Gearing Up for the Job

Choosing what gear to take for a specific job is important and I tend to use specific combinations for the different types of job I do.

Reportage/Demos & Street

High quality images are always important to me but in certain situations speed is even more important and unless you can afford high end pro gear that will give both then maybe, like me you need to look at good rather than great image quality and speed. This is where my Nikon 2DHS comes with me.


The camera gives strong images but is only 4MP so smaller jpeg sizes. It is quick and responsive, even in comparison to newer cameras and is built like the proverbial BSH.

In the bag along with this camera goes my Nikkor 28- 85 f3.5 – 4.5, a great lens built strong and takes the potential abuse to be encountered. A cheap 18-55 f3.5 – 5.6G VR kit lens that give super results at a reasonable price (dont be fooled by its cost its a super lens), and an old Nikkor 70-210 f4 and a recently added 24-50 Nikkor.

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words – Photojournalism

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 Centre 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.

Even 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 accompany and illustrate a news story.

How 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 timely 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 some kind of narrative element that will support and help tell the news story.

Different 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.

Photographers Choice: Black And White – When Is It Right

Author: Adriana Bella

We live in a world full of color and it hits us from all sides all day long. In a world that emphasizes color so much black and white has gained a new status. The timelessness and the elegance of black and white photography cannot be put into words and has to seen to be appreciated. Black and white theme is the best way to produce photographs with character, meaning and emotion. It can transform an awful color picture into a work of aft when used properly.

Most photographers who use this are passionate hobbyists or professional photographers wanting to emphasize certain qualities of the picture. Contrast and contradiction can be inserted into the same frame with character and grab the attention of the beholder. In fact, this was the way it all started out in photography and today the monochromatic image is appreciated for its inherent and deep qualities.

Practice is important with black and white photography. The mind has to be trained to pick up tone and contrast while blocking out distractions of color. With time this will come naturally to you and the decision to optimize a photograph this way can be done with ease. The secret here is to make a conscious effort and things will fall into place. The learning process cannot be replaced by anything the experienced thus gained will be the only way to achieve success in this field.

In black and white photography the spectrum is clear. It is black on one end and white on the other with all the shaded in between. What should be optimized is what the human eye picks up as the intensity of color and intensity of light. Contrasting with these to fields is a great way to compose a black and white photograph. Although a naturally contrasting photograph is great you can use many Photoshop techniques to achieve a variety of distinct looks. Burning and dodging are also highly effective in this type of picture.

Textures can be highlighted in black and white photography and is another aspect of contrast itself. Sometimes this is represented so vividly that you can almost feel the texture by just looking at it.

Digital photographers should always shoot in color and then convert the picture to a black and white using photo editing software. It is amazing to see the difference in the same picture with color compared to the black and white image. It is only then you will realize the power of this medium.

There are certain times when a black and white photograph becomes absolutely necessary to convey the full import of the picture. Very often, photographs depicting powerful emotional moments and highly dramatic events will benefit with black and white photography. This is easy to understand when we view all those black and white holocaust pictures and compare them with pictures of present day war or disasters which are in color. So, never underestimate the power of the black and white medium and what it can do for your photography.

Article Source:

About the Author

Adriana Bella is professional graphic designer and passionate photographer. She has 4+ years of experience. She has recently created and published her huge collection of photography templates available online at

Also, Adriana has published her own
Premium Digital Backdrops
for portrait photographers.

Depth of Field

Depth of Field Explained

Author: Biznets

The way a subject is reproduced in a photograph can be very different from how it looked to you as you took the picture. When you cast your eye over a scene, everything in it seems more or less equally sharp, but sometimes in the finished shot only part of the subject appears acceptably sharp.
This zone of sharpness is called the depth-of-field, and it extends in front of and behind the point that you actually focused on. The size of the zone is determined by three key factors – the aperture of the lens, the focal length of the lens used, and the distance you are from the subject. Varying these three elements allows you almost complete control over the depth-of-field in a picture.
When most of the picture is sharp, we say there’s lots of depth-of-field. When only part is sharp, we say depth-of-field is limited. As we’ll see later, whether you go for extensive or limited depth-of-field depends upon the subject matter and how you want to depict it
Three main factors that can be used to control depth-of-field

Related image

1 The aperture.
There’s a simple, direct relationship between aperture and depth-of-field – the smaller the aperture, the more extensive the depth-of-field.
So if you want to keep as much as possible sharp, you should set as small an aperture as possible – preferably f/16, or even f/22 if your lens offers it.
Depending on lighting conditions and your film stock, you may need to use a tripod or some other form of support at such small apertures, as the resulting long shutter speeds create a risk of camera-shake.
If, however, you want to concentrate attention on just one part of the scene, and throw the rest out-of-focus, you should select a large aperture. Exactly how large this can be depending on the maximum aperture of the lens you’re using. On a 50mm standard lens it will be f/1.7, f/1.8 or f/2, but on a standard zoom it will typically be f/3.5 or f/4.5.
For general picture-taking, when you want most of the picture to be in focus, you might want to set a middling aperture of around f/8 to f/11.
This is what a program exposure mode sets when left to its own devices Whenever possible you should take control of aperture selection and use either an aperture-priority or manual mode.

