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Shooting with others can be refreshing

Shoot With Others To Refresh Your Mind

Shoot With Others To Refresh Your Mind

Nikon D800, 1/5000 sec., f/2.8, ISO400, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/5000 sec., f/2.8, ISO400, 24mm

It’s been a while shooting with other photographers, but it’s never a dull moment when you’re out and about with others. In fact, it’s a great way to be social, get inspired by different perspectives, and just have fun. Last Sprint, I took to the streets of Mississauga with other local photographers and just took pictures for the fun of it all. Not a lot of landscape photography going on here, especially in the city, but having a human element in photographs is always a warm welcome. The shot above is of the skating area at Celebration Square in Mississauga’s City Centre.

John, Neil, and Jacob Instagramming their photos of the day.

John, Neil, and Jacob Instagramming their photos of the day.

These are the three troublemakers that were up to no good that day. With all of us living in the West end of town, we childishly dubbed ourselves, The Westenders. Or was it The West End Boys? From left to right, are, John (@hagow), Neil (@Neil.Nofuente), and Jacob (@Jamenyo)

Troublemakers shooting me shooting them

 

Had it not been for this day, I would likely have never even come up to this building. It was a great find with some unique shooting opportunities.

Neil doing his thang

Neil doing his thing.

Neil seeing something that I obviously didn’t see…or don’t see. That’s the beauty of shooting with others; we each have our own ideas and perspectives that shooting the same subject can yield completely different photos.

The Jacob stare

The Jacob stare.

While we spent most of our time indoors, the outdoor also proved to be photo-worthy as well. Jacob being photographed by Neil and John, and apparently not liking his few seconds of fame.

Living Arts Centre

Inside the Living Arts Centre

The Living Arts Centre in Mississauga that day was host to some wedding-related event with a runway and wedding booths set up in its lobby. Jacob is practicing his wedding photography skills here.

Busted!

Busted!

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Neil smile so much as he is in this photo. What ever was he thinking? John peeks over his shoulder and finds me shooting the three of them from across the window.

In summary, get out there once in a while with others and it can be a great refresher for your mind. You can look at things differently and see things from other perspectives that you may not have even thought to do if you were shooting by yourself.

 

Hey Spring, where are you?

Cherry blossoms' early bloom at High Park

Cherry blossoms’ early bloom at High Park

Spring has officially sprung but there really is no sign of it anywhere. With temperatures still below the freezing mark, it looks like Mother Nature has other plans for us. But fear not, eventually it will get warmer, which is a sure sign that these cherry blossoms will start to bloom at High Park once again.

I’ve never been much into floral photography, but for some reason these cherry blossoms often bring me back to High Park every May. Every year I just randomly take pictures of these flowers never actually knowing the ins and outs of taking beautiful floral photography. Perhaps this year calls for a change.

Anybody know much about taking good looking picture of these cherry blossoms?

For those wanting to know more about cherry blossoms, and specifically when it will be blooming in Toronto’s High Park, someone has generously made a website dedicated to just this! You can head over to www.sakurainhighpark.com where they will update you on when the peak time to go will be. It is usually within the first two weeks of May, but it’s all a guess right now with these cold temperatures.

You can visit the official City of Toronto High Park site here, or there’s another independent site dedicated to this park: High Park Toronto.

Have you taken any beautiful pictures of cherry blossoms that you are proud of? Show me by linking to them in the comments below!

Taku’s Top 5 iPhoneography Winter Photography Favourites

Yesterday’s Top 5 post was all about my photography taken with my Nikon D800 camera. Today’s Top 5 is all about my other camera, my iPhone. This year all of my winter iphoneography was done on an iPhone 6 Plus and sure enough, this camera did not disappoint either.

Here are my Top 5 iPhoneography Winter Photography Favourites.

Number 5

This black and white winter photo was really magical. It was a long exposure photo, which enabled me to get the details below the water. I love how the smooth water contrasts with the rough details of the ice. This monochromatic image adds much more drama to this scene than the original colour version.

iPhone 6 Plus, 4 second exposure

iPhone 6 Plus, 4 second exposure

Number 4

Many of you will have seen the square cropped version of this image, as seen on my Instagram feed here, and featured on many other hubs on Instagram. While it works well with the square crop, I do like the full view as well. This was taken at Tiffany Falls in Ancaster one overcast Saturday. I happened to come here without knowing there was going to be a class. By chance, I ran into some other photographers who had been taking ice climbing photos for a long time. I learned a couple things here and there from him, and had a good time trying out different angles and whatnot.

