Tag Archives: Camera

Flickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

Flickr Camera Roll BetaFlickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

 

It is not every day that a photo dumpsite comes up with something interesting, let alone helpful for the photographers. But the new camera roll beta from Flickr actually helps solve some of the problems that photographers might have with understanding how their pictures are consumed or viewed.

 

Before camera roll, finding out how people were consuming pictures was to say the least painful. Camera Roll solves this problem for me in an elegant and beautiful way to determine what pictures are popular, how many times they have been viewed (because I am much more interested in specific picture views than full gallery views for weeding purposes) and which ones are the most popular in a given set.

 

This is a great way of seeing how many picture views each individual picture gets. The tabular format is pretty sweet for seeing how many people like a specific picture that you have and then working backwards from there to work out which pictures are the most popular in a gallery. With the one terabyte limit, this makes weeding out pictures so much easier, you simply drop the ones that have the fewest picture views.

 

The ones with the most picture views stay, the ones with the least get deleted off the system in favor of the better ones, or the ones with the most picture views.

 

I am also finding out that with camera roll some of my experiments of “less is more” or “more is more” in terms of driving picture views, this makes the data pulls much more intuitive than digging through the pictures bit by bit, piece by piece.

 

I am really digging on the new camera roll, and I really hope that the Flickr product management group keeps this feature as part of Flickr.

 

The only other feature that I would really love to see come out of Flickr is a shopping cart so that people can purchase pictures from me directly and I get to use their site to make money. It would totally turn Flickr from a dump site into a portfolio site if they were to do that.

 

If you have not had a chance to take a look at the Camera Roll Beta, and start incorporating it into your statistical view of how your pictures are consumed. Now all that remains is a shopping cart, I really want to see people have the ability to purchase pictures from me there. My stuff is not the kind of stuff that is going to show up in a Getty image search, but it is the kind of stuff that someone might purchase.

 

So I am trying to win a Camera with Snapknot

And they really want us to help them market their service and site. The request is that I post this imbed code that you will see as a picture, so I can get 100 bonus points to win a Nikon D800 which would be awesome to have. It is my next camera anyways, but hey if I can win it, even better.

 

Here is the code, they are probably going to track how many times this gets viewed by the way. And by what IP address, so be careful out there.

 

 

SnapKnot
Courtesy of: SnapKnot

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When Shooting in Rapid Mode makes Sense or Why Spray and Pray can be an option

When Shooting in Rapid Mode makes Sense or Why Spray and Pray can be an option

Using Available Lighting in Photography

We all hear about spray and pray as a derogatory remark about when someone is simply clicking the shutter or shooting in burst mode on their camera. The implication is that the person shooting the shot is an untested noob, but the reality is when you need to shoot in burst mode, you have to shoot in burst mode.

Low light, lots of action, go burst mode, shooting wild life, go burst mode, shooting action anything, shoot burst mode, or as “photographers” will call it, spray and pray. Got a guy running towards you with a sword recreating a roman war scene, shoot burst mode, got someone dropping a bowling ball off a ladder in low light onto someone sporting a cinder block, shoot burst mode.

Sorry folks, not every shot can be carefully orchestrated so you only have to take one shot. There is always someone derping, there was movement on the hands, there were eyes closed, there was something that is going to totally invalidate that picture. Event photography like side shows, burlesque, darts, archery, maybe roller derby all means you can’t sit there and finesse the shot, you gotta shot when you gotta shoot and try not to over run your camera buffer.

Small children, animals, you name it where the event cannot be controlled and the process is unpredictable because of large groups because there is always someone derping with an eye closed or something else, shoot in burst mode, or as the “professionals” will call it, spray and pray.

We all know that spray and pray is not for every purpose, like in the studio where everything is controlled down to the lighting. Over time as you get more comfortable with your camera and the situation around you, you will know when to take the single right moment frame, or when to burst mode on your camera. That is part of the trick of knowing your gear, knowing where you are, and knowing what the situation calls for when taking a picture.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to take a picture, there are a lot of darn fine mechanics out there with a camera, but few artists. Not everyone is going to be Ansel Adams, we just can’t be, shoot the way you want to shoot, shoot what works best for you, you are the photographer. If you want to take 100 shots of the same thing do it, if you want to take one shot of the bowling ball landing on someone’s chest, that is your call, not some other photographer’s call to tell you how to take a picture. It’s just that simple, all the other photographer does is show he is a diva, and I think we have all had enough of prima donna photographers.

 

 

 

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Taking pictures of Belly Dancers

Taking pictures of Belly DancersTaking pictures of Belly Dancers

Form, motion, expression, belly dancers can be some of the hardest pictures to take. Mostly because no matter how you have your camera set you need to set the lighting and the speed of the camera so that you can catch motion. Motion has always been a problem for me, and I have this thing about mutant hands where the hands blur out or elongated fingers tend to get in the way. I have friends to thank for that as they tend to critique my pictures quite honestly. And when you find someone who will critique your pictures honestly they are someone to cherish a lot.

I had the opportunity to do some fantasy belly dancers in the studio and ended up with a dozen or so pictures that I ended up really liking. I’ll reprocess them over to a fantasy feel over the next couple of weeks. The setting on the camera was 1/300 running under stage lighting rather than flash, with an ISO of 200 because I wanted to be able to pop the colors and I needed to be a bit above 100 ISO when it came down to the lighting. Flash might have worked better, but wanted to see what i could do against the black background and flash has a tendency to bring out all the details that I wanted smoothed out. I still wanted to capture some motion rather than single events in time. It was important to me to capture the motion of the veils flying through the air, but keep the belly dancer in focus and in perfect focus.

