Friday, January 9, 2015

Expert Tips for Taking Ski and Snowboard Photos

After a calm end to 2014, the new year has blasted in all barrels blazing.  When it isn't snowing, a strong westerly wind has blown all of the new fluffy stuff around, making for interesting driving in this area.

It is cold, slippery and blustery, the perfect storm of miserable conditions.  For a good majority of folks it's a wonderful excuse to hibernate. The more it snows, the greater the reason to stay indoors. 

Then there are the others. The more snow the better for them as they take to hills, slopes and trails for winter fun. They feel no cold as they toboggan, they ski, they snowmobile, making me and my kind look just a little lazy and dull. 

Not that I care. Just being honest.

There are those too though, who might not participate in the full-on energy of winter sports, a passion for photography has them braving the elements to capture the excitement in pictures. What it takes to freeze the speed of a snowboarder or skier, to cope with the conditions and get that perfect action shot can be found in these expert tips:

How to Take Great Skiiing and Snowboarding Photos

Ski Photography Pictures

Take Great Ski and Snowboard Pictures

Winter Sports Photography

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tips for Taking Figure Skating Photos

They spin, they twirl, they leap. They cavort, skip and dance. They toss, they turn, they glide. They are poetry in motion.

Yet, try to take pictures of ice skaters and the results can be little indication of the action. The flow and beauty of the sport is something that I've found can be hard to capture in a static image.

During my years covering local events for our community newspaper, I was challenged with the task each winter of grabbing some photographs of the skating club's events.  Every time I went to the arena prepared for tricky lighting conditions. I pushed my way through excited parents and grandparents to find a key spot where I could shoot unobstructed.  And as the skaters went through their routines full of Salchows, Axels and Lutzes,  I went snap crazy.

I also, before the performances and during the intermissions, wandered around for 'mood' and backstage photos because I knew that much of what I had taken on the ice wouldn't measure up to the live action.  Hoping I'd nabbed at least one gravity-defying move, or dizzying spin, experience had taught me that most figure skating moves are boring when frozen in time.

It's not that we didn't have some talent out there. This wasn't all about tiny tots and budding Olympians. Our small village proudly boasted top-ranking national competitors, including a freestyle pair chosen to take part in the 1988 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Calgary, who were pleased to entertain during the local club's event.   Try as I might, however, remembering of course that this was in the days of film, I never did manage to get a figure skating picture that made me happy.

While my days of covering these types of events are gone, I do have small grandchildren who will soon be lacing up skates and thought it might be a plan to do a little studying in the meantime. Here are a couple of sites I found with some helpful tips:

Figure Skating Photography Tips

Photographing Figure Skating

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How to Take Great Hockey Photos

In the community newspaper industry where I worked for over two decades it wasn't uncommon to hear a journalist refer to his or herself as a writer with a camera. With only enough money to hire a skeleton staff,  newspapers expected editorial folks  to take care of the photo ops as well as the news reports and features.

The end results of that camera in my hand when this chapter of my story began in 1989, were a bit of hit and miss at first. Though I enjoyed taking pictures for personal reasons, I'd never really taken the art seriously. Anything better than point and shoot photos I put in  the hands of professionals.

However, it became evident that what I lacked in technical knowledge was compensated by the Libra in me. It seemed, according to my editor, that I had a good eye. Which, fortunately, is something that can't be lost. Over time too, I learned quite a bit more about how to get the most out of a camera, making for some not so bad photos.

One of the biggest challenges though came with the arrival of our hockey season.  In the Great White North this sport is pretty much all that matters in the cold, dark winter months and games are played in local arenas virtually every night and weekend. There is therefore, no shortage of opportunities to get some photos of our national pastime.

Nor is there a shortage of challenges.  Hockey is a fast-paced, action-filled sport usually played on an indoor rink with fans separated from players by thick plexiglass.  This is where technical knowledge comes into play, something that can be mastered. You can get the lighting and focus right once you know how.

Having an eye, however, isn't necessarily going to do you any good. The trick in any sport photography I found was in anticipating where the best shot will be. In a game dominated by speed and power this goes to a whole other level.

One of my work colleagues, an avid (or perhaps rabid might suit better) hockey fan has combined her life-long love for the game with her new passion for photography. Her knowledge of both has helped her shoot some pretty terrific photos for her son's Junior team.

These great tips will help you up your game too when it comes to getting great hockey photos:

DigitalTrends Capturing Winning Hockey Photos

Photographing Hockey

Take Better Ice Hockey Photos

Improving Your Hockey Photography

Hockey Photography

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hundreds of Inspirational Photos

From time to time we all need to heal. Fortunately, we can often find the right therapy in the world around us.

I tend to consider society as a whole as the walking wounded. We've all experienced profound grief and debilitating sadness. We have all lived through pain, through loss, through trials.

Yet, each and every day it's expected that we get out of bed in the morning and cope as best we can.  We put one foot ahead of the other, not just because it's what's expected, but because it's the right thing to do. While there are those suffering through unbearable agonies for whom extended and extensive treatment is required we, the walking wounded, are a low priority in life's triage. The common ills and woes are healed  by time, circumstance and for a while the support and TLC of friends and family.

What generally helps too is faith, not necessarily of the spiritual kind though that certainly works for believers. No it's the faith in knowing that all the old adages speak the truth. Tomorrow is another day. Time heals all wounds. Every cloud has a silver lining. This too shall pass. And of course, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

In this life, everyone will have their burdens, everyone will face obstacles and trauma. But what we know too, however,  is how fortunate we are to be living it. Each day is a gift. We should wake in the morning to count our lemons, er blessings. In difficult or stressful times we can find comfort in the promise of each new moment and inspiration in the beauty that surrounds us, whether it's an ocean view or a quiet forest.

Or what we can see here in these beautiful photos from, and

Monday, January 5, 2015

How to Create Fonts in Photoshop

When our daughter was married a few years ago it was important to her that the wedding be a reflection of her and her husband, of their styles, their personalities.  Every detail was meticulously worked out to suit the dream she envisioned, from her venue choices to the stationary and favours. Nothing could deter her from getting it the way she planned.

It's not unusual for brides to  have a strong vision of what they want for their special day. It's not, though, always easy to incorporate everything. You might be able to see what you want, however what you find can be a little off the mark.

The difference with my girl, and others who share her artistic and creative abilities, is if they can't find what they're looking for they have no trepidation about  using those talents to make it.  For example, after perusing endless websites and books for the right invitations, etc., she decided the only way to please herself was to design them herself.

Taking some images, tweaking them to match what she envisioned was all it took to get the style she wanted. And with online resources linking us to a vast inventory of images it's made it a lot easier for all kinds of people to try their hand at these types of projects themselves.

However, an image is often only part of the equation. You need words to invite, to thank, to promote, to explain. The best design with the best picture can be ruined by the wrong font. Here again, there are many to be found online so getting something that represents what you need is easy. Yet, as my daughter would tell you, the best way to get exactly what you want is generally by doing it yourself.  Here are some tips for creating your own fonts in Photoshop:

eHow Create Fonts in Photoshop

wikiHow Create a Font

speckyboy's Beginner's Guide to Making Your Own Fonts

Create a Custom Font

creativebloz Design Your Own Typeface