September 1, 2009 03:03 by Adrian

Hey guys and gals!

        I've been wanting to write this article for quite a while but never actually found the time to do so, anyway 2 close friends of Ardents recently purchased a dSLR thus prompting me to write this article in the benefit of those who are taking those itsy bitsy baby steps towards the realm of photography.  

        There are actually 3 basic steps that everyone takes towards photography enlightenment..

Technical Knowledge

    The first step for any aspiring photographer is the need to know two things, their equipment in terms of settings and behavior and the other is the basics of photography such as what is shutter speed, apperture and ISO.

      Below are the quick run through on the things to learn up for : -

      Photography Basics 
  • What is a 'stop' - Well everything in photography is about light and how its controlled. This light is measured in stops i.e. 1 stop over or under.
  • How do you control light?
           Shutter Speed - Measured in seconds or miliseconds.  Doubling each speed is equilavent to 1 stop 
                                  e.g. 1/20s to 1/40s is minus 1 stop.     
           Aperture - The diameter of the lens opening, measured in F stops. F/2.8 to F/4 is equilavent to minus 1 stop of light.
           ISO - The sensitivity of the camera towards light, measured in ISO. ISO 200 to ISO 400 is equilavent to plus 1 stop of light.  
  • Types of light - Know the different white balance settings and what's the difference between incandesant light vs fluorescent light. 

       

      Camera 
  • Settings - where all the buttons, functions and how to access them
  • The difference between Auto Focus (AF) and Metering modes. (Auto focus is how the camera focuses on a subject and metering is how much light is needed for to properly expose the image)
  • Quirky things - as God made all of us different, so do different camera models and brands, each has their own different quirkiness. Like the metering is always -1 stop lower than what the camera indicate and so on.

       

You'll graduate from this when you can be confident in taking pictures with their correct exposures, consistently of course and with sharp images and not blurred by shake or incorrect focus. 

Composition

     Once you get have the basics and are consistent in getting images sharp and properly exposed, we move on to the 2nd stage. Only now we talk about what goes into the image. No point in trying to look at angles and composition when you can't even be confident in exposing the image correctly. The last thing you want is to take a once in a life time image, only to realize it was set too dark or too bright or worse yet, isn't sharp.

      Below are the quick run through on things to learn in this area: -

      Composition Basics 
  • 2/3 rule - Rule of 2 thirds. Try not composing the shot at dead centre but try placing it in other areas. Read up the 2/3 rule for photography composition.
  • Strong subject - Whether the subject is clearly defined, is the image too cluttered? This can be either by shape or by color.
  • Timing - Getting the shot at the right time rather than machine gunning the camera. You might think why not? well simple, you can't machine gun all the time especially when you are using a flash. So why not train up? will save you plenty of time from looking through tons of pictures of the same thing. 
       Of course there are more in this subject area, will talk more when the time comes. 
 
      
You'll graduate from this when you are able to look at a scene and determine how best to take the shot, with what type of setting and at which angle (yep all in your head). Up to the point that you are able to manipulate the scene to perfect the composition.  
 

Art Direction

      This is the final level of your photography journey and this is where you let your creativity guide you in taking the shot. At this level, you'll be able to envision what type of picture you want to take and with the skills gained from the 2 previous categories above, you can and will be able to get it. Art direction is quite simple actually, its basically what do you want your picture to portray.. the message.. do you want to take a picture of a lady that shows her character? or a picture that shows emotion? or something to look grand and classy? 
 
      
       So there you have it.. the 3 stages of your transformation to a true photographer.  Many out there just go straight into composition without the necessary skills or knowledge on what it takes. Most end up with photos that are under exposed and just poor composition. Don't be one of them. If you are new with your new love.. just keep on taking photos and get the confidence in the basics, trust me you'll need it later on when it matters most.
 
