Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To the Sea

The Beaches in Toronto. This is it. Ten years worth of daily images is over. I don't know how to thank you for supporting me over the years. It's been a challenging, fun, rewarding, at times exhausting but overall incredible journey. And I couldn't have done it without you. This site and the archive remains. I also uploaded the full archive to a new flickr account which is a much more visual way to browse through the images, organized in sets for each of 10 years. It'd be great if I can tag all the images to make finding images easier, but that will take some major time. Find it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ddoi-archive/ But this is not a goodbye post. And I'm not quitting posting images. Far from it. I just won't be doing it daily. I'll be posting bigger and better images from now on. So here's a list of where you'll be able to see my upcoming work. Get your bookmarking tools and feed readers ready: 1. I'll be posting new images and videos, plus ddoi selects in larger size on my new topleftpixel tumblr page here: http://tumblr.topleftpixel.com/ 2. On my new topleftpixel blog, I'll be posting reviews, tips, tutorials and other articles about Photography, ddoi, Video making, Post Production and more. And here's where I'll be posting about ddoi related updates. Keep an eye for an exhibition or a book later this year. Find the blog here: http://blog.topleftpixel.com/ You can also find me on many other places online. A complete list of them can be found here: http://samjavanrouh.com Photos on this site will still be available to order, and in case Fotomoto stops its service, you can always send me an email directly and order prints, or ask about licensing or hiring me. Email me at inquire@topleftpixel.com And you can still send me your thoughts and stories about ddoi to inquire+testimonial@topleftpixel.com. I received incredible emails over the last few weeks and I really appreciate it.

3 Ways to Guarantee Good Exposures

There is no excuse for coming home from a photo shoot to discover that your images are over or under exposed. Your camera’s light meter will guide you to choose the right aperture and shutter speed settings to get a good exposure, or it will choose them automatically if you are using the automatic or semi-automatic modes. The problem is that your camera can be fooled by tricky lighting situations and that’s why your image may not come out exactly the way you want it, despite all the advanced technology in your camera. Below are 3 techniques you can use to make sure you get a good exposure. Choose the technique that works best for the type of photo shoot you are on and how much time you have while making images.

1. Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB)

One way to make sure you get at least one image that has a good exposure is to use bracketing, which means that you take one exposure at the setting your camera’s light meter thinks is correct (0 on the light meter) and you take at least two more exposures, one at -1 stop and one at +1 stop. That might sound like a bit of a hassle, but most cameras have a setting for automatic exposure bracketing which makes it quick and easy. Check your camera manual to see whether your camera has this feature and, if so, how to turn it on.
AEB in Camera Menu
AEB showing +1, 0, -1 brackets With automatic exposure bracketing on, you simply hold down the shutter until your camera takes 3 exposures and voilĂ . This is even faster if you set your shutter drive mode to continuous high speed. AEB will work on Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority exposure modes and on some cameras it will even work in Manual mode. I usually use AEB on Aperture Priority mode because I like to have control over my depth of field for landscape photography. On this setting the camera will take the photo at three different shutter speeds to give you the three different exposures. It is important to use this setting if you think you might want to combine the exposures in post-processing.
In this scene, the white sky caused the camera’s light meter to choose a darker exposure than was necessary. I decided that the +1 exposure was the best option.
After processing the +1 exposure, this is the final version of the Vancouver City Skyline image. If you use AEB on Shutter Priority mode, the camera will take the photo at three different apertures to give you the three different exposures. This is the best option to choose if you need to freeze motion at a fast shutter speed and depth of field is less of a concern. Using AEB is the best method to use when things are happening quickly and you don’t want to spend any time looking at your LCD (known as “chimping”) after you make an image. When things are happening fast, chimping can cause you to miss a shot.

2. Exposure Compensation

Chimping is not necessarily a bad thing and unless there is a possibility of missing a shot, reviewing your images after you take them is a good practice to double check the exposure, focus and composition. To use exposure compensation, just take the shot and then evaluate the image using the histogram. It is important to use the histogram for this and not just the picture as it appears on the back of your camera. The LCD is not all that accurate when it comes to exposure. Remember that if you shoot in RAW, what you are seeing on the back of your camera is a compressed version of the image and not an accurate representation of the RAW file. Also, your LCD’s brightness can be adjusted, so if you turn the brightness down when you are photographing at night all your images will appear darker during the day. Using the histogram is easy. The blacks are on the left, the whites are on the right, all the mid-tones are in between. All you really need to know is that a spike on either edge of the graph is bad.
Under exposed image. Good exposure. Over exposed image. If there is a spike on the left edge, it means part of your image is completely black. You may want to use your exposure compensation to adjust the exposure to the right to make it brighter. But remember that having part of your image completely black, especially for a night shot, is okay. If there is a spike on the right edge, it means part of your image is completely white and contains no data. Never let any substantial part of your image go completely white. Because it contains no data at all, it will always remain a white spot no matter what you try to do in post-processing. It’s better to keep the graph off the right edge. You only need to worry about this if the spike is right on the very edge of the histogram – if it spikes before the edge it is not a problem. Once you evaluate your image using the histogram, you can use your exposure compensation to make the image darker or lighter without having to worry about changing the aperture, shutter speed, or ISO. If you just want it a little darker, turn the exposure compensation down a little. Or turn it up a little if your image is too dark. You’ll have to check your camera manual again to see how to do this. On my camera, I hold the shutter half way down and move the wheel on the back of my camera to change the exposure compensation.
This is the quickest method to use when you have time to chimp. While bracketing will ensure one of the three exposures is useable, this method is more precise and deliberate.

3. Exposure Lock

Exposure lock is my favourite method to use when I have lots of time. It actually doesn’t require that much time to do, especially when you get in the habit. If you have a subject that isn’t moving, such as a landscape scene, and you have time to be purposeful about what you are doing, this is the ultimate method for getting the perfect exposure. I like to use exposure lock in combination with the “spot metering” exposure mode so that the camera will only take into account the light level at the exact spot in the frame that I tell it to. I decide what part of the image is most important for the exposure. For example, if I am making a silhouette image at twilight, I will point the camera at the sky and use the exposure lock button to exposure for the sky, then I recompose the image, focus, and take the shot.
To make this image of Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City, California, I pointed my camera at the bright red band of clouds in the sky, used my exposure lock, and then recomposed the image and pressed the shutter. Check your camera manual to see how to use exposure lock. On my camera, I press a button with a * on the back of my camera.
Depending on the type of subject you are photographing and whether things in your scene are changing quickly or slowly, one of these methods will ensure you always get a good exposure.

Kitesurfing and Kite Photography

If you’ve ever dabbled in extreme sports photography you know how challenging it is to get that “wow shot” when the visual aesthetic and composition elements align, while the weather is most likely not in your favour. Sports photography is unpredictable, much like photojournalism you need to think on your toes, be proactive and keep in mind that most shots can’t be reproduced. Just recently we talked to a kitesurfing and kite photographer Maria Enfondo, who revealed some of her extreme photography pointers and tips that we’d like to share with you today.

Maria Enfondo

Hi! My name is Maria Enfondo and I am an extreme sports and lifestyle photographer traveling around the world chasing my two passions – kitesurfing and kite photography. In kitesurfing (as in any other extreme sport, I guess) it is important to capture the right moment from the right angle. Yes, sometimes it can be challenging to stand in the water or on the beach or on the rocks facing wind gusts, but you have to brave the elements, discipline yourself and work with what you have. It is up to you what camera body you get, anything with continuos shooting and a fast shutter speed will work for you. When it comes to lenses, get one with an image stabilizer it will help you out, as it will reduce potential camera shake and blur. No one likes to discover that your best shot is blurred or out of focus and there is only so much you can fix in the post-processing.
During most of my kite shots I use my favourite Nikkor 70-200VRII lens, I try to handle it with care and use it technically as correct as possible. With this lens I get shots that I really like. For some of the close-ups with a "presence effect" I use my wide angle Tokina 11-16. Since it is a wide-angle and entails that you’ll be in close proximity to your subject and so have a high chance of getting your lens and camera wet (water + camera/lens = broken gear) I suggest two things to minimize the chances. First, you need a water housing — I use a simple one as I don't swim with camera in the water. Second, for sure it is best to work with a rider who knows how to jump without landing the board on your head :) Photography is about experimenting and trying out new things. We hope this article will give you courage to venture out and attempt extreme sports photography, be it shooting your friends snowboarding or hitting up a local skateboard park. Just remember to be mindful, careful, prepared (gear-wise and remember to bring sun block or a wetsuit if you’ll need it), have your settings on continuous shooting, higher aperture and just have fun!