Author Archives: Journey Through The Lens

Bangladesh.

As a hobbyist photographer and as an international student who hails from Bangladesh (no we’re not in India. We are a completely different and independent country for any of you who are wondering) where the weather is tropical all year round, the roads congested with traffic, where time never stands still and every single moment of the day is rush hour, I often used to fall in the trap of thinking there is perhaps nothing much to photograph back home in Bangladesh, that perhaps all the beauty in the world lies in Canada. Oh how wrong I was. Back in May 2016 I had the opportunity to go back home for a couple of weeks. It was AFTER I had developed an obsession for photography so armed with my shiny DSLR I was ready to take on the streets and sceneries of Bangladesh. One of the most intriguing things I realized is that in the capital city of Dhaka where I come from, there is hardly a sight which will beg you to get photographed. No. You need to look for chances, create your own photographs in your mind and then execute them. In this article I present to you some of the pictures I captured on my trip back to Bangladesh. I hope you enjoy them!

The Method Behind The Madness – part 1

So after my previous post, I realized that instead of just writing technical jibber jabber, what would really help my audience is a part by part explanation of a photo, and I decided to choose tis photo in particular because it contains some basic techniques as well as some advanced methods which might seem difficult at first but really once I tell you how it’s done, literally anyone can take such photos! So here goes nothing.

I was walking the streets of Granville a few weeks back, minding my own business, just my camera and tripod and a remote shutter in my backpack in what had to be one of the rarest rain-less nights in recent Vancouver history when I stumbled upon this famous street and my mind instantly started forming a photograph. The setting was perfect: Old, brick buildings, long, unique streetlights, neon signs lighting up the roadside, cars wheezing by. All that was left was to execute it. One of the things I wanted to experiment with was getting light trails in my picture. In layman’s terms, a light trail is when there is a moving light source in the frame and you leave the shutter open long enough for the camera to capture the moving light as a trail, rather than stationery light. Basically think of it like this: If there are cars moving, and the car’s headlights/tail lights are on, and you leave the shutter open long enough, the final image will appear as a trail of light. The cool trail of light you see on the road in the picture above is exactly that: Lights from cars! So the first thing I knew I needed to do was leave the shutter open long enough for 2 reasons: 1. to get light trails and 2. It was night and hence dark, apart from the neon lights so I wanted to make the image a bit brighter. So I set a shutter speed of 20 seconds, which meant as soon as I pressed the shutter, it would be open for 20 seconds before capturing the image. The second thing I wanted to do was keep my image as clean as possible, which meant using the lowest possible ISO. In this image I used a long shutter speed so it allowed me to escape using an ISO of 100. So far so good. The third thing I wanted to do was since it’s a cityscape and not a portrait, I wanted the viewers to experience all the details in the image so I needed to make the image as sharp as possible, which meant using a high f-stop, so I used an f-stop of 11.0. This, combined with the 25 second shutter speed and ISO 100, gave me the image above. AND ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING TO NOTE WHILE TAKING LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOS: THE.CAMERA.CAN.NEVER.MOVE. It is CRUCIAL that while the shutter is open, the camera remain absolutely still otherwise the image will get blurry. VERY blurry. So that was the image, and then I took it home and did some light retouching and the above image is what I ended up with!

*I’ll leave a link here for those who are interested in getting into and understanding long exposure photography:

Essay 2

PUB101 has been sort of a revelation for me. I came to the first class expecting to create a website and maintain it over the course of the semester but little did I realize how invested I would become in the content I put out, the design elements, etc. My website is first and foremost a photography website. While thinking about the design of the website before its inception, I knew I wanted to keep it minimalist in words because I wanted to let my photographs do the speaking.

