Playing with Monochrome

Its the rainy season here in Cambodia right now giving lots of time for processing and re-processing of images so I have been playing around with Silver FX Pro 2 and turn some of my color images into Black and White.ikmm0143I have always loved BW images, I cut my teeth many years ago using Kodak Tri X and Silver FX Pro 2 is a piece of software, used from within LR4, that appears to be able to take me back to those times, but without the smelly chemicals and need for a darkroom.ikml8802It takes a little time, and patience, to learn the basics of how to use the program and decide how you want you images to look. Only certain images seem to work well in BW. A good tonal range within the color image seems to help. I am still experimenting trying to get the results I see in my minds eye.

ikml8593aSome images work better in BW than others. Using to software you can decide how you want your images to look but try, as I have found, not too push the image to far. Detail is great but to much detail can be unflattering and distracting. After some experimentation I have found (I like detail, too much sometimes), that if I back it down a couple of notches from what I would think was best it actually works for me.




For me the face is the most important feature of a human being. The expressions are endless and make very interesting pictures.

x100-2225-editcanon-4696What can you see in a face that makes a picture so interesting. The human ability to display emotion by using the muscles of the face in almost limitless ways to express anger, happiness, hate, love, frustration, sadness is the reason I find a never ending supply of pictures to make.X100-2162-Edituntitled-545 untitled-548IMG_5710IMG_5593 X100-1688 JWI2015-3631IKML8712 1DMkIV-103BW16x20 Xpro1-18-12239 untitled-22008BW IKML0105-Edit Large Blog ImageIMG_9179-Edit IKM_0451-Edit IKM_0394-EditFusionAsia Photography ikm-6677 ikml8593 ikml8850 ikml9225-edit-2 ikmm0005

How To Photograph People And Places

Author: Dan Feildman

Nothing defines a place as much as the people who live there work there or visit. It is fascinating to observe them and their culture. They can also provide a rich source of photographic potential too.

0085Not everybody is comfortable taking candid shots when visiting a particular city or location.

It takes a certain amount of confidence, quick reactions and a real eye for a picture, but with a little courage and practise, candid photography can add a human touch to your pictures of places that you visit.XPRO3514-4922

A few simple rules
Here are a few simple rules when taking candid shots of people that you don’t know, often without their permission. As taking their picture has the potential to be fraught with difficulties, follow these simple rules to ensure that you won’t offend or upset the people that you photograph and you won’t have any problems:

Have respect for the people you are photographing and for any cultural differences that there may be when visiting far flung destinations. If you have any doubt, please do some research before you leave. It is very important that you don’t insult or offend the people whose country you are visiting.X100-1698A lot of people are very camera shy so if somebody spots you and indicates that they are not happy being photographed, please respect their feelings. Be sure to let them know that you understand. You won’t usually be breaking any laws by photographing people in public places but that does not give you the right to upset anyone.

If you have any doubt about whether or not they would be offended about having their photograph taken (such as if they are working on a market stall etc), ask! Most people in general will be more than happy to be photographed as long as you talk to them first. This takes some practise at first, especially if you are shy or don’t speak their language, but it is just good manners to do so. Learn to say please and thank you in the language of the country you are in it will go a long way. The first words I learned in Cambodian were ” Taught Rup Moi ” meaning one picture please, and occun chiran (thank you).IKMX100©-1204Taking photographs of children is especially sensitive. Please be very careful to get their parent’s permission, and explain what you are doing, if you are taking candid shots of children. Depending on where you are, anxiety about your motives might be so strong that it simple might be best to avoid photographing children.

Don’t be surprised if street performers, artisans, street sellers or beggars ask for payment for a picture. Never just take a snap and run.

When taking a photograph, try and take a picture of them doing something, such as laughing, talking or working. This will produce more interesting and more ‘human’ images.20141101-DSCF9984-Edit

Finally, never hesitate. If a shot doesn’t work, simply delete it. Don’t waste a few vital seconds deciding whether or not to take the picture. If you do the moment will be gone forever. Also, don’t worry about technical excellence and waste time trying to get your camera settings right. A little blurring or noise can add atmosphere to candid shots. Just concentrate on composing and taking the photograph.

