Tuesday, December 8, 2009

E-P2 – The Test Drive!


Sepia Test - Pulaski Skyway?

Finally!!! I got my E-P2 yesterday evening!. Last night we went to the mall for the first test drive and today I took it to office in NYC for the second test drive! Boy am I surprised & pleased!!! The pics straight out of camera are pretty cool!
Most of the pics I have posted here are straight out of the camera taken as Small-Fine and Small-Super-Fine JPEGs. I have touched up only those pics which I took through thick glasses in my office or through train window.
I did shoot in RAW + JPEG, but i didn't have time to process RAW and couldn't wait to post the first test pics!


Verdict: Although not as powerful in terms of spec as my E-30, yet it packs an amazing punch. Its image quality combined with its small size is really something to kill for.
The Viewfinder is fantastic even in very very very low light, simply a great piece of engineering & design.
The LCD is unlike E-30's because on a very bright day I have difficulty using Live view as I cant see anything on E-30's LCD. but E-P2 LCD is fantastic.
The 3 FPS is pretty jiffy and doesn't lag much.
My first reaction is E-P2 has better dynamic range than E-30. But this is a non-scientific statement, its just what I concluded looking the pics.
IS is amazing! Al my office night shots are hand held @ 2 sec or 1.6 sec.
The focusing is not too bad if you are a patient man on standard grade lenses (better than my Evolt-330). Focusing is pretty fast on High Grade lenses like 14-54 and 12-60. For the kind of photography I do, I don't think I will have a problem with E-P2's focusing speed.
High ISO performance is fantastic. it clearly trumps E-30 here.
AF-tracking is ok - nothing extraordinary about it. probably will good for shooting small children.

White balance is amazing! I think its better than E-30’s WB,

A view from my office - NYC

Something I noticed: If the face-detect is on then the camera was not able to focus on close subjects if background had too many things, it always focused the things in the background. But without face-detect, I could pretty much get it to focus on any kind of subject.

A view from my office - NYC

Best features I liked - Dynamic range, View Finder, high ISO performance and IS

Features I would Like - A way to use flash and view finder! :-) well I knew it before I bought it, but still I would have like this feature.

 Chrysler Building

Here they are!

You be the judge!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

That's Me

That's Me, originally uploaded by Puru's Photos.

We were on our way to the beautiful Martha's Vineyard. While waiting for the bus to take us to the ferry, I got totally bored. I had all the gear but nothing to photograph!
Then Suni mentioned that I dont take too many family photos while we are on vacation!

So I turned around and shot this pic! It show me in Suni's eyes. Of course I did miss Adu, its still not a complete family pic!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Am I crazy? or Am I crazy!

…and that my dear friends is the question!

Well, why am I asking this question? Take a look at this


This, my dear friends, is the new E-P2. The newest micro 4/3rd digital camera. Remember, its not an SLR, its not a point and shoot….as Olympus calls it…its digital PEN!

Now, why am I saying all this? That’s because I have a serious desire to buy this, that’s why!

Everybody, including my beautiful wife ask me – Why do I need one more camera?

Today I was talking to my friend and when I told her I am waiting for E-P2 to be released she said “You are going crazy with your photography equipments, you are going over the top – seriously you should control!”

I was taken aback by this reproach and it got me thinking. This blog is an introspection as a result. What this blog is not – an excuse to buy this camera or other equipments.

I have an Olympus E-30 – top of the range DSLR and Evolt-330 – an armature DSLR as a supplementary camera.

Why on earth would I need E-P2 which looks like a point and shoot!

Before I answer that, let me tell you something.

Researching on photography equipments is my serious pastime. This does not mean, I buy anything I happen to like or afford or looks great. My photography gear includes (apart from camera bodies) 7 lenses from 9mm to 300mm range, 2 external flashes, 3 memory cards, filters, light meter, remote and cable release, diffusers, pro-tripod. All these are fruits of huge amount of research I have put in to really understand what I need for the kind of photography I am interested in. I am interested in landscape and indoor photography. So my gear is geared-up, so to say, for that kind of photography. What I don't own, I don't need – because I am not into other kinds of photography - like architecture, fashion, underwater etc.

