Photographic art & community shared thru photography.

Photography: A Learning Experience!

Love Your Mistakes!

Native American Arts CouncilI’d like my fans to discuss the importance of loving your photographic mistakes. We need to move away from seeing our mistakes as problems. Instead see them as a learning experience. Now, when I say this, I mean in the context of self-teaching. Sometimes it’s hard to see those mistakes as learning experiences, when you’re dealing with a photography teacher or tutor who is extremely anal with how THEY feel things should be done. However, like I said many many times before; it is important to find YOUR inner photographer (not photography according to Mr. or Ms. so and so). Some examples of “loving your mistakes,” is when you purchase that accessory that your “photography guru” had forbid you to buy. You may discover that the accessory is very useful to YOU and not the “guru.” However, if that same accessory turns out to be a waist of time, then you’ll know why. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the choice is YOURS to make, not your “photography guru,” because photography gurus tend to steer you only towards what works for them (and almost never thinks about the individuality of the student/apprentice, etc). The other important lesson in this is that when you actually do something that you’ve come to realize is not for you personally, we tend to remember that a lot longer; than say trying to cram a 400 page Photoshop manual and another 400 page manual for Lightroom in our heads. Which is why I always say, its more important to learn what a tool does, than actually “learning how to use it.” Learning by doing is so much more powerful than just solely reading. Especially when it comes to visual arts.

© ShadesOfSepia.com

Every Photograph Is Important!

Bronx Walk: Morrisania & Claremont VillageSomething that came to mind whilst I was responding to a Facebook question involving photographs. Maybe this would be a good opportunity to encourage a new resolution in 2015 for photographers. I didn’t realize that a lot of photographers perform massive deletions of photographs they feel are “not up to par.” I encourage all photographers to NOT delete photographs unless you are absolutely sure that the photographs in question are not usable. I think file deletions are more common with photographers who do street photography mostly. I think that it is important for people to realize “street photography” is a world of difference from “studio photography.” It is important to note that in terms of working towards capturing a meaningful photograph whilst on the street (on foot) is a lot harder than most people are willing to give credit for (and that includes many “professional studio photographers”). The fact of the matter is, there are so many variables that can effect your exposure in a fraction of a second. Because of this, it is very important that the photographer is able to not only think fast, but master their camera so that they can make quick adjustments on the fly. Because street photography is about capturing life in the real world; the real world isn’t always perfect; and therefore sometimes even the best skilled photographers will occasionally get a percentage of images in their camera that will be imperfect.

The question I want people to think about is, “what is a bad photograph” exactly? Does a bad photograph mean that the photo is unusable? Or is it a bad photograph because for whatever reason you just don’t like it? Well, of course both of these can be true, but if the answer is that you just don’t like the photo; I don’t think it’s a good idea to just immediately delete them. If a photograph comes out a little blurry, turn it in to abstract art. If a photo is over exposed, maybe you can use that photo as a background. In other words what I’m trying to say is, part of having creativity is also being able to make use of anything and everything that you personally own, and that would include images. I also think that it’s important to save all images because we can make our own assessments as to what works for us and what doesn’t.

© ShadesOfSepia.com

Working Around Software Limitations

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Regardless of the forum I’m in, be it Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, or Lightroom; every once in a while someone will ask “does anybody know if one filter/action/script will work with another?” Many well meaning members would hastily say “yes they will work.” But the reality is, not all applications are equal (that includes Photoshop). If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life (whether it be my personal life, or professional) time and time again, is to NEVER assume anything. It is extremely important to do you’re research in anything you want to know, especially when it comes to computer technology; because software and hardware incompatibilities are almost the norm. In terms of photography, it’s not enough “to just learn Photoshop,” or “just how to use x third party application.” Personally, my belief is that it is more important to understand what you’re doing, than to learn what your doing. There are usually 3 main challenges when it comes to third party applications. The first is compatibility. Regardless of the version of Photoshop/Paintshop you have, older plugins may not work. Usually it’s because of optimizations that calls for the software to be restructured; and sometimes that restructuring doesn’t work with the way the plugins were originally designed to do. Second, sometimes for whatever reason, the programmer is no longer interested in supporting their work, and eventually winds up abandoning their software (both free or paid). This is also another reason why I don’t recommend newbies to go crazy and download thousands of plugins. It doesn’t make sense, it will take you longer to figure out which plugin that is appropriate for what your trying to do, than to just  process your photo. It is best to have a few main ones and that’s it (unless for those occasional one time use searches). Third are fonts, brushes, backgrounds, frames, and other elements. From my experience, these are often forgotten about by the programmer, or the programmer assumes you already have the elements they’ve used by default, causing errors during the process.

One way to get around these annoyances, is to consider using standalone applications. First off, right away I have to be upfront; the biggest downside of using standalone products is that you no longer can take advantage of marques/selection features. However, the flip side is, you don’t have to deal with incompatibilities because it’s standalone. The way you can use standalone applications to your best advantage, is to make about 4 copies of your original (including backup). I know many of my readers maybe saying “that’s too much;” however, you can never have too many backups when it comes to accidental mistakes including deletions). Take one photo and process them in your standalone application. Then import them back in to your main application using a layer. Now import your original under or over (depending on what you want to do, and modify your work that way. Yes I know it’s a lot more work, but then again, true art is never quick or easy. I think doing this is a great alternative, it will decrease the likelihood of you spending hours searching the internet for a similar plugin.

 

© ShadesOfSepia.com

Are You A Limited Thinker?

Ernest Withers, civil rights photographer

Ernest Withers, civil rights photographer

In terms of photography, do you limit your creativity due to repetitiveness? Are you stuck in the same way of doing things over and over? This can be a good thing, and a bad thing as well. Sometimes it’s a good thing because often times there is just so much to know and learn when it comes to photography and graphic software, sometimes it may be best to just stick with a couple of basic tools and take it from there. On the other hand repetitiveness can turn in to habits, and habits often don’t inspire you to do things different in order to get those creative juices flowing. I was listening to a Youtuber not too long ago, and the person talked a little bit about studio photography. The veteran Youtuber confirmed what I’ve been thinking for a long time, and that is studio photography can be extremely confining. I agreed with his statement so much; and I dare to say that I think THAT’S when a photographer runs the risk of being repetitive, tedious and tunnel visioned. From my experience, I’ve talked to way too many photographers who became so closed minded as a result of years of doing the same thing day in and day out; their ways have become “the formula” that they feel every single photographer should do as well. As I’ve always said, it is common knowledge amongst photographers that photography is an artistic expression. There are parts of photography that have absolutely nothing to do with technique or the tools, but everything to do with emotion; and sometimes just being at the right place at the right time. Which makes the huge difference between studio and street photography. Studio photography is often predictable (males have set standard poses, women have another set standard poses, children, and couples); whereas you have to work a lot harder with street photography (you can’t always control the elements in your frame (including lighting)). If you’ve ever talk to any photographer from the old school, they’ll most likely tell you that a great photographer can take photos with a $10 dollar camera. In fact, you’d probably never convince some of those old school photographer to switch to all digital.

People who are just getting in to photography may not realize just how many types of photographic genres we have out here (professional photography is not limited to only weddings). Some of these genres include, but not limited to: sports, electronics, clothes, Ariel, marine, wild life, domestic animals, astrophotography, journalism, forensic, microscopic, industrial, landscape, architectural, fashion, children, event, real estate, concert, show room, cellular, satellite, blue prints, roller-coaster, scientific, food, inspector, vehicle, travel, nude, advertising, homes, stock, equine, agriculture, plant life, documentarian, action, fireworks, night clubs, and street photography. Within these genres we also have specific photographic techniques such as, b&W, pinhole, HDR, light painting, infrared, lomography, tone, glass, metal, wood (rare), and so much more (the list is just too great to write them all). Heaving read what I’ve just written, why would you confine yourself to only one way of doing things? Why would anyone insist that photography can only be done one way? And why would you limit others by trying to teach people your way is the only way? There is so much potential in photography, and all those things I’ve mentioned is what makes photography so fun! Especially street photography, because we never know what beautify we can find were we life. If you want to really become a photographer, it is very important to master your camera and editing tools; but it is even more important to have creativity (Photoshop can’t give you creativity).

