Photography by Brenda Colwell: Blog en-us (C) Photography by Brenda Colwell (Photography by Brenda Colwell) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:46:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:46:00 GMT Photography by Brenda Colwell: Blog 80 120 High Altitude Tips | Photography by Brenda Colwell 2004 071408 Aldasoro Views (4)2004 071408 Aldasoro Views (4)  

The Impact of High Altitude  - Presented by Photography by Brenda Colwell

The lowest point in Telluride is 8,750 feet.  Altitude sickness symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath.  While it does not happen to everyone, it can happen to anyone and especially if you are visiting from a lower altitude.  To reduce the chances drink plenty of water in the weeks before you arrive, limit your alcohol intake especially the night before, and if you have any health concerns, consult your doctor.

Altitude Sickness or  Colorado Altitude sickness (Acute Mountain Sickness) is a common health concern for those on a Colorado ski vacation, particularly those who usually reside at sea level. This is not surprising considering that Colorado has the highest average elevation of any of the states. Colorado also has over 50 fourteeners (mountains with peaks higher than 14,000 feet), and the majority have an elevation of greater than 8,000 feet.

Symptoms of Acute mountain sickness (AMS) can occur above 2,400 meters or 8,000 feet. Although in some people it can also present at lower elevations. Altitude sickness affects about 40% of people to some degree at a moderate altitude (about 8,000 feet). Symptoms may become evident about 6 hours after ascent, but sometimes as quickly as one hour. Headache is the most common altitude sickness symptom, which will occur in the presence of other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, increased heart rate, and insomnia. Exertion such as hiking, skiing or snowboarding aggravates the symptoms.

The onset and severity of altitude sickness symptoms are dependent on factors such as the altitude, the rate of ascent, physical activity, dehydration, alcohol consumed, and individual propensity to altitude sickness. Recent acclimatization at lower elevations is also a major factor with Acute Mountain Sickness, in other words, coming up to altitude slowly helps.

Prevention is the best cure. Ascend slowly if you can and acclimatize at a moderate elevation before proceeding to a higher altitude. Take it relatively easy for the first couple of days, increase non-alcoholic fluids (drink lots of water), minimize or eliminate alcohol intake, and avoid moderate and high dose sleeping tablets.

Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a prescription medicine that can be taken a day or two prior to ascent to speed up the process of acclimating. The little blue pill Viagra is also effective in preventing altitude sickness, so long as you can cope with the interesting side-effects! Aspirin can also assist with prevention of mild AMS.

Treatment for mild altitude sickness includes rest and fluids, with symptoms likely to resolve within one to two days. Descent is a very effective treatment, and for moderate or severe illness, medical treatment should be sought. This may include oxygen intake (you can find that at some local spas, rental companies and The Medical Center.

High altitude also increases the predisposition to sun burn as well as snow blindness (sunburnt eyes), and the risk increases substantially due to the reflection of the sun off the snow. You may need to wear really high SPF sunscreen, polarized sunglasses and a cap (when you don’t have your helmet on!).

Nose bleeds are another potential problem related to the altitude. The use of a vaporizer may assist, and these are available at some of the top hotels.

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Brenda Colwell is local Telluride Photographer and a travel photographer/  




(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Altitude Brenda Colorado photography Photography by Brenda Colwell photos portrait sickness Telluride Sun, 24 Nov 2019 00:05:37 GMT
Explorage: Last Dollar Road | Photography by Brenda Colwell Just around the corner and down a dusty road there is a place, no, place isn't the word, there is an "experience".  I escape to this experience often.   It is one of my favorite things to do, by myself, almost any time.   While it is mostly inaccessible during the winter, it is most beautiful in the summer, when the creatures show themselves.    Last Dollar Road is an unpaved stretch of bumpiness that can take you from Telluride all the way to Ridgway with a good four wheel drive vehicle.  In the past it was a mining road and today it is still the only way to get to the famous Aldasoro Family's remaining private ranch.     For me, it is my backyard, just about a 3 minute drive from my house, and while I don't usually go all the to Ridgway, I love to drive all the way to a 270 degree overlook where I can see Mt. Wilson and beyond.   Want to join me for a drive?   Check it out.... 



