Excerpt for LGBT Erotic Paranormal Romance Secrets of a WereBear (WereBear Series Book 1) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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LGBT Erotic

Paranormal Romance

Secrets of a Werebear

Werebear Series Book 1


Terry Anderson

© 2016, 2017

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Copyright Information

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© Copyright 2016 by Terry Anderson Publishing

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Chapter One

Heath looked at the phone in his hand. He hadn’t heard from Ryan in three days, and he wanted to talk to him. Heath had it all. He had looks. He had the brain. He had been getting a massage every day, but it wasn’t enough to relieve his tension. The fancy drinks and splurging on meals after a day’s work seemed empty without Ryan there. Ryan had said he was busy, but Heath didn’t quite know what was going on. He knew that there was something that Ryan wasn’t saying, and he wanted desperately to find out what it was.

Heath was back in his house with nothing to do. It was big, it was expensive, it was roomy, and it was empty. Heath couldn’t take it. He sat down with a glass of white wine, and started to turn the TV on. Heath didn’t even realize that he had finished off the glass and sunk into an uneasy sleep until he was awakened by a handsome face staring at him. It was Ryan, and Heath’s heart skipped a beat. Heath looked at him with a smile on his face.

“It’s been a while,” he finally croaked out with that smile on his face that he couldn’t really make go away. He was just so happy to see Ryan again, and Ryan felt the same about him.

Ryan looked down at the beauty before him and the love of his life, and his heart ached and stuttered at what he was going to have to do. His Alpha had made it clear on his last trip, and a werebear had to always listen to their Alpha, like it or not. The worst part was that he knew that it was for his own good. There had to be something real here, and this was the only way that anyone would know. He couldn’t stay with someone that could never accept him or join his pack. Half breeds were rare enough and hardly accepted. If his Alpha was willing to make an exception, he had to take the chance, even if it meant telling Heath sooner than he ever wanted to.

“I’ve missed you.” It was all he seemed to be able to say. All other words stuck in his throat, and he shook a little. Heath started to wake up, and the world became a little clearer. He could see that something was on Ryan’s mind, and it was bothering him. Heath’s first thought was to panic. What was wrong with the man he loved? The question kept repeating over and over in his head, and he had no answer for it.

“What is it? Did you get in trouble? I can make it go away. I have the money. The connections. Let me make it better. Please,” he begged Ryan.

Everything came out in a blur, and Heath’s heart was pounding: he couldn’t imagine that something would make Ryan look so afraid. There was nothing in Heath that didn’t want to soothe that fear away. It was something he wanted more than anything in the world. If he could see that pain and worry ease away from Ryan, it would be enough to make him content. Ryan shook his head, and it only made Heath’s heart pound more.

“We need to talk.” It was all Ryan could get out. He didn’t know how to broach the subject. He hadn’t figured it out yet, and he watched as Heath went cold.

Heath seemed to withdraw into himself, as if something was about to shatter. To Heath, it felt like his world had stopped. He waited for Ryan to continue, and when Ryan didn’t he just looked at him pleadingly with a nod of his head. He sat up, and Ryan slid into the seat beside him as he took Heath’s hands with his.

“This isn’t a break up. This isn’t a joke. This is serious. You need to accept something. You need to know something. Heath, I love you, but you need to know that I’ve kept something from you” Ryan said with a lump in his throat, and it was all he could not to shake and bolt out of the room. He was too scared of Heath’s reaction. He was too scared of losing the only real thing in his life, and Heath felt the same way.

“Tell me,” Heath said, and there seemed to be no emotion in his voice despite the way he shook, wondering what it could be.

“I’m not human.” It came out quicker than he wanted it to, and Heath nearly laughed.

“Is this a joke?” he said, the tension leaving him finally. Ryan was just being dramatic. As if what he needed now was a joke, but he could forgive Ryan for scaring him. Ryan’s humor was part of what brightened his world and he settled into an easy smile, leaning against Ryan. He realized that Ryan wasn’t releasing the tension that racked his body, and Heath looked at him, waiting for an explanation of the joke. Ryan just shook his head as he looked down at Heath.

“I mean it. I’m not fully human. I’m a werebear,” he said, and the word was something he almost stuttered over. Heath looked at him, and Ryan was clearly flustered. Ryan tore from the couch, almost making Heath fall over.

