That little icon in Picasa called “saturation” is extremely tempting, especially when you look at your landscape images and realise the green is not green enough or the water doesn’t look very blue. One little click of saturation and the picture gets a magical touch.Once upon a time I was guilty of this too. But stop and think before you click that button. As tempting as it might look it kills the image and makes it look extremely artificial. I am not against using saturation. I do agree that sometimes images don’t come out the way you want them to and a little touch up is required but it’s important to limit that touch up so that the image still looks original. Initially when I started photography, and this is four years back, I had no idea how to use Photoshop or Lightroom so I was completely dependent on Picasa (poor man’s Photoshop) to fix my images but I realised slowly that this made my image look extremely artificial. The water can never be as blue as it looks in the picture so what’s the point of making it look so blue? The grass wasn’t as green and the flower […]
Just before my husband and I decided to visit the beautiful island of Santorini in Greece, I made a quick trip to Mr. Google for some research on what to do there. The island has something to offer to everyone. Nice clubs and lovely villas for those who would like to relax, small studios by the sea for tourists like us who love to have a meal and some wine while looking at the view and beautiful sunsets for the photographer within us. I had read about sunsets in Oia [EE-ah] being an extremely popular destination among tourists. Oia is a small town in Santorini noted for its white and blue domed houses. The houses are painted in white lime water so that the rainwater which falls over it runs down and can be collected. The other reason for painting the houses white is because it looks very beautiful from a cruise, especially as you approach Santorini. One of the most popular attractions in Oia is sunset viewing. It is a special event every evening in Oia from the Sunset Seranade point. At this time the town is crowded with people to watch the spectacle, when the white houses and […]
Butterflies are the most beautiful and colourful creation of God. They are pretty, they give you all the colours you want for your photo but the problem is they are extremely restless. You might have your camera ready with just the settings you need and by the time you focus they are gone. I went to the Natural History Museum in the posh South Kensington area for their ‘Sensational Butterflies’ exhibition and I was extremely pleased to see a number of butterflies. I took out my 70-300mm macro lens and started following these butterflies as they flew from one flower to the other. It was damp and humid inside the enclosure but the thrill of capturing these colourful butterflies kept me going. I managed to get a couple of good shots on a fast shutter. On occasions like these I stick to the TV mode in my camera so that I don’t have to worry about aperture. And that worked quite well.
This picture has a lovely story behind it. It was a cold winter evening and when I say cold I mean one where the chilly winds can pierce through your clothes. It was late in the evening on a Friday night and there was a lot of crowd around the West India Quay area. I wanted to take a picture of the very well-lit bridge by itself but I couldn’t really find a moment when the bridge was empty. I stayed there at one side of the bridge waiting for groups of people to cross but one group led to another and it seemed endless. Well it was a Friday evening so I can’t blame the crowd. But this where your patience starts running out. And all of this for just one shot. After about 20 minutes of waiting there I saw the crowd getting lesser so I decided to leave the camera on the floor with the exact settings in place. I could see approximately 30 seconds time for the bridge to be empty. And I clicked a couple of shots in those 30 seconds. When I saw the results later I was extremely pleased because I had found my ‘perfect’ image after a lot of perseverance. Such is the life of a photographer.
One of the toughest forms of photography I have come across is capturing wildlife. Growing up reading National Geographic magazines completely spoiled me and I always thought that getting that one perfect shot of a Lion hunting a deer would be easy. But life’s not a bed of roses. My first attempt at wildlife photography was at the London Zoo. All excited I carried my camera, a bunch of lenses, a spare battery and was ready to capture these lovely animals. The first lesson I learnt was to be patient. Capturing wildlife is like pulling teeth sometimes. You first fight your way through the crowd to be at an angle from where the subject is very clear. Then, you keep your settings ready. Remember to keep a fast shutter speed because you might be capturing a number of shots before getting the perfect one. And then, just hang in there with your camera and wait for the subject to do something interesting. I followed these exact same steps when taking all the pictures that I have attached with this post. I wanted the subject to look into my eyes, which did give me nightmares later, but the moment it looked at me I knew I had my perfect click!
Buildings and architecture in general may not look as enticing as a snow clad mountain but capturing these has its own charm. There are number of ways in which you can capture an old cathedral or a tall building. Remember composition when taking these pictures. A tall building will look really nice when captured under moonlight or a cathedral may look really pretty if you keep stained glass windows in mind too. This is one area which needs immense patience because unlike beautiful landscapes where results will most of the time be in your favour, here the results will totally depend on your settings and composition. Give black and white a try and see what you get or try and keep lower shutter speed to get that warm feel when clicking inside a church.
The biggest challenge that I faced after buying my DSLR was getting off auto mode. When you go to buy your camera the shopkeeper tells you all the features but keeps emphasizing on how the pictures come out absolutely amazing on auto mode. Well if I had to take pictures on auto mode wouldn’t I stick to my compact digital camera that I bought from my first salary. That took fairly nice pictures too. I have been taking pictures for nearly four years now and I can honestly say that the first six months was completely on auto mode. I would get scared reading big words like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure levels, white balance and so on. But the day I switched to manual mode with help from a lovely photography instructor I realised these tough words become your best friends. It is here that you start looking at everything from the point of view of an image. If its too sunny we need a very low ISO, if its night photography and you don’t have a tripod then its time to pump up your ISO. Laying your hands on these shiny gadgets can be quite overwhelming especially if you have always had a knack for taking images. […]