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Brenda Colwell


(Photography by Brenda Colwell) blog Brenda by Colorado Colwell family great in live living locals photographer photography places Portrait Telluride to Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:47:00 GMT
Weimaraner Love | Photography by Brenda Colwell  


Jules the PrincessJules the Princess


While visiting my injured friend Laurie recently we sat and chatted over hot tea curled up on a nice comfy couch in her incredibly welcoming home. I listened to the story of her accident and she listened to me ramble on. I actually thought I would never leave the comfort of her nest and warm presence. All the while, we were in the company of her friend Jules the Weimaraner, a beautiful dog with a gray/brown shiny coat, a muscular body, and intelligent eyes. I was quite taken with her. What a wonderful companion for our little snuggly tea party, she was as well mannered as any high tea guest. If she could talk, I imagined a conversation with her on the state of the economy, the proper way to cut roses from your garden or perhaps a pithy tale about her latest visit to Buckingham Palace. Now, please don't misunderstand, my dear friend Laurie had all my attention and well, honestly, I don't think she minds how I was taken with her friend Jules, considering her affection for all animals.

At the end of our visit I begged for an opportunity to photograph this lovely creature, and Laurie, bless her heart, made her way (on crutches no less) to my studio helping me pose and dress Jewel with dozens of my studio props. Now, while I am no William Wegman (yet), I can certainly see why he loves to photograph theses dogs. They have almost human expressions, their eyes grow bigger when they look at you, and they sit nearly perfectly still while studying you.  Jewel was particularly cooperative, well behaved and highly photogenic. I love all faces, and I love furry faces and I pay a big thank you to Jules for allowing me to photograph her, as it was quite satisfying. And thanks to my wonderful friend, Laurie for coming along.

This story would not be complete without mentioning Erlend Greulich, Jules' owner, who took a rowdy Jules at six months and taught her all she knows becoming the fine dog friend she is today. Thank you Erlend for sharing Jules with us.

Her photo will be on display at the Wine and Whisker's Fund Raiser for the Second Chance Shelter in Ridgway on March 10th where I have donated a studio photo shoot to raise money for their programs.


For more information about the Fundraiser, go to



Jules the AfghanJules the Afghan


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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Dog Pets Photographer Portrait Studio Weimeraner Work Tue, 03 Dec 2013 02:40:00 GMT
Home Grown Fire Chief | Photography by Brenda Colwell  


Another great thing about living in a small town is having friends in high places. I could be talking about altitude, because our houses sit at 8700' feet and higher in Telluride, Colorado, but what I am really referring to are my friends who run the town, or in this case the Fire District. John Bennett is our newly appointed Fire District Director, responsible for fire prevention in the 250,000 acres of stunningly beautiful landscape we call home (no pressure John).

Johnny has been with the Fire Department his entire life with his Dad and his brothers, even his Great Grand Dad served on the Fire Department. So it just made sense that a boy who's family has been living in and protecting Telluride from fire for five generations be appointed to the position of Fire Chief. And he is highly qualified with 20 years of service and extensive training under his fire hat.

It's likely you already know John, and you might call him JB, Johnny B, John or just sir. He is easily the most well liked person in town, always greeting friends with a smile, a hug or a squeeze, and a little heartfelt laughter. I can't help but feel happy every time I see him. And while he is an easy going guy, he lives and breathes safety and takes his job very seriously. Locally famous and highly popular, of course a photo shoot was in order! 

Johnny Lean logoJohnny Lean logo



Johnny Step UpJohnny Step Up

Schedule your Photo Shoot: Photography by Brenda Colwell
Telluride Fire District: Telluride Fire District

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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Photography by Brenda Colwell Telluride Fire Protection District photography portrait Mon, 24 Jun 2013 01:40:00 GMT
Stop & Smell the Horses | Photography by Brenda Colwell Pasture Sky

In the Mountains of Colorado, the end of June can be a set of mixed feelings when you run a ranch.  The shortage of rain fall brings low water pond levels and concerns over stocking up winter hay, pasture growth and the challenges of water shares and water calls.  But yet, that same shortage of rain means nice warm weather and that brings long leisurely rides on dry ground, stalls are easy to clean, chores are easier because you can wear shorts!  But, not for me, because I have never come anywhere close to running a ranch.  But, today, I am thinking this would be one of the better days to do it.

