Friday, May 25, 2012

on Summer's End

Summer is almost at an end and I still haven't found the time to shoot a lot of macro photos. Anyways, here is one of those that got buried in my flickr account by all the portraits I have been shooting lately. My favorite spider in the garden with its large eyes. This was taken about late afternoon when the jumping spiders are already starting to rest. I really like the summer months because of the long days and all the active creatures. It seems like summer is always the perfect time to shoot macro.

white jumper (1 of 1)

Since tomorrow is a Saturday, I think I will start shooting macro if the weather permits. I hope to make the most of the weekend since I have been seeing a lot of Lynx Spiders and Orb Weavers during the twilight hours.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

on Shooting Macro Wide Open

The only limit to your creativity is your imagination....

I have come to accept that in the world of photography there is no sacred rule. Mastering rules and concepts is a must; but that's just the tip of the iceberg. After attaining the basic skill comes breaking rules. The real skill set comes when you find your own way of breaking rules to show off your creativity.

I'd like to highlight landscape photography (which is admittedly one of my waterloo) a field where the basic rules are rigidly applied. You shoot at f8 to f16 on wide angle lenses, apply the rule of thirds, properly expose the foreground and background and all the other stuff. But no one ever said that you cannot shoot at wide apertures or with telephoto lenses. It's how you use what you have that makes things interesting.

And no one ever said you can't shoot macro photography wide open...

I know that in macro photography, depth of field is important. You really want as much of your subject in focus and shooting wide open will give you very little depth of field. But that shallow DOF can be used in many ways to highlight certain parts of your subject; that is where creativity comes in.

tamron wide open (4 of 4)
Here is an ant looking fierce with only its jaws in focus.

tamron wide open (3 of 4)
And a cool black true bug coming out of the hazy background.

tamron wide open (2 of 4)
This little green fly looks nice with only its eyes in focus.

tamron wide open (1 of 4)
You don't need that much DOF when you shoot parallel to your plane of focus as seen in this photo of the green fly. I still had enough details to make the photo look nice even when shooting wide open

I have to admit that shooting macro wide open is very hard. But when you get it right, you will surely be proud of it. This is what I always say to those who ask me about ideal setups, settings or whatever: maximize your gear and creativity. The most important part of photography is the thought process.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

on Summer Beach Getaways and Processing Portraits

Photography is like cooking, when you overcook something it wouldn't taste good. But leaving it raw can be a good thing.

We had our annual summer beach overnight with photographer, model and makeup artist friends in Talicud Island last weekend. It was yet another fun-filled stay in a beach where there is no electricity or running water and can only be accessed by boat. And of course we still had the usual sunset beach shoot. But this year we weren't so lucky because the sunset was shorter than what we normally expect during the summer months.

keyt (3 of 3)

I decided to go against the norm for summer beach shoots and aim for black and white. I knew most photos from my photographer friends would come out in color because it is in the beach and around sunset plus you have a lovely model with nice skin tone. Well, going against the grain is what I am known for anyways so I might as well stay that way. And simple is always better for me. I don't need for it to be razor sharp or for the contrast to pack a punch. I just want my photo to retain the character of my model.

keyt (2 of 3)

And I will never over process because I'd lose the essence of the portrait and get some sort of digital Frankenstein. It is a common mistake which photographers without their own personal styles make. They do all sorts of Dave Hill, Rarindra Prakarsa, Luko or Manny Librodo sharpening and stop only when they think its all there. For me HDR and portraits don't go well. And all those unnatural looking eyes and skin tone seem like they have been inspired by horror flicks. Funny thing is they spend hours and hours just to get THAT look. ** insert face palm here ** Experimenting is good but knowing how much post processing can be applied is what works best especially for portraits where you really have to retain the personality of the model.

keyt (1 of 3)

A little color efex and totally rad action scripts here and there plus a bit of preset editing from lightroom and I am done. A good photo is a good photo even when it is unprocessed and no amount of post processing will make a bad photo look good. Just like a steak is good when it is rare or medium rare and ruined when it is well done.

kate (1 of 1)

Once again, thank you to Kate for being a fabulous model. To Karina Asetre and Kaye Garino for the makeup and styling. And to the Photobombers for another successful summer getaway.