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Oh Cr op! Issue 4: April 2011 Issue 4: April 2011

EARTH HOUR 2011 Oh Crop!’s first event

Rodrigo Layug

The Insect Photographer

Dan Smyth on Live Music Photography

Chi’s Challenge

CLONES

Reviews

Tokina 11-16mm Paul Harris:

JPEG vs. RAW

Cover image by Chi Lau.


Photograph by Jonathan Woods, to see more by this photographer visit: www.flickr.com/photos/woodsy2k


In Oh Crop! this month..

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Chi’s Challege Ever wanted an identical twin? In this month’s regular challenge Chi gives you a how-to guide on cloning! Photography Masterclass This month Dan Smyth lets us into the secrets of photographing live music events. The Big Debate Which is better? RAW or JPEG? Paul Harris compares them to find out. Oh Crop!’s First Event! Oh Crop! went out to take photos during Earth Hour, find the story and the photos here. Reader Profile This month’s interview features Rodrigo Layug and his incredible insect macros! Black and White Photography Greg Payne on black and white photography, with stunning examples from Chi Lau and Jonathan Woods. Lens Review Marina Hauer tells you about her Tokina 11-16mm and provides an incredible example image of Salisbury Cathedral. Shooting Animals. No, not literally! An article all about photographing your pets, with some really cute examples!

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Hi Oh Croppers! We’re back yet again! Oh Crop! has really developed over the last few months, and considering our team are all beginners-intermediates I am very proud to have started this magazine. I am amazed at how much people know and how willing they are to share their knowledge and for that I am truly honoured that they helped Oh Crop! become the amazing magazine it is today. In this month’s issue we celebrate Oh Crop!’s first ever event in the form of Earth Hour Light Painting. We have articles on black and white photography and tips on live music photography. As well as our usual challenges and tutorials including fun clone/twin photos! Once again I hope you enjoy Oh Crop’s latest issue.

Chi

Contributors: Chi Lau Danielle Starr Annabelle Latter Marina Hauer Dan Smyth Greg Payne Paul Harris And a special thanks to Rodrigo Layug Find us on Facebook! Just search for “Oh Crop! Magazine” And if you have any questions, comments or photos you’d like to share please send them to chi.lauphotography@hotmail.co.uk


Chi’s Challenge:

what you need to do. As well as this make sure that the focus is correct then stick it on manual focus so that when you press the shutter button again you don’t accidently cause the camera to auto focus and thus making both (or more) photos different.

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Editing... Putting them together Once you have both your images then upload them to your editing software; in our case its Paintshop Pro X3. Copy and paste the second photo onto the first one so now the second photo will be on top of the first one. Now get the eraser tool and delete the part where the bottom “twin” is. That sounds confusing so I’ll try and explain it a little better. Let’s say you have two photos of yourself, one of you is on the right hand side of the photo and in the other photo you’re on the left hand side. The left hand side photo is on the bottom layer whilst

Cloning ver the last few issues we’ve had some crazy challenges and things for you to try out. And for this issue’s challenge we’ll be attempting image manipulation so that there multiple versions of yourself... Sounds weird I know but trust me its fun! So what will you need? A tripod: This is because you want the photo to be exactly the same in every photo so that when you create the final image it fits perfectly over each other. A photo editing software: For

this manipulation you will need to be able to have layers in the software. Taking the photos Put your camera on your tripod and either set it on a timer or have a remote now take a minimum of 2 photos of yourself in different positions or different clothes. Experiment, have fun, go crazy... try having you talking to yourself or maybe even fighting yourself. Whatever you like basically! I suggest starting small and having only 2 images as it’s easier to edit and will help to show you

By Sophie Schwartz - www.flickr.com/photos/s_o_p_h_i_e Page | 4


Me me me me, by Annabelle Latter - www.flick.com/photos/annabellelatter

the right hand photo is on the top layer. Get the eraser tool and delete the left hand side of the photo so that the bottom photo appears. I’m hoping that makes a little more sense... You can also use the ‘layer mask’ tool; when a layer mask is used you can use a paintbrush to add or take away parts of a photo - all you do is add the layer mask and then select the paintbrush tool, black takes away and white puts it back. You can do this in the same way you would with the eraser tool except this way, if you make a mistake it is a lot easier to correct! It also means it is a lot easier to create clone photos which have a lot of clones!

it could result in missing something out or erasing too much. Once you’ve done this and perfectly erased it all then merge all the photos together and there you have it... a photo of you and your twins.

