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Travel Photography How not to ruin Vacations
Photographing Butterflies with Arvind Balaraman
Featured Photographer Maharajapuram Ramachandran talks about his passion for photography
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SHOOT SETUP LIGHT SETUP FOR CAPTURING WATER DROPLETS
Travel Photography Shruthi Venkatasubramanian
Photograph by Adrian Pope (Getty Images)
The moment one decides to be a photographer; most of us are guilty of conjuring up grandiose thoughts of travelling the world and capturing that beautiful wallpaper like photographs that will be the toast of travel magazines. Alas! We live in times where those pictures are dime a dozen! So, for all us commoners who end up traveling the weather beaten tracks of destinations that are on everyone’s itinerary, here are a few tips from an old hand of such vacations that have borne some indelible memories and travel columns in newspapers. Jack in the box and out of the box
Be a tourist but with a traveler’s attitude. The idea is to think out of the box, that’s where the traveler kicks in. Consciously wander away and look for angles that no one has ever seen before. Can you get high or can you get low? Can you go away and show the Taj as a backdrop to local life in Agra? Won’t it be more interesting to capture people who derive their livelihood from the Taj with the monument as a setting? The mesmerizing photograph does exactly that – a moment of local life captured with a setting sun brilliantly silhouetting the Taj. Sense of Place
Capturing this is by far the most difficult thing to do, though the concept is perhaps the simplest to understand. Sense of place can be captured in people, in markets, in offbeat ruins, in festivals and cultural events that abound most locations that you visit. Time your visit to coincide with one of these, check with local guides about time of day, significance of events and places before you plan your photographic sojourn to a destination. On a recent trip to Bali, that is exactly
what I was able to achieve by showing up at temples during funerals, which are larger than life celebrations and highly symbolic of Balinese traditions. People
I can’t stress enough about capturing local life when you are indulging in travel photography. The flavor of a place never comes alive if you don’t capture the people who define it. Be friendly; ask if you can photograph someone by establishing a rapport with them. Begin a conversation and talk about something they are wearing or something they are doing. Be inquisitive about their work, more often than not people will talk to you and allow you to take a photograph. In the bargain you will walk away with interesting anecdotes and stories to tell, besides brilliant portraits. Try to shoot some candid shots as well, but never carry an intense looking telephoto lens to do it, that intimidates people. Seek permission wherever necessary, especially if children are involved. People also add a sense of liveliness to otherwise insipid photos; they add a sense of movement, of life throbbing through an otherwise lifeless monument. Even if they are not locals and are just tourists, they add life to a picture. Do some Research
Before you go on a trip, make one thing clear to yourself – what are your photographic objectives. For me, I make a list of things I have to shoot and everything else is an added bonus. This list helps me fine tune my itinerary, because time of day –as you all know – is absolutely vital to photography. Equipment
I carry extra memory cards as these don’t really occupy space, a polarizer and a couple of neutral density filters, a tripod (if you are serious about photography, please invest in one) and three lenses. Let me explain the lenses, I carry a wide angle, a medium telephoto and a standard zoom. This to me is more than enough lenses for most travel photography If all you own is a point and shoot, that is perfectly ok. Just learn to manipulate your camera to the maximum to achieve what you intend to. At the end of the day, do remember it is your vision, your eye for detail that matters – not the equipment. No one is going to say, “What a gorgeous 5D Mark II picture that is”! About the Author
Shruthi is a passionate writer, blogger and photographer. Her writings and photographs have been published in leading newspapers and magazines. You can follow her at http://photoppurtunist.wordpress.com/
Shoot Set Up
“TheSfirst permanent photograph was an image produced in 1826 by the French inventor Joseph
Did You Know? Strobe is the brand name of the first studio flash. Today, flashes and strobes are used interchangeably to denote the same light source.
Architecture Photo walk
On 12th Sep 2011, 35 wide Anglers attended the architecture photo walk. Smoke Photography Workshop Tahe group, ably led by the expert Mr Prabhakaran Sambandham, Oct 9, 2011 Strobe is a brand name of the first studio flash. Today, flashes and strobes are used interchangeably to denote the explored the two ancient temples of Kancheepuram (Varadharaja same light source. Join us for a in‐person workshop with photographer, blogger, perumal temple and Kailasanathar temple). writer and entrepreneur Amar Ramesh as he explains the step by step recipe to get memorable smoke photographs. On this 2‐ hours workshop, Amar will bisect the essentials of smoke photography and teach you various secrets and handy tips to bring about the smoke photographs with the same quality of his. The workshop will focus on : 1. Equipment setup for Smoke photography 2. Steps involved in taking smoke photographs 3. How to get different smoke patterns 4. Steps to improve creativity around smoke photographs 5. post processing and editing techniques 6. You will also get an opportunity to shoot during the workshop
To make your images pop in photoshop 1. Duplicate layer 2. Change blend mode to Overlay 3. Adjust opacity to your liking
10 Tips to Photograph Butterflies Arvind Balaraman
Know your subject Understanding your subjects and studying about their habitat will pay dividends. Every butterfly will go through metamorphosis cycle in different seasons. Understanding this cycle and knowing its habitat will reward you with rich photographs. In order to get a good photograph, please do not destroy the habitat. Please keep in mind that you are a stranger at their home. Choose the correct Gear Butterflies are very colorful creatures. They have wonderful patterns and textures in their wings. A DSLR equipped with macro lens in the 90mm to 150mm focal length range is ideal to capture these beauties. Butterflies are very sensitive and can fly off once they detect motion. Hence lenses with smaller focal length are not advisable for people who are new to shooting butterflies. Choose the correct time Best time to photograph butterflies are early mornings when the sun is just up and the air is very warm. Winter mornings offer wonderful opportunity to shoot. During these mornings the wings of the butterflies have dew drops overnight. This will make their wings heavy and the butterfly stay in one place until the sun comes out and burns the dew off. Choose the correct attire Butterflies like many insects are very color sensitive. Bright colors tend to scare them and make them restless. Wear mild‐colored dress with lot of mid tones like green, gray, brown etc. This will make you blend with the environment and help you approach the insect easily. Avoid using perfumes or strong deodorants and insect repellants. Get support I cannot stress enough about the importance of using a stable support while shooting subjects up‐close. At close working distance is very small, a small motion is magnified manifold. While shooting butterflies early morning, you are constantly challenged with low light. To provide stability, a tripod may come handy. It is not always convenient to use a tripod in many cases. During such
instances, a monopod may come handy. If you have a cable release or remote trigger, use them to minimize shake. Go Parallel When you are shooting butterflies very close, the working distance is very small. This gives a very small Depth of Field (DOF). So even at narrow apertures (f8, f11) you will have a very shallow DOF. To maximize the number of points in focus, go parallel to the wings of the butterfly. Watch out your background A background plays a vital role in highlighting your subjects. A cluttered background will take too much of attention and will distract the viewer. A soft smooth background will bring out the details in the subject very well. Also look for contrasting colors and color theory when you choose your background. Blue and yellow are opposite colors, they will stand out against each other. Use camera features Most of the modern cameras have live view . When you shoot butterflies up close, you may have challenges using your camera autofocus. Switch to manual focus and use the live mode zoomed in at 100% to get finer focus on the point that you are interested. If your camera has mirror lockup (MLUP), turn it on to avoid any shake due to mirror vibration. Some cameras do not allow you to use MLUP and Live view at the same time. Try multiple POVs Butterflies look pretty when they perch on a flower sucking honey. They look even prettier when they open their wings and show the underlying patterns and designs. The compound eyes of the butterflies are a wonder to watch. Translucent butterflies’ backlit by the sun are a treat to photograph. Try multiple compositions and angles and be creative in your capture. Patience, Patience and more Patience Some butterflies are more approachable than others. Observe them and keep your camera ready. Approach them slowly. Avoid any fast movements or noise. Before taking a photograph survey the location. Take a couple of shots for every step that you move forward. Have loads of patience in shooting them. About the Author Arvind Balaraman is an internationally acclaimed photographer. His work has been published in many leading newspapers, magazines and books. His interests include nature, people, product and architecture. His work can be seen at http://www.arvindbalaraman.com.
Post Processing Tips
Photos and steps courtesy http://www.lyndsaylondonblog.com
Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC)
Exposure up to +.31 Added a bit of fill light (+13). Added contrast (+49). Moved the white balance warmer from 5000 to 5300.
Monthly Competition Winners
Click the “black & white” color converter in Lightroom 3. I find black and white actually makes the image look darker so I have to add more when it comes to exposure – usually about +.50 will do. I found that bringing up the exposure really blew out the dress. I don’t worry about blowing out the highlights overall, but I used the recovery and moved it up to +18. I then added some fill light for the shadows (+13), moved the contrast up to +49. I added a little to the blacks too +13.
Flora Theme winner Aditya Kambampati http://www.facebook.com/tarakarama
Portrait Theme winner Vidhya Krishnan http://www.facebook.com/CVidhyaa
When you use apertures beyond f16, diffraction becomes significant and can reduce image sharpness.
Featured Photographer In this section we will highlight a wideangle photographer and will showcase some of his work
This edition’s featured photographer is Maharajapuram Ramachandran A few words about yourself Here is what my Google+ profile says: Photographer by passion, IT Consultant to pay the bills. I think that it pretty much summarizes myself. I love to travel and over the past few years, my work has taken me places. I'm also a social media enthusiast and a gadget freak and would want to create my own start‐up someday. How long have you been into photography? About 4 years. How did you get into photography? I have always been interested in Photography, I got my first camera in 2006 immediately after I started working. But the real kicker came in when I moved to the US in 2008. Without family and a lot of close friends around me, I had a ton of spare time over the weekends. Also, I badly wanted to get myself into something creative to beat the stressful and monotonic weekdays. What are your primary interests? I assume that we are talking about photography here. When I began, I tried to shoot everything under the sun ‐ which isn't bad after all. While I was at it, I saw myself mostly shooting landscapes and cityscapes and macro ‐ basically anything that involve people. I really suck at doing people photography ‐ be it portraiture or street. This is something that I'm working consciously on as this involves more social skills at directing and being discreet than photography technicalities. What would be your advice for aspiring photographers? As an aspiring photographer myself, these are some notes that I make to myself. The 6 P's for success in Photography: Great photographs do not happen by chance. There is an immense amount of practice, patience, perseverance, planning and some photoshop behind every one of those shots. Add participation to this mix and you have the perfect recipe for success. Let me elaborate Practice makes a man perfect. The first shot you make will not be your best. The hundredth would be slightly better. The thousandth, even more. Shoot as much as you can so that so that the technicalities become reflex actions to you. When you get these settings and numbers out of the way, you will find out that you feel immensely relaxed and consistently make good looking pictures.
