Everyone sees the world differently, but a few see it in an entirely different way. Luckily, those select few can share their view of the world with all of us as they are photographers.
One Arizona photographer, Gerry Groeber, can capture the story of the desert Southwest through photography like few can. One of his photos even made it to the cover of Arizona Highways.
Groeber was gracious enough to take us along on one of his sunrise shoots at the Salt River while offering everyone advice on how to get that perfect shot.
Getting to the right spot at the right time is the first hurdle in getting that memorable shot.
“I usually head out an hour before the sun rises. Many photographers get there right at sunrise, and they have missed all the good color,” said Groeber.
Once you get to your location, Groeber notes, “The hardest thing is being indecisive, the old pick and stick usually pays off.”
So you have your location picked, now you have to get the composition just right. For this, Groeber has a particular technique that pays off.
“In my compositions, I like to take my viewers through the image, and you do that through leading lines and having something in the foreground that will give you the ability to control where your viewer looks.”
If the foreground of your photo is still dark as the sun rises, light painting is another trick Groeber recommends, "doing a little bit of light painting with my headlamp, which is really nice when it’s dark like this. While the shutter is open you want to take your headlamp and paint the area you want lit and let the shutter close, and you end up with a shot with a foreground that is lit, and your horizon is also looking good.”
He also recommends taking the time to learn the camera you currently have.
“Often I’ll get, 'Gee wish I had a camera like yours,' and so that is when I say, 'Slow down learn the camera you have, and that’s more important than the gear.' If you can get off the automatic mode, you can compete with guys using more expensive gear. You want to choose your depth of field, your shutter speed, your images are going to come out much better,” said Groeber.
Getting outside and practicing with your camera is the best way to learn. You can also see many of Groeber’s shots to get inspiration for your own on his website: GerryGroeber.com You can also check out his Facebook page: facebook.com/onelightimages/
The No. 1 piece of advice from Groeber: “Shoot what you like and shoot what you are comfortable with. Just go out, have fun and enjoy what you do!”