Getting Back to Figure Photography…

I’ve been slacking lately and after a little bit of peer pressure from some friends of mine on the mythical interwebs, I’ve decided it’s time to get back to doing some figure photography.

So I decided to set up some basic shots last night for my Gothic Garden Tsukasa figure…

It’s been a while since I did any figure photography so it was fun ^^

Here’s the setup shot.

It was a combination of SB-700 flash fired remotely with -2.0 exposure compensation, iPad as a background, and a soft light coming from my android phone as a fill (though I will probably use a reflector next time instead).

I will do more test shots like this in the near future as I for sure will need to test my D600 when it arrives ^^

All shots were shot with Nikon D7000 and Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 @ f/8.0, ISO 100, and 1/60 s shutter speed.  Focal Length varies.

 

D600 Early Adopter

I’ve pre-ordered a Nikon D600 from Amazon.  It appears to be the camera I’ve been wanting for a while.  I’ll post more pictures here once I have it in my hands, I promise!

Hopefully if it ships on time I will have it in my hands on September 19th.

 

A Photographer’s Dilemma

Isn’t she adorable?  It’s too bad we live in a world and society where 99% of the time I’m afraid to ask to take pictures like this.

Paedophile.  Predator.  Those two words are heard too many times in the news during the course of an average week in America.  Those two words are what I’m afraid people are going to think I am when I notice an adorable kid doing something that would make a lovely shot.

On Tuesday, I was on a day trip in Saugatuck, MI.  Around sunset, I was at Oval Beach with the people I traveled there with.  Oval Beach has a swingset near the changing rooms which attracts both kids and grown adults that want to relive their childhood a little bit.  Since I’m not a swimmer, I was with my girlfriend sitting on the benches near that swingset.  I had already taken a few general beach shots and some pictures of the sunset when two little girls were playing on the swingset and I saw them playing around.  They were doing things like swinging to the side and hanging on to the metal frame of the swingset.  Immediately my inner photographer was framing a shot; however, that shot was never taken.  Not more than five minutes later, this adorable little girl was on the swing and I began framing a cute swing shot at f/1.8 and a creamy blown out background in my mind.  This shot was also never taken.  I didn’t even attempt a candid.  Why not?  Fear.  

Wielding a camera is not a crime. In theory, the worst that a parent could say is no to the request of taking a photo of their child; however, in my mind, the anxiety of being thought of as someone that commits crimes against children is worse than the anxiety of asking out the first girl I had a crush on.  A simple no would be fine.  A reply like, “Why?  What are you using the photos for?  Are you some sort of stalker?” would be hurtful.  Why not try to get a candid?  If I get caught taking a candid of a kid, it looks even worse for me (and I already have race and sex against me so we don’t need more).  Besides, anyone that knows me knows that I generally like to take my time with shots; candids would not satisfy me because I wish to create the picture as I see it in my head before shooting.

A general rule that you hear said often to beginning photographers (and I even say it in this blog on the Decent photos… even as a noob article) is, “Take photos of what you like.”  I’ve been attracted to people or characters that would generally be considered cute or pretty since I was a teenager.  While I do enjoy photographing cosplay and lolita fashion, I can never truly photograph everything that I’d like to if I’m scared to death to photograph the very thing I find cutest of all.  How many adorable shots have I missed because of this fear and what can I do about it?

Progress: From 2008 – Today

We’re all human; none of us are going to just pick up a camera and instantly become a photography expert.  I’ve been at it for about four years and I wouldn’t call myself even 10% as knowledgeable as a working published professional. Even so, you can definitely see progress in what I thought of as a great picture years ago, and what I consider some of my best work today.  Let’s take a look at some of my “good” pictures of people through the years! Read the rest of this entry »

Megapixels: They actually do matter, but not for what you think.