If there are only 2 photos it would be a simple case of erasing a large area around one “twin”. However if there are more of you then you would need to make sure that you check the detail as Page | 5

You can start small with just two photos, and then move on to 4 photos like Belle has done. OR go crazy and have... 1, 2... er... lots of twins like Sophie has done!


Photography Masterclass

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ive Music Photography, or low-light action portraiture, is the art of capturing a performance, a moment, to immortalise it. It has the ability to cement truly memorable concerts into memory forever, and other gigs, make you wish you had been there.

GIGS.

By Dan Smyth

The Flaming Lips

The best thing about gig photography though is the transferable skills it gives you for any indoor or event photography. One of the most important things you learn though is the ability to work with the available light in any situation (flash is often prohibited). When I first got into live music photography I was still using my entry level SLR and kit lens, it is possible, but the results are generally far from desired. In terms of kit, it’s actually relatively inexpensive to get what you need to get results. The one piece of gear many photographers swear by is the 50mm or “nifty fifty”, with an aperture of 1.8 you can get the maximum amount of light onto the sensor in the smallest amount of time (required to freeze motion). Both Nikon and Canon make brilliant versions of this lens as do the other manufacturers, and what’s great though is the price - you can pick one up brand new for less than £100. Something you’ll need to learn with your SLR is the limit you can push your ISO [check Issue 2 for more in ISO and shutter speeds – Editor Chi] up to without it being overly noisy (or grainy). It’s important to know this as

understanding the limits of your camera allows you to use the exposure and shutter speed to best effect. Most modern consumer DSLRs can make it to ISO 800 without too much of an issue in terms of noise but each camera is different and there’s only so much editing you’ll want to have to do after the gig!

The best way to get involved in the field is by taking pictures at venues without camera policies (many venues ban the use of SLRs) as this way you’re able to practice settings and composition while building a portfolio which will help you later on in gaining accreditation to photograph larger artists in bigger venues.

In terms of technique it’s all about exposing the shot correctly even with the ever changing light and at the same time having a fast enough shutter not to have the image blurry. I find this quite hard to write thought as for me this is something you learn through practice as it’s not easy to teach. This is why I’d recommend getting to as many gigs as you can...

I was fortunate enough to be at a talk with one of my favourite live music photographers, and all round nice guy, Andy Willsher’s talk in London this week and he echoed all these thoughts. I would certainly recommend going to see your favourite photographers whenever possible, whether in talks or through an exhibition I’ve always felt that inspiration

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Bring me the Horizon

All images are by Dan Smyth, to see more please visit:

www.dansmythphotography.com

is the key to growing as a photographer. You have to know where you want to be with your work and looking at the work of people who do it for a living is a

great way to do this. My favourite live music photographers at the moment are the likes of Danny North, Tim Cochrane, Ryan Muir, Carsten Windhorst and Todd Owyoung. I would certainly advise taking a look at their portfolios, Todd especially as he often blogs his tips and pointers for new photographers.

My final point is, get yourself online. Set up an account on a photography site (such as Flickr) and make use of the ability to display your work, receive feedback, and talk to other photographers in the same position as you.

Reverend and the Makers Page | 7


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icture this; you come down on Christmas morning, there’s a medium size box with your name on it, you hastily up-wrap the present and volá! It’s that camera you really wanted (but didn’t know if you were going to get it because your mum may have gone for socks and shirts as the ‘practical’ choice) whether this happened to you or not just bear with me… it’ll all make sense I promise!

THE BIG DEBATE JPEG vs. RAW

However you obtained your camera, you’ve been using it for a few months now. Getting used to all the different abbreviations associated with photography (ISO, MF/AF, M, Av, P…) and you’ve hopefully been enjoying it! Maybe something in Oh Crop! Inspired you to go out and spend 8 hours at the beach taking a photo every minute to then create an ultra-fancy-pseudopostmodern-hyper-real piece of abstract expressionism. Or perhaps you’ve just enjoyed using

it when you go for a walk, get bored and feel like it. Whatever the context you will have doubtless at some point uploaded your shots to a computer (be it PC or MAC) had a look through and then uploaded your favourites to your 5 different social networking sites. It’s therefore unlikely that you will have stopped to con-

Words by Paul Harris

sider the 3 letters which come after the name of the shot, they are of course ‘.jpg’, maybe you know what this means? Maybe you don’t, either way you probably haven’t thought much more of it. For those of you still unsure, it means ‘JPEG’ the most commonly used file format for all kinds of images. Those of you in possession of a more adventurous spirit may well have looked through the various menu settings on your beloved DSLR and seen something called ‘Image Quality’ which will then provide you with various choices regarding the quality of the image which is written to the memory card. In doing this you will probably have spotted the logo marked ‘RAW’. It is this mysterious ‘RAW’ which I plan to shed some light on in this article. In a nutshell, the ‘RAW’ image is the pure image captured by the camera’s sensor, much like the imprint upon a negative in film cameras. It is literally the ‘raw’ image, without any of the fancy smancy stuff done to it by the camera when shooting in JPEG. What follows is my assessment of 5 keys points in ‘JPEG’ vs ‘RAW’ debate. First Your Honour, the case for the beginners favourite.

Paul Harris - www.flickr.com/photos/paulfrankharris Page | 8


JPEG

Compatibility If I’m honest, RAW doesn’t have much of chance in this category. Almost anything can accept JPEG files, it is truly universal. It’s not possible to find a file format which is as compatible as the faithful J-to-the-G (with a little PE in the middle). Even mobile phones store images as JPEG. And I think that just about wraps it up! Usability Once again, it’s kinda hard to beat. It’s not really possible to find a format which is as user friendly as JPEG. It’s largely because of its high level of compatibility with everything from MS Paint to Photoshop CS5 that JPEG is so easy to use. It’s likely that you’ll have a high amount of experience with JPEGs, even when you were drawing moustaches on your friends in high school you’d

be using a JPEG file. That pretty limited number of crude methods with which you can manipulate much covers that then. your pictures. If you’ve gone the full-hog and brought Photoshop Storage One of the major advantages (or maybe just elements) then of digital photography is that it there is clearly still a high level allows you to shoot and shoot of adjustments you can make without worrying about trivial to aspects such as vibrance, things such as film or developing. colour balance and brightness. When it comes to storing your However, there are limits to how work however, you’ll want to be creative you can be with JPEG able to keep those hundreds before you risk deterring the of shots somewhere nice safe. actual image quality. Whether you’re keeping them on an external hard drive, using Practicality online storage or good old CD/ In essence, this is a summary of DVD you’ll want to make the most the points which have already of the space you have. In this been made however I do think it situation JPEG files are definitely is worth spelling out the practical smaller than RAW files, and whilst advantages of JPEG. As I’ve RAW can be saved into JPEG said, it’s a reasonable file size, you then have even more space widely compatible and very user-friendly; great for holiday taken up. snaps then! But, what if you want to get really creative then the Creativity It’s perfectly possible to be possibilities of JPEG does become creative when working with JPEG, limited. Easy to use, practical and as I said earlier even Paint offers a small to keep but limited.

Paul Harris Page | 9


RAW

Compatibility It’s worth saying at this point that if all you want to do is photograph yourself on nights out and on holiday then there isn’t a huge amount of point in using RAW. This will be initially prompted by the fact that once you’ve taken your shots in RAW you’ll need software such as Photoshop Elements to actually process it. Whilst the latest version of Elements will set you back around £50 you may well be able to find a slightly older version for less (a little hunting never hurt anyone). There is also the possibility that if you purchased your camera new it may well have come with a CD featuring RAW processing software. I’d personally choose Photoshop (Full or Elements). With regard to older versions it would be worth checking which versions Adobe still provide RAW plug-ins for before purchasing, I used to use Elements 6 and RAW worked fine! Usability Unlike JPEG, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have used RAW before. It’s also likely that the wide range of options you’re given on the first screen when opening a RAW file may well seem a little over-

whelming at first. You’re not alone; I’ve been shooting RAW for ages now and am still learning my way around the software. The best advice I can offer to you at this point is, have a play! Try it out and see what everything does. It won’t be long before you get used to it and then you’ll be away! Storage Ah, well. I’m afraid we’re going to have to admit defeat to JPEG if you want to store as many images in as little space as possible. On average RAW files are between 10-13MB whereas JPEG’s are typically no larger than about 4MB. On this basis you can store roughly 3 JPEG’s for every RAW and you don’t have to be doing a Maths degree to realise that if you’re more interested in QUANTITY then JPEG is the way forward. However, as I said early you can export edited RAW files as JPEG and then you can of course delete the RAW original. The other option is to buy some form of extra storage. I have a 1.5TB external hard drive and as a result I can store literally thousands of RAW shots without worry.

Paul Harris Page | 10

Creativity Finally! This is where RAW really comes into its own. Because you are dealing with the raw image captured by the cameras sensor you’re essentially given a complete ‘Digital Darkroom’. Whereas editing JPEG can be crudely likened to drawing on a processed print, RAW puts you in the darkroom with the negative. The world is then your creative oyster and you can do a whole host of different things with any single image. RAW is especially good if you wish to convert your photos into black and white as you can do this manually rather than simply ‘Convert to B&W’. Practicality Clearly RAW doesn’t have the same ‘Upload and View’ ability that you get with JPEG. It requires time, care and precision to get the perfect photo but with RAW you are well and truly given control. The camera literally gives you what you see and then lets you play to your hearts content. Admittedly, if you’re still getting used to using your camera then I’d say stick with JPEG for now. Once you find yourself wanting to move on however, RAW is definitely worth looking into.


THE VERDICT

If

at this point you’re still waiting for me to tell you which is better… I’m afraid I can only offer you my subjective take. Personally, once I switched to shooting RAW I’ve never looked back. I appreciate that sentence is very overused but it’s honest! I really haven’t. Like everything in life, being creative with your photos once you’ve got them on your computer takes time. It also takes practice. With any luck however, as you practice you’ll enjoy yourself. Granted, you may well have read the last thousand words and thought, ‘RAW sounds far too complicated, JPEG does just fine, if it’s not broken why fix it?’ Well, I can’t argue with you there, all I can do is say, have a think about it. Give it a go and if you find you hate it, fine! But I bet you that with a little dedication, you’ll start to unlock the power of RAW and like me, you’ll never shoot in JPEG again.

Annabelle Latter - www.flickr.com/photos/annabellelatter Page | 11


Photo by Krista Palmu, to see more visit www. flickr.com/photos/kristapalmu


Kathryn Younger - www.flickr.com/photos/kathe_y

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n 26th March millions of people around the world took part in an environmental act. Earth Hour. Earth Hour started in 2007 in Australia when 2.2 million individuals and 2000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour (hence the name!). Since then, this single act to highlight the need to protect Mother Earth has evolved to hundreds of millions people across 128 countries. On 26th March in Portsmouth, 10

