Category “Photography”

Earthquakes in Japan: The Aftermath

A lot of new photos and videos have been coming out of Japan since March 11, 2011 showing the devastation. Seeing the pictures of the aftermath of the earthquakes and tsunami is both amazing and frightening at the same time. It saddens me deeply to see the Japanese people in such pain.

In the YouTube video below you can see how fast the tsunami flows through a city, eventually being so powerful it pulls buildings off their foundations and carries them away in the current. Horrifying.

You can see pictures of the devastation, if you’re up to it, at The Atlantic and Boston.com.

If you’d like to donate to aid the people of Japan, head over to the Red Cross website and click the big red button in the upper-right corner of the page that reads “Donate Funds”.

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Earthquakes in Japan

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced one of the largest earthquakes in recent history – a 9.0 on the Richter scale. As a result of the earthquake and numerous aftershocks, Japan soon experienced one of the worst tsunamis and is currently experiencing troubles with several of its nuclear reactors. It goes without saying that the people of Japan are having a rough week and will have a long road to recovery.

I encourage everyone that’s reading this to check out the photos and videos coming out of Japan. If anything, natural disasters like these should show us that we are at the mercy of mother nature and that she still deserves our utmost respect.

I wish nothing but the best for the people of Japan.

If you’d like to donate to aid the people of Japan, head over to the Red Cross website and click the big red button in the upper-right corner of the page that reads “Donate Funds”.

Update: Boston.com has posted 47 photos from Japan.

[CNN]
[Boston.com – The Big Picture]
[The Atlantic]
[Red Cross]

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Sesame

Sesame, a Chihuahua, sits on my lap

A bit of sad news, unfortunately. My friends’ dog, Sesame, died recently. They didn’t have her for a long time, but if you ask me a dog couldn’t have wished for a better family.

Sesame, a Chihuahua, sits on my lap and looks on nerouvsly

Photos by Sharon Chan. Edited by Jason Tong. Used with permission.

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Yosemite in 17 Gigapixels

A friend of mine sent this link to me, showcasing a super high resolution image of the view from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Along with that image, are four other images from around Yosemite.

What makes these images special are that they are made out of thousands of smaller photos, stitched together with software to make up a much larger photo. This process is appropriately named photo stitching. You can try photo stitching yourself with Photoshop or any other similar image editing software. Things to look out for before doing so is making sure that the exposure, depth of field, and color temperature are the same for each photo that you’re using.

The largest of the five images on the site is 17.27 gigapixels, with dimensions of 214414 x 80571 pixels. For reference, the larger photos host on my site are 1200 x 800 pixels. If printed out, the 17 gigapixel image would be 59.5 x 22.4 feet!

Check out the photos. They’re really cool.

[Yosemite 17 Gigapixels via Reddit via John Burns]

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How to Take Great Portrait Photos

Lifehacker posted a new article highlighting the basics to taking great portrait photos. They go over features that a camera should have if you’re shopping for a camera or camera gear for portraits. More importantly, they go over the basics of composing a shot and the basics of lighting your subject.

[Lifehacker]

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Gallery Update December 7, 2010

It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated my gallery. Too long a time, if you ask me. To try to make up for that, I’ve re-organized the gallery and divided up the photos into sub galleries each with a specific genre or theme. Oh, and I’ve added new photos, specifically pets and food, as well as touched up some of older photos in the portraits gallery. I hope you enjoy them!

So what’s up with the photo of chicken feet?

I wasn’t always a fan of chicken feet. I was born and raised in the United States, so the concept of eating something that wasn’t a hot dog, a hamburger, or pizza was very foreign to me. It wasn’t until I was older that I started to appreciate the unfamiliar foods that are common to the older generations in my family. Squirm if you must, but let it be known that chicken feet taste really good.

As for the photo itself. I took this photo at my cousin’s tea ceremony earlier this year. I haven’t always been interested in food photography, but became very interested once I saw the photos my friend Bee was taking for her blog Rasa Malaysia. While I’d like to think that I was able to recreate something similar to what Bee could shoot, I still have a lot to learn.

Check out Chicken Feet and other photos in the Gallery.

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Budget Camera Lenses

Gizmodo posted an article suggesting camera lenses for those on a budget, or perhaps someone looking to buy a good lens as a gift. I wouldn’t call some of their recommendations budget priced, but I’m guessing they’re comparing the prices to professional priced lens models.

Before purchasing the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM that I currently use, I used to have the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II. For $100, it provides awesome quality. The only problems with it are the feeling of cheap plastic and having a loud and sometimes slow focus. I’d still have that lens if I didn’t decide to get a more expensive lens that would give me a 35mm equivalent of 50mm on my Canon EOS 7D (the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II has a 35mm equivalent of 80mm on crop sensor cameras). If and when I get a full frame camera (hoping for a 5D mark III) I plan to buy the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM.

