Sunday, October 12, 2003

Vantage point key for good pictures

By Marilyn Bauer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Harriet Bishop heads under the Suspension Bridge on the last evening of Tall Stacks '99.
What's different this year when it comes to photographing Tall Stacks?

"The proliferation of digital cameras and the new route for the Parade of Boats," says Enquirer photographer Michael E. Keating. "This year the parade will start east of the city and come downstream. If you had a favorite vantage point in the past, it might not work this year."

Good vantage points, say Enquirer photogs, are the Purple People Bridge, the upper or lower overlooks in Eden Park, Watertown Marina or the flood wall in Dayton, Ky., Yeatman's Cove where you can see up river, Schmidt's Field on Eastern Avenue and the outlook from the park on Golden Avenue in Columbia Tusculum.

1. Reread the camera manual and carry it with you.

2. Press, don't jab, the shutter release.

3. Focus, focus, focus.

4. Memorize your flash's shooting range.

5. Use a fast film for sharp images and greater flash range.

6. Shoot with a flash outdoors.

7. Beware of bad batteries.

8. Pay attention to composition.

9. Vary the format of pictures.

10. Don't like the pictures you got back from the lab? Ask that they be reprinted or for an explanation of why they can't be improved.

Source: The Basic Book of Photography by Tom and Michelle Grimm (Plume; $22)

As far as digital photography is concerned, our photographers suggest using an incandescent or Tungsten white balance for blue sky in the afternoon or evening and a tripod to eliminate shake.

"Consult your manual," says Keating. "That's what it's there for."

More tips from Keating:

• Go early. Go late. The early and late hours of the day are when you get that golden glow of light that makes everything look so beautiful.

• If you're in a boat, don't forget that the water is moving. You'll need to use a medium or fast shutter speed so your pictures don't blur.

• Don't ignore inclement weather. These boats are historic, and the soft gray light of a cloudy or rainy day often gives them that mysterious look of a ghostly past.

• Shoot with the sun behind you

• Forget the flash. The little flash on your point-and-shoot camera throws light only about 10 feet.