Tuesday, December 4, 2012

So Long, Farewell

Where does the time go?

Throughout these last few months I learned much that is needed to know about photography and photo editing. Now that I own my own personal camera, I feel more equipped to apply these new concepts into physical demonstrations. I can continue to improve my photography skills and one day move past my beginner level.

OK, let me be brutally honest. I admit it, I am rather disappointed in myself in my photography journey. I had so many plans to experiment different photo editors and photo-taking techniques. I say this because I will be discontinuing this blog... Sigh.

Unfortunately, I did not get to complete my Photoshop experience and show you all a full, transformed journey. I did in fact get better in my work, but I am not at all where I want and thought I would be. But I am hopeful that I will continue to learn how to capture extraordinary scenes, produce phenomenal images and teach photo editing to others.

I did learn some very useful and helpful information. For example, the rule of thirds really helps me understand the importance of balance and appeal in even the most simplest images. In addition, learning how to change the way I see the world makes a significant difference, not only for capturing images but also finding a purpose for everything around me. I've read a book called Cameras in the Quest for Meaning by author and photographer Jack Yeaman. This book inadvertently taught me that photos and the art of  photography is everlasting because messages are remain with us forever. A thousand words can never fully describe the meaning behind a single photo or the emotion behind the photographer's intentions to capture a particular scene. This, I believe, is the overarching theme for the purpose of learning composition of great photographic works.

I took most of my inspiration from different photography websites, such as DIY Photography, DPS, Cambridge in Colour, Photoshop Tutorials and Photoshop.com. These sites are awesome! Check them out.


Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye...

Your Shopping Results

2012 seems to be the year that shoppers really indulge in the holiday deals since these past few weeks. According to CNNMoney, Cyber Monday hit a record high. To be exact, online sales rose 30% higher than last year's results from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

You all had to be so fancy huh?

The projections from data predictions for Cyber Monday for this year were also exceeded, in addition to the 21% rise in Black Friday online sales and 17% increase from Thanksgiving day. 

I think one of the reasons for the significant increase is because when I personally browsed around for sales, most retailers seemed to extend this Cyber Monday event for more than one day. Some stores began sales since Sunday and others continued their sales well throughout the week. While I do believe this shopping frenzy helps stimulate the economy, I'm honestly uncomfortable with the idea that people make insane materialistic purchases during the holidays. And many retailers are banking heavily on that idea. Especially these large corporations that seem to be everywhere, in every town, selling everything, while squishing small businesses and diminishing employee value.. but I digress...

Anyhow, the top retailers that were searched were Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Sears, and Target. Additionally, the top online product searches were for Amazon's Kindle and Kindle Fire, iPads, and iPod Touch just to name a few. So while digital cameras and equipment weren't part of this years top searches, I still believe technological devices and electronics, generally, still rock the holiday socks.

Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye... 

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Freaks Come Out At Night

Already called it a day? Great, then you could consider night photography.

Just to warn you, this is one of the most challenging projects to take on. Why? Because taking photos at night require more technical adjustments. At times, night photography may mean you need to improv to "cheat" with constraints such as lighting and focusing.

Of course, if done properly, night photographs can produce some amazing images. But, it can be painfully difficult is you don't understand and apply the technicalities that go behind it.

First, let me show you a photo I took a while back:

Remember this one?

OK, you can probably see the obvious errors in this photo, so let's talk.

First of all, I did not use a tripod to take this photo. I know, I know, it's one of the most essential equipment to use especially for night photos, which would have helped so that the image has sharper results... um yeah..This is very important for night photos because even the slightest movement can offset the quality of your photos, e.g. the above photo. If you plan on taking photos at night, your best bet to get great photos is to use a tripod or if that's unavailable, set your camera on a flat solid surface and use the self-timer to activate the shutter. You want to reduce all possibilities of blurring your images because unfortunately that is a point of no return. You can reduce noise later in photo editors but blurs are a different case.