“You have to believe me,” he said, almost pleadingly even though it came out in a growl. Heath looked at him. This man was his world, and Ryan was clearly believing what he said.

“Show me?” It was all Heath could think to say. He knew in his heart that something serious was being said, but he didn’t even know what a werebear meant.

Was it some sort of gang? So many questions ran through his mind, but nothing seemed to fit, so he just looked at Ryan, who simply shook his head, and he stepped back. With a thoughtful look on his face, he moved the coffee table out of the way, and closed the blinds. He looked at Heath, and obviously, Ryan was still scared. Heath was glued to his seat as what he witnessed shouldn’t be possible, but there was no denying it.

Chapter Two

Ryan used all his courage to change, and he felt his bones start to morph as hair grew from him, and teeth started to sharpen in his mouth. Right before Heath’s very eyes, the love of his life started to transform into a bear, and he finally understood what he meant. Like a werewolf, but he was a bear. Heath’s heart was pounding. It was almost too much.

He thought that any moment he’d wake up, and if it really was real, he’d faint at any moment. Heath wasn’t sure what Ryan expected of him. Heath had it all, all but Ryan. He finally had someone to love, and they weren’t even human. His entire world shook and spun, and he didn’t know why this was happening. He didn’t understand what Ryan was telling him now. He watched as the bear transformed back into the man he loved, naked and with his clothes shredded at his feet. Back in human form, he looked so innocent, so vulnerable. It made Heath want to go to him, and hold him, but he was also scared.

“My Alpha, in my pack, the leader, he told me to tell you. I wanted to wait. Make it right,” he said, and everything was coming out too fast.

“He said you had to know now or we had to break up. Please, Heath. I don’t want to lose you,” he said breathlessly, and he shook. Ryan was fully exposed before him, and Heath shook his head. Ryan’s heart seemed to fall, worrying that it was Heath rejecting him, but it wasn’t something that Heath could do.

“I don’t get it.” Heath said, and he looked at the man that seemed like he really could be the second half of his soul. He didn’t know why something like this was happening.

“Why?” Heath asked, as if Ryan could explain why he was something Heath could never be. He was a monster, and yet he was the person Heath loved. Heath’s heart was torn, and his heart still hammered. He looked at this perfect, chiseled body, knowing that he had lain with him, loved him, and still did. He still wanted to love Ryan, and yet he shook his head. He wasn’t sure he could accept this.

“I need to accept you to stay with you.” Heath said softly, and Ryan heard it. All he could do was nod, knowing that Heath was trying to wrap his head around the startling secret that had just been dropped before him.

Ryan hung his head, knowing it was probably too much to ask. Heath nodded to himself, but no words left his lips. Heath still wasn’t sure he could accept this, but he was even less sure that he could just push the man he loved away, even if Ryan had another half.

“Can you love me fully?” Ryan said, and that spurred Heath into action. He didn’t know what else to do. He was stumbling onto his feet, tripping over himself as he landed into Ryan’s chest. Heath fell with a thud and groaned as Ryan’s muscular arms wrapped around his form. Heath was always so frail in comparison and Ryan placed a gentle kiss on the top of his head.

It made his heart ache more with the decision. He pushed the idea of deciding away from his mind for the moment and he wrapped his arms around Ryan. Heath nuzzled into his chest, and he could finally hear a hint of a growl in Ryan’s groan. It was something Heath had been denying for a long time. Ryan knew the seriousness of the situation, but feeling Heath’s delicate form against him made him, and the beast inside of him, rage.

He started to harden against Heath’s stomach, and Heath knew the one thing at that moment that he wanted to do was to be wrapped around Ryan. Heath didn’t take well to not getting what he wanted, and he leaned up to kiss Ryan. He filled that kiss with all his uncertainty. He filled it with all his hope. He filled it with his fear and his passion, and Ryan returned the kiss.

He was persistent, holding Heath to him as his lips crashed down on Heath’s. His tongue begged entrance, and Heath allowed it. Heath knew that he could never deny him as he melted into the kiss. He swallowed Ryan’s growls of ownership and Ryan tightened his grip with every half-panted moan as his hard cock throbbed against Heath’s stomach. Heath looked at Ryan, pleading to forget about the decision he would have to make.

