Posts Tagged ‘scott kelby’

Alone

November 29th, 2010

This is a shot from my archives. It was a test shot I made with my then-new 50mm prime lens. For some reason, I keep coming back to it.

So here it is.

What caught my eye was the way the light hit the cup. The scene is at one of the restaurants at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

On another note, check out the following:

More coming soon!

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Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (0)

Of Love and Padlocks

November 4th, 2010

On my recent trip to Florence, Italy to attend a wedding (of course) I discovered something completely new to me: love padlocks.

The custom basically has lovers affixing padlocks to railings and chain links along (generally) a pier or bridge and throwing the key into the water. This act is supposed to symbolise the unbreakable bond between the two sweethearts. Sometimes, one or other of the dewy-eyed pair will write their name(s), the date or even a small message on the padlock they affix. Or they may even paint the brass in pretty bright colours. It makes for quite a sight, these clumps of padlocks bristling like mad metal hedgehogs from the railings, or stretching out in heavy chains that look like they’ll soon collapse from the weight.

I was introduced to this curious phenomenon by a friend, with whom I took a lazy walk around the old part of town the morning after the wedding. I first spotted it by the little marvel that is the Ponte Vecchio and then again all along the Arno and on the other bridges.

It seems that the Fiorentine authorities tried to stamp out the practice back in 2006. Clearly, they failed.

A few shots below.

Shot on the wall along the Lungarno Archibustieri.

A never ending chain…

The above was shot from the Ponte Alle Grazie, with the Ponte Vecchio in the background.

On another note:

More coming soon!

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Posted in Interesting Stuff, Travel/Urban | Comments (0)

The HDR Debate

April 10th, 2010

Before I disappeared, a debate seemed to be raging online regarding the value of HDR imaging and techniques (or lack thereof, depending on which side of the debate you stand on).

It started with Dave Cross’s post called “The Debate Over HDR” and was soon followed by a response to one of the comments on that post by Scott Kelby (here’s the link to Kelby’s post). The various views and commentary were very interesting to me and led me to re-examine the reasons why I now enjoy HDR imagery.

The debate may have died down since the above-mentioned posts were published, but I thought I would share my two cents with you anyway.

Some time ago I really disliked the idea of HDR. I felt, like some commentators, that HDR was perhaps a way of rendering an otherwise uninteresting image interesting. In some cases I still say it may serve that way. However on the whole, as I’ve come to learn to use the effect and it’s uses and limitations, I’ve come around to changing my views. My friend Dan and his work gave the first push that got me on the way to converting. He was a big proponent of HDR way before I ever was.

I now sometimes do shoot something with the express purpose of creating an HDR image. And I occasionally even feel that some images work better in HDR; Sometimes, there’s no way to light a scene the way I would like to capture the image I have in my mind, and HDR is often of help to me there. In those cases particularly, it may give me a certain flexibility that could only be rivalled by an army of assistants and an inconceivable (for me) collection of speedlights and gels. That last is perhaps not a very practical option. Especially considering I’m mostly a shooter out on his own, with (maybe) one speedlight (and at most two) and no assistants.

That said, HDR and other tools at the disposal of the modern photographer are methods of expressing a certain vision of the world around us. So, is HDR less challenging? Yes, almost certainly. But does that make HDR less worthy? In this photographer’s eye – not always. Scott Kelby put it very nicely “HDR is an effect like any other effect”.

My two cents now spent, I propose to share with you images of two different subjects. Each subject has both an HDR image (created from 7 different exposures) and a “standard” variant. The aim being to showcase the large difference between the two styles as I’ve experienced them (and the different visions of a same subject that can thus be expressed).

The first two images below are of a tower of the Hili Fort in Al Ain. I prefer the subtler tones and shades of the “standard” photograph, but enjoy the striking quality the tone mapping has given the clouds in the HDR image, as well as the detail brought out in the walls of the tower. Those friends of mine I’ve asked have come back fairly equally divided as to their preference on this one.

The second set of images below is of one of the towers at the late Sheikh Zayed’s Palace, also in Al Ain.

In the “standard” photograph, to achieve the effect you see here I exposed for the sky and lit the foreground with an SB900 speedlight. Some of the light bounced onto the wall of the palace and its tower, giving it some detail instead of making it some sharp shadow against the twilight sky.

I very much enjoy both images, but my favourite is by far the “standard” image. That’s partly due to the colour of the sky, but it may also be a measure of pride – I used the limited gear I had at my disposal to get precisely the image I was aiming for.

The challenge of it, and the satisfaction of having achieved marks the “standard” image as special to me. By comparison, the HDR variant was not as big a challenge as it’s a significantly more forgiving and much more flexible process.

Your thoughts and comments welcome, as always.

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Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (7)

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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