I have just gotten my Spyder 5 yesterday. This is essential for me to get all my picture’s colors correctly processed. Most photographers missed out this important process in their digital workflow. For some of the friends may not know what this is… Spyder is a color calibrating device, we use it to calibrate our Screen/ Monitor so that we know that black is black and white is white and all other colors are accurate and when I send my work for print, I know the color is correct and accurate.
1. Every computer screen looks different, so who is correct?
2. Before you process your images, ask yourself this question, is my screen/ monitor accurate?
3. Does my printer color setting has the same color as my computer screen?
There are countless time when I checked other photographers work on Facebook, I saw many of you having the wrong color temperature in your image and some even underexpose (perhaps you like to dim your screen), and for those who love HDR, OMG!
We must realized in the old days, we left the color accuracy to the lap like RGB print shop or photo lap and color accuracy is from the film selected. We already know what kind of film produces what kind of result, like if we want something cool we usually use Fuji film and if we like warm we will go for Kodak and if we have no money… Whatever is cheapest will help LOL its like taking drugs!!! Hahaha.
These film companies and lab, they are professionals but their job has been replaced in this digital edge. So who is doing their job now? YOU! For those who shoot RAW, you need to know if you process your own images.
Basically with Spyder, I am able to fully utilized my screen with accurate calibration of good contrast and correct color temperature. Hope you guys fine this info helpful to you.
Every photographer needs to get one to process their work in this digital edge.
Let me know if you have any question. I will be glad to help 🙂
Read more: http://spyder.datacolor.com/spyder5-video/
Recently I have received an exciting message from a Facebook friend, showing me his great photo taken using his Blackberry phone Q10. It was a coincidental shot of a beautiful falcon flying. Here was what he wrote:
“Being in a right place at a right time is more important than any Camera, Shot this picture from my Blackberry Q10. Was waiting for my driver, outside my Office tower and I heard a sound. I looked up and saw an airplane, and as the perspective was amazing, I started clicking pictures of the airplane from my Blackberry. While clicking the pictures, suddenly a beautiful falcon, which is also National Bird of UAE entered into the frame, and make this picture, one of the most memorable moment. “
Trusting your Facebook friend is one thing but proofing the picture is true and originally capture is another. I am sorry but the picture wasn’t true, it was a photoshop edited job.
As a judge for many photo competitions, my job is to select a final winner. But after the winner was selected, there is still one important process that I have to do. It is to check on the original raw file in photoshop and the file info in details to proof that it is originally capture with a camera.
So I got the photographer of this picture to send all the before and after frames original images over to me. He sent me the files, and I had a look. Huh! Now I can see it in details. The original picture has many points to proof that it was a bad photoshop job. And also the file info show the speed of exposure is 1/50, which was impossible to capture a high speed bird like falcon. Generally to capture a flying eagle we need the camera speed set to about 1/1000, but falcon at least 1/2000 (Contribute by a real bird shooter)
Well, to all photographers out there; we maybe excited over new photography ideas and crave to produce some good photography works and we can not resist the temptation of photoshop manipulation, and you decided to photoshop your work, please do take note of these 3 points:
1. Do you feel proud of yourself?
2. Was it necessary?
3. Does that made you a better photographer?
So what if we win the whole world but have lost our very own integrity!
So keep your photography real and keep it real to yourself and keep shooting.
You will capture something great one day, if you keep shooting.
Capture with your heart!
Interview questions from TODAY
1. What do you do as a Nikon Ambassador?
Be myself and share my passion in Photography. It’s all about bringing back beautiful imagery from around the world to inspire the younger and amateur photographers. Thanks to Nikon for recognizing my work, also creating platforms online and organising roadshows to enable us to share our passion. As an ambassador I am supported by Nikon with professional gear whenever I am on a mission (shoot).
2. You’ve been capturing images of the world for 20 years. What do you makes a great travel photo? What are some elements and qualities you need to be a travel photographer?
A great photo is one that tells a story. Unless you experience the place, culture and people, you are not going to bring back stories.