I can list tons of equipments, which I don't own :-) which I know I don’t need.

Ok, now coming back to the question – Why on earth do I need E-P2? I have 2 DSLR bodies, why do I need this one which looks like another point and shoot.

To reveal the truth folks – This is not a point-and-shoot. It has almost the same spec as my E-30 (not quite, but almost).

But that doesn't answer the question, why do I need it?

Since I bought my second DSLR E-30, I have always felt the need for a very low profile high quality camera. But why? both my DSLRs (although E-330 is lot smaller) are quite big. I have found that this limits my desire and ability to carry them everywhere I want to. For example, I like to carry my camera when I am invited to somebody’s house for a party or when I go to a mall or when I go to my office during festive seasons and more - it gives me opportunity to shoot the moments. However the DSLRs are too “in-your-face” things and are not inconspicuous and I always end-up deciding against taking them with me. I always wanted something very small which I can carry anywhere without people noticing it.

You might say “Ok – that's all fine Puru, but why on earth you need a $1000 camera when you can buys a $200 point-and-shoot which looks the same?”

My reasons are as follows (fruits of my research :-))

  1. I did not want a point-and-shoot – I wanted a camera with almost same kind of spec as my DSLRs, but will be so small that I can put it in my pocket.
  2. I wanted a camera which will have huge image sensor, an in-body image stabilization and high-ISO capability because I will be shooting a lot in low light without tripod. Image sensor of E-P2 is at least 2 to 4 times normal point-and shoot. It has 6400 ISO capability and has an IS.
  3. I needed a camera in which I can change lenses and which can make use of all my existing lenses so that I don't have invest in lenses.
  4. A camera which will work with my flashes and cable release so that I don't have to buy them again.
  5. A camera which can do everything and yet will be tiny enough.
  6. A camera which will have same image quality as my DSLRs

Now I hear another question “Now we understand why you need E-P2, but the why on earth do you need your DSLRs then?”

Well, for the simple reason of control and extendibility– Its much easier to control the DSLR than to control E-P2 in various situations although E-P2 will give me almost same kind of control as DSLR. Second its easier to extend my DSLR to do various kinds of photography like fashion photography with multiple strobes and multiple flash groups or underwater photography with underwater housing or serious wildlife photography or very high-speed photography. E-P2 is a not meant to replace my DSLR nor can it. Its role will be to complement it in situations where DSLR is an over kill.

Now another question – Why did I take that reproach from a friend so seriously that I had to write a blog? Well, I am actually used it, my wife always says I buy too many things for my photography.  I probably don’t take her too seriously because I know her too well and believe she, in her heart, understands why I need my equipments although she is worried about the money I spend.

When a friend told me I am going over the top, it actually got me thinking. Did my friend see something which I am not seeing?

Although I knew I was not going over the top, I had to prove I was not to myself. It gave me an opportunity to introspect and question my own judgments and my hobby as a whole. Is my hobby only as good as my equipments? I don’t think so, but that's for people to judge.

I believe my equipments will ultimately be key factors in the plans I have for the future. So in that sense, I feel I am ok! :-)

But I thank my friend for making me think! :-)


CIAO and take care!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How to choose your first DLSR?

Question: What is the the most embarrassing moment in your life?

Answer: Watching yourself talk on the TV!

Well, you may ask “How is this question and the answer is relevant and how is it related to the blog subject?”

Answer to that is – It is not relevant and it is not related to the blog subject :-)

Remember I told you guys in my last blog that I did an exhibition on 10th of October 09? Well, I forgot to mention a minor detail. It so happens that, in that exhibition a local TV crew were roaming about interviewing people. I did not notice them until they came to my stall and then came the most stressful moment for me. I was asked to say a few things about my art, in front of camera and with a mike in my hand! Well, I did say (or blurted out rather) something.

