30 Dec 2010


If only we could retain the joy, wonder and innocence we had as children... the world would be sooo much better!

29 Dec 2010

Eliminate That Hotspot!

While I was out shooting Santa last week I had some spare time to play with my flash and shoot through umbrella set-up and took the following shot:

As you can see there is a distinct hotspot in the umbrella. Not so great for even distribution of light, which is the point of the umbrella to start off with. Of course it does help to distribute light, but not as well as it could. The flash was set to about 50mm here, so I flipped out the built in diffuser and it automatically went to 14mm wide with the following result:

Beautiful even distribution of light resulting in a better wrap around effect for portraits!

The light stand used here is in fact a junky old cheap tripod with the head removed and refitted to an extension pole which I then mounted to the top of the junky old cheap tripod, I then drilled a hole through the plastic head (taking care to avoid anything important) and voila! Nice tall light stand for the man on a limited budget. Here is a close up of the head:

Some people say I'm tight, but I like to think of myself as frugal...

25 Dec 2010

Shooting Santa...

...a profitable low point in my artistic career! Lets face it there is no artistic value in doing the typical Santa in the mall shots, but it does provide the bread and milk money.

I decided to go for the less is more philosophy and had a single shoot through umbrella with a Nikon SB600 flash, camera set to manual, 1/80s, f5.6, customised portrait mode, jpg only (to save time). The results were quite adequate for the task at hand:

The setup
Santa with baby

Santa with another kid

Santa and Helper
Everybody loves Christmas! Except the Grinch I suppose, but he wasn't there.

22 Dec 2010

Blue flowers in black and white...

If you are on a very tight budget and don't want to spend a whole lot of money (or any at all), Picasa by Google is a simple but fairly effective editing tool. It doesn't have the options of Photoshop, Paintshop Pro or the GIMP, but it is fast and very easy to use. It has all that the amateur home photographer/happy snapper needs, so don't buy into the "I must have Photoshop" line, you can great results without blowing the bank or needing a three month course in how to use the program first! (Photoshop will not make you a better photographer either btw.)

Picasa also has a few extra little bits that make it easy to publish to Picasa's on-line web-album, resize for email, and even watermark, if you feel the need. Download it here: Picasa

Taken with a Nikon D90 and Nikon 35 f1.8DX, edited in Picasa.

13 Dec 2010

The Power of a Fast Prime Lens!

Grand kids eating junk that will probably stunt their growth and hinder the development of their brains...

Nikon D90, Nikon 35 f1.8DX, hand held in crummy light inside a well known and popular (not sure why) fast food joint, no flash.

3 Dec 2010

Our Christmas tree is up...

Hooray, hooray, oh happy day!! Don't you just love Christmas? Ours started early this year!! Hooray, hooray!

Our Christmas Tree

Nikon D90, Nikon 50mm f1.8, deliberately defocussed and hand held by the oldest kid this side of the North Pole!

30 Nov 2010


Nikon D90, Nikon 35 f1.8, natural light, artificial hair colour. ;-)

17 Nov 2010

Photo too Overworked?

The fun of manipulating photographs digitally is all very well, but when does it become too much?

4 Nov 2010

New camera technology? Who cares?

Photography is and always will be first and foremost about creating memories! Years from now that great new wonder camera will be forgotten, but the memories that remain in print will be passed on from generation to generation. One day you will forget what resolution that Japanese techno-wiz ultra spec had or how sharp that German wunder kamera was, but you will always be able to step back in time and recall those memories from yesteryear just by looking at the photos you once took, regardless of the quality of the camera or lens.

Here is one of my late Grandpa, (who I loved very much) taken with my first camera, a Box Brownie. Who cares if it is out of focus, or the colours are not quite right? Who bothers to remember what the specs were of the camera? This is my enduring memory of Grandpa, a cheerful, loving grandfather with slightly wild eyebrows!

How about that first day off to school? I don't even remember how ugly the cars were back then except by this photo! And boy, was I ever a cute kid! ;-)

And finally, here are my great-grandparents that I never even met!

After all these years the memories remain!

So here are the lessons to be learnt from this little walk down memory lane:

1.) Always have a camera with you.
2.) Take lots of photos of your family, you never know how long they will be with you.
3.) Worry less about how sharp your pics are in the corners wide open, it really doesn't make for better memories!
4.) Your ancestors were probably better looking than you. ;-)

(If you are doing paid work for clients the advice above doesn't count, give them the best you possibly can.)

Add some of your own benefits below:

29 Oct 2010

Convex Mirror for my Strobist DIY Beauty Dish!

My Convex Mirror for my Strobist DIY Beauty Dish arrived at Midas in Centurion today, so I went and picked it up! It was a grand total of R25 (US$3.27), so not too bad.

Here it is by itself:

And here it is mounted inside the CD spindle cover:

The idea is that the convex mirror will throw more of the light from my SB600 flash into the white bowl of my Strobist DIY Beauty Dish and distribute it more effectively towards my victims willing volunteer models. More light is always a good thing in photography.

The ugly mug hiding behind the camera is me.

Sample photos to follow soon, watch this space!