Thursday, December 10, 2009

Geminid Meteor Shower this weekend!

The annual Geminid Meteor Showers is happening this weekend! So get out your tripods, your warmest clothes, and go shoot them! Here's some tips on how!

Pre-Shooting Preparation:
Charge your batteries fully before going out. It will be cold and that can affect battery life.
Wear some warm clothes, a hat, and gloves. Bring some hot beverages, some friends, and make it a fun outing! At least you'll have someone to talk to between exposures.
Also bring a flashlight or LED keychain light so you can see what you are doing when changing your settings. A headlight looks dorky, but it let's you works with both hands.

Time to Go Out:
Here's the problem. They are best viewed after midnight, with 1-2am being the prime time. There could be as many as 50-80 meteors per hour. The peak night will be Sunday December 14th, but you should see some the nights before or after. There won't be any moon out either so you don't need to worry about it ruining your pix!

Where to Go and Sky Conditions:
You want to be as far away from the City/Town as possible to reduce the amount of light pollution. Find a dark road out in the country somewhere far away from street lights.
Obviously it has to be a clear night that you can see the sky. Long range forecast looks clear for Sunday, but COLD!

Finding the Meteors

The key is finding Orion, which is one of the easiest constellations to find. (it's the three stars close together that form the belt of Orion). At the time you are going out, it should be in the South East/Eastern part of the sky. Basically look where the sun rises from usually. I'm lucky enough that I can walk out on my deck, look up, and there's



Do I Need A Tripod?
Yes, and the heavier the better!

ISO:
Start with 400 ISO and see how much detail you can pick up. If you aren't getting enough details, try 800 ISO.

Lens:
You want to use a wide(16-35mm) to normal lens(50mm) so you can get a wide range of sky area.

Shooting Mode:
Has to be MANUAL as you need to set the shutter speed and aperture.

Shutter Speeds:
The longer the speed you use, the more meteors you will get. However, if you go too long, the stars will begin to form trails.
To figure out how to long to shoot the stars without getting trails, divide 600 by the length of your lens, and that is how many seconds you should use. For example, if you are using a 17mm lens, 600/17mm= 35 seconds.
However, if you do long exposures like 30minutes to 1 hour(or longer), you will get star trails that look neat along with the straight lines of meteors. The photo above was done for three hours(although you can see the light pollution made the sky brownish instead of black!) Note you will need a cable release or remote, and use BULB mode to do this. No way you can hold the button down for 1-3 hours...

Aperture:
Use your widest aperture (smaller number, for example 3.5/4.5/5.6) to let in as much light as possible. If you find the meteors coming out a bit bright, you can stop down one setting. If you have a lens that has a really wide aperture(1.8/2.8) that is even better!

Focus:
You have to use MANUAL focus and focus on the stars or set the focus on the lens to Infinity.


Other Shooting Tips:
-If you want to include trees, mountains, the horizon, etc they will provide an interesting silhouette shape and scale.
-You could also try using a flash during the exposure to light up the trees!
-Have an old film camera kicking around? Haul her out, throw in some ISO 400 film, and take some long exposures!(You have to have to use a cable release)

So go out there, have some fun, try not to freeze to death, and send me some great shots or post them in the online student galleries if you have a login!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ANNOUNCING LEARNPHOTO.CA, my new online photography community!

I’m pleased to announce the launch of LEARNPHOTO.CA, my new online photography community.
 
The goal of this endeavor is simple. Create a great online environment for those who love photography and want to share their love with others. I want this to be a place to learn and share your knowledge with your fellow photographers. This is a chance for me to stay connected with my students and offer help and guidance in an even better way.
 
I am inviting all of you to register and take part.
 
The cost? FREE. NOTHING. NADA. ZILCH.
 
Oh, so there must be tons of annoying ads then, right?  
 
NOPE! 
 
Just like the gallery, I’m doing this to educate, not make a fortune.
 
