Amazing Photography Blogs II

11. Brook Pifer

12. Deceptive Media

13. The Narrative

14. Mute

15. Joe’s NYC


17. Orbit1

18. Thinsite

19. Stuck in Customs


Amazing Photography Blogs I

Because I’m kind, I’m going to share to you 10 Amazing Photography blogs that will surely inspire to take more photos.

Here they are:

1. Positive Negative

2. Flak Photo

3. Lanpher Photoblog

4. Verve Photo

5. The Occasional Odd Crop

6. Cazurro dot com

7. Puja Parakh

8. These Fleeting Moments

9. Static

10. Daily Dose of Imagery

Source: 10,000 Words

Different Digital Camera Modes


Automatic Modes

Automatic Mode

I suspect no one will need any introduction to this mode (as it seems most digital camera owners use it). Auto mode tells your camera to use it’s best judgement to select shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focus and flash to take the best shot that it can. With some cameras auto mode lets you override flash or change it to red eye reduction. This mode will give you nice results in many shooting conditions, however you need to keep in mind that you’re not telling your camera any extra information about the type of shot you’re taking so it will be ‘guessing’ as to what you want. As a result some of the following modes might be more appropriate to select as they give your camera a few more hints (without you needing to do anything more).

Portrait Mode

Portrait-Mode-1When you switch to portrait mode your camera will automatically select a large aperture (small number) which helps to keep your background out of focus (ie it sets a narrow depth of field – ensuring your subject is the only thing in focus and is therefore the centre of attention in the shot). Portrait mode works best when you’re photographing a single subject so get in close enough to your subject (either by zooming in or walking closer) so that your photographing the head and shoulders of them). Also if you’re shooting into the sun you might want to trigger your flash to add a little light onto their face.

Macro Mode

Macro-1Macro mode lets you move your closer into your subject to take a close up picture. It’s great for shooting flowers, insects or other small objects. Different digital cameras will have macro modes with different capabilities including different focussing distances (usually between 2-10cm for point and shoot cameras). When you use macro mode you’ll notice that focussing is more difficult as at short distances the depth of field is very narrow (just millimeters at times). Keep your camera and the object you’re photographing parallel if possible or you’ll find a lot of it will be out of focus. You’ll probably also find that you won’t want to use your camera’s built in flash when photographing close up objects or they’ll be burnt out. Lastly – a tripod is invaluable in macro shots as the depth of field is so small that even moving towards or away from your subject slightly can make your subject out of focus. (I’ll write a full tutorial on Macro Photography in the coming weeks).

Landscape Mode

Landscape-Icon-1This mode is almost the exact opposite of portrait mode in that it sets the camera up with a small aperture (large number) to make sure as much of the scene you’re photographing will be in focus as possible (ie it give you a large depth of field). It’s therefore ideal for capturing shots of wide scenes, particularly those witch points of interest at different distances from the camera. At times your camera might also select a slower shutter speed in this mode (to compensate for the small aperture) so you might want to consider a tripod or other method of ensuring your camera is still.

Sports Mode

Sports-Icon-1Photographing moving objects is what sports mode (also called ‘action mode’ in some cameras) is designed for. It is ideal for photographing any moving objects including people playing sports, pets, cars, wildlife etc. Sports mode attempts to freeze the action by increasing the shutter speed. When photographing fast moving subjects you can also increase your chances of capturing them with panning of your camera along with the subject and/or by attempting to pre focus your camera on a spot where the subject will be when you want to photograph it (this takes practice).

Night Mode

Night-1This is a really fun mode to play around with and can create some wonderfully colorful and interesting shots. Night mode (a technique also called ’slow shutter sync’) is for shooting in low light situations and sets your camera to use a longer shutter speed to help capture details of the background but it also fires off a flash to illuminate the foreground (and subject). If you use this mode for a ’serious’ or well balanced shot you should use a tripod or your background will be blurred – however it’s also fun to take shots with this handheld to purposely blur your backgrounds – especially when there is a situation with lights behind your subject as it can give a fun and experimental look (great for parties and dance floors with colored lights).

Movie Mode

Movie-2This mode extends your digital camera from just capturing still images to capturing moving ones. Most new digital cameras these days come with a movie mode that records both video but also sound. The quality is generally not up to video camera standards but it’s a handy mode to have when you come across that perfect subject that just can’t be captured with a still image. Keep in mind that moving images take up significantly more space on your memory storage than still images.

