Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Focus on Digital Photography Basics (A Lark Photography Book). It was just released on Amazon today! This is a true basics book and starts at ground zero, so there's nothing in it that will scare anyone away. Other topics in the book include:
Digital Camera Basics
Learning About Lenses
Using Your Flash
Getting Sharper Picutres
Composition and Style
and Going Beyond Your Camera (printing, organizing, archiving, etc.)
There are also dozens and dozens of good photo examples--including photos that I've never published before. Hey, Mom's Day is coming--what more can I say!
Monday, April 26, 2010
Flora Bella Collection and, again, I'll write more about this topic and show you what a straight texture file looks like soon. In the meantime, this is Mama Kitty, one of my two cats, and one of the Flora Bella textures.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Even though I've spent most of my life gardening, I guess I never realized just how many bugs hang around gardens--because in the past I either ignored them or was annoyed by them. But suddenly, with an assignment on the line, bugs became my friends. I was able to spend almost an hour photographing this little guy because (lesson number one) he kept coming back to the same flowers over and over. And also, once I set up the camera next to a particular blossom (lesson number two), he (or she) pretty much ignored me.
Later I got even more hip (I'm slow on the uptake sometimes) because once the light fell off of the flowers I was shooting, I picked some flowers, put them in a vase and put the vase on a picnic table in the sun--and, amazingly enough, the bugs followed me. While not as many came to the flowers in the vase, apparently they like the sunlight (lesson number three) because they were ignoring the flowers in the shade in my garden and hanging out with me in the sunlight.
The last lesson for the day was that you should always take on a challenge even if you think you might fail. What's the worst I could have told this client? Sorry, no bugs today? That's not my fault! But as it was they were pleased, I made some cash and the bugs are now famous.
The bugs are waiting for you--so if you're looking for something fun to shoot, go sit out in the garden. By the way, I used a 105mm Micro Nikkor lens and a 20mm extension tube for this shot and I used a small aperture to get some depth of field.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Lensbaby The Composer for Nikon F mount Digital SLR Cameras (Nikon) or Lensbaby The Composer for Canon EF mount Digital SLR Cameras (Canon).
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The Lensbaby, if you're one of the few photographers on the planet that isn't aware, is a type of tilt-shift lens that lets you take the main element off-axis and shift the sharp focus to specific areas of the frame. In other words, you can keep one part of the image (say the center) sharp while tossing the sides or the top and bottom out of focus. The lens simulates effects that can be created using a traditional large-format camera (because they let you shift the planes of the film and lens separately) or a 35mm tilt-shift lens (which does a better job than the Lensbaby in some ways, but costs much more). In the photo here, for example, I first focused the center of the lens on the center of this unusual building and then used a pivot built into the lens to throw the sides and top and bottom of the frame out of focus. The effect looks a lot like the "miniaturization" that cinematographers create when trying to make things look falsely small. Click the image to make it larger and you'll see that the building looks like a toy from a tiny toy train village--no?
There is no aperture control in the basic Lensbaby (and you have to focus manually, of course), so you have to use your camera in the manual exposure mode. I just shot a series of exposures in each lighting situation until I got an exposure that looked good and then kept that setting until the scene or lighting changed. Since I shoot in RAW all of the time, correcting exposure and white balance is simple.
The Lensbaby is a part of a rapidly growing and fun system of optical toys--which is very dangerous for a gadget-oriented person like me. It's a very fun and experimental-type accessory and I think you learn a great deal about photography by stepping away from the compulsion to make only technically perfect images and by tossing a little Impressionism into the mix. Check out their site for galleries of some very creative and fun photos created with their system. I guess in some ways the Lensebaby is just regarded as a toy--but hey, isn't that what all cameras are in one way or another?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18 MP CMOS APS-C Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only). In addition to the impressive 18mp CMOS sensor, the camera features a 3" LCD, an ISO range of 100-6400 and improved movie modes. Considering that Amazon has a pre-release price (it will probably go down) of just $799 (body only), it seems like a camera worth considering if you're looking for a new (or first) DSLR. Nikon lover though I am, I have to admit that an 18mp camera for under $800--pretty tempting! Read more about it on the Canon site. You can also buy it as a kit with the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.6-5.6 IS lens. Click on either the Amazon or B&H ads on this blog to get the latest in pricing and availability. And if you buy one, let me know what you think--I may be next!
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
By the way, I created this using a combination of color tools (including the channel mixer) and created the lighting effect using the--what else?--the lighting effects filter. Just playing and having fun. Also, today's Black Star Rising blog features two of my Liberty collages. Black Star is the greatest photojournalism agency in history and they have a really great and interesting blog.