Shooting in "AUTO"

So, you've just purchased your new "SUPERCAMERA." At the start you will probably begin shooting in AUTO mode. Most photographers get their start in AUTO, but in order to master the craft, or at least expand your understanding of how to make the best use of available light, create dramatic scenes, isolate subjects, ... you will need to take advantage of the M-Manual, A-Aperture priority (Av for "Aperture value" in Canon), and S-Shutter priority (Tv "Time value" in Canon). Taking control of these shooting modes and understanding the creative possibilities available to you when employing them will define a turning point in your skill and ability on your way to becoming a proficient shooter. In AUTO the camera makes EVERY decision relating to exposure and in many cases, focus (That just seems crazy to me, but nonetheless, true). The firmware in your camera assumes you don't care about the highlights it clips off, or the shadows where you wanted to see details. In the following weeks, I'll provide mini lessons here to guide you toward an approach to confidently employ these shooting modes. We will explore the use of exposure compensation, twiddle with metering modes, and go deeper into other pieces of the photography puzzle that will help you see like a photographer and free your creative mind so you can execute your vision when a possibility presents itself before you. If I had thought to create an image of this Great Egret in AUTO to demonstrate how badly the camera would have "Missed" this shot, you would have seen a boring background with a stagnant pond, a public bathroom, and a washed out white blob in the shape of a not-so-great Egret. Using just a little bit of knowledge that is easy for me to explain here, I'll uncover my "trick" for making a shot like this. Stay tuned. 

How do I make my photos look like that?

If you want to make photos that have an impact on the viewer, consider perspective and composition as key elements. This photo puts the viewer in front of a small crashing wave. They might imagine they would have gotten wet while making this photograph (...and they would be right). The lower perspective here is putting the viewer literally in the water, and maybe giving them that feeling of "Oh, I'm about to get soaked." The lens I used here is an Ultra-wide angle lens and I was less than a foot away from the crashing wave's leading edge. The composition here uses classic balance and the "rule of thirds" for a pleasing composition. Adding to the impact we have with the perspective and composition, the action of the wave crashing is illustrated by the movement that can be seen in the water at the bottom of the image. Showing motion in a photograph is something I've always liked, but just showing motion isn't always enough. Always be on the lookout for a subject that you can add to create interest for the viewer. The old remnants of dock pilings in the background here sort of "lead" the viewer to the other part of the photograph, adding an element of interest. If the viewer doesn't have a reason to make them keep looking, you'll find yourself telling the viewer what YOU think is interesting about the photo, and for the viewer, they were done looking at the image before you started talking. A good photograph needs no explanation. It tells the story all by itself.