Larry  Grayam

Larry Grayam

Vero Beach, Florida, United States

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Journal

Henri Cartier-Bressons "Decisive Moment"

The Decisive moment
A recording of that one moment in time when all the elements line up to allow the artist to capture the perfect combination of light, shadow, color, action, expression and emotion to form the perfect image. A moment that can be expected maybe anticipated but not created. For if the image is created, as in the studio, it can be recreated time and time again and is not a fleeting moment in time. Since a decisive moment is unplanned and involves action or the temporary positioning of key elements it typically refers to dynamic developing situations.

The term Decisive Moment was first coined by the noted French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson considered by many to be the father of modern photojournalism Cartier-Bresson’s, The Decisive Moment, 1952 contains the ter…

An interview with Larry

Several months ago I answered an open request for a critique of a RedBubble artists work. You know I can’t now recall what the work was that Isa Rodriguez had posted about. But I answered the call and after many more bubble mails became a friend of Isa’s, so I was pleased when she asked me to join her new group “All Around Florida”. Then, after joining, she asked me to co host with her. The hosting became almost full time as I now also host Focus and Lighting, Karios and Tone It Down as well as a new group to be launched soon. And periodically I write photography tutorials for the RedBubble community. As a native Floridian I love this state its people, geography, flora and fauna and hope my photos do her justice.
So last Friday we gave you an in depth introduction to Isa and her great port…

“Stopping the action”

When photographing action we have a choice of stopping, or freezing the action, or allowing some degree of blurring to impart the idea of motion. So after choosing an approach we must understand how the camera sees action. The important factors are the speed and direction of travel of the subject. It is easier to capture, movement directly into or away from the camera, using slower shutter speeds, while action moving perpendicular to the lens axis typically requires a higher shutter speed to stop or freeze.

Try this experiment on a city street photograph someone walking straight towards you at 1/60sec. Notice that the image is mostly captured intact. Try again at 1/125sec and 1/250sec. to see the difference. Now repeat the same with a subject moving from left to right and notice the blurr…

“Artificial light” part 2

In part 1we learned some basics information about artificial light. In this section we will narrow our focus to the electronic flash unit. Electronic flash can be built in to your camera, or a separate hot shoe mounted unit. The built in flash is typically limited in power and is positioned near the lens axis. Portable units can offer greater power and flexibility.

Separate flash units must be synchronized to fire when the shutter is open; this is done via mounting the flash to the cameras hot shoe, or using a sync cable. A sync cord connects the flash to a barrel connector on the camera and fires the flash at the proper time. A more advanced cable may allow for two way communications between the camera and flash units onboard computers. These cables also allow the flash to be moved away …

“Artificial light” part 1

Artificial light includes all types of manmade light from tungsten household lamps to electronic flash units. Most of our indoor and night lighting can be artificial light. Artificial light can vary greatly in intensity, color balance and stability.

The intensity of architectural and civic lighting is measured in watts from the 25 watt light output of a sewing machine lamp to the 4,000 watt output of stadium lights. Simply put the higher the wattage the brighter the light.

Some forms of artificial light, like fluorescent lighting, produce an unstable form of light. Fluorescent lighting can produce a wide range of color casts that can best be determined by experimentation. Many digital cameras have a fluorescent light setting for adjusting the white balance.

This photo shot under fluorescen…

My latest adventure

I have not been posting images lately and some of you might wonder why. On August 27th I had heart surgery and spent a week in hospital. I’m now home recovering and not doing very much. It may be several weeks before I can resume taking photographs. In the meantime I am beginning to come back online.
I have a weight lifting restriction that prohibits me from holding my favorite cameras and still don’t move around as much as I would like.
But hang in there I’ll be back shooting in a few weeks.
Larry Grayam

“Time Exposures”

A time exposure refers to a photograph made using long exposure times, typically beyond what could be hand held. Time exposures might be used to capture a dimly lit scene or used to show the trails of action occurring in the photo. Most often the camera will be tripod mounted and the photographer will use a remote shutter release or the cameras built in self timer to open the shutter. Vibration can easily ruin a time exposure. Exposure compensation may also be required as films sensitivity diminishes with long exposure. Some time exposure longer then several minutes may also introduce reciprocity error, this results in a shift of the recorded colors. When exposing the photo remember to darken the eyepiece window so extraneous light does not enter and affect your exposure. If your camera w…

“Natural light”

“Natural light”
Natural light includes the use of sunlight, moonlight, open sky, flames, lightning and phosphorescence. Natural light is often affected by weather. Typically photographers want more and more light on their subjects but this is a situation where more isn’t better.

As daylight becomes brighter it tends to wash out or de-saturate colors. Bright light also brings strong shadows. In the middle of the day color temperature peaks at about 6,000 degrees Kelvin and appears to have a blue tint to it. Film photographers will often add a #85 orange filter after 10:00am to counter this blue affect. And with all those light rays bouncing around a polarizing filter is often added to re saturate the color and darken the blue sky.