Ice climbing lessons at Tiffany Falls

Ice climbing lessons at Tiffany Falls

Number 3

It was an overcast day that made all photos a little boring to look at. I happened to come across this point in the Hamilton region while out shooting one weekend. That wooden structure caught my eye as I was walking back to my car. I took a quick snap of it with the Toronto skyline visible in the backdrop. The clouds were white and grey, but I liked the texture that I caught with this photo. After a little tweaking using the Mextures app, I came out with this photo which added so much more character and life into it. I really do like that faded purple feel to this. It’s somewhat calming in a sense.

By the shores of Lake Ontario during an overcast day.

By the shores of Lake Ontario during an overcast day.

Number 2

Keeping things simple often works in many cases. And that’s what I did here. I tried to keep things to a minimum by cropping out any extraneous distractions. As the sun rose above the horizon, I grabbed this quick shot, which highlighted the fog over Lake Ontario very well. I love the cold morning feel you get with this shot. It was edited with the LV01 filter in VSCOcam, which gave it that overall faded feel to the photo.

A cold sunrise but I loved the minimalism of this crop. And that fog!

A cold sunrise but I loved the minimalism of this crop. And that fog!

Number 1

You’ve seen this square cropped version on my Instagram feed, but the uncropped version is so much more telling. It gives the wide view of the landscape, including the snowbank on the side, and the vast cloud formation, which further adds drama to the scene. If you read my post yesterday, my number one photo from my Nikon also came from this day. The combination of colours, clouds, and viewpoint just struck me as something only Mother Nature can provide in a beautiful sunrise.

A magical sunrise by Lake Ontario

A magical sunrise by Lake Ontario

Honorable Mention

I have one more shot that I really liked, but didn’t put it in my list because of one technical flaw. This was a long exposure but somehow I managed to blur the subject in the photo. My phone was on a tripod and everything, but I suppose my fat fingers may have done some extra damage to the scene. It may look fine on a mobile screen, but when looked at full size, the CN Tower is actually quite blurry, immediately taking this out of contention. I do really like this scene though, and it was unfortunate that this happened.

Someone is always looking upon us.

Someone is always looking upon us.

So there’s my top five favourite iPhoneography with my iPhone 6 Plus for this winter season. I hope you found the thoughts behind my photos a little enlightening.

Have you taken a favourite winter photo with your mobile device? Let me know what it was in the comments below, and link to it so I can view them as well!

Taku’s Top 5 Winter Photography Favourites

As of 6:45pm, March 20, winter is officially over, however it may not feel like it with the current cold front passing by our city this week. To recap this wonderful season that offered a number of prime photo opportunities, I’ve rounded my top five favourite photos that I took with my Nikon over this winter season.

If you’ve been following my blog throughout the winter, or are following me on Instagram @smaku or @theSmaku, then you may have noticed some of these photos pop up there. I’m also uploading select photos on my Flickr account as well.

Number 5

This photo was taken in early December when Christmas lights were just being turned on, and everybody was getting into the festive spirit. On my way home from the Christmas Market, I took a quick detour to City Hall to see what was happening. The semi-long exposure of 0.8 seconds made some skaters a blur, while those who stood still remained in focus. All lights were on, and I made sure to include the city’s Christmas tree in this frame too. I opted to include that spotlight on the top left, to add some more excitement to the top half of this frame. I just can’t help but feel a little festive whenever I see this.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who liked this photo as city councillor Norm Kelly liked it enough to retweet it to everybody.

0.8 sec. at f/20, ISO 800, 24mm

0.8 sec. at f/20, ISO 800, 24mm

 Number 4

This one was taken on the same day as number 5! Visiting the Distillery District Christmas Market for the first time, I wanted to really capture the festive spirit and business of the event. I had to prop my tripod right in the middle of the walkway, getting my camera high enough above everybody’s heads to really capture this mood. I think it turned out rather nice; you can feel the warmth from the halogen Christmas lights. Since this was a long exposure, by chance, I happened to capture three flashed coming from different places. As an added bonus, I loved how this one person in the crowd stood still enough so that I could capture her on her phone, perhaps Instagramming all of this!