Love travel and love photography! 🙂 Enjoy your journey. Love meeting people. Go with your mission in mind. As a travel photographer, I work with publishers and image banks like Gettyimages and I was given assignment on location. Pay attention to details, ask questions and capture the essence of lives and places. Travel photographers have to be very flexible and constantly changing hats, whether I am shooting the Spanish flamenco dance tonight, documenting city life tomorrow morning or climbing up a mountain to capture the sunset of a beautiful landscape. Over the years, I have trained myself to be versatile in all kinds of photo shoots, from journalism to street photography, portraits of people and to landscapes anywhere. I have to cover a variety of different subjects to bring out the essence of each place.
3. You’ve brought people on photo expeditions. What are they like and how do you try to teach them your tricks?
I try to teach photographers how to explore a place with me. Let them experience what I have experienced. There is no limit to exploration. If you ever journey with me you will discover the love for photography. We will be doing nothing but taking pictures. You get to ask as many questions you like in my journey. I remember one guy sharing during the trip, he said “capturing the silky water is what I wanted to learn all my life and I have just learnt it from Alex just a few minutes ago and thats all it takes”. In the trip, we will share our daily discovery, whether it is the people we spoke to or the image we have captured, it is all about story telling. There are maybe a few little tricks but most importantly you need to capture with your heart.
4. What are some suggestions everyone can use to take better travel photos?
First we have to ask ourselves what are we taking these photos for? “To share with friends and loved ones when we are back from our travels?” In most cases, I remember once a photographer asked me “I’m not sure what to capture here at Valparaso, Chile, there are so many things going on here!” she said. So I told her, “Look! There are little kids running after the birds, the old man fishing, or how about the boat coming towards the jetty, or hey look, someone is painting the harbor…, go capture 20 images at this location and bring them back to share with your children what this place looks like. So that they are able to see the place through your lens. And when you get better each time, you may take less pictures to tell the full story and when you are as good as the National Geographic photographers, you may only need to take 3 images that say it all or even the one stunning picture that gets published on the cover.”
5. With the rise of Instagram, do you think travel photography is now so common that it’s not special anymore?
We will never have enough story telling pictures to share. Instagram may gives a glimpse of that place but we still need to experience it ourselves just like photography did. Seeing a small picture on Instagram may not have the same impact of seeing it on a bigger photo print, and viewing from a bigger print doesn’t bring you to the place to experience the present. What’s so great about being a travel photographer is that I get to travel around the world to experience the realness of life. 10% from looking at pictures and 90% being there to experience it. Each format has it’s own uniqueness, whether it is Instagram from the phone or picture from a camera, it is a way to introduce people to the world we live in. Its never going to be enough as the world has so much to discover, thus travel photography will always be special.
6. What sort of gear do you bring on the road? is it possible to travel light with your equipment?
Yes, I do travel light and bring only what I can carry with me on each trip. Carrying less also means I’m able to walk a longer journey. I travel with my Nikon D3s and a mix of lenses: AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, Nikon PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED, AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III (2X)
7. Your images have also been used in Our Daily Bread. What’s your fave most inspirational and reflective picture you’ve used for it?
These two pictures are shot during the same day and both were selected to be published on Our Daily Bread, a publication with a circulation of 17 millions copies worldwide. Walking up the steps of Huangshan (between 7am to 7.30pm) the view was breathtaking and the steps was breathtaking too. I remember falling down many times from the icy steps and half way up, I was very tired. There was a point in my journey that I wasn’t sure if I should continue up or go back down because I wasn’t sure when the steps were going to end. I pushed myself up on every steps and these are the images that I have used my blood, sweat and tears to trade for.
8. Which destinations do you enjoy going to for a spiritual awakening and reflection as well?
That would be my one month backpack in China. It is a self discovery journey. I basically drew a line on the map across China and gave myself one month to travel from point A to point B. What is in between is really amazing. It is a 114 pages of journal. I was humbled by the people I met along the journey and the places I have went to.
