David Whitney French Photography | Neutral Density Filter to the rescue!

Neutral Density Filter to the rescue!

December 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I went out at 2 pm to photograph children at the University of Arizona recently. As many of you may know, early afternoon is not always that magic hour of time as the sun can cast some pretty harsh shadows.  The university usually has some great grassy areas that are shaded, but today, nearly the entire campus was being re-seaded except for an area around where the original school was located, known as "Old Main". To the naked eye, 'Old Main' looked great, as it contained a section of green grass, tall trees and historic red bricks for the background. The problem was the sun that was beating down on the children. Normally, with this situation, my camera setting would call for an f-stop of f11 or higher. In portraiture, a wider f-stop, such as f5.6, produces a better photograph by throwing the background out of focus. If I used f5.6, the background would be overexposed. My solution was to make sure the subjects were positioned in a way that the sun became a back light and to use a neutral density filter. By using a neutral density filter and turning the children so they were faced away from the sun, I was to shoot at f5.6 and still keep the background from getting blown out. I also had a natural 'hair light' with the sun. The result was what you see below.



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Photography, Lessons Learned, and Cycling.



I have been taking pictures since I was about 6 years old.  I started with a Kodak Instamatic.  Just holding that Kodak was fun back then. Today, the camera badge may say "Nikon", but the fun of taking someone's photograph is still there. 


Times have changed regarding photography over the past 20 years.  My first business was in in Corpus Chirsti, Texas back in 1992.  I went under the same name, my name, David Whitney French Photography.  One of my favorite photo gigs was doing weddings.  Why?  Well, besides being a challenge at times, with the stress of getting the right shot in the age of film, everyone was happy!  It was a happy time for the groom, bride, attendants, everyone.  What more could I ask for?  Hanging out, with a camera for a few hours or more with a bunch of happy people.


Oh, and I like riding my bike!