Category Archives: Photography Tips

Photography tips by Jim Crotty professional photographer Dayton Ohio

Seek the Authentic – Be Authentic

Seek authenticity, marvel in its presence but resist the urge to simply imitate. What is truly authentic should only inspire you to find what is already authentic in you. Doing so has become increasingly challenging in the popular culture of today where the emphasis is on appearance and immediate visual stimulation. Popular culture devours the authentic with an insatiable appetite and then sits in the corner, sad and empty-hearted. Just look what has happened to the most well known art and music “festivals.” There’s the perfect example. Imitation is a disguise for those who can’t – or have failed to – locate their own voice and it doesn’t help that we have entire industries that cater to imitation. Inspiration is the far better journey. Defy popularism. Be true, be inspired and become a source of inspiration versus imitation. That’s where you will find the good and lasting stuff.

Sunset sky over Albuquerque New Mexico on August 7 2014 by Jim Crotty
Scenes, landscape and skyscape on the journey between Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico by Jim Crotty
Sunset sky near Los Alamos New Mexico on March 6 2012 by Jim Crotty
Scenes, landscape and skyscape on the journey between Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico by Jim Crotty
Weathered texture of abandoned homestead in the Cabezon Peak Wilderness Area of New Mexico by Jim Crotty
An August day out on the Diamond Tail Ranch near Albuquerque New Mexico with Roch Hart of New Mexico Jeep Tours

2nd Photo Workshop Added for May 20 2017 in Dayton Ohio

I’m happy to announce that I have added a second, full day nature photography workshop for May 2017. In addition to the workshop in Hocking Hills Ohio on Saturday May 6th I will also be presenting a workshop at Cox Arboretum MetroPark near Dayton Ohio on Saturday May 20th. Both programs will be based on mastering the craft and art of spring nature photography. I present my workshops as an effective balance between both in-classroom instruction and field instruction, culminating in a review of select images from the students. The majority of my workshop students are those just starting out with their first DSLR camera but I also make it a point to include advanced instruction for the more experienced photographers. Additional details and registration information is available at http://jimcrotty.zenfolio.com/photography-workshops

Spring nature photography workshop by Jim Crotty at Cox Arboretum near Dayton Ohio on May 20 2017

Spring Photo Workshop in Hocking Hills Ohio

The Art of Spring in Hocking Hills Ohio  |  A Photography Workshop by Jim Crotty  |  Saturday May 6 2017 – The Inn at Cedar Falls

Promo flyer for May 6 2017 Nature Photography Workshop in Hocking Hills Ohio by Photographer Jim Crotty

Join Professional Photographer Jim Crotty as he returns to his favorite location in Ohio for nature and landscape photography, to do what he loves – teaching the art of capturing images and composing subjects and scenes in what he considers the best time of year in Hocking Hills – spring.

Jim will be leading a small group (his workshops are limited to 20 participants) along the best trails in Hocking Hills for capturing stunning imagery of the Hemlock-filled forests, waterfalls, streams and spring flora.

Instruction will be held both on the trail and in the classroom at The Inn at Cedar Falls – the perfect centralized location within the Park for easy access to the most scenic areas. From discovering or enhancing the photographer’s creative vision to grasping the technicalities of nature photography with the DSLR camera, Jim will be sharing his favorite tips and techniques for composing nature imagery that tells the true story of the true beauty of this special place.

Beginners are welcomed as well as advanced photographers. Jim is known for workshops that provide a valuable and fun learning experience for all who attend.

The cost is $100 per person for the full-day workshop (8AM to 5PM) which includes professional guidance and instruction, handout materials and lunch at The Inn at Cedar Falls. Fee does not include transportation and accommodations. Workshop participants who choose to stay overnight at The Inn at Cedar Falls will receive a special workshop discount.

To register please email jim@jimcrotty.com or call 937-896-6311. Once again this workshop is limited to the first 20 people who register so please email or call soon.

Just Half the Story | Tell Me More than Camera Settings

Early March at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills Ohio by Jim Crotty
Early March at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills Ohio by Jim Crotty

A photographer can describe a photograph in two ways.