9. Do you find yourself taking so many photos that you forget to enjoy the essence of a place? how do you balance seeing and experiencing it for yourself versus through your camera lens?
People who knows me know I always enjoyed my journey. How could one capture the moments without experiencing the moments. I shared with photographers that our purpose there is not to just take photos but to make friends with people. Enjoy the journey, taking photos is just secondary 🙂
10. What are your favorite destinations for a photoshoot?
Wow this a tough question for me, it is hard to compare as each place has their own uniqueness. I love most of them and go with an open heart to learn and see on each trip. But if I may name a few, it would be Torres Del Paine in Chile with it’s majestic mountains, Hatton in Sri Lanka to find your soul at the quiet and peaceful landscape, 1200 meters above sea level, surrounded by it’s beautiful tea plantations. Driving through the coast of Portugal, walking in the desert of Arizona, United States or capturing the -15 celsius winter wonderland of Takayama, Japan.
11. You’ve also used your photography skills to organize The Rice Project and Project Road, can you tell us more about that?
Thank you for asking this question and I am so glad to share. Over the years I have been to many countries and some of the places I have visited has helped me discover the less fortunate ones. I could not forget what I have seen and that is why the place has brought me back. How often do we get to help or save another life in our lifetime? Since God has given me a talent with photography, then I should use it well . Since photography is a powerful tool to create awareness, I shall use this gift to tell the story of the less fortunate ones so that those need help, would get help and those who want to help, know where to help. Through photography and photo exhibitions, many will get to know the story behind each picture and it is also a form of education to our own people in this city of Singapore. Whether it is The Rice Project in Sri Lanka/ Philippines or Project road in Cambodia, the words that return to me from the less fortunate friends are so rewarding. I remember a Cambodian elder said to me “Alex, the 2.7km road that you and your friends have built, it did not just help the people… it has changed the lives of the people”, Wow! that has touched my heart and made me want to do more.
12. Lastly, have you ever gone into place and found yourself uninspired to take any photos?
Never. Always believe that every place has its beauty and it is my duty to bring out the uniqueness on each location. There may be times that my brain needs to take a break, thats where I put the camera away and enjoy the presence of the people and mother nature. Nothing like sitting on the top of the mountain, putting my legs out over the cliff to enjoy the beauty of a great expanse, God’s creation.
This is a 10 minutes Myanmar photography behind the scene video. It is just a little segment of my Journey. It’s raw, one take and no repeat, but I thought it is a pretty exciting journey to share with you. Thanks to David Lee who was with me on this trip and halfway through the journey, we decided to do some short video just for fun and it turns out very cool! I hope you will enjoy this video. Do leave your comments if you like this video. I still have other segment from this trip, please let me know if you like me to put another videos together for you! I need more encouragement hahaha 😀
I have been posting this series of Black & White Photography on my facebook for sometime now. Here is the link to my facebook to enjoy all the pictures. Hope everyone like it and remember to leave some comments as well! And remember to be friend me too hahaha 😀
I love shooting winter landscape because I often find it very magical.
I remember shooting in Takayama, Japan – The day before was just a regular day with lots of sunshine, but when night fell, it started to snow. I woke up in the morning to discover the whole city had turned completely white in just one night! At the back of my mind, I was filled with awe thinking of our great Mother Earth with the power to change the colour of this huge landscape!
Read the full article click link:
1. Be very passionate about your work.
Capture with your heart. Love what you do. Be very focused in it and keep creating new stories. Think deep and take your time to put your work together. No one is rushing you but you have to push yourself. There are many ways of communication and it’s the same through photography. Did you not realise that most of the award winning shots always have a story to tell? That National Geographic is basically bringing these interesting stories from around the world to you through their beautiful imagery. Let’s say if you would make a trip to Russia in the winter cold, I am sure you are going to bring back some interesting stories and again you will need to make sure it is the pictures that speak to the viewer, not you.