The “Golden hours” of daylight occur before 10:00am and afte…

“What lens should I get?”

One of the common questions posted to various photography newsgroups is, I have some money and want to purchase a lens for my SLR which one should I get. The first response is often, well what kind of photography do you do? So after looking at what kind of photography we want to do we will take a look at lenses, macro, zoom, fixed focal length, wide angle and telephoto.

Are you a wildlife or sports photographer? Long glass rules these fields of photography. Shooting portraiture and glamour is often done with a short telephoto. Building interior and exterior shots may require a wide angle lens. So think about your photographic interests, search out similar thinking photographers and see what equipment they use.

Many cameras come equipped with a normal lens, with 35mm film this was typicall…

Football season is here.

Whether shooting professional, college, high school or junior league the concepts of photographing football remain the same. The offensive players will carry, pass, and punt the football towards the goal post and the defensive team will try to stop them. A good sports photographer will know the game, know the players and know the stadium. Is this a passing or running team, or do they try to inch close enough to achieve scoring by field goals? Shooting the action is typically a sideline adventure. And the sidelines can be dangerous so a word about safety. The camera will not protect you from serious injury should you be run into by a football player. Always be aware of the action and the flow of the action.

Credentials are required for college, professional and some high school game covera…

“Steady that shot” how to shoot slow shutter speeds

Do those available light photos sometimes come out a little fuzzy? Maybe you won’t even try a low light photo. Let’s look at some techniques for shooting in low light that may help. We are not discussing time exposures here just slower shutter speeds.

Some of the first steps are to adjust the shutter speed/aperture combination for low light shooting. Generally speaking try to open up the aperture to allow shooting at a higher shutter speed. You can also change the EI value on the camera. If you normally shoot photos at EI200 and the camera indicates this photo will be shot at 1/15sec then increasing to EI800 will allow you to shoot at 1/60sec. And of course the higher the shutter speed the less camera movement is visible in the image.

Now get a grip. Extend your hand, palm upright, with …

*Close up Photography*

We have all seen close up photographs of flowers, insects or household items and sometimes wondered how did the artist get that shot. So let’s examine close up photography. We have all noted that the closer we get to a subject, the larger it appears in the viewfinder. The problem we soon encounter is that the lens can’t focus as close as we want to be to the subject. We could use a micro lens that will focus close enough to give us a 1:1 reproduction on the film or digital device. Or we could add extension tubes or a bellows unit to increase the magnification beyond 1:1.

Micro or Macro lens can be fixed focal length or zoom lenses. Some focus continually from infinity down to 1:1, others requires setting the camera for micro or macro work. They are the easiest to use and can often be hand…

Quick Grab Shots

Have you ever walked into the room to see your pet doing something outrageous? Was your child about to dump a plate of spaghettis on his sister’s head? You had your camera in hand but by the time you”got ready’ the shot was gone? How long does it take you to move the camera to your eye, compose, meter and shoot a photo? How long has it been since you read your cameras operators manual?

As a working photojournalist I realized the value to being ready for that one great shot at any time. So let’s get you prepared to quick draw and shoot your one great shot.

First let’s decide what’s your norma stylel, do you shoot often in program mode or manually adjust the camera for every photo? Do you typically shoot at a wide angle or telephoto? Whatever you do normally, you must return your camera to …

“Zone focusing”

We can focus our lens in several different ways, using autofocus or manually focusing the lens. That focal point can be on a static subject or we may desire to follow focus on a moving subject. Or we can create a zone of focus and wait for the subject to enter that area before taking a photograph.

On a trip to Boca Grande Island in Florida I discovered this Osprey; he would always enter the nest from seaward. So I positioned myself to access the seaward part of the nest and created a zone of sharp focus by adjusting the F stop and increasing the depth of field. So everything from about 2’ in front of the nest to everything out to 4’ beyond the nest would be sharply focused. From there it was a matter of waiting until the bird entered my “zone of focus”.

A subject moving at 90 degrees to o…

Lighting and exposure

First let’s discuss lighting. Most of our photos are made under existing light conditions. This can be natural sunlight or moonlight. While the rest of our photographs are made under artificial light, candles, room lamps, flash, stadium or city lights. Most of our stored imagery is of scenes lit from above. So we often associate natural light as coming from above the subject.