Ryan nodded a little, as if he understood the silent pleading that was between them. The silent deal that was forming. He ripped the shirt away from Heath’s body like it was nothing, no longer holding back the strength that he had previously hidden from Heath. Ryan didn’t want to hold that strength back any longer, and he didn’t care anymore that Heath’s heart was thudding from both fear and arousal. Heath’s eyes begged for it. His body opened to Ryan, and Heath nodded, telling him to continue as he made short work of Heath’s briefs.

Soon they were naked together, laying on the floor with Ryan’s knees in between Heath’s, forcing them open so he could rub his cock up and down between the cheeks of Heath’s ass. He leaned over to kiss Heath’s lips. He started sucking on a nipple, letting his slightly sharpened teeth graze it and causing Heath to arch and moan. Heath lost himself in the feeling of Ryan’s rough, loving touch as he felt Ryan’s cock start to rub up and down between the cheeks of his ass. Heath arched, begging for more with every moan. Ryan was more than ready to give it to him.

Chapter Three

Ryan started to push into him, feeling how ready he was for him. Heath lost himself into the feeling as Ryan started to slowly feed every inch of his cock into his ass until Ryan was balls deep and hitting the spot inside Heath that drove him wild. Heath could feel Ryan pressing into him before pulling back again, starting to fuck him slowly as he tried to calm the beast that he had recently exposed. He growled above Heath as he nipped Heath’s neck.

Heath looked up at Ryan with a smile on his face. He wanted to get lost in the bliss that was starting to overtake him with each thrust. He couldn’t help but to wrap his legs around the man he loved, and he could hear Ryan’s growling above him. It was odd that he had never heard it before, but he realized that he might have just pushed it aside.

He nipped at Ryan’s chest, trying to draw him back into the moment as he tried to push the thoughts away. One hand held Ryan up as he thrust into Heath, making him cry out each time his cock went fully into him, causing him to moan. He tweaked and pulled at his nipple roughly, making Heath open his eyes and look at him before he kissed him again.

Ryan pulled back just enough to gaze into his eyes. Heath saw the beast in front of him, and he didn’t care. It was in the body of his wonderful, handsome Ryan who had caused him to cry out and moan and feel safe. It was too much, and Ryan was so close to cumming when he slowed down, keeping himself from cumming into him too soon.

He pulled almost all the way out of Heath as he moaned. He could feel Heath’s ass clenching on his cock head, and he loved the look of pleasure that flashed through Heath’s face, but the question still hung over them. It made him angry, and yet he couldn’t deny his arousal. He couldn’t deny how much it hurt that Heath wouldn’t answer, and with one hard push he was back inside of him, balls slapping against Heath’s ass before pulling out completely with another louder growl as his fingernails sharpened into claws.

Heath looked at him, scared, aroused and worried, all fighting for attention, but instead Heath pushed him on his back, starting to ride Ryan as he tried to hold Heath’s hips carefully. Heath could feel his claws sinking into his flesh, pain mingling with pleasure as he took Ryan all the way into his warm, waiting ass as they ground together. Ryan fucked into Heath, thrusting each time that Heath came down, and watched his pecs bounce over him.

Ryan wanted nothing more than to suck and lick at those nipples, kiss Heath’s troubles away, and he held him there for a moment, fully on his cock. He tried to settle the throbbing, knowing that as soon as this was done, there would still be the question that needed answering. It was an answer he wasn’t ready for. When he felt like his orgasm had slipped away just enough he loosened his grip as Heath began to bounce up and down on his cock again, making him moan in pleasure as he arched his back off the floor.

Heath leaned over him, kissing his lips as he started to fuck back against him. They were both meeting each other’s thrust, and it was too much. They could barely hold back, and Heath kissed him as if his very life depended on it. He trailed a kiss down Ryan’s angular jaw line. He trailed kisses down his neck, down his chest, and moaned as Ryan growled right next to his ear. Soon enough Heath was flipped on his back again with Ryan rutting into him.