Three flashes a charm?

Three flashes a charm?

Number 3

This winter had no shortages of sunrise shoots. While some of them were a little lacklustre, others proved to be very rewarding. This day was one of them when the colours were so vibrant it really made you second guess what was happening here. This 6 second long exposure created a different texture to Lake Ontario, further adding to that special morning glow that you can only get with a sunrise.

Nikon D800, 70mm, f/14, 6.0 sec., ISO 100, B+W 6-stop ND filter

Nikon D800, 70mm, f/14, 6.0 sec., ISO 100, B+W 6-stop ND filter

Number 2

Surprisingly, one of my favourites of the season is not even a colour photo! I really like the tone of this with its faded shadows. The intricate details of the plants in the foreground silhouetted against the brightly lit waters of the background make this for me. That ball of sun right in the middle also makes this a special moment that you know it wasn’t taken any time during the day.

Nikon D800, 1/20sec., f/9.0, ISO100, 70mm

Nikon D800, 1/20sec., f/9.0, ISO100, 70mm

Number 1B

This one would have to be my favourite photo taken with the full sun in the frame. The patchy fog on top of Lake Ontario really makes you feel the frigidness of that morning. I was lucky those colours were so vibrant that day as well. It was an absolutely beautiful morning and one that I definitely didn’t want to spend in bed!

Nikon D800, 1/6 sec., ISO 100, f/9.0, 24mm, +2/3 EV

Nikon D800, 1/6 sec., ISO 100, f/9.0, 24mm, +2/3 EV

Number 1A

This would be my favourite landscape photo where you can see the city within the frame. That morning was almost a bust since the clouds were so thick near the horizon. I really didn’t think I would get any colour out of Mother Nature. But as I waited a little more, the clouds broke open ever so slightly, allowing some magical morning light to come through. That red on the side was out of this world, so to speak. It’s mornings like this that really make waking up so early worthwhile.

Nikon D800, 24mm, f/8.0, ISO 100, 30 sec., 6-stop ND filter

Nikon D800, 24mm, f/8.0, ISO 100, 30 sec., 6-stop ND filter

Those are my top 5 favourite winter photos for 2014. I hope you enjoyed them! I believe Both #1 photos I hadn’t even posted anywhere so this may very well be the first time you’ve seen them! Just another reason for you all to keep following me on my blog. 🙂

Just enter your email down below at the bottom of the page, and you’ll get my daily post right in your inbox.

Have you been out to take photos this winter season? Where was your favourite one taken? Let me know in the comments below.

iPhone 6 Plus Vs. Nikon D800 Sunrise Shootout

Here’s another comparison photo from my iPhone 6 Plus and my Nikon D800. They may not be a fair comparison per se, but it’s always fun to see the difference in quality between a mobile photo and that from a dSLR.

I posted the square cropped version of the iPhone 6 Plus photo on Instagram. But this is just one example where square just doesn’t cut it. The full version, as seen here, us much more dramatic and screams for attention.

The long exposure was done through Slow Shutter Cam app; I believe this was either a 4 or 8 second exposure. I believe I edited the colours in Instaflash Pro, and then put it through VSCOcam, where I applied the M4 preset to get this overall faded yet colourful look.

iPhone 6 Plus edited in VSCOcam

iPhone 6 Plus edited in VSCOcam

The Nikon D800, shown below is a 1 second exposure. It was edited in Lightroom where I enhanced the colours near the horizon, added a saturation gradient to the sky, and sharpened and brightened up the buildings a touch. The composition is very similar to the iPhone 6 Plus, but you can see that it is zoomed in much closer to the skyline.

Nikon D800, f/9.0, ISO 100, 1.0 sec., 70mm

Nikon D800, f/9.0, ISO 100, 1.0 sec., 70mm

I personally like the Nikon D800 version better with the vibrant tones to the sunrise. I love the subtle mixture of blue, yellow, and orange half way up this photo. The sharpness of the buildings can’t be matched by the iPhone either.

Still, it’s amazing what a mobile phone is capable of accomplishing in a matter of minutes. The edit oh my iPhone took a lot less time to do than the edit in Lightroom—and I could change the look and feel of the photo in seconds with the tap of a filter.

That’s the payoff with mobile photography!