Kem Lay Taken Home – in pictures

Dr. Kem Ley was a much respected Cambodian political commentator who was unafraid to tell his stories in an environment that I am sure he knew was potentially of significant danger. He was murdered 3 weeks ago.

His death has be blamed on the alleged none repayment of a $3000 loan to a man unknown to his family. The family deny any debt. Many people believe the killing was politically motivated.

Some questions about the man who actually committed the murder. He was a poor ex monk and farmer who was apparently without the resources to give a loan to anybody. How did he afford to buy a new Glock pistol worth at least $2500 US. Why were the police on the scene so fast, fast enough to catch him.

I suspect true answers to who killed this man will never emerge but the political intrigue and stories of who is to blame will continue and gain speed. It would be all to easy to blame current political leaders, and I’m sure Kem Ley was a thorn in their side but how do they benefit if they turn the man into a martyr, which he has certainly become. I see little benefit to them, others may benefit more. The ideas can be made to go around in a big circle.

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An End of Term Trip for Aogaah Foundation Students

Every year proceeding the end of the school year we try to take the child students of Aogaah Village 15/16 school on a special day out to reward them for their hard work during the year. This year we decided to go to Phnom Basset which is about 20Km from Phnom Penh. We would like to thank all concerned who helped make this happen especially the lads of The Royal Australian Navy and Greg. To all those whose continued support ensure the survival of our small school (you know who you are), the children and staff send a big thank you.

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Check out the website : kidsneededucation.org for more information about AOGAAH FOUNDATION

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My Thoughts on the X Cameras from Fuji

666-fujifilmxpro1top_1331565047I have been using X Pro 1 cameras from Fuji for the last years or so after I found it increasingly a chore to carry my heavyweight Canon system. I wanted something that could give me similar (or better) results but weigh in at less that a sumo wrestler.

cropped_backI have always carried, and been reasonably satisfied with a Canon G11 but found its fixed zoom lens to be limiting so I decided to look around at offerings from other manufacturers. I checked out Sony, Panasonic and Leica but really like the styling coming from the Fuji camp.

Fujifilm_X-Pro1_front_450My first real foray into the X camp was not with the X Pro but with the X100. A friend had one for sale at an irrisistable price and although I had some reservations about the fixed lens these were soon overcome by the amazingly high quality of the images that this little camera could produce. The color and sharpness were spectacular and the JPEGS straight from the camera sublime. I was pretty much hooked.

To be honest though the cost of the X Pro when it first came out had put me off, very expensive, but after a while the price started to drop and a good used version could be had for a more realistic price. I plumped for one on ebay which turned out to be excellent, hardly used and with lots of extras with it. I also managed to pick up the 3 lenses I wanted, the 18-55, the 27 and the 18 for less than I expected, followed later by the 35mm f1.4IKM13916

So what is it about the X Pro that attracted me to it in the first instance.

  1. Loved its retro look and design.
  2. Weight (or lack of it).
  3. Image quality.
  4. Its direct viewfinder.
  5. Fuji support and updates.
  6. Lens quality.

I spent a lot of time reading about the camera and delving into the many reviews that had become available on the net, weighing the pro’s and cons before actually purchasing. When the camera finally arrived I was not disappointed (except that I had to find a +3 diopter lens for the finder), the camera was in great condition and I went through the manual (downloaded from Fuji) to get to know and understand its functions. I also updated the Firmware that had be released by Fuji the previous month.

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Learning to use this camera, as with any camera, takes a little time and a little backup reading of the manual but a camera is a camera and the way it functioned was soon learned, as was what it was not particularly good at.

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The lens that I was using the most initially was the Fuji 18-55 and the results for a standard zoom were pretty damned good and it fitted well with the  hybrid viewfinder and with a little practice using it with the optical finder became easy, its not 100% accurate but close enough once I got the knack of it.

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 To be continued

My Old Nikon D2HS plus an even older 24-50 Nikkor lens

Why am I still using this now very old camera, you may ask.

