Sunday, July 26, 2009

Liquidity

This photographer does some nice work capturing fluid motion:

http://shinichimaruyama.com/

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Answer to Mystery Photo 3

Oddly, one bird was on top of the other. Not sure what they were doing.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mystery Photo 3?

Maybe not so mysterious to some, but I thought this looked pretty cool. Do you know what this is?


Sunday, April 26, 2009

dai oni

Time passes and still no great images from me, but just wanted to say that this guy takes really awesome photos in Japan. As an Aussie, his English descriptions give an idea of what you're looking at, which helps.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Honolulu Festival 2009

Ok great I was able to try out the new lens at the grand parade of the Honolulu Festival in Waikiki. I've decided that I may not be a great photographer, but my caption-writing skills are bar none. I wonder if I can get paid to write snarky captions? Anyway, taking pictures is still a lot of fun:

http://picasaweb.google.com/woompood/HonoluluFestival#

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some Gearhead Stuff

Any good hobby provides numerous opportunities to spend lots of money on "stuff", and lots of time researching said "stuff". In that respect, photography is an excellent hobby.

Since getting into photog it took me six months to invest in a new lens. I'm pretty slow at buying stuff. I finally decided to get the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS. In case you don't know what all that means, you can go look it up the next time you have trouble sleeping.

Actually, photofolk enjoy talking gear once they learn the language. It's not so bad. Having an exclusive lexicon is another fine quality of hobbies. Keeps the looky-loos away.

Anyway, back to business.

I chose this lens because:
  • Range - my kit lens is 18-55mm, so this one conveniently picks up where the kit leaves off.
  • Diameter - it's 58mm so it will take the same filters as my kit lens.
  • Amateur - in reading reviews, it seems like this lens is a logical next step for XSI/XTI owners. If I start getting hard-core about photography I may need to do some upgrading. Until then...
  • Price - this is a very affordable lens at around $250 brand new!
and I got it in spite of the fact that:
  • It's EF-S, meaning that if I should upgrade to a full-frame camera body, this lens won't be compatible :(
  • It's driven by a DC motor, not an Ultrasonic (USM) one. It's noisier and slower to focus. Since I don't plan on doing any funeral photography, noise is not a problem for me. The dead won't mind either.
  • The construction is plastic not metal, although that may come in handy when getting that once-in-a-lifetime paparazzi shot of Magneto:


but on the other hand:
  • It's still made by Canon, so it's a high quality product, and
  • It's cheap! :)
Oh, and did I mention that the price is right?

With the money I saved I also picked up a UV filter, circular polarizer, and lens hood (Canon ET-60). I have to admit, it felt pretty good attaching all this expensive plastic gear to my camera. Similar to the feeling of attaching a silencer to the muzzle of a sniper rifle, I'd imagine.

Guess all I need to do now is take some pictures.

For specs on all Canon lenses, feast your eyes on this PDF, you spec freak.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Usual Suspects

Good pictures of kids are very hard to come by. The difficulty level is inversely proportional to age, and rises exponentially with the number of kids in the photo and the number of cupcakes they've eaten. So this was the best I could do given these factors. Identities have been concealed to protect the innocent.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yann

Every day my Firefox browser serves up these two pages, and every day they blow my mind:

http://www.yannarthusbertrand.org/v2/yab_us.htm
http://www.yannarthusbertrand2.org/

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!


The lightbulbs were hung, from the eaves with care...

How Dark

While for some the massive power-outage was a time of pouty-outrage, for me it was an opportunity to practice some 30-second-exposure photography. This city scene doesn't seem too dark, but when I took it I couldn't even see the controls on my camera.



The moral of the story:

Things will brighten up if you give it some time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mystery Photo 1

What is this a picture of? Send a guess or comment! The answer will be revealed later... stay tuned!

(click for larger)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cruising

Unusual circumstances put me in the back seat of Jimbo's 1965 Chevy Impala convertible. Now that's a big car. It was a perfect day to go for a drive.



I can totally take a comfortable nap in this thing.



Thanks for the ride, Jimbo!

Sunset



I think those two dots are planets, but not sure which ones...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lilioukalani Gardens

The class had its final field trip at Lilioukalani Gardens. Emphasis was on shooting people and pets, but I mostly shot this Chinese Crested named Poki, who was an excellent model.

http://picasaweb.google.com/woompood/LilioukalaniGardens#

Kualoa Ranch

Took several shots at our class field trip to Kualoa Ranch. That was a long day but didn't really get too many outstanding photos due to the weather. Anyway, here are the results.

http://picasaweb.google.com/woompood/20081101KualoaRanch#

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rainbow Sherbert Sky

Wow it's been a while since I've posted. Here's a nice little warm-up shot of the late afternoon sky.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Existing light

