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Nikon D750   f/4   1/160    190 mm   I00 ISO

Ted Forbes notes that the rule of space offers the photographer a way to create a sense of motion, activity or conclusion within one’s composition and that it simply involves creating negative space that relates to the subject within the image.

For example, if you place negative space outside your subjects head in a portrait, you imply maybe there is thought going on – particularly if you direct your subject’s eyes toward the negative space.

Or if you have a picture of a motorcycle zooming across the desert. Placing the negative space in front of the motorcycle creates a sense of direction or implication of eventual destination

Nikon D750  f/4.2   1/400   45mm  100 ISO

It is my thinking that Ted Forbes’ discussion dovetails nicely with Raj’s Xdrive photography lesson about a photograph speaking.

a “good picture always speaks out its story…The story the picture is trying to broadcast is nothing but your vision or an intent or a message you are trying to convey to the viewers.

Nikon D750   f/14   1/80   32mm   100 ISO

Thank you for taking the time to visit; and as always, I would love to read your thoughts about the interconnection between story and space as photography composition tools and any images you would like to share.

Hope you enjoy Ted Forbes’ Rule of Space video.

Within xdrive photography’s bokeh lesson, Raj notes that the unique blur within photographs known as bokeh is a composition tool that allows a photographer to guide a viewer’s eye as well as to keep distracting elements hidden.

Nikon D750    f/3.2    1/320s   40mm   ISO100
Nikon D750     f/5.6   1/320s   230mm   ISO 100
Nikon D750     f/5.6   1/200   210mm   ISO 100

Over to you Raj.  Thank you for this informative lesson and your amazing images.

After my initial posting, I found myself motivated to revisit Spring Creek trail with more intention to pay attention to Raj’s (XDrive ) high speed lesson.  He noted that this high speeds allows the photographer to freeze motion as it permits “only a fraction of a second for the sensor to ‘see’ the scene” and the sensor “is going to record things at standstill even though they are moving.”

Nikon D750  f/5.6  1/2,000   300mm   ISO 800
Nikon D750  f/5.6  1/3,200  300mm  ISO 800
Nikon D750  f/5.6  1/3,200  300mm  ISO 800
Nikon D750  f/5.6  1/3,200  300mm  ISO 800

Thank you Raj…this lesson plan opened up a whole new visual world as well as shed some light into the importance of intention and attitude within the creative process of photography.

Variations on a Theme

Raj (XDrive ) writes that high speed photography allows the photographer to freeze motion as it permits “only a fraction of a second for the sensor to ‘see’ the scene” and the sensor “is going to record things at standstill even though they are moving.”

I set out yesterday with my camera set on autofocus with continuous focusing and the ISO at 800.  After coming home and doing a bit of deleting, I still have heaps of images…412.   Regrettably, most of them will be tossed into the trash because I assumed that setting my camera on manual and using the highest f-stop that the shutter speed would automatically record at 1/4000 to 1/8000 seconds.

Why did I chose manual…well, before leaving home I initally set my camera on shutter speed priory mode and saw that the camera seemed to prefer lower f-stops.  So, my first  mistake came with the assumption that there is a correlation between high f-stops and shutter speeds.  I also failed to set the camera on center focus and was not able to correct this decision as I left my glasses at home…sigh. Also, I did not pay attention to the shutter speed throughout the walk…and as you can see in the image below there are no frozen water drops…just a bit of blur, bubbles, and tiny pellets as well as a rock (lower right) in focus.

Nikon D750   f/22   1/250s   85mm  ISO 800

The rain and snow last night left a bit of ice under a layer of snow…so will have to delay my return to the creek, when it is a bit warmer, to create motion frozen water drops with more attentive intention.

Yet, not all was lost…

Nikon D750   f/22   1/640s   85mm   ISO 800
Nikon D750   f/16   1/1000s  85mm   ISO 800
Nikon D750   f/16   1/500s   85mm   ISO 800
Nikon D750   f/22   1/500s   80mm   ISO 800

Thank you Raj…I appreciate these lessons and your feedback.

Raj’s  (xdrive photography lesson) valuable feedback to the use of a neutral density filter and monochrome in the initial submission of the golden hour lesson awakened me to how I was limiting my exploration of the soft light and golden shades found within the golden hour.

With the awareness that I have learned a great deal through Raj’s photo lessons, I set up a still life of the oranges below on my veranda during the golden hour…absent a neutral density filter.

Nikon D750    f/5.6   1/40s   35mm   ISO 100

It has been my experience that the golden hour in Northeastern Colorado is impacted by the Rocky Mountain foothills as the light remains harsh for an extended period of time and disappears quickly as the sun moves behind the foothills.  Also, a soft quality of light seems to require a cloud bank to serve as a reflector to the hidden sun’s rays.  Otherwise, the available light often is more of a glaring quality than a golden soft glow.

