Zoom Lenses or Prime Lenses

Zoom Lenses or Prime Lenses

Zoom Lenses or Prime Lenses

There always seems to be a split opinion about what is best, having a set of zoom lenses that can easily cover all the focal lengths that you need, or having a set of dedicated fixed focal length prime lenses. There are trade off to both decisions. Digital Rev TV have produced 2 videos to help you decide which direction is best for you.

It is a decision I have been playing around with recently as I have been eyeing up a set of 19mm and 30mm Sigma Primes. I guess when it comes down to street photography the answer boils down to whether with a prime you are prepared to get closer to a subject to take the photo, where as with a zoom you can stay back a little and not draw too much attention to your self. I can certainly relate to it being a confidence thing, as getting up close to a stranger to take their photo can be pretty scary!! But saying that primes tend to be higher quality and faster with wider apertures so you have the added benefit of lower ISO handheld shots in lower light. Decisions decisions….

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How To Do A Complete Portrait Retouch in Lightroom 5

How To Do A Complete Portrait Retouch in Lightroom 5

How To Do A Complete Portrait Retouch in Lightroom 5

I came across a very good video on doing a complete portrait retouch using Lightroom 5. I like the video as it shows the complete workflow just using Lightroom 5. This just shows how mature Lightroom has become that you can do this without relying on the full Photoshop application.

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Photo-Shoot : Childrens Portraits

Recently I have been trying to capture some better portraits of my kids, and this is always quite a hard task as children don’t really want to pose properly for a photo. So when ever I try to take these portraits I end up taking lots of photos in the hope that I get the perfect shot. Recently I have got some very nice shots. The first 2 in this post were captured in natural light on a sunny day and the last 2 of my son where taken under fluorescent light so needed some white balance adjustments.

Portrait of my Daughter taken on a bright day. I used a 45-200mm Telephoto lens to zoom in quite far, this enabled me to get a nice smooth background.

Portrait of my Daughter taken on a bright day. I used a 45-200mm Telephoto lens to zoom in quite far, this enabled me to get a nice smooth background.

Portrait of my Niece. In Lightroom 5 I turned down the clarity slider a little to give that nice soft effect to the face.

Portrait of my Niece. In Lightroom 5 I turned down the clarity slider a little to give that nice soft effect to the face.

These next 2 photos where taken indoor at a soft play center. I had to crank up the ISO a little so the images required some noise reduction in Lightroom as-well as some white balancing.

Portrait of my Son in a play center. I used my standard 14mm-42mm kit lens for this shot.

Portrait of my Son in a play center. I used my standard 14mm-42mm kit lens for this shot.

Another portrait of my Son in a play center. I used my standard 14mm-42mm kit lens for this shot.

Another portrait of my Son in a play center. I used my standard 14mm-42mm kit lens for this shot.

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Photographic Workflow using Lightroom 5

The subject of photographic workflows is something that gets debated endlessly on blogs and in books. A photographic workflow is the list of steps you go through as a photographer to take your pictures from the camera to their final destination. This final destination may be printed copies or uploads to Flickr etc. In this post I want to cover the process that I personally go through. This workflow is suited to my needs and it is more than likely going to change over time, but I thought I would document it here so it is available for anyone to comment on.

High Level Photographic Workflow using Adobe Lightroom 5

High Level Photographic Workflow using Adobe Lightroom 5

My process is all based around Adobe’s Lightroom 5. This makes things easier as one of Lightroom’s purposes is to help in a photographer’s workflow. My workflow can effectively be broken down into 3 sections as shown in the diagram above, Import, Edit and Export. The diagram below breaks each of these stages down into individual steps. Some of the steps are optional and are highlighted as “if required”.

Detailed Photographic Workflow using Adobe Lightroom 5

Detailed Photographic Workflow using Adobe Lightroom 5

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New Camera Bag Section

Panasonic Lumix GF5

Panasonic Lumix GF5

I have added a new option to the menu at the top of this blog screen. It is called ‘Camera Bag‘.  I this section I will list the Cameras, Lenses, Accessories and Software that I am currently using. Whenever I read another photographers blog I always find it interesting to see what camera and systems they are using, I hope you find this information useful too.

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BigShot : The Do-It-Yourself Digital Camera

BigShot : The DIY Digital Camera and Learning Experience for Children

BigShot : The DIY Digital Camera and Learning Experience for Children

I was recently very interested to hear about a DIY learning based construction kit camera aimed at children. The camera is called BigShot : The Camera for Education. The camera costs $89 and is delivered with all the construction parts ready for assembly. Using the BigShot website you follow step by step instructions for putting the camera together. The site also contains a Learning section that teaches children about power generators, lenses, image sensors, viewfinders, basic image processing etc.

The whole experience is designed to be quite immersive, teaching children about basic electronics and photography skills, and at the end of the experience you end up with a fully functioning, yet basic, 3 mega pixel digital camera.