One of the best lenses that Canon makes is the Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. I use this lens on all my flower and toy photos. I sometimes use this lens for portrait photography too. The only downsides of this lens are the lack of image stabilization and its weight, but I say the benefits outweigh the downsides in this case. It should also be noted that Canon released an update to this lens, the Canon 100m f2.8L macro lens, adding image stabilization and improved glass and coating. If you have the extra cash, get the L model but note that the image quality is pretty much the same.

Gizmodo’s article also provides Nikon and Four Thirds cameras equivalents for these lenses. So if you’re looking for some recommendations, check out the link below!

[Gizmodo]

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Wedding Videos

To be honest, I’ve never made a wedding video before nor had I ever considered making one. After taking some engagement photos for Sharon and Billy, they asked me to be their videographer. It took some encouraging from both of them to get me to agree. A wedding, after all, is one of the more important events in a person’s life and I was very worried about messing up the video somehow.

The video embedded above is the result of going through 20GB worth of 1080p video. I think it turned out nicely – much better than I thought it would, all things considered. Sharon and Billy seem to be happy with the results too. During the course of the day, I did learn several things about shooting video on a DSLR.

I used one of my favorite lenses to shoot the wedding video, a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM. Watching the video, you may notice a bit of camera shake. Since the 30mm doesn’t have image stabilization, you can see every little shake my hands and arms did. If I do another wedding video, I plan to either use a lens that has image stabilization or to use one of those steady-cam products that you can buy (or make).

Another problem I ran into is memory management. The Canon EOS 7D doesn’t inform you how many minutes you have left on a given card without going through the menu system. It would have been nice to have that show up on the LCD screen’s UI. Luckily, I had an extra 16GB compact flash card ready to go. Also, for the 7D, the file size limit is 4GB and the LCD screen’s UI doesn’t tell you the size of the current video being shot. Not knowing this, the camera stopped recording suddenly, causing me to miss some of the ceremony. For future reference, I have to keep close track of the length of the current video being shot so I don’t miss out on something crucial.

Finally, I plan to buy one of those battery extenders for my 7D. That will double my battery life. By the end of the day, I was down to a 10% charge. Shooting video on a DSLR eats up battery like you wouldn’t imagine.

Luckily for me, Sharon and Billy are very nice people (and very forgiving). They like the video, and I hope you do too.

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Printing Your Images

The holiday shopping season is now in full force and many people choose to buy their loved ones a professionally printed photo as a gift. Unfortunately, sometimes the image that you send over to the printer doesn’t come back as you intended. Common problems are having a digital image too small for the print size and/or having your digital image cropped. To make sure your image prints correctly, there are a couple of factors that you need to take into account.

Every camera has a certain megapixel count. Megapixels define image resolution or basically, more megapixels equals a larger print. You can check your image’s resolution by opening it in your favorite image viewer and finding the menu option to view the image info. A quicker way is to drag your image into an empty Firefox tab and Firefox will display the image resolution in the title bar.

Your cellphone most likely has a 2 megapixel camera on it. This will allow you a print a 6″x8″ photo with no problem, but if you try to print a photo with larger dimensions you will run into the problem of the image being zoomed. Many compact cameras these days range from 8 to 10 megapixels, allowing you to print an image of 11″x17″.

Another thing to consider is the image’s aspect ratio. Some common image aspect ratios are 3:2, 4:3, 5:4, and 1:1. Keeping an image’s aspect ratio in mind is important because you’ll want to match the aspect ratio to the dimensions of the print. Having an image printed in a different aspect ratio can result in your image being cropped by the printer.

It’s always a good idea to prepare your images yourself before sending over to the printer. You can do this yourself or have them done professionally.

Check out the links below for more in-depth information about aspect ratio and print size.

Happy holidays!

[DigicamGuides.com – Print Size]
[DigicamGuides.com – Aspect Ratio]

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Enthusiast Compact Camera Reviews

The folks over at Digital Photography Review put up a group review of the Canon PowerShot S95, the Nikon Coolpix P7000, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5. They liked all three of the cameras, but preferred the S95 and the LX5 while at the same time noting that each of the three have unique strengths and weaknesses.

I was very tempted to replace my Canon PowerShot S90 with either the S95 or the LX5. In the end, I decided to stick with my S90 for my on the go shots for a couple of reasons. While the S95 adds a lot of very nice features, the core of the features are exactly the same as the S90 equating to just a very minor upgrade.

I actually got to try out the LX5 for a week or so and was very pleased with the image quality. I was even more impressed by its 1cm minimum focusing distance. What stopped me from keeping the LX5 and selling off my S90 was the physical lens cap, the non-intuitive user interface, and the camera’s slight bulkiness. Out of those three complaints, I’d have to go with the bulkiness to be the main reason why I didn’t keep the LX5.

Carrying around the S90 is real easy, as it’s super pocketable. The same can be said about the S95. And while I say the LX5 is bulky, I do so when comparing it to the S90/S95. The LX5 is still a very compact camera – it’s just not as easily pocketable as the S90/S95.

No matter which of these cameras you choose, you can’t go wrong. They all provide excellent image quality given their size and portability. For a more in-depth review, I highly recommend reading Digital Photography Review’s group review.

[Digital Photography Review]

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