A Small Move & a Big Change

Year of the Horse Singapore 1024x748 A Small Move & a Big Change

Year of the Horse (Singapore): D800 70-200mm shot at 200mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec & ISO 100.

If you know us then you know that we have selected to live the life of the nomad.  Dictionary.com defines a “Nomad” as  “a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place to place,usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to the state of thepasturage or food supply.”

Well that is what our little clan of five do.  We travel from country to country, place to place in order to earn a living that provides food.  We do not follow the seasons in the typical sense but rather follow global economic expansions which I do not pretend to understand.

According to 1.5 billion Chinese this is the year of the Horse which is supposed to bring a whole new level of energy for all of us.  We have already felt its affects but have noted that it is not always positive…

Family Shoes Coromandel NZ 1024x1024 A Small Move & a Big Change

Clan Shoes (Coromandel, New Zealand): D800 70-200mm shot at 78mm, f/2.8, 1/1250sec & ISO 100.

This last week we have broken our cardinal rule and primary objective which is to avoid, at all cost, a “move within a move”.  What this means is that we have had to change houses without having to change countries.  In all of our years living this nomadic existence this is only the second time we have had to break to rule.

Essentially the house we were renting for the last two years is being sold by the owner hence our need to change houses.  My lovely wife has found a great house which she will slowly make a home for our clan.  It is a mere stones throw from our previous dwelling but a new neighborhood and some great places to explore!

A move is one of the most traumatic things a human can go through aside from the death of a loved one.  The sense of uprooting and transferring all our earthly possessions to a new house is not easy.  It is allot of work and a large emotional burden to overcome.

Our lifestyle has some great advantages but it also has some drawbacks and moves rank high up on the list.  Our kids have been in numerous schools, in countries where people speak different languages and whose culture is drastically different then our own.  On the plus side we get to learn about these cultures in a more intimate way then a mere vacation.

Mt Tauhara Taupo New Zealand 1024x350 A Small Move & a Big Change

Mt Tauhara (Taupo, New Zealand): D800 70-200mm shot at 70mm, f/6.3, 1/250sec & ISO 100.

During this move, and the led up to it I have been neglecting my posting responsibilities and for that I do apologize.  I have just finished setting up my new office and it is much more inviting than the previous one.  I hope this will inspire me to share with all of you a little about our clan’s life as nomads.

Photography for Fun

Flower in Bench Singapore 1024x683 Photography for Fun

Flower in Bench (Singapore): D800 24-70mm shot at 62mm, f/5.6, 1/350sec & ISO 100.

We are all guilty of doing it.  We see some amazing pictures, taken by some wonderful photographer and we wish we could do the same.  We then search for that perfect shot every time we hold the camera to our eye.  While this does drive us to shoot better it can also make a wonderful hobby into a daily challenge.  Sometimes its fun just to shoot some pictures because they are interesting.

On our recent trip to Singapore I tried doing exactly that.  The results surprised me a great deal as I enjoyed shooting them and I loved processing them.  This “for the fun of it” mentality allowed me to try some post processing that I usually turn my nose up at.  You know the over the top, way too much saturation and completely unbelievable kind of picture.

Painted Alien Life Singapore 1024x791 Photography for Fun

Painted Alien Life (Singapore): Ok so here is a shot that I took of some weird flowers. A little paint action in PS and here it is!

Here are some of my favorite.  I have added a mix of some traditional processing along with stuff far out of my comfort zone.  I won’t be entering these into my portfolio but man they were a joy to shoot.

Little Boxes Singapore 1024x819 Photography for Fun

Little Boxes (Singapore): This sight reminded me of the theme song to the series “Weed” which sang about little boxes. I loved it. Fun shot!

 

Singapore

Family on Blue Singapore 1024x641 Singapore

Family on Blue (Singapore): D800 24-70mm shot at 32mm, f/4, 1/125sec & ISO 400.

So we have been “off the grid” so to speak for a couple of weeks.  So for our friends and family I am sorry about the lack of updates but the family has been BUSY!

