What Are The Settings ?

This is probably the most popular question in all photo forums – “What are the settings?”. You know, whenever someone posted a good picture, forum goers will then post that.

  • What are the aperture setting, shutter speed ?
  • What is the ISO, what is the zoom range, what is the flash setting etc. etc. ?

I am always puzzled by that kind of questions. You know, we shall ask “Why” questions instead of “What” questions, such as why you took the picture this way, why you set the aperture to F4.0 etc. etc. ? You can learn from good pictures only if you know the Why’s …

I mean, will you take a good picture if you know the setting, even though you’re in the same spot at the exact same time ?

Lesson Learnt: Why ? Why not ?

The Newer, The Better (?)

I use SLR, DSLR, P&S DC and P&S film cameras. All sorts of camera, but I reckon what matter is not what camera I use, but what photograph I take. And that’s why I really don’t understand why some “experts” believe you need the newest and greatest camera to take great pictures.

People keep talking about how many mega-pixels their cameras have, how good is their flashes, how many frames can take in one second … I mean, is it really matter ?

People ask, can a P&S DC shoot like a pro ? Let me tell you, a pro is a pro because of his / her skill, not the camera. And the proof is here … photos by Alex Majoli. He takes all his photo with P&S DCs. Amazing, isn’t it ?

Lesson Learnt: Spend more time to take photos, instead of comparing specifications.

New York – Wish You Were Here

I still don’t know how it’s done.

Last year I was in New York and wandering around the Ground Zero. I headed up and saw something really new to me … I saw some tiny clouds were created on-the-fly …

These clouds slowly “printed” a letter, then a word, then a sentence just like an aged old dot-matrix printer. What puzzled me was I could not find a plane, a kite or any device !! So here is the photo …

Wish you were here ...

Lesson Learnt: Look up.

The Perfect DSLR Camera

What’s the perfect Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera ?

The answer is actually really really simple – it has to work as good as an old-fashioned SLR. Period.

So, what’s that really mean ? To me ?

The DSLR has to be easy to use, with button layouts similar to a SLR. You should be able to print the photos straight away, with excellent colors, without computer post-processing. The camera shall equip with good all-purpose lens (i.e. 28mm to ~100mm) without several expensive ones. There shall be no dust in the sensor …

And there are only two cameras in the market can do all these – Olympus E-1 and E-300. And I got both 😎

Lesson Learnt: Forget about the pixel counts, brand names, number of lens in the market etc. etc.. Cameras following FourThirds standard are the best, so far.

What’s your camera gear ?

Although I own a few cameras, I don’t think expensive equipment is the key factor to take good photos. I never own a Nikon and Canon SLR cameras (except the Canon DC), so brand name is also not important. But what’s the most important gear for travel photography ?

Get a wide-angle lens for your camera – as wide as possible to cover the whole lake, mountain or building. A 28mm lens just don’t cut it – get a 24mm or 21mm lens.

Also, get a sunset filter with you, my preference is Cokin System but I’m sure there are a lot of good filters around. It will be useful if the day is cloudy – no blue sky and lovely white clouds. You then can take the photo with the filter to pretend you’re taking the photo during sunset !

Why 35mm Camera Again ?

It’s obvious at first glance, “digital film” is cheaper. And of course, using a digital camera (DC) is a trendy thing. But then why you wanna go back to non-digital film ? Just imagine …

… imagine the following.

In the digital photography world, the “photo-taking cycle” is point, shoot, switch to play mode, check the photo, zoom in to see the photo details, if no good – switch to shooting mode and repeat the whole cycle.

And in the traditional photography world, the “photo-taking cycle” is point, shoot, find the next interesting target, repeat the whole cycle.

Now, for the “photo-sharing cycle”. In the digital world, you plug in the cables to your TV or switch on your PC, insert the CF, SD, MS (if you do know which is which), view the photo … or in the traditional photography world – pass the album around.

No no, I own a very nice digital camera (Canon G1), but hey, I went back to my trusty Ricoh GR-1, with no regret.