Four common techniques using depth-of-field
Use these four common approaches when planning a shot to ensure depth-of-field works for you

1 Everything sharp.
With subjects such as landscapes, groups, interiors and travel you’ll usually want to keep everything sharp. Using a wide-angle lens set to a small aperture will give you extensive depth-of-field, perhaps from around one meter through to infinity. But there will be times when foreground interest is closer than that. Here you need to resort to a neat little technique called hyperfocal focusing that allows you to increase the depth-of-field.

As a rule-of-thumb, there’s twice more depth-of-field behind the subject than in front of it. So if you photograph a distant subject such as a landscape and focus on infinity you waste lots of depth-of-field. By focusing a little closer, you’ll extend the depth-of-field at the front so it comes nearer to the camera, while still making sure that infinity falls within the depth-of-field behind the actual point of focus.

You can guess the hyperfocal focusing distance, but life is much easier if your lens is marked with a depth-of-field scale. This used to be regarded as an essential feature, but with the development of wide-ranging zooms many manufacturers now omit one. If you do have such a scale, simply line up the infinity mark against the mark for the aperture you’ve set and, although the image in the viewfinder will look out-of-focus, the finished image will be sharp from front to back.

2 Main subject sharp with background completely out-of-focus.
There are some subjects where you want the main subject to stand out strongly from an out-of-focus background. Portraiture, where the emphasis is on the person, rather than the location, is probably the most popular area. What you need here is a use a telephoto lens at its widest aperture. It’s also worth moving the subject as far away as possible from the background – in cramped studio situations this is often impossible but outside against a wall or foliage it’s usually easier. Take care, though, that you focus accurately, as the limited depth-of-field will be unforgiving of any focusing errors. For portraits focus on the eye for the best results.

3 Main subject sharp, with background out-of-focus but still recognisable.
Sometimes throwing the background completely out-of-focus is going too far. You want to show the subject in its natural environment, but with the background toned down to it doesn’t compete for attention. A person on the beach, for instance, an animal in the zoo, or a flower in a garden. Here a standard to short telephoto lens, somewhere from 50mm to 135mm, is ideal – especially if it’s coupled with a middle range aperture of around f/8.

4 Zone of sharpness deliberately limited.
Occasionally you may want to limit the depth-of-field to a very specific zone. Maybe in a portrait you want just the eyes in focus, and not even the ears or the tip of the nose. Here, once again, a depth-of-field scale on the lens helps, or, failing that a depth-of-field preview facility on the camera, This will give a visual indication of what will and won’t be in focus by manually stopping down the lens.

Overall, the practical use of depth-of-field can be summed up as follows:
To maximise depth-of-field and have as much sharp as possible use a wide-angle lens, set a small aperture and stand back from your subject
To minimise depth-of-field with only a small zone of the scene sharp use a telephoto lens, set a large aperture, and get closer to your subject.


Article Source:

The Kit Bag

To each his own !

What camera you choose to take is very much a personal decision and generally will make little differance to the quality of the images you will be able to take. So be it Nikon, Canon or any of the other brand names no matter.

My normal travel ”Kit Bag” is as follows :

  • 2 camera bodies (Canon or Nikon because I use Canon or Nikon)
  • Canon 24-105 IS L f4 or Nikon equivalent (usually 18-55 VR kit lens which is excellent)
  • Canon 70-200 f2.8 + 1.4 converter
  • Canon 50mm f1.8
  • Canon 85mm f1.8
  • Flash 430 EX
  • Sigma 10-20 EX
  • Batteries (plenty) plus chargers
  • Cards (about 30GB for a 2 week trip if shooting RAW)
  • Blowers and brushes
  • Lens cleaning solution (ROR) + Tissues

all packed into a Domke bag or camera backpack (lowepro) for ease of access. Depending on the trip I will also take a laptop and external storage drives. Nice to be able to make copies of you days work to make sure it is safe or even that you may have to repeat some of it when seen on a bigger screen.

The Temples of Angkor – Cambodia

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

Photo Competitions

I have never really been able to understand the reasons behind why people enter photography competitions. I can understand the desire to show the pictures they may have taken but then to go on and pit themselves against other photographers. and in most cases, pay for the privilege. To then go on and have your work judged by people you don’t even know and who are earning money from your submission, whether you win or not, is very strange to me.

The recent glut of stories on social media about ethical issues of some who have submitted in the past and won competions, recognition and money makes me even less likely to ever enter competitions of this type. I may never be famous or rich but as long as I am happy with the work I do and the people who view my pictures enjoy (hopefully) what they see then that is satisfying enough for me.

I would like to think the pictures I take stand alone and that I do not feel the need to compete with others and for others to decide what is good, bad or better.