And, if you are me, a photographer and horse lover (not a rancher), you can take advantage of the great weather and hike all the way out into the back pasture and lay down on dry ground, which is exactly what I did on a particularly warm and beautiful Monday evening at Many Ponies Ranch in Norwood, CO owned by Paul Finley & Lisa Foxwell.   Just me, my camera, the horses and the amazing beauty around us.  Perfectly silent with the exception of horses munching grasses and lazily stepping forward brushing hooves over the grasses one at a time carefully selecting only the best blades of delicious grass.  At that moment, being a horse seemed like a pretty good deal.   So, I decided to hang out with them for the final light of the day laying on my belly, my side, crawling through the grass photographing these peaceful creatures of the pasture.   I don't care who you are, there is nothing better than being out on "the range" alone surrounded by 20 horses calmly grazing in a wide open sky in a high mountain pasture.  And, oh yes, enjoying the smell of them!  I think everyone should stop and smell the roses, but its so much more satisfying to stop and smell the horses.   



Profile Sky



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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Brenda Colorado Colwell Finley Foxwell Horse Many Norwood Pasture Photography Ponies Telluride grass Wed, 19 Jun 2013 03:31:00 GMT
Telluride's Balloon Glow | Photography by Brenda Colwell  


Balloon Glow 2013

Main Street - Telluride, CO


Could it get any better living in Telluride?  Imagine walking down Main Street with 8 larger than life hot air balloons lining the center of the street?  The flames pumping noisily to get the balloons full, and just as the sun goes down the entire street is lit up. 

Now, it gets better.  Everyone you know is out on the street taking photos, laughing, hugging and enjoying the night.


 I love my small town!




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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Balloon Do Festival Main Photo Photographer Photography by Brenda Colwell Small Street Telluride Things Town photography photos to Mon, 03 Jun 2013 19:45:56 GMT
Explorage Blog: North Scottsdale | Photography by Brenda Colwell


"Explorage"   - Is it a noun or a verb?  It is kind of like storage or verbiage or maybe linkage.   I think of it as the stuff I collect on my forays to those little places I never stop to really look at unless I am alone.   Recording memories, views, places and the things in them that attract my eye and ultimately my camera.   My study of color, shapes, things that go together, things that don't, things that inspire me to aim my camera.   For me, EXPLORAGE  is a constant collection of images and good feelings.  Whether it is the action of collecting or the images themselves I have not decided.   Heck, I don't even know if it is a real word, and I am afraid to look it up, because I might be let down if it is or if it isn't.  I want my own definition.  So, until it is challenged by a higher grammatical power (like my mother) I am going to use it to define the experience of gathering the images that leave a trail behind me.    So here we go, my first documented  "EXPLORAGE" with my constant companion, my friend, my camera. 

Explorage 1:




Old Car




Uncle sam


Old house


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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Arizona Colorado Photographer Photographer in Telluride, CO Telluride Telluride Photographer Uncle Sam cactus car Mon, 06 May 2013 01:40:00 GMT
A Backyard Adventure | Photography by Brenda Colwell  


This morning while I sit outside and drink my coffee, my eyes follow my little cat around the yard as she investigates this new desert territory .  It's Spring and we decided to head down to the desert to escape the still falling snow in Telluride.  I have to admit that I am as interested in what's going on at ground level as my cat is, the ground is still frozen at home, and neither of us have seen any scampering little creatures in a while.   And, well, I love that sort of thing as much as the next cat. 

