Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Angry pre-apocalyptic sky is angry.

Dec 21 2012

Apocalypse!! Fiery red sunset

Canon 5DMK3+70-200mm, 1/160 @ f/6.3, ISO 160.

Extra cupcakes & a zombie survival kit have been purchased just in case ;)

Extreme Storm over Manhattan

Sep 10 2012

Extreme Storm Manhattan, NYC

The extreme storm over Manhattan on Sept 8th, 2012 which resulted in two tornados on the edge of NYC. There were, however, no reported sightings of zombies or Batman.

Hidden in the Fiery Sky

Aug 26 2012

Fire Sky + Sun

Canon 5DMK3 + 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 200mm, 1/400, f/6.3, ISO 100.

Manhattan Magic Hour Sunset

Aug 19 2012

Manhattan Magic Hour Sunset.

Canon 5DMK3 + 24-70mm, 1/60 at f/4.5, ISO 320.

Absolutely magical light over Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC.

Magical Ta Prohm, Cambodia

Aug 6 2012

Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat, Siam Reap, Cambodia

ta prohm, Ang Kor Wat, Siam Reap, Cambodia

Magical Place… Daydreaming about traveling again. Where should I go next?

Storm chasing in NYC

Jul 27 2012

STORM over Empire State Building, NYC

Amazing display of Mother Nature over the Empire State Building in NYC.

8 Macro Flower Photos to Inspire you

Jul 25 2012

yellow flower

Apologies for my lack of posting for the past few months! During my Around the World with an iPhone trip, I diverted my attentions to my travel blog and posting photos on Facebook. Anyway, after much delay, I thought I would give some love back to this blog. Here are some bokeh beautiful macros to inspire you to get out and take some shots.

Pink Rose

*silence*

Lavender

Rose Abstract

*and everything was still*

*Every time you go...*

*a rose by any other name would smell as sweet*

Around the World with my iPhone: Tokyo, Japan

Jan 21 2012

I have fallen in love with Tokyo, Japan. The people are some of the most friendly, polite, and kind people I have encountered. There was so much to capture, I shot for nearly 10 hours a day and still didn’t feel like I could do Tokyo justice. This chapter of my Around the World trip with my iPhone is all about street photography. I don’t have a lot of experience shooting this type of photography, so it was a new challenge for me. The gorgeous people of Tokyo definitely helped me get great shots.

Here are some behind the scenes videos of my adventures in Japan. It was freezing spending hours out in the cold, so by the end I went from dressing trendy to looking like a stay puff marshmallow man :|

For more photos, check out my Around the World travel blog for more photos.

I’m off to China next!

Around the World with Lisa Bettany & an iPhone 4S

Jan 18 2012

I am setting out on a trip around the world to capture photos for my very first travel photography book. I’m inspired by the freedom of shooting, editing, and sharing photos with a light-weight mobile device, so I’m leaving my professional camera gear at home and capturing the entire journey with an iPhone 4S (well actually two incase one gets tromped on by an elephant or snatched by a meer cat).

Over the past year, I’ve taken more pictures with my iPhone than my Canon 5DMKII. I’ve been really impressed by the dramatic quality improvements of iPhone 4S, and I honestly think that I will get better candid travel shots for my book with my iPhone. The best camera is the one you have with you and while I still adore my dSLR, shooting on the iPhone challenges me and makes me see capture photos in a new exciting way. Plus, it’s about 30lbs lighter than my camera gear!

When I started planning this world book trip, I had a list of about 100 places I wanted to visit spanning every inch of the globe. Unfortunately, being under a time constraint of 50 days and planning this all very last minute, I had to cut some incredible places because of technical flight details & burocratic red tape. Apparently, many cool places require travel visas which are not easily attained during Christmas holiday. Live and learn.

If you have any travel tips or suggestions for me, please put them below! I need all the help I can get!

Follow my Around the World blog and on Facebook, Google+ & Twitter.

