Posts Tagged ‘nikon’

Moi. A Portrait

October 1st, 2009

A while back I decided to fool around with some light. Just to see what combinations worked and how. A little experimentation, if you will.

So I made a self portrait.

Looking through the small collection of pictures I took that day again, I realised that I’m wearing the same suit and combination of shirt and tie. In the words of Dr. Horrible: What a crazy random happenstance!

(You absolutely MUST see Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. It is Joss Whedon at his very very best. It’s a short, hilarious tragicomedy musical – or rather: a “tragic-romantic-comedy-musical-satire” – that he made when bored during the 2007-2008 Writer’s Guild of America strike. It was shot over 6 days on a shoe-string budget and was after released for free on the Web. If you’re in the US, you can stream it from the Hulu plugin on the DHSAB website, else, you can view DHSAB in three Acts on YouTube here: Act I (Part I and Part II), Act II (Part I and Part II), Act III (Part I and Part II).)

Anyway, I digressed. Seeing as I’m wearing the same combination as I write this, I’ve decided to share with you a self-portrait from that shoot.

I set my D700 on a mini tripod very close to the floor, and set two flashes: one to camera left inside the doorway with a diffusion dome attached (white light), and the other to camera left, gelled warm with a full CTO and with a makeshift snoot so the light was directed only at my face (warm – as in: slightly orange – light).

So here it is.

Self Portrait

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A Stolen Moment

September 23rd, 2009

When I was going through my photo albums sorting and choosing the pictures that would go onto my main website there were a number of shots that I enjoy immensely that nevertheless never made the final cut, for whatever reason.

Such as this stolen moment here.

I took this off one of the islands dotted around Abu Dhabi. I made a goodly number of pictures that day, but this is one of the small handful that speak to me.

I like the colours, play of light and delicacy of the unguarded gesture…

A Stolen Moment

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Island Chilling

September 21st, 2009

Sunset Island

Eid Mubarak to one and all!

Well, Ramadan is over. And it’s back to a normal train of life. But meanwhile, there’s nothing like a boat trip to start off the Eid holiday on a good footing. I went out to one of the islands around Abu Dhabi (featured up top) with some friends. We snorkelled, walked among the mangroves, enjoyed the chattering of birds, the company of baby rays, went sea-shell hunting and stayed out rather late into the night, chatting by the fire, taking night swims and enjoying the fluorescence.

I took my camera with me, hoping to be able to capture something interesting.

Shooting from the speedboat while moving was difficult at best – too much shaking, and trying to zoom in/out through the ziplock bag I’d DIYed into a protective cover for the camera was an annoyance. To top it off, later when taking pictures of star trails I even managed to run out of juice, mid-picture. Dead battery. Should have checked it before hand. First time it happens to me – Nikon’s awesome batteries have tended to last and last and last… My bad.

Overall, fantastic day (and night) out in great company, but not a great picture-taking day.

That said, the two shots below made lugging the camera with me worthwhile.

The Mermaid

Sunset Olympics

All shots above were with a Nikon D700 with a Tamron 24mm-135mm F3.5-5.6 lens.

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Photography Books

September 19th, 2009

People often ask me what good photography books there are out there.

So I decided to put together a little list of good books I own, or have come across, and have found particularly useful.

Here they are in no particular order. Click the links below to finds out more about the books:

General How-Tos, Why-Tos, Tips & Techniques

  1. The Digital Photography Book
  2. The Digital Photography Book V2
  3. The Digital Photography Book V3
  4. Michael Freeman’s Top Digital Photography Tips
  5. The Moment it Clicks: Photography Secrets from One of the World’s Top Shooters
  6. Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera
  7. Understanding Shutter Speed: Creative Action and Low-Light Photography Beyond 1/125 Second
  8. How to Photograph Absolutely Everything: Successful Pictures from Your Digital Camera
  9. Waiting for the Light
  10. The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
  11. Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision
  12. The Digital SLR Handbook
  13. National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures
  14. National Geographic Photography Field Guide: People and Portraits
  15. The Complete Guide to Night and Low-Light Photography

Lighting

  1. The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light From Small Flashes
  2. Minimalist Lighting: Professional Techniques for Location Photography
  3. Master lighting Guide for Portrait Photographers
  4. The Nikon Creative Lighting System: Using the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900 and R1C1 Flashes

HDR

  1. Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography

Lightroom 2 Guides

  1. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers
  2. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers

Macro Guides

  1. Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop and Macro Photography
  2. Macro Photography Workshop
  3. Understanding Close-up Photography: Creative Close Encounters with or without a Macro Lens

Guide to Filters

  1. Digital Photographers Guide to Filters: The Complete Guide to Hardware and Software Filtration

Inspiration

  1. Wisdom: 50 Unique and Original Portraits
  2. A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005
  3. Annie Leibovitz at Work
  4. Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs
  5. Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Celebrity and Editorial Photography
  6. Ocean: The World’s Last Wilderness Revealed
  7. Portraits
  8. Earth from Above
  9. The World’s Top Photographers: Portraits: And the Stories Behind Their Greatest Images
  10. National Geographic: The Photographs
  11. 100 Photographs That Changed the World

Other

  1. Photographer’s Legal Guide
  2. New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing *Note: This book may be useful to you even if not using Epson equipment. It’s that kind of book.

The above is by no means a complete list.

FI haven’t put up any Photoshop books as I don’t use the software and am not familiar with it. Another notable absence from the list are books tackling aspects specific to film photography.

If you think there’s a great or essential photography book that’s missing from the above, by all means do share. See also here, for a top 10 list that mentions a few titles that aren’t listed in the above.

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Milky Way!

September 17th, 2009

The Milky Way, by Serge Brunier and Frédéric Tapissier

I came across this cool image of the entire Milky Way in a 360 degree panorama painstakingly stitched together by French photographers Serge Brunier and Frédéric Tapissier.

They worked in the highlands of Chile with a Nikon D3 camera (with a 50 mm lens open at f5.6), in a project that extended over several months. Each exposure was six minutes long and they eventually patched together 1200 photos of the night sky into the composite above.

Brunier wanted to create photographs of space that are closer to the human experience of just going outdoors and looking up at the sky.

Check out Brunier’s website here for more information, and for an excellent zoomable view of the full 360 degree panorama in detail.

You can also see an instructional version of the panorama on a European Southern Observatory website here.

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Through His Lens

September 7th, 2009

Today I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine and his work. Ghassan Mikati is a travel photographer par excellence.

He has a great eye and a facility for taking small, simple, everyday things and making them look special and beautiful. This all means that he’s come back with awe-inspiring shots from plenty of extraordinary and exotic locales. Even those cities and places which may be familiar to you appear different and fresh, as though another side to them comes out when seen through his lens.

Gus’s photography is all the more impressive when you know that he tends to work mostly with film cameras, as opposed to digital ones – specifically the excellent Nikon F100 and Nikon FM-3A.

So if you’re interested in some very warm and honest portraits, great urban and location photography, and otherwise absolutely fab shots – check out his website here.

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Making Faces

September 2nd, 2009

The Mischievous OnePeople are so interesting.

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy taking portraits so much; To try and catch something about them – something we don’t often see.

There’s something about faces that gets me most.

Eyes in particular: They can reveal so much about a person. Contemplation

Expression

Control of light is key. Anything that can help soften the light can help there – especially where the light is very bright (which I wanted it to be). Anything – such as my trusty Ezybox Lastolite softbox.

Unfortunately, it takes up space. Not much space. But any space counts when travelling on a short trip. So…

The Handsome Devil

When I travelled to Beirut, I debated taking only the barest gear. But in a sudden rush of madness I decided to leave my tripod behind and instead take the Ezybox.Cheeky-Haughty

Thankfully, I managed to put the Ezybox to good use. Which is very fortunate, as I really missed the use of my tripod.

For example, I took the Ezybox along to a dinner. I set up the soft box in a few minutes under the puzzled look of my fellow dinner guests. Then I made myself a makeshift modifier with one of the diffusing cloths that came in the kit with the softbox, a clothes hanger and some tape (thank you Strobist!)Gentle

Once that was done, I got people to, one by one, variously stand or sit for portraits.

I placed my SB800 in the softbox behind their heads to light them from behind.

To light them from the front/side, as I was wont, I occasionally managed to get my favourite Voice Activated Lightstand (aka my mum) to hand-hold my SB900 strobe unit behind the makeshift light modifier.Quirky

With everything in place, I just chatted with my subjects, asked them to try on different expressions, and waited until the moment it clicked.

Or at least, until the moment I thought it did. :)

So here are some of the results for your viewing pleasure.The Little AngelTwisty

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