What’s Shutter Speed Got to Do With It? How to Take Better Photos.

Want to take better photos? The key is practice, practice, practice. And, if you get the chance to practice in the company of a pro, do it! Taking a photo tour with a legit photographer gives you the chance to ask all kinds of dumb questions and to correct one or two things that will immediately improve your shots.

Photo tips for beginners include choosing the right subject, like this red, rusty tractor.

Wandering around the Donaldson Farm, I kept waiting for the big tractors to talk to me as if I was in a Disney cartoon. Photo: The Open Suitcase LLC

Getting the chance to bum around with a professional photographer with an all access pass is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. And you don’t have to have tons of equipment or years of experience to have a great time and to learn to take better photos. I self-identify as a beginner-intermediate when it comes to using my DSLR camera, meaning I still have to think really, really hard about whether the aperture needs to be big or small to get a crisply focused background. Continue reading

Tips from a Pro: How to Take Great Travel Photos

Photographer-Avery-MeyersI fully intend to take dancing lessons before the first of my kids gets married. It’s one of my self-improvement goals. I have others, including “learn how to host an excellent dinner party” and “master intermediate plumbing” – I consider myself an advanced beginner, having repaired many running toilets.

Also on my list was the goal to improve my photography skills but it soared to number one with a bullet when I booked a bucket list trip to South Africa. Taking photos with my iPhone and compact camera would be fine, but I want better than fine for this trip. So I went looking for a professional photographer who would be willing to share some tips and techniques.
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“Oh, Christmas Twig. Oh, Christmas Twig.”

We have a home in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains and retreat there for the weekend following Christmas. Upon arrival, my kids conduct a stealth mission to find a mangy evergreen in need of a trim. They lop off 2 or 3 feet, scurry home, shove it in a stand and swaddle it in cotton batting in an attempt to keep it upright. We festoon it with a string of lights, some faded construction paper chains, and the handcrafted ornaments the kids made in elementary school – think elbow macaroni glitter-glued to a paper plate. We gather round and “ooh” and “aah” over the Christmas Twig as if it were the one in Rockefeller Center.

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Where Did I Put That Boarding Pass?

This post is intended for my fellow Luddites who print their travel documents. My phone is never fully charged so relying on it for boarding passes, maps, and itineraries is reckless. I am more secure knowing I have a piece of paper in my possession with my name printed alongside a flight or hotel or car reservation.

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