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…
We usually like our landscapes to be perfect. Trees to be green, skies are blue, etc. This time I try to process the photo so that the tones are cool, and there is heavy flare in the middle of the photo, giving it a little twist from the typical landscape photos.
I am actually very satisfied with the outcome. A perfect sunset in Prague.
I have always been trying to improve my photography skills, and I have reached a wall where I don’t seem to be able to further push my skills. I showed my portfolio to my instructors in OUHK, and all of them gave me very similar advice, break the rules.
All of them thinks that my technical skills are pretty much up to scratch, what can add the “x-factor” to my work is to break all the rules I have learnt, the composition rules, the white balance, the shutter speed/aperture size, the focus…. Stop being “correct” and let things happen.
This is my current challenge for myself, be wrong and shoot freely. The above shot was actually taken before my challenge, yet I guess it is a good start for myself. These types of shots only make up 0.1% of my portfolio, but I will try to shoot like this more. Somehow the above shot looks very interesting, something very unlike my usual works, yet gives a great feel to it. Wish me luck as I try to break my boundaries, and take my shooting to another level.
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.
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!
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!
Circular Polarizing Lens filter, or CPL, is an invaluable tool for landscape photographers. It is one of the rare tools which cannot be replicated in the post processing. It can make the skies bluer, the seas clearer with better contrast.
The way it works is they align the light rays getting through the filter onto the sensor, and can reduce the refraction from the dust particles in the air, and also works on the water reflection. These effects cannot be reproduced by Photoshop. So I highly recommend budding landscape photographers to bring along 1 CPL with you next time you go shoot. Depending on the diameter of your lens and also the quality of the filter, price varies from around HKD400 (USD50) to HKD1200 (USD180) for the top notch ones, e.g. B&W. Try it out and you will never leave home without it.