Tag Archives: Photography

Roll over the rule of thirds!

Eaug(9)(11), this truly unusual chord is the one that a famous British rock group used in one of their songs. I wrote about consideration of Rhythm and Light in my previous post. This time let me take the occasion to talk about composition since there was a discussion about composition in one of my photos.

As you may know, the Rule of Thirds is considered to be rule of thumb for composition in photography. I do not have to explain what the rule of thirds here since I think readers already know what it is. About one and half years ago, I traveled to Jasper and was taking pictures at Patricia lake. The water was very quiet and smooth. It was perfect condition to shoot reflection images of Mt. Pyramid. And below is the image I got in the morning. Typical landscape photo based on the rule of third composition.

Then I had a little conversation with a lady who was a professional photographer from Sweden. She showed to me her images which had just taken at the same location with her Nikon D3x. Her image taken by her fisheye lens had Mt. Pyramid on very bottom of the frame and majority of the frame were occupied by interesting shapes of clouds lighten by beautiful morning light. I would say it is rule of tenths composition. It was eye-opening for me. I had not thought about such a way to compose images.

Unfortunately, the moment was gone at the location so I wrapped up the morning shoot. But while I was driving after breakfast, I saw an interesting cloud pattern on the lake. I picked up the widest angle lens, 21mm, and attached polarizer to the lens. This is the photo.

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I used layering technique to control contrast, which is the same technique  used for multigrade paper in darkroom.

So what was the discussion about this photo? Some people think the clouds were too dominant in the image, on the other hand other people think it was fine since
the clouds pattern was main subject in this photo. What do you think? Do you think bottom image is more interesting, or do you prefer top one?

My point is the rule of thirds does not make an image interesting. It may be safer to get ribbons at contests, though. I personally do not think about the rule of thirds; I tend think about leading lines and combinations of the shapes in a frame. For a power point, I use golden ratio rather than the rule of thirds. Darwin Wiggett wrote an very useful article “Break the rules” in Outdoor Photography Canada issue 12 Winter 2010.

By the way, which rock group used the wired chord Eaug(9)(11)? It is The Beatles. The song is “All I’ve got to do” in Album “With the Beatles”. Beatles music is full of unusualness and surprises. Roll over the rule of thirds!

Don’t freeze your camera

On TV, internet, newspaper and everywhere, you see shocking images about Japan since last Friday. I can not describe how I am feeling now but I am feeling depressed even though I am living in one of the safest centuries. But only I can do is do good job for my everyday work and take good photos as much as I can.

So I have not posted landscape photography for quite while. I took this picture about one month ago at Vermilion Lake in Banff, Alberta. If you google vermilion lake and Mt. Rundle, you will find thousands of the similar images. So I have avoided taking pictures there. But it is winter…I may be able to capture some unique images. I arrived at the location around 06:30 in the morning. Vermilion lake has some unfrozen spots due to hot-spring even in a frozen winter. I walked to an steaming unfrozen spot. And Voila! I found footsteps of deer or something leading toward Mt. Rundle. I set up camera and waited sunrise.

However, it did not go perfectly. It was about -20 degree, and when the sun came out on Mt. Rundle, my camera stopped working because it was frozen. I missed the most dramatic moment.

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This image is one of the tests shot before the sunrise but I think it is pretty successful. You can see rays of sun light from the top of the mountain. This is high dynamic range image.

Infrared for Urban photography

This time I tried infrared photos for urban photography, and the result is pretty good, I guess. The day I took was nice sunny day and a lot of lights, so this photo was taken for a handheld. The top photo is taken by the same camera, converted by Lightroom with “B&W orange filter”. The bottom one is infrared.  I adjusted contrast.

B&W orange filter - Vancouver

New years day of Vancouver - Infrered

 

Infrared one has very dramatic sky.  On the other hand, buildings of the regular B&W show more details.

I am not surprised if someone said he or she does not like infrared photography. It is fun to play with. IR photography characteristically achieves high contrast and dramatic images. But it is not magic tool. There are suitable subjects and light conditions for IR photography. Sunny day lights and interesting cloud patterns do not go wrong most of the times.

Related Post:Infrared Photography

Consideration of differences b/w paintings and photography – influenced by Katie Selbee’s gallery show

This weekend, Calgary area is pretty beautiful and I usually go to mountains or prairie on weekends, but I stayed in Calgary this time because I wanted to go to opening gala for the new show at the Resolution Local Art Gallery in Calgary, Alberta. This time is breath-taking drawings by Katie Selbee.

Her drawings are deep, powerful, but delicate…. I do not know how to describe about her art. They have strongly introvert feeling and you cannot believe they are created by the  early twenties, young lady. They are also intellectual approached works. I’ve got long-lasting impact from her work, and I have been thinking if what I am doing, so-called art, has (will have) such influences to the people.  

We, human being are obtained a privilege to have artistic mind, and people pick up tools for the creative activities. Some people choose pens and canvas, some pick guitar. For other people, video cameras are choices and in my case, it is photography at this point. As a characteristic of the photography, photographers need to borrow  images from external environments, and we make efforts to express some sort of feeling with the images. Hopefully, the image will communicate with audiences and evoke similar emotions. Sometimes audiences can see personality or background of the photographers. That is truly successful image. But cameras are not ideal tools to express pure, naked and honest emotions from inside of artists themselves. I imagine it must be challenging process for painting artists to create painting from a scratch without any blue prints. But its freedom is something photographers can never buy. And the art form communicate with audiences more directly and effectively. Sometimes they make us uncomfortable because they stick deep inside of myself. 

