Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gaining your photographic vision - fun evening shots Portofino Bay Hotel

Over the past nine years, I have read countless photography related books.  This includes books on lighting, posing, work flow, weddings, portraits, and many other technical and philosophical books.  One of the best books I ever read is a recent book by David duChemin, "Within the Frame:, the Journey of the Photographic Vision". 

It is not about gear, technique, or anything that most photography books discuss. This book is about finding your vision.  What excites you and keeps you interested in the amazing art and craft of photography. David has a statement in the book that is very vital for every photographer to capture (pun intended).  "Gear is good but Vision is better."  I suggest bookmarking his blog Pixelated Image.

Trust me, I love to discuss and read about gear and other geeky items.  However, all the gear in the world will not create art.  It is the vision and eye of the photographer that creates the image that causes the mom to cry when she sees the special image of her child.  It is the eye that enables an event to photographer to capture all the emotions of a second in time and makes a amazing image rather than a snapshot.

I will not take away from his thunder in the book but after reading his book (I am on the second time through it), I have a greater appreciation for looking for items within the frame.  e.g.  When I take city scape shots, when possible, I wait for a person to enter the scene.  In the past, I could not understand why I was getting bored with landscape and cityscape shots.  Then I realized why after reading his book.  I love to photograph people and the typical city or landscape shot does not normally include people.  Once I started to add people or a story to the shot, the fun was back for city scape and landscape shots.   I enjoy taking a good scenic or city scape shot but I love taking these shots with people in them to tell a story. Another fun item to shoot is light and its impact on the scene.  

Regardless of the type of camera you own, the critical part is to develop your vision.  When you look at a scene, think how you would shoot the image.  When you see an image, look for light.  Allow the light to shape the image.  (Light and its shaping ability is reserved for a future discussion.  :-D )  These techniques work if you are shooting with your cell phone's camera or if you have the most expensive camera.  Develop your vision!

I was out for a walk in the late evening and found this area filled with light, patterns, and people. Enjoy the images from Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Florida

All of these images shot with the Nikon D300, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

Frank Kendralla
Wedding and Portrait photographer

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fast fun shot at twilight in Orlando Florida

When traveling, I like to take a walk and relax from the days events at twilight (when the weather permits).  There are times when the sky is beautiful and if you are in an area with plenty of man made lights, you can get some fun shots.

This place was all lit up and was filled with vacationers playing in the cool evening breeze.  While I was walking and enjoying the evening, I was able to grab a few fun shots between moments where the sky was spitting at anyone who decided to take a walk.  One minute the rain would be hard and the next, nothing. 

Travelers were hurrying from place to place.  No doubt some were avoiding the rain while others were attempting to relax in the very enjoyable evening breeze.  Considering even with the breeze, the temps were close to 70, this felt very warm for a 'northerner'.   (The temps were in the 40's when I left for the airport earlier in the day.)

Although this was taken in the evening at twilight, with all the man made lights showing (first image), it appeared as if it was during the day.  I adjusted the images using Topaz Adjust, Lightroom, and Photoshop. 

The second shot is a very fast 'grab' shot.  I was walking away from this and turned back to avoid the blowing rain.  Immediately, I thought, I must get this shot somehow.  I shot this with one hand since my other hand was busy attempting to shield the camera from the rain with my scottevest. 

On both shots, I used manual exposure and exposed between the sky and buildings since there were so many different light sources.  I didn't want to overexpose the lights in the buildings but I wanted to capture the beauty of the sky.

Shot in Orlando, FloridaNikon D300, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

Frank Kendralla
Wedding and Portrait photographer

Monday, April 12, 2010

iPad – hands off review

Image by Frank Kendralla
Wedding and Portrait Photographer

iPad – hands off review

The intent of this post and future post concerning the iPad – does it meet our need and is it more than a glorified iPod touch?
  1. Is it practical?
  2. Does it replace a basic netbook?
  3. Is it a good e-reader?
  4. Does it do an amazing job displaying my photography portfolio?
  5. Is it fun?