people came together to support this act and celebrate Mother Earth... oh and to play with cameras and lights in the dark! This was Oh Crop! Magazine’s first event... and it was a great success, thanks to all the people who came. The plan was simple; meet at 8pm and head somewhere dark and begin drawing with torches. I had hired out 4 tripods from the Student Union the day before Page | 14

and bought several torches and coloured reflectors on the day. Danielle Starr, the Deputy Editor, and I arrived 20 minutes early and as soon as we got all my “crap” out of the taxi Dani took out a bottle of beer; clearly tonight was going to be a good night! Not long after we had arrived Abdullah Bin Hussain arrived, soon followed by Mr Gary “Gary” Way; a man I hadn’t seen in months.


5 minutes past 8 Csilla Merényi and Fabiana Riveros turned up; with the latter all dressed up for a party! Bruhanth Mallik arrived next before Paul Harris, who also had beer, and Irina Ghiuzan on her bike arrived. Andreas Cerulli joined up with us a bit later on too. Now that people had arrived we proceeded towards our “light painting spot”, which was a little sheltered spot on the beach. Everyone got their tripods out and aimed their cameras at the dark wall facing away from the sea. It might be worth noting that there were 6 Canons (3 of which were 450Ds!), 2 Sonys and 1 Nikon (I must admit I forgot what compact Fabiana had... Although she’s won a Canon 550D in a competition so hopefully in 3 weeks time she’ll being using it to take photos! Oh Crop! would like to congratulate her!).

Chi Lau

We started off with writing the letters “Earth Hour” which took a lot longer than expected! Each person (excluding myself) wrote a letter starting with Paul and “E” and ending with Bruhanth and the 2nd “R”. Abdullah mentioned something that I totally think about doing... drawing the Oh Crop! Logo. It’s a lot harder than you might think since it requires 3 separate movements which means you

Danielle Starr - www.flickr.com/photos/daniellestarrr Page | 15


can easily lose track of where the previous “light trail” ended and mess up the entire drawing! Trying it with two people was an even bigger failure as it was just too difficult to move but at least it generated a few laughs! Having finally got the Oh Crop! Logo sorted we moved on to random drawings. Irina and Abdullah drew a flower together while Gary and Paul attempted to draw Mother Earth. We finally decided to do a group drawing, this was a funny moment. Picture this... 9 cameras (Fabiana had left by this time to go to her party) all set on a 10 second delay. 8 of us (minus Paul who had failed to charge his camera battery... epic fail!) stood in front of the cameras and me counting down from 3. On “GO!” we all pressed the shutter button and ran towards the dark sport. 10 seconds later 9 people started jumping up and down, side to side, back and forth to create a truly random but fun piece of art. Gary then suggested drawing light trails around a pillar but his attempt wasn’t great nor was my attempt at the same idea only with a camera and tripod instead of a pillar. We then used flash to create crazy images but with 9 of us using flash at roughly the same time it wasn’t the most amazing attempt at it. However after changing plans and using only a single on board flash we managed to create 2 amazing photos. Paul and his ability to “control electricity” and Csilla and her butter fly wings. By lighting up the scene with the flash then running in and drawing something, the final image results in a lit up foreground with the light paintings still there. It’s a great and easy effect with more information in this month’s Challenge! Finally we all decided that it was getting late and cold and proceeded to go home but the best part was as we were packing up it started to lightly rain... great timing!!

Chi Lau James Murphy - www.flickr.com/photos/jikklor

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Anyway this was Oh Crop!’s first event and it was a complete success. Everyone enjoyed themselves and got some funny photos and Oh Crop! was always designed to promote fun learning. However the only downside was that there were supposed to be Oh Croppers! who were walking around Portsmouth with candles but unfortunately they went another direction from us, we do have some photos from them! Hopefully Oh Crop! will have another event soon... if so please come join us as the law is always “The more the merrier!”

