19. May 2016 · Comments Off on Practice Natural Light Portraits

Have you ever wondered “What’s the difference between a portrait and taking a snapshot”?

The answer is intent and practice. A snapshot is a picture taken without thought or planning. Capturing a portrait requires intent to previsualize what you want to shoot, and then making decisions to get the results that you want. It also requires practice.

In this meetup, we’ll spend time together working on decision making in natural light, and practicing those skills.

We’ll spend approximately 30 minutes to talk about basic portrait skills. This will include basic principles of natural light and posing.

Next, we’ll break up into shooting teams, and practice the process of directing a shoot and rotating jobs. Everyone will take turns being the shooter, the assistant, and the subject.

You should already have a basic understanding of exposure and your camera controls. 

• Bring your camera

• Bring only one lens (it’s a great opportunity to bring a prime if you have one, but a zoom is fine)

• Bring a 5 in 1 reflector. These usually have a silver side, a gold side, a black side, and a translucent white side. Any size and any brand will do. A small 32″ one should cost no more than $10-$20 on eBay or Amazon. I personally use a 43″ one. If you don’t have one, you can bring a silver car sunshade, a piece of white cardboard, or even a piece of cardboard covered in foil. Please make sure that you can identify your own gear as well, so it doesn’t get mixed up.

Please do not bring a lot of equipment, and try to avoid storing gear in your car due to the risk of break-ins. 

NOTE: I will take roll at START TIME and mark no-shows. Anyone who no-shows or cancels with less than a day notice will be marked as a no-show. We’ve been having a problem with no-shows who fill up the RSVPs, which end up taking up a slot away from other people who want to come.

We’ll have some door prizes available at the end of the event.

Look forward to seeing you!

10. May 2016 · Comments Off on Comedy Show Event – would you photograph it? Pic=1000 Words; Laughter=Priceless

I am inviting you to a priceless evening of fun and laughter in San Jose on May 14th at 5:30

I am looking for 2 volunteers to take pictures and videos at this event.

A friend of mine’s son has colitis – he is only 11 and has had it for 2 yrs now (they are talking chemotherapy as next steps). She invited me to help find a cure, and so my contribution to the fundraising activity is to hold a Benefit Comedy Show at my home – all profits will go towards CCFA to help find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis. I am looking for one or two people who would be willing to volunteer to capture the event in video and picture – and am inviting everyone to attend! please let me know if you are interested in taking pics and videos – there will be one R&B singer and 5 comedians (including last years SF International Comedy Competition Winner – Myles Weber!) Here are the full show details!

http://benefitcomedyshow.eventbrite.com/

13. April 2016 · Comments Off on Digital Camera – Basics and Beyond – Saturday!

Digital Photography 1- Basics and Beyond

You must register for this class online at the following link:

https://beta.perfectmind.com/22167/Clients/BookMe4LandingPages/CoursesLandingPage?widgetId=01de5588-3365-4888-8f07-7400819d182e&embed=False&courseId=fead77cc-b314-439b-b63d-258488b78752

You may register by phone:  408-354-8700 x 261

https://vimeo.com/116131811

This workshop/class has been taken by over 500 people and many have repeated it! LOADED WITH INFORMATION!!!

Wondering what this class is about? Check out this quick one minute video! Have you got a new digital camera and are confused by complicated menus?

This class will familiarize you with the most important features of your camera so you can get better photos. Besides learning to control your camera, you’ll learn how to avoid bad lighting situations and recognize when the lighting is right for general people photos, formal portraits, architecture, small objects (eBay) and landscapes.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get good photos! If you’ve got a moderately priced camera and a desire to learn, your photos will be forever changed after this class. And, the class is fun!

Bring your camera, your manual, and your questions. The class is $79 and there is an additional $15 materials fee payable to the instructor at class for a DVD of the entire lecture with graphics and additional supporting documents. Bring your camera, manual and questions!

31. March 2016 · Comments Off on The Basics of Flash Photography

For those of you who are just starting out with flash photography, you’re probably finding out that there’s more to it than it looks. At this meetup, we’ll dive into the basics of flash photography so that you get a working background on how to use it. We’ll also spend time on experiments to help you understand what’s going on when you turn on the flash.

This is a BEGINNER’S level meetup:

• What’s happening when you use a flash

• What are the parameters you need to think about

• How can you use flash creatively

This meetup is the foundation for understanding other types of lighting activity that we will cover in the future. Even if you’ve been using a flash for a long time, I’m sure that you’ll learn something new at this session. You’ll learn new ways to think about how to use flash.

Prerequisites

• Please bring your camera

• Bring a speedlight if you have one. If you don’t have a speedlight, that’s ok as well.

• Bring your speedlight instruction manual (or download the manual) in case you need help with your speedlight.

• A working background on exposure

We are NOT going to be covering advanced flash techniques. There will be no material on topics such as triggering multiple flashes, using off-camera flash, or high speed sync.  However, keep in mind that when we cover such techniques in the future, the Basics of Flash meetup will be a prerequisite.