Let’s do a little experiment go outdoors and hold your hand out, palm toward you, see the effect of sunlight on your hand. Now turn your body so the sun is on your back and directly on your hand. Look at the detail and color of your hand in “direct light”. Now turn so the sun is from the side move those fingers and look at the shadows created by “side light”. Now turn again until your hand is between you and the sun …

Fireworks and other things that light up the night sky

Night photography introduces new challenges, low light levels make exposure difficult, harsh lights add reflections, the slow shutter speeds means difficulty in steadying the camera. Often night scenes lack the details needed to give depth to a photo so try adding a distinctive foreground object to give the shot some depth

Night guard was shot with a Nikon D2H 14mm lens EI200 30sec f4.0 manual settings on tripod

Mounting the camera on a tripod usually eliminates the shakiness common to slow shutter speeds. Without a tripod brace yourself and experiment. Try holding the camera on a fencepost or wall for support. Use a remote shutter release to reduce vibration.
Compensating for bright lights in the scene will make for better exposures. Bright lights shining in the camera will fool your li…

Revisiting On Depth of Field

Depth of field (DOF) refers to that part of a photograph that appears to be in focus. It exists within a plane perpendicular to the axis of the cameras viewpoint. The photographer chooses which affect of depth of field to choose. Narrow DOF tends to separate the subject from an out of focus background, in this image notice how a line of sharpness moves through this photograph of a tray of sewing bobbins.

While greater DOF incorporates the background as an essential element in the photo. Increasing the light allowes for a stopped down aperture and a greater depth of field.

A photographer has three tools to manage the DOF, choice of lens, aperture and focal point. The focal length of a lens affects one element of the DOF available from that lens. Generally speaking the shorter the focal le…

On photographic integrity

“Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.” Ansel Adams

I’m so impressed with the tremendous photographs I see on Red Bubble, Wow what a collection of photographers we have. Can’t wait to visit the many places depicted in your photographs. They make me dream of travel to nearby and far away destinations. But then I wonder if I could find these places, stand where others have been and take the same photograph I saw on display? Most often the answer is yes, the photographer described the location. But does this place actually exist in reality or only in the vision and the computer of an artist?

I grew up with phrases like “Photographs don’t lie-Perry Mason” or “A photograph is like speaking a thousand words”. Do our photographs today speak with the same integrity as the…

My first 3 months

90 Days on RedBubble
In my first 90 days on RedBubble the friendship and support of this wonderful community of artists has continued to grow and overwhelm me. I can’t thank enough the members who’ve left over 1,414 positive comments and selected 200 Favorites. With over 7,200 views and 40 Artworks featured 63 times in RedBubble groups I feel very welcomed by all of you. And I give a special thanks to the over 40 RedBubble artists who’ve decided to follow my posting on their watch lists.
I felt another look at my most popular featured work would be appropriate.
“Bride of Chucky” was featured in Bits and Pieces 6/6/09

“Mini bike overload” was featured in Odd One Out 6/7/09
“Mini bike overload” was featured in Retired and Happy 6/4/09

Top ten in “The Sc

WOW "It's Slick by a nose"

My photograph of a neighbors horse,Slick, taking a drink of water from a lawn sprinkler has been received by the RedBubble community beyond all expectations.
With over 30 favorites, 111 comments and 322 viewings RB’s have, in actions and words honored this photo of a very funny animal. To date “Slick” has been selected;
WINNER Funny Critters Avatar challange 6/2/09
WINNER Retired and Happy “Animals” challenge 5/24/09
WINNER Equestrian Art and phtography Avatar challange 5/17/09
“Slick takes a drink” was featured in Funny Kritters 5/17/05
Top Ten of the Funniest Animal at the Redbubble Zoo 5/15/09
“Slick takes a drink” was featured in Rural Around The Globe 5/5/09
“Slick takes a drink” was featured in Southern-Style: A Downhome per

NASA Shuttle Atlantis launch

Spent Monday in Titusville shooting the launch of STS 125 Atlantis. Traffic was heavy, crowds were plentiful, tripod space was scarce. The day began with blue sky and puffy white clouds but by launch time at 2:01pm the haze had covered everything. I couldn’t get closer then 9 1/2miles but got some shots anyway. Three are posted tonight with some crowd shots to follow.

First 30 days on redbubble!

After joining Red Bubble just 30 days ago I’m elated, Wow what a trip. I’ve met many wonderful people, begun friendships and begun learning a new language (Australian). The groups I joined honored me with 18 features, Including two on the front page. The group moderators provided much information and encouragement. But the members of Red Bubble are the greatest; with opened arms you accepted a newbie to the family. You responded with over 2600 viewings of, and 426 positive comments on, my art. I feel as one with the family. Over 51 favorites were declared. I thank you all and I hope to meet your expectations of more photos worthy of your featuring and favor.

Quick road trip

Made a quick road trip down the coast this week stopping to shoot pix at Stuarts House of Refuge, Hobe Sound, Blowing rocks, Jupitar inlet, and Ft Pierce harbor area. Will be posting photos soon.

Everglades road trip

I’ve just finished processing images from a 4-1-09 road trip through the Big Cypress and Everglades where I discovered low water levels all over. The Big Cypress boardwalk was interesting with a mom and two baby gators at the end. Turner River Rd. was a bust, except for the two miles closest to Tamiami Trail. Loop Road produced a lot of bird and gator images and a new friend. I met Atlanta based fashion photog Jim Chatwin, jimchatwinfoto.com, shooting for fun on a bridge.