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Jun 23, 2009

Right, so I'm learning,,,

Well, over the past while, I've learned more about "depth of field", "rule of thirds" and how to crop and edit images better. I can tell you this, digital photgraphy is so much fun! I can sit for hours editing photos I've taken and making more of what is out of what was. I'm beginning to worry about my social life... okay, not really...
Take the picture below for example, yes, it looks nice but, look at it, really look at it... it's nothing fancy or exciting. Sure the colour is okay, the lighting is nice, but come on, it can be better! Time to go to work...
Right, first things first, I cut out just what I wanted. Lost the grit and dirt on the image, cropped the blighter so that I had just what I wanted from the image. Then, once that was done, adjusted the colour tones, enhanced the lighting and shadows. Once all this was done... you get what you see below... something pleasing on the eye, ready to frame and hang on a wall.
Camera settings of my Sony DSC-H10 on this one are: Exposure time (Shutter Speed): 0.0080 s (1/125) ~ ISO: 100 ~ Aperture: F3.5 ~ Focal length: 6.3mm with a manual Exposure. Unfortunately, some of the settings are still automatic and can't be changed, such as focus.

Now, this was intersting, I like catching the dew drops on things in the early hours of the morning. So, when I saw this I had to take a photo of it. Well, at a glance, it looks like typical garden nuisance, but to me, well... Time to edit...

So, the usual suspects come into play here (and this is where I'm learning a lot about Photoshop), lighting, shadows, contrast, crop and of course colour enhancement. The end result is no longer just the remains of a seed, but something interesting. "Chandelier of Droplets"

Same camera settings as the previous one...


Now, not all photos need to be of places, plants, people, or any other thing you'd usually see in magazines or the usual book... sometimes it's nice to spot the lesser noticed and get a nice abstract image that would look good in a gallery, or corporate building. like the one below...

Note: Composition doesn't mean always having your subject in the center, 99% of the time the subject is off centre. This one made good use of "rule of thirds".

Anyway, stay tuned for another interesting episode coming soon.

Jun 3, 2009

Landscapes and Seascapes

Ah, so many people love taking landscape images, but there is a trick to it... you can't just point your camera and click away you see. You need to take into accout that your picture needs to be breath-taking (well, sort of) to stand out from the norm. Rule of thirds (as it's known) is but a part of a good landscape picture. There's also looking at your surroundings and thinking to yourself, "hmm, this is so beautiful, but how can I get this to look just right?". Well, that's up to each of us to interpret I guess... but, you need to make sure you locate yourself right, look at your surroundings, move around (even if it's just one or two steps), find your focal point and steady yourself. If you have a tripod, use it as it will help stabilise your shot more. The pictures below are without tripod so excuse if they are not quite right... All photos are again taken with my Sony DSC-H10 camera, ISO is set to auto on each (roughly 125) and shutter speeds between 400 and 800 with aperture at F3.5. ---o0o--- With this one, I climbed the mound to capture the loinliness of these three fisherman and their efforts at catching enough to eat for the night. Also, remember where the sun is, had I move lower down, I probably would not have gotten the same "feel" as what I was after... Putting it in black and white enhanced the shot superbly. Which reminds me, sometimes, changing from colour to balck and white or even sepia can enhance the desired effect of a shot. Photo taken at La Lucia, a place called Beach Bums... Yes, was there several times, what can I say, I like the place.
Anyway, moving along...
Another classic black and white, this time taken at Salt Rock . Quickly adjusted shutter speed to 800, aperture again at F3.5 and auto ISO (125) and crouched down to snap this couple as the woman reaches for the guy's hand. Sadly, the sun was in my face which made it a challenge but I managed quite okay.
Okay, now for a good sunrise... or two. I literally sat myself down on my ass, not having a viewfinder has it's advantages sometimes I tell you. You see, I can squat or plonk myself down, hold the camera in ways that look quite particular to onlookers and get good photos. In this case, there was only one other person on the beach. I nearly got the "rule of thirds" with this one, but was just a little out. My focus was on the horizon, the sun would have done damage to the lens. Adjusted ISO to 200, shutter speed to 600 and aperture again at F3.5 (I must break that habit) and no tripod, the other alternative was to lie flat on my belly... um, no, not this time. I steadied myself with my arms resting on my knees, lowered the camera to just above my ankles and strained my neck downward to see that I had the camera right. The result was... in the words of people who have seen the picture, "beautiful". I nearly got the enforced 'rule of thirds' down with this one... just a tad out, if I could have only got the sun more central without risking damaging my lens due to the sun glaring directly into the lens.
Again, in the squatting position. This time closer to the waves, I pointed my camera towards the oncoming wave, set my focus and waitied but mere seconds for the wave to creap in. As it reached its peak, I clicked the shutter down... booyah! Prime 'rule of thirds' on this one! ---o0o--- Right, 'rule of thirds'... one part water, one part land and one part sky... again almost captured properly. I say almost because if you look at it, is it really? To the untrained eye, a resounding yes. But, to those in the know, this would be a case of "well, it's okay, you could have..." blah, blah, blah... I think it was a great shot! I mean look at it, it has everything that would sell well to a tourism magiazine. It captivates the imagination as to where this place is... This is outside Scottburgh on the way to the 'rural' areas. A low bridge where we screamed STOP!! We just had to get a photo of this (man, I wish I could take credit for this one but I now have a tag team partner) but a freind had my Sony with her and she lept out and got into position as I'd taught her just the day before (get level with your subject) and adjusted my camera to settings I'm still not sure of...


Another one I cannot take all the credit for, but I did check the settings afterwards. ISO 125, shutter speed 640, aperture F3.5. Just lovely capure of the contrasting ash mounds and the wild flowers that populate parts of it now, the gloomy days are always tricky to work with but playing with your settings can make a difference.