Photos by Scott R. Asher

Late night dinner at the Bellagio Las Vegas

One of my favorite places in Las Vegas is the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden. It is spectacular what the Bellagio does, and it is all 100 % free. The other thing that is so cool about this, is that the Bellagio cafe is adjacent to garden viewing area and it makes for a very nice dinner for under 100 bucks!

One late night I thought I would go out for a little dinner and some cool pics.

How to Take Better Photographs With Any Equipment

As a photographer, I am occasionally asked “how can I take better pictures?”  My stock answer is “put yourself in front of more interesting subjects.”  This is usually not well received by the asker and I have to go into further detail.  There are several points to take into consideration to move beyond taking snapshots.  Here are several tips for taking better pictures.  These are some fundamentals that will help your photography.

1.  Get Closer to Your Subject

We’ve all seen throngs of tourists with cameras around their necks, pointing the camera aimlessly, snapping up whatever image is in front of them.  Hundreds of pictures are taken and boring slide shows ensue.  You’ve probably seen a vacation slide show – picture after picture of boring landscapes, tiny people next to big objects, buildings – not much in the way of personality.  The idea here is that you are seeing something with your eyes that is appealing to you – either light, texture or whatever – it is a subject.  The snapshooter stands 6-10 feet away from the subject and snaps a shot.  What I’m suggesting is that you do is move forward 5 steps past where you feel comfortable.  You might think you’re crowding or invading your subject’s space.  If you feel that sensation, go even further, take a couple more steps.  Find the most interesting thing about your subject and frame that in the lens.  If it’s a human being, it’s most likely their face, particularly their eyes and mouth.  There are usually pictures within pictures everywhere and if you get closer, you’ll find interest within your subjects and your photographs will be better.

2.  Photography is all about Light

Cameras record the reflectivity of light – that’s really all they do.  There are better qualities of light which can turn a snapshot into an artistic photograph.  The first and last light of the day is the best light to transform an otherwise boring image into an artistic expression.  The middle of the day is that absolute worst time to take outdoor photographs (unless you’re in open shade and use fill flash to illuminate a face).

How to Take Better Black and White Photos

A black and white photograph can provoke powerful emotions and convey artistry. Symmetry, shadows and textures can be revealed in a black and white picture that appear flat in full color. This article describes how to “train the eyes” to see the world in black and white.

Things you’ll need:

A camera

Red sunglasses

1 I was introduced to making black and white pictures in high school with a film camera. The intention was to produce a striking image with depth, shadows, textures and a feeling of emotion. One way to do this is to simply take many pictures and hope that they come out well in black and white. Another way is to train your eyes to see in black and white. I was walking in the desert around Nelson, Nevada and stumbled upon this abandoned gas pump. It was set against a bunch of rusted junk and green shrubbery. The pump was rusted where the old paint had peeled off. Since the pump was white and the green of the shrubs would be dark in a black and white photo, I decided this was a good subject.

2 Buy a pair of red sunglasses. I discovered by accident (after finding a pair) that red sunglasses would make greens darker and give a good idea of whether an image would look striking in black and white.

3 Walk around and look at the world with your cheap red sunglasses. It will seem odd at first but eventually you’ll see shapes, shadows, symmetry and lines. These are elements that make black and white photography work. This photo is of the gas pump as you would see it with through your cheap red sunglasses. The red filter shows the contrast between the white pump, rust and black letters. It also shows how the greens will darken in greyscale.

4 The final step is to capture your image and process it in your favorite photo editing software. Picasa, the free google application has a variety of black and white editing functions. Photoshop offers a multitude of controls to tweak and perfect your image to your artistic taste. The old saying, “looking at the world through rose colored glasses,” can be a photographic training tool. Red colored sunglasses will even show you the potential for infrared simulated photographs.

A black and white photograph can provoke powerful emotions and convey artistry. Symmetry, shadows and textures can be revealed in a black and white picture that appear flat in full color. This article describes how to “train the eyes” to see the world in black and white.

Instructions

Things you’ll need:

A camera

Red sunglasses through rose colored glasses,” can be a photographic training tool. Red colored sunglasses will even show you the potential for infrared simulated photographs.

Tips & Warnings

Have fun hunting for great black and white photograph opportunities.

If you’re driving with your cheap red sunglasses on, beware that it’s hard to see green lights.

Scott designs teardrop banners!

Scott designs some teardrop banners in illustrator for a Denver area Golf Company .

*To see full size image click on the thumbnail image.