James Murphy

Chi Lau Page | 17


Photo by Emily Lupton, to see more visit www.flickr.com/photos/poopton


Guardian Angel


Horned Jumper

Rodrigo Layug

The Insect Photographer

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his month’s reader profile features the fantastic insect photographer Rodrigo Layug, but that’s not all he can do... Check out his photo that is grazing the cover of this month’s Oh Crop! magazine! Danielle Starr interviewed him so you guys get to find out all about him...

Hi there! Tell us a bit about yourself :) I am a doctor by profession ( family medicine ), married, with three grown up kids. I come from the Philippines. Aside from enjoying photography, I also have several dogs, turtles, and a Burmese python to keep me occupied.

What inspired you to first start taking photographs? I took photography as a hobby to spend my spare time constructively. I enjoy looking at all those beautiful animal and landscape photos in the national geographic magazine and wished I could do them too. What equipment do you use to get the fantastic insect photographs? Of late, I am using Nikkor 105 macro lens paired with a full set of extension tubes. Likewise, I do macro with the reversed 18-55mm lens, 55-200mm coupled with a Raynox DCR 250.

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Into the sea


Peeping Tom


Ant Mimic With Prey

Where do you find the brilliant insects that you photograph? Do you go anywhere special or do you just notice them out and about? Being in the tropical country, we have insects all year round. I practice in the rural part of the Philippines, so insects are practically around me. I sometimes go to a nature park though where I get to see those exotic insects You also take a lot of landscape photographs, can you tell us what inspires you to photograph specific sceneries? If I find a scenery that is interesting, I shoot it and see what comes out

of it. communicating with nature What is the one thing you enjoy when doing landscape shots is most about photography? what inspires me. One thing I enjoy about photography is that it made me How important is colour to you in appreciate and more aware to your photographs? the fact that nature is so fragile Colour is very important to me as and we have to take care of it or far as photography in general is risk losing all those beautiful things concerned. It is what attracts my around us. attention. Is there any advice you could How do you come up with the give our readers on taking macro names for your photographs? photographs? They’re all very funny! In macro photography, practice, I have funny captions because patience, and using the right photography should be fun and gear should do the trick. not to be taken too seriously. When looking at my photos, the first thing that comes to my mind becomes the title. Page | 24


Image below titled ‘Eyes’

To see more of Rodrigo Layug’s photography please visit www.flickr.com/photos/md_mc

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And of course, we have another fantastic photographer for you to learn more about next month.


BLACKANDWHITE PHOTOGRAPHY

In an age of colour, it seems odd to revert back to black and white, but it can hold a massive scope for personal expression, as well as helping improving all aspects of your photography at the same time. Black and white photography is one of the most expressive mediums to capture an image; more commonly associated with Fine Art, black and white allows everyone a

By Greg Payne

Jonathan Woods - www.flickr.com/photos/woodsy2k

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means to convey their feelings of a place or subject in a way that is not possible with colour. As compared to colour photography, where catchy colours help a design to stand out, black and white’s ability to stand out depends on its ability to communicate. It doesn’t matter what camera/lens you have, great results can be produced with anything, so whatever you’ve got, go and give it a go. Black and white takes an entirely different look at the world, slightly detached from the world of technology; black and white is easy for anyone to achieve great results, both classically and digitally. Digital photography is a great tool for learning as it can instantly show you the results of your photo, allow you to change e l e m e n t s instantly and achieve great shots. But I would also encourage you to try out film black and white, if only once in your photographic career, it’s great to see the whole process from concept to photo. All skills important in the creation of good black and white photographs translate across all mediums of photography. In order to create the desired image, black and white forces you to take a step

