Category Archives: Tips


When is photographing wild birds like shooting a football game? The two different genres of photography, wildlife and sports, may seem very dissimilar but the skills to shoot each are actually related. While there are always exceptions to the rule,  most sports photography requires a telephoto lens to bring athletes who can be far away [...]

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The secrets of photography

If you look for photographic tips on the Internet you’re likely to get a number of entries that are about “secrets” in photography. They’re usually titled something like “5 secrets of highly successful photographers” or “10 secrets to improve your pictures.” However, there aren’t any real “secrets” in photography. There isn’t a photographic illuminati guarding [...]

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There’s no place like home

(All of the following photos were taken in my hometown of Walnut Grove) “Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself: ‘There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.’” – Glinda the good witch from The Wizard of Oz Recently the web site Light Stalking had [...]

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A tip on tips

I once heard a feature story on the radio about holiday cooking traditions. A woman said that she cut the end off of a roast before cooking it because that’s the way her mother did. Her mother said she did it that way because that’s how her mother did it. Finally she asked her grandmother [...]

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A matter of balance

“Got to learn balance. Balance is key.” Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid One compositional goal that you can strive for in your photographs is that of balance. You may think that achieving balance in your pictures is an easy thing to do. All you have to do is to center your subject in the [...]

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Relative motion

Capturing motion is different depending on where subject is and how it’s moving relative to the camera. If a runner is moving from one side of the frame to the other (left to right or right to left), he/she will look like they’re going faster than if they’re coming towards or away from the camera [...]

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A matter of style

So you’ve mastered the fundamentals of photography. The principles of shutter speed, aperture and ISO are ingrained in your brain. You’ve developed an eye for composition and understand the essentials of light and lighting. You’re comfortable and skilled with using your equipment and got your timing down. Perhaps you want to step up your skills [...]

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The art of cropping

“Fill the frame” and “get in close” is a mantra for photographers. Another saying is: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, then you’re not getting close enough.” Most photographers will tell you that you should crop “in camera.” That is to say you should compose your pictures, whether by zooming in with your lens or [...]

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Learn by doing

Most people when using their DSLR cameras never venture further than using the “program” mode of the exposure systems. In “program” the camera sets both the shutter speed and aperture. Some more adventuresome picture takers may use “shutter priority” (you set the shutter speed/the camera sets the aperture) or “aperture priority” (vice versa). Very few [...]

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The great outdoor (portrait)

Another assignment I remember from my old photo-student days was the outdoor portrait and it, like the front, side and back lighting assignment, was a lesson in light. You would think that shooting outside would be pretty easy. There is plenty of light, so worrying about having a fast enough shutter speed to eliminate camera [...]

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    Clifford Oto

    Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals ... Read Full
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