© ShadesOfSepia.com

How Many Pictures Is Too Much?

James Presley Ball (1825-1905)

James Presley Ball (1825-1905), Black Photographer

This is one of those questions were, if you ask 300 photographers, you’ll probably get 300 different individual answers. To be quite honest, in my opinion, I think there is no right answer. Again, it all depends on the photographer. Photographers from the older school of thought, may tell you that if you take a lot of photos, it seems too “amateurish.” Or if you consider yourself a professional, some may suggest that you have not “grasped” the art of photography. Noticed that I have put quotes around the word “grasped” on purpose, because everyone has their own personal take on photography. In the world of expressive art, the only rules that matter are the ones that work in a given situation. Some professional photographers think that if you’re a “good” photographer, you should be able to frame all of the proper elements, lighting, and portions in one single shoot. However, this doesn’t always work in street photography. You don’t always have control over your photographs outside of a studio; which is being able to capture your subject for how it is actually seen, in it’s true environment.

So, how many pictures is too much? Actually, there is never enough, and there is always too little. Your subjects, regardless if the subject is a living person, animal, or an inanimate object, everything has various dimensions to them. Dimensions is what helps to tell the subject’s story (irrespective of light). Just like when you meet someone in person, no one person represents one thing; so why would people think this wasn’t true about photography? In the real world, depending on the type of photographer you are, and the type of clients you work with; some clients don’t even want you to edit your photographs. Many clients prefer to only see RAW photos, so they can pick and choose what they want for themselves, as well as edit them. In this case, you best believe you must have a lot of shots for the client to choose from. If it means 20 different versions of the same portrait, so be it.

The other side of this is, have you ever got home and evaluated your shots and discovered you should have taken a particular shot in a different way? Not necessarily because you think the current shot was bad, but maybe you realized that the photo would have had greater meaning. We don’t always have this opportunity in street photography; however, if you have a paid model you can. However, bottom line is that, if you don’t come home with a lot of photos in your camera, it could have been there was nothing interesting to you, or your imagination may not have been turned on. Regardless of the situation, I don’t think that one should put to much mind in to these types of questions, because in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Your gut feelings will be the most important.

© ShadesOfSepia.com

A Reminder For Me, And A Lesson To Newbies

I want to kill two birds with one stone. That is, the importance of checking your monitor, and also showing an example of how skill & a good photo editor can prove essential. Before I go out on any photo walk, I always make sure I have my batteries changed/charged; memory card formatted; and clean my lens(es) as well as inside my camera. There is nothing worse than going out and forgetting to do these things. Well, long story short, I was taking a couple of shots of statues around my neighborhood court house. After a number of shots later I noticed a line going down the monitor screen. Unfortunately, the location I was at earlier was so sunny I did not catch it at first. I quickly realized that this was a strand from a light brush I used to clean my camera. This was most likely made out of horse hair (I assume), because I can’t think of anything that would be heavy enough, yet can easily break off in to my camera.

The lesson here is, the second reason why I wasn’t able to see it in the viewfinder, was because the hair strand was behind the mirror! Which means that it was directly on top of my sensor. If I didn’t have a habit of looking through my monitor to check exposure, I would have never noticed the annoying brush hair. So be very careful when you clean your camera; not just being gentle, but making sure that no other possible debris could be in front of the sensor. Please note, both the mirror and sensor mechanism is extremely sensitive and delicate. If air can not remove the foreign body out of your camera, have a professional do it.

Unfortunately, I did not want to go back and retake all those shots of the statues. However, the good thing was, my photo’s composition came out so well that I was able to remove that annoying hair from the photo. Now, keep in mind, if the hair showed up in front of a building, depending on the pattern of that building, the work and time needed to correct it would not have been worth it. So composition is still always important. Software is not elusive to fixing bad exposures, and bad skin problems; it can also be used to repair as well.