I had completely forgotten what I said and about that unfortunate incident until, that is, I happen to see the recording aired on the local TV station today (28th Oct 09)! Oh Man! That was the most embarrassing moment of my life - listening to myself talking in front of a camera with a mike in my hand!

Such, my dear folks, is life – sooner or later everything comes back to you!! :-)

Well, enough of nonsense -  now for some serious stuff.

How to choose DLSR if you are the first time buyer?.

3 things most important while choosing a DSLR for the first time are.

  1. Format i.e. 4/3rd (Olympus, Panasonic etc) or APS-C (Canon, Nikon)
  2. Brand
  3. Budget and Specs


A format in DSLR world is nothing but the size of the image sensor. Image Sensor is the Film of the DSLR or any digital camera and is the eye of the camera. There are number of Formats. Following figure illustrates the various formats available.

Image Source- Wikipedia

File:Sensor sizes overlaid inside.svg

In DLSR the most popular formats are the Four Thirds and the APS-C. Once you select the format you will be married to it. Because all your lenses and accessories will be of that format. So once you choose a format, you will find it extremely expensive to switch to another format. So this will be your most important decision. All decisions from here on will be based on this one particular choice. I chose to go the four thirds way. Now whether that is a good choice or not I do not know. The reason why I chose 4/3rds format is for following reasons.

  • Its an Open format, it is not proprietary like APS-C (both Nikon and Canons are APS-C, however Nikon and Canon lenses cannot be interchanged, because  as see in the above image, they implement APS format in their own respective standards so their image sensor sizes are different and hence lenses are different). This mean I can buy lenses from any manufacturer as long as it says 4/3rds without worrying about anything.
  • Secondly, its a format which closely resembles the aspect ratio of the physical photograph standard. So the there is lot less cropping.
  • Thirdly, the High Grade Pro Lenses are lot less expensive than the APS-C counterparts.

So choose the format carefully. Do research on the net. Read blogs and visit discussion forums. And once you have made up your mind, keep in mind that you will find it very expensive to change it.


Brand decision will be born out of format decision. If you select 4/3rds then you will have to go with Olympus or Panasonic (micro four thirds (MFT) a variant of four thirds but all four thirds lenses will fit on MFT with an adapter).

If you select APS-C then Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.

Again – Once you select the brand you will be married to it. You will find it cost prohibitive to change brands, especially if its APS-C brands. With 4/3rds or MFT you can at least switch between 2 brands dealing in 4/3rds lenses and bodies. I chose Olympus for the in-body image stabilization. Which I think is great!


These 2 are directly related. More budget you have better DLSR body you can buy. But if you are a beginner what should be your budget?

IMHO (in my humble opinion) you should budget at least $700 to $800 (US dollars) for a decent body and at least 18-55mm and 70-300mm lenses (lens config may be different in different brands). Idea is that you should budget for DSLR body, and at 2 lenses – 1 wide angle zoom and one telephoto zoom. If you have more budget then you can invest in a good external flash.

Based on this you can research which spec of DLSR body fits your budget.

So the bottom Line is

  • Research on the format
  • Research on the Brand – Most important criteria is abundant availability of lenses and accessories  in your country.
  • Choose the DSLR Body spec according to your budget with at least 2 lenses
  • Order of the choices should be as above – don't for example fix a budget and then go hunting for the DSLR. Because brand that you choose will decide the budget. You can fix a range on budget though, say from $600 to $800, something like that.
  • Do not be overwhelmed by the information.
  • Read both pros and cons on format and brands
  • You first DLSR will not be and need not be a pro or even advanced armature. You need to understand the basic DSLR beast before you can graduate to higher end models.  You should not buy a higher end model unless you are convinced that you have out grown your current model.
  • Most importantly – You should know basic photographic techniques and photography basics, including but restricted to fundamental knowledge on – composition, aperture, shutter, manual control, exposure, white balance etc

I may do an edit on this post to add more – Keep watching!