As with any kind of photography, the more you do it, the better you will become at spotting and capturing those fleeting moments in time that say something meaningful and interesting about your subject.

HQ images with Fuji X cameras & lenses



The HQ images that the X cameras and lens are able to produce have made it the perfect travel camera. The lightweight design has in no way compromised the image quality.

On many of my trips before I have carried, much to my aging backs dismay, 2 Pro DSLR’s with 3 or 4 lenses with a total weight of over 20Kg. Two heavy for carry on baggage (mostly sneaked through) but the danger of checking in (and the extra cost) set me looking for a lighter way to travel but without loosing any quality. I looked around for a long time, considering all my options, then a friend of mine offered me an X100 that he was selling so he could upgrade, the price was good and he assured me off the quality. On this he was right, the quality possible was excellent. I initially used the camera as an adjunct to my DSLR’s (which I still have and use but the way) but gradually began to use it more and more. It was so light and easy to use and the pictures were stunning, great color and sharpness from the fixed lens.20141105-DSCF0049

I actually started using the camera on a few jobs as my main camera and had no complaints about the images it produced.



Canon G11 – still used

Whenever you get any new bit of kit it takes a while to learn how to get the best from it. On my recent trip to the UK I unfortunately left my little Sony point and shoot behind when I came back to Phnom Penh so I decided to go and find a new one. Off I headed to the camera store on Monivong where I knew that I could probable get a good deal on the camera I wanted. They didn’t have it in stock but would get me one the next day. Service is great but the gear is grey.

I had decided that I wanted a Canon Power Shot G11 admittedly not the smallest of point and shoots but according to the reports I have read is definitely up to scratch IQ wise. So the next day I paid my money and took my camera. Spent the afternoon reading the manual and fiddling with the controls, finding my bearings.

The next morning I was out early to give the camera a walk, ended up doing several miles.I wanted this camera to carry with me when not possible or desirable to hump a DSLR but the question remained, was it suitable for street work and was the IQ as reported in the photography press up to the standard I require. The above image was taken on the move on Kampuchea Kr am Boulevard. I was using a mode in the camera that allows immediate response from the shutter but you have to use the viewfinder rather than the screen, no noticeable shutter lag, which meant no missed shots a major problem with some P & S.I wanted to try the quality of the zoom, and get used to using the controls on the camera, the above image was taken at maximum zoom (x5 optical) and although the focus is a little off (my fault) it is perfectly usable for the net.

The cameras ”low profile” in comparison to my DSLR’s seemed to make me less noticeable to people and I was able to get some good shots whilst walking around the Orussai market. People just were not taking much notice of me at all, just another tourist.My main concern really was the IQ that the camera is able to produce up to the standards I require. I have made my own judgement about this and I will leave you to make your based on the pictures you see here. I know small JPEG’s are not the best indicators of IQ but the RAWs this camera produces are very useful.I continued on my trip around the market spotting images as I went and trying to be as unobtrusive as possible.I like the images this camera is able to produce and also that I will be able to take it with me at all times and know that I can get quality images. It will not replace my DSLR’s but will certainly compliment them.

© Ian Kydd’Miller 2010


They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Historical moments or events have been immortalised through powerful images, the Burning Monk in Southern Vietnam in 1963, the lunching workmen on the top of the Rockefeller Center in 1932 or the startling green eyes of the Afghan Girl from 1984. In today’s news media, photographs play an important role because they help summarise for readers what has been written. The visual element to any story is crucial in drawing a reader in and portraying what it would have been like to be in any given situation.XPRO3514-5636-EditEven though journalism is changing and the role and job description of the journalist is being renegotiated, pictures are still just as or more important than ever. Do you like taking photos and have a passion for news and capturing the moment? Then maybe a career in photojournalism is for you. Here’s a little more information on what being a photojournalist involves:

What is photojournalism? Photojournalism is a particular branch of journalism that tells the news story through images, depicting the event or news item. Photojournalism can also refer to the photographs that go with and illustrate a news story.XPRO3514-5582-EditHow is photojournalism different to normal photography? Photojournalism is significantly different from other types of photography as the photos must be contextual. In this sense, the images of a photojournalist must be prompt and have meaning in relation to the event being recorded or the story they are aiming to portray. Another important element of photojournalism is that the images must be objective the same objectivity rules apply as they do to written journalism in that they must be a fair and accurate representation. Finally, a great photojournalism photo will offer a narrative element that will support and help tell the news story.XPRO3514-5483-EditDifferent kinds of photojournalists: Just as there are different types of journalists, photojournalists can also choose from a variety of different areas or stories to pursue. A photojournalist for a large newspaper might follow day-to-day stories and be sent out on assignment. Other photojournalists might cover war or foreign events and often be put in dangerous situations. Freelance photojournalists will choose stories or photo subjects that suit them, and then get them published in a variety of publications or media outlets. Whatever area or news type interests you, photojournalists have a choice in which stories and photographs they would like to pursue.

Essentially, photojournalists are visual reporters, and have a responsibility to capture news and events in a fair, objective and interesting way that visually portrays the story. The increasingly online and interactive media world has ushered in the â citizen journalistâ, who, with the proliferation of personal digital cameras, is able to submit amateur photographs to a range of news forums or social media networks. There is still an important place, however, for well crafted, professional photographs from photojournalists. A range of available freelance photography courses cater to those wishing to pursue photo journalism as a career. Such courses cover the basics of photography (lighting, equipment, processing, etc.), as well as information on different media outlets, the importance of composition and how to build your career. Photography courses are a great way to kick-start your career as a successful photojournalist.

See before I die Travel spot

One of the primary reasons to travel to Cambodia has become the Temples at Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap. It seems to have become one of the travelers. ” see before I die” site much like the Pyramids and Machupichu. The place has much beauty and granduer but is rapidly being spoiled, in my opinion, by too much ” preservation ” and over commercialisation. The main Angkor Wat site at certain times has so many tourist that it becomes suffocating and almost impossible to get a good picture without getting someone in the frame.

You really have to choose your times for a visit to avoid the crowds of mainly Asian tourists that arrive in large bus loads , spend about an hour or less and then get back on the bus to go to the next temple. This said there are many of the smaller temple complexes that do not suffer this problem and are just as photogenic and worth visiting.

As can be seen on the map above there is a lot to see around Angkor Wat and within a few kilometers many of the temples are unvisited and less developed giving that more ” in the jungle ” feel to them. For me by far the best temple complex is Bayon, with its gates and faces and the possibility to make some interesting images (without to many unwanted tourists), it does get crowded but less so than Angkor Wat.

Even with the problems of over commercialisation described, that lets face it you will get everywhere when you visit sites such as this, it is well worth the effort of getting there and the positives far outweigh the negatives. For the photographer this is a place not to be missed but you will have to work a lot harder to get good pictures but that, as they say, is part of the challenge.

© Ian Kydd’Miller 2010

Playing around with BW conversion

I shoot most of my stuff in color but do like to experiment with BW conversions using either Silver Efex Pro2 or Topaz BW effects 2, both of which can give excellent results. The pictures below were first tweeked in LR5 and then completed and converted using Topaz in CS5. The original images were shot using a Fuji X100.

x100-2225-edit x100-2225-edit2 x100-2229-edit x100-2229-edit2 x100-2230-edit x100-2230-edit2

Fuji X Pro1 is it obsolete.

I have been using the X Pro1 for the last 2 years and have found it to be a wonderful piece of engineering, it has its some idiosyncrasies but once learned they are easy to adapt to (it is no more difficult to use than a DSLR).