It didn’t look like he’d be stopping this time as he took Heath’s wrists, taking them from his body as he held them above his head. The bear inside of Ryan was clawing to the surface, and despite the human side of him wanting to stretch this out, the mating was becoming too much. He pushed his cock fully in and out of him. Ryan’s cock slipped out, nudging Heath’s sphincter and driving him closer to the edge before he found the hole again, fucking into Heath even harder than before.

Each thrust seemed impatient, almost punishing as Heath cried his name and started to send him over the edge. He growled right into Heath’s ear as he wrapped a leg around him, pulling him in closer to Heath as he started to clench and spasm around his large, thick cock. Heath screamed his name, arching into his chest as Heath’s wrists were pinned to the floor by Ryan’s hard grip.

Ryan closed his eyes as he started to cum into Heath, who rode out his own orgasm, fucking back against him as his ass clenched around him. Heath could feel Ryan filling him up, one more time before he had to think of anything else, and too soon they both lay panting. Ryan rolled off Heath, and laid next to him on the floor. Heath was panting softly, still dazed from his own orgasm as his cock began to soften.

Ryan glanced over at the beauty that made his life complete, and Heath’s heart ached as he was torn with the realization that what Ryan said was real, and that he still loved him anyway. He couldn’t lose the man that made his life worth living or the passion that drove him to heights like this until he could barely breathe and had no chance of standing. It was too much, and Heath sighed before looking back at Ryan. It was like the entire world paused, as Ryan waited for him to answer.

Chapter Four

Ryan couldn’t handle it anymore. Tomorrow was their anniversary and even though the words were just on Heath’s lips he left the room. Heath was speechless, and lay there on the floor in a daze. It was too much for him as he looked at Ryan, and he felt like his heart was beating too hard in his chest all over again. He never expected to learn about this Werebear thing.

He never expected to be left breathless on the floor or for Ryan to return with his pants on and an overnight bag in his hand even though the sun was just starting to come up. Before Heath could say anything, in his panic Ryan kissed him. It was passionate, searing everywhere his lips touched, and it was sad. Ryan looked at Heath, and as Heath went to say something, too afraid it’d be something Ryan didn’t want to hear, Ryan put a finger to Heath’s lips.

“Tell me tomorrow. Before we go out to dinner. In the next few hours, think about it. I’m begging you to think. I can’t hear it right now. Now with that part of me so close. Not with the fear of losing my mate,” Ryan said in a hushed tone and in a rush as he tore out of the room, leaving Heath there breathless with weak knees and the words I love you on his lips. Ryan didn’t know, and Heath only hoped that he’d return. Heath eventually found his way to the bedroom, getting up on shaking legs.

With sunlight streaming through the window and the sounds of birds singing, Heath went to bed, crawling under the expensive covers that they had bought together. He knew that Ryan scared him now, and that this secret should mean the end of it. He also knew he loved Ryan though, and that was the end of the discussion as far as Heath was concerned.

Ryan had rushed out before he could say anything, and so he went to bed with an ache between his legs and an ache in his heart. All he could dream about was the man holding him down, fucking into him with more passion than he had in a while and more worry in his eyes than Heath would ever have cared to see. Heath fell asleep with a hand between his legs, hoping that he’d come back and take him all over again so he could whisper the answer into Ryan’s ear.

Heath rubbed his sore nuts, aching for Ryan to be inside of him again even as Ryan’s cum dripped from Heath’s ass, as Heath drifted off into blackness and finally found sleep. It was morning before he woke up again, shaking his head as he thought he heard Ryan’s voice. He opened his eyes to dark brown ones staring back at him. Ryan sat at the edge of the bed, holding Heath’s hand as he slept, and fearing and hoping for him to wake up.

“I’m sorry I rushed off,” he whispered, and Heath nodded. He was still sleepy, and still he wondered if it was all a dream. The ache between his ass cheeks said otherwise.

“It’s true then?” Heath asked. He didn’t know what to say. After sleep, it seemed like a distant dream.

“Yes.” Was all Ryan said, and it was enough. Heath nodded, and every second he didn’t give him an answer Ryan thought his heart would break and his inner beast would groan.

“It’s okay,” Heath said, finally getting the chance to look at him again as Heath sat up.