Now, look at the light posts. They don't help the photo look very appealing and kind of just look like brights blurs. A reason for this is because when taking photos at night, a narrow aperture is beneficial for making these lights look more like a sparkle than a flash of light. Setting the camera aperture, something I did not know at the time, is a great method to gain that look (if your camera allows). This also helps extend your depth of field, referring to the gradual transition of sharpness within your photo.

On a sheet of paper, write your name in the middle. Now take the paper and slowly bring it in closer to your eyes. Getting blurry right? And as you pull the paper away from your eyes, the letters begin to look clearer, or sharper, then begins to blur again the further the paper is extended. This is an example of depth of field. Keep in mind that a camera lens mimics a similar technique but varies depending on your camera type and other settings.

When you first decide to take a night photo, it would be useful to study the setting carefully. Notice the dark spots and lit areas. If you take notice of where the most appealing areas are, be sure to include it in your photo, move closer to that area, and maybe make it your focus.  

I've read about some concepts like ISO and shutter speed that really determine how well a photo turns out, but it would help to get these concepts explained in layman's term please.

Clearly, I know there much more than a few corrections that could have been made to create a clear and crisp photo, but I would like to hear from you. So comment away!

Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye... 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Need a New Camera?

So there are all these holiday sales going on, and maybe you're wanting to purchase a new camera. Well, let me help you in your decision making process.

When I purchased my camera, to be honest, I didn't do much soul-searching before I had it shipped to me. Looking back I really should've invested a little more time researching, then I would probably be more satisfied with my camera. Buying a camera, in my opinion, is much like buying a car. There are many options to choose from and many more opinions on what to get, but it is mainly based on personal preference. There are many deciding factors to consider before you head to the checkout lane. Allow me to explain. Many websites have multiple factors to take into account, but I condensed my version.

Here is what you should ask yourself:

Do I really need a camera?
I believe this is the very first question to ask yourself above all else. Honestly, if you can give yourself a definite yes or no answer, this will determine how long you may spend in your "just looking" phase. Consider if you have any upcoming special events or occasions in your life that you would like to keepsake in a photograph. Or maybe you just live a crazy amazing, adventurous lifestyle and would like a new camera to pack along on your travels.

What can I afford?
I think this question, depending on your circumstances, can help you narrow down your search. If your budget is the most important factor in your decision, it may help you to determine the type of camera you end up purchasing. Or, if your budget is fairly flexible, then you may determine what price range fits your camera preferences.

How do I know which camera is best for me?
Read the reviews. I could not emphasize this idea enough. It really does help to learn about the experiences and suggestions from others. One experience may be different from another, but if you start to see a trend for the same issue, it might save you from a lot of heartache in the future.

Check the features. Whatever your reason for purchasing a camera, it is imperative to choose a camera with the features you will be using the most... because that's the whole purpose, duh... Also, make sure to check the compatibilities of your chosen camera for your computer. For some odd reason my videos never transfer, let alone display, onto my Mac laptop when I connect my camera to it (any help please?). It also helps to test out the features of your new buy, such as a dSLRs or semi-pros, before an occasion so that you're not trying to figure how to work your magic during the best moments.

Brand. This may or may not be a deciding factor for you but it should be something to keep note of when deciding on a camera. Much like buying a car, it may be beneficial to shop for products from makers who have a longer history in the photography industry, such as Sony or Cannon. In my personal opinion, these makes usually have a larger assortment and more availability for any level photographer.

How do I know if I'm getting a good deal?
Well, there are actually seasons for cameras, as most other products. According to Darren Rowse, "Digital camera manufacturers have an annual cycle of announcing and releasing new cameras and there are two main times of the year when they all come out." The first release announcements are made in either January or February and hit the shelves in February or March. The second round is made around September, just in time to be put out by November and into the holiday season... Hmm, I see what you did there...

Check out Mr. Rowse for more helpful tips!

Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye...