My New Book on the California Coast!

By Kerry Drager

As many of you know, I’ve been the author and co-author of a number of photography books published by established publishers. Well, I’ve just entered the world of self-publishing. And I’m really excited — and proud — of my first venture!

It’s a small softcover picture book that features 36 of my favorite color photos of the California Central Coast — specifically, Cambria, Cayucos and San Simeon. This 5×8-inch, 24-page book is the perfect size to flip through for inspiration or to give as a gift. Check it out at the publisher’s bookstore page — Coastal Visions — where you can also see a preview of the entire book.

NOTE: All photos in the book are in full color, as is the Preview seen on my computer. However, on my iPhone, the Preview pages are in B&W — some sort of mobile-device mystery, I presume 🙂

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Also check out my website — www.kerrydrager.com

Capturing Coastal Drama: Sunset Colors and Beachgoers

by Kerry Drager

Lots of good things were happening the other evening! That included cool-vs.-warm color contrast as well as folks enjoying the coastal drama AND stopping in the best spot for my photo! 🙂 This image, by the way, is the latest in my “figures in the scenery” series in which people (or animals) serve as design elements, rather than identifiable subjects.

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Details for Above Photo: Photographed at Moonstone Beach, a part of Hearst San Simeon State Park, California Central Coast. Nikon D4. F/8 @ 1/8th second. 400 ISO. 24-85mm zoom lens. Tripod.

By the Way: The camera settings were no accident. I chose a high ISO and a middle aperture, which resulted in a 1/8th second shutter speed. Now, that’s certainly not a super-fast exposure by any means, but it was fast enough to “freeze” distant people standing and gazing at the sunset. I shot a number of extra images for “insurance” purposes — to ensure subject sharpness and to also make sure I caught them in good body positions.

See Photo Below! This “blue” image was captured just FIVE minutes BEFORE the above “warm-and-cool-color” photo. Great cloud formations and people-as-accent subjects in both images, but what a difference. It really pays to stick around when the late-day clouds and colors are in action.

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Getting Creative with Composition: Big Sunset, Small View

By Kerry Drager

This sunset reflection photo is a favorite of mine, and it’s led a charmed life 🙂 … First, it was published in one of the books that I co-authored a couple of years ago — The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography. Currently, it’s on display in the gallery of the local Cambria Center for the Arts.

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Before moving to California’s Central Coast (Cambria) last year, our country pond was a favorite go-to spot of mine for  sunset photography. I often armed myself with a telephoto zoom lens, which is ideal for zeroing in tight on distant things — in this case, the colors, reeds and grasses.

As always for stationary scenes, I used a tripod for camera steadiness and for careful composing. And to accurately capture the colors, I set the White Balance for Direct Sunlight (my default setting for natural light from dawn to dusk).

Tech Stuff: f/13 @ 1/8th second. ISO 400. 70-300mm zoom lens set at 220mm. Tripod with cable release.

Take Your Photography to the Next Level at The Arcanum!

By Kerry Drager

Hi Everyone, and great news! I have returned to online photo education! It’s an honor to be one of the photography masters at The Arcanum — the extremely cool and extremely unique online mentoring program.

My own Arcanum group involves dynamic composition, natural light, personal vision, artistic expression, etc. … an exciting creative adventure!

Interested? When filling out your Arcanum application, be sure to specify me as your preferred mentor (master) … and it also …wouldn’t hurt to send me an alert via email — kerry.drager(at)gmail.com

Thanks, and I hope to see you on board at The Arcanum!

Light, Color & Abstract Pattern

by Kerry Drager

“Discover the world around you” is great creativity advice for photographers. And sometimes that means going no further than your own front door. Literally! 🙂

The other day, our home’s entryway — with the textured glass — came alive with sunlight and color in late afternoon. I then moved in extremely close with a macro lens in order to catch the scene’s graphic-design elements: i.e., line, pattern, color and repetition. The colors, by the way, resulted from the outside welcome mat. :)))

Following are two different versions, and I like them both!