In the meantime – Enjoy the Fall Colors



Saturday, October 10, 2009

Coming back – What was I doing?

Some of you may be wondering what the heck have I been doing. Why has this guy stopped disturbing us with his weekly mails?
Reasons are as follows
  • I entered into 2 competitions (I have already communicated about one to you). I had to do some preparation for those. I will tell you about these in a moment.
  • I then had to prepare for my exhibition at Barron Arts Fest. That exhibition was held today (10th Oct 2009) and I will tell you what I sold.
  • After coming back from vacations in early September, I had around 1000 pics to process. And this is what took away most of my time. I have already posted the Eastern Point and Mystic Seaport pictures. I will post Cape Cod pictures soon, I promise.
Many people ask – What do I mean by processing the pictures? Aren’t my pictures digital? So isn’t it already processed and I have the JPEGs ready to share straight from the camera?
Well folks, contrary to common assumption, some of you may be surprised to learn that none of the pictures that you see in any good site or magazine is straight from the camera. Almost all pictures need some form of processing (called post processing) in an image editor (such as Photoshop, Photomatix etc) in order to make it appealing or “presentable”. Some of the adjustment photographers do in post processing are;
  1. White Balance – To get the proper color temperature for the image i.e to either warm or cool an image
  2. Tone – To adjust color tones
  3. Exposure – some times when looking into the LCD of you camera, you may not notice if the image is under or over exposed a bit. Photographers need to correct these if there is any issue with the exposure
  4. Vibrancy and Saturation – To remove the dullness in color.
  5. Fill light – To highlight dark areas
  6. Contrast – To adjust the contrast between various colors in the image
  7. Sharpness – To soften or sharpen an image or part of it
  8. Noise – To reduce or increase noise in an image
This is not a complete list of post processing adjustments, however these are some of the crucial adjustments. In order to gain as much control over each of these adjustments as possible, seasoned photographers generally shoot their images in RAW format. This helps them in having better control over all the above adjustments and more, during post processing.
Post processing is a very time consuming job. And it requires a lot of patience.
Now coming to my competitions
The first competition was held at the New Brunswick Library in collaboration with Alfa Art Gallery. Photographers were required to submit 3 of their best pictures which were shot in New Brunswick. I submitted 3 of mine, but I forgot to read the crucial condition – photographs must be taken in New Brunswick! And none of my 3 photographs were shot in New Brunswick!
However I was not the only one who made the mistake. The judges selected 2 of my photographs to be in top 3!! But at the last moment had to give me just honorary mention for those 2 photographs because I failed to meet that criteria.
These are the 2 pics which one the honorary mention (I got a certificate for these - cool!)
Honorary mention #1

Honorary mention #2

The second competition was held in the Woodbridge town hall. The theme was similar. We were asked to provide 3 photographs taken in Woodbridge. This time I did not make any mistakes. I submitted the best 3 pics I had of Woodbridge. The following picture won the 3rd prize in the competition!
This was taken in the Woodbridge farmer’s market!
Now coming to Barron Arts Fest Exhibition. Well, I have been preparing for this for almost 4 weeks. The exhibition was on 10 Oct 09 between 10 AM to 4PM. But on the day of the exhibition, we had slight drizzle until 12PM :-( which meant people did not turn up until 1PM.  Even then there were only a handful and many were just mid-day strollers! So a not so satisfying exhibition. I did manage to sell 5 photos and 2 calendars for about $120 , but I was not completely satisfied with the response to the exhibition itself.

BLOG UPDATE***: Pictures from Award Ceremony @ Alpha Art Gallery

Photographer & Copyright owner: Jim Roselli

Both my pictures on display @ Alpha Art Gallery
Suni and I listening to the Award presentation ceremony
One of my pictures being shown during the presentation ceremony (Presenter and coordinator: Ms. Kavita Pandey)
Receiving certificate for Award#1 :-)
Award #2 :-)
Signing the guest book.

