Photography book – thoughts and questions

I recently told my Facebook friends that I was thinking of writing a book to help people get better photos with their fancy cameras, and received a lot of positive feedback.

Jansen Baby Birthday
Getting consistently sharp, vivid, interesting photos doesn't have to be hard.

Some of the things I want to write about include:

  • Getting photos that aren't too bright or too dark.
  • Getting photos where people aren't blurry.
  • Making people look great.
  • Taking pictures that are beautiful, more often.

I don't want to be technical in this book, other than introducing people, slowly, to important concepts in photography. I want to show people through example and experience exactly what's going on when they snap a picture that they later find to be ugly, horrible, or too blurry or bright/dark to use.


One of my photos is being shared around Facebook with the tagline #OccupyAdoration, shared originally by the Peoria Young Catholics Facebook Page:

Occupy Adoration

They did ask permission for using the photo, which was good of them; I've seen some of my photos pop up on websites, some videos, and even a textbook without my permission :-/

Here's the original picture on Flickr.

While I'm no great fan of the #occupy movement, I wholeheartedly agree that occupying your local Eucharistic Adoration chapel would be a very worthy cause. Save your own soul, and save the world!

Willis Tower, Chicago IL

Willis Tower Perspective

I took this photo from the ground at Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago, IL over the weekend. I also took a bunch of HD videos from the SkyDeck that I'll be putting together into a few minutes of video. Truly a majestic building, and I wonder if we'll ever see something taller in the U.S. Seems our architectural prowess is taking a back seat to the rest of the world lately.

As an aside, if the iPhone 4 takes pictures of this quality, I can't wait to get an iPhone 4S and ditch my Nikon D7000 for many of my trips. While using a 50mm f/1.4 inside in a dim room and still getting nice shots is awesome, having a camera that's always with me and gets 'pretty good' shots is also awesome. I hope to get a 4S soon!

The Magic Keyhole in Rome

During part of a driving tour of ancient Rome this year, our (my wife's and my) tour guide drove us to a small courtyard on one of the hills near the Colosseum. As he parked the car, I noticed two rather serious looking militia with automatic weapons standing in the courtyard—and I hoped they weren't there for me! They had their fingers over the triggers the whole time I was there, though they seemed friendly enough as we passed by on our way to a mysterious door.

The tour guide told us that there was a delightful treat waiting for us; he told us to look into a small keyhole, not a half inch in diameter, and see what we could see. It was obvious many people had touched the door around the keyhole, so it had to be a somewhat popular thing to do.

My own suspicions made me hesitate from putting my eye to the hole—whenever I'm told to do something touristy, like rub the belly of a bronze Billiken statue, I remember what college kids did to such statues—but when my eye came into focus, I saw a brilliant and beautiful sight. A sight that cannot be adequately captured by a camera: