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Tag Archives for " photography "

Web Wednesday #3: 5 Cool Finds + Adelaide Bloggers’ Meet-up

Web WednesdayTime for another round of web goodness that I found over the last week.

1. CoverItLive - A tool for liveblogging. Great for conferences, events, virtual parties, news coverage, etc. Video, text, pictures... Looks really cool. And it's free! Will definitely try it when I get the chance. Wonder if it's better to use this than uStream?

2. DPS posted this very useful DIY Flash and Lighting Hacks for Digital Photographers article. Will definitely try some of these lighting set-ups some time.

3. Thinking of learning Photoshop Elements? Try About's Graphic Software's free tutorials.

Paint Like Jackson Pollock

4. Paint like Jackson Pollock. Yep, that's how I made that image you see above. You'll need Flash to make it work, though.

5. My First Mac - For new Mac users... and anyone thinking of becoming a Mac convert. Lots of tutorials, tips and ideas. Oh, and writing of Macs, what do you all think of the new Macbook Air? I thought I'd be back to MacLusting when it launches... But, I'm not too impressed. Definitely not getting in to my wish list. Won't say no to a freebie, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was fun to hold this little game. And, it looks like Mary Jo was right. "Under Old Chaos" is the opposite of "Under New Management." Duh me. I do like Angela's creative twist, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, if you two are interested, please email me (shaicoggins AT gmail DOT come) your mailing address. Would love to send something to say thanks for playing.

Oh, and if you're based in Adelaide... Finally decided to organise a meet-up. It'll be on the 25th of January, 7pm, Friday. Still going to finalise the location. I wanted a place with free WiFi, but unfortunately, I can't find anywhere convenient. ๐Ÿ™ In any case, there's a poll on suggested locations. Feel free to let me know if you've got other ideas...

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Top 5 Photography Lessons I’ve Learned (So Far)

As a newbie to DSLR photography, I've been trying to learn as much as I can about it in order to maximise the use of my new toy. And, so far, some of my favourite photography tips include:

1. Flash is a Friend. When I was relying heavily on my P/S for pictures, I used flash every time I needed extra light. But, I began reading tips that said "Don't use flash in your photographs." So, I avoided using flash at all cost.

While there is some truth to that advice, I realised that not using the flash at all is actually not the best route. Outdoors, for example, when there's strong sunlight, flash can help diffuse some of the harsh shadows created by the sun. Indoors, a good flash (with a bouncer), can create better lighting conditions.

So yes, flash can be used to improve pictures. But, you must learn how to use it. The Strobist is a good place to learn all about flash photography.

As an experiment, here are sample photos with and without built-in flash -

Light - no flash
Photo without flash, using ambient light at night

Light - with Built-in Flash
Photo with built-in flash, no bouncer

Light - with Biz Card Bouncer
Photo with built-in flash, using homemade bouncer out of a business card

2. It's not about the equipment. I love the idea that cameras (and other equipment) don't make good photos - photographers do. It's so easy to get carried away with buying better cameras, bigger lenses, more camera accessories... But seriously, if you don't use any of them, what's the point, eh?

The best thing to do is to buy whatever you can afford to buy, then make the most out of what you've got. Even if you just have a point and shoot camera (or a cell phone camera) - you can still take great photos if you apply your vision to what you're taking.

Expensive equipment doesn't make you a good photographer. Learning all you can to make the most out of your camera - and taking plenty of photos - is the best way to create great photos.

3. Your Story Makes It Great. Pretty pictures without original vision just looks so-so. Touristy. Washed out. Ho-hum.

Story with PhotoImages that tell a story - *your* story - become stunning photographs.

After taking over a thousand pictures since getting my new Nikon D40x, I realised that the photos I love best are those that remind me of a particular day, a particular moment, a person or place... Some of them aren't well composed or well lit. Some are even blurred. But, I love them nevertheless.

Find out more about how to tell a story with your photos.

4. Be shutter happy. Take your camera everywhere. Take several shots. That's the beauty of digital cameras. It doesn't cost much to take a lot of photos. It's easier to sort them out later. Deleting is easier than trying to capture the moment again.

And, no matter how much people 'complain' about you taking too many photos, don't worry about it. Most folks *do* love seeing the results.

5. Start - and Keep - a Photo Organisational System. If you're going to take a lot of photos (and really, if you want to improve and to capture memories, you should), it's a good idea to have a system in place.

What happens after you've taken the photo? How do you back-up? How do you organise your photos in your computer/disks/online storage? How often will you back-up? How often will you print out? And once you've printed out your favourite photos, what do you do?

SmugmugOne of my personal goals this year is to improve my own photo system - naming files/folders, backing up, printing, and organising prints. This is a massive task, so I don't expect to complete it anytime soon. But, I began working on this recently (both the organising and the back-up bit), when I signed for an account with Smugmug*. I've used their free 14-day trial to get a feel for the service and I was quite happy that I can accommodate photos from both my Windows and Mac systems. Their uploaders work really well. And, I like several other features. I'm giving it some more time (now that I've paid the annual subscription) - and will report back with a more elaborate review.

NOTE: If you decide to sign-up with Smugmug and you wish to receive a $5 coupon, just use my code (vhRErGA0z8uaQ) or my email addy (shaicoggins AT gmail DOT com). I'll earn a bit of cash too, but I thought I'd pass on the savings to you too.

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I < 3 My Nikon D40X

Nikon D40x Experiments: First Shots

Yay! I'm now the official proud and happy owner of a Nikon D40X! It's my belated 8th year wedding anniversary + advanced Christmas present rolled in to one nice little package.

I must confess, though: I don't know much about DSLR Photography. But, that never stopped me from lusting after a DSLR camera of my own over the last year or so. I've been researching about DSLR cameras in various places - and trying to learn as much as I can about apertures, exposures, shutter speeds, and all sorts of things that a normal human being doesn't have to think about when using a regular point-and-shoot camera.

To begin with, I had the most common question every new DSLR camera owner has: Which one to buy?

And, even though my first instinct was to go with the very popular Canon EOS 400D (aka the Digital Rebel XTi) like my sis, Debbie, and many others I know, I decided to become a Nikonite instead because: 1) My old film SLR camera was a Nikon and 2) Several reviews and comparisons of XTi vs D40X convinced me (Thom Hogan's review, Ken Rockwell, Photo.net Review, etc). In fact, even though I initially wanted the more expensive Nikon D80, I decided to go for the D40X because it seems to fit my needs (and budget!) much better.

Anyway, even though I was terrified to break anything, I decided that the best way to learn about my brand new gear is just to give it a whirl. So, my first project was to do some test/comparison shots between my new Nikon D40X and my current point-and-shoot camera (a Sony Cybershot) using low light conditions (I got my new toy on the evening of the 12 December). Here are a few of the results -

Subject One: Doll

Doll - P/S Test Shot (w/o Flash)
Doll - P/S Test Shot (w/o Flash)

Doll - P/S Test Shot (w/ Flash)
Doll - P/S Test Shot (w/ Flash)

Doll - DSLR Test Shot (w/o Flash)
Doll - DSLR Test Shot (w/o Flash)

Subject 2: Manger

Manger - P/S Test Shot (w/o Flash)
Manger - P/S Test Shot (w/o Flash)

Manger - P/S Test Shot (w/ Flash)
Manger - P/S Test Shot (w/ Flash)

Manger - DSLR Test Shot (w/o Flash)
Manger - DSLR Test Shot (w/o Flash)

As you can see, there are no test shots with the DSLR, as I was already quite pleased with the results just using natural lighting. Was really happy to note that I can take decent photos just using the basic gear and the kit lens (Nikkor 18-55 II). Even under low light conditions!

Anyway, you can also check out some of my first shots in the photo collage (see top image): 1. My New Nikon D40x, 2. Sunflower (Cropped), 3. Coinage from Oz, 4. Mum and Bub: Holding Hands, 5. Cam: Christmas Party 1, 6. Blue Needs a Grooming!, 7. Leaf, 8. A Silver Star, 9. Christmas Wreath, 10. Have a Cup of Hot Chocolate, 11. Ready for my Chinese Meal, 12. And She Begins To Crawl..., 13. Sunflower in my Backyard

Now looking forward to learning more. And taking plenty of more photos, no doubt.

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