2. Don’t make photography sounded difficult and complicated in order to position yourself.
Have you ever heard someone telling you how young they were when they started photography? It’s not about the number of years you have been shooting, its about what have you been capturing since the day you picked up the camera. Doesn’t always mean that if you started young your work will be good. I remember a guy, Joel Garcia, whom I have met when he was only 6 months into photography in 2007. I was one of those who have helped him in his photography journey. With only 6 months of experience, I could see his strength in photography that comes with good eyes and creativity in his shots. It would have been a big, big mistake if he didn’t make photography his career. And by the way, he is probably one of the top wedding photographers in the Philippines today: http://joelhgarcia.weebly.com/awards–published.html.
3. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to show that you are a photographer.
It is just a job and it requires a lot of hard work. On the other hand, anyone and everyone have a camera can be a photographer to enjoy this hobby as well. Why would you want to be a professional photographer if you have a great job that pays you well? Make your money and buy whatever cameras you like and enjoy it! Photographer have a hard life, they have to be very focused on seeing things through a viewfinder most of the time. While you are enjoying the scenery with two eyes, photographers are trying to squish through the camera lens to make their composition. While you see the beautiful models on the magazine, they are trying to make the model look good or not better than what she look in real person in photoshop LOL. Btw, 99% of today’s model’s portraits you saw on magazine are all altered.
4. Never badmouthing other photographer’s work because everyone is learning. Taking pictures is all about the opportunity in capturing the moment. Everyone sees things differently because of their personality. Some learn fast and some are slow but it’s all about growing and having fun in photography. No one knows how to play golf in one day, it takes time and practice. How nice if we could get some good comments and feedback of encouragement from each other. Photography is a great way of meeting new friends 🙂
5. You should always be ready to take criticism of your work.
The moment you think you know it all, it also means that you have stopped learning. Listen to someone can help you see from another angle and perspective.
6. Let your work tell the story, not you.
Sometime I hear people talk until their story “got dragon got phoenix” but when I look at their picture… I don’t understand LOL or maybe my standard is not there yet. Every picture tells a story and the showing of a photo is always about two people… the photographer and the audience. The photographer expresses his feelings and story through his picture and it is up to the audience to pick it up, if the audience sees it, good. If not, that’s fine. Again it is based individual preference. It is like going to a food court, everyone chooses what they love to eat.
7. Never keep thinking of getting famous, because that should not be your objective.
Work hard to produce consistent good pictures, your good work will show itself eventually. Remember, if you did not put in 100% effort in capturing your shot, don’t expect others to see 100% in your photography. You can produce one lucky shot but luck won’t bring you to the next level. If your work is good only once and your later works are not good, you will be forgotten or worse still, people try not to remember you. Maybe you have made a bad reputation for yourself. I have always confronted myself with this truth as well 🙂
8. Don’t follow what others are doing.
Create your own originality. If you are busy copying other people’s work, trying to follow them, how could you find time to create your own original work? For many year I have been keeping to what I believed in; landscape photography that works with natural source of light. I am not keen about HDR and I choose to capture forever green pictures. Few days ago, I have just saw one of my picture was published and that was capture more than 10 years ago and yet it looks like yesterday.
9. Believe in your own work.
If you don’t then no one will. Well, I am not saying that you believe in your work so much that you are totally in your own world and not taking lessons or thinking that your work is the best (point 5, take “criticism” remember?). Capture with your heart. If you feel the touching moment when you trigger off… believe me your audience will be touched as well. What many are looking for is the unique individual’s work, something fresh. Something they have never seen before, a surprise! Does your work have that element? Do you even believe you can do it?
10. Be open and share your knowledge.
Everything we have learnt today, we have learnt from someone else. There is only so much of techniques and if all we learnt is only techniques than we have miss the whole idea about photography. Photography is all about light and story and it is not just about techniques. Look at all the world renowned photographers, did you ever hear them talk about techniques? We always heard about their stories, their passion, their life through their pictures.
Alex Soh Jan 2014
Check out my latest photography trip to Spain and Portugal—Title: ALL WALKS OF LIFE