Other less common modes that I’ve seen on digital cameras over the past year include:

  • Panoramic/Stitch Mode – for taking shots of a panoramic scene to be joined together later as one image.
  • Snow Mode – to help with tricky bright lighting at the snow
  • Fireworks Mode – for shooting firework displays
  • Kids and Pets Mode – fast moving objects can be tricky – this mode seems to speed up shutter speed and help reduce shutter lag with some pre focussing
  • Underwater Mode – underwater photography has it’s own unique set of exposure requirements
  • Beach Mode – another bright scene mode
  • Indoor Mode – helps with setting shutter speed and white balance
  • Foliage Mode – boosts saturation to give nice bold colors

Semi Automatic Modes

Aperture Priority Mode (A or AV)

This mode is really a semi-automatic (or semi-manual) mode where you choose the aperture and where your camera chooses the other settings (shutter speed, white balance, ISO etc) so as to ensure you have a well balanced exposure. Aperture priority mode is useful when you’re looking to control the depth of field in a shot (usually a stationary object where you don’t need to control shutter speed). Choosing a larger number aperture means the aperture (or the opening in your camera when shooting) is smaller and lets less light in. This means you’ll have a larger depth of field (more of the scene will be in focus) but that your camera will choose a faster shutter speed. Small numbers means the opposite (ie your aperture is large, depth of field will be small and your camera will probably choose a faster shutter speed).

Shutter Priority Mode (S or TV)

Shutter priority is very similar to aperture priority mode but is the mode where you select a shutter speed and the camera then chooses all of the other settings. You would use this mode where you want to control over shutter speed (obviously). For example when photographing moving subjects (like sports) you might want to choose a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion. On the flip-side of this you might want to capture the movement as a blur of a subject like a waterfall and choose a slow shutter speed. You might also choose a slow shutter speed in lower light situations.

Program Mode (P)

Some digital cameras have this priority mode in addition to auto mode (in a few cameras Program mode IS full Auto mode… confusing isn’t it!). In those cameras that have both, Program mode is similar to Auto but gives you a little more control over some other features including flash, white balance, ISO etc. Check your digital camera’s manual for how the Program mode differs from Automatic in your particular model.

Fully Manual Mode

Manual Mode

In this mode you have full control over your camera and need to think about all settings including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc. It gives you the flexibility to set your shots up as you wish. Of course you also need to have some idea of what you’re doing in manual mode so most digital camera owners that I have anything to do with tend to stick to one of the priority modes.

Source: Digital Photography School

How To Choose the Right Tripod for Your Digital Camera

Tripods really are a necessity if you’re serious about photography, and that’s that. I know they’re big, bulky and a pain to carry around, but if you want to get rid of that camera shake that seems to appear in every one of your photos, then it’s time to start the hunt for a good tripod.

Tripods are especially good for nature shots or macro-photography where you want your subjects to be as clear as possible, but they’re definitely not limited to those types of photography. They’re also good for long exposure shots, slow shutter speeds or low light situations. Even if you try to just use a high shutter speed, you still wont have as crisp of a shot without a tripod.

Your camera’s babysitter

When buying a tripod try to think of it as looking for a babysitter for your kid. If I have doubts about a daycare or babysitter, then the kid isn’t going there! I know a child and a camera aren’t the same thing, but in both situations, I want a stabile, trustworthy babysitter/tripod to look after my baby! Look for good construction and stability. These two factors really make or break a tripod.

A weighty issue

Keep in mind when shopping around for tripods the weight of your camera plus the weight of extras. Make sure that tripod can carry the load of the camera, lenses and flash. The last thing you want is for that tripod to topple over with that nice, expensive digital (or film) camera!

Hangin’ loose

Remember to check stability of the tripod when the legs are fully extended and the tripod adjusted to a comfortable height for you. Does it wobble any? Does anything seem loose? Remember, after using it over time, parts will get worn. If something is a little loose or wobbly when the tripod is new, you can probably bet the farm it’ll be a lot worse later.

Tall tales

Also, remember and check for the height. What’s its maximum, minimum and folded heights? Do the heights work for you? You can find tripods that are extremely tall, or even pocket table-top varieties.

