Archive for the Inspirations Category

The Final Post – 3 Years Later

Posted in Good News, Inspirations with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by Darwin

Three years ago in January, 2009, I made my first blog post. This post will be my last one on this blog.

It has been a wonderful experience sharing photos, stories and tips about life and learning through the lens. I’ve had photo contests where I gave away lenses and trips and other goodies (how fun!). I’ve had a seriously controversial camera review (Sam and I won’t live that one down… but we do get emails daily totally in agreement with our findings)  But best of all I have shared with you the amazing work of many fellow photographers through Inspirations and Photographer of the Month posts. Thanks to these photographers for letting me feature their work!

I have been inspired and humbled by he response to this blog. Thanks mostly to you dear visitor for stopping by to read and make comments!

Going forward Samantha and I will do all our photography and community posts over at oopoomoo where we will have tons of free photography tips and tricks and techniques and of course our popular How-to and Photography Guide eBooks and announcements of workshops and tours. We still plan to keep the inspiration up and have lots to stimulate the eye and mind on the topics of photography and living better on this planet. I hope you will join us at oopoomoo.

Finally, I want to thank a Samantha Chrysanthou, Sabrina Henry and Catherine Byram for help with posting blog entries.



Inspirations – Temple of Heaven by Christian Ortiz

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on December 28, 2011 by sabrina

© Christian Ortiz

Nikon D700, 14-24mm f/2.8 at 1/2500s ISO 200

I had seen boring pictures of the Temple of Heaven before and I wanted to capture a much more grandiose photo of it against a blazing sunrise. Unfortunately, Beijing has a bit of a pollution problem and the one day I was there I was greeted by a flat gray sky and about 1,000 tourists swarming all over the poor temple. I decided to work with what I had and see if I could spice it up in post production.  I walked around the massive structure looking for an area with minimal human density. When I found this angle, I set up my ultra wide angle lens to 14mm on a full frame D700 sitting on top of a tripod with a remote control trigger. I then began the long 37 minute wait for all the giddy school girls to finish taking pictures of their friends holding up the peace sign. I saw an opening and I fired out my shot. When I got home I liked most of the photograph, but the gray sky was so dull that I decided to take it in a more creative direction. This was the Temple of Heaven so I wanted to give it a celestial feel. I searched stock photos for a space background that seemed fitting and I purchased it and used it as my background.  I set the blending mode in Photoshop to multiply and added a layer mask to punch through the important details of the temple. I then used curve adjustments to bring out more of the intricate detail and finished it off with some unsharp mask. Making this photo was an an enjoyable exercise in unobstructed, child-like creative flow that we often don’t allow ourselves to indulge in for fear of not being taken seriously.  ~ Christian Ortiz

Inspirations – Amanda Large

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on December 21, 2011 by sabrina

© Amanda Large

Nikon D90, 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 250, f/3.5, 1/25 seconds

Sometimes the images that say the most about people don’t literally show much of them at all. This portrait of my odd-socks-wearing friend was taken on the spur of the moment; hand-held, no premeditation, no set up. We were getting ready to go out, I think – or rather, he was sitting on the couch waiting for me to get ready – and I grabbed my camera in the hopes of nabbing a shot of him. Being a modest soul, he didn’t want to show his face and grabbed a conveniently located painting to hide behind. I directed him to move it slightly so that his scarf aligned with the tie in the painting and took a shot using the available light before he lost patience with me. For me, a big part being a photographer is being able to go with the flow and seize the moment. I originally set out to take a simple picture of my friend on the couch, and ended up with what I find a far more interesting portrait.

As a side note: it was pointed out to me that the painting is based on a photo (of 20th century political philosopher John Rawls), so this is actually a photograph of a painting based on a photograph. ~ Amanda Large

Inspirations – Spiritual Wood by Philippe Sainte-Laudy

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on December 18, 2011 by sabrina

© Philippe Sainte-Laudy

Nikon D300 Nikkor 18/200mm at 
38 mm  
2 sec. 
f/16 ISO400

Hi, I’m Philippe Sainte-Laudy. I live near Strasbourg in France. My goal in the world of photography is to strive for originality, and create my images into an art form. I like photographing nature and in particular landscapes. Photographer by passion for years, today I have my own business.

I also like optimizing and working my images with software such as Photoshop, Aperture or Lightroom.

I hope that photography can bring people closer to nature and encourage them to preserve it for future generations.

This photo was taken this autumn in France near Strasbourg. The season was beautiful this year! The woods were bathed in a light yellow to brown. Almost magical! I also used a tripod to get a good depth of field and bring out maximum detail. I used several layers set in Photoshop to optimize the atmosphere of this forest and give an artistic touch.

I recently published two free ebooks. The first talks about landscape photography and the second includes my best photographs of autumn this year. A kind of Best of 

Thank you to Darwin for allowing me to talk about myself without moderation.

