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MadMaxStudios

Poise



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People's Choice in HAVING FUN ON THE BEACH Photo Challenge
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Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken on a clear, sunny day on a private beach in Playa Aventuras, Mexico. The location is just outside of Playa Del Carmen, with much less foot traffic on the beach, as it is much more secluded. This made for a much easier time of framing the shot without other people or objects cluttering the background.
Time
This shot was taken in July, at 4:30pm or so, in the afternoon.
Lighting
The sun was still very high on the horizon, which allowed for a great shadow, with enough angle to stretch away toward the edge of the frame.
Equipment
I generally use a Nikon D3100, however on this day I did not have my camera with me. The family was just hanging out at the beach waiting to head out to dinner after a busy day. The lighting was good, the sky was clear, and the haze you occasionally get at the beach was non-existent. So I used what I had on hand, which happened to be my Samsung Galaxy S6. Go figure!
Inspiration
I've not taken any formal photography classes, so I approach photos with a different mindset. When I look through the viewfinder, or in this case at the screen, I look at it from the eye of a traditional artist. As my background is in traditional media, such as pencil sketches, pen & ink, and painting, I look at each shot and envision what it would look like if I were to sketch it out. Or if I were to put it to canvas with paint.
Editing
Often, when I'm shooting I'm not seeing the image as it is, but for what it will be. Again, utilizing my traditional arts training background, I'm looking at where lines will lead the eye, how I want shadows to contrast or blend, what colors/theme/feeling do I want the piece to exhibit. In this photo, the only post editing/processing I did was to crop the photo from the default landscape format. I wanted the pose to lead the eye around the photo using the pose of her legs and feet, direction her eyes were looking, and the shadow touching beyond the edge of the frame.
In my camera bag
It is completely random. I have a number of different lens I use depending on the location I'm in. If I'm at the Circuit Of The Americas Track, I make sure to have a wide variety of zoom, to catch specific locations on the track. And sometimes, I'm at the beach and only have my mobile phone. I just make use of what tool I have at the time in that moment, most of the time.
Feedback
Shooting at the beach is tricky. Public beaches often have so many people, or objects such as boats and parasailing tourists, that timing a shot can be difficult. Especially if the shot has movement involved. Also with a highly populated beach, you tend to get a haze in the air from the sand and surf, which can make a great shot seem slightly fuzzy or out of focus. So watch out for that in the background. Finally, the sand and surf haze will quickly put a film on your camera lens. This is subtle, and happens over time. Unfortunately, that film will also cause a good shot to seem blurry or hazy unintentionally. My suggestion is to use more secluded or private beaches whenever possible. When you don't have that option, and you are on a beach with numerous people, try to incorporate that busy feel if it works with the shot; shoot early while it is mainly those early joggers or fishermen; and just be patient. Let the shot happen as it happens. Trying to force it work out will only leave you frustrated. My next suggestion is to keep a soft cloth available, and out of the sand. Every few minutes, depending on the wind and haze, check your lens and give it a little wipe down. This will help ensure you don't set up a perfect shot, only to have the final image end up blurry or hazy from a dirty camera lens. My final suggestion is to just use what you have available. If you have all of your fancy camera equipment, great! If not, and the opportunity is there, just use what you have, like your mobile phone (works for me). It's art. It will be seen differently by everyone, no matter what you do. So just love what you do and have fun. As Andy Worhol said, “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Good Luck!

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