Go for stability

Stability and construction really go hand in hand. Try to avoid the plastic models. Yes, they’re lightweight and cheap, but do you want to trust it with your camera? A heavy tripod is a stable tripod. You probably don’t want to carry around one of the old heavy wooden ones. Tripods made out of magnesium alloy, titanium and carbon fiber are available, but for a higher price.

A good head on its shoulders

Examine what type of head it has. Is that what you want? Does it come with one? The head is what attaches your camera to the tripod and, without it, you’d basically just have an expensive mini tee-pee skeleton. Some of the tripods come with one that’s removable, which will allow you to just buy whichever type you like. Some come with one that is not removable, and your stuck with it., Then there are the tripods that don’t come with any at all and allow you to buy whichever you like.

Heads come in two varieties. There are the pan and tilt heads and the ball and socket heads. I think both have advantages and disadvantages. The pan and tilt heads move up and down, left to right. It doesn’t have as much fluid movement as the ball and socket type, and setting up vertical shots is a little more time consuming. They’re usually a little cheaper. The ball and socket, which positions in any direction, is nice for moving your camera around while on the tripod. I find if you’re trying to just set up a picture and you simply need to move the camera a tad in one direction, this type is more of a challenge.

If you want to move the camera a little to the left with the pan and tilt, loosen it and move it to the left and tighten. With the ball and socket though, you loosen and then you have to try and keep the camera level while you move it to the left. You might end up moving it to the left and down or up or left and who knows what direction.

Now that you believe you’ve found a pretty good tripod. You’ve checked out the construction, stability and “kicked the tires,” determined which type of head you need, you should be well prepared to choose the perfect tripod for your needs.


4 Reasons Not to Write off Shooting in Automatic

Sometimes photographers have a complex about shooting in automatic. I shoot primarily in Aperture Priority (and am not here to knock manual settings AT ALL), but I have a tender place in my heart for ol’ Auto. Here are 4 reasons not to write her off too quickly.

1. If you’re relatively new to photography.

If you’re relatively new to photography, Auto can give you a great opportunity for exploration, frankly because it’s less to think about. You have the freedom to “go out on a limb” artistically speaking that you wouldn’t be able to were you going mad metering light, selecting shutter speeds and fiddling with apertures. I really believe that photography takes a certain amount of training of the eye to fall into your personal artistic niche- you’ve got to be free to do that, no strings attached. You can’t surpass the limits of shooting Auto until you become familiar enough with your camera (and photography in general I must add) to know what they are. I shot in Auto for over a year before making the transition over. Shamelessly! The images were superb and it is very rare (like it’s NEVER happened to me once) for anyone to look at a great image and say, “Wow, but did you shoot that in Auto?” No one cares. A good image is a good image is a good image. Period.

ANY friend of mine who comes to me early on in their photography “career” asking for lessons is forbidden from shooting in any mode other than AUTO for at LEAST 3-6 months. In my mind that’s enough time to get your framing style down to the point where it’s just, for lack of a better word, automatic. . . second nature. When that happens, THEN you’re ready to explore other settings. I’ve known too many photographers who are technically off the chart but can’t frame an image worth poo. Don’t fall into that trap by plugging up the artist in you by focusing too much on the technical aspect. It will come. It will. I PROMISE.

2. It can save you when you’re just not QUITE sure.

I have a little “trick” that I use every so often.

If I’m busy shooting away in manual or AP and I’m just not 100% sure I’m nailing the shot, I’ll fire off a few frames in Auto just to be safe. That way if I’ve muffed my shot, there’s still hope. It’s been amazing for me, as it’s saved me a few times over. It’s also been great because it’s given me confidence. There’s nothing like the insecurity of not knowing if you’re really capturing what you hope you are. Yes, I know, LCD screens are helpful. But let’s just face it, they could be a whole heck of a lot bigger. Plus, if you’re shooting anything other than a 100 year old woman who couldn’t move if she wanted to, you don’t have time to check to be sure you got the shot after each frame. You’re rippin’ shots off just about as fast as you can and don’t have time to check to be certain you’re nailing each and every one. There’s nothing as depressing as coming home, uploading and finding that an entire batch is totally underexposed.

Over time you’ll come to where you’re generally happier with the images where you were the boss of your camera rather than the other way around. Mmm. That feels good.