Watching our little Birdie cat, while sipping my warmth in the warmth, I am amused how she hunts everything.  Really, everything.  She creeps quietly to sneak up on her prey, she crouches,  she swishes her tail very slowly back and forth, she flattens her ears to avoid being injured in battle, and then she barely wiggles her entire body, warming up her launch muscles.  And then pounce-a-roo!  She leaps forward with the speed and agility of well, a house cat, trapping her wild prey just under my chair while I quickly yank up my legs with a little pump of adrenaline and an expletive escaping.  Is it a mouse or a lizard (which happens to be my worst fear)?  I slowly bend sideways, my feet still up, to get a look and it is far more dangerous than I imagined!  It is a bottle cap my son dropped 10 minutes ago.  I chuckle with relief, but I am actually a bit let down.  After all that, I was hoping to be rewarded with a bizarre desert creature, but happy nonetheless that there is not one under my feet.  So, I decide to follow her to witness a true huntress in action.   Maybe I will see something spectacular, right here in my own backyard.  Heck, I might be able to photograph it!   I have to be honest, after a bit of time together, the prey was never more exciting than a stick, a leaf, or a passing shadow.  Maybe my presence interferes with the real hunting, or maybe I overestimate her skill set.  Or maybe the real hunting starts after sunset.   Despite coming home empty pawed, I did enjoy the quality time with her, watching her explore and thanked her for allowing me to experience a backyard cat adventure with a little scratch around her ears.  I guess I can relax knowing that she is doing her job to keep the worst invaders away.  Still... I do have a lingering fear that she will come back inside with one of those terrifying lizards in her mouth.   

Birdie 4



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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Photography Telluride cat cats outdoors Sun, 21 Apr 2013 20:38:54 GMT
Our State Flower - The Columbine | Photography by Brenda Colwell Quick Blog: Random Photos
The Columbine

The Colorado State Flower

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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Colorado Columbine Flower Photography by Brenda Colwell Telluride art gallery photography Mon, 06 Aug 2012 01:40:00 GMT
Mom's New Friend | Photography by Brenda Colwell 3 some3 some

Doesn't it feel good to do something good? Something good for someone else that just happens to be good for you too?

My mother recently added a little friend to her life "Sara" that she found at the local poodle rescue center.

After a little urging from her grandaughter, suddenly she has a little six pound best friend who follows her all around the house and cries when she leaves the room. I should be stunned at how quickly they connected and are attached to each other. But, my mother does have some magical ability with all animals, so I am not surprised, but pleased.

Now one less animal is homeless and my mother is enjoying her little friend every day.

So, naturally, we had to do a little photo shoot of Princess Sara


Puppy FacePuppy Face




Brenda Colwell is a Family Portrait Photographer creating memories and treasured heirlooms for your family and something beautiful for your home.    Book your own unique experience.  


(Photography by Brenda Colwell) CO Houston Photography by Brenda Colwell Telluride Texas animal pet photography photos poodle rescue Mon, 10 Oct 2011 01:40:00 GMT
....and they call the thing rodeo | Photography by Brenda Colwell 2011 090311 Rodeo_0068 rustic2011 090311 Rodeo_0068 rustic

Well it's bulls and blood...
It's dust and mud
It's spurs and latigo
It's the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo

Garth Brooks sings about it and I sing along with him in the privacy of my car where nobody can hear me, but that's not the point. The point is: The rodeo is fun! I love it, I love it, I love it.

You can find me hanging on the fence like a wide eyed groupie watching the "real" cowboys and cowgirls handle their horses. I mean, handle their horses in ways that make me clench my teeth, suck in air and look away. Then, in the very next second when the crowd roars, I don't dare take my eyes off the show as the horses speed the arena at full out run, carrying a rider with flailing legs and boots, chaps fluttering, hats flying through the air, and creating a hoof-stomping dust cloud. These riders and their horse partners, run, skid, slide, crash, flip over and fall down while the crowd gasps and cheers. Then they just get back up, dust off the dirt, get on their horse and ride out like nothing happened. And yes, my heart is still pounding.

Ouray (pronounced Your-Ray) County's Rodeo in Ouray Colorado always draws a big crowd for the Labor Day Rodeo and, as always, I am there crouching between fence rails, hiding in cranny or down on my belly in the dirt in search of an angle, but just out of range of a hoof or a rope.
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Brenda Colwell is a Family Portrait Photographer creating memories and treasured heirlooms for your family and something beautiful for your home.    Book your own unique experience.  