Monday, September 14, 2009

HDR – An “ethical” question

This article will ask for your patience. I apologize for making this a non-photography article. But I feel its important for me answer your questions.

When I posted my first HDR link on flickr.com and sent to my blog group I got this reaction from almost everybody.

“The pics are great, but…”

I knew what was coming :-)

“…they don’t look natural” :-)

There is an ethical question behind this. But before I go into that, I would like to tell you a story. Its my story, as is yours I am sure.

Let me take you about 23 years back, late eighties. I remember I was still in school days. I was in India. I hadn’t yet seen any of the world that I have seen now. We had only one channel on the TV called Doordarshan or DD for short. On this DD channel a program used to be aired called “World This Week” (WTW). It used to be aired every Friday night at 10PM. I used to wait whole week for this program, because this was the only program which showed us (kids in India) the world as it happened. All other news we used to get on national TV was just Indian or what government wanted us see of the world. News was controlled and censored by the government. Although WTW aired on government owned channel and was heavily censored at that time, it still gave us a best possible peek that we could have had to  the outside world.

This was also the time when compact discs (CD) were making a splash as storage media. One Friday night I was watching WTW and, I remember, there was a clip about how CDs can be used to store hundreds of songs as opposed to just 15 or 20 songs on a 2-sided cassette tape. A clip was shown how the CDs store information in 1’s and 0’s rather than continuous magnetic variations as in a tape. At the end of this particular news item, the anchor (Pranoy Roy) asked a question, which is still fresh in my mind “Is it as good as the cassette?” he answered himself “The future will tell”.

As you can see, magnetic tape is all but dead (doesn’t mean it was bad though). And the 1’s and 0’s have triumphed!

So how do I connect this to the HDR issue which I faced with my blog group?

I completely respect my blog group and their comments, for they have encouraged me so much. So I completely understand their predicament when they see an HDR enhanced image, which is;

“I was given a link for photographs, but I am looking at something which resembles painting. Where are the photographs?”

There is an ethical question behind this – which is “Should we use HDR technique to create something more than a mere photograph?”

Answer is – depends on choice, changes in tastes and trends. I grew up with a film camera, up to couple of years back, I completely detested digital cameras, because I could never get my photographs as well I could with a film camera (at least I thought so). Today – I swear by the DSLR and the four-thirds format (which takes me completely away from 35mm film camera). Trend does triumph in the end.

I posted the same flickr HDR link on my LinkedIn groups. One person, Eugene is her name, asked me about HDR technique and how it is done. Mind you, she did not comment at first, but contacted me privately. After I answered her back (privately of course) and explained her about HDR (as much as I know about it). She thanked me and also wrote a public comment on the group post which said;

“Puru very nice work, it has it's place in today's photo trends” and that my dear folks is your answer! :-)

HDR image -



Non-HDR Image



We decide what we want to like,  until the trend hits us :-) !


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Something for the Ladies (Suni’s Jewellery)

As some of you may already be knowing, my wife Suni is into making  jewellery. This is one of her really serious passions, I should say. She has so many hobbies that we have lost count of them longtime ago :-)

The onus of photographing her jewellery, naturally lies with me. And since I can’t charge her for the work, I take my own sweet time before I get interested enough to shoot them. Often we end up fighting on how to photograph a particular jewellery. The “creative difference” arise especially on the background to use and angle to shoot from. :-) Sometimes the fights are so serious that we have to suspend the shooting sessions to finish the fight :-)

Here are some of the fruits of our fights!

I generally use two setups. A macro-box, which I made at home, to photograph the close-ups of jewellery using flash. About 90% of jewellery close-ups are shot using this macro-box. And the sunlight + diffuser setup. This gives the subjects a more natural look.