My intended audience is geared towards those who are interested in photography, fascinated by the pictures they see online taken by some photographer or the other but never have had the courage to pick up a camera and delve into this field, be it because of all the technical aspects they hear which might scare some people off (I was put off from learning the Manual Mode on my DSLR for quite a long time!) or whether it be because they seem to think photography is too difficult. I want to instill a passion and desire in those people to pick up a camera, and I want my website to contain the most basic of jargon and information so that after reading, people become more confident and interested in buying a DSLR. I am not thinking about monetizing my site as of yet, because with a photography blog I know you have to be really good in order to produce amazing pictures which people might want to buy and I don’t have that confidence in myself as of yet, but it’s something I definitely have kept at the back of my mind, implementing a page where people can buy my photos a la Shutterstock style. As I created the website and kept updating it, a lot of new things hit me in the face, so to speak. Firstly, it’s actually quite difficult creating a fully fledged website! I mean, when I go to a website I see so many background pictures, menus, sub menus, this that but when I tried to do it for my own website I couldn’t even create a sub menu properly! So there’s a lot more in creating a website than meets the eye. But after weeks of working, practicing through trial and error and taking lots of help from Ariel, I can happily say my website is in a good place right now. It obviously needs a lot of work but it’s getting there. However once I do monetize it, I have some plans as to how I can build my audience. Firstly, I plan on making a video of myself explaining how to use the manual mode on a DSLR, something beginners have difficulty learning. Then I will make a video explaining the basics of Lightroom and how to use it, all free of cost. One of the other major things I know I need to do is to be consistent (King, Laiza: 8 Effective Ways to build a solid Online Presence). Because at the end of the day there’s nothing worse than creating a website only to update it once or twice every year. There has to be a constant stream of content be it videos, tutorials, pictures, or just personal blogs. The next thing I need to do is to strategize, have a solid plan going forward (Erickson, Kate: 7 Ways To Build Your Online Presence Now). There needs to be short and long term goals with which I need to proceed. For the short run as I stated before I will focus on improving the design of my website, learn how to edit every aspect of it inside out and in the long term I will monetize it. Networking is one of the most important aspects of building relationships with customers as well as increasing my audience. The next step I would take is to incorporate my domain name in my email address. A survey showed that 74% of consumers would trust a company-branded email address more so than a free email address (Options for creating an online presence). With something as amazing as photography, there is no shortage of content. The only thing that can hold me back is my imagination. That, and laziness.

At the end of the day I do realize that creating a website, monetizing it does not happen overnight. Your own website is like your child in many ways. You have to nurture it, look after it and only then will you be able to enjoy the benefits. I am highly passionate about photography and as each day passes, I want to showcase more and more of my work and the wonders of photography to the work and I know that my website is the first and perhaps the most important means of doing that.

REFERENCES:

King, Laiza. “8 Effective Ways To Build A Solid Online Presence: WEB 101.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 26 Oct. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/laiza-king-/8-effective-ways-to-build_b_12628540.html.
Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas. (2017). Entrepreneur On Fire | 42: 7 Ways to build your online presence now. [online] Available at: https://www.eofire.com/7-ways-to-build-your-online-presence/ [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].
Macrobird. (2017). Options for Creating an Online Presence. [online] Available at: https://www.macrobird.com/blog/options-for-creating-an-online-presence/

Lenses are Life

So you’ve bought your first DSLR, you’ve learnt Manual Mode and have shot pictures for a few months and feel confident enough to take your photography game to the next level. What do you do? BUY A LENS! As surprising as it might sound, it does not matter what type of DSLR you use, how much it costs. What matters is 1. Your imagination and understanding of the camera, and your post processing skills and 2. LENSES. I have been using a second hand camera for a few years now, and the only thing that has changed are the lenses. You need different lenses for different situations. Like portraits? Get a portrait lens! Like landscapes? Get a telephoto or a wide or ultrawide zoom lens! What type of lens you use depends on the type of photography you wish to do. I am into landscape photography so I need a lens that captures a large viewframe so I can get the whole expanse into one shot rather than do a panaroma, which is why I use the Tokina 11-16mm. And I also like to do the occasional portrait which I am not good at so I use the Canon 50mm. Here are a few lenses that you can use for different situations to make your life easier:

PORTRAITS:

*Canon 50mm f1.8 (or “nifty fifty” as it’s known)
*Canon 85mm
*Canon 50mm f1.2 (EXPENSIVE BUT WORTH IT)
*Canon 135mm

LANDSCAPES:

*Tokina 11-16mm
*Canon 16-35mm
*Tokina 13-18mm
*Rokinon/Samyang 6.5 fisheye lens

MACRO:

*Tamron 90mm f2.8
*Canon 135mm
*Tokina 200mm

These are some of the lenses I have used and tested and can vouch for their quality of picture and sharpness, as well as their durability. If you have any lenses in mind you want me to give you a review on please let me know in the comments below. Thank you and happy browsing!

CHEAT SHEETS AND MANUAL MODE TUTORIAL!!

Hello, hello, HELLOO!! Sorry for the 3 hellos. I’ve just realized I haven’t posted on my website in quite a while due this upcoming thing called “finals” which, frankly, I could do without. But hey. What can we do, right?

