Monthly Archives: May 2013

Photo Editing Software for Photography

Photo editing software, as you know is a very important feature to photography. This includes those of us that are just snapshot shooters as well as those of us who are taking photographs. There are a lot of choices out there. However, there are really just a few good ones. What I mean is that a lot of folks have put together photo-editing software to get your money. But there are a few that really know what they are doing and help and support you. I like Lightroom, I like Elements and I like Aperture 3. These companies appear to go all out to give us the best possible features. And, they invest a lot in algorithm writers. You may disagree with my choices but you have to admit they are great choices.  I have attached a link to a rather thorough review on photo editing software.

 http://www.reviews.com/photo-editing-software/

 

Ultimate Guide to Buying a Camera

An ultimate guide to buying a camera sounds all encompassing. It’s better to start out with more on your plate than less when considering buying a camera. Have you ever asked the question ‘what camera should I buy’ or has someone ever asked you that question or do you have friends or relatives asking this question? There should be a guide to easily follow. A guide to give one the facts and/or help us make sound suggestions or decisions, which perhaps we have not thought of. A guide that could help empower us to know not only what we are talking about when we go to buy a camera but more importantly know what the salesperson is talking about. Thus truly help us make an informed decision. Yes, there is one. I read slrlounge’s article on ‘What Camera Should I Buy? The Ultimate Camera Purchasing Guide’, by Pye. I have to say they nailed it. I recommend checking their article out.

http://www.slrlounge.com/what-camera-should-i-buy-the-ultimate-camera-purchasing-guide

White Balance in Photography

White balance, (that which makes the funny color cast over your photos) in photography can make a heck of a difference in your photos. Having the wrong colorcast on your shots also wreck havoc in postproduction. I found a rather good tutorial on the subject of white balance. Take a look.

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/white-balance.htm

Some Thoughts on Color Temperature

Hey, why didn’t my picture look like what I saw when I pressed the shutter on my camera. Faces and items have a color splash of green, auburn, or blue hue. And sometimes a color that you didn’t know existed.  These awkward color splashes can be corrected. And, it is really not that difficult. Let’s take a look at why these color splashes occur.

 

We first have to come to grips with the fact that our camera does not and cannot see as we see. And I mean all cameras. Here is why. We are often times fooled by the best picture capture combination on earth, our brain and our eyes. Any image our eyes capture our brain makes the perfect conversion and captures the scene/picture. There is nothing else on earth that can do this. So let’s stop expecting our camera to do this. It can’t. Again, the camera cannot see as we do.  The camera’s brain is a microchip and the lens is its eye. Encrypted on the microchip is a rather complex set of algorithms written to make calculations on light, exposure, color, etc. The algorithms cannot measure up to the power of our brain. They cannot duplicate our brain, period.  So stop expecting your camera to see as you see. Ok so you focus on what you want to capture you hear the beep that says take the shot you execute so what happens? Here’s the skinny, the camera mathematically executes the perfectly written algorithms on light, exposure and focus. However, after all those calculations, in the end the camera can only guess what to do. That’s right it takes its best guess and hopes it gets the capture right. Our brain does not guess. Again, your camera does not see as we see. Let’s examine this situation a little further.  I believe we all know that daylight is made up of several different colors. Our brain makes the necessary conversions and we see only one color. Our camera doesn’t always get it right. Further, light has different temperatures thus light gives off different colors. Again, we don’t notice it because our brain makes the necessary conversions. Our cameras, if we are taking pics in jpeg, and for virtually all point and shoot cameras and Smartphone cameras this is the format we are shooting in, you can help your camera out by setting the feature on the camera that reads ‘white balance’ or ‘WB’. I am not sure about all Smartphones but generally this may be a feature they do not have. Setting the ‘WB” or ‘White Balance’ can help the camera react to the color being emitted by the light. Setting the ‘WB” or ‘White Balance’ can help with those colorcast. Especially if you are in a museum or some place where you cannot use your flash. Speaking of flash, this is your ‘go to’ color cast eliminator. But take note, you need to be close enough to your subject to cancel out the color the lights in the place are emitting. It would be nice if those places that don’t let you use your flash would tell you the type of lights they are using in the place. This way you could set your ‘WB” or ‘White Balance’ and your are good. And even in clubs, bars and restaurants there’s a whole lot of colorcast going on. For example, it there are fluorescent lights expect a greenish color cast, fluorescent lights only appear white because our brain makes the calculation for us to see the light as white. Tungsten lights are orange or auburn but we see them as white because of our brain. And wow, if they are using both sets of lights and or another light source who knows what the colorcast could be.

So if you have time, care and remember, set your ‘WB’ or ‘White Balance’ setting and let’s take that into consideration when we do photo or snapshot capture.