BEFORE

BEFORE

 

AFTER

AFTER

 

 

About Using Stock Photos

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I’d thought I would just take a moment to talk about the benefits of using stock photos. There are many benefits from both the photographer and user standpoint. Many people  don’t think about it much but, I’ve talked a little bit about copyrights on my vintage blog. I am grateful that I’ve done so much reading on the public domain; because indirectly, it gave me lots of insight in to the very complicated world of copyright. The internet has changed copyright laws tremendously; and copyright isn’t just about someone trying to “steal” a movie. Copyright is so much greater and complicated than that. Sometimes we can commit infringement and not even know it; which is also one of the reasons I chose to no longer use “reprinted articles,” or articles that are “open source,” or “creative commons text.” The internet has become so massive that we can’t always trust “user contributed data.” A good example of this is sites like archive.org.  Users are allowed to upload content; some users deliberately upload copyrighted material, some users assume something is public domain cause they found it on the internet. This is NOT the meaning of public domain, and careless bloggers will not care until they get their first Cease and Desist letter. Then your running around messaging people asking them what should you do? Take the time and look through my resources, that’s what they are their for to help. The problem with the internet is that we’re to easily tempted to copy and paste, simply because the option is there. A downloader of archive.org may or may not know something is copyrighted; but will try to use the content because archive is mostly a public domain website. It’s important to be aware of this if you plan on being a serious blogger, or if you are receiving high traffic. Remember, you’re not behind close doors, anyone has access to your website.

Stock photos are not full proof; in other words, they are not free from the possibility infringement/plagiarism. However, it is extremely unlikely. Another thing I should point out, if you ever get a copyright complaint, all stock photo sites have a record of the photos you’ve cuban-man-cigar-17498607purchased, so you can always show proof of license. Many stock photo sites have different licenses and conditions; make sure you read those conditions before you use them. The reason why stock photos are great, is because many licenses will allow you to modify the photos, which would allow you to create transformative work. Most licenses also allow you to pay for the image one time, and have unlimited usage, and no expiration. Both bloggers, graphic artists, and people in print media benefit heavily from using stock photos.

In terms of the photographer standpoint, you can sell all your high quality photos just sitting in your computer. This is not a quick “you can make thousands of dollars a week” game. It’s not like that at all. Depending on the type of photographer you are, and or the photos you possess, some photographers barely make any money. However, the more photos you possess, the greater chances you have to make a little profit. There are literally thousands of stock photo sites, each site requiring different things from it’s photographers. Some only look for specific types of photography; some make their members go through a long approval process; some will only accept if you have at least 1,000 images or more to upload (high quality), some sites go through an integrity check on every photo, and if it fails you’d have to re-upload again. Different sites have different commission rates, some only pay a flat rate; Some sites want their photographers to be exclusive, some sites don’t care; some require a release letter, some may not. There is a lot to look for; and like I said, it’s not like you can sign up for FotoliaComp_51953594_8sMVtgOntywroneoANq5e65MbXhlBZpA100 of these sites and start making money. It’s a process, and you must read all the requirements and legalities before you commit to a stock photo site.

Many companies are buying more and more stock photos, because equipment, photographers, props, and time cost too much, it is much cheaper for a business to just buy a stock photo and use it for their employee handbook for example.

A few things to keep in mind. Be careful of what you shoot! Don’t shoot logos and trademarks, that is considered infringement because they charge licensing fees to use them. If your at a museum, it is a good idea to ask if the subject you’re about to shoot is copyrighted; yes believe it or not, you can be prohibited from selling any likeness of a display within a museum. Any building that isn’t a landmark, you’d probably would need a release letter. Be careful of shooting anything that is recognizable products, such as cars, boats, backpacks, store signs, even designer napkins that are specific to a particular manufacture or company. These are just a few things to consider when wanting to sell your images as stock photos.

I am not going to go through all the stock photo sites, because they are just too many. However, there are many sites you can google to get an idea of what stock photo sites are best for you.

© 2014 ShadesOfSepia.com

Do You Still Use Your 35MM Camera?

