Small Camera Big Results

I was lucky enough to pick up a used Olympus XZ-1 yesterday.  I wanted to get a little camera I can keep on my belt all the time.  Since I got it used, I picked up something with higher quality than if I bought new at the same price.

One little thing I learned a while ago about point and shoots is not to disrespect them!  Especially for macro shooting.  Due to the size of the sensor and lens they can obtain magnifications and high quality output that surprises many. I read a lot about this in Bryan Peterson’s book “Understanding Close Up Photography.”  He showed how you can make great images with point and shoots, close up lenses and dedicated gear.

It is not the gear, it is the creativity and technical knowledge of the photographer that will make the keeper. So no matter who we are, we all have no excuse if we have something to capture an image in our hands. Grab a tool and make an image happen!


To fll or not to fill

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Last week I took lots of photos around the yard.  Got out the tripod, put the top shelf macro on, grabbed the 5-in-1 reflector….but left the flashes in the house. Learned a ton from the shoot.  Here is a one of the highlights of my learning:

Backlight of a flower or plant can be quite fun.  Dark parts get lighter in color, translucent areas show up with unusual details revealed while the thinnest areas have highlights getting clipped.  In addition the bokeh around the plant blurs out of existance with fewer round circles.

Using the pop up flash and reflector was hard.  I dialed the pop up all the way down, and lowered the ISO as well.  The resulting shots showed great detail around the focus point, the dark areas showed great contrast, and then the image gets dark fast as it moves away from the focus point.

It is a great example of why the use of flash is so important, but also the power of selective lighting techniques.  It shows the power one can have over their images when they match the effects they want, with the knowledge of techniques and tools required to get the shot.

Ok so that means it is back to the books memorization room for me!


Photo Evolution

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Today we went to the Train Museum.  We had a very hard day to shoot anything.  Overcast with lots of blinding haze.  To get decent shots I tried the overpower with flash technique.  It worked some of the time.  I also dreadfully over exposed two photos (well more than two).

Since I shot RAW files I was able to make it useable.  Still not satisfied I took the photo first into Nik Veveza 2.  Using the selective edit feature I darkened the horrible sky to bring focus to the people and train.  Then I took the photo into Color Efex 4 where I applied two filters, and a few negative control points.  Once done I finished by repairing a few points in the sky, and sharpened up the faces for a 10×12 screen shot.

The point of these photos shows that tools can help you improve a shot, but never replaces getting the conditions right before you close the shutter.  A little negative compensation, exposure lock, and tight flash work would make a better photo in my opinion.  That is my 20/20 hind sight talking.

But if you make a mistake like this….you can use powerful tools to help make something out of not much.