Be patient. Don't be forced to do too many things at a time. I have seen very many photographers (including myself) who want to create a 100 masterpieces in a 1 hour Photo‐Walk. It ain't going to happen. Think before you shoot. If it means that you have to wait for an hour before you get that perfect golden light or the blue sky, so be it. Don't stop until you get that perfect shot. Perseverance is the key to success for anything in life. Hike a few kilometers to get that perfect reflection. Get back to the same location again and again to get that divine light. If that small out of focus spot bothers you, get back and try to shoot it again. Planning is what creates that difference between an amateur and a pro. Google is your best friend. Search for the best photos from the location that you are planning to visit well in advance. Gather thoughts on what you want to shoot. Work out which is the best time of the day to shoot it. Have a chart of the sunrise and sunset times in that area. Some people even go to an extent of working out tides and the angles of the sun. It may sound crazy, but then, when you see the results, all the planning shows up. It is better to scour the internet for a few minutes looking at what the location has to offer than finding it the hard way by walking a few hours, Isn't it? I know that I'm committing heresy by adding photoshop into this mix. But let us face it ‐ it has become an inevitable part of photography. I'm not arguing on where the lines are to be drawn ‐ it is entirely up to you. I'm a big fan of getting it right on the camera, however, I do embrace photoshop to get my shots a slight facelift in terms of sharpness, saturation etc., And last but not least, participate. Engage with the community in a constructive way. Most of you, who are reading this, are already doing this part. However, one more thing that I would like to push for is being constructive in your comments and when you encounter criticism, be a sport and take it in the right sense and strive for perfection. To summarize it all, remember this mantra (adapted from the British Army Adage): :D Proper Planning, Practice, Patience and Perseverance Prevents Piss Poor Photography Where can we see your work? Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/meramphotography Photostream : http://www.flickr.com/me_ram Blog: http://www.arreosambar.com/ Google+ : https://plus.google.com/104178046050349421716/
Photograph by Kumar Photograph by Sudarshan Gopalan
Photograph by Ganesh S
“Some photographers take reality... and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a
photograph to them is an instrument of love and
- Ansel Adams
Photograph by Sekhar VC
Photograph by Anjali Venkidusamy
These are a collection of photographs, as chosen by the Editor from the photographs submitted to the date wise albums on the group’s Facebook Page.
Naturalist’s Angle Kesavamurthy. N
Name : Baya Weaver Male birds have a yellow head and female birds are brownish. Commonly found near lake/ponds and open shrub areas. Difficult to photograph as they move very fast and they are shy. They can sense human presence easily. Tip: Need to hide to approach near
Name : Pied Buschat A bird of countryside, open scrub or grassland, where it is found perched on the top of short thorn trees or other shrubs, looking out for insect prey.
About the Author Keshavamurthy N, is a trained naturalist with good knowledge on resident birds. He loves to travel and photograph wildlife of any form, large or small. Some of his wildlife photography can be viewed on his Facebook Profile Page. He has also captured a few natural history moments through his lens for others to enjoy. Kesava started Connect with Nature, to educate children about nature. To learn more, please visit – https://www.facebook.com/connect.nature.
LET THERE BE LIGHT Wide Angle Mission Share, inspire and promote the art of photography Wide Angle 's objectives: • • •
Promote art Inculcate learning Create Opportunities
To achieve these objectives, the following activities are carried out • •
• • • •
Photo walks (local and global) Mentor Programs (for beginners & by accomplished personalities to interested members) Photo Workshops (on various topics) Guest Speakers (lectures by experts) Webinars (for global members) Exhibitions and Publications
Forum Management Uma Ganesh Pratap Venkatesan Arun Balaraman Anjali Venkidusamy Veena Kannan Competitions & Interpretations Prabhakar Sambandam Kesava Murthy Visaka Guru Sapna Reddy Photowalks (Chennai) Vinoth Chander Kishore Iyer Keshav Kandhadai Mukund Ramasubramaniyan Krishnamoorthy Ganesh Chandrasekaran Photowalks (Bangalore) Kesava Murthy Visaka Guru Ramesh Shimoga Photowalks (Singapore) Maharajapuram Ramachandran Portraits of India Kausthub Desikachar K.P.Krishnan
Editorial Team Sekhar VC Shruthi Venkatasubramanian Arvind Balaraman Workshops (Chennai) Jay Venkatesan Arvind Balaraman Narasimhan K K.P.Krishnan Amar Ramesh To join the group please visit https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/prabhagraphy/ For all inquiries please send email to email@example.com