Photography Tip 10 of 10

Tip #10: Try a prime lens

Nikon-AF-Nikkor-50mm-f-1.4DWhen you buy a camera in a kit there are normally a couple of lenses. Those lenses are usually zoom lenses, you’ll get something like an 18-55mm and a 55-200mm.

A prime lens is a lens that does not zoom, its a fixed focal length. If you could only buy one prime lens, regardless of if you have a full frame sensor or a crop sensor, there is one prime lens I would buy over anything else and that is the 50mm.

There are usually a couple of versions by each manufacturer, I know Nikon for example has a 1.8 and a 1.4, Cannon has a 1.2. Just get the lowest f-stop you can, even if you can just get the Nikon 1.8 its only a couple of hundred dollars. It will open up and expand your creativity. You have to move around more because it doesn’t zoom, but it will make your camera light and easy to move around with.

The 50mm is said to be one of the best for portraits, I absolutely love my 50mm lenses. I find that they are a good way to expand my creativity, and then slowly you will be able to build up more prime lenses. I’ve got several prime lenses, I really love having a prime lens. Usually they are a faster lens, they’ve got less glass in them so they’re a lighter lens, they’re usually sharper too! You’ll get a better quality image out of a prime lens.

Todays iCandy – Macro Pics from Fiji

You haven’t seen many posts from me lately. I was in Fiji for 10 days and have also been a little busy too! I have decided to share two pics with you today to make up for my slackness!

I took both of these in Fiji, I haven’t done a lot of Macro photography and took my Sigma 105mm Macro lens so I could play around with it. It really is a great lens and if you’re thinking of trying Macro out, it’s a lot cheaper than the Nikon or Canon lenses and from reports I have read, supposed to be better!

frog hermit

Fuji X-T1, My first thoughts…

Fuji X-T1 v’s the Sony A7r? Why I picked the Fuji X-T1

Ever since the release of the Fuji X-E1 I have fell in love with Fujifilm. I was getting a little bit of camera lust when Sony released the A7 and A7r a few months ago, although I already have a full frame DSLR (I own the Nikon D800 and love it!) – Nikon released the Nikon Df and I almost bought one, but held out thinking to myself that Fuji had to have something in the works!

Fuji X-T1

I was right… Fujifilm were working on a new mirrorless camera, one that would punch the competition in the face! The Fuji X-T1. So what is it I like so much about the Fuji X-T1?

The Fuji X-T1 is a photographers dream, the buttons and dials are EXACTLY where you want them! The camera feels light and nimble but not too small, and the EVF on the Fuji X-T1 (Electronic Viewfinder) is superb… amazing in fact!

The EVF is the thing that really put me off mirrorless in the past, the Fuji X-E1 has an EVF and I didn’t like it. It was laggy and just weird to use… but on the Fuji X-T1, Fuji have got it right! It feels good, it is bright, big and seems to move pretty consistently with my movements.

Another common complaint has been the focus speed and accurate… with the Fuji X-T1 they seemed to have fixed it! And man, the burst rate will compete with some top end DSLR’s too… watch the video, I give you a demo of the 8fps goodness!

It’s all in the Fujifilm X-T1 video…

Anyway, if you want to know more I suggest you watch the video below, in the video I will tell you exactly why I chose the Fuji X-T1 over the Sony A7r, I also tell you what I like… and don’t like about my new Fuji X-T1!

Photography Tip 9 of 10

Tip #9: Learn about white balance


Digital cameras these days are getting very clever at adjusting for white balance, but they are still not perfect.

Making sure that you have the right white balance set for each photo you take is going to give you better results. If your photos are looking too blue, too yellow, maybe too green you’ve got to sort your white balance out. Every light source effects white balance differently, a fluorescent light inside will effect your white balance differently than a sunny day outside.

My advice is to shoot on raw if your camera has the ability, leave your white balance set to auto and then adjust it in Photoshop, Lightroom, or whatever post processing application you like best after you have taken the photo. That means you will never have to worry about adjusting your camera white balance while you are out in the field.

Todays iCandy – Mini Tennis

I love the tilt shift effect. I shot this from my hotel room on the Gold Coast using my new FujiFilm X-T1 (review will come soon) and then I used Adobe Photoshop Tilt Shift filter.

Adobe Tilt Shift Filter

Photography Tip 8 of 10

Tip #8: Join a club

camera Clubs of AustraliaJoin a camera club. There are plenty of camera clubs online, and there’s also plenty of physical clubs around as well.  Joining a camera club or getting online onto a camera forum that has other members, you can share your ideas, you can take photos and have them critiqued, you can enter your photography into competitions.

You’ll be able to see how people use their equipment. Joining a camera club or being online in some sort of club is the best way for you to accelerate your learning. There are courses out there of course that you can take, but short of that just find something you can get involved with so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes, and their successes as well.

A Rare Before and After

I don’t often give you an insight into the before and after of a shot. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s magician like thinking, you know, how they never show you how a trick is done. In some ways though, it’s good for you to see a finished photo and then the before photo so you can see what retouching was done. This particular before and after I processed today. I was thinking how nice it would be to be out looking for fungi, it’s been raining all weekend and this can only mean one thing, and that is that the fungi is going to be popping up everywhere!

I went through my Tasmania Lightroom Catalogue and found another composition of this rare blue fungi and thought I would process it for you, and then show you what it looked like before the final clean up. Of course, I had already made adjustments to colour and cropping, a little bit of sharpening and a tweak here and there!

My final thing is to get rid of any distracting elements that do not add any value to the image. I use a set of tweezers when I am there, and remove as much as possible, but sometimes it is easier to take these little annoying bits out in post production.

The Before and After will cycle through every 2 seconds or you can control the image with the arrows on the left and right of the image (They will appear when you hover you mouse over the image). Let me know your thoughts in the comments, thanks!


Photography Tip 7 of 10

Tip #7: Learn from your mistakes

I know it can be frustrating when you take a photo, and its blurry or over exposed, maybe something else ruined it for you…  so you delete it.

Henri Cartier-BressonIf you’re keen on improving your photography skills I think you should look at your bad photos and study them. Try to figure out what went wrong. If you’ve got a blurry photo, look at things like ISO, look at shutter speed, at aperture to try and work out what happened. Was it on a tripod? Did I move? Was the shutter speed less than the focal length? These are all the type of things you should look for when your photos go wrong to try and figure out what happened.

Instead of deleting them all off of your camera, have a look at them and try to figure out what went wrong. Was the composure wrong, maybe the exposure, what is it that I could have improved? Learn from your mistakes!

I think this famous quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson sums it up! “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Get those out of the way as quick as you can!

Todays iCandy – The Tiny Spider

Can you find it? Before I headed off to Tassie I decided to get myself a Macro Lens. I had owned one before but hardly used it, and really wasn’t sure on how to! Doing my research I learnt that the Tasmanian rainforest can be abundant with fungi of all shapes and sizes so I decided I would try my hand at some macro fungi shots. It was fun, slowly walking through the forest, eyes scanning the forest floor for interesting fungi to photograph. This one was amazingly small, and it wasn’t until I had it at 100% on my monitor that I realised I had a tiny spider posing for the shot!

Macro Fungi Tasmania