D750   f/7.1   1/250s   85mm   ISO 320
Nikon D750   f/5.6   1/500s   85mm  ISO 100

The golden hour offers great shadows and rim lighting …


A panorama of the Rocky Mountain foothills…September 15, 2016 at 6:53 p.m.  Sunset at 7:08 pm

Nikon D750   f/7,1   1/250s   300mm  ISO  320

As always, Raj I thank you for your time and valuable feedback. Looking forward to your next lessons.

In this xdrive photography lesson, Raj  notes that for about an hour during sunrise and again at sunset, photographers are gifted with what is known as the “golden hour” or “magic light.”  Generally the sun’s light is diffused and soft during these two time periods.

In the image below, I chose to combine Raj’s golden hour lesson with a personal study of  the rule of odds.  This image was created about 40 minutes before sunset with what I identified as cirrostratus clouds to the west of my home.  In the past, I have found that the quality of light during the hour before and after sunset is often times influenced by both western clouds as well as the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.


Nikon D750   f/7.1   .5 s   35 mm (prime)   ISO 100   neutral density lens

Raj writes in his 16th xdrive photo lesson that contrast, a deviation from the brightest parts of the image to the darkest, is often overlooked during the digital darkroom process. As I read his explanation about low contrast images, it brought to mind those long exposure landscape images that are composed of a single tree or those low contrast images of trees within mist or fog.  Dreamy.

apples Nikon D750  f/4   0.1s   35mm (prime lens)  100 ISO

In the two images below, I can see in the color image how the contrast highlights the water drops…they seem to glisten within this backlit photograph. While the water drops within the monochrome image are not as noticeable, I like how the reflections of the countertop are reflected in the bowl.  The tiny sunburst along the right edge of the bowl is visually interesting.


snow     Nikon D750    f/5.6   1/125s   300 mm   100 ISO

While I like the warmth of the monochrome image of the apples, I couldn’t seem to create the same atmosphere with the snow photograph.  It just may be incongruent to create a warm image of snow?

I prefer the color image which had a bit of editing within Color Effects Pro 4’s green-yellow color contrast presets. The water drop on the tip of the leaf also seems more apparent in the color image.


The low contrast monochrome image (first monochrome image) is not as dramatic as the high contrast (last image). The water drop also seems more apparent in the last image.  I also noticed during the digital darkroom process that experimenting with contrast within Color Effects Pro 4 required awareness of how some of the presets darkened the leaves to a degree where the detail was hidden.


Again, thank you Raj for these lessons.   I would also like to thank Helen at HHC Blog for bringing to mind the beauty of color contrast within images.

Initial backlit photo submission


Review:  After I posted the above image, I realized that – despite my best efforts –  some of the tree branches (the left side of the triangle roof line) had what I refer to as halos; that is, a rim of of light along the edge of the black tree branches. Sign…  My brief research on these artifacts found that they are most prominent along high contrast edges such as when the land meets the sky.

Within Raj’s review of this image, he noted, “….image post-processing is a step more than what is required in my opinion. If you are creating an intentional over the processed image, then it’s fine. If not, check the bottom blackish area, they have blue spots all over them. That’s actually a wrong colour where it should have been pure black.”

First re-edited backlit photo submission


The above image was cropped a bit differently…mostly because I like how the view of the sky though the windows in the bottom center of the image.  I did a bit of shadow editing to the windows and removed the two light circles to the right of the windows as well as followed Raj’s recommendation that the bottom of the image should be “pure black.”

Second re-edited backlit submission

I like the variations of colors of the sky in the first image.  Yet, despite a number of  attempts within Color Efex Pro, those trees continued to have those pesky halos.  So I decided to combine the two layers together and with a layer mask…the image below was created.


I think the last image is my favorite as I find the pure black along the bottom creates a more dramatic photo than the first.  Love to hear what others think.

Also, I think the image as well as this process fits really well with this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Transformation

Thank you, again Raj.

P.S. It seems this migraine cycle may be ending….

evening cicada–

a last nearby song

to autumn 

~Issa (cited:

Nikon D750   f/4   1/15s   35 mm   100 ISO

For about a week I’ve been “fettered” by migraine variables that have had a negative impact upon all phases of my life.  During those moments of more clarity I’ve mentally processed Raj’s 15th xdrive photo lesson with a bit of tribulation.  The heightened sensitivity to light hindered any motivation to pick up my camera and position myself where the source of the light would face my camera.  Oh…ouch…  Yet, as I watched last night’s sunset I found myself awed by the colors of the sky and able to recall Raj’s words, “backlit conditions allow us to create great silhouettes. Sharp focusing on the objects whose silhouettes you are shooting is very important…”

The initial raw image was created with the camera set on manual.  Post-editing included cropping, adjusting dark and light settings, contrast, and nudging saturation, clarity, structure, as well as, sharping.  I also went into Color Efex Pro 4 and played around with tonal contrast, detail extraction, and reflector Efex.

Thank you Raj for this assignment as I was able to move away from myself for a few minutes and connect with the beauty of this backlit evening sky.