I can’t really say this is a review, hopefully soon I will be able to, since I’m that close to purchasing one of these.

So much awesome, in such a small package.

The GoPro Camera - So much awesome, in such a small package.

A friend introduced me to this thing, and after seeing the footage it captures, I was sold. Not only does it take photo and video, but it also has the capability to mount on almost anyone, or any surface, which makes it ideal for all types of activities. If you’re not already sold, let me do a quick run through of the features:

  • It’s shockproof
  • Waterproof
  • 1080, 960, or 720 p
  • Full 30 – 60 frames per second
  • Its smaller, and lighter than most wallets
  • Mounts on almost anything

The only downfall is that there is no viewfinder, or LCD to preview what you’re shooting, however it does have a more than ample 180 degree viewing range, which really voids the fact that there is no view finder/LCD. You’re able to either purchase the camera by itself, or you can also get it with various mounts, either way you will be spending less than $300.00 for a super versatile gadget that will let you capture anything really.

If you search youtube and type in ‘ gopro ‘ you’ll have plenty of results to see what it can do.

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This installment of my photography tip is a very simple idea, however many don’t seem to realize this truth until its mentioned to them. It’s really about composition, but more so flexibility.

If you’re reading this you probably like to post-process your images and review them to achieve maximum impact. A lot of this has to do with framing, which can in most cases be a result of cropping.

Next time when capturing something, be sure to remember how you wan’t the framing to look like. Once you’ve got the idea pictured in your head, de-zoom, or take a step back so as to expand the overall capture/subject by 10 or even 20%. I often do this in order to have flexibility during post-processing.

The main reason for this tidbit is so once you’re in the post processing phase, you’re still able to tweak the framing of the final image, rather than being stuck on one perspective because you initially captured the subject with a tight framing. Of course, your capture should require minimal cropping, but, there can be error, and when this happens, it’s better to have a loose composition so you’ve got room to correct.


Mar.22.2010 HBM! Desaturated Neon-chucks Edition

Originally uploaded by seansharifi <aka essquared>

I’m sure this has been discovered before however I found it to be a very effective method for when you still want some color, but not the dramatic look of full black and white.

Many post-processing programs have a number of ways to convert a capture into BW, however I will describe it in the most generic way possible. I use Capture NX myself, which is an amazing program by the way, and it has three ways, the best being the method that gives you the most control of course.

1. Apply a black/white filter or conversion process
2. In most cases, ramp up the contrast all the way
3. Use a Lighten filter in conjunction with the black and white process
4. If you have these options, ramp up the filter color slider, and play around with the color slider until you find a result you’re contempt with.

This is the third tip in our installment of photography tips. How do you hold a camera? With your hands right? Yea it sounds simple, but if you want nice, crisp images by reducing camera shake there are a few things you must keep in mind, specifically in lower light conditions.

  • Normally, your right hand should be on the handle and trigger of the camera, and your left should be underneath supporting the weight and keeping it straight relative to your subject. Depending on the size of your lens, your left hand may either be under the body, or the lens, whichever suites you.
  • This second portion is what many people miss. Your arms should be tucked into your body. This provides support for the camera, this is the main idea behind reducing camera shake,.
  • You will most probably want your head forward, and pressed against the viewfinder; this adds another layer of stability.
  • Moving down your body, your feet should be about shoulder width apart. If you’re feet are stuck together, you may sway.
  • Lastly, if possible, try to lean on something. This is not always an option, but if it is, use whatever surface you can for any extra stability.

These are some really basic tips, but can greatly improve your photographic prowess! Happy shooting.

The 365 day Project

January 12, 2010

I’ve never stuck to anew years resolution, so this year I decided to take at least one picture every day of the year. I figured this would be fantastic for growth, as well as creativity! It’s only been 11 days, and I’ve already started running out of ideas, but I’ve promised myself I would finish this!!

I’ll try to post every month with updates.

The second in the series of my attempt to assist up and comming photographers. Here is Tip number 2:

Tip number 2 only involves five words: learn how to post process ! Post processing is just as equally important as taking multiple captures for each shot. I say this because no matter how top-of-the-line your camera and gear are, the images you capture can always be improved by post processing and editing. I myself have been using Adobe Photoshop for years, so naturally it has become almost second nature for me to use. There are a multitude of software for post-processing, you will need to experiment with each to find which one is best suited for you.

