New Year’s Resolutions

resolutionsHappy New Year to everyone and I wish happiness and health to you and your loved ones!

Can’t say I am a big fan of New Year Resolutions, but in the spirit of the season I would like to set some goals for myself (photography-wise) for this new year. Since the whole point of why I created this blog is to keep myself dedicated in a hobby I really care about and enjoy, it only seems fitting to set some goals that will help me achieve just that. So here is a fairly short (and hopefully achievable) list for 2013:

  1. Explore Cyprus! I’ve been fortunate this past year to have the opportunity to travel a fair bit and in the process I’ve managed to take some decent photos. Even though I feel that it’s easier to find great photo opportunities when you are travelling abroad (compared to the familiar surroundings of Cyprus), this certainly is to a great extent psychological. Cyprus has some great scenery and all it takes is the will to go out and explore. So no more excuses here…the goal is to visit some new places and take at least 3 new pictures depicting life in Cyprus (either portraits of people or scenery).
  2. Long Exposures: Last summer on my trip to New York, I forked out a fair bit of money in purchasing a 10-stop solid ND filter. The whole point of such filter is to reduce the amount of light coming through the lens (by 10 times in this case), so I can slow down my shutter speed and capture movement in a single frame. The results can be truly astonishing (see examples), and over the last couple of years this technique has become very popular among both professional and amateur photographers. So my goal here is to finally take that filter out of its box and experiment by shooting some landscapes (minimum of 2 pictures posted on this blog), particularly in Black & White.
  3. New types of Photography: I am more or less happy with the variety of pictures I’ve managed to take over the past few years. There are dozens of other photography types however that I haven’t yet experimented with e.g. aerial, street, stock etc.,  and feel that I should so as to stretch my skills and improve. This year’s resolution therefore is to post 3 entries with photographs from types of photography that I have yet to experiment with.
  4. Frame a Picture: For all those of you who’ve been to my apartment, you can attest to the fact that I only have one single picture (though fairly large) hanging in my entire apartment. This is a B&W version of the Havana Car picture I posted on my blog this past August. I made the conscious choice that I would hang more, so long as these pictures were my own  and they had to fit-in with the rest of the decor. Suffice to say that I failed miserably so far, and the empty IKEA frame hanging in my bedroom is a testament to this failure. The goal therefore for this year is to take one picture that fits the above-mentioned criteria and is worthy for me to enlarge and hang anywhere in my apartment.

I will post updates of my progress against these goals during the year. Have a great year everyone!


Understanding Exposure

I remember my first digital camera – a tiny Canon Elph S230 3.2MP point and shoot which was years ahead of its time in terms of quality and portability. Using that camera (or any point & shoot for that matter) is simple as pie – you just frame your picture on the LCD display (or viewfinder) and click.

My old Canon Elph – RIP

 It was not until I upgraded to a Digital SLR (or DSLR) and dedicated the time to read the user manual front to back, that I finally understood its creative potential. It was really an eye-opener for me because even though as a kid I owned an analogue SLR (you know, those ancient looking boxes that worked with film), I never actually spent the time to explore its full potential.

My Canon 60D DSLR

With an SLR, composition is still the key ingredient, but you gain significant control over the exposure settings. Understanding the exposure triangle (Speed, Aperture, ISO) and the effects of changing any combination of those, is what really got me hooked with photography – the possibilities are truly endless.

This morning, I was browsing a few websites and came across this article on understanding exposure:

This for me sums everything up, and I highly recommend reading this if you own an SLR and still shoot using the auto settings. If this stings your curiosity enough, then there is an endless library of books on how to take your skills to a whole new level.

A great book that I highly recommend is the “Digital SLR handbook” written by John Freeman. Anyone in Cyprus interested in reading this, I would be more than happy to lend it to you.