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The Beauty of Wide Angle [pic]

For beginners, wide angle lenses are just lenses that cover wider angles of view. But since our human eyes are not "wide angled", pictures taken with wide angle lenses appear to be distorted, the wider the angle the more distortions. Because of this very reason, I generally avoid using them for shooting people, unless...when a few times I was in the paparazzi mode that I had to cut in front of others who were doing the same thing:-) It's not fun, and it's not true photography. Anyway, distortions are generally avoided when portraying people (with exceptions too), but they are often used in architectural photography to emphasize or minimize something and to exaggerate the perspectives.

Photoshop Magic [pics]

In the digital age of photography, post processing has become such an integral part of taking pictures, that the lines between photography and drawing or computing has blurred. Here is a sample picture I took in Smokey Mountain last year during Christmas. It was a cloudy day with a lot of fast moving dark clouds. To capture the motion of the clouds, I used long exposure (25sec). But since I did not use graduated neutral density (GND) filters, the sky/cloud turned out over exposed and the landscape under exposed.

Panning Fast Action [pics]

Usually when we take fast action photos, we need to increase the shutter speed a lot so that the pictures won't be blurry. It's called freezing the action. Now with cameras capable of shooting at 1/4000 sec or even higher speed, freezing the action isn't that hard as long as we have plenty of light. But what if we shoot in low light situations that prevent us from using very high shutter speed? And shouldn't we purposely allow some blurriness to better convey the sense of fast action? That's when sometimes the panning technique comes very handy.

Shallow Depth of Field [pics]

Yesterday I wrote about shooting sports, and mentioned about shooting with big (e.g. 1/2.8) aperture often gave more dramatic results than shooting with smaller (e.g. 1/5.6 ) aperture. The reason behind it is because bigger aperture decreases the depth of field, making only part of the picture clear so that the focused subject stands out. I am here to illustrate the effect using the following pictures.

In the first picture, the focus is on the player who is trying to score a goal. Other players in the picture are blurred:

Shooting Sports [video]

I love shooting sports, and more particularly soccer games. It's full of fast actions that our naked eyes are simply not capable of fully grasping without the help of photography (and videography which is converging fast with photography). It seems that when I freeze a dramatic action with a photo, I can better appreciate the details, the form, the tension, and athleticism that happened in that moment. This is the third season that I've been shooting soccer games seriously, and I've learned quite a lot during the process.

Stories of Autism [pic]

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me a link to her daughter's recent portrait pictures. They are fantastic black and white outdoor portraits, and she got it for free as part of the Stories of Autism project. I was impressed by how the photographer was able to capture the precious moments when her daughter had such beautiful smiles. Getting good portrait pictures is not always easy, and I can imagine the difficulty when shooting autistic kids. Well, after learning more about the project at the
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