Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flowers on the Magnificent Mile

The flowers on Michigan Avenue just makes the already beautiful Magnificent Mile even the more beautiful.

Love the different colors! Love the upper 50s weather (though we could use some upper 70s temp...)!












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Shots made with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 24-105  f/4L IS USM lens. Want the best backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW, here and here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do Not Give Up Your Point-and-Shoot

It is said that phone photography is on the rise and that, very soon, the market for point-and-shoot cameras will dwindle to nothingness.


I agree that the quality of phone photography is now very high and that photos produced from camera phones can be printed in large sizes. I even love photos that I produce with my iPhone and I have even printed some up to 8x10 prints.


However, at this point in time, I don't think you should put away your point-and-shoot permanently. Why? Because the sensor size, the most important aspect of the camera (IMHO), for dedicated cameras is still bigger than the ones inside camera phones.









And yes, point-and-shoots have optical zooms, not digital zooms, so that is also a big help for the "lowly" dedicated camera.



For high-contrasty scenes, like the ones below, phone cameras still couldn't match up with point-and-shoots...



 

 




Oh, and some dedicated cameras can shoot RAW, so that adds to another big, big advantage over phone cameras. Shoot in Manual Mode? You have to go the way of the non-phone camera...

So, until phone cameras have a larger sensor, an optical zoom, can shoot RAW and have real Manual Mode, I will still have a dedicated camera on my person most of the time.

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Shots made with a Canon Powershot SX230 HS. My review of this camera can be found here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring is in the Air in Downtown Chicago









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Shots made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. Want the best backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW, here and here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rouge FlashBender by Expoimaging (Small)

I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my photography. It is a good thing because there are a lot of gadgets out there to help me achieve my goal. One of those gadgets, and one of the best brands I have used, is the Rouge Flash Bender by Expoimaging.




The Flashbender has a very nice craftsmanship. It comes with its own velcro belt so you wouldn't have to worry anymore if you left the velcro attachment at home when you go out for a shoot. There are two metallic wires, those blue things, that run along the Flashbender which, as the name implies, are the parts that enable you to bend the light modifier.




You can use the light modifier as a bounce for your flash, a flag, or as a snoot.




As you can see, the light hitting my subject, the wife's stuffed toy, was greatly improved because of the Flashbender.





Direct Flash


Bounced Flash Using 
the Flashbender


 Using the Flashbender    
as a snoot



And, combined with the Rogue 3-in-1 grid, my photo was made even better.




The Rogue Honeycomb Grid 
Used as a Rim Light


 Combining the Flashbender (on  
Camera-left) with the 
Honeycomb Grid

So, if you want to upgrade your photographs from ho-hum to something really great, the Rogue Flashbender is a step in the right direction.

Highly Recommended!

Get yours here:



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Gadgets Used in this review:


The set up for this photo shoot.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ghost Tree in UC Berkeley - Fine Art Photography

These were taken on the UC Berkeley campus. Funny thing was, the next day, a wedding photographer used this same tree as background for her shots.

The Original Tree

The Ghost Tree

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Shots made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon EF 24-105  f/4L IS USM lens. Want the best backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW, here and here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Easiest Way to Move Your Flash Off-Camera - Flash Cord Sync

I said in a previous post that if you want to take your photography, and to a similar extent your videography, to the next level you must have your light source off-camera. You would be lucky if your camera has a built-in way to do that, like the Canon 7D and Canon 60D, via the built-in remote control. If you are using a Canon 5D Mark II however, then you're out of luck because that camera model doesn't have it's own flash triggering capability. In the latter's case, you would need something to control your off-camera flash, like radio triggers.

Or, as I've said in the title, the easiest way to do that is to use a flash sync cord.

What is the problem with using a speedlite on your camera?

Look at the photo of the wife below. In this shot, the speedlite was on top of the camera. As you can see from the photo, the light is flat because it has no directionality. It is a good picture but it could be great.


Things get worse when you put the camera in a portrait orientation. Aside from the flat lighting, you can see the shadow just behind the wife.


But, if you use a flash sync cord, then you can raise the flash to a higher position and place it more to the side.


See, the shadow is lower and the light is more directional - the lighting is more flattering on this shot.

Also, the shadow on the side when shooting in the portrait orientation is solved because the flash is no longer sitting on top of the DSLR:


If I raise the flash much higher, then I will be able to eliminate the shadow completely! And also, I didn't use any flash modifiers in these shots and yet I still got really good shots in the last two photos - removing your flash from the top of the camera really has a lot of benefits.

The downsides?

Well, instead of having both of your hands solely dedicated to the camera (plus flash), you will now have only one hand supporting the camera and the other holds the flash. Also, it would be really, really difficult if you want to put the light on camera right.

But the benefits outweigh the difficulties... So, if you want to take your photography to the next level, get a flash sync cord as a first step to getting your flash off camera.


Canon Flash Sync Cord


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Shots made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens.

Want the best backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW, here and here.

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