Archive for the Miserere’s Photos Category

Some Canon S90 Sample Shots

Posted in Cameras, Miserere's Photos, Photos with tags , , , on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 by Miserere

by Miserere

  

As some of you may have noticed, I bought a Canon S90 a couple of months ago and have been putting it through its paces during this time. While the reviews showed photos taken mostly for the purposes of testing the camera, the fact is I bought the S90 to take real photographs with.

Below I’m posting some “real” photos for your enjoyment (click for larger versions). If you would like to see more, you can check out my Canon S90 Gallery.

When I view these photos, varied in style as they are, I see a clear similarity between them: The only reason they exist is because I had the camera in my pocket. For only two of them did I also have my DSLR with me, but packed away in my backpack, whence it was unlikely to come out to take either of those two photos. So thanks to my new pocketcam, I have a handful of photos I wouldn’t otherwise have taken. No, the S90 isn’t perfect, but it’s proving to be extremely useful nonetheless, proving once again that, more often than not, the best camera is the one you have with you.

  

  

  

  

  

  

The Camera You Have With You: A White Squirrel

Posted in General, Miserere's Photos, Photos with tags , , on Saturday, December 5, 2009 by Miserere

by Miserere

  

As a card-carrying member (#249, Pentax chapter) of the Worldwide Squirrel Shooters Association, I am always on the lookout for a good squirrel photo opportunity. In general, one needs a fast DSLR with a relatively long lens for this endeavour (a 70-300mm zoom works well), but sometimes a chance encounter with a rare squirrel will have you shooting with whatever camera you may have, because a lousy photo is better than no photo at all.

Such was the encounter I had today. I was driving home early in the morning; it was cold but sunny, and I was in a rush to drop the car off at home before walking to work (I know this sounds backwards, but that’s my life). I had just turned into my street when I saw a white, fuzzy flash of fur cross the road. I looked to the pavement on my left, and right there, looking back at me with beady, red eyes, was a white squirrel. A white squirrel! Possibly the most prized photograph a member of the WSSA can take! I stopped the car immediately.

With trembling hands I took my Canon S90 from my jacket pocket and fumbled to turn it on. Alas, I was too slow, and sensing that she was in danger of being photographed, the white squirrel had fled through a hole in a fence. But I was not giving up! I parked the car and walked stealthily towards the fence; I could hear some rustling and the occasional flash of white in the bushes behind the fence. When I was some 5m away a sudden frenzy of shaking branches and the sound of little feet scampering announced the white squirrel’s departure. All was silent.

I reached the fence and peered over into a large garden with trees in the far side. Nothing moved, and there was no trace of the white squirrel, only the sound of far away traffic. I waited for a minute or so, camera ready and zoomed out to the max, set to Av and auto ISO; I was not going to miss again. And then I saw it. Sitting motionless atop a fence post, it had been there all along, yet remained invisible to my eyes. Not anymore.

I pointed the camera at it and took a few shots (the above is a resized JPEG straight from the camera). I wasn’t close enough for a high quality portrait, but I knew I at least had evidence of my encounter. All of a sudden a regular squirrel appeared in the branches above the white squirrel and started shrieking. The white squirrel shrieked back and scurried up the tree, possibly to claim it as her own. I snapped a few shots while this happened, then sensing it would not be leaving its tree nor coming any closer, I left it to its own devices, my mission accomplished.

As I walked to work a few minutes later I whistled a tune while admiring my catch on the rear LCD screen; I will even admit I skipped a little. It was a cold but sunny morning—and I had just photographed a white squirrel.

The image below is a 100% crop from the first frame, with a little bit of sharpening added.

Random Pic of the Day

Posted in Miserere's Photos, Photos, Random Pic of the Day with tags , , on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 by Miserere

by Miserere

 

Miami Beach, USA, October 25, 2009.

Miserere - Miami Beach, Florida

Photoshop’s Limitations with Panoramic Stitching: Use Hugin!

