Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last Photo In Front of Our House





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Gary Coronado

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Photography Wish List - Lenses

The best photographers are those who make do with the camera that they have on hand, that much is true. However, being human, I know that I can dream of having something else. Currently, I use a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens. It is a spectacular lens and I use it about 85% of the time. For those other times, I use either a Canon EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS USM lens and the cheap but still very nice Canon EF 50 f/1.8 lens.


The shot below was made using the 24-105 lens and a Canon 5D Mark II. The sharpness and clarity of the photos produced using this lens is unmistakable and the shallow depth-of-field produced by an f/4 aperture is great for making your subjects pop from the background.






However, and since this is a wish, I would like to use a different set of lens. If I were given a choice, I would like to use the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM lens for daily use and a Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L II IS USM lens for portraits and for those times when I need a telephoto lens. The f/2.8 aperture would be great in low-light conditions and the shallow depth-of-field would make for a more interesting shot. Both of these lenses are shorter than the one I am currently using but I really don't mind that. Cameras now a days have a million megapixels so cropping the pictures up would still produce a sizable shot.


Ok, I'm exaggerating there but 20 megapixels for the Canon 5D Mark II is already a big picture. If you crop the picture in half, 10 megapixels, you could still get an 8x10-inch print out of it. So, the focal length of the lens is not my primary concern; the bigger aperture is. And if I were to choose, I'd get those two lenses in a pinch. :)


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Photo made at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Shot made with a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens. Want a great backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite bag, the Lowepro Versapack 200 AWhere and here. Photo was post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Over- and Underexposure Are Not Always Wrong

Yes, you should definitely know first hand how to properly expose a photograph. If you don't, then your photography will be a hit-and-miss affair. So, whether you are using Av (Aperture Priority), Tv (Shutter Priority) or Manual, you should definitely know when your photographs are properly set. (Yes, I am a Canon shooter...)


However, when you already know the ropes when it comes to proper exposure, then you can certainly break from the rules and produce photographs that aren't exactly "normal". This was what I did with the following photos. I under- and overexposed the photos to provide a different feel for my respective subjects.







So, next time you hold on to your precious camera, then try to do the same, just for kicks and see what you will get. :)


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Both photos made at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Shot made with a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM lens. Want a great backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite bag, the Lowepro Versapack 200 AWhere and here. Photos post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fireworks at the Blue Hour

According to widipedia, Blue Hour is "the period of twilight each morning and evening where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness." I've always wanted to try this on my own and I am always looking for a really good opportunity to do it. One opportunity came on July 1, when Princeton held its annual 4th-of-July-weekend fireworks. Since it's summer time, the night sky was not yet completely dark even after 8pm. I took that opportunity to make my own fireworks photos during the blue hour.


This is one of the shots I took during that event.






I would like to try some more blue hour photography in the future. I am hopeful that I get a chance to make some pictures of Princeton during the blue hour while the wife and I are still here.


[I am happy to say that one of the people who serves as inspiration is Yen Baet, a Filipino photographer who specializes in blue-hour photography. She won a National Geographic contest and she travels to different locations around the world to produce really beautiful photos, whether taken during the blue hour or at some other times.]


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Photo made with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L lens. This was made at f/11, 8 seconds and ISO100. Want to know how to shoots fireworks? Check out my blog post here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shoot Against the Light

This is categorized under the heading "I thought I was doing it correctly...". Well, I just invented that category on the fly, but it is a good category for those things you, well, thought you were doing right.


The common misconception is to put your subjects in front of a glaring light source, say the sun, so that their faces will be lit. Well, yes, your subjects will be well-lit but, since the sun is glaring down on them, they would be squinting big time. Yes, I've seen it happen and it's not pretty...


So, instead, what you should do is put the sun behind and expose for your subject. Cameras these days are so intelligent, especially those with face detection, that when a face is detected, they'd adjust the exposure for the person right away. (Note, though, that, for a fully-automatic point-and-shoot, the camera might jack up the ISO setting and this will add noise to your photo. I'd write another post on how to go around this.)


If you are an owner of a spanking-brand new DSLR, then dig down into the menu and use Spot Metering and put the "spot" on your subject. Then, you will be sure that the exposure setting is for your subject and not the average for the entire scene.


Another advantage of putting the light source behind: the light source can act as a rim light, as you can see on the shoulders, head and visor of the wife.



Shoot against the light - you'll make better photos and your subjects will be thanking you for not ruining their eyes. :)

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Shot made with a Canon 5D Mark II. Want a great backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite bag, the Lowepro Versapack 200 AW, here and here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July from Princeton, NJ


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Shots made with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L lens. Both shots made at f/11, 8 seconds and ISO100. Want to know how to shoots fireworks? Check out my blog post here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Shooting Fireworks - Happy 4th of July!

Want to shoot the Independence Day fireworks in your locale? Then this post would be, I hope, of great help. :)


First, you need a sturdy tripod and ballhead. I am using the Benro A158-EX together with the Benro BH-1-M ballhead (my review here). Another piece of equipment that you will need is a remote control release. For this purpose, I have a Canon Remote switch RS-80N3. These equipment will make sure that you have shake-free images.




The tripod is necessary because you will be shooting pictures with the aperture open for a long time, so using a tripod will make sure that you will have shake-free pictures. The remote control will prevent you from touching your camera when you take your shots, thus further eliminating vibrations when you press the shutter release on the camera. (Bonus tips: if your camera has mirror lock-up, then you can use this also because the movement of the mirror before the shot can also cause vibrations in the camera. Take note that with the mirror lock up activated, the first press of the shutter flips the mirror up, then the second press of the shutter will actually take the picture. Also, if your camera has a Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature, then you can use this also.)

Now, what are the settings that you need to make very nice fireworks pictures?

If your lens comes with a lens hood, then use that to prevent any stray light from streaming into the lens. Turn off the Image Stabilization of your lens if it has one then set your ISO to 100 so that the noise from your shots will be minimal. Set your camera to Manual and start with an aperture value of f/11 and a shutter speed of 4 seconds. Set your lens to manual focus and focus at infinity. The f/11 aperture will ensure that most of the objects in your picture will be in focus while the 4 second shutter speed will enable you to catch the light trails from the fireworks. Usually, the pyrotechnic guys make a trial run of the fireworks so you will know where to point your camera for the big event. You can either use a wide angle lens to get most of the view around the fireworks or you can zoom in and focus solely on the fireworks.

You can change the shutter speed if ever your shots over- or under-expose.

Hope these tips will help your own fireworks photos. And Happy Independence Day! :)





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All fireworks shots made with the Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 24-105 f/4L lens. The camera was mounted on a Benro Tripod and Ballhead. Check out my review of my favorite bag for my Canon 5D Mark II, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW,  here.

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