Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Indoor Portraits using Studio Strobes.

Having done hundreds of Portraits in natural daylight, a time has come when I am seriously thinking about having a home studio set up with three strobes and a background plus a Snoot and a couple of reflectors to start with. I could start with one Prolinchrome 23 or Photopro 23 as the main light source but a fill-in light of lower power would suffice. Maybe I will start my venture with two Strobes and then add a third one for background illumination. Need to have an IR trigger or a Radio Control trigger to fire all those two/three strobes without having cables running all across the floor. The Background material will be Black, Red and White at the start up. I will need three Soft Boxes of 60 cm X 60 cm for my three Studio Strobes. Luckily I have enough floor space in my king size Apartment which is extremely well located. It has a sweeping natural light coming from one side which will help me a great deal. I have no plans to buy a power pack even in the near future. There are AC Power points all around my living room. With Digital Medium, one may not need a Studio Flash Meter these days. The entire proccess is a trial and error. Once I get the gut feel about the kind of exposure that I normally get from my Studio Strobes (all colour balanced), rest is all practice.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Photography during a Conducted Tour.

In October 2008, I had the opportunity to visit Garhwal on a conducted tour organised by Garhwal mandal Vikas Nigam. The places to visit were Kedarnath & BadriNarayan touching some pictuesque sites en route like Rudraparayag, Rampur, Syalsaur, Pipalkoti to name a few.
Picture making is a proccess where there is no room for hurry. This trip was really hectic and daily I had to travel 250 km on average taking almost 12 hours per day with rest pauses for lunch break. Photography takes the back seat in such a trip. Though the tour was a grand success but that's all. I came back with just a handful of images out of which I hardly could churn out 20 odd shots. What a frustration !

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Keep your mind on the content while you make a picture!

After seeing pictures in various photography forums especially authored by young photographers, it occurred to me to express my views on the content part of the pictures. Being connected to photography for nearly three decades, I have had the opportunity to see millions of photographs made by many reknowned and 'not so reknowned' photo-artists. Digital era has made photography accessible to a much larger population. So I thought that it may be worth sharing my views about photography with young aspirant photographers.
Please pay attention to the content part before you actually freeze a frame on your 'sensor' or Film depending on your shooting medium. Random clicking( just because that doesn't cost you any money) really makes no sense. Consider a frame keeping in mind the basic rules of composition (Rule of the Thirds) and ofcourse ask yourself 'what does this picture convey to the viewers ?' These are purely elementary factors one has to bear in mind before making an image.
The other technicalities aspects automatically fall into place with a bit of practice. If you are 'bang on' about the content part of the picture and the scene you are capturing conveys some message to the viewers, you have almost made it (unless you mess up with camera shake or other compositional error). In other words, don't be a mindless snap shooter but think before you press the shutter release.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How important is a tripod in Close Up Photography ?

If possibly, it is always advisable to carry your tripod for Macro or Close Up photography. This is almost imperative if you are using a DSLR. One can jack up the ISO and obtain higher shutter speed to offset the possible 'shake' but that is not the ideal way to get a tack sharp image in the close up zone. I am saying this from my personal experience in this field. Even using a Monopod gives a better result than handheld shots.
Coming to tripods, it is better to invest on a reasonably sturdy tripod with preferably a Ball Head. Swevel/Tilt heads are not too convinient for nature photography. Ball Heads are more flexible though more expensive. Bogen/Manfrotto tripods and monopods have reasonably priced products and the built quality is certainly better than 'cheapo' Velbon or Vivitar tripods. It is very important to have a totally stable stand for your expensive DSLR with Lense. Watch out for the rated load bearing capacity of the tripod/monopod and it's head. Ideally one should limit the load at least within 75% of the maximum load bearing capacity for the sheer safety of equipment.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Got my Tamron 70~300 mm f4/5.6 LD Macro 1:2

After a lot of dilemma, I finally got my Tamron 70~300 mm f4/5.6 LD Macro 1:2 lense. No , I didn't opt for a Canon consumer grade lense. If I ever change to Canon optics, it's got to be a 'L' series lense. But with the kind of prices prevailing in the marketplace for Canon 'L' series lenses, perhaps at present I got to be happy with third party optics. These third party lenses deliver reasonably goood quality images. I recently tried out 15" X12" prints from my Tamron AF 19~35 mm f3.5/4.5 and they are flawless. Shooting Macros demand use of a sturdy tripod apart from using higher Aperture (>f8) and for that matter one needs a slow shutter. Hence a sturdy tripod becomes an essential tool. Best results for Macro are derived from Prime Macro lenses and there is no doubt about it. Focussing is better done manually instead of AF. As is Prime Macro Lenses are slow in AF. These lenses are expensive but most certainly worth every paise you spend on it. Then again it depends if you are after very tiny flowers or bugs or not. Otherwise, for fairly large flowers and insects (like butterflies) a macro focussing Zoom with 1:2 magnification capability is sufficient. And above all, only persons with a lot of patience excel in Macro photography. An even non-distractive background is a must for a successful technically sound macro image. Sharpness is of prime importance in this field of work. Shallow depth of field therefore plays a great role in macro work.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Decided to go fully Digital !

At long last I picked up a DSLR on 11th November'07. A lot of deliberations and On Line research had gone into this proccess of decision making. Whether I should go for a Nikon D80 or just switch over to Canon Digital Rebel XTi as it is slightly less expensive. Over the past few years I have gathered enough evidences about Canon DSLRs having an edge over Nikon DSLRs as far as the noise at higher ISO, faster Auto Focussing and in-camera image processing by their DIGIC II processor are concerned. By no means I am trying to undermine Nikon DLSRs in terms of quality or durability. In fact my Nikon N80 with it's lenses still remain with me to satisfy my propensity to shoot on Films.
Now I am gradually building up my system keeping in view my requirement. Canon made Lenses are beyond my reach anyway. I therefore, have opted for Tamron AF 19~35 mm f3.5/4.5 to start with. The next addition will be a Tamron 70~300 mm f4/5.6 LD Di Macro 1:2 to cater my needs for longer reach.
I guess, in course of time I may have to have another short zoom to cover the difference between 35 mm and 70 mm. That could be a Canon 24~85 mm f3.5/4.5 USM Lense. Perhaps, This lense has to be taken before Tamron 70~300 mm LD Di macro. I have read great reviews of Canon 24~85 mm f3.5/4.5 USM Lense. My type of photography normally doesn't need a focal length more than 135 mm. Maybe I won't need a 70~300 mm glass right away.