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Do you still use your old 35mm camera? Do you have an Android smart phone? I downloaded a very cute and inexpensive app a couple of weeks ago; although I realize I don’t need it, I still think it’s a nifty thing to have. It’s called “Light Meter Tools”, and you can find it on the Android market. The main features of this app are measuring the estimated ISO, Aperture, Shutter & EV. You can measure using your cell phone’s built-in camera sensor, or you can measure the light illuminating from the surrounding area using the “camera feature” of the app.  This would have been essential back in the day, because it can really take some of the guess work out of figuring out the correct exposure (on 35mm cameras). You can measure with zoom (if your phone supports zoom), and it even has the ability to recalculate if you’re using a natural density filter. I think this is a great app for newbies to experiment with, and learn how to take better pictures with your old film camera. It has a few other bells and whistles. Here is a link to the product on Google’s Android market. Please note, it is not necessary to use this app along with a DSLR camera; I recommend this strictly for old meterless 35mm cameras.; you may be better off spending that money to get a real professional light meter if you wanna go that route.

© 2014 / ShadesOfSepia.com

It’s Not As Easy As People Think

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These days, it seems that many are dubbing themselves as a photographer, but what does photography really mean to them? The more people I meet, the more I realize just how many different ideas are out there in terms of the meaning of photography. Computer technology has changed traditional photography, (both positively and negatively) quickly I may add. As a result, there are very mixed attitudes from professional photographers. One common complaint from traditional/professional photographers, is that somehow cellphones are indirectly lowering the value of photography, because the picture quality on smart phones have improved exponentially. Now everyone has become zealous “photographers”. Some go as far to say that cellphones are taking some jobs away from educated photographers. However, I say that the other side of the coin is, try to blow up a photo taken with the latest cellphone, you’ll discover that the quality is no way near up to the standards of any DSLR camera, neither do you have the flexibility. I think what scares many photographers (particularly news photographers for instance) is that cellphones today are easily accessible, and ready to snap a photo the minute something is about to happen, then submit it to any news station. A perfect example of that are Weather and Traffic news stations. I can understand the irony in that.

In terms of photographic art, many feel that their is so much imagery of selfies, and buffoonery on popular sites such as twitter, facebook, flickr, etc, that quality of art has been overshadowed. Believe it or not many professional are of the opinion that these site actually dumb down the importance of real photography. Unfortunately, I do understand that to some extent. But, personally, I do make a distinction between taking a picture, and taking a photograph, they are not the same.

I think there is another dynamic to this piece many bloggers/photographers are not discussing, that is the assumption that photography is easy (and I do think new cellphone technologies are partly responsible for that). There is a lot more to know about camera than people realize, which is one of the reasons a lot of people spend hundreds, and perhaps thousands of dollars for a “good camera” to only use it in automatic. That’s like spending $6,000 on a multimedia gaming computer, only to sit and play Solitaire on it. DSLRs are so powerful and most people don’t use not even half it’s potential, cause they think they don’t need to. However, if you want to make the most of the money you’ve spent, yes you should. Knowing you camera will help you overcome common problems that being in automatic mode can’t always resolve. Increase you shutter speed and you’ll be able to capture your daughter jumping in mid air; but if it’s too fast, your photo will be darker. Widen your aperture to reduce bokeh, but more light will go into the lens. Your at a dinner party, the environment is very dark, Your ISO is at it’s full capacity and you have grain in the entire photo; do you know how to correct this on the fly? I think this is what makes the difference between a “picture taker”, and a “photographer”.

© Yogi / ShadesOfSepia.com

Do Camera lens Adapters Really work?

