Thursday, May 4, 2017
I started this blog simply to encourage folk to spend a little time thinking about their photography. Cameras may be point and shoot but people don't need to be: Think-point-and-shoot is a better approach.
One thing I've harped on writing this blog is a light and its quality. Is it harsh, is it soft, is it clean or is it tainted with colour? Old fashioned tungsten bulbs, for instance, give pictures a yellow cast or even a reddish-orange look. Some modern lights are very nicely colour balanced. When in doubt, see if there is a work around the colour-of-the-light problem.
Today my three-year-old granddaughter, Isla, got out a book with instructions on how to draw simple animals pictures. The book is aimed at young children. Isla loves the book and was soon drawing cats. The one she did of the cat on a pillow was especially good for a child her age. I got my camera. I needed to record this.
Isla told me to "hold it" and "wait." She ran over to the kitchen light switch panel and turned off the overhead pot lights. There was lots of light pouring in the large, kitchen window overlooking our backyard. "This will make the colour better," Isla told me. She turned toward the window and posed. The moment I saw the image on the back of the camera I knew she was right.
The little kid follows instructions well. Hey, one only has to look at her drawing of a cat on a pillow. And clearly she's been listening and watching as I take pictures. Although, I am a little embarrassed that it was my granddaughter and not me who turned off the overheads.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
I don't like this picture. It's too clear these kids know they are having their picture taken. It is almost a posed picture. Ugh. That said, it does capture their personalities: childishly goofy and pleasantly funny.
So, why am I posting this. What is there to see here? Anything? Or should we simply move on.
What's to see is the gorgeous lighting. The child on the right is perfect. And the light is amazingly clean. Look at the white of the sink. It is white. Not yellow. Not green. It's white.
The lesson here is that today's daylight LEDs really do closely match the colour temperature of daylight. This is good to know. Why? Because bright, clean light can make a picture sparkle. Shot with straight-on strobe, the amateur goto indoor light, this image would be flat and fall flat.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
|Shot with an aging Canon PowerShot S90.|
Gradually, I have had to admit that you can take good pictures with inexpensive equipment but it does limit both your creativity and the quality of your images.
In other words, if you can afford a digital SLR camera with a few interchangeable lenses, go for it. Bite the bullet and buy the stuff. And read the instruction book that comes with the camera. it will be filled with good suggestions. The camera maker wants you to be successful. If you are, you will buy more equipment.
I like my image of my 3-year-old granddaughter reacting to her winning of a computer game. It was a bit tough for the little girl as she was using an old notebook computer and not an iPad. She had to coordinate the use of a touch pad with the simultaneous pressing of a mouse below the pad.
|Shot with an old Fuji FinePix HS10.|
When I shot the images of my 7-year-old granddaughter moving up to the orange belt level at her karate class, I was forced to shoot moments that did not contain a lot of action. The actual testing offered a lot of opportunities for capturing some fine images but my camera failed to nail even one. The action unfolded simply far too fast.
My advice. If you can't afford a great camera, don't sweat it. But if you can, move up to something better, do it. Before buying, read a good photography book. Your local library is a good source.
|Another shot from an old Fuji FinePix HS10. Background blurred in Photoshop.|
Monday, September 5, 2016
|Fiona, 7, blows out her birthday cake candles with help from sister Isla, 3.|
|A dog in fondant with edible-ink detailing.|
Fiona might remember the cake. She might. But her sister Isla at three will surely forget. That would be sad as both the little girls had a hand in the decorating. They made the little coloured buttons decorating the cake. The buttons were Fiona's idea.
But I got some good pictures of both the cake and Fiona and Isla blowing out the candles. I backed up the event pictures with some shots of the cake itself. I took both overall shots and close-ups.
I will make sure I have prints made and I will make sure the kids have copies. Fifty years from today the prints may be faded but I think the memories will still be fresh thanks to my photographs.
|Fiona wanted a puppy cake for her birthday. Grandma Judy delivered.|
Note: No flash was used for any of the images. I only have a camera-mounted flash and I hate the light from straight-on strobe. If I cannot bounce my flash, I go for available light. I moved the cake closer to a window before shooting. Moving the cake helped to ensure that the white icing reproduced close to white.
Monday, August 15, 2016
|A deer shot in Woodland Cemetery with a Fujifilm FinePix HS10.|
I have tried to convince my readers that they should always have a good camera handy. I can't vouch for an American Express card but I can promise you when it comes to a camera "don't leave home without it."
I shot this deer relaxing among grave stones in Woodland Cemetery. One herd, possibly two, call the cemetery deep inside urban London, Ontario, home. Visit the cemetery and sighting one or more deer is almost guaranteed.
Saturday I took my three granddaughters to Woodland to view the deer. We found seven lounging about the front of a very ornate mausoleum with two reclining concrete lions guarding the building entrance. It was an amazing sight and I didn't have a camera. (My Nokia cell phone camera just wouldn't cut it.)
I missed a wonderful shot. Don't be like me. Keep your camera close -- all the time.
Monday, July 11, 2016
|Taken at Storybook Gardens with Fujifilm FinePix HS10. Note the sun-blocking hat. It's mine.|
My shots are usually taken with a Canon PowerShot S90 and they are not always sharp. Today I used my Fujifilm FinePix HS10. What a difference.
The files are bigger and the images tend to be a little sharper. But, they are not perfect. It is at times like this that I know my photography would benefit from the use of a better camera.
Will I be buying a better camera? No. I'm retired and I can't afford a better camera when the two I have are still cranking out acceptable images. And, and this is important, the people in my pictures would not appreciate the better quality. Don't throw pearls . . . , my mother would say.
So, is there a lesson here. Yes. Buy the best camera you can afford and take care of it. It may have to last you a long time. Once you have purchased a camera, aim to shoot the best images you can. Push the envelope, as they say. And don't miss those moments, like the above. Eloise forgot her hat but found one of mine in the car. "This will have to do," she said. She made it clear that she wasn't going to get a sunburn.
Below, my picture of my granddaughter Eloise is a bit soft. The original file is small and quality could be better. All that said, it is an image to make a mother exceedingly happy and it will bring back happy memories for Eloise for many, many upcoming years.
I guess, when all is said and done, a good subject trumps good technical quality. Don't let your lack of cash prevent you from aiming for the moon or aiming at that granddaughter smiling away at the foot of your bed.
|Taken with a Canon PowerShot S90.|
Sunday, June 19, 2016
I've said this in the past but it bears repeating. Setting your camera to its fastest, automatic setting in order to capture a short burst of pictures is frequently a good idea. I used the term motor drive in the title for this post but any fast firing, automatic setting is often better than simply squeezing off individual pictures.
My old Canon S90 can take quick bursts of pictures. I time my bursts with the anticipated action but there is still some luck involved. That said, if I tried capturing the baby's smile without using the series-taking approach, it would be a lot of bad luck that would be involved.
- To create catchlights in eyes, face the baby towards a window.
- Try and shoot from the same level as the child. Don't shoot down.
- Soft light is better than harsh, strong, directional light.
- Try not to use very wide angle lens. Zoom out a little.
- Keep a little distance between you and the baby.