Category Archives: Uncategorized

Immaculate Myanmar

This is not a blog about trips but about photography……. however so far trips have been my widest resource for this blog. Am I dry at home…… possible.

Back to photography, some people suggest to shot and run back home to edit and develop your fresh creatures……. some other suggests exactly the opposite, keep them boiling and once they are “cooked” eat them up!

Behind the colors

Behind the colors

Basically the argument is about feelings you enjoyed during the shot, they can make you think your picture is good because good were the feelings while in reality the pictures itself has nothing to say.

Enlightened

Enlightened

I did this exercise, I have taken back old pictures shot around 4 years ago in Myanmar, amazing trip I would suggest everybody still want to see a beautiful Country with beautiful (almost) immaculate in its soul. History, culture, buddhism, smiles, brightness, dignity…… many memories I am bringing with me from that amazing holiday (thanks God I had my camera that captured a seed of that…).

Stairs to

Stairs to

In brief this is the result. Would be the same if my editing was done right after coming back? Who knows, hope you enjoy the pictures, I am now enjoying the fact the I am not only a collector of shots but I manage the chose my pictures.

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On “Masters” reading

I have recently read an article from a street photographer suggesting to avoid any reading of the Masters of Photography. The risk is to turn inspiration into copy (I wished….), the goal of looking for your style in photography according to him must be carefully defended (agree but let me see what has been done so far!).

Memories

Memories

Beside that for me reading, documenting, get inspired are core in my photography because they have a great part on anything I do (curiosity is well into myself) I think reading on Masters of Photography can give you not only a great source of inspirations on technique or projects but also can completely change how you see your own photography.

Good propositions

Good propositions

Soon or later even as a beginner you will ask yourself why you are taking pictures, it may be because you want to document your city, your new baby born, your beautiful wife or girlfriend, amazing landscapes, wildlife (I am not talking about your city) and I can continue like this forever. At this question I think you should be able to answer if you want to direct your efforts towards a rewarding goal.

Jerusalem's wall

Jerusalem’s wall

Reading on one of this Masters gave me an interesting point of view, I have recently read one biography on Henry Cartier Bresson, written by author Pierre Assouline. It is a very good book unveiling the story of the man, his passions in painting than photography and then painting again. I definitely recommend you its reading.  Beside the several things I have gotten from the book two of them worth mentioning here:

– Photography is a visual art, it is about representing in the frame a concept an idea a feeling a way to be a society as well as a painting or a sculpture can to.

– Photography can be a strong mean to represent your time, people, cities .

I like both ideas, to have a tool in my hand (like a brush for the painter) to express my artistic view (I have to say quite hidden as of now) and to be able to document even from details today’s society. Even a flat picture today in 20 years from now can deliver a quite strong message, the famous “old days”.

Natural pillow

Natural pillow

 

 

On Balance (not talking about the White…….)

I was recently reading an interesting e-book (Going Candid….) about balance in photography which I found interesting, the balance the author was talking about is not the White Balance photographers are more familiar with but the balance between “shooting – processing – sharing” activities. The author is Thomas Leuthard, he’s a Swiss passionate street photographer. He has published three very interesting e-books (by the way free of charge) that I definitely recommend you to read especially if you’re a beginner. Here below the link to download them, I really suggest also to have a look at his portfolio, I found it very interesting.

http://www.thomasleuthard.com/books.html

Back to the balance stuff I don’t want just to repeat what Thomas has done already well, I would just add one more point a beginner photographer should balance carefully, and this is “reading”. As I mentioned in my previous blog (Good Morning Vietnam) this is to me a key part of the overall photography process. Learning and practice should always go together.

A delicious reading - Vietnamese menu

A delicious reading – Vietnamese menu

You may think it is a quite boring stuff and learning on the job (experiencing on the field your camera features and settings, keep trying with Lightroom and so on) it is the most effective and funny way to approach this subject. Again I think it is a matter of balance. Spending all your (already limited) time on reading doesn’t make you a good photographer (may be a better writer!) but just keep trying can send you crazy (especially when the result is always the same: the unwanted one!) and most dangerously can make you boring and abandon your initial interest.

Good smell from the darkness

I do believe motivation comes from results so especially at the very beginning make sure you get some few good results. How better than learning (reading some interests posts or a real book) something new and apply it right away.

Nowadays the overwhelming abundance of material in Internet provides everything we (beginner photographers) need, it is only a matter of finding the right stuff (this is learning as well). There are a lot of nice folks out there that seem to be very happy to help (either pushed by generosity or not doesn’t matter), take this advantage.

SONY DSC

Which way?

One of the most common unbalance is about dedicating most of your photography time in shooting and forgetting what processing is. Especially beginners tend to shoot a lot and only review their pictures occasionally. This is the best way to see your “Pictures” folder just growing as an undefined “blob” (it’s not a misspelling….) where unluckily you will able later on to find what you are looking for (even only for the pleasure to feel again the same you did feel when you were shooting them). I know what this mean, I have been one of the biggest “blobber” around, now committed to make some order.

At the beginning I was thinking that processing was only about an artificial change of my original shots, but then (again thanks to my reading passion) I quickly realized there is much more behind:

– editing: selecting “bad” from “good” (or the best can be done at that time…. no nice to remain without pics in your folders, right?). What is bad, let’s delete it right away, no pity, there is no reason why it has to stay there, it’s a waste of space making also longer your future researches;

– editing 1: the good could be ranked in “OK la” (typical Hongkongese expression to say “just acceptable”, give them 1 star (Lightroom helps a lot on this classification job), once you have given a star to all the pics that are at least Ok la then revise them and select the one that are not bad at all (2 stars), among these latter you may (or may not) have the nice one (3 stars) or the one you think (chance or not) are really pieces of art (everything is relative…..).