  1. Great colors
  2. Small file size
  3. Reliability
  4. Speed

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Fuji 35mm f1.4

IKMXPRO-4843-Edit IKMXPRO-4844-Edit XPRO351 XPRO352 XPRO353 XPRO354 XPRO355 XPRO357 XPRO3514-4885This lens is well on the way to becoming a fav lens for street and travel photography. DOF is pretty shallow so does need a little focusing care but the images even wide open give excellent results.XPRO3514-4890 XPRO3514-4896 XPRO3514-4918 XPRO3514-4920 XPRO3514-4921 XPRO3514-4922

Another superb lens from Fuji …

 

To Preah Vihear Province with for Peace.

5819Working hand in glove with Tabatha Organization the for Peace organization brings teams of people from all over the world to assist in the finishing rudimentary houses, saved for by village people, with the assistance of the Tabatha savings program.57985827These house are a dramatic improvement over the houses the people currently live in. The majority of these people would not be able to afford these houses without some help from donors but they are encouraged to make a monthly, affordable, commitment themselves and over time can improve there own circumstances.58925930 5942 6376 6650 68256864 6442 6433 6380 6630All participants need a good pat on the back for a job well done.

 

Travel Photography

Many articles discuss the best practices for travel photography, and many of them, while providing worthwhile advice, tend not to take into account the fact that conditions are not always perfect for making photographs. The sky is not always blue, the crowds of tourists do not always clear a path for you to make your image, the light is not always perfect and you may not always have the latest gear. There are however some practices that you can put into place to help you create strong images when time is short and you can’t always wait for conditions to improve.

Do your homework

It is well worthwhile doing some research on your destination before you leave. This will give you an idea of what things are going to look like when you arrive. If you have an idea of what you want to photograph before getting to a location, you may also be able to research best vantage points and times to be there. This will help you plan your day and allow you to fit in more shooting than if you leave it all until you arrive and try to make it up on the spot. Although there is much to be said for simply, arriving and wandering a city to get your bearings and shooting what appeals to you, if you are short of time, you might find this a much more stressful and pressured experience and not enjoy the experience of photographing in a new place. And enjoyment is the whole purpose of photography in the first place.

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Shooting in the middle of the day

So many photography instructors and books tell you to shoot in the “Golden Hours” the hour just after sunrise and just before sunset, because these times present the best light for photography. The soft golden light that is most flattering. And they are right. Using this type of light it is easier to create a standout image. There are however some practicality issues with this. If you are at a destination for only a short period of time, you can ill afford to lose any time shooting. Shooting for only 2 hours when you are at your location for only a day or two almost always results in regret for lost opportunities. That’s an awful lot of time in between to waste, and there is really no reason not to keep on shooting throughout the day. It can also help to push you creatively as you will need to come up with ways to deal with harsh sunlight or flat skies. These conditions can help in adding mood to an image if you use them to your advantage. Such as a harsh noon sun that lets you feel the heat of the day in the image by producing intense color. Or a soft overcast day that helps to keep the detail in objects or people’s faces.

Know your equipment

Know how to use your camera without the need to think about it. When you have to stop and think about how to adjust settings, you miss moments. There are so many considerations to make when making a photograph that it can be a bit overwhelming. What is my subject? How to I frame the image? What aperture works best? Do I zoom out or in? And once you’ve decided all this, you still need to adjust the camera settings to achieve the desired outcome. And all this in a split second. So if you can make these adjustments while making the decisions and not having to take the camera away from your eye, this might just be the difference between capturing the image you see in your mind, and missing the moment. But how to practice this. It seems simplistic, but getting out there and shooting as much as you can is the best way.

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Concentrate on where the various controls are and adjusting them without taking the camera away from your eye. Start with stationary subjects and move onto moving subjects. It will be difficult and a little frustrating at first, but worthwhile once you put it into practice and come away with the images that you envisioned.

We would all love to have weeks or even months to stay at a location and explore it fully and take our time to make great photographs, but for most of us it is just not practical. So to get the best out of our photography when we do travel somewhere new, we need to adapt and be flexible. Working out the best way to do this will make your next trip both more rewarding and more enjoyable.

