Greetings folks. We’ve had an incredibly busy summer and are getting settled again for this Fall. The kids are headed off to school and the leaves are starting to turn colors. I love this time of year and very much enjoy taking great photographs during this season of change. Our new base of operations is in Gig Harbor, Washington and it is just gorgeous here. The boats on the harbor make for great travel shots and the local area is awash in green trees and lush vegetation. It is a photographer’s paradise.

I hope you are out taking pictures every day. Truly, the only way to improve your craft is to practice, practice, practice.

A general note about our workshops for 2006. We are in the process of putting together our schedule right now. There are lots of requests for new workshops on Digital Workflow, Photoshop, Printing Methods, Portrait photography, Nikon D2X and D2H and Black and White photography. Additionally, we’ll be trying hard to bring these workshops to many new locations throughout the USA. Look for more workshops in the Mid-west, East coast and West coast. It’s going to be another great year!

Photo Techniques: No Fear and a Wide Angle Lens
While leading some workshops in San Francisco last month, I headed out to grab a bite to eat in China Town. As I meandered through the streets looking for a good restaurant, I heard a drum beating and then lots of people cheering somewhere in the distance. I knew something was up, so I started on a dead run towards the sound. As I got nearer, I saw a huge crowd of people gathered in the middle of the street watching a Chinese Dragon competition. I quickly jumped up on a trash can to get above the people to see what was going on. I took out my camera and began shooting the dragon competition with a telephoto lens. I quickly decided that my shots weren’t good enough, so I jumped down and tried to push my way closer to the action. However, the crowd was pretty big, and getting closer was very difficult.

I knew in my head that the shot that I wanted was a wide angle picture of a dragon jumping up and down right in front of my camera. The only way to make that happen was to crawl between the people on my hands and knees! So, I did. I got down on the ground and crawled through the crowd until I was right up front. Soon, I was standing next to the drummers and the competitors. I attached my 12-24mm lens and zoomed out to 12mm. Then, I set my camera on Continuous Drive so I could shoot 3 frames per second. Next, I switched my auto focus to Continuous so I could track the dragons as they leapt into the air and moved around. I set my metering system to Matrix, and then dialed in some positive exposure compensation (between +0.3 and +1.0 depending on the composition) for the white dragons. Then, I started shooting as fast as I could.

The drums and cymbals were almost unbearably loud and I remember trying to cover my right ear with my shoulder while snapping pics. As I walked around, I varied my position from standing to kneeling in order to get different perspectives. I walked up to lots of the people who were performing and snapped their pictures as well. Because everyone was in a festive mood, getting pictures and close-ups of people was very easy. All the performers were enthusiastic about posing and smiling and having a great time.

The real photo technique here mostly has to do with letting my fears go by the wayside so I could push forward through the crowd to get the shot. If I just stood in the background shooting photos, then I never would have captured the emotion or the excitement of the celebration. The secondary photo technique here was using a wide angle lens and getting down low to grab a new perspective. Forcing myself to do something that was a little uncomfortable at first, definitely made for better photos in the long run! (see the pictures at

Digital Tidbits: Creative use of White Balance
In previous newsletters I have talked about how to set your white balance correctly so that your digital camera records the colors properly (see previous newsletters here: I want to take a moment to show you how to use your white balance controls creatively to get some uncommon and very artistic results. To see pictures that go along with this text, head to

A few weeks ago I was leading some workshops in Oceanside California, just outside of San Diego. One evening, I headed out to the harbor to take some night shots of the area. As the sun set, the sky turned dark purple and I took a few interesting shots of the boats in the bay. But it wasn’t until long after the sun set that my shots started taking on an other-worldly look.

There was a low overcast in the sky, so all of the city street lights cast interesting colors that were reflected back onto the landscape. I set up my digital camera (Nikon D70) and started taking some 15 second and 30 second exposures of the sky and the palm trees. I found that choosing different white balance settings created some very interesting effects. For example, I chose “incandescent” white balance, then I chose “shady” white balance then I chose “sunny” white balance. Each of the settings dramatically changed the feel and look of the night photos.