Anyways! One of the questions I almost always get from friends and family who are trying to get into photography is the dreaded MANUAL MODE. “How do I learn manual mode?”, “What is ISO?”, “What is aperture?” Whoa whoa WHOA. SLOW DOWN BUDDY. One question at a time! Long story short, if I was supposed to explain how manual mode works, it would take me 5 minutes. But mastering it, remembering to tweak all the settings according to the situation is what takes the longest to remember and figure out for the user. So here’s my short version of it:

Basically, there are 3 things you need to know when using the manual mode: ISO, APERTURE (F-STOP) and SHUTTER SPEED.

ISO: This is a range of numbers starting from 100 (sometimes 64) all the way to 24000, depending on the type of DSLR you have. Just remember that the lower the ISO, the CLEANER but DARKER the image and the more the ISO, the GRAINIER but BRIGHTER the image. So in an ideal world you would use an ISO of 100 all the time but there are situations where the scene is dark and using an ISO of 100 would make the picture dark as well. So in those case you need to use a higher ISO, whereas in a scene illuminated by natural or artificial light (flash), you should look to use an ISO of 100-250 to keep the image clean.

APERTURE (F-STOP): See all the creamy background blur pro-photographers tend to get while shooting portraits? Aperture is the reason for that. The LOWER the aperture. the BRIGHTER the picture and more BACKGROUND BLUR, and similarly the HIGHER the aperture the DARKER the picture and the whole background will be SHARPER as well. The ideal aperture to use while photographing a model or taking a portrait is f2.0, but some lenses go lower to f1.2 to give extra creamier blur. And while photographing landscapes and vast expanses you should look to use a higher f stop, say f10 or f11 to make sure the entire picture from foreground to background is in sharp focus.

SHUTTER SPEED: Well, it does what it says. Shutter speed is responsible for how fast (or slow) the shutter opens and loses once you press the shutter button. Shutter speeds range from 30 second (the slowest) all the way to 1/12000 (the fastest, depending on your DSLR). You will need to use a faster shutter speed on sunny days or when there’s lots of light present otherwise if you use a longer shutter speed and keep the shutter open for too long, lots of light will be absorbed by the lens and the picture will be just white. Similarly on a dark night you will need to use a longer shutter speed to allow the camera to absorb as much light as it can to try and illuminate the dark scene.

That was a lot of theory and might take a while to get into your head, so I am posting a few useful links to help you get started with manual mode!

CHEAT SHEET: https://digital-photography-school.com/15-best-cheat-sheets-printables-infographics-photographers/

WHAT HELPED ME IMMENSELY TO LEARN MANUAL MODE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pehFC05cohw

If you have any questions/concerns, PLEASE shoot me a comment! Thanks and happy browsing!

Community Guidelines

All right peeps, the one thing I need to get out of the way is community guidelines. While I encourage everyone and anyone to comment and to feel free to criticize/not criticize any and all content on my website, there are a certain number of guidelines people need to follow that can be found below. Thanks and happy browsing!

Who can comment?
ANYONE! Doesn’t matter if you are 2 or 25, 5 or 55. Anyone and everyone can comment on my lovely, lovely website. It’s public, so no privacy settings or anything like that. You can comment on any one f my posts by scrolling down and finding the comment box, typing your comment and pressing “submit”. That easy!

How are comments moderated?
In an ideal world, I would tell my users to self-moderate their comments. And while for the most part (99% of the time), they do moderate it themselves and then post it, there can be some people who write mean things just for the sake of it. Everytime a comment is posted, I receive a notification and then I check it to make sure it’s not too mean or a personal attack. So bottom line, after a comment has been posted I will moderate it.

What sort of comments can be removed?
Personal attacks
Spam
Trolling
Racism, sexism and other discrimination
Illegal activities
Moderation complaints
Offensive usernames

Can I delete my comment?

You can delete your comment at any time by clicking the ‘delete’ icon just below your comment.

That’s it folks! Now with the boring stuff out of the way, you can go ahead and browse my website. Just remember, no doing any of the stuff listed above. Thanks!

