Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is it about photography?

That is the question of this post.  I want to know what it is about photography that you like or dislike.  Is it simply a method of recording a moment in time or is it something more?  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think about photography.  If there are some topics that you would like me to cover leave those as comments as well.  Who knows I may be able to help you out!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lighting Part 1 of 3

When I first started out I portrayed myself as a "natural" light shooter. Why do you think I did that? The answer is one that I am sure some of you would give if you were willing to admit. I... had no idea how to use a flash. It was that simple. I had purchased a great hot shoe flash to attach to my camera but the results were less than desirable. Everyone always seemed to come out with that "drivers license" photo look. Yuck! That flash remained in my bag much more often than it was on the camera. Years go by and I finally decide I want to understand this lighting thing. I started reading books and watching videos to see what I was doing wrong. The number one piece of advice from all these different sources was... take the flash off the camera. What? What was the point of the hot shoe on the camera if I had to take the flash off? Well, the manufactures had to have somewhere to put a connection. The hot shoe should be used more for a controller (master) flash, transmitter, flash cord or if you do not have any other choice the flash itself. Most modern systems even come capable of shooting with the flash off the camera wireless. They use inferred or a flash signal from the built in flash on the camera. Check your make and model for specifics and get that flash off the camera. You will see an immediate improvement. It adds dramatic light casting various shadows across your subject and eliminates annoying red eye.

Check back soon for Lighting Parts 2 and 3 for details on diffusion, light stands, speedlights, studio strobes etc.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hey, Did you Photoshop That?

Ansel Adams, arguably one of the best B&W photographers of all time, would spend days in a dark room for a single image. His prints looked nothing like his negatives (no one questions that!)… After all, the print is what matters in the end.

I get asked all the time did you "photoshop" that image (photoshop is used in place of the word edit)? The answer is ALWAYS yes. The image that is captured in the camera is nothing but digital data. That data in its RAW form looks very VERY flat (I shoot RAW files and create jpegs later). The jpeg image that is produced by ALL digital cameras, whether on the camera’s LCD or the actual image, is adjusted by the camera based on what it thinks you might like. I touch all my photos because I want my vision to be seen. This was all done in the traditional darkroom by everyone for every image (the 1-hour or mail-in photo places were notorious for editing poorly)…. Now many people look down on photo editing and after looking at some photos out there I can certainly understand why. However, digital editing is truly necessary unless you are okay with what Mr. Nikon or Mr. Canon says is a good photo.

That is why this photographer always edits his digital images.  Please chime in and let me know what you think about editing your photos?  What do you think about photos that have been edited with super saturation and/or special effects.  Do they have their place?

Before Editing

After Editing


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Sharpness is one of "those" aspects of photography that give photographers a hassle (myself included).  There are multiple reasons for having soft images (meaning out of focus) and most of those reasons are the result of the photographer and not the gear.  There is a saying by well know photographer Scott Borne that says it all:  "99% of all lenses are better than 95% of all photographer"...  What does that mean?  It means that many sharpness issues photographers blame on equipment are a direct result of their failure to use the equipment properly. 

So, what can we do about the sharpness problem?
  1. USE A TRIPOD-this is perhaps the biggest way to improve your sharpness.  It works by eliminating camera shake.  I am certainly about saving a buck when I can but you do not want to skip on your tripod or tripod head.  If you spent $1000+ on a camera why would you put it on a $24.99 tripod from Walmart?  It would be best to save your money and get a decent one.  You do not have to go all out and get a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod for $1,199.00 but somewhere around the $120-$300 mark should do you fine. 
  2. Use a remote release.  If you are doing any type of long exposures such as night photography you will want to use a remote release.  Even pushing the shutter button can cause a bit of shake.
  3. Increase you shutter speed (if possible).  If you are taking photos of moving subjects (people, animals, cars etc) you really need to be aware of your shutter speed.  Depending on your lens try to keep the speed around 1/125 or higher to ensure that the motion is stopped.  The faster a subject is moving the higher the shutter speed needs to be to freeze the motion.  Of course you may not want to freeze the motion completely but that is another topic.  See Panning:  Auto Racing and a New Experience for a bit more information.
  4. Watch your apeture.  If you are taking the photos with an f-stop of 2.8 the focusing plane is very small.  Try making the apeture smaller (increasing the f-stop number to f8 or f11 for example)
  5. Learn proper hand holding technique when not using your camera without a tripod.  You want to make sure that your left hand is positioned underneath the lens not on top or to the side.  When possible keep your elbows tucked in to your ribs as well.
  6. Make sure if you are using auto focus that your point of focus is on the right part of the subject.  Most, if not all, auto focus systems pick the object closest to the photographer to focus on.  If necessary change focus points or switch to manual focus.
  7. Did I mention a tripod?
On the full sized version you can see the hair on the legs of this spider.