      I also hear a lot of people saying, ooh I don't have anything to photograph.. well you are just learning the basics so why not just photograph things around the house or area where you live? Try shooting indoors, outdoors and different lighting conditions. Play with different settings and see which works best on when. Trust me, its not as easy as it seems and the experience will help you. Lest not get into a situation where you need to take a photo but didn't know how to. Ouch!
 
      Anyway, that's the 3 basic stages in learning up Photography, I'll try to find time to go deeper on each area and explain more, so stay tuned ya! Till then, keep on shooting! Cool
 
Cheers,
Adrian Y. 

July 1, 2009 11:56 by Adrian

Hey everyone!

          Hope everyone's all well and good..  this entry will be a collection of shots taken at Patong beach.. below is a dreamy picture of a really long row of beach chairs stretching to quite a distance towards the other end of the beach..  the dreamy effect isn't created by photoshop but rather something more natural.. 

The early morning view of the beach.. the image is aimed to show distance and depth flowing towards the mountain.. a sand trail would be perfect leading towards the mountain but since this is a holiday shot, and to the other fact that we didn't have the beach to ourselves to 'set up' the perfect shot, this is as close as we could get.. 

The water is just so great, it doesn't smell like what we get in Port Dickson and its just clean.. the waves rushing water over our feet in nature's own rythm along with the spectacular skyline, I decided to take a shot of just that.. 

The below shot was taken with a slow shutter speed at 1/13 sec to give the impression of water flowing.. the upper corner was purposely left blank or in this case the view of the sand as this will create the feel of water rushing upwards towards the beach..

Sometimes as a photographer, I wonder when will I start being just a tourist and just take shots as it is rather than worry about all these tiny details like what goes into every other of Ardent's images..  

These few shots below are during sunset at Patong beach.. the sky was less than ideal as most of the sunlight are obsecured by clouds.. normally what I look for is for that golden 5 minutes but even at that 5 minutes, the shape of the sunset isn't perfect.. far from it.. but what to do? as photographers we are also bound by nature.. and also bounded by $ (can't spend like a month every day taking sunsets until getting the perfect one, tho would sound fun) 

So the above two shots are typical tourist type shot.. but what I wanted was to show the power of the sea amid the backdrop of a beautiful sunset.. kinda like how nature can be so beautiful and destructive as proven in the 2004 tsunami..  

The below shot was taken with the waves going towards the beach.. what I wanted is to show the tranquility of the empty beach against the moving flow of the waves.. to achieve the desired shot, the below shot was taken with 1/3sec at 14mm exposure hand held.. as a trained photographer, 1/3sec even at 200mm zoom is possible but standing on the unstable sand and just coming off the boat trip from Phi Phi island which made me continuously sway even on solid ground made things very tricky indeed..

But again its all about timing and knowing how to get control of your body.. wasn't easy but there it is..  an image of a moving wave crashing towards the tranquil beach.. 

Now coming back to that initial imagery of a wave rushing to shore against the beauty of the sunset sky..  with again 1/3 sec exposure, and timed to perfection, the below shot is created...  this in within the 5 golden minutes just before sunset.. the serenity of the skyline is offset by the rushing power of the incoming wave...

Now with that above shot safely tucked in, some creativity is added in to further add depth and enhance the wave motion further. 

And the final shot, which is meant to capture the final landscape sunset before the final golden minutes are up..  

To conclude, the images are meant to create depth and mixing power of movement against the calm serene and beautiful skyline.. the above pictures aren't blured with photoshop just some minor enhancements in contrasts as my camera is set to 'Standard' and not 'Vivid' so as to allow me to control the contrast later.

I hope that you all enjoy the above pictures and understood the creativity and art direction that I was aiming to create... 

Cheers,

Adrian Y. 


June 5, 2009 11:04 by Adrian

Hey everyone!

       Its already in mid June..  and in conjunction to giving the best to our clients.. Ardent just invested on a new baby.. the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 ED N .. the best ultrawide lens from Nikon, launched along with the D3.. both was awarded the EISA 2008-2009 Best Camera and Lens for its superior image quality.. 