Or a combination of both.

There is the description of the mechanics of the image – the camera and lens used and the camera settings as well as any accessories or filters applied during the exposure. I was reminded of such a description while reading the latest issue of Nature Photographer Magazine. Many beautiful images, and technically sound.

For this image such a description would read as follows – Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF24-70mm f2.8L USM lens. Exposure mode was aperture priority at f/16. Focal length was 27mm. ISO 50. Evaluative metering mode. Wait a minute, something I’m forgetting . . . oh yeah, shutter speed was one second. Oh, and I used a Giottos carbon fiber tripod, Kirk BH-1 ballhead and Kirk L-bracket. And a Canon RS-80N3 remote switch. And I was wearing my Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots too, which are pretty awesome by the way. Location was Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio. Date was March 6 2016. Capture time as 1:15:26 PM.

Still there? Good.

Bear with me.

There are many who prefer such a description below an image, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being more technically concerned with such information. But for me it is too defining, too closed-in, to withholding of the full potential of a photograph as both art of expression and extension of the photographer.

Truth be told it doesn’t take much to duplicate the image using just the technical information and the location.

But I always desire to go further, out beyond the mechanics of merely recording a second in time at a particular location. I want to see and contemplate how and why the presentation of moment and setting resounded in the photographer’s mind and heart to stop and record light in how it was being FELT, by first making use of his or her knowledge and experience of both equipment and exposure, and then letting go of preconceived expectations of what a particular audience wants to see and allow the vision and personality of the soul take priority.

That’s what an audience craves, whether they realize it or not.

It takes a bit more effort, and courage. There a comes a time when the growth of a photographer when he or she MUST place him or herself in every image and not just demonstrate technical proficiency. I think that’s exactly how I would describe the difference between beginning/amateur and experienced pro. There’s nothing to prove anymore other than the artist’s desire and joy in free expression unhindered by a lack of basic technical skill and experience (which I admit is necessary).

Unfortunately it feels as if everything in today’s world of instant entertainment and shallow appearances works against the full nurturing and crafting of artistic vision, and I fear so much of what truly makes an excellent image stand-out and tell a story is getting lost among all the noise.

Art is our treasure, a treasure that transcends time, for in art we see both the soul of the artist and a reflection of our own divine nature that strives to reach the uncommon and higher road.

Here’s how I prefer to describe the image posted here with this article –

Early March in Hocking Hills, Ohio, along the trail to Cedar Falls. A longer time exposure to convey the movement of water flowing from the first signs of winter’s release and a wider focal length to compose both foreground and background so that I could communicate both source and flow. This is a reawakening of life in the woods and the first signs of movement toward change in seasons, in both the landscape and within me personally. It was a challenging winter and a soon-to-be even more challenging spring. Changes had to come for new, vibrant growth to take place. I desired to part of that flow, to something greater, something better, and in the deepness of that pool I felt my soul and spirit move under the direction of a loving and guiding hand.

Yeah, I think I life that description better.

Explore Night Sky Photography in Hocking Hills Ohio on November 4-5 2016

There’s now a “workshop only” option for the Night Sky Photography Workshop set for November 4-5 2016 at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills Ohio. $50 for Friday evening only and $89 for Friday evening and Saturday morning. The full package that includes meals and two nights accommodations at The Inn starts at $524 for two people. I’m looking forward to returning to the ‘Hills and sharing my love for nature photography and the beautiful, dark sky of Hocking Hills. To reserve your spot please call The Inn @ 1-800-65-FALLS.  For more information please visit https://innatcedarfalls.com/group-events/workshops/ThroughtheOpeningbyJimCrottyFW

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A Photographic Moment | The Bridges of Preble County Ohio

Discussing the regaining of creative momentum, positive energy, covered bridges and the Canon 5DS. I also mention my two upcoming workshops – “Find Your Creative Zone” on Saturday, August 27 2016 at Cox Arboretum and the “Shoot the Stars/Night Sky” workshop on November 4-5 at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

A Photographic Moment | The Bridges of Preble County from Jim Crotty on Vimeo.