Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why I love a Keida Foto

I love photography that's why I curse whoever invented it. What would life be without this technology?

Ever since the digital camera shelved the analogs, anyone who has the capacity to get the latest digital camera model declare themselves a photographer. Anyone can be a photographer today, but not everyone can have the talent of seeing. You can always have the coolest digital camera in the world but you can never buy artistic vision and taste. You can easily create an amazing photograph but you can not capture style in a flash of shutter just like that.

What sets a real photographer from the rest is his/her creative approach to the subject. Technique can be achieved easily by the book and through experience, so any commercial, eye-candy 'look' or 'feel' desired can already be done in a click, and virtually by anyone who has digital camera and equipment. The challenge now is to create a refreshing perspective: extraordinary, very creative, personal, and the "wtf-how-did-he-do-that" instead of the cliched "x" factor on images.

photography transmit magic exactly like that.

I don't know how but any subject his camera points at becomes interesting. It's not the usual still life, portrait, fashion, event, celebrity or wedding photos you see in glossy magazines and exorbitantly rated photo albums. I mean, whenever I browse a big shot photographer's works, I couldn't stop my thought bubble "Is that it? What is so special and expensive about that shot?" Keida's photos are definitely way better than that, partiality aside. And when everyone relies on post editing techniques like Photoshop to enhance their images, he does everything on shooting the image itself. How amazing is that? That is not Canon EOS 5D Mark II nor Nikon D3X, just sheer talent. Let him do his creative drill, trust his artistic vision and you'll never be disappointed getting the coolest image.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to Tilt Shift Miniature Effect in Photoshop

The photo is not a mini-diorama or scaled down mockup of buildings. It's a real shot I took on my first boarding on a plane. I used the "tilt shifting effect" to blur some areas and mimic a fake miniature setting. The technique is not new but is very simple to do using Adobe Photoshop.

Here are the steps I did:

1. Select a photo that will fully simulate the miniature effect: landscapes, buildings, village, trees, park, cars etc., work best. An aerial shot yields good results.

2. Work on exaggerating the contrast and saturation of colors. Then adjust dark and light balance.

3. Now, using the selection tool (cross with ants when selected), select the entire upper and lower part of the photo. Use a feather of at least 30px. Be careful not to select necessary elements to bring in the effect.

4. Lastly, use the blur effect under filters, and use gaussian blur. Adjust accordingly to achieve the miniature effect.

5. Ok, that was easy. Here are more photos I did:

Friday, January 9, 2009

How to Make a Pinhole Toy Camera

Here is a creative way to recycle the excesses we had during the holiday season. A milk carton transformed into a pinhole toy camera. There are so many great ideas to do with a milk carton but this one's easy and fun to create, the results will be rewarding.

A pinhole camera is the basic of all cameras: you just need a tiny hole as a lens to make a photograph. I was very fascinated how it works and so I made myself one. The joy of making the camera plus the anticipation in developing the image it produces is unimaginable.

The steps are simple:

1. Gather all your materials: An empty milk carton, an aluminum sheet taken from soda or chip cans, needle, very fine sandpaper, cut or exacto knife, masking tape, double-sided tape, glue or epoxy, black construction paper, white latex paint, acrylics, varnish, some photographic papers, developer and fixer. You may also use alternatives if the materials are not available.

2. Peel off carefully the plastic lid opening with a cutter. Glue a small piece of board or any small object that fits to close the hole. Take the plastic lid and trace the inner opening to the center of the box facing you or the object to be photographed, this will be the "shutter" of the milk box camera. Cut the traced opening, we will place the "lens" in here later.

3. Take a piece of your used photographic paper, cut to your desired size, and trace it at the back of the milk carton parallel to the hole on the other side. Measure an allowance to give a smaller frame for the "negative film". Cut this smaller frame, this is where the "film back" of the pinhole camera will be placed.

4. Now, cut a small aluminum sheet that will fit the opening made by the traced plastic lid. Punch the smallest pinhole you can get into the aluminum sheet using a needlepoint. The technique is to take your time to get through the sheet slowly. After making the pinhole, you will need to sand it lightly to remove the bur made in punching. Clean the pinhole thoroughly and make sure it is smooth and perfectly round as possible. This will be the "lens" of the pinhole camera.

5. Securely attach the aluminum sheet or "lens" to the opening made by the traced plastic lid inside the box. Put masking tape on the lens' space, front and back to cover the hole from dust and paint. Now you are ready to paint the inside with black, then outside with white. Make sure to sand first to remove the glossy finish of the milk carton so the paint will "stick" to the surface. You can also spray it with a primer first before painting it with a flat latex paint. You can decorate your box with any paint or objects that you like and finally seal the design with a varnish. Attach the plastic lid opening or "shutter" firmly with glue or epoxy.

6. Get your black construction paper (you may use a more durable material for this, say a felt, leather or rubber foam) and measure it accordingly to the size of your photographic paper. Fold and create the pattern to make an envelope as shown in the photo below. Cut an opening on the front side to match the opening of the box. Firmly attach this envelope to the milk box with double-sided tape to seal in the light.

7. In a dark room (if you can't have one you may use the bathroom, placing black curtains on the windows), carefully place your fresh photographic paper into the envelope, with emulsion side (glossy side) sticking to the box, then close the envelope with a masking tape. You are now ready to take your first photograph with the pinhole camera. Open the "shutter" plastic lid as you expose, which takes about 2-8 minutes if it's a dark subject and about 1-2minutes if sunny.

8. After shooting the "negative film" you may develop it with the developer and fixer inside the dark room. To make the positive print, you can sandwich the negative paper with another photographic paper, emulsion side by side and exposed to a 15w bulb then develop as you did with the negative. If you don't need a hard copy right away, you scan the negative and invert the color using Photoshop.

Some tips in shooting with the pinhole camera:
a. Patience is the key to shooting and developing
b. Select subjects that stay still because moving will cause blurry images; landscapes, architecture, and still life work best
c. Shoot outdoor with lots of lighting
d. Secure your pinhole camera firmly to avoid shake as the shutter needs to be exposed longer

Happy shooting!


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