Master Class
People, Places, And Things... On Holiday, All Are Fair Game

Master Class

Photos © 2002, Monte Zucker, All Rights Reserved

You may wonder what I do when I'm on vacation. You guessed it--take pictures! Memories are made from snapshots like these that I created recently on a trip to Florida's Keys. Now, when I look back at my vacation memories I realize that of all the countless people visiting the Keys that week, I was the only one who saw these things. But through the wonders of photography I'm able to share them with you and keep them alive in my memory forever.

Visiting With Friends
I started out by staying with some friends. No way was I going to do portrait sittings when I was off duty, but how can you not take pictures when you see sweet little faces like these? Ingrid and Amelia were the granddaughters of one of my friends. I first photographed Ingrid--a natural. I simply opened the doorway to a covered front porch and put my white background behind her inside the condo to get rid of some of the clutter. A quick snap and it was done.

Amelia, however, was quite self-conscious in front of my camera. She really relaxed though when silly grandpa, Chuck, came over and I captured the moment for posterity.

That same afternoon we drove from Key Largo to Key West. We arrived in time to join the crowd watching the sunset and the activities that followed at Mallory Dock.

A Bit Of Wildlife
The bird in the picture actually came from another shot I got there, but it looked so good I thought I'd play around with it and put it into some of the other pictures that I made that evening. I simply touched Photoshop's Magic Wand to the bird to get the selection and then scaled it up or down wherever I decided to place it.

Balancing Act
As the sun sank slowly in the west the entertainers and the hucksters vied for everyone's attention. Here, a tightrope walker was balancing himself (and a couple of my same bird) over the dock's edge.

Posing Friends...Even On Vacation!
On a second day's travel to Key West I photographed Chuck, Jerry, and Fred when we stopped for a little bit of nourishment. The shallow depth of field was created by putting a heavy Gaussian Blur over the entire photograph and then erasing the blur from the three of them and the tabletop.

As we were walking down Duval Street I noticed a mural painted on the outside wall of one of the buildings. The light was so beautiful there I just couldn't resist making this picture. What a perfect backdrop for a fun "portrait" of Jerry.

Found Still Life
If you've ever walked Duval Street in Key West, you know the fantastic number of souvenir shops and art shops that are there. I went inside many of them with my Canon D60. I photographed from the inside out toward the light. The first is a picture of some ornaments that were hanging in the window of one of the shops we visited. The second is a small section of one of the many gorgeous glass bowls that were on display in the window of one of the finer art galleries.

Off The Beaten Track
As in all places you really have to get off the main roads to find much of the beauty that prevails at vacation destinations. When I stopped at a roadside hotel I went behind it to the coastline and created this silhouette on the beach. The camera exposed for the bright sunshine in the background. The man standing in the foreground created wonderful depth in the photograph.

On the same beach I found this little fellow playing in the water. By cropping the photograph to a narrow composition I got rid of the distracting elements and kept the interest focused.

From the beach I walked through a narrow, winding path into a forest of vegetation that brought me to some of my favorite photographic spots of my vacation. The first thing that really caught my eye was this tree overhanging the water's edge. When I looked at it I knew that I was lacking a focal point of interest. That didn't bother me, because I knew that I could add that in later.

It was a natural to scale down the image of the little boy from the previous picture and place him into the water beneath the tree's branches. Besides, he looked better in this spot than where I found him.

As I turned to walk on farther my eyes focused in on the root of one of the trees. The backlighting here seemed to bring out such incredible texture I couldn't resist photographing it. I took several pictures of it, cropping differently each time and tilting the camera to various angles. When I finally chose this one I found myself distracted from the root by some of the brown leaves around it. It was a natural, then, to convert the picture to black and white in Photoshop.