Some of photographer may disagree with my findings…how everybody think? I would like to hear more opinions

Back to Katie’s art, I appreciate that she shares her psychological and philosophical  journey with us. I imagine her creation process must be not only fun but also difficult for some part.

Infrared Photography

Infrared photography has become one of the significant artistic expressions for me. Modern digital cameras are equipped with UV/IR cut filter inside of the camera body. Contrarily, older generation of digital cameras or my camera do not have the UV/IR cut filter. The IR is actually an enemy since it causes wired color cast. So I have to attach IR cut filter in front of the lenses.  However, by switching the UV/IR cut filter to an IR FILTER, my camera turns to an infrared camera. Some other ways to achieve  infrared photography are:

  • Modifying DSLR to remove the UV/IR cut filter from the camera. 
  • Some of Pentax DSLR achieve the IR images electronically.
  • Using IR films, Freestyle Photographic Supplies carry the IR films.

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This is the shot I took in Kananaskis, Alberta. You see very black sky and white clouds. Most characteristically, the forests on the lake shore turns white. It would be dark with regular B&W.

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Upgrading computer

Recently, my computer has been acting slow since I installed photoshop CS5.   Also spaces of hard drive is getting slim. So I have decided upgrading my computer.  I am planing to install 64bit windows system and debian 64 bit (dual boot), and more memory will be installed. This is really the 2-full-day project at least. I need to organize all image files scattered all over the hard drives. Yes, it is pain, but it can not be avoided for photographers in the digital age

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This image is the one I got 1st position on the contest by a local art gallery. I will talk about infrared photography next time after the upgrade is completed.

Botany or Landscape photography

This is the photo I took in lake O’Hara in early September. It was my first snow this year. I do not take botany photography since my camera is not capable to take macro lenses.  But still I take pictures of flowers. I think that this image of mine is more like landscape photography rather than botany. 

 

Western Anemone - Lake O'Hara

Now I am waiting for ice and snow covering mountains.

Go shooting to Prairies

In this summer, I visited Canadian Rockies on most of the weekends, and I have not been to prairies for long time. I think Calgary is a convenient city for nature photographers. Driving to west for 1 hour and you can enjoy the beautiful mountains.  Going out side of Calgary to east or south and  photogenic prairie scenes are found on every country load. Now the autumn season is done; I think it is about to visit prairie areas. The picture below is taken on my way home from the Writing on Stone park last week.

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It was overcast on the weekend and I was not feeling like shooting many photos. But I got eventually this image.

Nature Photography – Luck and patient(2)

Here is the continuation of the last posting, and will talk about the image I received 2nd position in the monochrome competition.

I had a weekend trip to Kananaskis country in Alberta in early June this year. In the afternoon, it became cloudy and eventually I got shower. When I was driving in the rain, I found a lake over woods on my left side. I retuned my car to the parking lot and decided to wait until it stopped the rain. Finally, the shower was over but the sky was covered by thick clouds. Anyway, I started walk around the lake shore, then I found the stump. Somehow, it attracted me so much. I felt “I may be able to do something with my flash even though I can’t good light”, so I went back to my car; picked up whole my equipment including my 4×5 camera.

I was trying some different lenses, composition and technique, but I had to wait until the sun came out from the gap in the clouds. What was even worse, it was pretty windy so I could not get good reflection on the surface of the water.

This is okay shot, but see…messy clouds and waves on the water.

I had taken about 40 images of the stomp and the lake. It took about 1hr. The sun came out again; the water was calm; clouds were more formed. And good surprise! A piece of ice was flowed next to the stump. Then I got this infrared image.

Mud Lake

To capture one image, I think, I had stayed at the same location for over 2 hrs since I parked my car. Is this unusual? I would say “No”. It may be depends on shooting style of a photographer, but I heard many episodes of nature photographers to wait for hours or even days until the right moment comes. Got to be patient! How many times I see the moment after I put away my tripod…. Seriously!

Nature photography – Luck and patient (1)

Surprisingly, I achieved one-two finish in the foothills camera club monochrome competition. Although it is the competition by a local camera club, it makes me feel good.     

The B&W image is the last shot on my lake O’hara trip at the end of September. After 3 days of rainy days, eventually, I got a blue sky… it was a beautiful blue sky….boring blue sky…I need some cloud patterns! I guess photographers are kinds of species who are never blessed. Anyway, while I was hiking up to the Opabin circuit, I found this location. But the sun was already up high. I took some pictures but they are not even close to “okay”.

You know I mean…the blue sky is boring. This is a  HDR image  and I used LEE Big Stopper filter to calm the wavy water. But I failed to bring punch in the image.

I took whole day in the Opabin circuit until the sun disappeared. It was around 05:20 pm. The last bus to a parking lot is 06:30 pm. I rushed to the camping site because I left my tent and I had to pack it up. When came back to the location where I found in the morning, It was breath-taking…nice side light, mirror-clear surface of the water, now some cloud in the sky. I spoke to myself “which photographer misses this shot”. I quickly set up my tripod and camera, and took 5 color images, then took other 2 shots with infrared set up.

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I think I was lucky…only 7 shots for about 10 min from setting up to leaving the location, and I got this gorgeous image. What I learned from this experience? …COME BACK LATER…light is more ideal in evenings, and usually you can expect some clouds near the horizon. I will talk about the patient part next time.