Try This Fun Camera Zoom Trick to Make Instant “Paintings”

Silky black... ruffled pink... cheerful, buttery yellow...

Bonnie, here, exploring the Dutch countryside with professional photographer Efraín Padró and nine of your fellow readers, looking for shots we can sell to magazines when we get home.

Today we strolled through the famous Keukenhof Gardens, filled with tulips, tulips, and more tulips... climbing up hills, stretching across fields, and lining lakes and streams in every imaginable color.

On our way to the gardens, Efraín told us that magazines like a variety of different shots to go with a single article, and that we should try to tell a visual story in at least three shots:

** The far-away, “establishing” shot:

Jerry Mink

Barbara Harvey

** The closer, mid-range shot:

Maggie Martin

Daphne Wright

Jerry Newsome

** And the way close-up detail shot:

Connie Owens

Sue Stevenson

Once we’d shot as many flowers as possible from near and far, above and below, Efrain showed us a really fun camera trick that makes instant art out of your flower shots (especially great for flowers that are past their prime).

Imagine these shots, printed large on canvas:

These are super-easy to make, as long as you have a lens that zooms.

Here’s how to do it:

STEP 1: Put your camera into Aperture Priority mode (Av or A), and set your aperture between f-8 and f-22. If it’s not very bright out, f-8 should do it. If you’re somewhere with a lot of sunlight, try something higher like f-11 or f-22. This is so that your shutter speed will be slow.

STEP 2: Set your ISO as low as it can go (100 or 200).

STEP 3: Zoom in on something bright and colorful.

STEP 4: Now simultaneously zoom out quickly and press the shutter.

Voilà -- instant art! Take a lot of variations to get the hang of it, with some closer, some farther away, and with different subjects.

Tomorrow we’re headed to old Haarlem, where we’ll wind through the narrow streets, looking for windmills reflected in canals (and, in my case, looking for another tempting waffle cart).

I’ll let you in on a few more tips then.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

6 responses to “Try This Fun Camera Zoom Trick to Make Instant “Paintings””

  1. Ian Carter

    Bonnie, There were some push-pull zooms that were perfect for this technique. I had a Nikkor 43~86mm zoom back in the days of film, and a Nikkor 75~300mm that I still use. The 43~86 had the zoom and focus on the same ring. It was not a sharp lens, but it helped me learn and develop zooming techniques.
    I used the 75~300 in China to make some images similar to your zoom shots and sold them as poster prints or cut into triptychs to people decorating new apartments. (lots of new building there) The push-pull ensures a 'wiggle-free zoom every time. Enjoy your trip, Ian.

  2. Ann Jordan-Mills

    Hi Bonnie:
    Thank you so much for bringing back some wonderful memories of my visit to the Keukenhof Gardens several years ago. My daughter and family live in Amsterdam, and they took me to that delicious place on one of my visits.
    When I saw all those photos above, I was transported back, and I could see again that lake with the waterfall and swans, the graceful trees, and the riot of colour that is the tulips and all the other flowers.
    Your photos were so real to me - I was actually there with you. Beautiful!
    Thank you!

  3. Lola Grieco

    I have tried it and have gotten some super photos. I've been looking for something unique to add to my pictures. Thanks for a neat trick.

  4. Isabelita B Casibang

    Very informative and interesting lesson learned.
    Very artistic canvas.

  5. Alejandra

    This is really nice I hope I could start this soon congratulations!

  6. Vera Kerr

    Love the effect, must go and find some flowers

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