back from the camera, other elements of the photo become even more important: light levels, composition, shape and texture. However, using black and white is a great introduction into many aspects of the modern photographic process, software such as Photoshop is really easy to work with when editing black and white, allowing simple modifications of contrast, dodging/burning and layers, without having to worry about making colours unrealistic. In contrast to colour photography, which often seeks to convey a message about a place, black and white says something about you. It is a medium built around creativity and selfexpression, a good black and white photograph conveys the photographer’s perception and feeling towards a place and time, and puts this in print, conveying the message to the reader. Black and white photography is supposed to be fun, there is no right and wrong, only what you want to create, and the path to achieving it. Creating great black and white images is easy and really pushes you creatively. It is easiest to start with digital, as you can modify elements of your photo endlessly without having to worry about cost. One thing that may be worth a small investment, but can be of great help in black and white, is the effect of filters. Filters allow you to change the contrast, as well as highlighting elements to catch the viewer’s eye, all by modifying the shade they translate to in print. There are many different filters available on the market today, many of which can be used in colour also, but one I would highly recommend just for black and white is a range of coloured filters. Coloured filters work by blocking some wavelengths of light, while allowing others through, allowing Page | 27

us to control the elements we wish to focus on in the image. Filters allow us to darken skies, brighten leaves and grass or add additional contrast to a scene. .. When shooting black and white, it is often easiest to shoot in RAW, which is essentially shooting in colour, and then changing to black and white afterwards. Although it is possible to shoot straight to black and white on most modern SLR’s (and often point and shoot’s), by shooting in RAW and then converting afterwards, it keeps options open for your photo, allowing you to choose between colour and black and white at a later date, whereas if you shoot straight to black and white, there’s no going back. It can, however, be useful to shoot straight to black and white while familiarising yourself with various different aspects of monochrome photography, seeing the effect of different filters on a scene can really help you take creative control of your photographs. The great thing about digital photography is that with post-production software, we can add in elements to the shot that we missed at the time of exposure, adding the effects of filters, increasing contrast, toning or dodging and burning specific elements to highlight or hide them, this is easier than ever with black and white photography. Finally, the most important thing is to just have fun and experiment, technical elements available can improve images, but great images are possible whatever gear you have, it’s far more important to just have some fun, test yourself creatively and show a little piece of yourself in your photographs, and whether you stick with black and white or not, it is guaranteed to help you whatever type of photography you’re doing. More images on the next page.


Images by Chi Lau


Tokina 11-16mm:

Wide Angle Lens

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any people agree that when it comes to buying an ultra-wide zoom lens for your crop-sensor Nikon or Canon, this is probably, and for the time being, as good as it gets. It roughly competes with Nikon’s 12-24mm f/4, Canon’s 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, Sigma’s 1020mm f/4-5.6, Tamron’s 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 and Tokina’s own 1224mm f/4. In terms of performance and build quality, it certainly ranks highest of all the third party lenses, but it also has the edge over the Nikon 12-24, with being considerably cheaper along the way. For a comparative review of most of the above lenses, visit http://www. kenrockwell.com/tech/ digital-wide-zooms/ comparison.htm. So why is it so good? First of all, it’s built like a tank and feels really solid and of good quality, weighing

around 570g. With its constant f/2.8 aperture, this lens works very well in low-light situations, which compensates for the lack of inbuilt image stabilisers. The images turn out very sharp, even on manual focus, and the autofocus is fast and reliable (although it’s a bit loud). I am constantly surprised by HOW MUCH you can get into a photo when using this lens (104°-82° according to the Tokina website)! At around £550, it sits in the middle of the wide-angle price range – a Sigma would go considerably cheaper, whereas the Nikon competitor is considerably more expensive. Personally, I got mine used, which makes it great value for money. The Tokina 11-16mm is compatible with all Nikon and Canon crop-sensor DSLRs, but does not have an inbuilt focus motor, so it requires manual focussing on lowerrange camera bodies Page | 30

Words and image by Marina Hauer www.flickr.com/photos/marinahauer


(for example Nikon D60 or below). One thing I love about the Tokina is the exclusive “One-touch Focus Clutch Mechanism”, which allows you to switch between AF and MF simply by snapping the focus ring forward and back toward the camera. It has to be said that this is not a lens for everyone – the

zoom range is very limited (it’s practically a fixed-focal length lens), and the ultra-wide field naturally comes with a certain amount of perspective distortion. Because there’s so much showing up in the viewfinder, it can be quite difficult to compose an image without it getting cluttered. In terms of versatility, this lens is not a Swiss army knife. Having said that, this

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kind of lens really shines when showing off something in the foreground that contrasts with a background expanse to display a unique perspective distortion (not optical distortion) you can’t get with a “normal” wide-angle lens. For anyone with an interest in architectural or landscape photography, it’s the cream on the cake, and I would not part with mine anymore!