Tip number 2a:

Yes, there is a 2a! I was considering using this one in a seperate post, however it goes hand in hand with post-processing. The second tip, of the second tip is to shoot in RAW. RAW will give you a whole new experience to post processing, the possibilities are almost limitless. Shooting in JPEG is totally fine, however if you want the best out of your captures, I urge you to shoot in RAW format. RAW empowers you with control over every aspect of your images, this ranges from the exposure and black levels, all the way to camera specifics such as the amount of vignetting.

Notice the sharpness in the image.

Notice the sharpness in the image.

I say non-proffessional because, well, I’m not. Tip number 1:

The most important idea personally, is to take many many, many, many, many pictures. Even if it is from the same spot, same angle, same subject, take multiple shots. Even today, when I sometimes take only one capture, from the same spot, angle, subject, etc, I find it’s not really what I was aiming to get out of it. With multiple captures you can be sure that you will have the one that looks just right (with the correct amount of post-processing of course!).

Here is a perfect example, it pains me everytime I look.. it could have been perfect !!!

This was my first time using my new manual lense, unfortunately the subject is far too out of focus.

This was my first time using my new manual lens, unfortunately the subjects is far too out of focus.

You think your ready, you think you’ve got all of the necessary equipment, the right lens, your subject is there and waiting to be captured, the lighting is flawless… but there are a multitude of other factors that many people forget about when in the moment. So you take the shot, and something is wrong, its blurry, under/overexposed, etc.. and you think to yourself, why? Next time, always keep the following in back of your mind:

  • Only Darkness. The Lens cap – Yes, this is huge for everyone; of course you realize it’s on once you take a peek through the view finder, but from the time you notice your subject to the time you take the lens cap off is valuable time, and by the time it’s off, you may have lost the ideal opportunity.
  • Over/Underexposed? The Exposure Compensation You think everything is just right, the lighting, the composition, so you then take the photograph, but while reviewing it in the LCD, it doesn’t look like how you thought it would, even though you swore you had everything right. Many times, you have probably forgotten to reset the exposure compensation.
  • The Twitchy hands – This would have to be even more common than the lens cap being on, and the worst part is, many photographers don’t even know its their own hands that are the culprit. With most people, when they press the shutter, their whole hand tends to push the camera off of where it was originaly framed, some deviate moreso than others. Clearly, the longer the exposure time, the more prone your hands are to blur the image. Taking a breath and being in a comfortable position can help, a tripod is even better though.
  • Grain?! The ISO – Much like forgetting to reset the exposure compensation, just as many people forget about checking the ISO. For example if you were shooting in a dark setting the night before, and the next day you’re in a well lit scene, this should be the number one tweek you should remember.
  • Where’s my ____ ? Forgetting Gear – The avid photographer may have various gear, things like lenses, tripods, lighting equipment, etc. Specifically with lenses, it’s very easy to forget the only one that you actually need for. Be sure to predict the scene(s) you will run into throughout the day, so you can be prepared.
  • …Its Dead. The Battery – If this list was in order, this would definately be number one, if not close to the top. Always, always, and always check the battery life before you head out. Either check the life early, incase you need to have it charged, or always have a back up battery that is fully charged.

The Nikon D60

June 19, 2009

The Nikon D60 is a perfect DSLR for the entry level photographer, it shares a lot of the same features as the D40, but with a few bonuses, and for not that much more in price. The D60 is compact, easy enough to use for a begeinning photgrapher, but has quite an amount of customizability for more demanding consumers as well.

Top, front, and rear profiles

Top, front, and rear profiles

It is a 10.2 mega pixel, and the lens that I recieved with it was the 18 – 55mm; for a kit lens, it does its job fairly well, however a kit lens has only so much potential. The D60 to me is a very well balanced camera, moveing up from a Fuji Finepix s5200, this was a huge step up for me. By balanced I mean both functionaly and physically, you can easily hold the camera one handed at times without getting tired, plus all of the toggles and buttons on the D60 are easily accessible, so you’re not fiddling with it while shooting. With a 2.5″ LCD you can preview your images very easily, not to mention you’re able to zoom into your images for a more closer look. The D60 powers on/off within a second or two, and also has a split second shutter response time. One other aspect of the camera I loved is that it has a multitude of image adjustment options ranging from Vivid to black and white, plus many more.

The D60 has dropped in price since the time when I purchased it, so I would recommend it even more so now. If you’re a professional, this would make for a fantastic back up camera, but for the leasure photographer that wants the customizability of a DSLR, the D60 is perfect.

Keep an eye out for my review on the  Nikkor 52mm f1.8 Series E lens.