TWiT Photo Ep. 39 with Darren Heath

TWiT Photo took a break this week as my cohost Leo Laporte is in Vegas for CES. Lucky Leo! Please watch a video of our first episode of 2012 – and what a rush it was for both Leo and me, as well as those of you present in the TWiT chatroom. We were extremely fortunate to have "King of Formula1 Photography" Darren Heath to kick off yet another exciting year of TWiT Photo. Before speaking with Darren, I had thought Formula1 races were all glitz, glamour and a great adrenalin kick for any photog lucky enough to be near famed drivers, stunning Grid girls and of course, the sleek and awe-inspiring cars. According to Darren, who traverses from Monaco to Abu Dhabi to capture the dizzying excitement of the races, the personality-driven sport is really not that glamorous. If you want a job as an F1 photographer, you will need sharp elbows to fight off the dozens trying to get the best shots of that race. Learn lessons from Darren on panning; best shutter speed and firing mode; dealing with "unsavory" F1 security personnel, and stabilizing monster 600mm lenses amid the fiery atmosphere of one of the most exclusive motor sports. The following are his top tips during the show: Rule of Thirds. The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as photography, painting and design. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts (as per my examples) by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Don't just take a picture, make a picture. What I'm trying to get across is a sense that when one takes a photograph try to think of all the reasons one is taking it and how one would like the end viewer to see it and their reaction to it. All photographers are in essence trying to create interest and excitement for the person or people who will eventually view the image so don't just shoot, shoot and shoot again without really giving some thought to the picture you wish to achieve. Use light effectively. The importance of light and having the patience to wait for it' is really something of a mantra for me. It goes hand-in-and with my two previous tips and when all three are combined a winning shot should be the result. Think about the position of the sun, the time of day, the track the sun will take across the sky, the subjects position relative to the light, lens, flare, shadows, back-lighting opportunities, aperture and shutter speed settings, etc, etc, all are key.

Find out more by watching the video here or on iTunes. Next week: invaluable lessons on design and photography from former New York Times design director Khoi Vinh.

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  1. Sue

    Dear Catherine,

    I’ve been watching and following Twit Photo now for a few weeks and love watching each episode. Thank you for sharing all these great photographers. I’m new to photography and I’m learning so much from watching. You an Leo are wonderful and thanks for all the great tips.