There will be a drawing for a small number of door prizes at this event as well. 

12. March 2016 · Comments Off on Portraiture Fundamentals 1-day Workshop

http://www.cabrillo.edu/services/extension/photo.html#portrait

Note: Please register in advance online with Cabrillo College for this workshop:

https://vimeo.com/116131873

Learn the fundamentals of portrait photography with a hands-on approach to the classic lighting patterns and styles developed by photographers from 1860 through modern day Hollywood. Techniques include the use of artificial and natural lighting. Find out how to make the most of your subject, adapt to challenging conditions inside and outdoors, and pose your subject for maximum effect. This class is for anyone with the desire to take their photography to the next level; hobbyists, photo enthusiasts and people that use photography in their jobs. The techniques are applicable to digital cameras, cell phones, film and video.

Bring your camera and manual.

A materials fee of $15 is payable to the instructor at class for a CD with the entire lecture, notes and presentation, assignments, and examples.

Sat., March 19
1 – 5 pm
Room: 509
Register by Feb. 29: $65
Register after Feb. 29: $76
plus $15 materials fee at class

26. February 2016 · Comments Off on 1-day Photo Workshop March 5th

http://www.cabrillo.edu/services/extension/photo.html

You must register for this class online in advance

https://vimeo.com/150939531

It’s time to step up to the next level with some hands-on shooting exercises. This class begins with an hour of lecture/demonstration and then leads students through a series of interactive shooting assignments including portraits, macro, intro to various light sources, controlling contrast, time exposures, and small object photography. Most of the workshop takes place in the studio, but a few exercises are outside. All locations are within walking distance from the classroom. Each assignment is designed to give students the most useful techniques for the most common shooting situations. It’s a fun way to learn how to get the most from your camera.

Bring your camera, tripod, external flash (if you have one), a small prop to photograph, user manual, and comfortable walking shoes.

There is a $15 materials fee payable to the instructor at class for a DVD of the entire lecture with graphics and additional supporting documents. Sat., March 5 Repeated May 14th
1 – 5 pm
Room V2022
Early bird registration: $65
Regular Registration : $76
plus $15 materials fee at class

04. February 2016 · Comments Off on Travel and Compromise · Categories: Philosophy, Photography, Travel · Tags: , ,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”   Mark Twain

What I have found, is that as a photographer, there are compromises that need to be made when travelling. The number of compromises increases with the number of people you travel with.  The featured image above is an example; shot from the bus window as we were driving by. The photo required large depth of field, high shutter speed, which meant high ISO…Compromise.  If I had been by myself, I could have stopped, set up the tripod and had a better image. 

Sunset, a set of compromises.

Sunset, a set of compromises.

The compromise is often around time, as a photographer, I need time to take photos, the others don’t want to wait, or can’t wait.  Sometimes the compromises are with yourself; in the sunset picture the rest of the group was enjoying a cold one, or in the pool, I make the choice for the photo rather than cooling off.  There were other compromises as well, no polarizer  because of time and condensation.  Not having enough time to deal with the condensation that makes the left part of the image soft. 

I knew going in that travel would be a set of compromises, not enough time in return for having the experience.  Compromise was forced on me in that my primary body was in the shop and I was using the backup body.  And so, the list of compromises continues.  There will always be compromises. Given that there will always be compromises, then the question becomes what choices do we make in the face of competing desires or goals, how do we choose between more than one goal with limited time and resources?

Rice paddies and mountains

Rice paddies and mountains

With ‘Rice paddies and Mountains’ a different comprise; I was riding a bike with my camera in my knapsack, limited amounts of time to stop, no deviation from the route.  Exceedingly well worth the the bike ride, and even the pack spill that I went down in.   Lot’s of possible ‘IFs’, but if I was focused on what was not available I would not have been present for what was available.

Tanah Lot is incredibly popular as a world heritage site. In this photo there were folks on both sides of me and behind me all jostling for an opportunity to take this photo.  How do we deal with others that may have goals that are different than mine?  

Photography, like life is learning to choose and live with compromises.

For more pictures of Bali, visit my Bali Album

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot

26. January 2016 · Comments Off on Too Perfect? · Categories: Philosophy, Photography, Travel · Tags: , ,

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali

I was sharing with a friend photos from Bali. He surprised me and said the pictures were too perfect ! LoL

Are these photos too perfect?

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali. Too Perfect?

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Sunrise and fishing.  Too Perfect?

Sunrise and fishing

Sunset

Sunset


Water Park / Temple

Rice paddies and mountains

Rice paddies and mountains

I would argue that they are not too perfect, but rather their imperfections are not as glaring as the typical travel point and shoot pics. No, not too perfect.

Let’s look at each of these photos and see what might have been done better.

The bowl of flower petals, gorgeous bowls made every morning. In the photo the upper rim of the bowl is slightly out of focus.  The red was more vivid than the photo. And there is a glare reflection in the center of the bowl.  If I had been using a polarizer, the the colors would be better.  A tripod and greater depth of field would have helped the upper rim. No not too perfect

Looking at the sunrise photo, a nice photo, one of the best from the trip. My timing was slightly off, the boat needs to be slightly more to the left. But worse, is that the horizon is not level.  I should have caught that imperfection in post processing.  Again, if I had had a polarize on the colors would have been more vivid. No, not too perfect.

