Jim Zuckerman's Blog
Food fun
Wednesday, April 01, 2015 11:38AM

I saw this beautifully designed dessert in a window in Sapporo, Japan and photographed it through the glass. I then used the pen tool in Photoshop to separate the subject from the original background, and that enabled me to paste into the shot the colorful balloons.  The string of balloons was pasted three times and each strand was angled to make the background more interesting.  I then added a closeup of balloons to fill in the gaps.  I used Flood at the base of the image so the dessert didn't appear to be floating.  The lighting is natural diffused light, and I shot this with a 70-200mm lens on a Canon 5D Mark III.

Ultra wide
Monday, March 30, 2015 4:41PM

It can be fun to walk around with a photographer's eye with an ultra wide lens on the camera.  It forces you to think differently.  I took this picture of a store front in Chefchaouen, Morocco with a 14mm lens, and I love the distortion the lens creates.  The key to using a wide angle lens is to get very close to the subject because that dramatizes the foreground and makes it disproportionately large compared to the background.  I use this same technique with other subjects, too, especially landscapes and architecture.  In this case, the bright colors add to the visual impact.  I hand held this image, and the aperture was f/10 to make sure the edges of the ...

Selective desaturation
Friday, March 27, 2015 2:18AM

This elevated view of Fez, Morocco originally showed the ancient tombstones in blue.  That came from the high Kelvin temperature of twilight illumination which is characteristic of shooting at this time of evening.  The tombstones are white, though, so to show them as they really are, I circled the graves with the lasso tool in Photoshop, making a rough selection that included some of the grass.  I then feathered the edge with a 50 pixel feather radius using the pulldown menu command Select > modify > feather, and finally opened Image > adjustments > hue/saturation and from the submenu selected 'blue'.  I moved the saturation slider to the left, desaturating ...

What if . . .
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 12:50PM

When I travel, I see many places, such as windows, doors, balconies, paths, etc. that would be so much better if the human element were present.  Of course, it has to be the right person dressed in the right clothing to make the photograph great.  Too often, of course, such a subject just isn't present.  Therefore, I fulfill my vision using Photoshop.  I operate under the idea of 'what if'.  In other words, what if a a beautifu model in beautiful clothing were in that window?  That's what I did here.  I photographed a wonderful model in Fes, here in Morocco, and then along a highway a few days later when my photo tour group and I stopped for a lunch break, ...

Portrait in black
Monday, March 23, 2015 5:27PM

I had to be careful with the exposure in this Moroccan portrait of a Berber woman.  The subject is wearing primarily black, and that means that the meter would be adversely affected by all of that darkness. Tthere isn't a middle toned area of the image from which the meter can accurately determine the exposure.  Instead, the meter assumes the black fabric is middle gray, and as a result the picture will be overexposed by as much as one full f/stop or more.  The solution is to study the LCD monitor after a first test shot and then tweak the exposure according to taste.  In this intance, I set the exposure compensation dial to minus one f/stop.  That insured that the ...

Fisheye distortion
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 7:14PM

Fisheye lenses have limited use, but sometimes they add a very cool look to a variety of photographic situations.  I have been shooting in the Moroccan town of Chefchaouen, referred to as the Blue City, and the colors are so amazing that I felt the distortion produced by the fisheye would add to the outrageous scenes.  The Canon 15mm fisheye that I used covers an angle of 180 degrees, and the distortion effect increases as the camera moves closer to the subject.  The picture above was taken with an aperture of f/5.6, while the door below was shot at f/8.  Even with fairly large lens apertures, the 15mm lens has incredible depth of field -- essentially from a few inches ...

Street lamp lighting
Thursday, March 12, 2015 4:57PM

 It pays to get up before dawn and get out early to shoot. This is true anywhere. This model in San Marco Square in Venice was already waiting for photographers at 6:45am just as a hint of light was seen in the sky. Notice the artificial lighting in this shot and how it contrasts with the sky. It's beautiful. It looks like this was carefully orchestrated, but instead the model was standing in the light of a street lamp and just recognized that it was perfect. The glow on her was beautiful, and I shot from a low angle to include the cobalt blue in the sky as well as the golden light on the Campanile tower. About 5 minutes after I took this shot the lights went out and the magic was ...

Low perspectives with small creatures
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 10:40AM

When photographing animals that are close to the ground, get as low as possible.  This offers people an unexpected view, and because most people never look closely into the face of an insect, a crab, a mouse, etc., it's a compelling type of image that you can create.  In this shot, I photographed a sally light foot crab in the Galapagos Islands.  The black lava makes the vibrant colors really stand out, but it's the low point of view that, in my opinion, makes this picture so strong.

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