Friday, November 2, 2012

Seeing Weather at Its Worst

Having thankfully experienced just the fringe benefits of the catastrophic Hurricane Sandy earlier this week, Mother Nature and her omnipotent power have never been far from my thoughts.  Also, like so many others, I am thinking of, and praying for, the people of the eastern American States and further south, who were her victims.

Seeing the devastation left  in the wake of this formidable tempest, in various forms  –  flood, power outages, fires, sand – was both awesome and terrifying.  When our world is calm it's a wondrous place. But angry too, it has undeniable beauty. 

The darkening sky and swirling clouds of an impending tornado, or an electrifying light show against an evening backdrop,  are just some of the formidably mesmerizing images that can really get our attention. 

And often, have us running for cover.  Mother Nature behaving badly, after all,  is only beautiful from a distance.  For the best way to see weather at its worst check out the impressive photos on these sites:

National Geographic Tornadoes

Stormy Weather Gallery

DPS Electrifying Lightning Images

National Geographic Hurricanes

National Geographic Wildfires

Reuters Weather Around the World

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Finding the Right Lenses

A young musician from the Czech Republic was a special guest at our home for a day this past summer.  A member of the punk group Criminal Colection he was in Canada having finished a special performance in Montreal, after which the boys decided to extend the trip and visit their Ontario friend, our son. 

While the band has attained relative success, Tomas is wise enough not to put all his eggs in one basket, and is studying film at university.  To prove that his passions are diversified, in addition to his drum kit, he sported some fairly impressive photographic equipment with him on this trip.   What really caught my attention was the fish eye lens. I loved the effect and thought of the many scenic shots I've taken that would have been so much more interesting with this little gem. 

Sadly,  I shall remain covetous as the price is not something this amateur picture snapper can justify.

It does remind, however, that beyond the talent to capture the shot and the ability to alter the finished image with software, lies the gadgetry and techniques a photographer can use to enhance the picture-taking process.  To read some suggestions and see some options,  here are a few sites that may be of interest:

Cronixsoul Choose the Best Camera Lens

Photo.net Camera Lenses

DPS Getting to Know Your Lenses

Photoshelter's Best Camera Lenses Ever

Macworld How to Buy a Camera Lens

Digital Photography Review Lens Buying Guide


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Becoming a Microstocker

So you have a creative side.  Possessing a talent in the arts is a wonderful gift,  being able to share the beauty you create with others.

However,  the reality for the majority of artistic people is that regardless of how talented they may be,  making a living can actually be more about marketing.  Whether you are a musician,  artist or photographer,  getting your name out there, understanding your work, and effectively pushing your 'product' is not just a top priority,  but an ongoing process.

This is no less true in the field of microstock.  In a 2011 interview, well-known Danish microstocker Yuri Arcurs shared his view that the industry has become exceptionally competitive and is tough to break into.  He did, however, have some advice for those eager to give it a try,  including the type of work that sells well,  and how to find models.

You can read his interview with Michael Zhang here:  PetaPixel Interview  and follow this link to read one from July, 2012 with Alex Croft:  Hunchmag Yuri Arcurs Interview .

As well, the following sites offer tips to help you show your creative side to the microstock world:

DPS Tips for Microstock Photography

Camera Career Photos That Sell the Most

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky Photography

Only one day remains until Halloween.  For the young it's a time of cute costumes and bags of goodies.  As children get older, the more sinister aspects of the night start to come into play with ghoulish get-ups and minds full of mischief.  The young-at-heart get in on the action too, in outfits ranging from the nostalgic to the terrifying.

And so, we have in recent posts here, tried to play to each of those aspects.  First we looked at sites that showed how to take picture-perfect photos of your little trick-or-treaters. Then, with the mischievous attitude of youth in mind,  there were suggestions on how to transform the normal into creepy manifestations perfect for the season.

The sheer number of these sites dedicated to Halloween photography is testament to the popularity of the holiday and the hobby.  So, before this spooky evening is history,  we look now at a more mature approach to pictures - taking photos full of haunting images with shades of chilling menace.  And just for fun, I've thrown in a creepy collection, too.

Kodak Spooky Photography Ideas

about.com photography Halloween Tips

365Project Tips for Spooky Halloween Photography

dps Spooky Light Painting Tutorial

 iCLIPART Spooky Photos

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spooky Photo Effects for Halloween

Walking around the neighbourhood this time of year can be an entertaining experience.  Ghostly apparitions and spooky skeletons haunt porches and windows. Cobwebs cling to railings and rafters, while tombstones rise up in front yards. 

It's all smoke and mirrors, of course, typically normal homes transformed from dreary to eerie with just a little effort and imagination.  The sole purpose, of course, is to get into the spirit of Halloween,  creating an entertaining backdrop for costumed trick-or-treaters,  as they make their way along the goodies trail.

Turning the normal into something spooktacular isn't restricted to homes and people, however.  With help from image editing software you can even dress up  photographs for Halloween.  There are various tutorials to be found on the web that will help you turn the normal into the unearthly and sinister.  Check out these sites for starters:

Garmahis Photoshop Halloween Tutorials

Create a Realistic Blood Effect Using Photoshop

worldtopdesigners.com Spooky Halloween Photomanipulation