The sunset photo although eye catching has many goofs that the trained eye will notice. First are the awful spots, worse than zits on a face, on a face you don’t get a lot of choice, in a photo you do. Also the horizon isn’t level. But there is another problem with this photo over on the left edge, notice the softness in the water?  Our rooms were thankfully air conditioned to about 70 with much of the humidity remove.  Outside at 90 to 100 and 75% humidity was a different story.  The issue was, taking the camera from the cold room outside promptly caused LOTS of condensation on the lens.  This needed to be carefully wiped away to take a shot until the camera warmed up and it was good for about 10 seconds.  Again, a polarizer would have made the colors more vivid still. No not too perfect.

The water temple is nice, but notice the lens flare above the fountain?  Taking time, with extra shading from a hat would have prevented the lens flare.

The rice paddy with mountains; see the glare in the water?  That would have disappeared with a polarizer, and the polarizer would have made the sky darker more contrasty.

Conclusion, no not too perfect.  However, there are several vastly more important lessons to be gleamed here. There isn’t really perfection, it is a journey as we become more perceptive to nuances.   There is a prayer that I love that speaks to learning to live with imperfections. “God, I humbly ask you to remove all of my shortcomings that get in the way of me being of service to you”  notice not all the shortcomings, some of the ‘shortcoming’ might just be needed even though we may not like them. Photos like life are not too perfect, they are perfect they way they are.

19. January 2016 · Comments Off on Travels in Bali · Categories: Travel · Tags: ,

Much has happened since the last post in September, including a computer crash and a trip to Bali, Indonesia. One of the most powerful characteristics of travel, is its ability to allow us to challenge assumptions about life and living that we take for granted.  When a fish is out of water it suddenly notices the lack of water that it never noticed before. The featured photo is of Tanah Lot, Bali, which is a world heritage site.  It is a Hindu Temple site, but Muslims and Christians as well as others visit it in peaceful coexistence.  Besides a being beautiful, the rock has a fresh water spring welling out of it.  In Bali, temples are built where there are unusual, auspicious things.  In our western way what do we become jaded to? Why can’t we have coexistence and cooperation rather than one up, one down?

On this trip, I went with Spirit Tours.  Usually I travel on my own without the pampering that I received from this tour.  However, more importantly, this tour encouraged me to examine my beliefs and grow spiritually as a result. In Bali, there are statues EVERYWHERE! Here are some examples.  The statues always seem to have a cultural/spiritual reference.  I guess this isn’t surprising; statues always seem to have this, or at least historical significance.  The statues everywhere reflect the cultural importance of religion in everyday life.

Carved in the rock

Carved in the rock

Pool at first hotel, the elephant a figure of wisdom in Bali

Pool at first hotel, the elephant a figure of wisdom in Bali

Another character from the Ramayana, as depicted in Bali

Another character from the Ramayana, as depicted in Bali

Rama and Sita, in Bali

Rama and Sita, in Bali

Gryphon in Bali

Gryphon in Bali

 

 

Similarly, everyday, offerings of flowers are made. What would our culture be like if we lived it with a spiritual perspective pervading all that we did?

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Everyday beauty, Common offering of flowers in Bali

Common offering of flowers in Bali

Common offering of flowers in Bali

 

Bali is caught between the old and the new. Tourism is 70% of its income, however about half the population is still rural subsistence farming, as seen in these photos.

Rice paddies and mountains

Rice paddies and mountains

Otherwise a typical scene in Bali

Otherwise a typical scene in Bali

Terraced fields in Bali

Terraced fields in Bali

Village fields in Bali

Village fields in Bali

Typical house and plot

Typical house and plot

Getting ready for planing

Getting ready for planing

As a tropical location with all of the humidity, there are beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Sunrise and fishing

Sunrise and fishing

Sunset

Sunset

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

 

For more images of Bali visit my Bali album.

04. November 2015 · Comments Off on Digital Camera – Basics and Beyond!!

https://vimeo.com/116131811

Digital Photography 1- Basics and Beyond You must register for this class online at the following link:

http://www.cabrillo.edu/services/extension/photo.html#digital

Have you got a new digital camera and are confused by complicated menus?

This class will familiarize you with the most important features of your camera so you can get better photos. Besides learning to control your camera, you’ll learn how to avoid bad lighting situations and recognize when the lighting is right for general people photos, formal portraits, architecture, small objects (eBay) and landscapes.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to get good photos! If you’ve got a moderately priced camera and a desire to learn, your photos will be forever changed after this class. And, the class is fun!

Bring your camera, your manual, and your questions. The class is $76 and there is an additional $15 materials fee payable to the instructor at class for a DVD of the entire lecture with graphics and additional supporting documents. Bring your camera, manual and questions!