Here is the link of how to make the macro-box or light-box. I used the instructions in this blog to make my macro-box


The Setup: Here are my 2 Setups

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I use both FL-50R and FL-36R for when using the box. I use them in the wireless TTL mode, as can be seen. This means they are not connected in anyway to my E-30. The E-30’s built-in flash acts as a transmitter which triggers these flashes.
Picture shows the triggered flashes. The external flashes are extremely expensive. If you want a cheaper version of this setup, then you can also use 2 150W white lamps on either side, instead of flashes. They will be less than 1/10th of the price of flash.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The diffuser setup is cheap and easy. All you need is a window from which you get direct sunlight (morning or evening) and a diffuser. The big white, round thing in the picture is the diffuser  - setup directly in the path of the sunlight.
The object is placed in front of the diffuser.
The diffuser softens the harsh sunlight so that the object gets illuminated evenly.
This is the cheapest form of setup (about $40 for 5-in-1 diffuser/reflectors set) for macro photography. But here you may not have the luxury of changing the direction of light as you wish.

 Point to Ponder: What works best for jewellery photography

  • Always shoot from a low angle, this gives the jewellery you are shooting a perspective. Sometimes the top angle works, but I generally prefer low angle.
  • Jewellery items are not big subjects, so always try to get as close as possible without losing any part of the jewellery. The jewelry should should fill the frame. If it doesn’t then people may wonder “what the heck is the subject here?”
  • Shoot earrings in bunch – they not only help fill the frame, but they also make the picture interesting.
  • Add accents, items (such as a flower, twig etc) which enhance the effect of jewellery. Generally accents with contrasting colors work.
  • Choose a contrasting background which makes the jewellery stand out.
  • Shallow depth of field (small f-number) works best. It gives the jewellery an interesting tone. Always ensure that the front most part of the jewellery is in sharp focus. If you have the mid-section or the back part in focus then the whole picture will look odd and uninteresting.
  • Use post processing to enhance colors and contrasts.

NOTE: All designs are copyright of Sunita Purushottam

Click on the images to enlarge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Red necklace (“kundan”). This was taken in natural light using diffuser
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The kundan taken using the macro box.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Kundan on the red box inside the macro-box
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Pearl and gold bead necklace. Macro-box. Shot from top using tripod and 2 150W lamps.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The black bead necklace inside the macro box. Using 2 flashes.
Glass bead necklace
Woven seed bead necklace
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Black glass bead necklace
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Assorted earrings + 1. Shot inside the macro-box.
The onyx bead necklace

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What makes a good photograph?

Its not just one thing that makes a photo looks good, there are several reasons.  Lets discuss in a layman’s language some of the aspects of taking a picture that makes it appealing. I am only delving into the aspects which I feel affect most. I am not touching many other aspects here which are also very important (such as exposure, white-balance, tones, gradation etc).


Framing is probably the most important factor in making a picture appealing to anybody. If the picture is framed well, then half the job is done.

A badly framed picture below left makes a beautiful scene look ordinary. Where as a slight change in framing makes a whole lot of difference on the right

Goa - Close to sunset Goa - Close to sunset

While framing a picture one must always keep in mind a few things.

  • What you see with a naked eye may not be as appealing in a picture. This is because your eye has more than 180 degrees field of view (also called wide angle) and your view finder does not. So when you see a scene with a naked eye, its lot more appealing because of various interesting areas in the scene. However same cannot be framed using a camera view finder because it just isn’t wide enough. So while framing the scene though a view finder, just ask yourself- including what things in the frame would make it better?
  • Center composition/horizon in the center– These are some of the most common mistakes. Most people compose the picture with the subject dead in the center or horizon in the center. Picture on the left above has horizon dead in the center while the one on the right has horizon off center. And you can see the difference it makes. Sometime however center composition does makes sense (picture below of the flower left). But such instances are rare. So the best best is to have the subject off center (pic below on right).
Top of the world - Lake george - close to sunset close to sunset - Lake george


  • Follow the rule of thirds to frame. – The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as painting, photography and design. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would. See the GIF below.

