Saturday, 11 August 2012

Friday, 10 August 2012

Observation Under the Cross

cross(Leica X1)

Look closer and we may make sense of a usual scene. For a lot of times coming across this spot, I have been mesmerised by the silhouettes of people and the window frames against the brightened view outside. The why and wherefore of this hadn't struck me until I downloaded this image to the computer and viewed it on the screen, "Ah-ha," I exclaimed to myself, "it's the religious overtone!"

After snapping street shots daily for four to five years, I have come to find that it pays to think through what meets the eyes at even the most common of scenes. The answer may not be obvious until one has taken the shot and is working on it on the computer screen. But even not knowing the answer instantly won't prevent the habit from mysteriously cuing you to photo worthy scenes which, when reproduced with unique perspective reflecting your subconscious ideas about the subjects and themes, will end you up with better shots. Not necessarily masterpieces but if the light is right and when skills mature, magic is possible.

But first, there is the need to use patience and be willing to stop to take note of a scene. I often slow down my pace for a potential scene and have actually for a few times moved over to this spot by the window to feel what glued people there. The appeal of this scene to me is no more coming naturally than cultivated after months of observing, feeling and thinking through what are there in the scene.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


(Leica D-Lux 5)

Finally the setting up of my new computer was fully done and editing a raw file with Lightroom 4.1 on it feels instantaneous. Viewing images on the 27 inch monitor is simply a joy! The next thing is to study some literature about Lr 4.1 and set it up. By the way, if you're new to Lightroom, you won't want to miss this great site. If you're looking for some free pre-sets, go here.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

3-in-1 Sleepy Heads

3sleepyheads(Leica X1)

For the daily street shots, I force myself to go closer to the subjects on a regular basis. Sometimes the reward is a better photo to be followed by some odd moment. The immediate moment after this shot was the lady looking up at me, jaw-dropping, and I walking away naturally embarrassed but as if nothing had happened.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dubai Skyline and Exposure

(Sony A55)

The full-size image of today's shot can make for a decent print to be hung on the wall. Let me share some thoughts on the exposure. If you're interested, please read on.

While it is arguable if digital photography is shifting our focus from the instant of capture in favour of post-production, it is at least to the newbies that digital photography saves them from the desolation which in the past hung over the much longer learning curve. Take learning exposure for example. With the instant on-screen preview, who would need to spend inordinate amounts of time experimenting exposure like the 1/2 to 1 stop increase/ decrease from the meter reading for light/ dark subjects?… not. 

Seriously, we should still know at least a bit about exposure to get the most out of a digital camera.

As in today's shot, landscapes and scenes involving large areas of open sky can be tricky for metering since the meter (except if you spot-meter the darker parts) will depress the reading to average out the brightest part (the sky), thus underexposing the darker parts. Worse still, every digital camera will underexpose a scene a wee bit by default. Even worse, the Sony SLT technology in the A55 for this shot "steals", I surmise, roughly 20% of the light. So on top of the usual +1 stop, I tweaked the exposure to add in half a stop more to aptly expose for the silhouettes and the hightlighted bits in the dark foreground. Without these remedies, the final image will be underexposed too much to be desirable while pushing up the exposure in post-processing will bring up the noise level in the dark parts as well.

The above remedial measure may not work for you if you are shooting under a bright sky with a camera which has no live viewfinder. Here is another trick for you: do a reading off your palm illuminated by the same light as your subject, then push up the indicated aperture by 1 stop.

Lastly, some may say it is advisable to use a gradient filter and so on to subdue the bright sky. To me, honestly, I don't bother about physical filters nowadays except for a polarizing filter. For the rest like a gradient filter, any non-destructive post-processing programme can do a decent job to your images. The image of today has been post-processed too to add in a gradient filter effect to darken the sky.

Monday, 6 August 2012

U.S. Army

usarmy(Leica D-Lux 5)

Another week of new challegnes are here, but let's soldier on!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Catching Up

(Leica D-Lux 5)

This is Sunday. Catch up with a friend.