BigShot : The DIY Digital Camera and Learning Experience for Children

BigShot : The DIY Digital Camera and Learning Experience for Children

The camera has some quite novel features like if you are running low on battery power you can turn a crank handle to charge up the battery. This is a really good idea, I wish I could charge my Lumix battery up with a handle!!

The specs for the camera are as follows:

    • Sensor : 3Mega Pixel (2408 x 1536)
    • Storage : Internal Flash at around 120 JPEG photos
    • Camera Modes : Auto, Flash, No-Flash, Timer
    • Lens Settings : Regular, Panoramic, and 3D
    • Fiew of View : Regular = 40 deg, Panoramic = 80 deg, and Stereo = 16 deg
    • Flash : 1W LED
    • Display : 1.4” LCD
    • Battery : Lithium Polymer (Rechargeable)
    • Backup Power : Hand Cranked Dynamo
    • Interface : USB 2.0
    • Dimensions : 129mm x 72mm x 40mm

All in all I think this is a great learning tool for kids that ends up with a fully functioning and usable digital camera. When my Son and Daughter a both a little older, I think this would be a great project to do with them.

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The Fear of Street Photography

Overcome your fear of shooting street photography by Erik Kim

Overcome your fear of shooting street photography by Erik Kim

I was doing some research on street photography and I came about the website of street photographer Eric Kim. Eric is an acclaimed street photographer working out of Los Angeles who has traveled around the world taking photographs.

On his blog he has published the draft of an e-book about overcoming the fear of street photography. So what do I mean about the fear of street photography? This is about overcoming the fear of taking your camera and taking someone else’s picture without their permission. I can relate to this. Only last week when I was taking photos at Nottingham Canal, I felt nervous just getting the camera and shooting people standing at the back of their canal boats. It felt awkward, but there really is nothing wrong with it. This book is written more like a 31 day plan. The plan covers:

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Photo-Shoot : Legacy Landscapes

The reason I have called this post ‘Legacy Landscapes’ is because this photo collection contains landscape photos I took years ago, around 2006-2008. They were taken on my old Canon Powershot A95 and A650. The cameras are not the best quality in the world, but I am happy with these shots.

Somewhere in Derbyshire

Somewhere in Derbyshire (Canon Powershot A650 f4 1/640sec ISO 80 7mm)

The images have been retouched in Lightroom 5 to bring out the sky tones more and saturate the colors more as the originals felt a little flat in tone.

Somewhere in Derbyshire (Canon Powershot A650 f4 1/640sec ISO 80 7mm)

Somewhere in Derbyshire (Canon Powershot A650 f4 1/640sec ISO 80 7mm)

I have added the complete set to Flickr if you want to see more of them. As I say, they may be old photos now, but I still quite like them. I am very fortunate to live very close to the Peak District National Park. It is a very beautiful part of the country. I need to go out walking more and capture some new landscapes.

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Photo-Shoot : Nottingham Canal

In my previous post about bridges on the Nottingham Canal I posted some black and white photos showing the textured underside of the bridges. On the same photo session I took loads more photos around the Canal.

Old against New on the Nottingham Town Centre Canal

Old against New on the Nottingham Town Centre Canal (Panasonic Lumix GF5 f8.0 1/160sec 16mm ISO 160)

The short stretch of Canal near my office offers up many interesting photo opportunities and has a nice mix of old buildings set against newer and modern constructions. I have probably only covered about a 1 mile stretch so far as I did the shoot during my lunch break but I think I might go for a longer walk down the Canal at some point.

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Side of a building reflecting in the water along the Nottingham Canal (Panasonic Lumix GF5 f8.0 1/80sec 24mm ISO 160)

You can view the rest of the photos taken from this shoot as a set on my Flickr page.

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Photo-Shoot : Bridge Underside (Black and White)

Recently during my lunch break at work I decided to go for a short walk as the weather was nice. I work in Nottingham in the UK and my office is next to a Canal. Whilst walking down the Canal I went under some bridges. As I looked up I was struck by the depth of detail on the underside of the bridges.

Underside of a bridge on the Nottingham Canal

Underside of a bridge on the Nottingham Canal (Panasonic Lumix GF5 F9.0 1/5sec ISO 200 shot at 14mm)

Straight from the point of shooting I though that these images would look great when converted to monochrome. Post processing was done in Adobe Lightroom 5 where I edited for color first by adjusting the exposure, vibrancy, contrast and then converted to monochrome. I am starting to really like the look of monochrome. It is something that I would have overlooked many years ago, but now I find it to be a great format to work with.

Pipes on the underside of a bridge on the Nottingham Canal (Panasonic Lumix GF5 F9.0 1/5sec ISO 200 shot at 14mm)

Pipes on the underside of a bridge on the Nottingham Canal (Panasonic Lumix GF5 F4.8 1/60sec ISO 640 shot at 23mm)

I have added the complete set from this shoot to Flickr for you to browse.

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