Blog Posts

Yellow crate as framing element for lobster

Fun Framing Elements–How To Give Your Photos An Instant 3D Look

One of the components of photography I have come to really appreciate is the ability to create a three-dimensional image with a two-dimensional medium. Never having had the sense to take a photo class, I slowly stumbled on compositional techniques that create a very real sense of depth, from forced perspective to leading lines.

One of my favorite techniques, however, is the use of framing elements.

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The Francisco Peaks and Wupatki National Monument using a 300mm telephoto lens.

Telephoto Camera Lenses: 3 Essential Techniques For Producing Powerful Images

One of my favorite lenses is my Canon 300mm f2.8 telephoto. Sure, it’s big, it’s heavy and it’s really pricy. And although I only occasionally photograph sports or wildlife, the most popular subjects for these big telephotos, the images I create with that lens are always captivating. Let me walk you through the 3 techniques I employ most often when shooting with a telephoto lens. Let’s see if you agree?

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Forced perspective wide angle lens image

3 Exciting Ways To Use Wide Angle Camera Lenses To Capture The Adventure Of Life

My favorite lens is my 24mm-70mm f2.8 Canon Zoom Lens. I use it to create a vast majority of my images and often shoot at either end of its zoom range. It’s my fun “walking around” lens and the most versatile lens that I own. I tend to keep it set on a wide angle setting which I use more often than the longer focal lengths. Wide angle images are just more fun.

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Camera Sensor Size And Effective Lens Focal Lengths

Recently I gave one of my photography classes a lecture on lens focal lengths—their strengths, weaknesses and their creative potential. Because I listed the focal length of the lens used to create each image on a full chip camera body in our presentation, I reminded everyone that the effective focal length of a lens can change with the size of the sensor in their camera, as we had discussed in our first class a couple weeks before.

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When You Want It All–3 Steps To Maximize Depth Of Field

Back in the day when my students actually shot on location together, pre-virus, discussions on depth of field were a continual topic. This was partly because some my students had just moved away from full camera automation, the dreaded “P” setting for Program, and had tasked themselves with taking control of their camera. Using the class recommended “Av” or “A” setting, Aperture Priority, photographers have to manually set the aperture, or f-stop, and the camera picks the shutter speed for the exposure. The “A” setting not only controls exposure but also depth of field and that is where the confusion often erupted.

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Carvings on Mayan Pyramid in Mexico

Travel Photography with Chuck Place

Travel Photography is much more than shooting snapshots of your vacation. Images created during your travels should transport you back to the magic you felt as sunset light washes over an ancient Mayan pyramid or recall the drama of colorful powwow dancers as a late afternoon storm builds behind them in the distant mountains of New Mexico.

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phalaenopsis, or moth orchids in a greenhouse

Give Yourself A Photo Assignment II

I have too many interests! Photography is my passion, but I also love cooking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, gardening—the list goes on. Orchids have always fascinated the gardener in me and at one point, I decided to give myself an assignment photographing orchids and local orchid collectors.

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Location photography workshop Spring 2019.

Join A Location Photography Workshop In Spring 2019

Join professional magazine photographer Chuck Place for 5 fun location photo shoots on consecutive Saturday mornings starting March 23 in the Santa Ynez Valley wine country and Santa Barbara area. With input from Chuck, fine tune your photographic skills and develop a personal style while exploring towns, locations and events like Los Olivos, Solvang, La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, Figueroa Mountain and the Summer Solstice Parade or the Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival. 

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A level camera creates parallel arches

Great Photography Tool For Leveling Your Camera

I love my cameras! There, I’ve said it. Neither my Canon 5D MkII or MkIII has ever quit on me. They give me consistent, predictable results. The quality is great and if an image does not resonate well, I know it is not the camera’s fault. And once in a while, I discover a function hidden away in the black hole of the Canon “Menus” that I actually need, like a built-in level. Who knew?

