Light is Everything!

Archive for February, 2011

Book Review: The Moment it Clicks

Good day! I did another book review and posted the video to my blog’s YouTube channel. Why not subscribe? πŸ˜‰ Anyways, I decided to review Joe McNally’s Book “The Moment it Clicks.” It’s an awesome book that brings technical lighting, awesome photography, wise insights and a whole lot of easy to read fun together in one place. Definitely one of the best photography books I have read to date. Check out the full video review.



We had our second ever meeting of our newly formed Souris Valley Photography Club last night. It was a pretty good turn out of 10 people, despite another cold night to be out and about. I began leading the folks through a basics of cameras & photography course that I put together while making a little quick reference booklet for beginners.


Download your .PDF copy!

It’s always a lot of fun to get together and talk photography! After we went through some basic concepts of exposure and did some hands on work with the cameras, we shared pics from our photo assignment for February which was: the color red. There were lots of great shots to share and I think everyone had a great time. I am looking forward to our next club meeting in March!

I also put the basics class up on YouTube! Check it out and listen to the melodious sound of my voice. πŸ˜‰

I Shoot RAW

I watch a ton of YouTube instead of Satellite TV. Β Why? Because there is not much on TV worth watching! πŸ™‚ I also like learning constantly. I seldom watch TV to be entertained, that’s what movies are for. Instead, I dial in YouTube on my AppleTV and watch photography videos! πŸ˜‰ Β Recently, I have been watching lots of FroKnowsPhoto – Jared Polin’s channel. He has a website too and he makes videos constantly that cover lots of great topics from editing pictures to taking pictures to gear reviews, etc. He also shoots Nikon which makes him OK in my books. πŸ™‚ Right now he’s got a contest on and I decided to enter Phoebe. It’s a self-portrait with something from the show, either the “I Shoot RAW” slogan or the fro or whatever. I figured we’d cover all of our bases for these shots. Notice the depressed cable release? She actually took the shots her self and had fun blowing the motor drive at 7 frames a second! heheheeh….. 10 zillion Phoebe Fro shots! πŸ™‚ The winner of the contest will be selected on their live show. I hope we win because a really cool camera bag is up for grabs! (Ignore the Canon stuff in the picture) πŸ˜‰


This past Sunday I had the privilege of Baptizing a little girl at our Church in Frobisher and then going back to the families’ house to take some photos. I’m the pastor who officiates your rite, then takes your pictures! πŸ˜‰ Weddings come as a two for one special, ceremony & the photos cheap! Β The follow up party was a lot of fun and there were lots of photos to be had. I took my camera bag and used my 50mm f/1.8 lens to nab all the shots. We were inside which meant higher ISOs than I would have preferred but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get the exposure. I approached the event from a casual/candid/photojournalism type style with only a couple of “posed” shots. It was a lot of fun and the family was very gracious to allow me to celebrate their special day with them.

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105mm Challenge

Macro has always been one of my passions in photography. I love the miniature world hiding right at our feet. It’s often overlooked by most people too. I got my 105mm f/2.8 VR last year in late fall just as all the bugs were starting to get ready to hide for winter. But Macro isn’t only for bugs and other creepy crawlies, and the 105mm is one versatile lens. It also works great for portraits as it has some really nice telephoto to throw out backgrounds into buttery bokeh. I want to use it more often for various kinds of photography and so, I went out for another photowalk with the dog yesterday when the sun was shining. Β I only had with me my 105mm and tried to do some handheld macro stuff as well as any other shots that happened to show up. It’s challenging being only at one focal length – especially because I had a zillion deer all around me today. Which figures, because I didn’t have my 70-300 lens, deer came out right in front of me! I could have had some sweet whitetailed deer portrait shots! It always works this way!

Deer right in front of me!

But that’s ok, part & parcel of trying the one focal length challenge. The shots I did get I was happy with and it’s always just fun to go out and take shots.

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Up in Smoke!

So tonight I was trying some way cool smoke tricks I saw on Gavin Hoey’s YouTube page. His tutorial is super cool and explains everything so I won’t repeat it all here. But it’s a fun technique that creates some really neat shots!


Whoa, man!