– developing (as per Lightroom feature): it is more about applying preset effects that make your pictures look nicer, I usually only apply for the ones I like more where I think it worth spending time to strength them. Many photographers (especially the more expert ones) may consider this approach as too simple, I agree with them however this is a suggestion for beginners which have approached photography more on the shooting than the processing one. There is plenty of time to get more knowledgeable on how to develop without presets.

SONY DSC

– sharing: that’s my weakest point on the process despite I have chosen this blog (not blob anymore…) to share with you (unknown crowd!!!!) my pictures. I don’t know too much on what sharing should mean (a marketing exercise, a way to promote yourself, a way to tell stories……. ), thousands can be the reason. Soon I will write on this and maybe (I signed a no disclosure agreement with myself) share the reason I am writing this blog.

Good Morning Vietnam

Ciao Guys, here we are again, another stage of my photography travel. In this case a real journey, my first time in Vietnam, Hanoi.

Image

This trip is coming just few hour after I have been called by one of the biggest appliances retailer in HK informing me that my new camera was arrived. I bought a brand new Fuji x100s and the pictures here posted have been taken with this camera. Too early to make any comment, the excitement is still very high to make any judgment and my knowledge on this gear still too poor. I will get back on this soon.

Let me tell you what happened since my first post:

Lightroom 5

Catalog: one of the thing I felt more necessary starting (I would say revamping a previous passion) this amazing photography hobby has been about clean up a little bit my pictures repository. I am a quite an odd guy, I hate any kind of mess but sometimes I am a bit lazy….. contradictions may be nice, in photography as well. However I needed a software a bit more advanced than my iPhoto for this purpose.

Editing: I have always had the impression that editing was all about digitally enhance the quality of pictures through software like this one or photoshop or something similar. Following one of the Lightroom tutorials I found out that editing is instead all about sitting down with your pc in front of you, watching your pictures, deleting the obvious awful ones, rating the remaining, selecting the one that worth a post (forgive me if they don’t worth your time….) understanding mistakes I have made during my shooting and finally trying to learn a good lesson to move on. It may seem a simple and obvious job but I can tell you this is one of the biggest leap I have made from my previous “shoot-download-forget anything is in that folder” attitude.

Develop: at my level the worst that can happen to me is to work with a developing tools that is hard to understand (which bring me to an easy give up mode). The best could happen to me is to bump on a list o preset developing modes giving me the possibility to apply great default settings making my pictures nicer (at least this is the impression I got) with the future hope to leave the presetting feature and be more creative (at least the software can do it). Believe or not that happened with Lightroom 5.

Thousands of tutorials on line are available to learn the basic and gradually abandon the presetting modes towards some manual settings.  Some examples are already the one provided by Adobe itself that I found very useful especially for a beginner as I am.

Check it out these tutorials on adobe web site http://tv.adobe.com/show/getting-started-with-adobe-photoshop-lightroom-5/, they will get you quickly into this software and I think you will be able to benefit it very quickly.

I think Lightroom, especially for beginners like me, is doing a good job and despite I am still with my 30 days trial version (LR5) I am seriously thinking to buy one license for (not very) modest amount of 1,150 HK$.

Reading, reading and reading

I am reading a lot of material in internet, nowadays you can find almost anything. Casually I started to read about street photography, I like the concept to report about daily life. I have read (I don’t remember the guy that was saying it) that even a flat photograph describing city life today can become very interesting in 10/15/20 years from now, it will be still there documenting how life was in 2013! That’s a quite powerful leverage to send you out and shooting. I am definitely far away from the pieces of art street photographers (at least the really professional ones) can make but I am very attracted and reading about a lot on them. One over any other blog or internet resource I have accessed so far is the Erik Kim’s blog (http://erickimphotography.com/blog/), the material this guy is posting is just GREAT. Check on the “Start Here” section, I really recommend to read the Surrealist Manifesto posts, really good stuff.

Practice, practice and practice

No matter which photography blog, magazine or book you are reading there is only one pearl of wisdom commonly mentioned: practice, take pictures, review them and practice again, over and over again. What a better way to do it than during a trip in Vietnam, Hanoi. I leave some space of what I think are the best (the one I like more) pictures I have taken, hope you will enjoy (still pre-neanderthal art), give me some time, beside the practice recommendation everybody says it takes some time……. I will take all the time it needs, meanwhile I just enjoy!

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My way

Hi All, I’ve just uploaded my web page header. I want to show you one of best shots of my new photographic career. I take it as my starting point, this blog is all about how a “pure” (100%) beginner can (or cannot) move to some more attractive and meaningful pictures. It is about his discovers, his failures, his excitements…..

I do believe passion, persistence, patience (this latter I completely miss…..) are the secrets for a good and sometime excellent result in any domain of our life either personal or professional (I am in the “p-words” mode…). 

I like taking pictures, it’s my (well) hidden artistic side, I’m determined to go up to my limit (quite a big commitment in front of you guys!) and share with whoever is willing to follow my discovers.

Hope you will enjoy! I’ll see you very soon.