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…
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…
Sometimes it is important to include the little things that lead to your final shot. Let me explain….
just like the photo on the top, it is actually the footprints of a cheetah which led to the discovery of the actual cheetah hunting for its prey. These little pieces of information not only is an interesting photo on its own, but it also tells a story when combined with the final photo, the one below.
Photos is a media for you to express your feelings and to tell a story, always try to capture the interesting things around you (especially in this digital age), these little pieces may actually link up to a grand story!
One of the techniques I like to use is simplify. This idea was further consolidated during my OUHK class, “Photography Lighting Techniques”. The teacher introduced the idea of noise, not the unwanted colours and spots when you shoot at high ISOs, but the unwanted and distracting objects in your frame. They will make your photo concept “fuzzy”, which is worse than a fuzzy image (out of focus).
Anyway, the above photo was another evidence for my love for simplification. The hippo was yawning, with a quarter of its body out of the water. The photo was so simply construed, that all the attention will be focused on the hippo alone. Then the slight reflection of the grass on the side of the pool gives some context of the location.
Less is more, it applies to photography. Think clearly about what you want to show before pressing the shutter button, and make “clear” and “sharp” images; remember its the concept that counts before the quality of the photo!
During my trip in Africa, I also tried to apply my snapshot skills to work on wildlife photography.
I realise that animals display a lot of emotions and behaviour similar to humans (maybe the other way round?!). I try to capture these snaps throughout the trip, and the above photo looks to me like a pair of arguing couple. As humans, the wife had the upper hand and the husband shows his frustrations with no chance of winning :P.
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.
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!