(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Photography by Brenda Colwell animal art gallery horse photography portrait Mon, 12 Sep 2011 01:40:00 GMT
I Met A Wolf! | Photography by Brenda Colwell  

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I Met A Wolf! A real pure bred, graceful, beautifully long legged, wary wolf. She liked cheese and she liked my camera bag, attempting to steal it when I was not looking. A domesticated local friend.

I live in the Wilderness of Colorado, in the highest parts of the San Juan mountains where there is still a wild component in our civilization in the cozy little ski town of Telluride, Colorado.

If you want to call us civilized, I leave that to you. It is truly wild. Not just the locals who live here, but the critters that walk past my bedroom windows at night, the bears that rip apart my bird feeders and raid trash cans, the mountain lions that appear and disappear so quickly that your eyes hardly have time to focus, and the endless squirrels, rodents, mice, marmots and birds that sit on fence posts and rocky outcroppings like protective sentries. And the wolves!

Denali is a sort of pet. She is protected in 2 acres by a 10 foot high, electrically charged fence to keep predators away from her. Human Predators. She has a half-wolf friend who lives with her in her wolf fortress, and she has free run of a 5,000 square foot luxury mountain home with "a wolf door". Her slightly introverted, yet affable, protector granted me two visits with her, under the agreement that I never disclose her location or his name. An unforgettable, yet civilized, portrait session ensued as I lay flat on my belly in the grass and snow photographing her. I went home with a camera full of treasures, and she was gifted a giant bone and some cheese.

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Summer WolfSummer Wolf

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Brenda Colwell is a Family Portrait Photographer creating memories and treasured heirlooms for your family and something beautiful for your home.    Book your own unique experience.  





(Photography by Brenda Colwell) animal art colorado gallery photography Photography by Brenda Colwell photos portrait prints telluride wildlife Mon, 13 Jun 2011 01:40:00 GMT
One of My Favorite Projects | Photography by Brenda Colwell  

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Owned by Mary Rubadeau, Telluride, CO


My second favorite sound is the thunder of hooves striking the ground as my recently freed horse disappears into the pasture at full speed. My favorite sound is that of those same hooves thundering back to me followed by a gentle blow into my hand, my horse telling me we are friends. Such tremendous power and grace, accompanied by such gentle kindness.

I had the privilege of photographing the horses of the
Lone Cone Dressage Club . The Club is based in Norwood, Colorado and is made up of horse lovers in San Miguel County, CO; from Ridgway to Paradox Valley and from Norwood to Telluride including all the horse ranches in between. Don't let the name fool you, the club is open to any kind of riding and any kind of member. You don't even have to own a horse, in fact, you don't even have to ride, the only requirement is that you enjoy horses.

I photographed the horses owned by club members and created a calendar to serve as a fund raiser for the junior division. I met with horse owners at their barn and after their beloved horses received nice bath and a thorough grooming, we headed to the pasture or arena to liberate the horse in order to capture the photograph.
Special thanks to Laurie Belka who groomed and handled 5 horses for the project.

Owned by Laurie Belka, Norwood, CO


Owned by Teya Kvasnicka, Norwood, CO

Owner: Mary Sundquist, Norwood, CO

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Owner: Amy Cannon, Telluride

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Owned by Carol Ann Boyer, Norwood, CO

Molly is the treasured mare in the 4H program. For over 15 years, she has been a lesson horse and first riding horse to many of the 4H girls in Norwood. It is possible that you have ridden Molly.

Molly Dee LuxMolly Dee Lux

Owned by Michelle and Olivia Swanson, Placerville, CO

Owned by Chandra Belka, Norwood, CO

Owned by Dee and Jessica Closson, Norwood, CO
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Owned by Lisa Foxwell of
Many Ponies , Norwood, CO
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Brenda Colwell is a Family Portrait Photographer creating memories and treasured heirlooms for your family and something beautiful for your home.    Book your own unique experience.  