It is a solid piece of engineering but not heavy or in anyway unmanageable. Easily carried wherever you choose to go, and has a great selection of Fuji glass to go with it. It has now been superseded by the Fuji X Pro2 but does this mean it has become and obsolete camera. The X Pro2 is said to be a much improved version of the X Pro1 with some of its foibles ironed out, but again does this make the X Pro1 obsolete. Personally I think not, I use cameras to take pictures and the X Pro1 is still a very capable camera in that respect, it can be used to make fine images and has IMO enough megapixels to do the kind of shooting I enjoy. A camera, after all, is just a tool. Does a hammer become obsolete because they have brought out a new style of hammer. Its just a tool.

cropped_backYes some things on the X Pro2 have been improved but it still only does the same thing as the X Pro1, it just does them a little easier. Would I buy an X Pro2, yes of course if I had the cash, but I don’t. The benefits over the X Pro1 have not yet persuaded me to go on a diet and save my money to buy a new camera.


So when does a camera become obsolete, is it when the manufacturers tell us so or is it when we as photographers decide that the tool we are using no longer gets the job done. Only the individual photographer can answer that question.

My Gear

The gear I use is important to me in so much as it is reliable and gets the job done. My primary camera is the Canon 1D MkIV which can give great results but is certainly not a point and shoot camera and needs some understanding of photography and how to use a camera to get the best from it.


I use a selection of Canon lenses, both prime and zoom but also some Sigma lenses are in my bag. I try never to carry any more gear than I can hump around all day without getting exhausted. You can’t take pictures with gear in a bag, so if you don’t need it leave it at home.

I also use Nikon cameras and lenses. Always used to use Nikon in my film days and retained a number of their lenses and eventually picked up a couple of Nikon digital bodies. The D2HS is the main camera that I use with some of their older lenses but it give excellent results.


Good lenses are the most important part of a photographers arsenal, I always try to afford the best but this is not always financially viable. I have a number of “good” lenses that give good pictures but did not cost an arm and a leg.

Recent Addition

Fuji X100, and I love using this camera, lightweight but not in terms of picture quality which IMO it oozes. Every bit a professional camera that get’s the job done.


The jpegs straight out of this camera are generally superb, color and sharpness are second to none and the fixed prime lens is sharp and contrasty.

Fuji X Pro1



The Fuji X Pro1, with a selection of great Fuji lenses, has rapidly become my camera of choice when doing street photography. It is light weight and easy to carry. I carry 2 with four lenses (35mm f1.4 , 27mm , 18mm f2 and 18-55 zoom) and could carry them all day without getting aching muscles and neck strain. All in a little Domke bag.




My Favorite Lenses

Canon 24-105 f4 L IS USM.


This is the single most used lens in my Canon arsenal, and gives great results wide open and singularly superb results when stopped down a little, an all round good un .

Canon 70-200 f2.8L Non IS


When I need extra reach this is the lens I turn too. Sometimes with its matched 1.4x converter. The results it gives with and without converter are stunning and I find the need for IS, if used well, is not any advantage, especially with moving subjects, ie sports.

FusionAsia Photography

FusionAsia Photography

Sigma 12-24 mm f/4.5-5.6 II DG HSM


 If I need a really wide angle, and 12 is really wide on a FF camera and even on my 1D MkIV. I tend to use the 12mm end almost exclusively as it is sharp but tends to soften a little at the tele end, but the cost of this lens means that it has paid for itself many times over. This one hotel shoot almost paid for the lens.

FusionAsia PhotographyFusionAsia PhotographyFusionAsia Photography

Nikon AF-n Nikkor 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5


This is one of the old Nikon lenses I kept when I moved over to Canon and I am certainly glad I did as it works perfectly with my Nikon D2HS giving lovely clean, sharp and contrasty results at a price that beggars belief. It stay permanently fixed to the front of one of my D2HS.


I use this camera lens combination a lot at demonstrations, where things can get heated very quickly and equipment broken and bumped. The D2HS and 28-85 is a cheap and sustainable piece of kit that can take the bumps and keep going.

A camera is just a tool but the quality of the pictures it takes is down to its skillfull use by the man or woman at the helm. Knowing what your camera and lenses will and wont do is essential, using your camera without the need to think will become second nature with the more practice you get. READ YOUR MANUALS.

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