Class this week was about existing light conditions and shooting at night w/o flash. Learned a pretty cool trick where you have a long exposure for taking say, fireworks, and you cover or reveal the lens with a hat to create a multi-exposed image. Also learned that when you shoot the moon you should use daylight settings because the full moon is actually really bright, especially if you are able to use a long focal length to have it fill the frame. Need to do more shooting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Magnum

Pretty sweet video podcast from Magnum photography co-op:

http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/podcasts

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Outside Mag

For some reason Outside magazine keeps showing up in the mail. I never subscribed to it, but it's a pretty decent mag that talks about a lot of things outdoorsy. Anyway, it's only recently that I've noticed how cool the photos are. I may never visit the exotic locations, but it's neat to imagine what it was like to be there in that spot where the shot was taken. And thanks to my class, I now understand the meaning of all the camera info that they print in the captions.

http://outside.away.com/outside/photos/index.html

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Affliction

Lately I've noticed that every time I look at my camera sitting on the table, I have the compulsion to pick it up and take a picture of something. Or at least play around with the settings since I'm still learning what does what. It's a pretty amazing device really... about as many cool features as my laptop but more responsive and more stable. It also doesn't take nearly as long to startup... ... ... ...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Honolulu Zoo

Fresh from a discussion on aperture, shutter, ISO, and depth of field, my photography class took a field trip to the zoo. We were lucky to get in at 8 am to catch the morning light, although not all the animals were awake. But as the day went on we did get quite a lot of shooting in, and it was a really fun time. Get the animal experience.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR

While using Cooliris I just happened to stumble upon an article for this new camera, which is a d-SLR that takes high quality video. Although that may seem like trying to get too much out of one device, the quality is pretty amazing! Check out this movie, created by one of the first photographers to get his hands on one. He doesn't have any film experience, but every frame is a high quality photo!

http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=2086

"Making of" video here:
http://vincentlaforet.smugmug.com/gallery/6021407_xEg87/1/#378608891_Jd2CT-A-LB

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Waikiki walk-about

Decided to practice shooting in Waikiki today. I made the mistake of going out around noon so the sunlight was pretty harsh. Also realized that there are quite a few power lines, street lamps, and trash cans that tend to ruin every shot. Oh well. I'm definitely still learning how to use the camera. Results here:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why have a hobby?

People act for two fundamental reasons: to acquire pleasure and to avoid pain. These are the fundamental motivating forces within every sentient being. Among human beings, there are four core needs that must also be addressed. A good hobby will provide a sense of fulfillment by attending to these needs, sometimes in ways that friends, relatives, career, or spouse cannot. Here are the basic needs that all people possess:

1. Certainty - People need to feel safe and to have some degree of predictability in their environment. Most hobbies are conducted in controlled environments with predetermined procedures. The hobbyist knows what to expect.

2. Uncertainty - Although we need security, we also need variety to spice up our lives. A good hobby has enough depth of subject matter that there is always more to discover.

3. Significance - Becoming master of a specific topic makes us stand out. It helps to build identity, e.g. "The Photographer Guy". Sharing this knowledge is even more rewarding.

4. Connectedness - Although we want to stand out, we also want to fit in. Hobby clubs and forums are a way of bonding with like-minded individuals.

Did you notice that these needs are in conflict with each other? This is why animals are simple and humans complex. So the next time someone behaves irrationally, try to figure out what need they think they are addressing. And if you are not getting maximum fulfillment from your present circumstances but can't seem to get around it, a new hobby may help fill in the gaps. Just make sure you don't spend too much time in "hobby-land" to compensate for "real-world" deficiencies.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Learn online

Picked up a 2GB SD card today. I was using 256MB, which is actually fine, but it's better to be free of space constraints (in photography and in life).

Regardless of your camera brand, you might find this site informative. I know I did, although some of the features discussed are Canon-specific:

http://web.canon.jp/imaging/enjoydslr/index.html


The Canon Digital Learning Center is also a good resource for the Canon user:

http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=TipsAndTechsAct

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cooliris in-browser photo wall

Recently I installed a plugin called Cooliris on my Firefox browser. It turns the browser into a web photo viewer that lets you quickly canvass the Internet via pictures, and you can quickly switch back and forth between Cooliris and normal browsing. The photo wall provides a new way to peruse the web: it's browsing without reading. Even an illiterate person can enjoy web images using this product. It's great for a quick glance at the news without reading headlines. In fact, with this plugin the image is the headline. But what puts the "Cool" in Cooliris is that manipulating this wall is like something straight out of The Matrix. I highly recommend you check it out!

(found this photo of Cooliris by using Cooliris!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Photoliterate

A long time ago, in the same old galaxy we got today, people could not communicate. Then grunting was invented, and civilization took one mammoth leap forward. After eating the mammoth, our ancestors developed tools with which to pass ideas along in the form of drawings. It turns out that the writing was on the wall: eons later we continue this practice; only the tools and techniques have changed. The puny human brain still likes pictures.

