Category Archives: photo tips

Photography by the light of midday

 Trinidad, Cuba

Morning or late afternoon light can be a great thing to photograph in villages and cities, when the light streams down the cobblestoned streets, skimming the surface of stones and walls, bringing out the texture, and creating long shadows. As photographers, we ‘live’ for that kind of light. But I learned a long time ago that there were other kinds or qualities of light that I could use in the middle of the day, and that opened up the possibilities for more photographs of the places I visited. This is a case in point: It was still morning, but the dramatic morning light was past, and the larger scenes of the streets were harshly lit. But what a great bounce light the beige dirt of the street created for this portrait of a proud fruit vendor in Trinidad, Cuba. He was in the shade of his storefront, and the light off the street created a warm glowing quality, illuminating his dark skin and his face under the straw hat. When I showed this type of light to some of the Cuba trip participants, I could see the ‘lightbulb’ go on inside them. Perhaps they hadn’t really looked closely before at different types of light, or light’s effect, because they just assumed the light wasn’t good for most things in the middle of the morning or day. But from then on, they began to really look at the light that was bouncing off everything – walls, doors, streets – you name it! And that opened up the possibilities for them, too.

So what happens if you have a dark street outside the shop? Well, you can create a similar effect with a reflector – I’ve done it many times, where someone holds the reflector out in the sunlight and bounces the light into the person’s face/body. It won’t be a large enough area to cover the entire shop like the street bounce light does above, but it still allows you to make some good portraits now and then, provided you can get someone to hold your reflector for you!


P.S. The January 2014 Cuba trip has grown to 9 people  registered, and we’ll take only 12. If you want to participate, please visit the Cuba page and click on the register now button. You’ll be asked to fill out a trip application form, and then taken to a payment page – which you can just ignore for the moment, as we are finalizing details and pricing and Strabo tours will ultimately be handling that part of the tour.

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New e-Book on Close-up Photography



There a new e-book out by Andrew Gibson, published through Craft and Vision. UP CLOSE is full of helpful information on getting you started with close-up photography on a variety of subjects. As stated on C & V website, “He covers crop factoring and magnification, testing your lenses, focal length, focusing techniques, depth-of-field, lighting, image stabilization, single/double-element lenses, reverse lens macro, extension tubes and more!” The spreads look yummy – and not just because some of it is close-up of food.


I’ve always loved close-up and macro photography. It’s a whole new world when you get in so close that you see things the un-aided eye can’t see. It takes my breath away, whether it’ a backlit fern from my garden or the details of rusting metal.

When this e-book notice came to me, I slapped myself ‘up side the head’ and said “that should have been me doing that book!”  And it’s true, but then again there are so-o-o-o many ideas rolling around out there and I just don’t have time to do them all. While Jed and I were working on our Extraordinary Everyday Photography book, there were at least four topics that were published that I wished I had done. HA! As if we weren’t already busy enough.

“It shoulda been me…” is a phrase that all too often comes up in all our lives no matter what we’re engaged in doing. The universe is filled with ideas that seem to roll on by our consciousness. How many of us have seen a new invention that should have been ours?!

Truth is, it can and will be ‘my’ idea sometimes soon – each of us approaches a topic differently, both in technique and vision – so when I see a book published with ‘my’ topic, I no longer despair about it. There’s room out there for all our ‘voices’.

So when am I going to do my close-up e-book? Not sure – because I’m currently working on my e-book Creating Visual Impact.  I’m hoping to get it out there by late summer/early Autumn. I’ll keep ya posted.

Also posted in books, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, photo news, photography, The Blog Tagged , , , , , , |

Great e-book on long exposures, star trails, time-lapse


Bristlecone Pine and Star Trails, California


Jim M. Goldstein, a colleague, has just published a new e-book on the 4th dimension in photography – time. In this easy-to-read-book, he discusses long exposures, light painting, and compositing images of star trails, along with creating sequences and doing time lapse photography. Jim also writes about mixing motion with still imagery and using stroboscopic flash. It’s a comprehensive collection of information in a well-organized e-book, complete with tips and tricks and charts to help you make your own great images. Illustrated with Jim’s stunning photographs, book gives you valuable information on the essentials – from the right gear all the way through the right technique in-camera and in post-production, where needed.

I’ve done long exposures for a long time, and his information is spot-on.  I’ve also been doing night star photography for a while, but I learned a few things to improve my own results in with digital exposures.

Check out the book at It’s a great gift idea too for fellow photographer friends!



Also posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, photo news

Horses on the run in Palouse Country

Running horses in a field, Palouse Country, Washington

I’ll be posting just a few more from our Palouse Photo Tour that just ended, as I’m finally getting time to review what I created and do some post-processing. This morning we set out to photograph a red barn, with windmill and white fence in morning light. It was the first morning of the trip and one where everyone needed to ‘warm up’ their eyes and get their gear sorted out…to be ready to roll throughout the week. We were photographing the barn scenic and these wonderful mares and foals were excited about us being there, curious, mostly – but also wary with the young ones. At one point, a few of them decided to run in the field and I managed to get just one picture by panning on them. But one is all you need if it works, right?! I love the energy in this image and the mother/child relationship, too.

Also posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, creative ideas, nature photography, photography, The Blog, Thoughts on Creativity, workshops & photo tours