This was taken a while back when I want to Kaohsiung, Tainan. It was actually taken after my breakfast, I left my DSLR in the room and I only had my point & shoot with me. The view and light was excellent and so I just shot the photo in Panorama mode in the Sony DC (it was a TX-10), the result was pretty pleasing.
I did some post processing adding some noise and tweaked with some curves to get the film effect.
As cliche as it is, the best camera is the camera you have with you; of course you can say you will return to the place 30 mins later, a day later, a week later… but it will never be the same, so shoot it when you see it. Even your camera on your smartphone will suffice…
You see the pictures and videos from National Geographic and Animal Planet, and kinda take them for granted. Once I gave it a go during my trip, I realise it is one of the more challenging shots to take.
Actually I should count myself lucky to actually see a cheetah attempting to hunt an impala. Although it was a failed attempt, it was already very exciting to me. According to the local guides, it is rare to see such feat.
Technically it is difficult to focus on both animals at the correct angle. Just like the photo above, I had to shoot behind the cheetah, forcing only one of the subjects in focus. I think I used f5.6 for the shot, yet with my trusty 5D mark II, the focusing speed and the limited AF points really make it difficult to focus. This frame really made me understand the limitations of my gear.
The other realisation for me is that an excellent wildlife shot (especially a picture of hunting) requires a lot of good planning, study of animals, patience and luck.
I took a lot of photos along the beach in To Wo Sha last month. It was quite a fruitful photo trip with a friend. It was the first time I properly go out and shoot with my fish eye zoom (Canon EF8-15 f4L).
With the ultra wide angle and the intended distortions, composition becomes different from the norm when using a wide or a standard lens. More things will be captured and you need to be very careful to avoid or include things you want. Peripheral vision becomes necessary. It will come with a lot of practice, so shoot more.
For this blog I want to share some tips of taking care of your gear, rather than photo skills. Especially after a long day hot day at the beach, your lens and camera will be covered in salty moist air, and maybe some small sand blowing onto your precious class. If you did some lens changes there may also be some which went into the camera body. So you must remember to use your dust blower to clean your lens, the body with a dry cloth, and the sensor/mirror to make sure everything is kept properly, otherwise the salt and moisture will corrode your gear which can be rather costly. The gear should also be placed into a moisture controlled container. There are a lot of choices in the market, for simple seal plastic box with some dehydration packs, to electric ones which cost around HKD1000 (depending on volume). These will keep your camera dry and in top form, and is a must for anyone serious about photography. Go get one!
Back in February, I found my dad’s Nikon F3 camera and started playing with it. After a months time, I have finally finished a full roll of 36 frames, and collected the developed negatives today! For the past few years I was able to see the shots I have taken immediately on the camera’s LCD screen, and they can also be examined closely back at home on my computer at day end. It is truly a special feeling when you have the anticipation of not knowing how well the photos will come out, and have to wait for a few days for development before getting the negatives back; the sensation of holding negatives in hand is just like bringing myself back in time, maybe 15 years back where all cameras just use film.
The above photo was taken by the Nikon F3 with a 50mm f1.2 lens, using Lomography’s ISO400 B&W lady grey film. It has then been scanned directly from negative to digital. The scanned quality is not perfect, and the resolution is rather low, but somehow it feels different from DSLR outputs. Maybe its the low quality which gives it the “retro” feel, or maybe its just my own experience which makes it look different (or just a photo taken by a low quality digital camera with basic sensor!?)
My point is even though I have been shooting with DSLRs for quite sometime now, I am always able to learn new skills and tricks when going back to SLR working with film: the manual focusing lens, the confidence of shooting a few frames in your mind without the “luxury” of checking the result immediately etc. I highly encourage DSLR shooters to find a film camera to experience how photographers shoot back in the 80s. The feeling of waiting for the photos to be developed (unless you have your own darkroom) is certainly very interesting. You may not like it, buy there is no harm in trying!