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Mike Yoder

Stories by Mike

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Behind the Lens: Exploring the subject

An abandoned piano is of little news value. But as a photographer, my eye was drawn to the neglected instrument.

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Behind the Lens: Great pics don't always take great gear

A photographer went to a dinner party, where he showed his photographs. The lady of the house said, “Those are nice pictures; you must have a great camera.” He said nothing, but when leaving, he offered the following compliment to the woman: “The meal was very nice; you must have great pots and pans.”

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Behind the Lens: Pointy boots and point-and-shoots

The secret to good photography is comfortable shoes. I left my cowboy boots in my car and donned soft leather hikers to photograph the Flint Hills Rodeo earlier this June.

Behind the Lens: Over the moon

My wife doesn’t accompany me on many Journal-World photo assignments. But the moon has been a close friend of hers since she was young, so she joined me to chase the harvest moon and eclipse Sept. 27.

Behind the Lens: Engagement helps animate photo subjects

From my years of experience as a photographer, I’ve learned that a person’s facial expression or body language can result in a photograph that either simply documents objective visual evidence of the person, or instead may capture a more expressive moment, transforming the scene into a memorable record of a life experience.

Behind the Lens: Avoiding the media fashion police in South Korea

My photography checklist for traveling to South Korea included two camera bodies, three lenses, a laptop, iPhone, a padded floor seat, a pocket point-and-shoot camera and memory cards, including an Eyefi Mobi Pro SD memory card. What I forgot to pack were pastel-colored clothes. What?

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Behind the Lens: Capturing what it means to be human

A tragic fire at Pet World brings out the best of humanity.

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Behind the Lens: Do photographs always tell the whole story?

Famous 20th century war photographer Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” The trouble is, it’s not always true.

Behind the Lens: Bring old photos into the digital age

Have old photographs you’re looking to bring into the digital age? Here’s how to do it yourself.

Behind the Lens: Gifts for photographers

For those of you searching out gift ideas for your photographer spouse, friend or for your “selfie,” here are a few stocking-stuffer ideas.

Behind the Lens: Bad weather can make for good photos

I’ve been scanning old negatives and slides lately, and I’ve noticed how weather, specifically inclement weather, is an important element in many images.

Behind the Lens: In pursuit of pelicans

When presented with a photographic subject, two of the most important decisions for photographers are where to position themselves and their camera and when to press the shutter.

Behind the Lens: Optical vs. digital zoom

I get asked a lot of questions regarding cameras and photography. This week I’ll focus on one that may confuse some people: What’s the difference between optical zoom and digital zoom?

Behind the Lens: Is a broken camera worth repairing?

You basically have two choices for repairing a camera: mail the broken equipment to the manufacturer or start shopping for a replacement.

Behind the Lens: Turn your camera into a time machine

Time-lapse photography consists of making a series of still or video images of a subject at variable times and over an extended period. When you combine the images later in a linear format and view them back at a faster speed, the passage of time is compressed.

Behind the Lens: Why iPhones are better than cameras

As the quality of smartphone camera images improves, there are more reasons to reach for an iPhone instead of a DSLR to take photos.

Behind the Lens: How to avoid photography overload

I’m pretty sure there will come a time when we will wear devices that capture a visual record of our every waking moment.

Behind the Lens: Avoid being fenced in with this trick

My wife and I recently visited the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis., where we saw large, long-legged and long-necked birds like the Grey Crowned Crane of Africa or the White-Naped Crane of Asia.

Behind the Lens: Photography from another dimension

Over 140 years before the 3-D movie “Avatar” played in area theaters, 3-D had already reached Lawrence.

Behind the Lens: A picture can be worth more than words

Did you know that the difference between apologizing to your spouse and owning a photograph of Fats Domino is $189?

Behind the Lens: Bringing a constructive approach to photos

I often tell people about my reliance on visual devices and creative techniques in constructing my photographs. And, yes, for me, creating a photograph is like a construction site.

Behind the Lens: The history of the selfie

Last year was the year of the selfie. Oxford Dictionaries even selected it as their word of the year for 2013. It’s so new that my computer tells me I’m spelling it wrong.

Behind the Lens: When photos require a higher perspective

After a long and happy relationship, I recently had to give up my 1996 Toyota RAV. It was a super vehicle and a surprisingly great creative device for my photography.

Behind the Lens: Outside perspective sparks creativity

The New Jersey Press Association asked our photo staff to judge its state’s newspaper photography contest for 2013. Ten photo categories, including, sports and portraits, comprising about 1,000 photographs, were reviewed. While looking at the images, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Dorothy’s famous line, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Behind the Lens: Planning for the perfect photo op

I was standing in the balcony of the House of Representatives, just above the Speaker’s chair where Gov. Brownback would give his State of the State address, when a nearby photographer mentioned the importance of luck in getting good photographs.

