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Friday, April 27, 2012

Pink Azaleas - April 23, 2012

These were pink azaleas in my neighbour's yard. Leif's wife graciously allowed me access to photograph her azaleas that she cares for. They are blooming beautifully.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reflections: Faces In The Mirror - April 24, 2012

A self-portrait of the photographer. Not really the way I had envisioned it, but the mirrors on the medicine cabinets are really small. The best way would be with a floor to ceiling mirror.

Purple Tulip - April 23, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Princess Anne Tulip (Front Yard) - April 23, 2012

Every year, our front yard tends to have a lot of tulips as does our next door neighbour's yard.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wal-Mart & Holland Park - April 22, 2012

These clouds were overhead at Wal-Mart around 9:45 this morning, while Stormi and I were waiting for one of the stores in the mall to open.

It also seems as though the tulips are out in force at Holland Park. I need to get up there with the 50mm f/1.8 and do some shooting.

These shots were done with the iPhone 4s.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

White Rock Seagull - July 16, 2007

White Rock Glaucous Seagull - shot from pier in manual mode.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Bridge - A Crossroads.

I am hoping as the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer, that I will be able to get out and do some more shooting. The winter months are depressingly cold and wet and I tolerate the wet and snow out here. If it was dry and cold, it wouldn't be as bad, like my old hometown in the Prairies (Edmonton). Though as a Vancouver Canuck fan in Edmonton Oiler Country, it would probably not be conducive to my hockey-loving health.

I want to get out to George C. Reifel when I pick up my TC-20EIII and go out and do some shooting of some wildlife at 400mm. As well as go down to Serpentine Fen and Boundary Bay. Just the opportunity to get some landscape shots of the wildlife area would be nice.

For the next few months until I can get my TC-20EIII, I'm going to concentrate on my blog. Practice, edit photos, etc. Get out and get in behind the viewfinder and be able to do some shooting. Practice, get my exposure right, get my skills up to where they should be. Photography is a learning curve and I'm still learning just as everyone else is.

The other part of the equation is whether I want to throw myself into the meat grinder that constitutes a professional photography career. The questions of "do I have what it takes". Do I want to spend $11,000 on a Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4 VR and not make any money with it, but just buy it because I want it...and be able to do the shots I'd want just for my own pleasure? This is a bridge and a decision making point as in the illustrating photo. I'm a birder first and foremost. I enjoy birding for the love of it. But there is that competitive drive in me to be good at what I do. It's what make me happy and no matter what. That's the most important thing in life, is to be happy at what you do.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.- Steve Jobs

That is the mantra that I'm following for the rest of the years that are left to me. I've received a sharp reminder from a good solid photographer to not let my ego get in front of my skills. His admonition of "concentrate on your skills and polish them: To do your best with every shot (and some of those shots that I have posted haven't been my best that I could bring to the table) rings true to this day". I have been guilty of letting my ego ride before my skills. Thank you for the reminder, Gilles Korent.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sometimes You Just Want To Get Out & Shoot

There are times that I just want to shoot for the sake of shooting; with no primary objective in mind. Just a casual walk along the seawall. This is one of my snapshots from a walk way back in 2007 when all I had was the D50 and the 18-55mm

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Teleconverter and Bare Lens Testshots

Here's some test shots using the 1.4, 1.7 and 2x teleconverters - the subject being the mall sign. This gives you an idea of just how large of an image you can get with the teleconverters versus a bare-bones lens.

Bare-bones 70-200mm VRII

70-200 with 1.4x teleconverter (280mm)TC-14EII

70-200mm with 1.7x teleconverter (340mm)TC-17EII

70-200mm with 2.0x teleconverter (400mm)TC-20EIII

Another option for 400mm is the AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 D ED VR though slower focussing.

...or the 70-300mm VR; both of which cannot take teleconverters.

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to Facebook-ify and Protect Your Photos

When one puts photos on Facebook, one does risk the eventuality of your photos being stolen. So how do you protect yourself? There are ways to do this. However it will not stop the persistent thief. What you are going to try to do is make your image the least appetizing for thieves to steal and make them go elsewhere for images. Because the last thing you want are images of you and your spouse or your vacation or happy moments going out to the world to see. The only people who should be able to see your images are those whom you've allowed to glimpse into your life.

So here goes. Firstly check your photo albums on Facebook. See that they are all placed to friends. Instruct friends that they are not to "share" or "tag" your images. Tagging your images enables FB or some third party to grab the image from the "tag" or "shared" source.

This is how you set your albums on "friends" only status. - keep in mind that you will have to do this to each album individually.

Next for other photos, you will want to make your photos as unappetizing as possible to the photo-thief. And the best way to do this is by placing a glaring watermark right in front of the photo. The best way to do this is by using MS Word to create the watermark, and then CTRL-V'ing it to Adobe Photoshop Elements (And I would recommend that everyone have a copy of Photoshop Elements. It's only $149.99 and it's well worth your money spent to have security and peace of mind

This is how I create my watermarks (after I create one to my liking in Word)

Here is the full size image that I'm going to use for my example photo. Now it's a photo that I'm not putting up on the market, but I would follow the same procedure even if it was.

First of all, you are going to resize the image so that it cannot be used by anyone else. This involves making the image so small in datafile size that nobody can reconstruct the image or resize it to useable sizes without making the photo so blotchy and pixellated that it can't be used for anything other than web-display. So first go to Image > Resize.

Then you will come to a window like this:

First you will set your dpi at "72" down from "240". This removes dots per inch (which make up the image) to an unuseable amount for resizing back up the image. Secondly you will go and make your image width - for a horizontal orientation photo (normally known as landscape format) to 600 pixels. For a vertical orientation photo (normally known as portrait format) the height would be set at 600 pixels. Do the resizing "IN THIS ORDER" or it will confuse you when you enter in the numbers as the numbers on the width and height will keep changing.

Resize your image back up to 100% via the magnifying glass because your image will have grown instantaneously smaller in the window and you will need your image at 100% magnification to do the next few steps.

In order to watermark your image, you will have to use the text tool which is that big "T" button to the left side of the window. Click on it and place your text near the center left side of the image. Then use the copyright symbol(you can find it in MS Word under "Insert Symbol"), the year and your name in white (which is usually the best color for visibility in a photo). When you're done you will end up with something like this.

Then use the mouse to go to one of the corners whereupon you will see a curved arrow appear beside your box surrounding your text. This allows you to swivel the text to any diagonal orientation. Note how I've swiveled the text in this next image.

Use the blend menu to use "soft light" to blend the text in with the background (which is your image)

Then use the opacity slider (as shown) to reduce the opacity of your text to 44%. That will make the text of your copyright marking visible but not obstrusive and blocking out parts of the photo you want your friends to see.

From there, you will go into the File > Save mode where you will end up with this window. What you want to do here is name your file - ideally a combination name of date_name of the photo.

From there, you save the image and it will give you a slider bar indicating the quality of photo that you want to save. Here you want to drop it down to 6 (medium quality) in order to upload your image to Facebook.

This procedure will make it so that no-one will be able to "nick" your photos and get anything useable out of them.

More Gull Shots Edited - April 7, 2012

Seagulls are plentiful out here in Surrey, so I get plenty of practice in shooting them. I'm going to try to use the parkade at Central City to try and get the angle on them so that I can get higher. It's the only place other than the Skytrain (and that costs money) to get some altitude on them.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

300mm f/4.5 AI-S ED-IF - Great Find in Old Glass

With the release of new lenses, a lot of good older glass gets tossed by the wayside. A lot of people forget that good glass was around long before great digital bodies. A lot of old glass is still great and still useable as was presented in the opportunity to shoot a good 300mm f/4.5 AI-S lens by lens owner and my friend Paolo Capili at Broadway Camera. A manual focus lens, it still is a super lens. Back when the 300 f/4.5 AI-S was still king, the manual focusing system was a lot tighter and easier to focus in manually than the AF-S of today. Today's AF-S systems are kept loose so as the autofocus motors aren't fighting lens tightness in order to focus in on a subject. But the manual focus systems back then were keyed tight so that you wouldn't lose focus easily once you got it.

This lens is sharp. If I wasn't into nature/wildlife photography, and having to pre-focus a pain in the tail-end, I'd be considering this lens. It's a large lens, about 3/4s the size of my 70-200mm VRII and very solid in construction. I could have upped the shutterspeed a bit more on these two test shots since they were a little hot (bright). But you get the picture as is and very sharp.

In conclusion, don't count old glass out. Especially ones of the calibre of this. Try them out, shoot them, test your manual focussing skills and above all, they're like shelter pets. They deserve a home. Why not give them a home in your camera bag?

Happy Shooting

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holland Park - April 7, 2012

It's an absolutely gorgeous day out there in the Lower Mainland. Happy shooting.