DSC_0024Do camera lens adapters really work? In my humble opinion, if you are converting a small filter to be used on a large lens, they are NOT worth the hype. Well, you know that o’l saying, “you can’t knock it ’till you try it”? Well, my followers should know me by now, I like to see things for myself, instead of believing the first thing someone tells me, especially when it comes to electronics. I purchased a lens converter, that makes my 72mm lens compatible with my 52mm accessory filters. I wanted to see if I can use some of my filters from my first lens, without having to tag along two lenses with me. Well… The results were less than impressive. Actually, I had a feeling I would have a problem with it, but I only paid less then $5 dollars for it, what can I loose? If anything, I can educate my visitors with my personal experience. First, I gotta say, if you’re thinking of getting these adapters to use with your Micro Close-ups, forget about it. I had the same problem. The major problem was what I had expected. I got ring (a hard vignette) around the photograph @ about a range of 18mm through 150mm, See here. This means the only way you can get rid of that ring, you’re forced to zoom at full capacity, and physically move yourself farther away just to take your picture.  This is a shame, because it also means you’ll most likely never be able to get crisp pictures ’cause your forced to keep it fully zoomed at all times. I would assume that these adapters would work best, if you where converting a large filter to a small lens, rather than vise verse.

© 2014 Yogi / ShadesofSepia.com

Using Micro/Macro Close-Up Lenses

 

Figure 1: 18-200mm lens with built in telephoto lens

Figure 1: 18-200mm lens with built in telephoto lens

My apologies, I realize that I keep reiterating that my new blog is strictly about my personal journey as a photographer; but for whatever reason, I seem to continuously find subjects that require a little technical background. However, not only am I giving you my personal take on the subject, I also do think these are important topics though; because most entry-level photographers don’t hear about a lot of things I write about on my blog. I do believe that my photo experience as a hobbyist will help a lot of newbies in general (at least the open minded). Please keep in mind, I speak from the “I.”

Let me start off by explaining the differences between Macro, Micro, and “Close-Up.” In the photography world, many manufactures use Micro and Macro interchangeably to mean the same thing. However, I do think there are slight differences IMHO. Because camera companies often do this, most people don’t really realize there is a difference; and I guess most wouldn’t because regardless, we know that they are both used for smaller objects.

The word Macro actually means big, therefore in most cases when using a macro filter lens, you must physically move closer to “fill the frame,” or to make big, or make “close-up.” A huge indicator of this, is when using at least the most powerful macro filter lens (10x) along with your main lens, you normally have to be at least about 4-6 inches or closer to your object before you begin to focus (on manual). The specific Macro lenses I’m talking about are the heavy, yet cheaper $20-30 lens filters to be used on your main camera lens. These are what I call magnifiers. The larger the circumference of your lens, the heavier and thicker your macro lens will be. There are dozens of sizes, so make sure you check the size of your lens first. If your still unsure, I know many cameras such as Nikon will often have the size printed in millimeters on the black plastic lens covers that came with your lens. Please note that not all Macro filters will work well with very powerful zoom lenses. It has been my experience that they work best with smaller prime lenses. However, maybe you can borrow from a friend, and find some artistic uses for them if you still want to try and use them with a powerful lens. Technically these Macro filter lenses are not professional, but with a lot of patience, and a good understanding of manual focus, you can get some really nice close-ups, from these filters.

Then we have the more professional Macro lenses such as this one made by Sony (which do not need the extra macro filters attached). The cost for these professional close-up lenses ranges from $300-6000. Quality and features will vary for each lens. Depending on what you like to shoot, you don’t need a Macro lens with a lot of zoom. My motto is, if you’re broke and you want a good zoom; then use your feet. If you can afford one with a good zoom capacity, then go for it. But keep in mind, like I’ve written earlier, they can get quite expensive, so be sure of what you want to do before you make the commitment to purchase. Check with the manufacture, or your favorite camera store for any specific features your looking for. Also, don’t forget that refurbished lenses are still a good option for those of us who are on a tight budget.

Now, the word Micro means small; which usually means (depending on the type of micro lens) you can actually zoom in on your tiny object to fill the frame with that object. Nikon chooses to use the word “Micro” for their lenses. Be aware (especially for Nikon users), lenses that are 105mm and greater, and or lenses with a significant zoom range, will most likely be in FX format. I am not sure if they make DX Micros with very high capacity (it would cost too much money to make).  Keep in mind, just like regular lenses, Micro/Macro lenses will vary on different features, such as prime capacity, zoom ranges, aperture, even the type of glass, etc, which will also make the difference in quality, capability, as well as the price. It is also easy to assume that they all come with zoom capabilities; please keep in mind that not all do. But, even if you purchased a 50mm prime Macro/Micro, you wouldn’t have to be literally on top of your subject. Also, like I’ve said for the Macro, if you don’t have money for a Micro/Macro lens with a good zoom, use your feet. If not it is better to wait, save, and see what your options are concerning refurbished lenses.

