Happiness Is a Glowing Puppy

SnoopyPanasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7
f/5.6
14.o sec
ISO 100

Here’s everyone’s favourite beagle!  I can’t claim full credit for this one – it was Tiff who did the actual light painting in this case.  If you have never tried light painting, you really should give it a go.  All you need is a tripod, a dark room and a pen torch.  Put your camera into bulb-mode, press the shutter and start drawing in the air with light!  It can take a bit of trial and error, but when you pull it off, the results can be pretty darn cool.  Technically any light source would work, but I find that pen torches allow for the right level of brightness and dexterity to pull off cool art.

Maximising What You Have

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOlympus 40-150mm at 40mm
f/4.0
1/15 sec
ISO 100

So I’ve been meaning to shoot more portrait photos for a very long time now, but haven’t had the means or equipment to do so.  I always thought that good portraits need plenty of equipment, space and a dedicated area.  Oh how wrong I was!

The biggest challenge that I’ve had is lighting.  It just always seemed like good portrait photographers had reflectors, at least one flash, backdrops, studios, etc., so it felt out-of-reach.  In what I suppose was a flash of inspiration recently, I found out that none of that is actually necessary if you’re smart about your surroundings.  I remember reading tips about maximising natural lighting in any given situation, but none of that really made sense until I tried it myself.  I used zero special equipment in the above photo (featuring Tiff, my fiancee).  It was simply a bed, behind which was a large window with the sunlight streaming through.  I initially found the sunlight to be just a bit too harsh, so closing the sheer curtains behind her gave the light just that extra softness I was looking for.

To be fair though, we were in a hotel room on the 21st floor, with a floor-to-ceiling window but still, the same principle would work anywhere, so long as you try and make the most of your environment!  It took a bit of fiddling with the manual settings, but after a while I was able to get it just right, so that Tiff really stood out against a brilliant white background.

PS: I actually think my photo ended up looking a lot like a stock photo.  I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or not?

It’s all in the perspective

Recently, I was reading this post on photographyfree4all’s blog, and it really got me thinking.  What is a photographer?  What makes a good photo?

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Almost there (Gakkenflex)

I’m posting this as a bit of a “what not to do”. I called this one “almost there”, because that’s how I feel about the photo as a whole. I like the depth of the shot, and the blurred edges, highlighted by overhanging trees. Those edges, however, are the problem. Because of the naturally blurred edges on the Gakkenflex, your eyes are naturally drawn to the clear, focussed centre of the photo, and there’s…. nothing there. I feel like this photo is lacking that focus in the centre.

So, when you take photos with the Gakkenflex, keep in mind that it will look best if there is a subject in the centre.  Have a look at my Hikone Castle photo as an example.