Mark Eden is a freelance travel photographer and writer, who creates images and articles for various print and digital publications. Expanse Photography is his website and blog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mark_Eden/91186

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Understanding Histograms – The Proverbial Penny Finally Drops

If you’re in the hunt for your first DSLR camera, or you’ve just purchased a DSLR and you’re new to digital photography, chances are you’ve been on the internet and watched one or two videos about things you should know or might want to know in order to get the most out of your camera – these are the “basics” or “fundamentals” type videos, of which there are a ton on YouTube. In some of these videos, they may have talked about something called a Histogram – usually telling you to look on your camera’s LCD screen, after you’ve taken a photo and “see what the Histogram is telling you”, as a way to know whether your photo has come out properly, or is otherwise either too bright or too dark, in which case you will need to make certain adjustments to your camera settings and try taking the photo again.

All well and good, but let’s say you’ve watched one or two of these videos and are still a bit flummoxed as to how to interpret these Histogram things. Well, this is the situation I found myself in for a few months – for a time, no matter how they phrased it, these different photography experts failed to get their know-how through my dense cranium. I hope to share with you how I eventually came to understand what these Histograms meant and how they’re actually very simple to work with, once you understand their meanings.

Right, here goes…

A Histogram is nothing more than a graph that tells you whether your photo has parts that are too bright (overexposed) or too dark (underexposed), to the extent that certain portions of your image data won’t be useable if/when you get your photo back into editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom, to finish processing your photos – trust me, when shooting in the recommended image format referred to as “RAW”, it’s amazing how much detail even the most sophisticated modern camera lenses fail to reproduce, and it’s only when you get your images into a program, such as Lightroom, that you can adjust various settings to bring out the richness and depth of the colors, lights and shadows, which, thankfully, the camera’s digital sensor DOES manage to capture. It just needs software to tease it out – in the pre-digital era, photographers used to do this in the “darkroom”; today, in the digital era, you don’t need to be in near total darkness in order to process your photos, you can do it in a nicely lit room, on your nicely lit computer… which is most probably the reason Adobe didn’t call their software Adobe Darkroom.

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So, getting back on track, at very right edge of the Histogram graph, you have data for white; at the other end, over on the very left, you have the data for black. Everything else in between represents all the rest of the colors, or shades/tones of colors that can be present in any given image or scene. Each photograph you take will have its own Histogram assigned to it – this is a graphical record of all the highlights, shadows and colors (of varying shades and tones) in that one image.

Try this simple series of 5 tests – this is what I did and it helped me understand what was going on with the Histograms:

Test 1. Put the lens cap on, take a photo and look at the histogram. There should be a single line on the left of the graph, yes? If there had been all sorts of colors in your scene and you’re getting something too black or too dark, and if the lines of your Histogram are mostly over on the left of the graph, then you’re losing detail and would need to make certain adjustments, such as decreasing the Shutter Speed; choosing a wider Aperture; and/or increasing the ISO. All of these changes help to brighten up your image.

Test 2. Now, take the lens cap off, and point the lens at something white (like a plain sheet of paper) and fill the frame with it (go up close, so that there are no other colors in the scene creeping into your photo). If you don’t have a piece of white paper or anything white to use, turn your ISO up to something like 1600 or higher, then turn the Shutter Speed to a really slow setting – give it a good 30 seconds and point the lens at the lightest color(s) available to you (e.g. walls; ceiling; up at the sky out of a window, etc.) and take a photo. When you look at your Histogram, for this image, there should be a single line, or a very small bunch of lines, over on the extreme right of the graph. The image will appear white and the Histogram data is reflecting this. The camera interprets this as an “overexposed” image. If there had been all sorts of colors in your scene and you’re getting something too white or too washed out, and if the lines of the Histogram are mostly over on the right of the graph, then you’re losing detail, once again. Adjustments you might want to make include increasing the Shutter Speed; choosing a narrower Aperture; and/or reducing the ISO (unless you’re already at the lowest ISO setting, that is). All of these changes help to reduce the brightness of an image.

Test 3. With your camera still trained on that light subject (whether a wall or ceiling or piece of white paper), take a series of photos with ever faster Shutter Speeds. Then, look at the Histogram for each respective image, and you should see the line or group of narrow lines gradually travel from the right side of the graph, over toward the left side (depending on how many shots in this test sequence you can be bothered to take). If you were training your camera on something white, then the images in the sequence should begin to look ever more grey.