I had worked most of the holidays which left me a bit drained and missing some good family time.  So we decided to take a week off after the holidays to spend some time together.  The only thing I asked Dena to consider in planning the trip was that it had to be a direct flight from Perth.  I seem to be living on planes recently and I did not want to spend most of my time off in an airport.

So she opted for Singapore!  Ok I need to get something straight….in terms of photography Singapore does not have too much to offer.  Keep in mind that the detail shots that I enjoy taking when on vacation are very possible in Singapore and if you like street photography you will find it in spades there.

Lionfish Singapore 1024x662 Singapore

Lionfish (Singapore): D800 70-200mm shot at 200mm, f/6.7, 1/250sec & ISO 100.

What I mean is that there are very few landscapes shots to chase after.  Singapore is a massive port city and even the beaches are littered with hundreds of ships waiting for their berthing.  The weather is very humid and typically has a grey overcast which is wonderful for portraits but rather sad for anything else.

Waiting Singapore 683x1024 Singapore

Waiting (Singapore): D800 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/2.8, 1/125sec & ISO 100.

The city is a shoppers paradise (the reason I am sure Dena picked it) and it is a mix of the colonial and the modern.  It reminds me of Dubai in its modern sky scrapers and what seems like constant construction.

Culturally the city is made up of a mix of Indians, Chinese and Middle Eastern.  Even the city (designed by the English) has a Chinese, Indian and “Arabic” sections.  So in one day you can walk down a street smelling curries and then down a different one with the smell of roasting duck and noodles ending the day smelling the sweet Arabic spices on grilled lamb.

Hopes Dreams Singapore 1024x683 Singapore

Hopes & Dreams in Art (Singapore)

We spent a day looking at museums especially the SAM (Singapore Art Museum) which has a collection of modern art from the region.  It is amazing how culture is visible in art as the region’s art was a mesmerizing blend of color and texture but it was somehow organized.  Even chaotic art there is organized.  It was also amazing to see how HD movies are finding their way into the art world which makes sense considering how technologically advanced Singapore is.

We also rewarded the kids with a trip to Universal Studios where they rode rides, saw a 4D movie and saw their cartoon friends.  We rode around the city in the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus system which gave us access to the entire city.  While expensive it was easy to plan our trips and we had all of Singapore laid open for us.  It was just a question of waiting for the bus to come by.

It was a great escape to spend some quality family time together.  We slept in, ate wonderful new dishes and got to know a little city with an amazing story!  Thank you Singapore!

 

Composition of Cityscapes Explored

Screen Shot 2014 01 05 at 8.38.17 AM 1024x514 Composition of Cityscapes Explored

Google Search for images of Cityscapes.

We often frown on our technical achievements and the destruction that they have caused the environment.  There are times however, when stepping back and looking at what humankind has built is beautiful and awe inspiring.

Over the past few days I have been looking at different cityscapes shot by some world renowned photographers as well as some very talented amateurs trying to find out what makes a cityscape shot successful.

Lets begin by agreeing what a “cityscape” is.  As with all photography genres people will disagree about what exactly makes up a cityscape.  If we look at the definition on Wikipedia we find that a Cityscape is:

cityscape is the urban equivalent of a landscapeTownscape is roughly synonymous with cityscape, though it implies the same difference in urban size and density (and even modernity) implicit in the difference between the words city and town. In urban design the terms refer to the configuration of built forms and interstitial space. In the visual arts a cityscape (urban landscape) is an artistic representation, such as a paintingdrawingprint or photograph, of the physical aspects of a city or urban area.

For the sake of simplicity I will define it as an image of a city taken from afar.  My reason for this definition is that there is a large grey area between an architectural shot versus a cityscape.

As I studied several dozen examples of great cityscapes I began to see a pattern.  Essentially the photographer attempted to either include an interesting foreground or let the bottom of the image be the start of the city.  The idea being that if there is interest in the foreground it was added if not they typically composed the shot allowing the buildings to fill the image.

Screen Shot 2014 01 05 at 8.51.37 AM 1024x766 Composition of Cityscapes Explored

This image was taken from:http://freephotooftheday.com

The placement of the city was determined based on the interest in the foreground and background.  We see here that the old adage of not splitting your image halfway into the picture being broken very successfully.  In the picture above (taken from this site) you can see that the photographer split their image with the horizon.  They left plenty of foreground giving us plenty to look at.

  • First we have the leading line of the rail leading us into the image.
  • The wake of the boat gives us a nice parallel and an additional leading line.
  • The boat gives movement to balance the static cityscape.
  • The clouds give a bit of balance to the image.

All of these things make it a nice shot.  I do not like the following:

  • The right edge cuts a building in half.  Either capture the entire building or none of it.  You can see on the left where the photographer left a little gap which is much more successful.
  • Cityscapes in the daytime are a challenge.  This image may have had more color in the clouds had it been taken and dawn or dusk.  Same place, same composition just different lighting.
Screen Shot 2014 01 05 at 9.02.01 AM Composition of Cityscapes Explored

Shot taken from http://www.iwallpapersfive.com

The shot above (take from this site) is an example of a very small foreground being dismissed with the innocuous lights.  The horizon comes into the image about 25% of the way up.  Clearly this shot is about the cityscape and the color and dusk.

  • Here the photographer used some wonderful dusk colors to balance out the image.  They did so very successfully thanks to an amazing red dusk.
  • We some some leading lines in the headlights/taillights in the foreground which is the only thing of real interest there.  It also gives the image some movement.
  • So our eyes are taken to the an almost silhouette of a city with some great color in the background.
  • No building is cut off giving us a clean edge around the image.

All these traits help make this shot a wonderful one.  There are some things that I just do not like about this shot.

  • The foreground should either help the image or not be included.  While I understand the desire to get the leading lines into the composition I believe the strong colors are enough to draw ones eyes.  I would have cut out the foreground.
Screen Shot 2014 01 05 at 9.11.14 AM Composition of Cityscapes Explored

Image from http://www.iwallpapersfive.com but altered to educate.

As with any landscape shot the foreground and background are vital to pulling the viewer into the image.  Going through the shots I did find some consistent methods that seemed to help make the shot successful.

  1. Interesting clouds (with color) behind the city.
  2. Dusk, Dawn or night are the go to times.  Few cityscapes taken during the day are interesting as the colors are rarely there.
  3. Negative space can be used to great effect by pushing the city to the very bottom of the image and eliminating the foreground all together.

The thing about critiques is that they are easy to do sitting in front of a computer.  So I took my gear out to see if I could practice a little of what I learned.

Perth City Perth Australia 1024x692 Composition of Cityscapes Explored

Perth City (Perth, Australia): D800 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/8, 20sec & ISO 100.

Last night I went out and captured this image.  I pushed the city to the very bottom of the image to try to maximize the negative space in the background.  The clear blue sky ensured that there was no competing for the viewers attention.

Perth Golden City Perth Australia 1024x754 Composition of Cityscapes Explored

Perth Golden City (Perth, Australia): D800 24-70mm shot at 50mm, f/11, 20sec & ISO 100.

On this image I used the reflected lights as leading lines to draw the viewer’s eye.  I put the horizon just off center and kept just a bit of empty sky in the background.  I was on location one hour before sunset and this was taken about 10 minutes past the official sunset time.  The buildings are reflecting the last few light rays that were hitting it.

 

 

Places Visited in 2013

Rocky Coast Cathedral Cove New Zealand  2  3  4  5 tonemapped 1024x680 Places Visited in 2013

The first trip of 2013 was to New Zealand in January. Rocky Coast (Cathedral Cove, New Zealand): D800 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/8, 5 shot HDR, ISO 100.

As the year draws to a close I go through my pictures and remember all of the places we visited and recall the memories that were made there.  The wandering life we have chosen for ourselves requires sacrifice but pays us back with the opportunity to see the world.  It is easy to focus on the sacrifices but important to sit back and look at everything we learned about this world of ours.

The first trip of 2013 was to New Zealand.  I took the family to the North Island to see the wonderful Kiwi land.  We had a magnificent time driving around and getting to know some wonderful people and great places.  I loved the fact that since we had rented a car we were able to spend more time talking and spending time together.  I took some fun pictures really using HDR to highlight the wonderful texture of the land and sky.

Rock on Beach Opononi New Zealand tonemapped 1024x575 Places Visited in 2013

Rock on Beach (Opononi, New Zealand): D800 14-24mm, shot at 14mm, f/10, HDR, ISO 100.

The second trip of the year was to Sydney in March.  Sydney was a bit of a whim trip.  We were sitting at work discussing the long weekend coming up and decided to try to go to Sydney.  A couple of days later we jumped on a plane and went with a group of friends to visit that wonderful city.

Sydney Bridge Night Sydney AU 1024x672 Places Visited in 2013

Sydney Bridge Night (Sydney, Australia): D800 24-70mm shot at 31mm, f/9, 30sec & ISO 100.

The third trip was to Bali Indonesia in July.  This was a family trip as my mother and her husband came with us.  We rented an amazing villa in the mountains of Bali and immersed ourselves in the local culture.  The people of Bali are very religious and happy.  They walk around with a constant smile.  It was a joy to learn a little of these amazing people.

Bali Taxi Bali Indonesia 1024x679 Places Visited in 2013

Bali Taxi (Bali, Indonesia): D800 24-70mm shot at 56mm, f/5.6, 1/125sec & ISO 200.

The fourth trip of the year took us to Italy in October, where we split our time between the Piedmont and Rome.  It was a trip to retrace our family roots while spending some quality time with family including my father, his wife and my mother in law.  We had a wonderful time studying the culture including their food, wine and art.  It is a trip that I will take with me forever!

Roma With Love Rome Italy 1024x683 Places Visited in 2013

Roma with Love (Rome, Italy): D800 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/16, 30sec & ISO 100.

2013 was an amazing year for us.  We traveled a fair bit and I managed to capture some good images.  We were introduced to new cultures with new ways of looking at the world.  We ate some unforgettable meals and had some wonderful discussions.

I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful family and the ability to discover the world with them.  All of that being said some of the greatest discoveries were in our very own back yard.  A passport is not essential to experience the world around us, we just have to be open to do it.

Perth Boat House 5HDR Perth Australia 1024x683 Places Visited in 2013

Perth Boat House (Perth Australia): D800 14-24mm, f/11, HDR & ISO 100.

In closing out 2013 I would like to borrow something that I read recently on a social media site which I believe is a wonderful way to view the close of a year.

“2013 thank you for all the lessons.  2014 I am ready!”

 

 

 

 

 

New Macbook Pro for USD 450!

Crucial M500 Spacer img6 New Macbook Pro for USD 450!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok maybe not a brand new one but it feels brand new!  I have just upgraded my Macbook’s hard drive for an 480Gb Crucial M500 Solid State Drive!  Keep in mind that I am not very computer literate but this was easy even for me.

I purchased the M500 (480 Gb pure SSD) through Upgradeable.com.au.  I tried to get it in the US but Upgradable kept canceling my order for unknown reasons.  After several failed attempts I tried the Australia site and everything worked like a charm (a few days late on the delivery).

Why:

So why would I spend $450 on a new hard drive?  Simply because I have 8Gb or RAM (the upper limit of this Mac) so I cannot have Photoshop & Lightroom running at the same time.  So I end up opening and closing Photoshop several times as I transfer pictures from one Post Processing software to another.

Benefit:

So I did a bit of a test to see what the impact was.  My original hard drive was a 500Gb, 7200 RPM drive (an upgrade from the 5,000RPM drive that was standard back in 2009 when I bought it).  Below is the process I followed:

  • Power button is pushed (timer started)
  • I log on (everything is password protected)
  • Once my desktop appears I plug in my external drive.
  • Once it is recognized I start Lightroom.
  • I select the first RAW file I see and select to open it in Photoshop CS6.
  • Once the photo is opened in Photoshop CS6 I stop the timer.

Total time was 3:56.

I then followed the same procedures with my new SSD drive.  Exactly the same procedure.

Total time 1:41.

That is almost a 60% improvement.  I was hoping to get a 25% improvement so I am more than happy.

For now I have removed the old drive and am keeping it until I see what happens with the new drive.  I may put the old drive to replace the DVD drive thus increasing my memory to almost 1Tb.  We will have to wait and see as I want to get a month or two before altering the old drive.

As always I have all my photos backed up in three separate drives kept in two physically different locations.  So please remember to BACK UP all your pictures…you just may thank me one day!

 

 

Obsessive Photography

The Best View Freemantle Australia 1024x819 Obsessive Photography

The Best View (Fremantle, Australia): D800 24-70mm shot at 62mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec & ISO 100. Sometimes the best picture has already been taken.

My experimenting with retro film camera (the Olympus OM-1) is progressing and teaching me a few unexpected lessons.  After opting out of the digital retro craze and going full retro with an actual film camera from 1972 I have been running around learning about photography.  After years of taking pictures the simple act of picking up a film camera has taught me more than I had dreamed.

I began by buying two 36 exposure B&W Ilford film for USD 7.99 each.  I then began carrying it around with me along with my Nikon D800.  It took me several outings to take all 36 exposures and now I am waiting to have them processed.

One of my constant concerns is obsessive photography syndrome.  This is where we take full advantage of the free pictures that our digital camera affords us and hence give little value to what we shoot.  All of a sudden we are documenting the dullest of moments and we seem to have the camera up to our eye more than not.

Kids Kings Park Perth Australia 1024x719 Obsessive Photography

Kids at Kings Park (Perth, Australia): D800 24-70mm shot at 58mm, f/2.8, 1/4000sec & ISO 800. This is one of only a handful of shots I took on this outing with the kids on Christmas Eve.

This prevents us from experiencing the moments that we are documenting.  We run around trying to capture everyones experience without realizing that we are not experiencing them ourselves.  Shooting film solves this issue.  With the expense of buying the film and processing the film I tend to think about the shot much more than with digital.

It took me some time to grow accustomed to focusing the OM-1.  I am so used to just having the camera take care of focusing it was a bit odd to judge the focus on each shot.  The full manual selection of aperture and shutter speed were not hard to learn at all.  I select the depth of field I want and give me the aperture that would come closest and then settle on the shutter speed needed to nail it.

Finally I have come to look at my camera equipment a bit differently.  The simple OM-1 cries out for a minimalist approach to photography.  It is such a compact and light camera that I am finding new liberty in the lack of oppressive bags of gear.  Don’t get me wrong I love gear but the OM-1 has taught me that there is merit to a lighter, simpler approach to photography.

On The Dock Freemantle Australia 819x1024 Obsessive Photography

On The Dock (Fremantle, Australia): D800 24-70mm shot at 70mm f/8, 1/350sec & ISO 100. This picture was captured after a very long walk.  I doubt I would have enjoyed it with tons of gear.  All I took was the D800 with the 24-70mm and my OM-1.

 

 

 

Time to go Retro

Kings Park Fountain Perth Australia 1024x683 Time to go Retro

Kings Park Fountain HDR (Perth, Australia): D800 14-24mm shot at 24mm, f/11, HDR & ISO 100. Read below what this has to do with Retro!

Everything seems to be going retro!  If you look to the new cars coming out they have a hint of a throw back, movies are become re-films of our old favorites and even the music industry, which is usually leading the way on cutting edge art, is going retro!  Well the photography industry seems to be following everyone else.

pic 05 Time to go Retro

Fuji was the first to hit the nail on the head with the X-100.  I have never seen such a issue laden camera do so very well.  And the reason is obvious.  It feels like the cameras of yesterday while giving you a full digital workflow.  Sure the focus is slow and gimmicky and yes the viewfinder is not perfect but no one compares the X-100 with the latest of Cannon or Nikon.

Fuji continues to rake in the bucks with very much improved retro cameras proving that the retro “niche” is much bigger than Cannon & Nikon thought.

Nikon Df kit silver Time to go Retro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well it was only a matter of time but Nikon has come out with the Df.  It looks amazing with more of the camera settings as mechanical dials while keeping the sensor of the amazing Nikon D4.  Now people will criticize (with some justification) that the autofocus is not good enough and that the price point is far too high.

It is interesting that people look at these issues with a retro camera.  None of the technical limitations of the X-100 seemed to prevent people from buying it.  I would stack the Df autofocus against to Fuji X-100s any day of the week.  The niche market is for people who want the retro design and are willing to pay top dollar to get it.

I love the idea of the Df.  I believe that Nikon has hit many of the right notes with it and I love the design.  I will not be buying it however.  The reason is purely economic for me.  This is not to say that the camera is not priced right it is because I cannot justify to myself paying thousands of dollars on a camera that will not give me a step up over my Nikon D800.

Basically Nikon is a victim of their own success here.  The D800 does everything I need it to do and more.  While a retro feel would be great it is not important enough to spend that kind of money.

hrl 0153 olympus om 1 ll Time to go Retro

But I still like the idea of retro.  So I have decided to go the film route.  I ask my father to donate his old Olympus OM-1 for me to enjoy a bit of retro feeling.  So I picked up the camera for free and I will invest a few bucks on getting it professionally cleaned, get a new battery for the exposure meter and will buy some film.

My point?  You do not need to spend thousands of dollars to go retro.  I will have to adjust my digital workflow a bit in order to incorporate film but that is all part of retro.  I will take the pictures and will not be able to see the outcome for a few days.  Once processed I will have them scanned and digitized.  I will then follow my usual work flow until I finally learn to get it right in camera.

Why do it?  Simple.  I am still defining myself as a photographer.  I began by learning how my camera works, I then began asking myself what made a great picture and trying to mimic it and followed it onto the computer adjusting my digital workflow.  Recently I began using flash to understand light and began working on my portrait work.  Everyday I want to learn something new that will change the way I look at photography.

So this little phase will have me learning about film.  If I like it I might go into developing my own film.  If not, I will learn what I can and hopefully come out of the other end being a better photographer!

So if you see the first picture on this post it is a D800 HDR image shot in all its glory.  Here I am showing a shot that would be impossible without digital processing and the extended dynamic range of HDR!  But even this advanced processing technique is built on fundamentals.  Proper composition, the right equipment and the correct technique.  I believe that I can improve my fundamentals by going retro.  Do you?

 

10 Things I Wish I Knew…

Lit Angel Rome Italy 1024x819 10 Things I Wish I Knew...

Lit Angel (Rome, Italy): D800 24-70mm shot at 52mm, f/2.8, 1/90sec & ISO 400.

A few months ago I was able to speak to a young girl who was just getting into photography.  She is a daughter of a family friend and her parents had asked me to give her some guidance.  After sitting with her to tell her some of the things that I have learned I was surprised to see how quickly she incorporated them into her new hobby allowing her to move on to other things.

That got me thinking of all the things that took me far too long to learn.  Sometimes I wish I had a mentor to walk me through the labyrinth of photography talk so I could settle on a method of shooting that would work for me.  It is easy to look for things on line about how to solve different problems but it is more difficult to understand what should take priority.

After applying the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle here is my quick list for anyone picking up a camera for the first time.

1.  Set up a photo filing system.  No matter how good you get if you do not have a good filing system you will NEVER be able to find your best pictures.  I keep all my pictures in a single file called….wait for it…..it is a great name….”Pictures”.  I then have a different folder for each camera trip that is named in the following manner….YEAR CAMERA EVENT.  For example “2013 D800 Italy Vacation”.  If the trip covered several days then each day will have a sub folder.

I have been doing this for years and now that I have 1Tb of pictures I am thrilled that I have.  Finding a pictures takes a few minutes and back ups are easy!

2.  Back up, back up, BACK UP! Get into the habit early and do it religiously.  The way I do it is that I have three hard drives.  Two are kept at home and one in my office.  Having the back ups in two different places avoids the risk of losing everything in a fire or home burglary.  What I do is back up the pictures on my two home drives and then swap one with the drive I have in the office.  Trust me….a little precaution will go a long way.

3.  Shoot in RAW.  Hey I know that there is a long discussion about JPEG and RAW files but when you are just starting out getting it perfect in camera is difficult and a RAW file will allow you to rescue more shots that would otherwise be tossed.  Once you are proficient feel free to change…but I bet you wont.

4.  Understand inspiration and the impact it can have on your work.  I know this sounds rather esoteric but it is number 4 on my list because it is something that took me a long while to learn.  Photography is an art form and art requires some imagination and that is feed by inspiration.  The easiest way to get inspired….go to an art museum.  It does not matter what kind of art…it does not need to be a photography exposition or even paintings.  Even modern art (which I do not understand for the life of me) is inspiring.  Try this…go to a museum and stand in front of a piece of art.  Note the colors, light and materials used.  Ask yourself what you feel when you look at it.  Now find ONE word that describes it.  Now do the same with your pictures BEFORE you take the shot.

5.  Slow down.  Digital pictures are free so we tend to take too many shots.  Everyone will tell you to take more shots just in case you miss something.  The problem is if you start clicking without thinking.  Remember art requires imagination which requires inspiration + thought.  If you take too many pictures you do not have time to think.  Then you are capturing moments but not making art.

Shopping Mall Rome Italy 1024x683 10 Things I Wish I Knew...

Shopping Mall (Rome, Italy): D800 14-24mm, shot at 15mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec & ISO 100. I love the shapes in this image. Find what you like to shoot and chase it.

6.  Stand in front of interesting things.  Photography requires subject matter and rarely is this found on a sofa.  Take your gear and start walking.  Look for shapes, textures and things that define the neighborhood you are in.  If you do not see anything interesting look for details.  Details tell a wonderful story if you give them a chance.

7.  Learn about light.  Get up early and notice how the light changes.  Make shadows a subject as it is the fastest way to learn about light.

8.  Get a tripod and use it.  It does not have to be a very expensive one but a tripod slows you down, makes you think and helps ensure you have a tack sharp image.

9.  Get off auto and give manual a try.  Play with your camera.  I find that when it is raining outside it is a great time to pull out the camera and sitting on the sofa play with the settings.  Practice manual focus and setting shutter speed & aperture manually.  You will learn allot about what your camera is doing and that will help you get the images you want.

Sabrina Perth Australia 1024x1024 10 Things I Wish I Knew...

Sabrina (Perth, Australia): D800 70-200mm shot at 200mm, f/2.8, 1/250sec & ISO 100. My models are my family members.

10.  Your photography is about two things, you and your subject.  It does not matter if no one else understands or likes your image.  You are going through a journey of learning and you need to make it your own.  Some of my least appreciated pictures taught me the most about photography.  Sometimes it pays to STOP sharing and start thinking about your own image.  If you please the whole world but let yourself down you have failed.

Rome Metro Post 3

Heres Looking at You Kid Rome Italy 1024x758 Rome Metro Post 3

Here’s Looking at You Kid (Rome, Italy): D800 24-70mm shot at 40mm, f/2.8, 1/90sec & ISO 800.

I have never seen such a look of relief as I saw on peoples faces as they exit the metro.  It is almost as if they have survived another odyssey and can now enjoy the wonders of life.  There is something so very unnatural about being underground.  With the exception of a space craft, or submarine there is no other environment that is so reliant on technology to allow us to survive there.

Weed Rome Italy 1024x723 Rome Metro Post 3

Weed (Rome, Italy): D800 24-70mm shot at 24mm, f/2.8, 1/90sec & ISO 1600.

But even in these dark passageways there is room for art.  While some my complain about the messages being written I love to see what they do.  It gives you something to look at as you are pressed against the wall by a mob of commuters pushing past you.

On The Wall Rome Italy 1024x804 Rome Metro Post 3

On The Wall (Rome, Italy): D800 24-70mm shot at 55mm, f/2.8, 1/180sec & ISO 100.