SHOOTING ANIMALS... No, not literally.

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o far in previous issues we’ve mainly covered outdoor photography such as time of day and the rule of thirds (which is often, though not necessarily, best utilised outdoors). As photographers we can’t go out when it’s pouring down with rain so why not focus on indoors? What better way than to photograph our pets? Those little annoying but loveable pests (and that’s not a typo!) are always there for us to explore and take our photography down a new route! I have a dog called Jackie. He’s often the subject of my photos because I love that furry rat but he’s not always a willing subject... in fact he hates his photo being taken. Every time I approach him he’ll turn away, walk off or growl at me! But I still love taking photos of him because it’s a lot of fun and just different to what I usually do. This isn’t really a tutorial as such because it’s not exactly a difficult subject to photograph. However there are some tips I can tell you from experience. Animals are awesome, simple as really. But you have got to respect them. If my dog doesn’t like his photo being taken and growls at me I’ll leave him alone. This is especially important when photographing wild animals as they are more unpredictable compared to a trained pet. If you’re worried about scaring the animal use a telephoto lens

James Murphy - www.flickr.com/photos/jikklor Page | 32


Words by Chi Lau

Chi Lau

so that you can zoom in from a distance or leave them be. So what should you focus on when photographing an animal? I think each animal, especially your pets, have a personality and that’s the thing you want to capture. My dog is a lazy little rat and he tends to sleep a lot. So a lot of my photos are of him sleeping, however I also like to try to focus on his eyes a lot because, personally, I think photographing the eye is a great way to capture an animal or even a human’s personality

and as they say “the eye is the window to the soul”. In terms of positioning try and get down on the animals level. This is because you can photograph it from their point of view and how they see the world around them. This is why a lot of my photos are from a low level and also in black and white because that’s what my dog sees things. Also using a low f/stop, such as f/1.8, helps to create a focus on the face whilst keeping the rest of the animal out of focus. Try to use natural Page | 33

lighting and avoid using flash, this is because if you’re focusing on the animal’s eye it can cause red eye and also scare the animal. I’ve found that with Jackie he tends to lose concentration very quickly so try and keep the animal’s attention with a treat or in my dog’s case a tennis ball. I also try and get my dog’s attention by making strange sounds... I know that’s weird but my dog would tilt his head slightly as if he’s confused and I


Emily Lupton Emily Lupton - www.flickr.com/photos/poopton

try my best to capture it... although I’ve ran out of strange sounds and my dog sleeps too much these days! So in conclusion capture the animal’s personality and mood; are they happy? Sad? Spirited? Try and capture what makes that animal unique; this is easier with pets than with wild animals. Position yourself from the animal’s point of view and focus on their eyes. Once you have these basic

tips you can play around with the settings to best photography the animal. If the animal is jumpy a fast shutter speed might be needed to freeze the action or if you want to a slow shutter to capture the motion. Remember to be patient. Animals are hard to control, even if they are a trained pet, and so let them relax and be themselves; that is the best way to capture the personality of the animal.although I’ve ran out of strange sounds and my dog sleeps too much these days!

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Krish Mistry - www.flickr.com/people/krishmistryphotography

Chi Lau Page | 35


Back cover photograph by Russell Ede - www.flickr.com/photos/russellede

Oh Crop! issue 4  
Oh Crop! issue 4  

Oh Crop! Magazine April Issue

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