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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Laughing Audience

Never pass up the chance to photograph happy children, laughing heartily.

An audience of children enjoys a puppet show at the Morey Elementary School in Lowell, Ma. (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
An elementary school puppet show usually provides a few photos of puppeteers with puppets either performing or interacting with children in the audience. On this occasion, the audience was the best part of the show, as the children were intently watching, laughing, cheering, gasping, giggling and yelling back to the puppets. I shot only one photo of the performers, but many great audience expressions and reactions, and this was the best. The only problem was the poor lighting required I use a direct flash for every shot, creating harsher lighting on the faces than if the auditorium had more adequate overhead lights. However, the facial expressions were so strong, the flash effect really didn’t detract from the powerful reactions. Many times, as in this case, the audience is the most photogenic part of the show – there was really no need to photograph the puppeteers.

3 Tips:
1) Expressions of children watching and reacting can be much stronger pictures than a shot of the event they are viewing.
2) If the lighting is not sufficient for naturally lit photos, don’t hesitate to use a flash, for you don’t want to miss a powerful picture.
3) Photograph a wide range of kids’ facial expression because you’ll often get increasingly better pictures.

Friday, May 13, 2011

“Here, You Take It”

Watch basketball action closely, stay ready to shoot, and you can sometimes photograph a behind-the-back pass.

Boston Celtics’ Chris Ford throws the ball back to teammate Rick Robey after being pressured by Seattle’s Dennis Johnson (© 1980 Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
It’s always worth trying to get great photos by shooting from the sideline near center court because occasionally you might see some unique action pictures. On this evening, Boston Celtic Chris Ford (42) encountered Seattle Supersonic Dennis Johnson (DJ - #24)), who was one of the NBA’s best defensive players. When DJ jumped to block any Ford shot and bar his path to the basket, he quickly passed back to Celtic teammate Rick Robey (53), and I had an unusual photo of the ball being passed midway between the two players. Ironically, Johnson later was traded to Boston and became a key member of the famous 1980s Celtics’ championship teams.

3 Tips:
1) Sitting at center court gives you a unique angle on unusual photos.
2) Using a long lens enables you to isolate key players or specific plays from the busy background.
3) Be patient from this vantage point, because players will be running in front of you constantly, and photo opportunities will be less frequent.