I enjoy making pictures, I enjoy the process, the technicalities, the people, the equipment. The need for fame and fortune I will never understand and will never have.

Khmer New Year Celebrations

In Cambodia New Year is celebrated 3 times, The International New Year, The Chinese New Year and The Khmer New Year.

Khmer New Year, also known as Cambodian New Year is usually a three day public holiday in Cambodia. In Khmer, it is called ‘Chaul Chnam Thmey’, which means ‘enter the new year’.

It is based on the traditional solar new year, that was observed in parts of India and Asia. It falls on either 13 April or 14 April.

The Khmer new year is marked by the sun entering the sign of Aries the Ram. This particular event was traditionally closely related to the Vernal Equinox. In ancient times, the dates of the sun entering Aries and the Vernal Equinox would have been even closer, but they have shifted due to an effect called procession, where the Earth wobbles on its axis over a 25,000 year period.

In Cambodia it marks the end of the harvest before the beginning of the rainy season.

First Day – Maha Songkran

The first day of the Khmer New Year is called ‘Maha Songkran’. Similar to the Tamil tradition, it is believed that this was the day of creation. In Khmer tradition, the world was created by God’s angels and to welcome the angels , people will clean their houses and illuminate them with candles. Families will place an idol of Buddha on an altar.

Second Day – Vanabot

Also known as Virak Wanabat, the second day of Khmer New Year is a time to think of the less fortunate. People offer charity by helping the poor, servants and homeless. Families may go to monasteries to pay respect to their ancestors, and it also a time for family members to exchange gifts.

Third Day – Leang Saka

On the third day of New Year celebrations Buddhists wash and clean statues of Lord Buddha with scented water. This cleansing is done to ensure that Cambodia will receive all the water it needs in the coming year. Another tradition is that children wash and bathe their parents and grandparents in return for blessing and good advice for the future.


New PIO School Official Opening

PIO (People Improvement Organization) has be helping to bring education to underprivalaged kids for the past 15 years and has just built a second school to meet the local demand.

Pictures of People/Street Photography/Photojournalism

Pictures of people in their own environment, candid if you wish, working, playing, happy and sad all make attractive and interesting subjects for photography.

Street Photography
20 Top Tips

#1. Less is More – don’t take too much equipment and travel light. It’ll make you less obtrusive and you will be able to move around for the best shot quickly.
#2. Off the Beaten Track – don’t just go to all the touristy shots – try to get ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘real life’ scenes.
#3. Stolen Moments – anticipate moments between people before they happen.
#4. True Colours – black and white is often where it’s at with street photography but at times colourful situations arise and can really make a shot – be on the look out for these.
#5. In the Background – what’s going on behind your subject can actually ‘make’ the shot. Billboards, signs, graffiti and other visual elements can really make a statement in a shot.
#6. Dare to Go Diagonal – don’t just hold your camera horizontally – experiment with angles. Street photography is a less formal medium – make the most of it.
#7. Opposites Attract – shots which challenge the ‘norm’ in terms of composition and story/subject matter can be powerful. Look out for surprising subject matter and composition.
#8. What a Performance – street performers, parades and other street entertainment can be great subject matter on the street.
#9. Off the Streets – other places where people gather in number can lead to great shots in this genre – zoos, fairs, shows, parks, sporting events etc all can be worth trying.
#10. New Angle – find ways to get up high or down low – these new perspectives on subjects that are familiar can lead to eye catching shots.
#11. Practice makes Perfect – over time and with practice your photography will improve. You’ll not only get better at technique but also spotting the things to focus upon on the street.
#12. Fortune Favors the Brave – sometimes the best thing you can do is to get close to your subject – this can be a little confronting but will produce powerful images
#13. Fun in the Sun – often we try to avoid shooting into the sun and the shadows that direct sunlight can produce – in street photography breaking these ‘rules’ can lead to great shots.
#14. Ready to Pounce – have your camera out and ready to shoot at all times. Things can move quickly on the street so if you’re not ready you’ll miss lots of opportunities.
#15. Revise the Revisit – street photography is not all about spontaneity – if you see a scene with potential don’t be afraid to keep coming back to it until you get the shot.
#16. Frozen Motion – the street is a place of movement – to capture it and still get sharp shots make sure your shutter speed is fast enough. 1/125 or more with an ISO of 400 is what this article recommended as a base. I also think it can be fun to experiment with slower shutter speeds on the street – capture the movement as blur.
#17. Street Wallpaper – blend in with the scene – shoot unobtrusively and unnoticed.
#18. Life Through a Lens – ‘exaggerating perspective will help set your subject in context and provide a more forgiving depth of field’ – use a wide angle lens (or even a fisheye).
#19. Expect the Expected – people can be suspicious of street photographers so shoot in places where people expect to see people doing photography. Smile, be polite and be willing to delete images if people protest.
#20. Location, Location, Location – really this is what it is all about. Choose places where people interact with one another and times when they are present.

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