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More Info: The details and settings are the same for both photos: Nikon D4. F/22 @ 1 second. 100 ISO. 105mm macro lens. Tripod.

Shooting Notes: The small aperture (f/22) helped achieve as much depth of field (front-to-back sharpness) as possible. With stationary macro scenes, a tripod is a must, along with a shutter-release cable and, if possible, mirror lockup (a feature found on many DSLRs, although a self-timer works too).

Here is a quick snapshot showing the overall (“before”) view of the entryway.

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Like what you see? Check out my website: kerrydrager.com … Also see a listing of classes, mentoring and workshops…

Graphic Design and Recycled Junk Art

By Kerry Drager

While looking for graphic-design scenes one day, I ran across something totally artsy and totally off-beat … a pattern of old light bulbs lined up in metal mesh 🙂 I captured this unique image at the wonderfully creative Junk Girls shop in Cambria, CA.

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A big “Thank You!” to owners Jenny and Melissa! As often happens after capturing an in-store shot, I then discovered some other very cool Junk Girls items to purchase for a future home macro project … so stay tuned… :)))

More Details: Nikon D4. I chose a small aperture of f/22 to capture as much depth of field (front-to-back sharpness) as possible. 1/10th second. 100 ISO. 105mm lens. Tripod.

Note: Here’s a bigger view of the scene.

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Liking what you see? Check out my kerrydrager.com website.  Also see my Learn Photography page — a listing of classes, mentoring and workshops.

Exploring Color, Line and Pattern

by Kerry Drager

A lineup of rental ocean kayaks caught my attention the other day — for two very good reasons:

1) Color contrast: Check out the warm tones (mostly yellows) vs. the cool greens.

2) Graphic design: Lines and patterns were the attractions here. Also, I slanted the camera slightly to make the already strong lines even stronger — as diagonals.

With my telephoto zoom lens, I zeroed in tight on the best parts of the scene, while leaving out surrounding distractions (see the overall view below). A tripod, by the way, let me frame my composition precisely (no need for post-cropping!), while also letting me get a deep depth of field (via f/22 for maximum front-to-back sharpness) and use a low ISO (100) for the best in image quality.

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As always, lighting was just as important as subject. Here, the light was just right — soft and diffused from an overcast sky.

More Info: Photographed at San Simeon Cove, William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach, California Central Coast. Nikon D4. F/22 @ 1/6th second. 100 ISO. 70-300mm zoom lens set at 170mm. Tripod.

By the way, here’s a “before” image that shows the overall view:

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Like what you see? See my listing of exciting classes, mentoring and workshops…

Surf, Sand and Shadows

by Kerry Drager

A high vantage point is often a unique photo viewpoint! From atop a coastal pier, I pointed my camera straight down in order to catch these long diagonal lines created by the low-angled sunlight of early morning. The sudsy ocean curve also made a very nice contrasting element in this light-and-shadow show. In addition to shadows, a low sun — whether early or late day — also creates great texture in sand.

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More thoughts:

– A telephoto zoom let me zero in tight on the best parts of the scene, while letting me keep out any distractions. BTW, I don’t post-crop, preferring instead to compose the image just the way I want it at the time of shooting.

– I took multiple shots of this scene, since with the ever-changing surf, it’s hard to predict exactly what you’ll get. Some images had too much water, others not enough, but this picture — to my eye — was just right

All the Details: Photographed at San Simeon Cove, William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach, California Central Coast. Nikon D4. F/22 @ 1/15th second. 100 ISO. 70-300mm lens set at 145mm. Tripod.

Like what you see? Check out my website: kerrydrager.com … Also see a listing of classes, mentoring and workshops…

Learn to Get Creative with Your DSLR Camera!

Hello, California photographers in San Luis Obispo County!

I am teaching an exciting photography course this fall! For more information, go to my website: www.kerrydrager.com/Pages/Photo-Class

Or, for additional details and/or to sign up, go directly to the Cuesta College Community Education website…

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Thanks!

Kerry