Oh Megapixels…

People newer to using digital cameras tend to fall in love with having a big number of megapixels, but what are they really paying for?  Truthfully, not much.  Megapixels only have two real benefits:  Printing and cropping.  More megapixels will give you clearer prints at larger sizes and gives you better results when cropping an image.  That’s pretty much it, and the average consumer isn’t going to be making large prints or doing much cropping and editing of their point and shoot photos.  I think point and shoot users would get a lot better images if the manufacturer limited the small sensor megapixel amount to something around 6MP and stopped putting 16MP on pea sized sensors since the consumer would get way better dynamic range from their shots then… That being said, this is not going to be another noise and dynamic range argument.  For a good read on that, check this article out: http://cyberphotographer.com/megapixelmyth/

The point I have to make is something that photographers don’t often think about and something I learned in the switch from a D40 to a D7000.  Going from 6MP to 16MP teaches you a lot about lenses and your own technique.  There were a lot of complaints about the D7000 producing soft images and back focusing.  Admittedly, I have some horribly misfocused shots that I’ve taken on my D7000, mostly from the outermost sensors in situations that don’t favor AF.  Also the cross type ones are in the center and are much more accurate so I should have used a focus and recompose technique.  That aside, I felt like my D7000 images had less sharpness for a while and I thought it was related to backfocus so I played around with the AF Fine Tune with inconsistent results…

The truth is it’s the megapixels.  When I used my 35 1.8 on my 6MP D40, I couldn’t tell a sharpness difference between f/1.8 and f/4 everything was razor sharp due to the fewer amount of megapixels.  With the D7000 I can tell the difference between the sharpness of my focus point depending on aperture.  I used to shoot wide open all the time on the D40 and everything was amazingly sharp.  Those images that didn’t look so sharp that I was talking about in the previous paragraph?  All of them were shot on whatever the widest aperture was for the lens I was using at the time.  This caused my images to look softer than I was used to.  I learned that on the D7000 I have to be much more cautious with my aperture because the 16MP sensor will show both the difference in sharpness depending on aperture and when I’ve made a mistake in my technique and lost completely accurate focus from movements or shake.  Because of it, I have to pay more attention to my position a lot more because if I’m shaky I will not get a sharp looking shot in the same way as the D40 with it’s fewer megapixel sensor sometimes would have given me.  Also because of the sensor quality, I know that my shots at f/1.8 with my 85mm 1.8 are not going to be as sharp as f/2.8, which wont be as sharp as f/4. Having more megapixels and a sensor capable of showing me these things has been enlightening after so much time with the D40.

In short, megapixels matter because they can show you more than you’d realize without them.  Sure you’re not likely to get the same revelation from a 16MP point and shoot since the sensor/lens combo on that wont be able to resolve the same level of detail but when you’re coming from something relatively small to a body that’s nearly maximizing the potential of the size format then you will start to see those differences.  If you’re like me and are stepping up from an older Generation 1 Nikon with 6MP to a mid to upper-mid range Generation 2 Nikon with 16MP then you will likely notice the same thing!

 

Seated Behind a Champion

Seated Behind a Champion

My first award winning photo, winner of the Black & White Category of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI.

I got the news about a week ago that I won and I’ll get a certificate and money… still waiting for the awards though ^^;

Hopefully this will be the first of many awards!

Please do NOT use this photo for any purposes without my permission.

  • Model: NIKON D7000
  • FocalLength: 85 mm
  • FocalLength35mmEquiv:
  • ExposureTime: 1/125 sec
  • ISOSpeedRatings: 800
  • FNumber: f/1.8
  • Flash: No Flash
  • DateTimeOriginal: 2012:01:15 13:33:37

Molly

Molly

Hi all! It’s been forever since I updated my blog and I’m hoping to start to do so more regularly now. I picked up extra hours at work and I’m working out at the gym lately to try to shed some of these pounds and get myself into better shape, so I’m rather limited on time ^^; I figured it would be nice to post some of my recent unprocessed photography to highlight some of my recent work.

As a fan of cute, I’ve always really been interested in photographing girls from age 3-9… I mean, most of them are adorable. Recently I’ve gotten the chance to photograph a few of my girlfriend’s cousins and I also got a chance to take a few pictures of the three year old daughter of two of my friends. I shot this with my most recent lens, the Nikon AF 85mm f/1.8D, which is one of their older autofocus lenses that requires the motor drive from the D7000. They recently announced that a AF-S version is coming out in March…. I’m not disappointed in my purchase because if I can get images like this with it, why should I be?

  • Model: NIKON D7000
  • FocalLength: 85 mm
  • FocalLength35mmEquiv:
  • ExposureTime: 1/60 sec
  • ISOSpeedRatings: 100
  • FNumber: f/2.2
  • Flash: Compulsory Flash, Return light detected
  • DateTimeOriginal: 2012:01:15 17:57:35

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