Source: Wikipedia

Author: User:Moondigger

Description: Animated image based on Image:Rivertree_1_md.jpg, demonstrating the rule of thirds

File:Rivertree thirds md.gif



Lighting is the second most importing thing when taking a picture. When taking a picture, you must bear in mind no part of your picture is overexposed (i.e. where details are washed out) and no part is underexposed either (i.e. portions which are too dark). On top of this, you need to ensure that your subject is perfectly exposed. And that we all know is easier said than done.

Some of the simple ways of ensuring that you have good exposure is to check where the light is coming from. If the subject is backlit, for example (meaning light source is behind the subject), then its a good idea to use a flash to light up the subject. Or if the subject is under bright sunlight then its recommended that you use a diffuser so that shadow under chin are soft.

Most people think bright sunny day is the best time to photograph. But its the exact opposite – you need a good cloud cover for getting great photographs. And if you need blues skies in you pictures then the best time for taking pictures is early sunrise and late in the afternoon when sun is about couple of hours to set. That way you will get the best possible light for your pictures.

If you are photographing flowers or other subjects for close-ups– then always remember to use one of the following techniques

    1. Using diffuser when shooting outside under bright sun
    2. Shooting indoor under natural light (example near a window or in a flower conservatory)
    3. Shooting the flowers indoor with a combination of natural light and flash (to enhance the lighting effects)
    4. Shooting inside the close-up box (for details see here)

Hover mouse on these pics to see how they were shot.

Shot using macro box Shot using macro box

Natural sunlight with diffuser near an open  window Inside a conservatory


Picture taken at the time of Sunset - But with a difference!


Aperture setting will let you decide the Depth of Field (DoF). DoF is the background or foreground of the subject. Greater the DoF implies both the subject and background (or foreground, as the case may be)  are in focus. Lower the DoF – implies that the subject is clear focus but the background if out of focus (the out of focus background is also “bokeh” – this word originate from the Japanese word “boke” - meaning haze or blur).

Depending on the situation you may want to blur the background or show higher DoF. As in the case of the Flower shots above the background is blurred while the flower itself is in perfect focus giving it a unique appearance. Where as in the shot above of the parasailers – the DoF is greater, so the parasailer in the background also appears sharp. For more details on how to use aperture – refer to my previous blog on related to this topic.

  • To get greater DoF (clearer background) – You should set the f-number to high on your camera - so f/18, for example, would give a clearer background than f/8
  • To get a bokeh – set the aperture/f-number as low as possible.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA With Bokeh – Shallow DoF (Aperture f/3.5)


Greater DoF (no bokeh) (aperture f/8)

Freeze or Flow

Sometimes you may want to either freeze the action to give your picture a sense of motion. This is particularly affective in shooting children or sports.

Or sometimes you may want to show the flow. This is useful in shooting waterfalls.

  • To freeze the action set the shutter speed to fast.
  • To show the flow – set the shutter speed to as low as possible (without compromising exposure). For this you will have to set the Aperture small as possible. You would need a tripod to use slow shutter speed otherwise you would get blurred picture due to camera shake.

Pictures below show the examples of Freeze and flow

Freezing Action

Finally – Do Not Hurry!

This is the most important aspect of photography. Most of us just point the camera and shoot. I blame this hurry on the most idiotic phrase ever coined - “point-and-shoot cameras”. Although most of our modern digital cameras (non-DSLRs) are small and allow you to take a pictures in a hurry, I feel “hurry” should be the last thing on your mind. Most modern digital cameras (non-DSLRs) are extremely versatile and have lot of features which you can use to get better control on your technique and on your results– sadly (for no apparent reason I can think of) these manually controllable features are not advertised properly by the makers (except in the manuals). 

Also I have seen people with a good DSLRs using the Auto mode to shoot pictures. It doesn’t get worse than that. You WILL get bad pictures.

By hurrying, you are losing out on experimenting, framing, proper exposure, aperture settings, shutter speed settings etc.  But if you take just couple of minutes to prepare and execute a frame, then chances are you will get a lot better result.

Remember – Camera is just an aid for taking pictures – Ultimately its the person behind the camera who has the canvas, brush and the colors. Use the tools properly and you will get good results.

See you again!