 

Here’s a link to help guide us  on color temperature.

 

http://www.exposureguide.com/images/white-balance/white-balance-chart.png

 

Helpful Hint on Prints

As we head towards better weather and the summer a lot of us will be out taking pics; tourism, vacations, travel, and just general fun. We may want to get a few prints. In my reading I found an interesting and rather good article to help you assess the particulars when deciding to get prints and especially when you decide have them enlarged. Attached is the post;

http://www.photographyicon.com/enlarge/

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshots vs Photographs

First and foremost perhaps we may want to ask a few questions. Like, why is this important or who cares? I am in the moment, I got the shot, boom, there it is, and I was there. The concepts of composition, exposure, color balance, post-production (aka development) hey who the heck cares, not my concern, I got the pic and I am sharing it. I’m done.

Here’s a quote from a photography blog; ‘Generally people agree that a randomly snapped photograph, mostly captured via the “point and shoot” style without much thought would result in a commonly ordinary looking snapshots. On the other hand, a good photo usually would come from stronger technical execution and bold artistic projection.’

Here’s another quote on the distinction; “Snapshots are personal. They record a personal history and are very important for that reason, but only to people who know the people and places in the photos. Technical quality is less important than capturing the people and place in time. Digital point and shoots and smart phones are ideal for this purpose.

Good photos grab anyone’s attention without any personal or other history. They speak for themselves. Ideally they take an interesting subject and highlight what makes the subject interesting through selective focus, contrast, etc.”

Here are my thoughts. When I first became seriously interested in photography my research directed me to the concept of a photo vs a snapshot. When I first heard the definition (as you can also observe via the aforementioned quotes) I thought it was rather pretentious, a snapshot can be taken of anything the person sees at the moment they decide to take the shot. Usually a snapshot is a quick rough capture to document a scene or event. A photo on the other hand is a well thought, composed, exposed and executed capture of a scene or situation that may border art form. However, as I continue to stride to hone my skills I discovered how challenging it is to master photography. And I can honestly say now that the distinction appears to be accurate. As in many photography blogs, articles, and tutorials continue to relate: 
the real question is not who is a photographer, but what is a photo and what is a snapshot.

So let me put this on the table; the next time you look at an image think to yourself, “Is this a photo or a snapshot?” Over time you might see the differentiation and it might just impact how you approach capturing a scene.

This is not to say that snapshots are not important or fun. I think to capture a scene at the time is great. You just don’t have the time to compose and or think about a shot every time. And so what if the color space is off, you get the idea. It is these instances in time that are important and should not be missed. Heck, I carry a smart phone, which I read somewhere, is perhaps the best point and shoot camera you can have, and I even have a small gorilla pod with a phone holder. I just can’t hold the phone steady all the time and I want a good pic. That’s just me. I think snapshots we take can be priceless at times. Heck, they could be ‘great accidents in photography’. Hmmmm, I’ve heard that somewhere too.

Some thoughts on Point and Shoot Cameras

I could speak to concerns such as it depends on what you want to accomplish, sensors, size and list of specifications that most don’t read and or understand and don’t care. Forget that shit, it’s a point and shoot camera. For most we are just recording memories. Does the camera take a picture? Again, I am talking about the cameras that fit in your pocket, purse and or handbag. Here’s the skinny in short, if you have a Smartphone, chances are that you have the best point and shoot camera. And for most of us we will always have it with us. What the heck, that’s the most important part, having the camera with us. It is almost second nature today that when we leave the crib our phone comes with us. The sensor on the cameras in our Smartphones have really come a long way and are on par, if not better in some Smartphones than the ‘point and shoots’ that are advertised. They just want you to buy their camera and add to your gadgets. Don’t do it, save your money, buy me a drink when you see me out. I am cheaper.

For those of you that catalog your pictures via software, and I suggest you do as oppose to just having the pics on you phone or tablet, you will or have noted that there is some very interesting data (called metadata) encrypted on you pictures. The list is long but let me point out a piece of data I think is cool. You may not know, don’t care or couldn’t give a care. And this is germane to virtually all-smart phones. Your pics will have GPS (geotagging) data attached to them. Meaning you will always have a recording of where your pic was taken and it will display on virtually all-mapping software such as Google Maps, etc. For example, my brother went on a trip to certain parts of Asia a few weeks ago. He called me prior to leaving, well; Face Timed me, on taking a camera for the trip. When he told me was taking his Ipad and Iphone I said you got two of the best point and shoot cameras on the market forget buying a camera. And I gave him the skinny on GPS tagging the cameras would do. He was in disbelief until he took a few 100 shots and discovered that they were geotagged to his locations in the South China Sea. And that is just one piece of data that is encrypted.