I had a hard time paring everything down into a manageable selection of photos for a single post, despite blogging less this year than last year. I’d like to think that it’s because my photos are improving slightly, but honestly speaking it’s probably that my editing skills are just getting worse haha. (though I did update the Photo of the Day section a lot more this year).
Anyway, without further ado, let’s get into it. Like last time, there seems to be four main themes which I found to my photos this year – three are the same, and one is (slightly) different. Photos start after the keep reading link below.
Up until 2009, I spent most of my time shooting inanimate objects – skies, buildings, nature, etc. But you can only shoot so many skies before you get bored of it (lies!), so this year I continued what I started last year with taking photos of people. Unlike last year, in which I just kind of took photos of people who happened to be there at the time, in 2010 I started roping/bullying/bribing my friends into serving as models and assistants, setting up shots (wherein I usually spent more time struggling to get my manual settings right and fighting off killer geese than actually shooting) and finally gave in and plunked down some cash for some proper equipment: reflectors, stands… oh and this.
Apropos nothing, I’ve been getting asked for advice on shooting photos of people and while I’m still just an amateur, here’s a few handy tips I’ve learned over the past 12 months:
- Start with a sharp, fast prime lens. A 50mm f/1.8 is dirt cheap and razor sharp no matter what brand of camera you use.
- Always focus on the eyes. If the eyes are not sharp, the photos are basically useless.
- Use a reflector to fill light the face, especially with girls. It makes their skin look porcelain and makes them happy, which in turn makes you happy.
- A good assistant is priceless. S/he will keep the models entertained and will manipulate the reflector in ways you can’t in order to get the shots that you want.
- As my photography senpai taught me, a good baseline to start with when shooting manual portraits outdoors is: 1/125th f/4.0, ISO 100. Adjust as needed.
Black & White
I started experimenting with black and white photos back in 2009 and found I really liked it. I’m naturally drawn to shapes and textures and shooting in monochrome really accentuates these aspects of a photo. It’s hard to get “black and white” photography right though – it’s very easy to fall into a trap of thinking that converting any ol’ picture into black and white will “save it” (it won’t) and make it look “artistic” (it doesn’t). And on top of that, it’s tempting to go overboard with things like clipping your blacks, going overboard with the curves or just generally dramaticising the hell out of everything (heaven knows that if lens vignetting were a crime, I’d be serving life in prison right now).
One of my resolutions for 2011 is to try and improve my so-called “black and white photography” skillz, but for now, here’s a few from 2010.
No surprises here. I’ve loved blue skies since as long as I can remember, so of course they featured heavily in 2010. Nonetheless, while I took as many photos of blue skies as ever this year, I only ended up posting a few on my blog. It’s kind of become “a look” for me, and it’s ceased to be challenging to crank them out anymore: stick a circular polariser on an ultra-wide, set up a dutch-angle framing, crank your clarity and saturation and tweak your lens correction in post-dev and voila. I can do them in my sleep at this point, and while I love them, something that Design Festa taught me this year is that just because I love photos of blue skies, it doesn’t necessarily mean other people will like photos of blue skies. (heathens)
And so, I’ve been trying to expand my boundaries a bit and tone down the blue sky photos, but still, you gotta love what you love, and so here are a few (more than a few, really) of 2010′s gorgeous blue skies.
Unlike the other three themes above, this one is a new for 2010. (hmm, sounds like I’m trying to sell a new soft drink flavour or something!) I’ve written about why I love shooting skies so much before, but the more I thought about it in 2010, the more I realised that what I particularly love is clouds. Don’t get me wrong – those endless sheets of blue are something I could stare at for all eternity, but at the same time clouds are really what seals any sky photo. Clouds – and I realise I sound like a 12 year old girl here (not the first time, sadly) – are amazing and kick ass and there’s nothing quite like looking at the roiling, billowing, rolling displays unfurling up above you in the heavens to make you congisant of your humanity and how small we really all are.
And so now that my melodramatic exposition is complete, I present some of 2010′s more dramatic skies for your perusal.
Okay that’s it for now. 2010 has been a really good year for me (even better than 2009, which in and of itself was pretty good) so I’m keeping my fingers crossed and going to try to maintain my momentum for 2011. More posts coming soon. Happy new year from the House of Panda!!
Now listening to: “Lloyd Banks – Hands Up (feat. 50 Cent)
Priceless quote from this particular gem of a song:
“I bet the mansion and the swimming pool got ‘em pissed /
I ain’t a cuddler /
I f**k the drool out a chick”
Wow. Just wow. And they say romance is dead? For more, head over to Snacks and Shit one of my favourite tumbleblogs around (though sadly hasn’t been updated in a while).