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Michael B. Stuart
Lewiston, NY

Articles written by Michael B. Stuart

Top 10 WeeklyFstops: Simplicity

When it comes to composing a photograph, there is a natural tendency to pay attention to the subject ignoring the distractions. This is just a matter of liking your own art and viewing it in an idealistic way. Sometimes until you show your photos to an audience, the distractions are invisible to you. This is where simplicity can help.

Top 10 WeeklyFstops: Show Me 'Yours'

This week's theme of "yours" was less obvious than any of our previous prompts. That did not seem to dissuade any of the participants from submitting great shots. Of the four lists put together so far, this one might be the favorite. I'm also excited about the new theme this week, so be sure to check it out and join in.

Top 10 WeeklyFstops: Color

This was another awesome showing for our new weekly photo theme with a number of excellent photos submitted. Instagram does such a good job with their simple interface and chronological search results the stand out shot almost jump off the grid. It is great to see so many people participating. I hope you all love the results for the "color" theme as much as I enjoyed putting the list together.

Top 10 WeeklyFstops: Bold

Welcome back to the weekly Fstoppers photo theme. Remember anyone can join in for a chance to be featured. After having a rather specific theme week one with “Leading Lines,” we came back with a less literal prompt of “Bold” for week two. This opened up the spectrum of entries and I think you will like the results. A bold photo can be achieved a number of ways using color, sharpness, light, or just the subject and placement in the shot. Let's see how these 10 photographers interpreted bold.

Top 10 WeeklyFstops: Leading Lines

Well, we did it. We have successfully started the weekly Fstoppers photo theme. It was not only great to see so many submissions, but the response from people hearing about the idea has been excellent. There are so many photographers out there looking to explore new techniques and grow their photography skills we are excited to see all the different ways to portray a theme prompt. Let us take a look at how the entries for leading lines went. Also, make sure you check out the new theme revealed at the bottom of this article.

Join Me in Starting a Weekly Fstoppers Photo Theme

When what seemed like half the photographers in the United States posted a photo to the #SolarEclipse2017 hashtag, it gave me an idea. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all allow for fairly organic public searching of hashtags and a lot of our Fstoppers readers are active on one, if not all of these sites. Our article featuring an Instagram hashtag guide was one of the most popular of the year. Now on a regular basis, Fstoppers readers have a chance to get their work featured based on what is produced instead of likes on a photo, or how many followers they might have. Let's do this.

Photo Series Features Portraits of Complete Strangers Found on Craigslist

Los Angeles photography studio Kremer Johnson has come up with a unique idea for their latest personal project. The series features such impressive portraits you will immediately think you should know the subject. The thing is you don't; the photos are just that well done. All the models are simply people who responded to a Craigslist ad titled "Characters Wanted," agreeing to be compensated $20/hour for their time. I reached out to Neil to find out more about this brilliant idea.

Another 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse Photo Round Up

In case you aren't tired of looking at photos from Monday's incredible solar eclipse, I've put together another list. This time I tried to some find photos that maybe everyone hasn't already seen. The eclipse was not only a spectacular natural event with worldwide attention, it was also one of the most covered events via the photo community itself. Browsing the popular hashtags for the solar eclipse produced results from professionals, amateurs, hobbyists, families, and a ton of everyday people armed with nothing more than a capable cell phone excited to share what they had witnessed.

Learn to Master Cityscapes Like Dubai Photographer Daniel Cheong

If there is one type of photograph that you could call universally appreciated, I would say a properly executed cityscape ranks right up there at the top. While New York City often comes to mind when you think of skyscrapers and iconic views, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates now makes a very strong case for being the most amazing city to photograph in the world. Of all the photos coming out of Dubai on a regular basis, I'd say Daniel Cheong's are hands down the best of the best. He is ready to share his skills in an upcoming class on September 8 put on by 500px called "Shooting and Stitching Vertical Panoramas." Best of all, the class is free for 500px premium members.

Produce Better Black and White Photos by Paying Attention to What You Like

When I first decided to try converting some of my photos to black and white, it seemed very hard to get good results. I would often rely on using the desaturate adjustment in Adobe Photoshop that I learned in high school 20 years ago. This makes for some very flat and gray looking images. From there I found better results by using tools like Photoshop actions and Nik Silver Efex. This method still lacks control a bit, and in my opinion anytime you have to leave Adobe Lightroom, your workflow speed is taking a hit. Once I learned to emulate the monochrome photos I was attracted to and impressed by, my work started getting better.

