Sunday, January 23, 2011

Top 5 Newbie Questions - Answers Here

Ok nothing to be ashamed about or even laughed at because each and everyone of us will go through this. So to simplify things for some of my friends who have just taken up photography, I'll list down below the top 5 newbie questions and their answers (my own point of view which is guaranteed to be not 100% correct).

1. Wow nice pics! What camera are you using?
Altough to a certain extent the camera does help, it is however not the number 1 factor that the photo is nice. Composition, settings, processing etc comes into play and often you see a lot of disappointment when a new photog goes out there to buy the highest end gears and end up shooting point and shoot quality photos.

2. What settings did you use for that photo?
Well to me the correct question should have been at what aperture did you shoot that photo and the ISO used because lighting conditions will vary and there would have been no way the lighting conditions taken on that photo, could be replicated 100% in order for you to use the exact same setting as when I shot the photo. So it is most likely you won't get the same shutterspeed.

3. What lens did you use?
Ok this is a good and valid question and its good that you know the effect produced by different type of lenses which will eventually lead to happy poison TT sessions...hahahha

4. How do I take good photos?
My number 1 mantra here is go and learn the basics on exposure (shutterspeed), aperture, ISO and how they are interelated to each other. You change one setting, it will affect the other 2. From there learn composition and how to "see" a photo before taking it. Last but not least, learn and master post processing technique.

5. What camera should I buy?
Well get the best that your budget allows. Put more weight on lenses as they play a more important role in the final outcome of your photo.

Additional items that will definitely benefit you is to buy and read books. Join your friends for photography outings etc. Hope this has been useful and do feel free to share the article :) Till next time...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Valentine Dinner @ Parkroyal Resort Penang


Another menu photoshoot for Parkroyal Resort Penang, only this time its for their upcoming Valentine Dinner promotion.


Chasing the aperture dream

When I first started photography, the most important factor at that point of time was to get sharp photos every single time. As the years gone by, I started to learn about image separation, bokeh, artistic shots etc and the forever f8 pin sharp photo started to evolve and disappear. Fast forward 20 years later, I'm now chasing the big aperture lenses which more or less happens to be the style I like to shoot most...wide open.

As luck would have it, a casual visit to Easycam ended up with me bringing home a mint condition 50mm 1.2 lens. Why do I need such a wide aperture? Wouldn't the images be blur/unsharp? Well of course the images would not be as sharp as you shooting at f8 or f11 but and the big BUT, I have ultra duper super creamy BOKEH~!

At this point in time you must be saying to yourself..ok he's a bokeh addict..forgive him, but yes I am and one of the main reasons for this is the image separation you get and the WOW factor :) Take a look at the first image of the cherry. All I did was to ask my kind wife to please hold up the cherry in front of her..and f1.2 later...bam! In your face cherry bokeh image.

Some of you who are creative will say, wait a minute, I might be able to do the same with an 85mm f1.8. Well technically you might be able to pull off the same image but the minimum focusing distance of the 85mm is close to 1metre. Well talk about standing on your next door diner's table for the shoot. The 50mm has a minimum focusing distance of 0.5m so roughly 1.5 feet..wonderful working distance for me anyway.
Ok I'm not even going to go to the ISO I was shooting at but basically the 50mm f1.2 allows me to shoot at ISO 100 in a reasonably lit restaurant..AT NIGHT. Now lets compare the light bokeh size produced by this lens versus the 85mm f1.8.

Photo above is a full frame shot of light bokeh on the Canon EOS 7D using the 50mm f1.2 versus the light bokeh shot of the 85mm f1.8 below.


Oh yes, size does matter guys and gals and for those who tells you otherwise, ask them to go eat bokeh lights..lol.

So to summarize, in layman's terms the benefits of 1.2 and bigger aperture lens - crazy bokeh, super fast shooting speeds, incredible night shooting ability with low ISO, great skin tone and off camera usable pics, crazy image separation..etc etc.

All in all, you need to own one of these lenses, in your photographic life.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ultra Wide Angle

UWA or Ultra Wide Angle lenses are well known for the ability to capture dramatic or epic scale images and most photographers would have at least owned one of these in their photographic journey.

I was hunting for a UWA which does not produce distortion, CA problems, must be sharp, good built quality and most importantly ... affordable. So while waiting for Canon to release their EF 8-15mm f4L, I got my hands on the Sigma 8-16mm f4.5-5.6 HSM instead. This is a crop body lens with a EF mount, yes you can mount it on your 5D, 5DMkII but you will have to shoot at around 13mm to avoid the vignet/black borders. But on a crop body like the EOS 7D, this lens is WIDE~!

I was expecting crazy distortions like the previous Sigma 10-20mm that I've used before or even the Tokina 11-16mm but I was really surprised that all of the vertical straight lines, remained as vertical straight lines. Next test was to shoot into a heavily backlit environment, zoom in 100% and wow! no CA issues! How can this be for such a wide angle lens? What magic has Sigma put into this? Well basically, they've put in 4 pieces of FLD glass which is supposed to deliver similar quality images as those produced by Fluorite glass. For the next 2 days of obtaining this piece of glass, I put it through real life shooting situations, from landscape, architectural to a pre-wedding photoshoot (and yes I didn't get any distorted bride/groom).

Color reproduction, sharpness, focus speed, built quality are really off the scale on this lens. If you're a techie and want to know more about the technical specs of this lens, just go google and read some of the articles online.

I've attached some of the photos taken with this lens and you can find more of them in my flickr account : here

Take a look at the pillars/doors of the temple photo and you'll get an idea of what I meant by vertical lines being straight.

Lastly, would I recommend this lens? With the new FLD glass in this baby, most definitely :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year - 2011


Well its time for us to say goodbye to 2010 and a big hello to 2011. The last year has been a phenomenal one for me personally and I would like to thank all of you who have supported me throughout the entire crazy journey. I would not have made it to where I am today without you . Love you all :) Here's wishing for the new decade to bring us even more and best wishes to all for the new year~!

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