6 New Year’s Resolutions Every Photographer Should Make in 2012

Jan 1 2012

Happy New Year Everyone! Every year I vow to become a better photographer. Last year I set some pretty lofty New Year’s resolutions for myself. This year I have very different plans that involve a little bit of travel — watch for an exciting announcement coming very soon ;) In the meantime, here are a few photography and life resolutions that I hope will help you on your quest to becoming a great photographer!

1. I will learn how to use my gear.

15mm fisheye in Times Square. Photo by Scott Meinzer.

This is a resolution that everyone should commit to. If you don’t know how to use your gear, you will never get constant photos. Anyone can capture a happy accident on Auto, but a good photographer knows how take well-exposed, composed shots in any lighting situation. Moments happen so quickly that if you can’t react almost instantaneously, you’ll always be a few seconds behind that perfect shot.

Bay Bridge at Sunrise, San Francisco

Sunrise over the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.

If you are a beginner, I recommend reading your camera manual cover to cover. It’s tedious, but knowing the button to switch on live view or how to change your picture quality settings to RAW is important. Every time you get a new piece of gear, it’s wise to read the manual. I recently got a new flash and didn’t read the manual before doing a shoot. “How different could it be from my last flash,” I foolishly thought. Apparently, it was different enough that it made me delay a shoot for 30 minutes while I figured out how to detach my new flash from my camera. Fail.

2. I will practice my technical skills.

Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC

HDR of the Parliament buildings in Victoria, BC.

Once you’ve mastered how to use your camera, then it’s all about practising using it. Most of us start shooting without any previous knowledge about photography. Taking snap shots of your family vacation is very different from shooting a fashion shoot. I’ve taken photos since I was about 5 years old, but I didn’t become aware of composition and lighting until about 4 years ago when I got my first dSLR. I initially shunned spending time learning photographic technique, thinking that my natural ability would just carry me through until I magically learnt technical skills.

I was fine shooting random landscapes and some “casual” portrait sessions, but when I was hired to shoot someone’s wedding with rented gear I’d never used I was way out of my depth. I mistakenly thought that if I rented tons of professional gear, I’d just get great shots by pressing the shutter button. How very, very wrong I was. Firstly, I didn’t know how to use the gear and secondly, I had no clue how to deal with the extreme lighting conditions of shooting a wedding, like direct sun, dark banquet halls, and fluorescent change rooms. At the time, I didn’t even know how to identify different light.

Pink Rose.

Rose macro shot at f/2.8.

While you can learn a lot about how to take great shots by doing, there is no substitute for knowing the actual technical skills necessary to take consistent shots. I’m not saying you have to know the math behind different f-stops, but you should know what an f-number is and that f/2 gives you a shallower depth of field than f/8 and when you should use one versus the other. All of this information is available online. It’s just a few Google searches away.

3. I will take more pictures.

Epic clouds at Disneyland shot with an iPhone 4 & Camera+.

I take about 200 photos a day on average. These days, I spend most of my time shooting with my iPhone. Regardless of what I’m doing or how busy I am I take photos. I’ll take photos of my wait in the Starbucks line, or my morning bagel, or my feet at a dentist appointment. I annoy my friends and family taking pictures of them everyday. While these photos are a documentary of my daily life, I’d say that about 99% of these shots would be considered rubbish to the outside artistic world. But, the other 1% are actually considered good photos that people might want to buy and stick on their wall.

The simple fact that I take so many photos, gives me way better odds that one of my photos will be great. The one thing I notice most about beginner photographers is how few photos they take. I would say the ratio of crap to good shots is about 30:1. We live in a digital age, where data is cheap, so there is no limit on how many shots you can take. Fill up your memory card, take 20 shots of a single piece of grass making sure the focus is tack sharp and the exposure is perfect.

4. I will not be limited by the gear I own.

Times Square October Snow Storm

Times Square shot with an iPhone 4S using Camera+ CrossProcess FX.

