Thursday, May 25, 2017

Camera Phone vs. DSLR

We hear this so often that camera phones are amazing. Their pixel count surpasses anything we've had as little as 18 years ago. July 1999 saw Nikon's first 3 Megapixel DSLR and Canon followed in July 2000 with their EOS D30. Most cellphones these days have higher megapixel count on the lower performing front facing camera. But as a mentor once told me; "the best camera is the one with you" (And believe me I've heard this quoted a million times over since).

So, let's get a little real. The most important things are:
1. To know the gear you are shooting with, it's abilities and limitations.
2. Practice, practice, practice.
3. Understand the rules, and how to break them well.
4. Practice some more.
5. Learn to work with and manipulate light.
6. Practice and push your gear to it's limits. Yes, even your cellular phone!

See for yourself, here I am sharing a very similar shot between a LG Nexus and a Canon 7D. Both images have undergone an editing process where at least the details have been brought up, cropping, color accentuated. The cellular image also got a quick frame effect applied.

Decide for yourself which you like best. I love having my cell phone with me always but the quality in the detail of my Canon "pro-sumer" EOS 7D and 5D surpasses the print quality of the cell by far.

Enjoy refining your skills by practicing! And some more of that good old practice!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Collective Shooting

Photography can be such an individual adventure but there is so much value in collaboration. Apart from the obvious benefit of having company and maybe feeling more comfortable shooting in places you may not venture alone. The single most understated benefit is knowledge and vision sharing that leads to growth.

In fact, I was attending a meeting at the Orlando Camera Club earlier this week and the agenda for that night was Tabletop Shooting. What is that you may ask? A few volunteers brought in items from their various collections or gardens and everyone had a chance to shoot what they found interesting.
Here is what I walked away with in terms​ of images:

I wedged this Bougainvillea flower into a crack in the stick. This gave the image some pleasing opposing diagonal lines.
This is the inner workings of some type of clock (I think). I was drawn to the shape. Would love to photograph this again in more contrasted light to create stronger shadows.
This is a much simpler single line shape but the texture contrast between the branch and the fluffy seed is amazing.

That was not my only take home from that exercise. I was not incredibly inspired that evening but spent most of my evening observing and talking to others. I've watched how some can instantly see an image and make it fast. Others snap through the room as fast as possible not to miss a thing and others slowly and steady working a scene until they were satisfied. Everyone has their way and reason and just because they approach it differently doesn't mean it's not going to be a great shot. Develop your photographic style! Practice often!

Greatness happens when you're being true to you.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Shoot the same location again!

And again, and again!

I've heard others say this and it never rang true with me until recently. It was my fourth or fifth visit to St Augustine, FL. Not only is it a beautiful city but it's a city rich in history and character. On my first trip there I was mostly drawn to the more popular landmarks. Subsequent trips seem to have taken me onto the coastline and into the details and color. 

Castillo de San Marcos and the Old Jail House
A view of the fort and the Inter-coastal waterway.

Shooting bad guys
One of my favorite memories of a family visit. Where my son, then 3, would imagine shooting the enemy from the fort.

Aboard El Galleon 
The major historical icons there is the fort, old prison, Flagler College, Bridge of Lions, the Old School House, and the Lightner museum, to name a few. But the quaint city has a charm of it's own with texture, colors and beautiful shutters every where.

                  The beautiful shore line will also not disappoint. You can either spend your time on the rocks, the sandy beaches or hang out at the pier. The pier was closed earlier in 2017 because of some hurricane damage. 

But the most magical thing about St Augustine is the memories you get to make with family and friends. always looking forward to going back there to shoot.
Family memories! My brother and sister-in-law enjoying the sun and Old School House.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Drip Kit Upgraded

Yesterday was a big day! The drip kit got an upgrade. We added an additional valve that does not drop the water but uses pressure to shoot it upwards.  You would think it will then be a guaranteed collision but alas, we added two variables. Maintaining a constant pressure in the chamber of the liquid being pushed (or shot) upwards is the first and the second the addition of a rotating ball-head on which that nozzle is mounted. 

The first test was done with regular colored water and I am pretty excited about how it turned out. 

Dinner Bell Water Drop
Of course I have to extend another huge thanks to my always on duty handyman! Your honey-do list never ends :)

Flowers in Ice

When it get's too hot in the kitchen...or outside for that matter, you can stay cool with some flowers embedded in ice.

These were some experimental images I did in 2015. I came across some amazing images of snowflakes that left me wanting to move to areas where you are guaranteed snow. But since that was not an immediate possibility I started experimenting with some cut flowers in ice. Maybe I was hoping to catch a small piece of frost or something that looked like a snowflake. More like a solid block of interesting and distorted shapes and colors. 

When my solid block of ice started feeling the Florida melt and my fingers almost frostbitten from holing the ice up, I placed the ice blocks on my driveway. Some pieces I put down gently but the largest block I dropped​ horizontally and the effect was just amazing. Those lines and texture from the driveway magnified a little by the melting water drew me in. To me this is a piece that creates more questions than answers and it makes me think. 

I went back to add some creative editing. I think the cross processing with the blue and orange makes it look almost beach-y. 

Have fun experimenting!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Perfect Day for a Sombrero

...because it's Cinco de Mayo!

My water drop collision called Sombrero Sculpture is still one of my all time favorites where every aspect in the process of making these drop were in sync. The light, the background, the temperature, the water tension, liquid consistency and of course the timing.

This is also the birthday of one of my favorite people! He would have been 87 today. Happy birthday Dad and thank you for leaving me a love of photography as your legacy!

Happy May 5th!