3. The terms: Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual mean nothing to you.

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Awesome! Less pressure! Just don’t mess where you aren’t yet comfortable. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Ansel Adams. Just keep pressing forward. You’ll feel inclined to learn when you’re ready. No rush. Just don’t pick your son’s first birthday party as your day of camera setting exploration. . . set a time and run a test shoot. Play it safe!!

4. Your subject won’t sit still.

Sometimes I run into issues shooting in manual when I’m doing candid shots of kiddos. They’re constantly running in and out of the light, and up and down and around and through and over and under and. . .you get the picture. I can’t switch my settings fast enough to catch them before they’re on to the next adventure. When that’s the case I click over to automatic and thank my lucky stars! She’s so good to me!! Sure if I had time and patience I could fiddle and faddle around to get the precise setting, but generally I’m working against the light, against the clock (a 1 hour sitting) and against the patience of a two year old! I’ve gotta be quick so that I have a broad selection post shoot.

Example: I shot the most darling little boy the other day at a beach that also has forest, caves and cliffs. He’s just the coolest little kid ever AND he’s got enough energy to put my 3 year old to shame (and if you know Cardon you understand that that’s REALLY saying something. . .REALLY). He was EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t fire off a shot before he was on the move again. I was going haywire trying to focus. The changing light as he would run in and out of thick forest (remember I live in Hawaii, the canopy is dense) and climbing up onto bright cliffs, was really throwing me for a loop, so I hopped on over to Automatic and yippee! She saved the day.

Source: Digital Photography School

DPReview.Com & Digital Camera HQ

Before ever buying your first (or not) camera, it is highly advisable to do some research and make comparisons first before coming to a decision. This way, you get to know what camera has the qualities you’re looking for. And this is where quality review sites come in handy.

If you’re someone who knows basically what specifications you’re looking for in a camera, and would want to compare two (or more) of your camera choices, one site I highly recommend is (snapshot below)

This site features all the latest digital camera reviews and digital imaging news and updates related to digital camera’s and photography. Lively discussion forums are also available for support and interaction between fellow enthusiasts, and it caters the largest database of digital camera specifications in the internet. And of course, some photo galleries.

One thing enthusiasts will love about this site is it’s capability to compare their camera choices side-by-side with each camera’s specifications shown. And this includes logically unbiased and detailed reviews (with ratings) for each camera too. The total camera database site.

But here’s the thing, if at first you really don’t know what camera and which specifications you want, and all you really know is the price range of your budget, you might find this site a bit less that a good siet to start with.

But don’t worry, I’ve got this perfect site just for you (if that’s the case). It’s called Digital Camera HQ. (snapshot below)

This site is a lot less complicated, and is a lot more user friendly specially with beginners, if you ask me. And yes, if you only have your range of price budget to start with, this is perfectly the site for you. This site also features comparisons of digital cameras based on reviews from real users, prices and deals from multiple stores, and price range menu (left side of the site) which allows you to see which camera’s are possible choices in your given budget. You can also base your choice on the number of megapixels (6, 7, etc..) you want your camera to have, or which type of camera (Ultra compact, Point and Shoot, Advanced, Extended Zoom, or SLR/Professional). User friendly right?

So here are the sites I highly recommend, and I hope it will help you choose your cameras… without regrets.

Lumix DMC-G1 by: Panasonic

Meet Lumix DMC-G1 by Panasonic. (smallest and lightest D-SLR camera yet)

The Lumix DMC-G1 camera is based on a new Micro Four Thirds System standard, which completely removes the need for an internal mirror structure like most D-SLR cameras do. This new system standard reduces the camera’s size by half, which means less weight too (385 grams only).

It’s a 12.1 megapixel camera that has several other features including Intelligent Exposure, AF Tracking, Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector, Mega O.I.S., Live MOS, My Color Mode, and a HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) output. (I told you it’s a D-SLR camera)

(available in black, red, and blue)

Along it’s features comes available unique lens accessories too (Lumix G Vario 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. and the new Lumix G Vario 45-200mm/F4-5.6/MEGA O.I.S.). Panasonic has stated that the G1 will come with interchangeable lens in other colors (besides black) to compliment it’s body’s color, and it’s really-cool-gadget qualities.

Panasonic’s DMC-G1 will be available in November 2008, and the company will announce the price in October.