Posted in Miserere's Photos, Photos, Software links with tags , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 by Miserere

by Miserere

  

On September 15th, 2009 I went to see the Boston Red Sox play the Los Angeles Angels in Fenway Park, Boston. I knew the game would start shortly after sunset and that my seat would look out towards the West, so I planned to take a panoramic photo of the stadium even if I did nothing else that day. The weather cooperated and even provided some clouds to increase the dramatic effect of the sky at sunset. I also snapped the photos when the sky’s brightness was similar to that of the field; this is a short window of opportunity that cannot be missed!

While I had processed the many photos I took during the game, including the 4 individual photos that I wanted to stitch, I hadn’t actually got around to creating the panorama. I tried doing that this evening using Photoshop’s Photomerge function, but it kept complaining about not being able to align one of the images. This had happened to me on a number of occasions with less important panoramas, and I had simply given up, but I was determined to get this panorama to work. Where can I find a good, free panorama stitching tool? I need look no further than this very blog! Peter Zack keeps a list of freeware image editing tools and software that I recommend everyone bookmark. It was there that I found Hugin, a piece of software that serves as a GUI (Graphical User Interface) to the industry standard panorama creating algorithm Panorama Tools, written by German mathematician Prof. Dr. H. Dersch .

I downloaded the latest version, which installed quickly on my Windows XP laptop, and in very little time I had my panorama. And no, it didn’t complain about any images not being aligned. I wasted a lot of time playing around with different perspectives and other parameters, but in the end the default and automatic settings gave the best result by far. Next time I know not to touch anything and simply press GO. Actually…next time (tomorrow) I will redo this panorama using TIFFs instead of JPEGs. I’m sure it will take longer due to the larger file sizes and bit depth, but the end result will be of higher quality.

But even with JPEGs, the panorama looks pretty damn good to me. Please, judge for yourselves (click for larger version). And if you have any favourite panorama tools, let me know in the comments section!

Miserere - Fenway Park panoramaFenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox

Street Photography in Boston

Posted in Miserere's Photos, Photos with tags , , , , on Sunday, October 11, 2009 by Miserere

by Miserere

 

Bookended by kisses—no words, just pictures. Taken in and around Boston yesterday, Saturday October 10th, 2009.

 

Miserere - Love and Life on the Subway (Boston T)

 

Miserere - T Station in Cambridge

 

Miserere - Cafeteria in Boston's North End

 

Miserere - Boston's North End

 

Miserere - On the Boston T

 

Miserere - At the Holocaust Memorial in Boston

 

Miserere - A Kiss on Cross St, Boston

Photo Walk – Boston (Financial District) Edition 2009

Posted in General, Miserere's Photos, Photos with tags , , , on Sunday, July 19, 2009 by Miserere

by Miserere

  

NEW: I’ve created a discussion thread for all Boston Photo Walks within the EtL Flickr Group. If you participated in this, or any other Boston Photo Walk, please consider adding some photos to the group and discussing your experiences.

  

Make sure you check out Peter Zack’s Photo Walk report from Prince Edward Island, Canada. Peter should be starting a separate discussion on the EtL Flickr group soon.

Since this was a photo walk, not a chat walk, I’ve decided to skip the prose and simply post some of the pictures I took. Nonetheless, I do want to thank Michele Peterson for organising the Boston – Financial District photo walk, and Gary Hoyt for leading it when Michele was unable to due to a last-minute emergency. Thanks also to all the nice, chatty and friendly photographers I met; it was a pleasure walking, talking and taking photos with (and of!) you. I hope to see many of you soon!

Somehow, my friend and I managed to get there early, well before the 9:00 meeting time. Seemed like a good time to take the first pic of the day.

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Photographers praying to Our Lady of Perpetual Construction that we may be spared of rain. (We were.)
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Gary takes the group photo. Hopefully I’ll get that photo at some point.
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

And after the group photo, The Walk was officially started. Click on the photos for larger versions.

