Friday, May 30, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014
Friday, May 23, 2014
The thing about photography (especially street photography) is that you always need to have your eyes open for opportunities. Looking at this photo taken in Siem Reap in Cambodia, you'd think that nobody would be able to miss such a prime photo opportunity, but you'd be surprised -- I was hurrying to a bus together with a bunch of journalists when I noticed this kid looking through the bars of an extremely colourful school window, but most of the journalists that were with me didn't notice it at all and walked right by. I only had time to snap about 5 photos but this last one was the best. The thing about a shot like this is that you need to make sure the framing is exactly square on to the windows otherwise it just won't work. AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm VR f/3.5-4.5
One of the things about Photoshop is that the application is SO feature-packed that on a nearly daily basis, I am learning something new about it.
I've always been interested in macro work, but one of the biggest advantages of shooting digital and using the most recent versions of Photoshop is the ability to do "focus stacking," i.e. shooting many exposures of the same subject, but with each shot, slightly varying the focus.
These photos are then loaded into Photoshop and then with a bit of automated magic, the software will blend the in focus parts of each image into a seamless, sharp photo.
If you have Photoshop CC, doing this is pretty easy -- you just load up all the images into it, then go into Automate-->Photomerge and choose all the images you just loaded (uncheck all the check boxes below this).
Next, select all your stacked layers and then go to Edit-->Auto-blend layers and then check the "Stack images" check box in the dialogue box that opens and then wait for the magic to happen.
Nikon D600, AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
It's been awhile since I've posted here. I'd say I've been busy, and it'd be true, but then that's no real excuse not to post here. Anyway a lot of stuff has changed in cameras since I started this photoblog, not least is the rise of the retro camera. I've got a new camera, but it's not one of those -- in fact, I've recently upgraded to an even bigger DSLR-- the Nikon D600 -- and I couldn't be happier with it. The move to a 24MP full-frame is a real big change and believe it or not, it's a lot sharper than I ever thought it'd be. Anyway this photo is an unretouched shot I took for one of my camera reviews. Since the beginning of this year, I've been using a 2 soft box set up which gives a nice even, soft light to studio shots. For lights, I actually use two Nikon SB600 speed lights set to wireless mode. It looks pretty darned good, if I say so myself. Nikon D600, AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
This is an image converted to black and white using the D7000's built in image editor and I have to say it turned out exactly like I wanted it to. When taking this photo, I had in mind one of those many Ikea photos that you can buy for your wall. Nikon D7000, AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
As you've probably noticed by now, I'm a big fan of macro photography. In macro at least this is where a DSLR with a purpose-built macro lens excels over compact cameras. Anyway, this shot is almost a direct conversion to black and white from the original colour image. I shot this with the intention of turning it into a monochrome image. Not much to say about it except that I just liked this composition. Nikon D7000, AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
My dad's garden is a treasure trove of macro subjects. This pretty little spider was only about 2mm and actually quite willing to let me sit there and shoot photo after photo. As always, it's nearly impossible to shoot a proper macro in available light, so I had an SB-600 held in one hand above the spider, while my right hand held the camera to shoot. The photo was taken with my 60mm macro lens at the nearest focus, while I rocked back and forth slightly to get the spider in focus. Getting the eyes in focus is the most important thing, and I had to shoot quite a few shots before I was satisfied. The image is slightly cropped to make the composition a little tighter. Nikon D7000, AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
This shot was a simple grab shot with an Olympus E-PL3 I was testing. The subject is a friend's daughter who was totally engrossed playing Angry Birds on his smartphone. Originally shot in colour, I felt the image was better served in B+W so I converted it and did some minimal contrast adjustment. Olympus E-PL3, 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Woke up at sunrise, looked out my hotel window and saw this amazing sunrise over Shinjuku in Tokyo. The problem with trying to capture a scene like this is that you can either get an exposure from the sky and get buildings dark or get an exposure for the buildings but the sky will be too bright. The answer? High Dynamic Range (HDR), where you take two shots -- one with a proper exposure for the sky and another with a proper exposure for the buildings then join them together. I don't have any special software for doing this right now and just manually pick the areas that I want and layer them over the other using PhotoForge2 on the iPad. Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/18.104.22.168 VR
Saturday, September 03, 2011
This is the first video I've ever posted on this blog, but I thought since I've been showing photos taken with the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD, I might as well also show you a video I did showing you how effective the optical image stabilization in the lens is. Nikon D7000, Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD
Friday, September 02, 2011
I haven't been to the National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur for a number of years now. The last time I went, it was pretty disappointing -- animals kept in cement enclosures with very little in the way of mental stimulation. However, when o went back today, it was a completely different story -- the Zoo has had a major remodeling and the animals have now been moved into properly landscaped enclosures with a more open concept, mostly without bars, very much like the Singapore Zoo or Taiping Zoo. One of the reasons I went to the zoo was to test out the new Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD, a telephoto zoom that's reasonably priced yet offers some amazing images when used properly. Even at 300mm wide open at f/5.6, as this image is, results are really impressive with only a hint of softness and chromatic aberration which goes away if you stop down one stop to f/8. This photo is slightly cropped for balance and some contrast adjustment was made, but no sharpening. Nikon D7000, Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD
The thing about shooting at the zoo is that you really need a long telephoto lens to get really tight portraits of animals. Here, again, I shot at 300mm with the Tamron, and the results were pretty good. The image has been cropped slightly on the right to better balance the composition. Nikon D7000, Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD
This photo really bothers me a lot -- frankly, if I had gotten the leopard's right paw in the frame, the shot would've worked. As it is, my eye keeps getting drawn to the fact that the paw is just out of frame in this photo. Nevertheless, something to learn here apart from proper framing, is that even though I had a busy wire mesh between me and the leopard, shooting with the telephoto lens with the mesh quite close means that it'll be rendered completely out of focus in the shot, except for a slight greenish blur over the leopards back. Another thing to note is that the Tamron performed admirably when stopped down to f/8. Nikon's D7000, Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD
I decided to go against conventional wisdom to present an image of flamingoes in full colour and instead decided to convert this shot into a more stark black and white image. I think stripping the colour away produces a more arresting image of these fighting flamingoes. Nikon D7000, Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD
Thursday, September 01, 2011
This shot is presented unedited just to show you how good the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD is when at it's best. I have to say that's pretty darned sharp. As for what this stork is doing, I think it is getting some sun to warm itself up after getting wet in the pond. Nikon D7000, Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
This shot only works because of the amazing bokeh -- the buttery smooth blur of the out of focus background -- and the almost painterly effect that you get because of this. I recently bought the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 which has the advantage of isolating the subject matter thanks to a shallow depth of field. In reality, if it were sharper in the background, you would clearly see the ugly wires holding up the flower pot and some other extraneous detail. With this shallow depth of field, I simply shot between two other leaves, made sure the front 3 flowers were sharp enough and blurred everything else out. Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Yes I'm still in a monochrome mood. This photo was taken with the express intention to turn it into black and white. I noticed how these two orchids are very similar in position and wanted to shoot a monochrome image to emphasize this. The image was then converted to B+W and adjusted in my iPad. Turned out pretty good I think. Since I did not have my usual 60mm macro I had to borrow my dad's Tamron macro lens. Nikon D7000, Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I was waiting for my ride in Seattle when I saw this couple waiting at the taxi stand, dressed in what looks like 1920s or 1940s style hats. looks kind of sweet and I waited till their position was just right and snapped a few photos. Again, this was originally in colour, but I converted it into black and white in-camera with a virtual red filter. I was standing right behind the couple btw. Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I've been saving this title for years, I think, waiting for a shot that would fit it! Anyway, unlike the accordion photo, this shot was converted into monochrome in-camera, using the D7000's black and white conversion feature, which is surprisingly powerful -- for example, shooting in RAW, I can not only convert it to monochrome, but simulate a red filter to darken other colours and lighten skin tones in black and white. I actually shot another version of this where the father's face is visible, but I quickly realised it would be better to focus on the kid more, so I quickly zoomed in a little closer and took this one. There are lots of split-second decisions to make when shooting a photo like this -- this photo is not cropped at all, and I had to decide at that moment not to include the father's nose and yet make sure his lips are not cut off. I was standing practically right next to the father and son, btw. Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6VR
Seattle's Pike Place is a street photographer's dream, I think -- it's got lots of interesting people doing interesting things. This shot was converted to monochrome using Photogene on the iPad, with a slight contrast adjustment and a bit of cropping and sharpening. Amazing what you can do on the iPad these days. Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6VR
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Seems like I'm here every year. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I'm at the Thai temple every year for Wesak day to take photos and partake of the excellent Thai food. :) This year, I challenged myself not to take exactly the same photos as I did in previous years, which means I'd have to actively think of new angles and new things to shoot at a place I've visited and shot for many years now. This is one of the first shots, taken at a lower angle than I did before. Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
In keeping with the challenge to shoot the same things in a different way, this time I chose to shoot the oil lamps from a top down angle by just lifting the camera over my head and pointing it straght down. Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
Sunday, March 20, 2011
This shot was taken at the period when the moon is supposedly the closest its been in many many years. Taking photos of the moon requires the longest telephoto lens that you have, a steady tripod and spot metering. Contrary to what you might think, the moon travels across the sky at quite a speed and between each shot I have to reposition my camera or in just a minute or two the moon would be out of frame. The shot could be sharper if I had a better lens, but considering that I'm using a cheap Kenko 800mm f/8 mirror lens, it turned out ok. A bit of tweaking of contrast and sharpening to help bring out more detail is required as the Kenko tends to be lacking in contrast. Nikon D7000, Kenko 800mm f/8 manual focus mirror lens.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Yes. This view. I think I've died and gone to heaven. In fact, the view is just so great it's practically impossible to shoot a bad photo. So here's another one:
Nikon D7000, AF-S Nikkor 12-24mm f/4, AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR