Tag Archives for " photography "

Vignette {Self Portrait Saturday}

Vignette {Self Portrait Saturday}

Not really happy with this self-portrait. I was trying to work with light, colour, and angles, but couldn't quite get it right in the 10 minutes that I had allotted for this photo session. I ended up editing it in iPhoto, just using the B & W + vignette options. But, that's it. No cropping, etc. It's okay, I guess. But, I wish I can do other things with self-portraiture. However, I'm aware that in order to do something more, I need to find more time to do this. And, I just don't have that time. Ah, well. Gotta make do with what you've got, right?

Anyway, I hope you all are having a good weekend. I'm trying to take it easy, as I've been hoping to catch up on some chores and rest. Plus, things have been really crazy on my side of the sky lately. Funny how getting some 'down time' can be such a challenge nowadays.

Take care, everyone.

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Self-Portrait Saturday: Light and Shade

Self Portrait Saturday: 1st Nov '08

I'm running late for my first NaBloPoMo '08 post. I ended up staying later than expected at a dinner party. It was a lovely evening, though. Met great new folks and developed friendships. And, the kids had a ball! So, it's all good. Yep, even if I was nursing a cold through it.

Anyway, I've been thinking about NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo a lot over the last 48 hours.

On NaBloPoMo, I've developed a rough guideline on how to help me along with my daily blog posts. And, one of the things I decided to do is to explore self portraiture once again. But this time, just once a week. I'll post a new self-portrait every Saturday, which I may have taken at any time during the week (at least, for the month of November).

This photo is something I took when I got home from the dinner party. I decided to play with light and shade. Just used available lighting from a room, took a shot, used the built-in monochrome edit from my camera, then uploaded the file. Yep - no other editing/cropping done here.

On NaNoWriMo - Yes, I'm pleased to say that I managed to do some writing today while I was waiting at the sidelines during my kids' swimming lessons. Heh. Not a lot of word count, though. But, writing is still writing, right?

In any case, happy 1st of November to you all. And, hope you're having a great weekend.

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About Self Portraits, Photography and a Pink b5media Shirt

Pink b5media Girl

It has been a while since I last took and shared a self portrait. Even though I received some really great feedback regarding my self portrait photography a few months ago, it hasn't felt right to start it all up again since I left the 365 Days project (around the time my dad passed away). And, some folks have been asking if I'll ever try it again.

Well, when I received my pink b5media shirt a couple of months ago, a few people requested for a photo. So, even though I wasn't really up for a self-portrait session just yet, I took a couple of shots last June. But then, I kept postponing the sharing bit. Not sure why. I guess, it just felt weird.

But, life can sometimes be about overcoming one weirdness after another. So, here I am, sharing another self portrait. Never mind that it's actually one that I took almost 2 months ago.

Does this mean I'm getting ready to start self portraiture once again? I'm not sure yet. Definitely not ready to start 365 once again. I don't know if I ever will.

But, I do miss taking photos. I mean, not just the snapshot stuff that I've been doing since letting go of the 365 projects that I started early this year. You see, lately, all the camera action that my D40x has seen are art/craft projects and family snapshots. They're good to have, of course. But, I don't even take many of those photos either. So, yeah, my beloved camera is feeling a neglected.

And, well... Somehow, I just want to get back to documenting life once again through photography. No full blown projects. Just the simple stuff. And maybe - just maybe - a self portrait or two again.

P.S. - Yes, I *love* my pink b5 shirt. So pleased that we've got girly schwag shirts. Really love the designs of the last batch of shirts.

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The Sigma EX 30mm f1.4 DC HSM

Day 71 - Project 365 - 11th Mar 08: SIGMA EX 30MM  f1.4 DC HSM
When I first got my Nikon D40x, I only had my kit lens. And, I knew from the start that I wanted a prime lens.

So, I've researched the best first prime lens for my D40x. I came down to two choices (and a bit): the good ol' classic Nikon 50mm f1.8 (or the more expensive 1.4, as that bit) - or the Sigma 30mm.

The Nikon 50mm is a well-loved, well-recommended piece of glass. From most reviews I've read (like Ken Rockwell's), no Nikon owner can go wrong with it. It's one fine lens. And, the fact that you can buy it for less than $100, it's a steal.

The one thing that stopped me from buying the Nikon 50mm as my first prime lens is that it doesn't auto focus with the D40x. Being a newbie to DSLR photography, I knew that I still have a lot to learn and to practice when it comes to manual focusing. And, knowing that my main subjects (an active pre-schooler + a baby) will never sit still long enough for me 'til I get the focus right, I knew I needed a lens that will be easier to focus with my camera.

Enter the Sigma 30mm f1.4. It's one of the few lenses in this range that will auto focus on the D40x. There were 2 things that seemed to be against this lens: 1) Some people have said to experience some quality issues in some copies (primarily, some focusing issues). They either needed to repair or replace them; and 2) It's way more expensive than the 50mm (it costs around $350-450, depending on where you buy it).

After more research (a sample review), I decided that the 30mm, the auto focusing on the D40x, plus its low light capabilities made me think that it will definitely be worth the investment. So, I went ahead and purchased it.

I've never regretted it. It's definitely one of my favourite lenses. I especially love it for portraiture. I can take photos with this lens without using any flash even under low light conditions.

I also heard that some people use this lens when they take band or performance photos. I've never tried it myself but have seen some photos taken in these situations.

By the way, the Sigma 30mm also works with Canon cameras. All the same features, except they have a Canon mount, of course.

Anyway, there are two Flickr groups on the Sigma 30mm f1.4 that I know of: this one and this other one. They're not extremely busy, but you can find some useful reviews, samples and other discussions on this lens.

Here are some sample photos that I've taken using the Sigma 30mm f1.4:

Sample Photos from Sigma 30mm f1.4

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My New Nikkor 55-200mm Zoom Lens

New Nikon 55-200mm VR!

It took about 2 months to wait for my zoom lens to arrive. It was meant to be part of my original Nikon D40x kit, but apparently, there was a shortage of the Nikkor 55-200mm 1:4-5.6G ED VR lens in Australia at one time. Or at least, that was what my camera seller told me.

In any case, the 55-200mm VR has finally come. And yes, this is now the fourth glass added to my photography gear. And, here are some sample shots:

First Few Shots with Nikon 55-200mm VR

Overall, I'm quite pleased with it. I love that even though it's a zoom lens, it's still pretty compact. It doesn't overpower my small Nikon D40x. And, it's quite fast. I love that I can also do portraits with it. I think it will especially be a good portrait lens, if I want to have a bit of space between me and the subject matter.

Well, I'm looking forwarding to testing this lens out a bit more. To see what else I can do with it.

If you want to read a more comprehensive review of this piece of glass, read Ken Rockwell's review of the 55-200mm VR.

And yes, I'm now only lusting for 3 more lenses. Heh. ๐Ÿ˜€ But, seriously, once I get a decent wide angle lens (possibly, a Sigma 10-20mm) next, I should be okay for a long while. After all, a Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor is really more of a 'wishful thinking' lens. And, a longer zoom lens (Nikon 70-300 VR is sort of reasonable, but the alternative Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR is more along the lines of 'wishful thinking' too) - is still way out of the question at this stage.

Note: For those who're not familiar with the terminology, VR stands for Vibration Reduction. It basically helps to remove 'camera shake', especially if you're shooting without tripods. Canons, I believe, uses the term IS (or Image Stabilizer) for the same technology. While some photographers swear by this new technology, some pros like Scott Kelby actually advised against using this in his Digital Photography Book.


1. Day 61 - Project 365 - 1st Mar 08: Sailing in Glenelg, 2. Bath Time for Birds: Views in Glenelg, 3. Scrambling for Food, 4. Clock in Glenelg (Closer), 5. Clock in Glenelg, 6. 1st Mar 08: Views in Glenelg, 7. Gotta Be First..., 8. Daylight Moon, 9. Glenelg Jetty View, 10. Day 61 - 365 Days - 1 Mar 08: Natural Head Dress, 11. Day 59 - Project 365 - 28th Feb 08 : ELECTRIC BLUE, 12. Day 54 - Project 365 - 23rd Feb 08 : BIRD ON WIRES

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