“It’s okay because I still love you. I’ll learn to love all of you. I don’t know what it means. I do know my life was empty without you, and I never want to live in that empty world again.” The words were soft, but spoken with such certainty that Ryan’s heart leaped. He knew he had found his mate. He knew that Heath would be with him, and more importantly Ryan knew that he meant every word. He kissed Heath’s forehead, kissed his cheek, and kissed his lips. This kiss was different than the night before. It was soft, it was passionate, and it was gentle.

“Thank you.” Ryan whispered, and it was still hours before their dinner reservations. Ryan shook his head as he looked at Heath.

“We should get you cleaned up,” he said, helping Heath out of the bed as he stumbled to the bathroom. He started to turn on the shower as steam filled the room. Heath’s heart was pounding, but for a different reason.

Heath knew nothing could separate them anymore. There was a safety in this secret that kept them together, and it was something he didn’t know he’d be thankful for. Heath would never lose him because he’d accept all of him. As Ryan stepped in the steamy shower beside him, Ryan reached for the soap, lathering up his hands. He pulled Heath to his chest, relaxing in the hot spray of the water as he rubbed his lathered hands over Heath’s pecs, gliding them over the smooth skin. Heath couldn’t help but to moan as Ryan teased him like he always loved to do, and he arched into his hands, begging for more.

“Ryan,” Heath said, and it came out as a whisper. This was still the man he loved, despite the other half of him that Heath had not known about previously. He could feel Ryan tense, and knew that the bear must be clawing at him to take him again. Heath started to grind his ass against him, getting his cock hard and throbbing as it pressed into Heath’s backside. Heath couldn’t help but to smirk at the effect he had on Ryan before turning around, slipping out of Ryan’s hands and sinking to his own knees.

“Let me show you how much I accept you,” he said in a hushed tone. Ryan hung on his every word as he saw Heath sink to his knees with a devious smile on his face. Ryan’s cock jumped when Heath wrapped his hand around it, looking up at him with those loving, teasing eyes.

Chapter Five

It wasn’t long before Ryan had a grip on Heath’s hair as he started to pull him up and down on his cock, forcing Heath to gag and moan as he breathed through his nose. Heath started to rub his own aching balls, having been on the edge since he went to bed that morning. Heath slipped two wet fingers into his own ass, as Ryan pulled him on and off his cock, his balls slapping against Heath’s chin every time he went all the way in.

Heath looked up at him, startled almost, as Ryan growled before he started sucking on him as Heath breathed through his nose. Ryan pushed him back to the tile wall as the water streamed down over them, making it harder for Ryan to stay on the edge. Heath sunk his fingers in and out of his hot ass faster than before.

Heath fucked himself as roughly and as quickly as Ryan had done the night before, reminding himself that he could take both halves of Ryan as he started to hit his throat with each thrust into his mouth. It still caused him to moan and gag as tears streamed down his face from his gag reflex. Ryan pushed all the way in, forcing Heath’s throat to stretch around him as Heath fondled his own balls, going over the edge into his own climax just as Ryan’s throbbing cock started to cum deep in his throat.

Ryan waited until Heath swallowed it all before he pulled back slowly, letting Heath catch his breath. Heath could see the darkening of Ryan’s eyes and when his own orgasm faded got up on shaking legs. They kissed again as they both finished the shower. Every time Heath stumbled, Ryan held him up and they got dressed. It was like something had changed between them, and they got ready to go to dinner.

“So, what does it mean?” Heath finally asked Ryan, and he shook his head. Ryan was at a loss for words. Everything that they had done proved he shouldn’t hesitate any longer, but he couldn’t help it.

“Please.” Heath whispered, going over to him and taking Ryan’s hands in his own, just as he had done the night before.

“It means you’re mine. My mate. That my Alpha will give you a chance. That we might be accepted in my world,” he said, and there was no rushing anymore. He knew this needed to be explained.

“Your pack?” Heath asked as they were finally ready to go, and he nodded, leading him out the door and helping him into the car. Ryan didn’t turn the radio on. He knew that they had a lot to discuss, over dinner, now, and even later. It was too much to ask him to just accept.

“Yes. We have a system. The Alpha, he’s our leader.” He said, and he looked at him. “He decides if I can stay with you.” This shocked Heath, but he tried not to show it, just waiting for Ryan to continue.

“What’s next?” he asked when Ryan said nothing. He didn’t even reach to start the car.

“You’ll have to meet him.” Ryan said begrudgingly, to which Heath only nodded again. Ryan could tell that he was still in shock, but asking questions was a good sign. It meant that Heath meant what he had said.

“What will be expected of me?” Heath finally said after tossing the question in his mind as if to see if it was phrased just right. It seemed to hang heavily in the air, as if there was something that Ryan didn’t want to tell him.

“I don’t know yet. It could be bad, but we can get through it,” was all Ryan ended up saying when he did speak. When Heath looked into Ryan’s eyes there was no hint of the bear lurking in him. It was just the Ryan he loved, and so he nodded. Ryan leaned over to take Heath’s hand, trying to smile. Heath looked over at him, smiling, and just nodded.

“I’ll trust you then,” Heath finally said, and Ryan started the car. It was just a dinner they had planned months ago. It was going to be simple and romantic, but neither of them ever expected it to be so monumental. Heath never expected to know what he now did, or that such a thing was even possible.

They drove off together, and Ryan held Heath’s hand for as long as possible, until they were in heavy traffic. There were still so many questions that were bouncing through Heath’s head, and he wanted them answered. Heath held off. He knew that Ryan would tell him in due time, and that they’d get through it no matter what came next. Heath had made his decision. Heath wasn’t losing the man that made this lavish lifestyle worth living. He would hold onto him, no matter what the cost might be.

More About Terry Anderson

This is the last book in this series, so it completes the boxed set. But you can find information about our other books in the following pages, or you may click on this link to go to our website with links to order other books. (The following pages were set into a .jpg file so any links on those pages are not active, and cannot be copied and pasted, though they can, of course, be manually entered.)

Find our website at: http://www.terryandersonauthor.weebly.com

Visit our friends at Crossroads Publishing of Florida, who publish mostly non-fiction how-to books, at their website, at: http://www.cpubfl.com

Terry Anderson is a modern person, very private, who identifies as a male but is pretty much pansexual. Terry rides a small motorcycle, and drives a compact pickup truck, gardens, does home repairs and vehicle repairs, and is looking into going solar. Terry was educated at a well-known private school, and dropped out of college because he just couldn’t get into it. Terry has been writing for small publications and websites for about a decade, and has recently decided to write erotica. There will be revisions of these same story lines for those who prefer other casts of characters, such as straight with a dominant female, and perhaps straight with a dominant male, and there will likely be lesbian versions as well, all somewhere hopefully within the next year.



John Waaser was the perfect person to write this book. As a student, both at Mount Hermon School for Boys and at Northeastern University, where he studied Mechanical Engineering, he was elected Vice-President of the camera club for two years running, four years total, where his principal duties consisted of coming up with the topic for each meeting, and securing the educational material for that topic from top companies such as Eastman Kodak and Ansco. It also fell to him to find someone to proctor the discussion, which about half of the time, he did himself. He later became a freelance photojournalist, and for two decades, he principally photographed motorcycle races, and other motorsports-related activities, including an occasional road test and other features. As a journalist, he showed an ability to take a highly technical subject and break it down so that ordinary people without a technical background could understand it. He took any number of portraits of up-and-coming racers as well. He did a few portfolios for models, and he photographed a few weddings. He spent about a year as assistant editor of a biweekly tabloid newspaper, where he wrote copy, took photos, set advertising, and laid out the pages. He owned Adpho Graphics, a photo studio and advertising agency, in the early 1970s. His personal hobby has long been night-time available light photography outdoors, where he frequently hand-held exposures of up to 30 seconds. He had his own photo lab at one point, where he processed film and prints including both black-and-white, and color negatives, and color transparencies (slides) as well. He constructed a film dryer and an enlarger stand with variable height easel shelf, and published articles and photos of their construction in “Popular Photography” Magazine. For several years, he was listed on the masthead of “Cycle World” Magazine as their Eastern US Contributing Editor. He has owned a computer store, and has owned digital cameras since they had VGA resolution or less. He now owns an Olympus E-PL1 camera with two lenses, and carries several phones and/or tablets at all times. He also taught an adult education second-year photography course at a local community college for two semesters, while one of their regular professors was on a sabbatical.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: General Discussion

Chapter 2: What is the relative size of the subject?

