52 Project – 3: Return of the Film

OK, I am now 2 weeks behind schedule in the 52 project, but quality counts right?

Am I inspired by Daido Moriyama…?  I am not so sure, I didn’t go to his exhibition earlier (I really should have, but just didn’t).  Yet with the high contrast, grungy look, seems like this is another copycat work of his…

The truth is I was using a roll of ISO50-200 Lomography Redscale film.  Its the first time I used it and I wasn’t expecting it to be sooooo red!  Anyway its not a bad try and achieved some decent results.

This roll was mostly street snaps, as you may realise…  Given the convenience and the autofocus of the modern day DSLR, using the old Nikon F3 on the streets make it this much challenging and rewarding.  I still love the feeling of anticipation, waiting for the film to be developed and seeing if I got any good (or bad) stuff… unlike the DSLR world where you just see what you shot, and re-shoot if needed.

This is also my first go at multiple exposure with film (I never really tried this with photoshop either).  Great fun.  Colour temperature was awful, still need to work out how to use the film.  Another excellent experiment.  Enjoy and comment!

TL

Where is my DSLR?

DSC00874-2

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…

Enjoy!

TL

Eye of the City

Have been rather lazy for the past few weeks (I think its at least a month since I wrote a post)…

Haven’t been shooting a lot recently, as always a lot of excuses, being busy, tired, distracted, procrastinating etc… I’ve got to be more disciplined.

Well, not that I have been totally stopped thinking about photography.  I have been trying more new things, shoot in a way I never shot before.  Using new “techniques”, angle of approach to places where I have been to thousands of times.  Trying to make the subject looking like something else.

The above was shot in the middle a local wet market.  It is a busy street, and people around me kept looking above their heads, being curious about what I am actually shooting.  Well, the buildings are actually rather close to each other, and looking up with my fish-eye actually made the street looked like an eye…

Hide and Seek

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.

Give it a go if you have the chance!

TL

 

Super Wide Landscape

The sun was setting and the rays made a golden line on the sea.  The fisherman’s boat met the golden line, highlighting the boat.  On the other hand the bridge in the foreground becomes another straight line, linking the two lines is the horizon in the background, making it an inverted triangle composition.

Be aware of the “lines” in your frame, and you may be surprised by the simple shapes it makes; these shapes will help your composition significantly.

Enjoy shooting!

TL

 

Home Studio – Glass Objects

Another piece of assignment for the lighting techniques course for OUHK.  The flash was aimed at the white wall behind the cup.  I also placed two black clothes on both sides of the glass to get more accented outlines.

I admit that I am more of a natural light photographer I tend to minimize the use of flash.  For me this course really encouraged me to shoot more with my flash guns (in this case one Canon 580 EXII was used), and experiment on different lighting techniques at home, a more systematic approach towards fill flash, gobos, reflectors, diffusers etc.

TL

At the Beach… and afterwards

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!

TL

Street Snap – Prague

Whilst walking around Prague during my Europe trip last year trying to get a good landscape on the Vltara River with the bridges, I saw 3 teenagers sitting on a low wall.  With a wide angle lens (24-70mm f2.8L), I quickly shot a few frames of this interesting view.  I captured the bridges on Vltara River, giving the photo some background.  The subjects were showing a relaxed and happy sentiment, even thought we cannot see much of their faces.

The challenge to take good street photography is not only capturing the moment of your subjects, but also to be aware of the surrounding environment, the background, the sky etc.  You have to make quick decisions and execute, it all comes down to practice, practice, review and practice…

TL

 

Flare

When you are learning photography, be it from a teacher or reading from books, flare is usually categorized as one of those “minimize as much as possible” type of effects.  It reduces the photo’s contrasts and leaves a circular spot in your frame.  You are always told to use lens hoods to avoid flares, and try not to shoot at the sun or bright lights directly.  Of course there are also great expensive lenses with different coatings which can also reduce the flare…

However, to me I think flare is just part of photography, I agree that it can be distracting, but sometimes it helps to convey the light source’s strength and warmth.  It also adds the theatrical or cinematic feel to a photo, maybe its not a bad thing afterall.

This maybe very cliche, but rules are there to be broken.  Once you have acquired the fundamental skills, try to step outside your comfort zone.  Shoot in a way that everyone says it will not work, maybe it works for you and you can come up with great results.

Happy shooting.

TL

Shoot your friends!

Of course I don’t mean using a gun…

I am sure after you have picked up photography as a hobby, you will start to realise that some of your friends also share the same interest, or you meet new people whom is also a budding photographer.  Logically you will start organising photo trips and tours to shoot with them (which I high recommend for good learning, giving constructive feedback to each other and improve).

You may start out shooting a lot of landscape shots and after a while you feel a little exhausted.  Whilst running out of inspiration, why not shooting your friends in action?  They can be perfect models for you (its also free!).  Try to compose your shots with your friends inside the frame, maybe to give some context on what they are doing.

The above photos was taken during my last photo outing with my friend.  I shot both the photos with my fish-eye zoom at the telephoto end (15mm).  Its slightly challenging to do portraits with such a wide angle, but it allows me to capture the surroundings giving the photos the contexts that I was trying to achieve.  The first photo looks like a camera bag commercial photo, and the second one I tried using the extreme back light of the sun to draw attention to the photographer.

Thanks Day!

TL