Where is my DSLR?

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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

HDR on the beach

Just for sharing…  trying out my fish-eye zoom lens.

TL

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

 

Landscape x Wildlife

The perfect image in my head before taking this shot was that the cheetah looking towards the right with its head held up high.  However, after shooting wildlife for a few days, I realise that luck plays some part in great wildlife photography.  You are unable to predict what exactly will they do, and it is very very difficult to get the photo you were expecting.

I was very lucky that we followed the cheetah for a bit, and it climbed up on a fallen tree, make the scene almost a perfect frame of Africa.

Looking at this photo brings back happy memories of my trip!

TL

Back from Africa

I stopped blogging for more than a month… well… I guess procrastination kicked in.  Until recently, one of my photography classmate said to me “blogging is all about perseverance”, which inspired me to start writing again.

To my defense, I also went on to a photography tour in Africa for two weeks.  It was surely an eye-opener for me, seeing endless grasslands, endless seas of animals (most of which will appear in later posts), travelling in a small boat on the second largest lake in the world etc.

This trip not only allowed me to experience nature (its a rare thing for us growing up in Hong Kong) and take amazing photos, it was one of my first take on wildlife photography.

I will be posting more frequently from now on, stay tuned!

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

 

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

Lightroom 4

I just got a copy of the new Lightroom last week, and started using their new developing tools.  At first I thought it is more of a renaming exercise, where the “recovery” bar is gone… yet after a while, I realise the changes made a lot of sense, and its much more intuitive to use.

The above photo was post-processed in LR only, reducing the highlights by almost -100 (this automatically did the recovery a la Lr3).  Also I boosted the shadows by around 30.  Added a graduated exposure filter for the sky, boosted the clarity and vibrance.  This got me a slight HDR feel with high contrast and strong colours.  Obviously the beautiful scenery of the New Swan Castle also helped.

Give it a go with the new Lightroom, you may actually like it over the existing version.

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