Chapter 3: Location for the shoot

Chapter 4: Subject location within the photo

Chapter 5: Lighting

Chapter 6: Background

Chapter 7: Foreground

Chapter 8: Viewpoint

Chapter 9: Color

Chapter 10: Special Considerations for Portraits

Chapter 11: Fireworks!


Copyright information


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Chapter 1: General Discussion

I felt it important to discuss composition before even telling you how to operate your camera. For one thing, the owner’s manual for the camera has more specific information in that regard, and you should consult that and practice using the camera until you are quite used to the functions of that particular camera. But the biggest reason why I thought composition was the most important first lesson, is that a technically perfect photo that lacks good composition is of no interest to anyone. I have sold photos for good money, that were lacking in technical perfection. I once sent a 120 roll-film transparency to “Cycle” Magazine, without magnifying it to see if it was perfectly sharp. They loved that photo, and ran it as a full-page inside color photo. When I saw it in the magazine, I was shocked. It was blurred very badly, possibly due to focus, maybe camera shake, or a combination of factors. I was absolutely ashamed to see that photo in print, yet they probably gave me about $300 for it (they paid ASMP—American Society of Magazine Photographers—rates, which were quite high, much higher than I was used to getting.) I questioned why that photo was run as a full-page photo, and they said that they loved the fact that three riders going around a tight 180-degree downhill curve at Bryar Motorsports Park in Loudon, New Hampshire, looking like they were stacked one on top of another, was unusual, and they just loved the photo, and thought it was deserving of full-page status in spite of its technical faults. There could be all kinds of reasons for technical problems, but when a shot is one-of-a-kind in terms of composition, and all of the elements come together perfectly, technical perfection is not an issue. People will love it. That is why composition is the first lesson in this photography course.

And composition covers any number of areas. The subject and how it is posed, is one big one, but the foreground and background, the lighting, and the color balance all enter into it. What leads the eye to the subject? What separates the subject from the background and the foreground? Is the lighting good? Is the subject at the best angle? Do shadows, or blocked up highlights, detract from the overall view of the subject? Is there a bunch of unimportant flotsam and jetsam around the subject to detract from it? The perfect photo must be carefully staged. A few small things might not detract too much, even though some will notice them. Case in point: the cover photo of this book. I should have stepped a little to the right, to center the sun into the dip in the tree line at that point. I did not notice that in the screen on the back of the camera while shooting, but I sure did notice it in the finished picture, when I blew it up. But that’s not a really major problem, and I was able to select the sun color to brush over the few twigs that were in front of the sun, and you would never know that they were there. I used a free app (well, I paid for the pro version, but you can certainly start with the free one) on my Android tablet to do that. The app I used was Photo Suite by Mobi Systems, who also make OfficeSuite and File Commander, both of which I have loaded in all of my Android devices. And I cropped the picture (using the tools in Microsoft Publisher, a free download when you run Office 365), and made some other changes that brought the sun to the center of the photo, even though the subject should ideally be one-third of the distance from the two closest edges for a balanced image. But I was more concerned with the cloud formation at the top, and I wanted it to frame the photograph, coming down the sides the same amount on either side. So I lived with the sun in the center. These are choices you sometimes have to make. I had dozens of photos of that sunset, and this was the most appealing one, to me. So I went with it, and lived with the minor faults that existed or that I created, in cropping it. It’s also closer to the bottom than one-third up, but it’s close enough, and I wanted enough dark cloud up at the top to permit me to use white lettering. I had plenty of dark area at the bottom. I still have had numerous comments about how much people liked the photo on the cover. I have noticed that when shooting sunsets, where you point the camera is important, in determining the exposure. Your camera will have a way to set the exposure from the meter, to give you the best image, and then move the camera to get more foreground or background into the image. Usually this involves simply holding the shutter release partway down, short of actually tripping the shutter.

Composition is composed of many areas of concern. There is the position of the subject, the position within the photo itself; whether the subject is leading you to something else within the photo, or to someplace outside of the photo; lighting; shadows; color values; and a number of other things, which we will go into shortly. The more technical ends of photography will be saved for future books in the series.

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