Behind the Lens: Cold-weather photo becomes a hot-ticket item for other newspapers

Like the shy, quiet child who surprises you with an over-the-top performance in a school play, some photographs can surprise you with their moment in the spotlight. A recent photograph of mine did just that, going viral within 24 hours.

Behind the Lens: Books for the shutterbug

If you’re not that knowledgeable about what photography-related gifts to get your favorite shutterbug, a safe alternative can be books. Here’s a short list of potential stocking-stuffers

Behind the Lens: Know your rights as a photographer

I’ve been asked recently about photographing people in public places. Should photographers ask permission before taking the photograph?

Behind the Lens: Focusing on fast-moving subjects

Learning to use auto-focus lock can lead to more control over your point of focus and provide more creative framing techniques.

Behind the Lens: Tips to limit overexposure

Simplifying the picture-taking process has led to some common operator errors. Over the next several columns I will address a few of these issues and describe some solutions.

Behind the Lens: Go with the flow of your photo subject

To quote a line from the movie “The Truman Show,” “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.” That’s appropriate for photojournalists.

Behind the Lens: Framing can turn boring photos into good ones

Because a photograph can only be a one-dimensional representation of a subject, many photographs tend to look flat and lack dimension and depth. A creative visual device to overcome this problem is to incorporate elements in your scene that fill empty space or add content around your subject.

Behind the Lens: Website helps teach photography basics explores the mechanics and functions of a digital single-lens camera in a unique way.

Behind the Lens: Lighting up the night

A recent train ride gets Mike Yoder thinking about one of his favorite photographers, O. Winston Link, a pioneer of nighttime photography.

Behind the Lens: The best of times, the worst of times

In competitions, somebody always wins and somebody always loses, and a photographer documents both.

Behind the Lens: Great snow photos about finding the right exposure

I realize we’re probably done with snow for the year, but after talking to people about their recent photographs of snow, I thought I’d offer some tips that can apply to photos taken year-round. By Mike Yoder

Behind the Lens: A multimedia balancing act

Now that many of us have smartphones, still cameras and video cameras, it can be difficult to choose what tool to use to visually document a person or event. By Mike Yoder

Behind the Lens: Carrying a backup a good idea in case camera breaks

Camera equipment failure is unavoidable.

Behind the Lens: Photos worth thousands of words

If I would have made a New Year’s resolution, I might have told myself to resist buying photography books.

Behind the lens: Archiving old slides for the present day? Let’s get digital

Archiving photographs has transitioned from the days of storing pictures in slide carousels and negative sleeves to transmitting digital bytes to online photo sites, or burning to hard drives and discs. For people under 30, digital is most likely all they have ever known. For baby boomers like myself, you’ve probably experienced photographing with film but now find yourself joining the digital age. The dilemma facing some of us is what to do with our old slides and negatives. By Mike Yoder

Behind the lens: Good photos require luck as much as skill

Being a photographer can involve psychology skills. My ability to observe a subject, predict behavior, remain alert to visual clues and anticipate action helps me to be a successful photojournalist. It involves a mix of skills in intuition and past experiences photographing people in numerous environments and situations. By Mike Yoder

Behind the Lens: Finding the right photo can take several swings and misses

I invited area photographers to submit images of autumn for a photo gallery this week, and it’s always fun to see what other people choose to photograph, what attracts their eye and how they determine what makes a successful photograph. By Mike Yoder

Behind the Lens: Photographers explain why they choose black and white

I invited area photographers to submit some of their favorite black-and-white images for this week’s column and photo gallery. I asked, Why use black and white?

Behind the Lens: Technology makes color choice easier than ever

When I started at the Journal-World, our color use was limited to a single lead image on a section front, mainly because of the length of time required to create color separations for the press. I remember laying out photo packages where I could use only one color image and the rest were black and white.

Behind the Lens: What to do when a plan is washed out

For this week’s column, I wanted to describe how a photograph came about during a search for a feature image for the newspaper.

Behind the Lens: 2 choices for off-camera flashes

If you use a digital, single-lens reflex camera and you want to get your flash off your camera, you have two choices: wired or wireless.

Behind the Lens: DSLRs have more options for shooting in low light

When it comes to photographing in low light, people using point-and-shoot cameras are limited on controlling the quality of their light output.

Behind the Lens: Camera flash can be useful even when it's sunny

Elvis has left the building. Then he walks toward me, and I photograph him using a bright flash in the August sunshine.

Behind the Lens: Camera specs for low-light success

I’ve written in the past that quality of light is as important as the quantity of light in photography. This is certainly true in regards to aesthetic qualities but incorrect if there isn’t enough light to capture the image in the first place.

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Behind the Lens: Tweak camera settings to find an ISO that’s A-OK

Through advances in health-care technology, as well as healthier lifestyles, many consider age 80 to be the new 65. There’s a similarity in photography, where 1600 ISO may be the new 800 ISO.