If you love Micro/Micro photography like I do, I recommend saving money and getting the more professional Micro/Macro lenses, for one important reason, you have control of your depth of field. They don’t have to be expensive, just a basic/entry-level Micro/Macro lens.

Figure 2: 18-55mm lens with one 10x Macro Close-Up, and HD 2.2x Telephoto lens

Figure 2: 18-55mm lens with one 10x Macro Close-Up, and HD 2.2x Telephoto lens

The key difference is, with the cheaper Macro filter lenses, is that you must be at least within 4-6 inches away from the subject (sometimes even closer (even if you have your zoom at full capacity, because it works like a magnifying glass)). Professional Micro/Macro lenses are specifically designed for close range/close-up shots. The phrase “close-ups” only means the act of capturing your subject close up. To give you a good example of how different lenses and lens filters can effect your end result; take a look at the difference between figure 1 & 2. These are two pictures of the same wine glass I’ve taken. The first figure was at full zoom; and the second figure was taken with my other 18-55mm lens with one 10x close-up lens, and 1 telephoto lens at about the same distance. I should also mention that for figure 1, it was impossible to get closer to the lens without a “Close-up” lens attachment, because the sensor would keep the shutter button locked because it can’t focus properly. Macro lenses are perfect if you want to take pictures of stamps, flowers up close, some small species, tiny artifacts, and books. They are also great for taking pictures of textures, such as walls, concrete, metal, wood, etc. You can also stack lenses, but I’m not sure if there are limits on the amount you can stack together, the camera’s sensor is very sensitive. Macro Close-up lenses are NOT designed to be used for subjects far away, you will not be able to focus and loose your dept of field.

I do not have a micro lens yet, so I can not show you any examples, that will be later on in the future. I will not write more about micro lenses because I think it’s pretty much self-explanatory at this point. I deleted a lot of the old stuff I’ve written, just because I felt the information I gave was too extraneous.

© 2014 / ShadesOfSepia.com

Mindy Veissid

member_65706892On Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Mindy Veissid, who is a freelance photographer and Photography teacher. Out of curiosity, I decided to take one of her classes called “Digital Photography: An Introduction For Beginners”. Then I like her so much, I decided to take a second class called “Intuitive Photography”.  I wanted to take her classes because I wanted to learn how to use my new DSLR in the real world (uncontrolled environment). Also, no matter how much we read or study, photography is one of those animals that sometimes requires hands-on learning, from someone with real world experience with cameras to help you put that knowledge in to perspective. I will not go over all of the things she’s taught the group, because her style of teaching is worth experiencing for yourself. She explains things in such a way that, it will save you many days of reading (perhaps weeks) trying to understand some of the things she’s covered in the course. I got to say that, not only does she have a great personality, she is patient and has answered every single one of my questions. The class that I took was called “Digital Photography: An Introduction For Beginners”. It’s $75 for a 3 hour session; this is a bargain considering what it cost to take a basic “professional” photography course, or even one Photoshop class. The class was held at the Madison Atrium, in a public space with plenty of objects to shoot. There is no doubt I learned a lot in her class, I also indirectly discovered new things as a result.

The most important lesson I’ve learned in her class is, how to control my shutter through the metering system in my camera. It was trough the metering I’ve learned just how quickly light fluctuates inside our camera lenses, thus I am able to make quick adjustments on the fly. I also realized how mindful we have to be in keep our camera still/stabilized when using longer shutter speeds. By the time class was finished, not only was I ready to take any photos of anything I wish with great results; but I now take photos with minimal or no use of the flash.  This was an eye opener for me, since so many professional photographers spend 80% of their time in flash mode. She has taught me what no other “photographer” has taught me, that is, how to take photos using natural light. I highly recommend that you visit her website www.MindyVeissid.com, she has done fantastic photographic work!

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