Any camera can take a great picture. You can shoot a magazine cover with an iPhone or an award winning photo on a $10 plastic point and shoot. Never feel inferior to other photographers because they are sporting a $10,000 lens. When I first started shooting professionally, I shot with an entry-level Canon Rebel and one lens. Early on, I was invited to cover a nature photography workshop in Jackson Hole. Everyone had a giant luggage bag full of the very best gear money could buy, and I was there with my tiny Rebel and a $19 tripod. The other photographers joked about my crappy tripod and the fact that I was shooting a dramatic landscape with a 50mm lens. “You really can’t get nature shots without spending a bajillion dollars on this camera and this lens and this Gitzo carbon fibre tripod. Feel how light it is!”

I felt horrible. I confided about how I felt to Steve Simon, a legendary documentary photographer and one of the mentors at the workshop without a ton of gear. During the workshop, Steve toted around his Nikon and one lens in a small canvas shoulder bag. He didn’t shoot the landscapes, but instead focused on the people taking the photos. He was interested in the faces and the moments, rather than the landscape that had been shot a million times by Ansel Adams. Steve taught me that you don’t have to be limited by your gear, but rather shift your focus to what your gear is best at capturing. If you really need that $2500 70-200mm IS L lens, you can always rent it for $30.

5. I will learn to edit my photos and critique my own photos.

I get a lot of emails from people asking me to critique their photos. I’m always happy to help guide new photographers in the right direction, but ultimately it’s up to you to learn how to critique your own photos. Photography is art and the judgement of art is relative. I prefer photographs that are “pretty” with bright colours, beautiful models, sunsets, magic hour light, and bokeh. If you presented me with a photo of a gorgeous model on a beach with warm glowing light and a pile of stunning bokeh, I’d totally fave it. But that is just me and what I like. Some people think my style of photography is trite and unrealistic, preferring raw, gritty black and white images of street scenes.

Almost anyone can tell you whether a photograph is composed and exposed well, but does it capture a meaningful moment, does it say something about the world, does it present a new concept or change the way I feel someone feels about a subject? It’s up to you to decide what your answers and and present them in your own personal photographic style.

Once you’ve decided on a style, don’t let anyone shake your vision. People will inevitably disagree with your style, say mean things about your photos, and tell you how your photos would be much better if you did things their way. I get feedback like this almost daily. Almost every photographer I know, even the amazing, Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs does. Unless someone I really respect gives me meaningful criticism, I ignore the noise.

6. I will not give up on a potentially great shot

Santa Monica Pier Sunset

Persistence was the key to this shot of the Santa Monica Pier.

Sometimes a great shot is snapped in seconds, other times it takes 4 long hours of freezing your butt off. I can relate to feeling tired, cold, sore, and frustrated as a photographer, but if there is anything I have learnt over the years, it’s never walk away from a potentially great shot. Odds are that if you just wait longer or try harder, you will get the shot, especially if you have right conditions for a great shot like billowing clouds, magic light, or a gorgeous subject.

Never say, “I’ll just come back tomorrow” or “I’ll get that shot later”. You never will. Persevere through your sore neck, cold feet, and frustration and get that shot now, especially if you are traveling. I have never regretted staying an extra two hours to get a magical shots. I have always painfully regretted not stopping to get a shot, but I never regret staying to the bitter end of a glorious sunset to get a perfect shot.

California Poppies shot with an iPhone 4S & Camera+’s Magic Hour FX.

Now I just shoot until I can’t shoot anymore. I stop the car and jump out and shoot when I see a rainbow. Always think, “this is my only opportunity to get this shot,” so make sure I nail it before I leave.

Whether you are taking your very first photo in 2012 or your 50,000th, I encourage everyone to keep taking photos and sharing them. Adventure out into the world more this year and don’t stop believing in yourself and your photography. Quick, grab your camera – there are amazing photos out there just waiting to be captured!