Categories
Black and White Candid Chicago People Photos Rain Street United States Urban

Grab your bag and run!

I’m not sure where this is. We sheltered from a very heavy rain storm and watched while people ran for cover from all over.
Thankfully the storm didn’t last too long and I wandered to Millennium Park!

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 55mm
ISO 200
Shutter speed 1/6s
Categories
Candid Chicago People Photos Street United States Urban

three vs three

Waiting to cross the street.

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/100s
Categories
Black and White Candid Chicago People Photos Signs Street United States Urban

Old Navy’s Fred

If you wander into the Old Navy Store on State Street in Chicago you may bump into Fred. He has worked there for years, he’s very patient, nice and accommodating and did his level best to help us get the best bargains while shopping!
This isn’t a great photo, it was a candid photo taken in bad light and the focus settled on the background but I had to include him as a nice memory of our trip.

Aperture ƒ/3.5
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/15s
Categories
Birds Black and White Candid Chicago Nature People Photos Signs Street United States Urban

Please don’t feed the pigeons

The sign obviously hasn’t worked!
This was on South Wabash, Chicago around the same time this photo was taken.

Aperture ƒ/5
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/60s
Categories
Birds Candid Chicago Nature People Photos Street United States Urban Water

Feeding The Duck

Urban ducks and wild fowl are luckier than their country brethren. People think they are cute and feed them!
This is the same duck I posted before at the Crown Fountains, Chicago.

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/80s
Categories
Photography Tutorials Words

Faking Depth of Field

First it was lomo, then cross-processing, and now the latest craze among online photographers seems to be making their photos look like miniture models.
A common side-effect of macro photography is a shallow depth of field (DOF) which means that only a small portion of the scene is in focus. Luckily this effect is very easy to emulate and here’s a tutorial to show you how. Pay attention to Christopher’s advise about what sort of shots work well! You could also buy a Len Baby which does a similar job and more!
Daily Dose of Imagery has a very good example of the “fake model” photo. He blurred the foreground and background, but some middle distance objects are in focus and intersect the blurred area. Nicely done.

Even after an effect becomes stale and overused online, there’s always the print world. People seem to like that sort of stuff all the time!

Categories
Candid Chicago People Photos Street United States Urban

Smile Please! You’re on Camera!

Pictured by the Crown Fountains, Chicago. The guy in the middle was doing handstands in the water earlier and they were having a great time!
He’s also pictured in this photo looking at one of the fountains!

Aperture ƒ/5
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 200mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/30s
Categories
Black and White Candid Chicago People Photos Street United States Urban

Religion isn’t free

A preacher on State Street, just outside Old Navy. I seem to recall he was there way back in 2003 too.
I didn’t listen to anything he said but as I passed he pushed a sheet of paper into my hand. I made to take it but he wanted a quarter for it! In disgust I walked on. I’m not paying for something I won’t read anyway!
Even the guys with megaphones on Patrick Street give their propaganda for free.
A quick search on Google found out more about him: his name is Samuel Chambers, and he is a very youthful looking 66!

Samuel Chambers only wants the best for you.

So, if necessary, he won’t hesitate to tell you that you’re heading straight to hell.

Perhaps he’s told you that very thing as you were heading, instead, straight into the Old Navy store on State and Washington Streets to buy inexpensive summer tank tops. He’s the compact man, about 5 feet 6 inches with a thin moustache, dressed in a double-breasted suit and tie, holding a microphone out front on the sidewalk.

And finally, here’s a man who’ll give him a “big ol’ French kiss” the next time he walks by. “Pucker up” indeed!

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 55mm
ISO 200
Shutter speed 1/40s
Categories
Architecture Chicago People Photos United States Urban Water

Sad Face?

Second of the Crown Fountains in Millenium Park, Chicago.
The tent in the background covered The Bean and wasn’t due to be removed for a few weeks.

Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/125s
Categories
Architecture Chicago People Photos United States Urban Water

Crown Fountain in Millenium Park Chicago

This is one of the Crown Fountains in Millennium Park, Chicago. The red glow in this photo is from that large image! It’s actually a video, the person pictured smiles and changes expression every few seconds, and the face changes on a regular basis.
I didn’t know this was here at all, but it made up for the fact that The Bean was closed for renovation when we visited. I was really looking forward to that. We’ll have to visit Chicago again!

Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 55mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/60s
Categories
Links Photography Tutorials Words

Starting Photography, Digital Workflow, Orphans and Amazing Zooming Images

Starting out in Photography
A few weeks back, Tom asked me by email about starting out in photography as he recently bought a Canon 350D and started posting photos online!
Some people are born with a talent and an eye for photography, but for the rest of us, practise makes perfect. Bring your camera with you wherever you go and take photos at every opportunity. This method is scoffed at by many but it works, and by examining everything later you’ll find a few gems hidden among the duds. Occasionally you’ll remember the next time you’re out that a particular shot worked well and use that lesson to improve the composition of a shot.

You must buy “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson.. My understanding of my camera completely changed after I read that. I linked to it on my blog ages ago and I go back to it on occasion.
His Creative book is good too, but not as much of an eye opener!