Top 10 Solar Eclipse Photos Found Around the Web

If you didn't realize there was a massive solar eclipse yesterday across the United States, then you probably didn't spend much time on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and for all I know maybe Snapchat were buzzing about the eclipse. Photos mainly looked like a blurry tipped crescent moon on a black sky, or a photo from the inside of a viewing contraption. Some people were a bit more prepared though. Much more prepared in fact. Check out these top 10 captures from today's solar eclipse.

Look at This Illusion Too Long and Your Horizons May Never Be Straight Again

Leave it to a person skilled at both magic and balloon twisting to come up with an illusion so crazy it is hard to accept. This is even after testing the lines to be perfectly straight with a ruler, a level, and Adobe Photoshop about ten times. The human mind is an interesting thing. The first thing I thought of was the repetitive task of straightening horizon lines in photos and how often they don't look quite right. Now I think it is time to stop trying since my eyes and mind can be this badly fooled.

How 30 Minutes of Freedom to Shoot a Sunset Went Hysterically Wrong

Last Friday was one for the record books. My son had his last travel soccer game for the team I assistant coach for at Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY. The team played great and since it was our final game, we invited all the parents out on the field for a game against the kids after. Everyone there had a blast. As we began to run out of daylight I could see one heck of a sunset coming together. We actually had some of our gear with us since my wife wanted to grab a team photo. Knowing I have been itching to get out and shoot, she immediately told me to take her camera and go. Next time she may think twice.

Wedding Photographers And Videographers Need to Stop Blaming Each Other

Wedding photography is not what it used to be. I don't mean this in a good way or a bad way, it just seems like with any advancement in technology comes a new challenge. Many couples today want both still photos and video of their wedding. This makes sense since it is often the biggest day of their life. Does that mean we now have videographers to deal with in our shots? No, it's a two-way street. We, as professionals, both have to work together to deliver the best possible product to the lucky couple. Saying someone got in the way means you didn't try hard enough.

Amazon Pulls the Old Bait and Switch With Their Unlimited Storage Plan

Last year Team Stuart was faced with a big storage problem. Our 9-plus terabytes of photos were a few weddings away from out growing their 10 terabytes of storage. This meant we needed to shell out a bunch of money for more hard drives to even think about storing more photos. Money that I didn't have, especially considering we'd need a whole new NAS setup. That is when I made the bold decision to forgo on-site storage and move to the cloud. In retrospect, it may have been a big waste of time.

If You Wait Until You're Good Enough, It's Too Late

More and more people fall in love with photography everyday. This will only increase the more approachable and affordable it becomes. There seems to be some people who think that because of this photography is somehow dead. Yeah, that really makes a ton of sense. Maybe the people saying there is no way to succeed in today's saturated market, are really just the same naysayers that have been telling musicians, athletes, entertainers, scientists, or charities for years that it can't be done. Anything can be done with enough determination. And luckily for us, determination is free.

How I Added Fireworks to a Photo and Confused People

Composites are a funny subject to people. Lead with it, and they are impressed. Tell them after and they just might feel duped. I found this out the hard way when I took a bunch of boring fireworks photos and added them to a night shot of the glorious Niagara Falls. Let's just say a major upgrade to the background.

Morning Dew Plus Grass Equals Great Bokeh

Having a creative mind is a wonderful gift. Whatever your discipline, you love the thrill of making new things out of nothing. Sometimes when the creativity slows it can land you in a rut. When this happens to me, I like to grab the camera, and head out in the backyard for some dewy grass exploration.

It's Your Own Fault if You Lose Photos on Your Phone

The camera technology in today's phones is one of the most competitive areas of modern electronics. Every big phone release leads with the specs of the camera. This includes megapixels, low light capabilities, auto focus, and of course HD video. While the capability to capture higher quality imagery has arrived, the included storage on the phones has essentially stayed in the 16GB to 32GB range. Since that storage has to share with the phone's operating system and all the apps, it is good to have all your photos on a constant conveyor belt to the cloud.

20-Year-Old Visual Storyteller Will Bring You Back to Your Youth

Being young is something I hope to never let go of. There is a sense of invincibility that can't be taught or explained. You just have to live it. Sometimes a photograph can take you to a point in time, or evoke feelings beyond what your eyes are seeing. Alex Currie is a photographer and director currently living in Los Angeles, California, who knows how to tell a story with a single frame.