As always if you have any questions or comments leave them right here or start a discussion on the Eldridge Studios Facebook Fanpage.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Four Year Old Camera and a Kit Lens

Each year the camera manufactures come out with brand new products that are marketed to those of us who can't resist the urge to upgrade.  The discussion of equipment is a huge part of many photographic circles.  Frankly, I love the gear myself.  I have not always been able to upgrade when I would like to due to the enormous costs involved.  Typically, I like to make a new purchase with every other generation.  Right now, Nikon and Canon fans are all waiting to see what comes out of Photokina (major photography gear show).  I hope to make a new camera purchase within the next year but I will wait and see what the future holds.  So, why is the blog post titled "A Four Year Old Camera and a Kit Lens"?  Because photography is not (nor should it be) all about the gear.  It is about the creation of images based on our vision.  The equipment is simply a tool.

When I set out this past Thursday night I was trying to decide what equipment to take and I knew that I would be doing a good bit of walking in the middle of down town Miami.  I decided to take my cheapest two lenses to help cut down on the weight.  One is a Nikkor 18-50mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens and the other is a Nikkor 70-300mm f3.5-5.6.  The camera, which is the only digital that I own, is a Nikon D200 and is about four years old (you can get one of these on ebay for about $500.00).  Now, I want you to take a good look at these photographs and I want you to tell me where it shows that these were taken with a four year old camera and a kit lens.  You can't and that's my point.  It has very little to do with the equipment and a lot to do with the photographer.

Still, I am eagerly awaiting Nikon's next full frame camera for an upgrade but until then I think what I have will do just fine. 

Thanks everyone for tuning into my blog and, if you haven't already, make sure you "Like" the Eldridge Studios' Facebook Fan Page.  Until next time keep finding new ways to capture life through photography.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Art Walk is Over but the Shutter Still Clicks.

All Photographs courtesy of Angeline Martinez
The photos have all been taken down... the Coconut Grove Art walk is over.  This has been a fantastic experience and I want to thank Dharma Studios for hosting the event and being so kind to us.  I cannot tell you how many times they said "treat this like your own home".  They never once complained and only offered assistance.  I hope to oneday work with them again.

I would consider this event a huge success.  I overheard coversations praising my work.  I hear it from my friends and family but often feel they biased.  Because of the Art Walk I was able to get honest feedback from unbiased people.  Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out through the event.  A special thanks should go to Angeline Martinez for helping me through everything and being my sounding board for new ideas.  She shared the event with me showing her recent series on the oil spill in the Gulf.  You can find her work [here] if you are interested.

Thank you Kim (wife) for helping me lug all the equipment and prints everywhere and providing unmatched moral support.  I would not have had the drive without your encouragement.  Love you!

"On to the Next"....  

I have plans for another photo outing this weekend so be on the look out for new posts and photos soon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dharma Studio Exhibit: Press Release Revisited

Yes, we have all seen this Press Release before.  I am showing it again because it is THIS Saturday!  There was also a write-up in the Miami Herald about the event.  This write up features one of my photographs that will be on display Sept. 4th at Dharma Studio in Coconut Grove.  Here is the link to the article:

Thanks for keeping up with the blog and if you find yourself in Coconut Grove on Saturday stop by and say hello. 

Angeline Martinez, who is an amazing painter, will be sharing the studio with me as well.  If you do stop by I believe you will be in for a treat.

Here is the photo that they featured: 

Hydrographics by Jason Eldridge – Eldridge Studios to Show at Coconut Grove, Florida’s Dharma Studio

Dharma Studio in Coconut Grove, Florida will present an exhibition of photographic works by Jason Eldridge entitled, Hydrographics during the Coconut Grove Art Stroll. The exhibition will open for the evening of Saturday, September 4, for one night. It will be the first opportunity for the public to view these beautiful photographs at Dharma Studio.

Jason Eldridge resides in Homestead, Florida and began his photographic career in Tennessee in 2001. While he participates in other photographic genres such as portraiture and fine art, his passion has always been nature and wildlife photography. His photographs capture spectacular and fragile moments that are truly gifts from God.

The show Hydrographic will feature captured moments of water landscapes found in Florida. Locations featured include Everglades National Park, Jensen Beach and Hutchinson Island.

Jason Eldridge photographs nature and events. He has attended seminars with world renowned photographer John Shaw and received portraiture instruction from local photographer Robert Holmes. His photography received first and second place in a photography show at the Jefferson County Fair in Tennessee. His most recent work involved the Roxy Theatre Group of Miami where he captured their magical and musical performance in “Once Upon a Mattress.” Examples of his landscape and event photography can be viewed in his online gallery

For further information about Dharma Studio, call 305.461.1777, email at, or visit

For further info about Jason Eldridge, call 305.989.3279, e-mail or on the web at and