    

 

Hopefully in the next few weeks I can find some time to do some photo comparison tests..  To be really honest, this lens is HUGE! there is no filter but rather a dedicated lens hood to protect that buldging front element..  so far the pictures are simply awesome..  anyway below is just a test shot of what it can do.. will post more pictures later ya.. Cool

 
Original full sized file.. DSC_6624 2a.jpg (3.09 mb)
 
Anyway.. the above picture is taken 1/10s and f/8 at 14mm..  blurred the people in the photo and added a nifty red colored box which I've cropped out without any change in image size.. below..  
 
 
This is seriously crazy sharp.. everything on the picture especially the edges are all sharp and not soft.. you can zoom as much as you like and all you'll find are edges and lines ala krispy! yum.. more updates soon!
 
Cheers,
Adrian Y. 

March 3, 2009 11:27 by Adrian

Hey guys and gals! 

         Whao.. we @ Ardent have been pretty busy with a lot of things hence the lack of updates and photos.. Time does fly doesn't it? Its one of those things that happens in life.. at times things are cool and calm then all of a sudden a surge of things as work gets pilled in.. so its not about fighting but rather following the flow we call life.. In the mean time..  

         So lets talk about angles.. I've noticed that many photographers out there are more interested in taking photos with different angles, just to create a different prespective to what is considered a typical image.. Frankly to say, a good image is more about composition and exposure rather than angles.. Like for an example, the Mona Lisa.. would it look as nice if Leonardo Da Vincci drew it slightly tilted? but that wouldn't stop photographers from experimenting of course..

          But that's the thing.. you can experiment in your own leisure free time but not when someone pays you for an event that cannot be repeated..  Can you imagine taking a shot of the wedding kiss in an angle that just doesn't work? You just ruined the moment doofus.. 

          So how do you know if your angles work or doesn't.. simple.. we @ Ardent have a simple yardstick to measure this..  Take a look at the bottom image for an example of some blinds that was taken at an angle..

 

Firstly.. does the angles make you feel nauseous after a few seconds? maybe disorientated? this is the feeling you'll get when you see those wide angle lenses and off angled shots.. it may look different at first but you just can't look and enjoy it even for a few seconds without feeling giddy.. or worse tilting your head to compensate.. If that person tilts their head to look at your image, doesn't that make the shot angle useless? why not just go with the basics? 

Secondly, the image must draw you in which requires a primary subject or main focus..

Third.. the image must then create curiosity that makes your eyes scan the entire image.. the longer you can hold a viewer's interest, the better..

Like for the top image.. frankly its just a shot of some blinds.. but notice that there's a string that creates tension by breaking the normal flow of lines.. granted that it'll be even better if the line was in of a brighter color such as red which will make the string stand even more out.. but you can't have everything in photography and for everything to come together in a perfect shot, takes a lot of luck and patience.. guess today isn't that day for that shot..

Doesn't feel the same does it?  Just feels boring.. but even then the lines doesn't make you feel nauseous or giddy.. 

Below are some macro shots of a part of an object.. the idea is to create curiosity about the item.. our minds are simply amazing and when you know how that works, you can invoke thoughts and even emotions hence the saying the 'picture moves me'  or 'that gives me inspiration' and so on..

 

Do I really need to take the entire object for you to know what it is? but its sufficient for you to fill in the gaps.. Of course this technique can't be applied when taking pictures of people..  

So please practice what angles work and what doesn't on your own time.. not on the client's time, as the client pays you for quality shots and not for you to train and experiment what works or doesn't.. Think of each event as a photography exam in which you have to bring your A game to.. you don't practice in an exam do you? This is what we @ Ardent practices and deliver each time we enter an event..  

That's all for now.. I'll catch you guys later..

 Cheers,

Adrian Y.