Test 4. The fourth test is to go hunting for objects with single colors, filling the frame with each object in turn, and then taking individual photos of these single colors. Photograph something red (filling the frame with this color, so your entire photograph is a mass of red), and there will be a narrow bunch of lines in this photo’s Histogram slightly to the left of the very center of the graph. A photo that’s all yellow will have a bunch of lines further over on the right side of the graph, just over half way from the very center of the graph. Play about with taking photos different single colors, and their corresponding Histograms should give you a better understanding of how the Histogram is helping you to interpret individual colors in any given image.

Test 5. The fifth and final test is to take photos of anything you like. Introduce a variety of colors into your photos and see the wild patterns of their corresponding Histograms. If the majority of the lines are bulked over on the left of the Histogram graph, it’s probably telling you that your image is too dark (too underexposed) and you need to adjust your camera’s settings to brighten it up. Conversely, if the graph is mostly bulked over on the right side of the graph, then your photo is likely to be too bright and washed out (too overexposed) and you need to adjust your camera’s settings to reduce the brightness. If there is black in your image, such as a black car, then there will be a spike on the left of the graph, indicating the black color (this is fine).

After doing these tests, I felt significantly more comfortable “checking my Histogram” and understanding what the graphs were telling me about the individual photos I was taking.

Hope this helped.

Graham Wadden created and maintains the Creative Commons photography website, WaddenCCPhotography.com, specializing in creating Royalty Free Stock Photography primarily for home educators and those in education.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Graham_Wadden/775615

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Pro Bono Photography : Documenting a project.

Working Pro Bono is not working for nothing. The photographer gains in many other ways than financial. Some may ask why would anyone want to work for no financial gain. That is a complex question to answer.

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ALTRUISM : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.

GIVING : freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone). To aid and benefit others, through cooperation and support.

WITNESS : To be an eyewitness and observer of the people giving freely of their time and hard work to enable others to move forward in life. I would hope my work and pictures are a testimony to this.

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So if to earn money is not goal then what do I get from doing this work ”for nothing”.

  1. An emotional feeling of giving something back to the people who have welcomed me to their country and homes.
  2. I get to tell a story.
  3. I have nobody laying demands or trying to tell me what story to tell.
  4. Meeting new and like minded people who have a purpose.
  5. Witnessing that there are good people, who care for others, in this world and not just politicians who give the impression of caring. These people actually come and sweat and labor, at their own cost, to help others who are less fortunate.

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The people seen in these pictures came from all over the world, Germany, England, America, Israel to help complete a home building project, with little or no time to acclimatize to the conditions and heat of Cambodia, and after having traveled thousands of miles, they got to work doing things many of them had never done before, laying floorboards and hanging metal siding, some had obviously never knocked in a nail before but they learned quickly.

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The heat was exhausting (38 to 40+ ‘C), and regular dousing with water was needed. They all worked hard and got the job done.

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Their hard work, I am certain, helped change the lives of the Cambodian villagers for the better. The feeling of satisfaction and the looks on the Villagers and Volunteers faces after the job was completed was worth way more than money to me.

Making Prints

Back in the day, the analog era, I lived to get back into my darkroom and make prints from the images I had taken, this pretty much came to a stop when I went fully digital and I mainly viewed my images on a large screen in photoshop.

I have recently re-discovered the beauty of large print A4 to A3+ after having some of my work printed by the Fuji shop here in Phnom Penh. The prints came out very good but I really wanted to control the whole process. So I searched around for an A3+ inkjet printer that was affordable and gave high quality results. I came across the Epson Claria PM-G4500, picking up an excellent used model with a 6 color CSS system.

7_00601511214After some experimentation and lots of prints to get my system calibrated to use this printer, it is working very well giving excellent color and definition. I am getting results that I am happy with. Inks are not a real problem but getting good quality printing paper in Cambodia is not easy.

I also bought a good A4 three in one printer, also 6 color CSS and this works brilliantly when I need small prints, color matched on the same paper stock and for general office printing and copying

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