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Thanks to Greg for the idea on the following photo. Maybe he’ll post a link to his version and we can compare our different approaches.
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Yes, she’s silver!
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

The end of the Photo Walk! Outside Boston’s Beer Works, a few weary photographers compare notes before going in for some well-deserved food and drink.
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Not that the intrepid photographers were out of danger!
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

Which is why some didn’t take their cameras off, even to eat.
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

But not everyone had the same priorities.
Miserere - Scott Kelby's Photo Walk Boston

And that’s it from me! But if you still want to see more photos I took, they are all here.

Baby Photography, Not as Easy as It Seems!

Posted in Miserere's Photos, Photography with tags , , , , on Thursday, June 18, 2009 by Miserere

by Miserere

  

Miserere Baby Photos - SimonA few months ago I published an interview with baby photographer extraordinaire, Carrie Sandoval. Her photography is stunning, and she makes it look so easy! While I had photographed plenty of young children, I had not tried my hand at babies, and after featuring Carrie’s photography on EtL I was itching to try it out. Plus, if I can shoot 4-year old kids that run around and don’t know what posing is, how difficult can a little baby be, right?

Hah! So wrong, so wrong…

Two friends from my home town were kind enough to have a baby during the time I was visiting my parents back in March-April. That’s how I know they’re good friends, see? I thought “I want to try some baby photography”, and they promptly had a baby a few weeks later. You can’t buy friends like that! Of course, they were all too happy to let me practice my skills on their little Simon, a mere 3 days after he was born.

Miserere Baby Photos - SimonBabies are cute, and I would have to be a bad photographer to mess that up. Turns out babies are cute over the medium or long term, say over a minute or so; but in 1/100s, they can look like scary aliens. No mother wants a photo of their child looking like a scary alien (or Winston Churchill, as my friend says). That must be Rule #1 of baby photography, surely. So as I stood there scrolling through the first pics of Simon on my camera’s rear LCD (and promptly deleting each one) I desperately tried to remember everything Carrie had said: Soft light, large windows, uncluttered background, cute props, make sure he’s fed, use 50mm-equiv lens… OK, OK, I have all that…now what?

In the end I figured out the missing ingredient was patience. While Simon had finished eating (drinking!) just before I arrived, he wasn’t quite ready to hang out butt-naked while some guy pointed a black box at him and made him lie in strange positions. It’s not his fault, and that’s something the photographer needs to understand: Sometimes it just isn’t the right moment to photograph the baby. Because I was flying back to Boston the next day, however, there were no other moments we could use. Eventually the there was a lot of daddy holding him until he calmed down, then 60 seconds of shooting in the basket until he grew restless, then mummy calming him…and just when things were on a roll, grandma and grandpa arrived for a surprise visit! I made the most of it and took some pictures of them with Simon. They were a bit suspicious of me to begin with, but the magic thing about babies is that everyone forgets the photographer when there is a baby in the room.

Miserere Baby Photos - Simon

  

Miserere Baby Photos - SimonIn the end I found that the best way to get good photos is to go with the flow. There is no point in forcing the baby to do something he doesn’t feel like because nobody wants photos of sad, crying babies (Rule #2, I believe). I took some photos of him lying down, but when he was being held by his parents I tried to capture that tender connection too. While the baby is important, we need to remember that he’s part of a family, and capturing that spirit of love and unity is just as important.

Miserere Baby Photos - SimonI hope Simon’s parents enjoy the photographs. As for me, I’m on the lookout for more babies; I reckon in 50 babies I’ll be able to show Carrie some of my work. And Simon? I told him I’d be back next April for the 1 year reunion, and I won’t be taking any monkey business from him this time!

Miserere Baby Photos - Simon

  

Do you have any baby photos to share? Show them in the comments section! Extra points if there’s a funny story around them.

All photos: ©Miserere.