Then, you can get creative and go the next step further and do some colorizing in Photoshop (or in my case, GIMP). It also works pretty darn slick!


Rad Man! Far Out!

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When the Camera Lies!

OK, it might be a bit of mis-statement. But it’s more or less true. πŸ˜‰ What I’m talking about is my history of occasionally blurry shots when shooting handheld with my 50mm f/1.8. I noticed that shots would sometimes be bang on and sometimes they would be off ever so slightly. Most of the time I would lock the camera into Aperture priority mode, dial in ISO 320 (I’m not a huge fan of noise) and let the camera work out the shutter speed. It would work out an exposure for me and I would click and sometimes it would be blurry and sometimes it would be bang on. I blamed it on photographer shake and went on with life, with lots of occasional blurry shots.

Cute but Blurry

1/50 - the right recipe for blurriness!

Then, I learned about the handheld rule – this literally changed my photographic life!Β  When I finally learned that if your shutter speed drops below 1/your focal length (in my case 1/50th for a 50mm), you’re shot will be blurry if it is handheld. You can compensate for this somewhat by cranking your ISO but your overall picture quality will degrade too. Now, when shooting handheld inside in natural light, I switch to M mode and dial in no less than 1/100 to be safe.

The logic is because the handheld rule originally applied to film and it still works on full sensor cameras. But on crop sensors like my D300s, you have to multiply the focal length by a factor of 1.5 (for Canon crop sensors it’s 1.6). So, a 50mm prime on a C-Sensor camera is actually a 75mm. You’d need a shutter speed of no less than 1/80 of a second to get a sharp shot.

Success & Prestige Await!

Keeping this rule in mind, you can tell why shots taken in Aperture Priority mode would sometimes be blurry. If the camera calculated your exposure to be 1/60 at f/4 at ISO 320, on a handheld 50mm lens, end result is a blurry shot which is a real drag! Switching to M mode and watching my meter has virtually eliminated my blurry handheld shots.

Cute & Sharp

1/400 is a better option for sharp shots

Try out the handheld rule the next time your taking inside shots in natural light handheld. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes! It’s now become innate for me, that is to say, I never deviate from the principle now as it just comes automatically. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. Which is a real plus! It means I can get back to concentrating on composition and making photographs.





St. Valentine

Go buy some chocolates and roses! Or, some potatoes and red paint! Life is much simpler when you’re 3! πŸ˜‰

Book Review: The Art of Children’s Portrait Photography

I decided to do a book review – a video book review! The book is Tamara Lackey’s “The Art of Children’s Portrait Photography.” I enjoyed the book very much, she does a really good job with it. The review video is just some of my thoughts, what I liked and thought could have been better! πŸ™‚ I think we should always be reading and watching what other photographers are doing so that we can eventually develop our own style. I liken it to learning to play the piano. When you first start out, you learn songs that other people wrote. With much practice, you may even write your own stuff someday. Same goes for photography. See what awesome photographers are up to, what you like and don’t like, then make it your own! Have fun!


Nighttime Fun!

So we had a Valentine’s Family Fun night at our church tonight and Phoebe won a heart based princess wand glow stick – which she won on the merit of being under 5. πŸ™‚ All that ran through my mind was “Wicked! We can take super rad pictures with that thing!” And, so we did. πŸ˜‰

I love crazy shutter stuff. And glow sticks make the very best night shots, especially when kids are fired up to try it out. Grab your camera, your tripod and your fun shoes and give this a whirl. Manual Mode dialled into 30 seconds at f/8, ISO at 200 or whatever (mine was at 320 I think). Make sure your focus is on manual and set your lens to infinity. Then get your kids to go in front of the camera and start whirling around like crazed psychos! The more excited the better! She had the best time!

Whirling Dervish!?


Who's having all the fun? There she is!


But then, it get’s even more fun when you get more people to join in the madness and, add your flash. It ends up giving you the coolest Ghost images! Fun! πŸ™‚

Then, at the end, I couldn’t resist. I had to get in on all the madness myself – I’m not sure who had more fun, me or Phoebe?! Hehehheh… πŸ˜‰

Check out the rest of the shots in the slideshow. They are all single images edited only to pump up the saturation. The ghost images come because of multiple flash fires while the people move around to different spots.

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