Why is this called a hands off review?  No, it doesn’t mean not to buy the iPad since only you can make this decision.  It is because I am mainly using feedback and information from my wife.  First, keep in mind through this review that my wife is not a ‘techie’ person.  Technology is something she uses since it is part of today’s society. We are polar opposites when it comes to technology.  She believes sometime when I was a kid; a chip was placed in my head.  Maybe, and it could explain my fascination with technology and using it to enhance my business and personal life.  :-D

A friend of ours bought one early in the day of its release and he gave us a brief demo that immediately sold my wife on the new toy, iPad.  We headed to Best Buy and minutes before they closed we purchased the iPad.  Within minutes of opening the box and viewing a few online videos, my wife was using the new toy. iPad

Again, keep in mind that technology and anything technical isn’t my wife’s passion.  Give her a learning tool for kids and she is all over it like a bear and honey.  She loves the old standard way of learning and doing.  With a book, paper, and pencil in hand.  Remind me one day to tell you the story when we bought her an iPod touch for Christmas.  It is a classic.  Therefore, this review is based little on my impression as a techno geek but from the perspective of a person who figures something should work as it states it should.  Forget all the hype and flashy (no pun intended) apps and gadgets.

The first plus is that she was able to get the iPad working (with very little assistance from me) immediately upon unpacking it from its box.  Although we did wonder why Apple used wallpaper that made it look like the screen has scratches on it but that is a discussion for a different day. I set up the WiFi for our home router and she watched the videos on using the iPad and logged into her email.  I showed her how to download a few apps and she was ready to go.

She browed the web and started to read her email.  We downloaded the Netflix app and briefly watched a movie to ‘experience’ watching a movie on the iPad.  It streamed seamlessly and the sound was good.  She started to play and was immediately impressed with its ease of use and feel.

I had to leave for a business trip a few days later and she was still playing with it.  (Which is a good sign.)  Each day I would ask if she liked it.  She stated yes but it wasn’t the most important thing on her list.  “I have to educate the kids.”  This is where we are different.  I would have played and played with the toy each day until I learned it inside and out. :-D 

Later in the week, she began to ask more and more about why two things kept occurring.
  1. She couldn’t watch videos on her favorite site. or on homeschooling sites that had information she needed.
  2. Each time she wanted to do something different the app closed and she had to open a new one. 

Point one:  I explained that the iPad didn’t support Flash.  No, she didn’t care about what it is or anything technical about it.  I gave her a brief response why it didn’t work and she stated.  “That’s stupid, didn’t they know that the internet has videos on it?.”  Referring to why Apple would release a product that didn’t play videos from the internet.  Each time she wanted to play a video online she encountered this problem.  Her response was the same each time.  “That’s stupid.”  Is this a big issue?  Yes, regardless of the reasons why flash support isn’t on the iPad, it is an integral part of our internet experience.  It is almost like saying; your new car is an amazing technical device.  It is powered by the most advanced engine and transmission ever released to the public.  However, since we don’t want to support the oil industry we are powering it with rocks from the moon.  Yes, we know that you will not be able to use your new device but it is an amazing car.  Trust us, one day all the fueling stations will change and use our new fuel.  Until then, you will have limited but a fun experience. 

Maybe in a few months the lack of flash support will be a non-issue.  However, to us it is an issue.  I was sitting with the iPad browsing the net doing some research for a different project and nearly every site I visited needed flash support.  After 15-20 minutes, I decided the only way I was going to get the information I needed was to use my desktop computer.

Point two: Multi-tasking.  My wife does not know the technical term for multi-tasking but does know that she would like to use two programs at the same time. She kept asking why do I need to go back to the main page (desktop) when I want to do something else. It would be nice to be surf the web, find the information needed, then copy and paste into the publishing app. My Droid can do multitasking.  I can be in the browser and send the link via twitter if needed.  To quote my wife concerning the lack of multi-tasking, “that’s stupid; didn’t anyone think we do two things at once?”

Are these two issues a deal breaker?  Maybe long-term it will be. Story has it that there is a work around coming from Adobe.  Stop back for a review for the keyboard-docking station.  Apple sent me an email stating it should arrive late in the week.  

I plan to discuss ways I plan to use the iPad for displaying my photography portfolio and other possible productive solutions.