That is going to be the challenge with doing live motion dancing pictures. Belly Dancers rely on the expression of hand and veil; you want to capture both of them. But you do want the veils a little motion wise while everything else is in focus. In all not that bad a photo shoot and my model was amazingly cool to redo some of the movements so that I could try to do what I was trying to do. If you get the opportunity to do something like this I would love to see what you create. Belly dancing has a wonderful history of being something that entices and teases. You always want to know what is underneath, knowing full well that well it is just a performance, and you will not see all that you want to see. Sometimes pictures that are more teasing are always going to be the best ones because it leaves so much to the imagination. One cannot argue with imagination.

 

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Sakuracon 2013 Event Photography

Sakuracon 2007
Sakuracon 2007 (Photo credit: TheKingInYellow)

Sakuracon 2013 Event Photography

 

Sakuracon is one of my favorite events to take pictures at. The amazing number of people there in Cosplay is always fun to see, and take pictures of. There is always something interesting about taking pictures at an event like Sakuracon. One the kids and their parents are generally awesome, and there is an etiquette about taking pictures at a show like this.

The first thing to remember, most of these people are under age, so you have to make sure that you ask their parents if it is ok to take their pictures. I have always found it good to ask in general, and to make sure that you are not “creepy guy with camera” have your photography cards handy. Make sure you give out your photography cards to anyone who asks for it.

Sakuracon has ejected photographers in the past for being too much creepy guy with camera, and not enough care being paid attention to the people you are taking pictures of. Sakuracon has a pretty intense photography policy that professional photographers should pay attention to, to make sure that they are following the rules. People get really nervous when a person is taking pictures of their kids in costumes. And some of the anime costumes can be a bit revealing.

Your best bet when taking pictures at a show like this is to make sure you are being totally cool. If they say no, go with that and just go find someone else to take pictures of. There will be professional cosplayers there, so you can go take pictures of them.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Sakuracon 2012 if you are interested in checking them out.

Above all, be cool, follow the rules, ask, hand out your card to everyone, and have a great weekend taking event pictures. Be every aware that many of the people there are underage, so make sure you are in contact with their parents before doing anything.
And for the love of everything, if there is another catastrophic costuming failure when taking a picture of someone, it is your responsibility to stop taking picture, and make sure you delete them off your camera.

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Jesse Bell Jones Burlesque Dancer

Jesse Bell Jones Burlesque DancerJesse Bell Jones Burlesque Dancer

If you missed this weekend’s Steampunk Exhibition Ball, then you really missed out on one of the coolest and fun parties here in the Seattle area. So I was lucky enough to be one of the event photographers for the show and finally got everything processed and done nicely for the Center for Sex Positive Culture who sponsors the event. Tons of very cool stuff, but let’s look at this from a photographer’s perspective. Lighting was awesome this year, the stage was nicely lit with a huge dance floor that had some decent overhead lighting, and the guy manning the spot light was also pretty good. Camera set on Auto no flash because in an event you really don’t have time to go manual, nor do you have time to go Aperture priority along the way. This is when you trust your camera to make decisions or you don’t. Surprisingly the camera did a pretty good job, so a lot of pictures worked out that I didn’t think would. Jessie Bell Jones is one of those sets.

Challenging to say the very least. She was doing her burlesque act on the dance floor, meaning the only viable lighting was the spot light. This is why I love the spot man; he was doing a great job keeping her lit enough for the camera. The only time the auto system failed was when the spot went orange, I have no idea what it is about Nikon, auto focus, and the color orange, but they sure do not like each other. Most of the orange lit did not come out, meaning the set was short as the light rotated colors about one color per minute. Otherwise you had muted overhead lighting to work with. The ISO’s were jacked to 3200 to help compensate, but you can tell the difference between the spot and non-spot lit pictures. This is why event photography totally rocks and is awesome. You rarely have challenges like this in studio or even on the street. I need to do more stuff like this.

Enjoy the lady in horns, this was a fun burlesque to capture.

 

View photos at SmugMug

 

 

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Black Mist Studio

 

Black Mist Studio Shoot Model
Black Mist Studio Shoot Model

Now that I have had my say about Studio 912, a truly warm and welcoming studio here in Seattle is Black Mist Studio in Edmunds Washington at the Dayton Street photo studio. I had the biggest blast I have had taking pictures of models at the studio. Black Mist I am not ambivalent about, I really like them, good group of people including the owner/operator. Unfortunately they seem to meet maybe quarterly but when they do meet they are awesome. They usually have about six to seven models, four places to take pictures, and about five or six photographers and no one minds you taking pictures over their shoulder, which is the way it should be. The bad part is that I was having camera problems that day as my old camera was dying and I was hoping that it would make it through the whole shoot, but it didn’t make it, so I had to leave early.

Everyone was truly cool, and jumping in with the models and the main photographer, one photographer had brought a box of props with him, and that is something that I was really thankful for. So thankful that I have been building my own box of small props and other fun things like angel wings, a gas mask, hats, gloves, some clothing like boa’s and other fun things to play with for the model. Plus with a box of props, you can draw inspiration from how the model looks at the prop and how the model interacts with the prop. This was my first model shoot in a studio (I am usually an action/event photographer), so my camera was still set for doing event/action photography so I really was not using the strobes as the studio had a lot of natural light and was very awesome to shoot in, and the models all rocked.

If you have the chance to intersect with the Black Mist Studio when you have time to do a shoot, this is one studio that is worth looking at. The lead model Rebel is also starting her own studio, and we are fully supporting her mission to do so, she is having her first shoot in November. That one will be interesting as she is one amazingly cool person to work with.

 

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