(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Lone Cone Dressage Club Photography by Brenda Colwell Riding Club animal art gallery horse horse lover norwood photography portrait prints ranch telluride Mon, 16 May 2011 01:40:00 GMT
Just 2 minutes to taking better photos | Photography by Brenda Colwell Professional photographers spend a lot of time learning and attempting to keep up with the speeding technology of digital photography and it seems that learning how to do it all is a requirement every hour. And so I chase, I research, I try it out and I keep on top of what is out there. The digital aspect of photography is time consuming and mind boggling; storage, color space, pixels, white balance, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes and gigabit networks. Just when I think, okay, I got it, it changes. I congratulate the 2 photographers that have figured it all out.

While visiting my Dad, I came across some of his magazines from 1965. I opened one up and a big smile formed on my face. Oh nice.. then I had to look at all of them. I was so happy after that little trip to the hip 1960's. Cigarettes, alcohol, love, and rock & roll, advertisements that boldly shunned the conservative 1950's. These advertisements were raw and on the edge and fun! But what really struck me was that photography has not changed. What makes a beautiful photo still holds true today (despite the digital revolution).

It's all about light and composition, isolation and removing distracting elements. And in that moment, I forgot about the technology. So, for just a minute, join me in forgetting about the pixels and the gigabit networks and just think about your photos. Ahhh, it feels good doesn't it? Being mindful before you click will improve your photos.

Here are some simple tips to help you take a better photo at home.

That that little cloud that appeared in all your photos. It is probably finger print smudge. Invest a $1.99 in some camera cleaning tissues and clean your lens from time to time. And get yourself a camera case to protect your camera when you are not using it.

Remove your fingers from your photos. Before you take your next photo, find out where the lens is located and practice keeping your fingers away from it.

When photographing people and pets turn on the flash to brighten up the eyes and face on your subject. Especially on a bright day when the sun is directly overhead, turn it on (yes, really). You will be pleased with how much nicer your subjects will appear.

TURN OFF YOUR FLASH (especially in front of windows)
Your flash will not help if you are photographing a big landscape or anything that is out of the reach of your flash. If you subject is say, beyond 10 feet, turn the flash off.

There is a little dial on most cameras that allow you to choose your shooting mode. A flower, a face, a mountain, a little guy running. Those are all presets that allow your camera to change the settings to best suit your subject. Refer to camera manual to learn how to change them and take advantage of those settings. They work for beginning photographers.

Most cameras will focus when you press the shutter half-way, at that point look through your view finder for your focus indicator, a green box or a red dot. Before you click, make sure your intended subject is in focus. If it is not, release the shutter, move, recompose and try again.

Before taking a photo, look around for unwanted intruders. A stick from a tree growing out of your subject's head. Look for ugly elements like half eaten hamburger or an electrical cord. Sometimes just moving around can improve your photo, but removing those things is even better.

If you are photographing a child or pet, sit down and get level with the eyes of your subject.

A common compositional practice is the "Rule of Thirds" in which your subject is not smack in the middle of your photo, but about a third of the way into your photo. Using the Rule of Thirds will improve your photos dramatically.

Sunset and sunrise yields the most beautiful light, but you can also take some beautiful photos by placing your subject just on the inside edge of a shadow. Another lovely lighting set up is to have your subject face a window while indoors and allow the sun to illuminate your subject's face. If your subject is squinting, then move them into the dappled shade of a tree, and turn on your flash.

Fill your frame with your subject. It is amazing how you can remove many distracting elements by just taking a step toward your subject or zooming in.

Try to hold your camera still when you click to improve the sharpness of your photos and avoid blur caused by movement. Also, be aware of crooked horizons, unless intended.

Practice, Practice, Practice. The more photos you take, the more photos you will like.

If you love something, you will love the photos you take of that something. It might be your baby, your spouse, your best friend, your dog or your cat. And no matter how perfect or imperfect the photos are, you will always love them. Afterall, photos are about preserving memories.



Brenda Colwell is a Family Portrait Photographer creating memories and treasured heirlooms for your family and something beautiful for your home.    Book your own unique experience.  




(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Photography Tips Sat, 07 May 2011 01:40:00 GMT
Photography by Brenda Colwell is on Facebook! | Photography by Brenda Colwell Photography by Brenda Colwell is on Facebook!  And we are happy!

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(Photography by Brenda Colwell) Colorado family photo photographer Telluride Sat, 03 Jan 2009 01:45:00 GMT