30 July 2009

Learning Digital Photography The Easy Way

Learning digital photography can be fun, yet can be stressful if you do not have the correct approach.

There are few schools of thought, there is one I prefer most. Learn from the expert through inspiration.

I've Just gone through some site to look up on some photography skills and inspiration. The first site that stumble upon was National Geographic.

Someone once told me, if you want to learn to take good photos, learn it from National Geographic. True indeed that National Geographic has a lot of superb photos from journalists all over the world. It is a good source of inspiration and ideas. Check out their gallery.

National Geographic have a dedicated website for photography that include photography tips. Do visit this site more often in you want to learn more. Unfortunately they do not have a RSS feed that I could post here, else you will be able to receive good updates from here

28 July 2009

Doritis Pulcherrima Orchid

I found this Doritis Pulcherrima orchid in my mother-in-law’s garden and was very fascinated with the size and the sweet color of it. Accordingly this is a wild strain, that’s why you won’t get the bright coloring from the flower compared to most hybrid orchid.

Here are some of the photos I’ve taken, both close up and macro.

Doritis PulcherrimaDoritis PulcherrimaDoritis PulcherrimaDoritis PulcherrimaDoritis PulcherrimaDoritis PulcherrimaDoritis Pulcherrima

25 July 2009

5 Steps to Easy Aquarium Photography

aquarium photography
Do you have an aquarium that you have spent countless hours to nurture? And now you wish you can have it photography.

Aquarium photography is not something very complicated to do, however due that the aquarium is made of glass, any light shining on it will give a bad reflection and this will affect your photos. Therefore direct flashing to the aquarium is a big NO.

In this post, I manage to do a aquarium photography of my marine aquarium without any flash. All I need was a bright aquarium lamp that light up every corner of the aquarium. Unfortunately this time, the aquarium was light up using a 6400K lamp. This will give a warm white color. For better lighting effect for marine aquarium, it is recommended to use light with white and blue color, ie marine lamp.

Here’s how I do it

Step 1 : Before you start
  • Make sure that the aquarium glass is clean and spotless. Remove those spot algae if there are any and clean the class with solution to remove any handprint.
  • Make sure the water does not have any floating debris. Is there’s some, check your water filter and make sure is working well. A healthy aquarium should have clear and clean water.
  • Leave the light on for a while so that the fishes can get use to the light and not hiding behind the rocks. Do some small amount of feeding to bring the out to the front.
  • Place the hood lamp toward the front of the aquarium. You want the front part to be bright so that no backlight effect on you fishes.

Step 2 : Position your camera

Using a tripod, place your camera in front, perpendicular to the aquarium. Look into your viewfinder and make sure there’s minimum lens distortion of the aquarium. This is particularly critical if you are using a zoom lens. On this picture, I’ve set the focus length to 35mm.

If you are using a prime lens, then it should be much easier. Once the camera is perfectly setup, we will proceed to step 3

Step 3 : Set your aperture, ISO and shutter speed

In order to get a good exposure of the aquarium, it is better to use higher f stop to increase depth of field and faster shutter speed to minimize movement artifact. This setting will contribute to low light intensity and most of the time you will have to compensate with higher ISO setting.

In this picture, I’m using ISO 800, F7.1, 1/80s

Now you are all ready. If you have a remote trigger device, please you it.

Step 4 : Wait for the right moment

All you need to do now is to wait for your fishes to come out and photograph it. Take as many photo as can so that you have enough option to choose the best take.

Step5 : post processing.
  1. Once you have completed the photography, do some touch up with your photo editing software. This will give your photo some punch!
  2. Check out the white light balance; adjust a little to make the photo look a bit bluish. Adjust the brightness and contrast and the curves to give a much balance exposure.
  3. Perform noise reduction as high ISO will induce certain amount of noise to your picture
  4. Perform sharpness enhancement. This make your photo look sharper
  5. Crop off those unnecessary things. Make your photo much focus to the tank then the surrounding.

By now you should have a decent looking aquarium photo. Enjoy your aquarium photography! There are many other techniques used by others but this is what I preferred most.

13 July 2009

How I improve my photos of Reflection in water

I have been trying many ways to photography photos of reflection in water for objects such as buildings and floating objects. While I was shooting, I notice that by using longer exposure time, I manage to build up a milky reflection of the object on the water.

This technique was quite amazing and I found that it give good prospective of the reflection This technique is very useful if you do not have a claim water surface or the reflection object is small, like far buildings.

Here are 2 set of photo of reflection in water and each set is obtained with difference exposure time. Here you can see the difference clearly.

reflection in waterThe above picture was taking with a shatter speed of 1/30s. Notice that the water wave is noticeable with not so clear reflection.

reflection in waterThis picture however was taken with a shutter speed of 0.8s. The wave from the water was smooth out with a milky effect. The reflection of the branch look much clearer now.

Here's another example of longer exposure time techniques that bring better reflection in water, especially on night scene.

reflection in waterThis was taken with a shutter speed of 30s. Notice the amount of light being reflected on the water.

Conclusion : Shutter speed does able to give better reflection element to the photos. If you love such kind of reflection, use long shutter speed setting. However the downside of this technique is the reflection in water does not give a mirror effect to the object of photograph.

08 July 2009

Urban HDR Architecture

Here's an attempt to photograph some urban HDR architecture photos. I did a HDR trial couple of days ago and manage to learn some good lesson.

However I was still trying to perfect the workflow with Photomatix and Photoshop. So far the toning looks good but find that the photos don't look too much of a High Dynamic Range photos. What do you think ? should I tone it up abit more ?

urban HDR architecture, hdrIOI mall in Puchong
urban HDR architecture, hdrIOI Mall in Puchong, from another angle

05 July 2009

2nd Attempt to Bukit Broga, Semenyik

Went up to Bukit Broga again yesterday. As usual as crowded as before, but this time, I go there with a mission! Panorama view and HRD. Here's my display. Tell me what you think.

Please check out my previous gallery on Bukit Broga at

Sunrise @ Bukit Broga, Semenyik
Nature @ Bukit Broga, Semenyik

panorama, bukit brogaPanorama View, Click on image to view the original size

bukit brogaHigh Dynamic Range version

silhouette, bukit brogaA silhouette
bukit brogabukit brogabukit brogabukit brogabukit brogabukit broga

01 July 2009

High Dynamic Range Trial Image

High Dynamic Range Image
I was discussing with some of my friends on how to product our first High Dynamic Range Trial image. After some goggling and YouTube-ing, I took the trial and went to the park near to my house to photography this.

1st set of images was done using Photoshop but did not find the results I was looking for.

2nd attempt was using a HDR software call Photomatic. This is what I get with this software. Not bad indeed since it is my first attempt.

Basically I used 3 raw images with difference exposure setting and merge them using the Photomatic software, some color tweaking and BAM! My first High Dynamic Range image.

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