Saturday, February 20, 2010

Peggy's Cove - Nova Scotia

Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, located about 30-40 minutes from Halifax, is one of the most beautiful paces to shoot and probably the most photographed spot in Canada.

This small fishing village is most recognizable by its famous lighthouse. It's so beautiful there I don't think you need many words to describe it. If you ever get a chance to visit the east coast of Canada, Peggy's Cove is a must see.




Monday, February 15, 2010

The Language of Photography

I have been studying Spanish for a little more than a year; it's such an interesting language. There's so much to learn about the language such as proper sentence structure, rules for conjugating verbs and. like English, a bunch of idiomatic expressions.

When I think about learning photography over the past 5 years I find that there are a lot of parallels to learning a new language. Photography seems to have a language of its own so I thought I would try to highlight some of that here; for purely entertainment purposes only.



What else?

Key Light, Fill Light, Short Light, Broad Light, Butterfly Light, Rembrandt Light, Kicker Light, Soft Box, Strip Light, Bounce Light, Catch Light... Hot Shoe, Flash, Speedlight, Monolight, Strobe, Pocket Wizard (okay, this could be a double entendre, but it's not)... Front Sync, Slow Sync, Rear Sync, X-Sync (almost everything but the kitchen sink!), Dragging the Shutter, Ripping Exposures, Dynamic Range, Parallax, Fish-Eye, Wide Open, Stop Down, Ghosting (popular around October 31st).

Shall we continue?

Low Dispersion, Extra Low Dispersion (is this like extra virgin olive oil?), Diffraction, Chromatic Aberration (that one sounds scary), Hyperfocal, Inverse Square Law (I didn't know I had to learn physics),  Polarizer, Grad, ND Grad, Split ND Grad (I thought I saw a figure skater do a Split ND Grad last night - they nailed the landing), Panning, Dodging, Burning... Fast Glass, Slow Glass, L Glass, Pro Glass ... Circles of Confusion??? (gone round and round on this one, still confused!).

Anyway, it's a holiday Monday here so this is how my brain is working today. Please feel free to leave a comment if you want to share some of your "language of photography".

¡Saludos y que tenga un buen día!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Capturing Kids Candids

That title would have a certain alliterative impact if only "kids" began with a "c"; however, I could have used "Capturing Children's Candids", but it just didn't have the same feeling. I digress...

Whenever we get together with family or friends who have kids it's always fun to try and capture at least a few candid shots of the kids. Kids can go from being very expressive and animated to being very quiet and subdued, almost reflective. They can show emotions without being asked; however, you need to be ready to capture those moments. Here are a few things that I have learned (some of them the hard way) that might help you to capture these moments (in no particular order):
  • Get down to their level; put yourself in their environment (usually means sitting or lying on the floor). Shooting from above can produce a somewhat unnatural perspective.
  • Control your depth of field. I like to shoot candids wide open (i.e. large aperture - small f-stop number) so I can really separate the subject from the background. Shooting wide open will also help in low light situations.
  • Crop in tight to avoid any distracting background elements and don't be afraid to cut off the top of the head a little; this is a popular composition technique.
  • Figure out the best exposure settings for your environment before shooting and lock them in. If you have to keep changing them over and over again you'll risk losing a special moment. Remember, small exposure blips can be fixed in post, large ones not always.
  • Always keep your eye to the viewfinder, know where your focus point is and be ready to fire the shutter. Lots of things can happen in that split second when you take your eye away. I have missed my fair share of good shots because of this. 
Here are just a few of my favourites:
I was tracking my nephew from toy to toy trying to get a decent shot (he's usually non-stop motion). Then he sat down at his little table, put his head on his arms and gave me this look. I already had my eye on the viewfinder and finger on the shutter - I was also glad to see that I had my flash turned on, too. One of my favourites. In case you're wondering, he wasn't quiet for very long.

    ( Nikon D300, 24-70mm, 1/60 @ f2.8, ISO800)

    This was shot from above, but it was the only chance I had so I took it. I really liked his expression.

     ( Nikon D300, 24-70mm, 1/125 @ f4, ISO400)

    My nephew was crawling towards me and when he was close enough he reached out to grab the lens. I got the shot; then cleaned my lens.

     (Canon Rebel XT, 17-85mm, 1/60 @ f5, ISO400)


    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Colour Wheel

    I dug these photos out my archive from a few years ago. I was doing a "photowalk" in the downtown area and came across this somewhat interesting cart. It was hard not to notice because of its colour (and photographers are always drawn to colour). I wanted to shoot it, but I had a difficult time figuring out a decent composition. I spent a few minutes trying some different shots and eventually I found an angle and a few compositions that I really liked.

    Below is a really bad photo of the cart:

    Here's how I ended up shooting it: