A detail from one of wooden walkways at Itsukushima Shrine on the Japanese island of Miyajima, near Hiroshima. Orange is a traditional colour for these Shinto structures. This was taken last winter, shortly after the acquisition of my Nikon D7000 and 18-200mm zoom.
Archive for May, 2011
Posted in Photo of the Day, tagged 18-200, architecture, D7000, Hiroshima, image, Japan, Miyajima, Nikon, photo, photography, shinto, shrine, travel, veranda, woodwork on May 31, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Photo of the Day, tagged "10-24mm", "wide angle", ancient, architecture, circle, D7000, dome, image, Italy, monument, Nikon, Pantheon, photo, photography, Rome, rotunda, temple on May 30, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
The Pantheon is one of the best preserved ancient Roman structures in the world. From its impressive columned facade in the centre of Rome, one passes inside to gaze up at the two thousand year-old rotunda, the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.
I’ve been to the Pantheon twice in the last year, but the second time I came armed with the wonderful Nikon 10-24mm wide-angle lens which is essential for capturing such architectural delights decently.
Posted in Photo of the Day, tagged 18-200mm, Buddha, Buddhism, D7000, hand, image, ISO, Japan, Kyoto, Nara, Nikon, photo, photograph, photography, statue, Zen, zoom on May 29, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Nara, an ancient Japanese city near Kyoto, contains the largest wooden building in the world which houses an enormous bronze statue of the Buddha.
Inside, lighting is challenging, but the Nikon D7000 coped admirably, allowing me to zoom in on the hand of a minor deity and produce a beautiful shot even at ISO 3200.
Sometimes when on a trip to a famous destination it pays to head off the beaten track and explore the side streets.
I did just that in Rome last summer, taking a short cut almost at random between two major attractions, and found this stunning vista.
The late evening sunlight enhanced further the orange of the plaster, contrasting perfectly with the blue sky and white bell tower.
Nothing here is on the main tourist itinerary, but nonetheless it is breathtaking.
Now we get into the realm of real abstract photography. Once, while attempting to take a night panorama with the camera resting on a wall, I accidentally fired off a shot as I moved it, and the resulting blurred image, far from being a disaster, was somehow appealing in its mysteriousness.
Now, I often perform such ‘accidents’ and enjoy the random but controlled results, reminiscent of modern art rather than accurate photographic reproduction.
This photo illustrates a number of important points in photography. First, that the mundane can become extraordinary if the conditions are right: here the much maligned pigeon is transformed into a creature of beauty by the zoom lens.
Second, just because we’re in a famous location (this was in St Mark’s Square, Venice), it doesn’t mean that we have to limit ourselves to taking the same photos of famous monuments that everyone else is taking.
Clouds are endlessly fascinating, and dramatic skies are favourites of the photographer. However, sometimes a bit of inspired post-processing can really transform such images into something more striking.
In this example, replacing colour with a sepia wash and enhancing contrast makes the scene far more atmospheric.
Posted in Photo of the Day, tagged 18-200mm, aperture, apple, art, D7000, Eve, image, Italy, monochrome, Nikon, photograph, photography, picture, portrait, street photography, Vicenza, woman on May 22, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
I took a break from my sightseeing in Vicenza, Italy, last March, and sat down on the church steps. This Italian Eve then appeared, and I couldn’t resist taken a surreptitious shot, much as I feel very uncomfortable about candid street photography.
Later, back home, I thought I’d try something new (for me), and used the saturation brush in Apple’s Aperture to transform the non-human elements in the shot to black and white. I think it works well.
Posted in Photo of the Day, tagged abstract, architecture, art, Buddhism, China, D50, DSLR, eaves, image, Japan, Japanese, Nagasaki, Nikon, oriental, pattern, photo, photography, roof, temple, Zen on May 21, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Nagasaki is a city with a more cosmopolitan heritage than most Japanese towns. As well as some areas of old European housing, there are a number of Chinese-influenced temples whose decoration is noticeably different from the Japanese norm.
This detail of the colourful temple eaves is an example of this, and was captured four years ago on my first DSLR, a Nikon D50.
Posted in Photography Talk, tagged 55-3000mm, aperture, crop, D7000, full moon, ISO, lens, moon, Nikon, phase, photo, photography, single-point focus, spot metering, tips, tripod, zoom on May 21, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
I must admit I’m obsessed with the moon and have been photographing her regularly for the last couple of years after I found out how to do it.
Now, I’m no expert when it comes to this – I’m something of an anarchist photographer who can’t be bothered with ‘rules’ – but here’s what I do, which might be of help to beginners.
- You’ll need a zoom lens for this – I use the cheap Nikon 55-300mm VR, which is fine for the amateur.
- Switch to spot metering (otherwise the the moon will be a burnt-out sphere…)
- Use single-point focus (not that the multi-point mode is going to miss the moon, but just in case…)
- Set ISO to 100 (or whatever is lowest on your camera) – yes, it’s night, but the moon is very bright when you’re spot-metering it, and you’ll need the best image quality since you’ll be cropping later.
- Choose an aperture around f8-11 to make sure you’re shooting at a high enough shutter speed to offset any motion blur.
Now, here’s where I’m radical – I never use a tripod! Why? I don’t like them – too cumbersome and annoying to set up, and I much favour spontaneity. Surely this affects the quality, you might think – but no. I’ve done tests with (using a remote shutter release) and without, and there’s no appreciable difference. That’s because you can shoot at fairly high speeds, so the extra stabilisation isn’t really necessary. In addition, I’m good at using railings, etc, to stabilise myself, and practice the art of holding my breath after exhaling while shooting. This deals with any possible motion blur issues.
After shooting you’ll need to crop the image in your software, then add some sharpening and adjust contrast and levels to taste. It’s actually quite a fine art to make sure it doesn’t look over-processed or too unnatural – but then again, this is art, so anything goes…