John Baker is a Boise, Idaho, photographer serving Ada County, Canyon County and beyond. John turned professional in December, 1978, while living in Wales. He is a Welsh speaking Brit having moved to the United States in 1985.
AND SO TO THE PRESENT
Since his arrival in the U.S.A. John has been widely published in many British and Canadian magazines including Natural History and Farm and Ranch Living here in the United States . . . plus many other magazines and projects in-between.
JOHN AS A PRODUCER AND PRESENTER OF 'MULTI-IMAGE' PROGRAMS
For more details go to the multi-image presentations page.
Because of the recognition brought about by his presentations, John has been asked to photograph and produce various customised pieces for a number of businesses and organizations over the years, and has now transferred this to the digital arena.
A LAST WORD
In other words, in John you'll get a wealth of experience, true artistry, and someone who is very easy to work with indeed.
OWN A CAMERA? OK, HERE'S A HANDFUL OF JOHN'S PRACTICAL PHOTO TIPS
LIGHT | Utilize the best light of the day. Texture enhances any image, be it a close-up or landscape. Sometimes, just by changing our camera angle we'll improve the lighting on a given subject. Get yourself to your chosen spot early or late, and then hurry up and wait!
SIMPLICITY | 'Clutter' is fine and necessary with some subjects such landscapes with foreground interest, but as a general rule keep things simple. Also, keep an eye out for distractions in the background which might be something like a branch, or a patch of unwanted light.
CREATIVITY | Experiment with techniques . . . could this subject be recorded best with a slower shutter speed; by selective focus; or a ‘ton’ of depth of field and so on? Make the ordinary look extraordinary.
COMPOSITION | Can the composition be improved with a different camera angle, or tighter framing? Zoom in and out, walk around and consider the angle of light on your subject and would-be distractions, then go ahead and shoot in the knowledge that you are giving the subject 'your best shot'.
IMPACT | Fill the frame whenever possible. Try a different camera angle, especially closer, lower or higher. Maybe a use the widest angle lens you have, then get in close. Experiment with panning techniques. Try different flash/daylight exposure combinations.
QUALITY | Use a tripod, and slow film whenever practical. The same applies to digital, as the 100/200 ASA will be superior to 400 ASA and above. Choose 'quality subjects' too.
DETAILS, DETAILS | Explore your viewfinder and remove those elements that will bother the life out of you later! This will usually be something akin to a splash of sunlight on a rock, or misplaced blade of grass when doing a macro [close-up] shot
GUIDELINES | Follow those photo guidelines such as the ‘rule of thirds’ and so on, BUT, also break those ‘rules’ whenever you see fit. Rule 1, take note of the rules, and rule 2, break the rules!
BE PREPARED | Especially when traveling. Closer to home, have a camera on hand for those special moments and so on. Make sure your not at the end of a roll or a full memory card, and pre-set a manual camera to around 125th @ f.8, or on Program. I also like to set my camera to Auto Expose Bracket [AEB], turn on wind/drive feature, and shoot freely in the knowledge that I'm covering all bases. This is a particularly good technique for difficult exposure situations, and for wildlife and sports etcetera.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND | Quality images ARE to be found with the sun at it’s highest point of the day, and polarization does work at other than right-angles to the sun. In other words you don't have to align yourself with the common clichés.
GO A STEP HIGHER | Don’t settle for ‘second-best’ . . . consider all the elements that could improve your picture before you release the shutter. This might be something distracting in the picture such as rubbish or a branch. Also, does the subject merge with something in the background that can be cured simply by moving to the right or left?
PLANNING AND PATIENCE | Get to know your subject's behavior patterns be it Elk during the rut, a bird approaching a nest, or when the sun will hit a mountain peak at dawn. It's all very rewarding and satisfying.
THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT | To improve your pictures consider your lenses and accessories. Will a filter help? Will a longer lens be useful for landscapes? Will auto-focus alleviate your focusing problems? These are decisions you have to make for yourself, so practice them until they become second nature to you.
WHICH CAMERA SYSTEM? | None in particular in my opinion. It's really all down to how you see and compose pictures, so it's not the equipment, it's you!
BE ADAPTABLE | Change camera positions to leave out those power poles or 'stray' people. Perhaps the shade of a tree can serve as your lens shade? Lost or broken your cable release? . . . use the self-timer.
TELL A STORY | Include the 'environment'. What does the image say about the time, place or person? I personally like to fill the frame with my subject, but once in a while I will include more of the background, such as in character shots to create an 'environmental portrait'.
TAKE THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARISE | Take the opportunities afforded by zoos, wildlife farms, and events such as historic re-creations to capture those rare and otherwise unobtainable images. Obviously you'll want to get in tight on your subject, so use longer lenses to eliminate society's distractions.
MAKE THE EFFORT | An image you have in mind may require some elaborate setting up. If the image is worth the effort, then go ahead and manipulate and coerce! Also, don't leave that tripod in the car or think, "the right lens is in my bag, but . . . ". When you take the time to get it right you won't be disappointed.
ENJOY YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY | Take pictures for your own pleasure first of all. Please don’t do it to please others or a club judge, though that will certainly follow.
PHOTOGRAPHY IS AN ART | . . . and just as with the many other arts out there in the big world, you will naturally develop your own style. Yes, even with a camera. I've been in Camera Clubs and at exhibitions and hear comments such as "That's a 'Joe Bloggs' shot", and we all have that potential.
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