule of Thirds is, this technique will add interest to your photographs.

Read On…

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Church Service in Kenya

While on a humanitarian mission trip in Watamu Kenya, we were able to attend Pastor Samuel’s church service on Sunday. As my son Brock described it, “If church in the United States was this exciting then more people may attend.” An interpreter gave the service in English while the Pastor gave the service in Swahili. Click on image to see larger version or share.

Pastor Samuel at the altar with his wife behind him.

2014-05-Church-Kenya-2.jpg [click to continue…]

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Sunrise on Serengeti

While in the Serengeti, we began each morning before dawn so we were witness to several sunrises over the vast plains. Here are a few photographs from those early mornings. Click each image to see larger version and share.

Sunrise over the Serengeti [click to continue…]

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Locating a Cheetah

After several days in Tanzania the elusive cheetah had denied us a sighting. Our guide heard of a cheetah some 30+ kilometers from our camp. So we loaded up and made the hour drive to the site. And yes the cheetah was there…

Click each image to see larger image.

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2014-05-Serengeti-Cheetah-2.jpg [click to continue…]

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Images from Kenya

I’m running short on time here in Kenya so I’ll just post some images to Flickr.
More images on FLICKR

Orphan standing in front of orphanage bedroom in Kenya.

Orphan standing in front of orphanage bedroom in Kenya. Click Image to see larger

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Path of tornado through Tuscaloosa. Mall is to the top right and hospital is top left.

Path of tornado through Tuscaloosa. Mall is to the top right and hospital is top left.

Photographs mean different things to different people. Two people can be looking at the same image and both see something completely different. If you view photographs with this understanding it can open new insights into “what you get” from a particular photo.

With all the storms and tornadoes in our area (Alabama) the past few days I went back and revisited some photos I took after the April 27, 2011 Tuscaloosa tornado. I found one image in particular that was interesting. It was an image of a Bible laying amongst the rubble. Someone actually made a comment to the page the Bible was open, Psalm 18. When photographing such things I always leave things as I found them and never “stage” photos.

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