Inspirations – Kouji Tomihisa

Posted in Inspirations with tags , on December 15, 2011 by sabrina

© Kouji Tomihisa

I normally take photos on my way to the office. As a result I take a lot of photos at sunrise, sunset, night and in train stations. One thing that differentiates my photos from other photographers is the height of my view. I often use the ‘live view’ finder of my camera, thus the view is as low as a 5-year old child. I intentionally take my photos that way so that you can feel you have gone back to those days. ~ Kouji Tomihisa

Inspirations – Thomas Sivilay

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on December 11, 2011 by sabrina

© Thomas Sivilay

1/320s, f/4.0, ISO 160 – with a CANON 50D and SIGMA 10-20mm

This shot was taken at the World Exposition in Shanghai in 2010. It’s one of the many structures at the Exposition, but it’s maybe the first one you will see if you take the subway. So it was my first shot for this long day, and I was at the bottom of the structure. I used an ultra-wide angle, but I’ve re-sized it to have this Fibonacci number composition. There is also a contrast between lines/triangle and curves. ~ Thomas Sivilay

Inspirations – Andy Brown

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on December 8, 2011 by sabrina

© Andy Brown

I shot with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Canon EF 17-40mm L.  Exposure was 0.2 seconds at f/14 and ISO 160.  The camera was handheld throughout and I panned vertically to achieve the ICM – it’s the first time I’d tried this technique and a concept I hope to revisit soon.  Processing was done in ACR and CS4.

Intentional camera movement goes against the grain of so much I have learnt through my imagery – there are no hard and fast restraints on focus, clarity and detail.  Instead, it’s an intriguing way to try and reveal the spirit of your subject – and of course trees work well given their familiarity and strong vertical lines that react so well to panning!  My intent was to work a contrast between the all pervasive mist and the vivid hues of the woodland vegetation, with the trees providing a pseudo-abstract link between the two planes.  It’s funny how with the creation of some images I spend hours deciding on composition, deliberating over subtle lighting nuances and suchlike prior to releasing the shutter.  This photograph was borne of completely the opposite.  I was on my way to an entirely different destination when I drove through this woodland, laden in early morning mist.  I stopped, took just a handful of shots and was back in my car within twenty minutes and on my way… ~ Andy Brown

I oopoomoo, do you?

Posted in Art of Photography, Controversy, Inspirations, TCBlog, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , on December 7, 2011 by Darwin

Today is the official release date of oopoomoo! This is a new website that Samantha and I put together that is the one-stop shop for everything Sam and Dar. But it will be more than just a photography site, or a place to get eBooks or workshops. The concept behind oopoomoo relates more to our attitude towards life. Life is short:  why not just do the things you love and live a balanced healthy lifestyle? Why not give back a little instead of always taking? Why not live a little softer on the planet? Why not have fun and smile a lot? Well, oopoomoo is our attempt to live that kind of life. We are photographers and photography instructors and we love our work. But we also love nature, hiking, eating, drinking, art, music and, in short, life. We want oopoomoo to reflect our passion about these things, and we want to share our passion for living well with the world. We would love to have you come along!

Ultimately we will be ending all our other websites so we can concentrate on oopoomoo and all the fun and meaningful projects we hope to engage in. So we will stop posting on our personal blogs (both this blog and Sam’s blog will finish at the end of the this year). Ultimately we will also end our personal websites and have everything we do happen at oopoomoo.

Finally, over at oopoomoo we decided affiliates and sponsorships wasn’t our thing.  We’ll let others continue on with these kinds of partnerships because they are good at them! We find our time is pretty much taken up trying to live our new philosophy on life.

Drop by oopoomoo and let us know what you think and stay tuned for all sorts of interesting posts on photography and life!

Darwin and Sam

Inspirations – The Pinnacles by Beau Mitchell

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on December 4, 2011 by sabrina

© Beau Mitchell

7 images panoramic stitch
Canon 450D 17-40mm F4 L lens @ 32mm

 1 second at f/16 with ISO 100

I wanted to shoot “The Pinnacles” on a cloudless evening to capture a soft gradient in the sky. I knew a cloud filled sky would clutter the composition. Fortunately, the weather on this night was perfect! As the sun disappeared into the horizon the limestone pillars lit up and the sky turned a nice purplish colour. A little bit of planning, and a little bit of luck, goes a long way when photographing a location such as this. ~ Beau Mitchell

Inspirations – Ed Brydon

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , on November 30, 2011 by sabrina

© Ed Brydon

iPhone 4S using Instagram with “Lomo-fi” processing selection

I had never had a smartphone and finally upgraded to an iPhone 4S when it came out, principally because the plan I could get was a global one. However, one of the first things I like to do when they have something new is to play with it. I tend not to open the manual unless I cannot work out how to do something as I find that trial and error, while maybe slower, sticks with me better. At any rate, I had popped out to get my lunch during work and was walking around Columbus Circle when I saw this great little stage-like scene. The hard, low sun was pouring through into this little area. I backed up against the wall, framed roughly where my I wanted the image to play out, watched and waited. Any time I thought I saw something developing I would press the shutter. I experimented with compositions as people passed through the scene and was having a lot of fun. One of the things I keep my eye out is for alignments of nature and man or the man-made within the city; that juxtaposition appeals to me. For this particular image I caught the flutter and flight of a few pigeons out of the corner of my eye and pressed the shutter button when I thought the timing was right, trying to allow for the slight lag. I had only once chance to make this and it turned out exactly how I wanted it, with the pigeon seemingly flying directly above the woman’s head.

To me it doesn’t matter what I made this image with, it was more important that I had something on me I could photograph with. The fact it was new, and unobtrusive, allowed for a little playtime, which is often when we become inspired. ~ Ed Brydon