As time went on, I started to incorporate more of the scene into my shots. For example, I took some shots when cars would be going by, or I had someone stand in the scene to give the picture a sense of scale. In all, I spent about an hour taking various pictures – the whole time just having a ball trying different things. The great thing about digital was that I could instantly see the results of my efforts and then try something new for different results.

Which white balance setting was “right”? None of them and all of them. The truth is that each of my shots was an artistic interpretation of the scene, so I gave myself freedom to mix it up. Sometimes, doing the wrong thing photographically leads to a better result. Experimentation always leads to new and creative ways of photographing your scene.

Workshop Updates:
The Art of Travel Workshops
The next Art of Travel workshop is scheduled for October 28th and 29th in the Columbia River Gorge. This beautiful location in NW Oregon is a fantastic area to practice your outdoor and travel photography. It is a two-day event and is targeted towards those of you who want to create beautiful, artistic images of your travels. We will cover many topics around fundamentally understanding what elements need to combine to creating great pictures. The Columbia Gorge offers so any inspiring photographic subjects that it is hard not to come away from this session with beautiful photographs. Go here for more details:

Nikon D70 Workshops
These continue to be our most popular workshops and now that Nikon has been selling their new D70s, we’ll continue to run these for 2006. Next week’s workshop still has seats available, so let us know if you’d like to sign up by sending an email to: [email protected] Updated Schedules are posted here:

Portrait Photography Workshop
Many of you have requested a portrait and studio photography workshop, so we have designed one that will get your creative juices flowing! Whether you just want to be able to take better photos of your children or you want learn some really great techniques as a pro, this workshop is where you need to be. We’ll cover lots of topics such as lighting methods, flash, reflectors, posing and gear. The web page is currently being constructed right now, but will have all the details posted soon at The workshop will be held on November 18-19 in Portland/Vancouver. We’ll be adding more cities and dates for 2006 soon.

Nikonians Workshops
The summer Nikonians workshops throughout the Western states were a huge success. We had a great time meeting so many of you out on the road, that we’ll be scheduling many more for 2006. We’ll be headed out to the East Coast for the entire month of October leading workshops in Boston, New York, Washington DC and Toronto. Follow this link for the official list of dates and locations:

Nikon iTTL Flash Workshops
If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to get your flash photography to look natural, then you need to attend this workshop. We spend all day learning the ins and outs of the Nikon’s SB600 and SB800 flashes. You’ll never again have to struggle with these flashes.

Photoshop Workshops
We’ve finished up our Photoshop workshops for 2005 and will be adding many more for 2006. These workshops are a great way to learn Photoshop while using practical, real world examples that photographers face each day. Also, based on customer feedback, we are working on creating up to two more Photoshop workshops: Photoshop III and Black & White conversions with printing.

Private Tutoring
Each month, more and more of you are signing up for private workshops. These are becoming very popular and are an affordable way for you to learn specifically what you want to learn in a one-on-one environment. During these sessions, we are able to work specifically on your own photographic needs and at your own pace. Available topics are Studio Lighting, Nature Photography, Wedding photography, Photoshop, color management, digital workflow, flash photography, portraiture, etc. Many of our customers have requested specific topics and we have tailored our private tutoring to their needs. Call (360) 750-1103 or email ([email protected]) if you have questions about this option.

Nikon Gear for sale:
Nikon 300mm f/4.0 lens AF-D. Lens is in excellent condition. Comes with Front 81A filter as well as internal 39mm filter. Price is $425.

Tokina 20-35 f/2.8 AT-X lens. Nikon mount. This is a great lens that is in excellent condition. I’ve taken some of my best pictures with it. Price is $295.

Send me an email ([email protected]) if you are interested or would like to see pictures of the gear.

As always, if you have questions or need more information, please send an email or give us a call. We’ll get back to you right away and are always happy to help. Also, I just wanted to say thank you for all of your referrals. Many people have signed up based on word-of-mouth contact from you and I want you to know how much I truly appreciate your kind words.

Best regards,

Mike Hagen
Out There Images – “Get Out And Learn!”
PO Box 1966
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
[email protected]

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