Peer Review 3

The website I am reviewing today belongs to Guila Abad. From the title, it suggests that the website is a photography website. The home page has a pleasing look about it, with neat colors and a very pleasing-to-the-eye aesthetic. The first post that pops up is titled
“Fall Baking”, which suggests that the creator is interested in baking, and going through their other posts, the reader gets the idea that the creator is interested in travelling and has shared with us some his experiences abroad in countries such as London, Brussels, etc. The creator has clearly stated that they do not wish to monetize their website at the moment but might do so in the future, and talks a bit about how they would do so. How they wish to monetize it is stated quite clearly. The one thing that the creator hasn’t mention is what sort of audience they would cater to if they were to monetize the website. I am guessing from the articles and the theme of the website that the monetization would be intended for audiences who love to travel. The website contains good content, with the creator describing their experience of travelling to Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, London. We get an sight of where the creator lived, what they did during their stay in the city. The one thing I would do is add more photos since the title suggests that the blog is about photography. There is a link where we get to see the photos from the trip but there are only about 7 of them so I would suggest adding more, and also to categorize the gallery so that we see pictures from London under “London”, pictures from Amsterdam under the category “Amsterdam”, and so on. Apart from these, another thing I would do is perhaps change the title of the blog. Because reading through the blogs tell us that the website is catered towards travelling rather than being focused solely on photography. Because the experiences described by the creator of their trip is quite beautiful and gives us an idea of what that city is like, and the activities they did in those cities. Another thing I noticed is the lack of a home page. There’s “About”, “Blog” and “Posiel”, but the lack of a home page means we as the reader have to press back on the website until we reach the home page. All in all, the website contains a good amount of content, and from a design perspective there’s not too much to criticize apart from the lack of a homepage, the title of the website, and the lack of enough pictures. Job well done! Here is a link to the website:

http://guilaabad.com/

Process Post 7

So we had to remix something for this Process post, so I decided to make a slideshow of my photos with one of my favorite songs playing in the background. It was relatively simple and hassle free. I used Movavi video editor, and after 10 minutes of tinkering, voila! It was ready. Here’s the youtube link:

Why Photography?

My DSLR!

In the summer of 2014, shortly after I came to the wonderful, amazing city of Vancouver, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. No it’s not one of those “Oh I’m having a bad day so I think I have depression” things. Let me try and explain how it felt. Day after day, for 2 months, I woke up every morning, with no will to get out of bed, and when I did manage to get out of bed because of my girlfriends’ persistence, I saw no point in life, no point at staying in Canada. I missed my family HORRIBLY, missed my girlfriend (She is studying back home in Bangladesh, almost done in fact. God bless her soul, best thing to ever happen to me) TERRIBLY. Each day was a literal pain. I used to miss classes, gave up eating, studying, basically everything. My meal one day would consist of 2 donuts and one small French Vanilla. PER DAY. My GF pushed me to go to the SFU clinic and after 2 months of begging, I finally gave in and went to the clinic. The doctor inspected me, heard my symptoms and gave me an amazing piece of news: I have clinical depression. The cure? He gave me a bunch of anti depressant capsules and told me I would feel better after a month. A MONTH? A month felt like a year. I went back to my room, and decided to throw away those capsules. In the bin it went. A friend of mine was into photography, always had a DSLR. So I thought, I am in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, why not take some pictures and show it to my friends and family back home? That way, I’ll be distracted as well. My GF, once again, forced me to go and buy a DSLR. And since that first day, I have been hooked. It started with myself randomly pointing at the sky and clicking the shutter, random pictures of people and landscapes. And from there it became and obsession. My GF would force me to go out and take pictures every single day almost, in a bid to keep my depression in check. Slowly but surely my skills improved, I learnt how to retouch photos in Lightroom which opened up a whole new list of possibilities. After that I learnt the Manual Mode, discovered what ISO is, F stop and shutter speed does. Being a landscape photographer mainly, I was blown away by the amount of control I had over my camera. This small device has played a huge part in bringing me back from depression, and I believe photography can be picked up by anyone and everyone and anyone can produce amazingly beautiful pictures. You don’t need a high end, $10,000 camera to produce stunning pictures. All you need is your imagination.

Process Post 8

Before I start this process post, I’d just like to say I am in the SFU Burnaby library , it’s the beginning of November and it’s snowing. IT. IS. SNOWING. WHAT. IS. THIS. SORCERY. Anyways, moving on. I have no intention of monetizing my site as of yet. Since it is a photography website, I would have to be a REALLY good photographer to go about monetizing it (Which I am nowhere near close to becoming). Since the site is new, I want it to be a website which makes people become more interested in photography, so that they are encouraged to pick up a camera and click away. Once I do reach a level where I am comfortable in saying that my photographs are “good”, I will think about monetizing it. Shutterstock is a prime example, I want to do something similar. Each of my photo can be bought by consumers, if they are interested. Stock photography is a booming business and I would certainly like to tap into that field given my skills and photographs become better.