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Slow panning image of a surfer at sunrise

Photographing The Shape Of Motion With Shutter Drag

Most of the time we love fast shutter speeds. They “freeze” the moment. But on the other hand, fast shutter speeds also hide the beauty and grace of movement. The swirl of a dancer, the sensuous shape of a breaking wave—these are all hidden by a fast shutter speed. Shutter drag, or lengthening your exposure, reveals a whole new world of fluid color and unexpected shapes.

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@Joyce Wilson "Speak the Truth"

The Ten Commandments Of Great Photographs

I was recently invited to be the juror for the annual Captured Photographic Exhibition at the Santa Barbara Tennis Club Second Friday Art Exhibition. During the years I have judged for professional photographic organizations and taught at Brooks Institute, I used a guideline in my head to quickly evaluate images. 

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Traditional Native American dancers sidelit by the setting sun

Magic Hour Photography: Get Creative And Capture The Drama

Few photographers can resist shooting a beautiful sunset. Clouds build up, color starts to develop, you have a perfect ocean or lake surface for great reflections or you found some fascinating trees or buildings to silhouette against the colorful sky. It’s impossible to resist, isn’t it?

More often than not, however, at this time of day, I find myself turning my back on the sun as it goes down and watching for what it lights up.

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pumpkins and gourds

Halloween Photo Shoots: A Return To Childhood Fun

I’m a big fan of Halloween and I love photography. That’s the beauty of October. I get to combine two of my great passions.
As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, harvest season in my area kicks in. Grapes are harvested in the vineyards, the leaves on the vines begin to change color and pumpkin patches pop up here and there—

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Pizzas with hand for prop

Delicious Food Photography: The Basics Of Cooking Up Mouth Watering Images

I was shooting an article on Monterey, California, known for Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and great seafood. Dungeness crab is at the top of the areas epicurean list and I had already photographed a display of crabs on ice out on the pier. Although the shot was interesting, there was nothing appetizing about it. I was going to have to bite the bullet and go into a restaurant and photograph a crab dish properly.

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Gold Leaf

Gold Leafing: A Beautiful Alternative Photographic Print Process

I’ve been fascinated since childhood with gold and silver things. I cherish a tiny gold engraved vase that belonged to my grandmother, and a silver art deco jewelry box … a gift from my father to my mother during their courtship. And so about 10 years ago, I became obsessed with the idea of incorporating gold leaf into my photographic printing process

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Dusk photography

Channel City Camera Club: Supporting A Passion For Photography

At the end of one of my Santa Barbara City College photography classes, students often ask how to continue their photo education. I discuss the excellent photography program at SBCC, but at some point I begin to realize this is more of a commitment in time and money than the student is willing to make. When that happens, I bring up a great alternative available here in Santa Barbara—the Channel City Camera Club.

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Main building, Getty Museum

The Art of Subtraction in Contemporary Architecture Photography

When it comes to visiting, exploring and photographing contemporary architecture, there are two places in Los Angeles that I find myself going back again and again; the Walt Disney Concert Hall (by Frank Gehry) and the Getty Museum (by Richard Meier). These two locations manage to capture my undivided attention for hours. Over the years I have created hundreds of photographs at each location and I still discover new photographs every time I go.

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Pro Tips For Beautifully Exposed Sunsets

Have you ever been frustrated with a badly underexposed photo of a beautiful sunset sky? Everything had fallen into place. Interesting clouds had built up over your favorite piece of shoreline and with the sun on the horizon, color was developing in the clouds. But no matter how you played with the auto exposure setting on your camera, every shot was underexposed.

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Cambria coast

Give Yourself A Photography Assignment

Early in my career I often found myself wandering around various towns, frustrated, looking for something to photograph. I came to realize that there are always lots of subjects to shoot in any location. All I really needed was a framework, or storyline, about the subject or location. I needed to have something to say before I picked up my camera. I needed an assignment!

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