I went to a meeting of the Mallow Camera Club last December. It was interesting, but for various reasons I haven’t gone back there yet. They meet every Monday night if you’re interested. Cork Camera Club meet in the Garda Social Club on Tuesday nights. I don’t know anything about them however.

Subscribe to the flickr Interestingness feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/InterestingFlickr – it has a lot of saturated/contrasty images but it’s still interesting. Bloglines sometimes quickly fills up with the max of 200 posts!

Digital Workflow
Your digital workflow describes how photos get from your camera to the screen and printed in a frame in your living room. It all depends on your software and operating system. If you’re using Linux, you might be interested in Jason’s one.
My own workflow revolves around a simple directory structure with top level YYYY directories, and sub-directories named after the current day in “YYYY-MM-DD – description” format. The description on the folder is generally good enough to help me find most images quickly. In each folder is another one called “Complete” which is a work and output directory. I save work in progress images in .xcf format, and the final result as 92% quality jpeg files. I use a simple script to copy files off my camera.
Here’s how I name images:

  • Large, original size or only cropped images have “-l” added to them. ie. img_9999-l.jpg
  • Medium size, 700 pixel wide or high images have a “-m” extension: img_9999-m.jpg
  • And anything smaller has “-s” attached to them.
  • Unfinished files have “-wip” appended to them usually.

I like Jason’s “current” work directory idea. I’ll have to modify my workflow somewhat and rename each image with YYYY-MM-DD prefixed to it if I’m going to use a global work directory but it would make backing up files easier.

Before uploading images I always resize them so the longest side is 700 pixels long. Almost all the images on this blog have that contstraint. Resizing an images involves the removal of information and makes the remaining pixels slightly more fuzzy. A straight vertical black line on a white background in a large image may have a ghostly border around it and it will be merged with the background colour making for a grey line. One of the most common ways of fixing this is to use the unsharp mask plugin which gives the illusion of sharpening an image by increasing local contrast. There are numerous unsharp mask tutorials online so I’ll let you find the one that best describes it to you.
Please remember, always resize your images before uploading them. Browsers are completely useless at resizing images!

Orphans, Zooming and Other Links

  • Urgent Call for Your Action on Orphan Works – a law is about to be passed in the United States making it much easier for photographs and visual works to be used without attribution or payment. Peter Marshall has a clear write-up about the danger of this bill while mrbrown describes it as a “possible disaster for all photographers”.
    How do I feel about attribution and image usage? Photographers and artists must be recognised. I have heard that my images have been used occasionally by others as desktop backgrounds or screensavers, and that’s great, but please leave a comment on that blog post if you use a photo. It will encourage me to continue posting!
    Printing my name and url on images is an option but it looks ugly and limits the appeal of a photo. Is it possible to embed those into the EXIF info?
  • Over on Hotwired I spied a very cool zooming image demo that could be built on to create a nice gallery script. I don’t like or browse gallery sites very often but this looks nice. It needs more work to be a polished work but I hope to see someone carry this project on to greater heights!
  • Top 10 Tips for Getting Attention on Flickr – worth a read if you’re a Flickr user. A few tips I hadn’t thought of and new ideas I must put into practise.
  • Fluid Effect – more before and after shots of beautiful people. It’s amazing what can be done!
  • One tip I picked up from the Flickr advanced user guide is the upload by email and and “blog this” function. It works well, but inserts two line breaks into my blog posts for some reason.
  • Shooting action shots in low light is a useful read if you’ve ever wondered why everything was blurry after that night out in the pub!
  • Peter noticed that Digital Journalist turned 100 this month! This magazine is such a good read, but I haven’t had time recently to look at this month’s issue.
  • Canon 5D vs 20D – full frame vs APS-C. What do you need? The full frame sensor wins, but not by much. In a “Practical Photography” magazine review of the NIkon D200 vs the Canon 5D, the Nikon won because it offered the best value for money. If you’re printing at higher than A3 size then buy a 5D but otherwise a 20D or D200 will suffice!
  • A positive review of the Sigma 18-200 lens which is rarely off my Canon 20D!
  • Version 4.6 of Bibble, a RAW photo processing tool available for Linux, Windows and Mac now comes with Noise Ninja included! The press release doesn’t make it clear if Noise Ninja is included in the “Lite” version but I’ll be giving it a whirl over the next few days and I’ll report back here on my first impressions! Later.. Bibblelite for Linux includes “basic” Noise Ninja support but they forgot to include the library file in the 4.6 release! Follow the instructions here to install it. It’s not the full Noise Ninja plugin, but Bibble will use it if available. As Noise Ninja isn’t available for Linux yet it’s a boon to have access to this cut down version!
Categories
Birds Chicago Nature Photos United States

Duck: “Who’s that then?”

I love when animals and birds look at you with a tilt of their heads as if inquisitive. What is this duck saying?
“There’s that guy with the camera again! Why does he keeping taking photos of me and my man?”
“What’s that thing he’s pointing at me?”
“I wonder if he has any bread?”
Ah yes, such is the life of a bird in an urban environment!

Aperture ƒ/5
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 180mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/100s