The written word has proved to be an indispensable means of disseminating information. It is by all (written) accounts the cornerstone of civilization. Moreover, there are certain concepts that just cannot be easily conveyed in a picture; concepts such as "concept", "written word", or "remedial algebra".

However, for sheer speed of communication it's tough to beat a photo. They are great for delivering certain meanings, such as:



I don't need to describe a military airship that will crash because it's rotors aren't moving... you knew it in an instant, probably before you started reading this, right?

While photos will never supplant good writing, as technology becomes more accessible it will be common for people to use them in their communication. This is a good thing, because this blog would be totally boring without photos. Especially since it's about photography.

As we acquire the photographer's tools we learn ways to deliver the same meanings with different styles, and the same styles with different meanings. Just as words can generate imagery in the mind, so can a good photo elicit words.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Googlicious

This blog is hosted by Blogger, which is owned by Google. When I login to my Gmail (Google email) account, I am automatically logged into this blog as well as Picasaweb, which hosts the pix online and is also owned by Google. This makes it easy to share and synch photos between PC, blog, and gallery. The Picasa desktop application allows seamless photo editing and organization that suits all my needs. I do not have Photoshop and didn't bother loading the Canon software that came with my camera. Picasa is all I need and I highly recommend it.

Anyway, my point is: Google has the best stuff. There is really no need for any Microsoft or Yahoo! or even Apple on the internet. All Google products are pretty much guaranteed to be better than anything comparable, because Google has the smartest people. And nearly all Google products are free since they have money coming out of their Googlears. So the Windows/Mac war is moot: Google owns the web. Resistance is futile!

(www.cuil.com is a pretty decent search engine but it's a one-trick pony for now.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chinatown

Had an interesting walk through the slums of Honolulu, snapping away. Near the end, went into the store INTO, which sells weirdly cool furnishings for your house.

Hope I didn't overdo it with the captions. They help me recall what I was thinking at the time and can make a boring photo more interesting, but may get distracting.

Photo album here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Yoda the Cat


I'm not much into cats, but thought this was a pretty neat picture. Thanks to Rachel for giving me this shot of Yoda.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why photography?

Sometimes cynicism comes from knowing too much, but other times it comes from plain ignorance. In the past I thought of photographers as people with little creativity. After all, one could argue that a photographer is someone who captures existing beauty but doesn't necessarily play a part in bringing original beauty into the world. I suppose the challenge is to disprove that statement!

Milwaukee Miyazaki

My cousin Kevin is a professional photographer operating out of Milwaukee. Not only does he have a sweet apartment, he is also one of the nicest people I've ever met! He is the anti-paparazzi... he gives photographers a good name.

http://www.kevinmiyazaki.com/

Blog: http://kevinmiyazaki.blogspot.com/

Hoping that as I learn more I will be better equipped to appreciate his work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Camera


I had owned crappy point-and-shoot cameras in the past, so it's no wonder that photography never piqued my interest much. It's one thing to snap the obligatory record-saver at a party or vacation trip, but it's another thing entirely to compose an image using only your wits. The digital SLR provides an opportunity to exercise and develop those wits. The tool that I have selected is the Canon EOS Rebel XSI. It is not the most expensive DSLR available but it is also not the cheapest, especially for an initial foray into photo-land. Naturally my options were either Canon or Nikon, but I will spare you that debate for now. I will not write much about the technology for now except to say that it keeps getting better, and as amazing as it is today the glory is temporal. So I am not terribly interested in hearing why Nikon is better than Canon or vice-versa. Seriously, would you have questioned Monet's choice of canvas for painting the Mona Lisa?*

Anyway, I hope to use this device for many years to come: this is the first of what is hoped to be many thousands of images taken. That's right, IMG_0001 baby! Did you notice the flash in the lens?

*No, because it was painted on wood by Leo da Vinci, but you get my meaning.

Beginning

It was Karen who got me into it. Her boundless enthusiasm and irrepressible thirst for knowledge convinced me to sign up for the photography class. In truth, my interest in the subject had only been lukewarm for most of my life. But it just so happened that I needed a new hobby, a creative streak to release, and memories that needed to be preserved.

Tonight I attended the first of a ten-session introductory course covering camera basics and photography fundamentals. I realized that it's actually pretty easy; modern cameras do all of the work. What is not so easy is being in the right place at the right time and knowing what will make a good photo before the moment passes. We can all benefit from being on point in the moment. Right now I have little knowledge, but I suspect that I can become a pretty decent photographer with consistent practice. But then again, you can be good at anything with consistent practice. It's all a matter of desire.

It has been a long time since I was interested in a topic that I really wanted to pursue in-depth. I typically learn a little about a lot of utilitarian subjects, rather than a lot about any one thing. While photography has some practical uses, it is not essential to my survival, and future success in career or relationships will probably not hinge upon my ability to select proper image exposure. Nevertheless, over the next couple of months I intend to put forth my best effort to produce the highest quality results possible. Thanks for following me on this journey into light. We will discover just how light shapes our entire world.