Here are some of the great resources that you can access once you register:
 
1. A WEBLINKS section that will provide you will amazing links to all things photographic. Not only will you be able to find a huge resource of links, YOU can add to it! Users can submit links for the various categories. The main page has a box that put the latest links up, so when you log in, you will see what’s new! I’ve already put a bunch in, but once you register, submit away!
 
2. A DISCUSSION forum. There will be a variety of forums (technical Q&A, classifieds, news, upcoming events, reviews etc). Users can subscribe to the forums so they can be notified when new posts are made, or when someone replies to their posts. Unlike the previous forum, which did not have that feature, you will be kept up to date with new postings! Want to sell equipment? You can post an ad and have it seen by your target audience, photographers! Having a gallery show? Post it in the events! Found an interesting article about macro photography? Share it! Again, this will be your opportunity to share with your fellow photographers and truly be a member of the community.
 
3. ASSIGNMENTS-Periodically I will post some assignments to keep your skills up, get you shooting again, or challenge you to create something different and interesting or try a new technique. There are already a ton up there, so get cracking!
 
4. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION(FAQ) section-Here is where you can find answers to questions you have about the gallery, my courses, and me! You can also submit questions for me to answer, helping others in the process and allowing me to improve the site!
 
5. A PRIVATE MESSAGING system, so you can send messages to other students without giving out your personal email. The site will notify you if you have a message!
 
OTHER GOODIES!
-My PHOTO TIPS blog is also integrated with the site. One click, it’s comes up in the main window.
-The STUDENT GALLERY can be accessed two ways. Unfortunately you will have to log into this separately as right now it can’t be integrated with the same user system, but I’m working on it! You can have it open up in the main window, or a separate window. The only problem with opening up in the main window is that if you click a different resource(weblinks, forum, etc) it will log you out. If you have it open in a new window, it won’t log you out. Gonna work on that....
 
-Info about all my courses and workshops will be available on the site and updated regularly, including upcoming dates.
 
ONLINE COURSES!!!!
The other great part is that I will have the ability to finally put together the online courses I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Still in the works, but soon you will be able to access online content 24/7. It’s going to rock.  
 
So enough talk…how do you register?
 
1) Head to http://www.learnphoto.ca
2) Click on NEW ACCOUNT REGISTRATION
3) Enter a username. To make things easy, choose your first initial and last name(ex nchenier)
If you already have a gallery password, might as well choose the same one as for your GALLERY log in. 
5) Enter your password. It has to be minimum of 5 characters. Again, if you already have a gallery log in, use the same password.
6) Enter your email address. This will be the email address you will receive notifications on, course info, etc. This must be a REAL email address.
7) Check whether or not you’d like other users to see your email address or not, and agree to the terms of use/privacy policy.
8) Type in your TRUE NAME. Any registrations without a REAL NAME will not be activated. The rest you can fill in later!
9) Verify your information by clicking on VERIFY YOUR ENTRIES.  
10) If there were no problems, Click SUBMIT REGISTRATION. It will send me an email, as well as your username password to your email. SAVE THAT!
11) Wait for me to activate your registration, Once I’ve activated our account, you will be sent an email, and then you are ready to go!  
 
So what are you waiting for? Register!

Once you are registered, click on GETTING STARTED to start setting up your account and find out how to take part in the various areas!
 
Any questions or problems, send me an email! Please forward to anyone else you think may be interested.

Noel Chenier
----------------------

Photographer and teacher

Online Photography Community

http://www.learnphoto.ca

Portfolio
http://www.noelchenier.ca

Noel’s Photo Tips Blog
http://noelchenier.blogspot.com
Work Done by My Students!
http://www.noelchenier.ca/GALLERY
Contact Email:
nchenier@nbnet.nb.ca




Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Canada Games Portraits-Chef du Mission Jennifer Bent Richard

The final shoot in the series of Canada Games Athletes is of chef-du-mission Jennifer Bent Richard.

As she wasn't an athlete, but more the head of the whole New Brunswick team, I asked that she bring some NB stuff, including a flag.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Canada Games Athlete Portraits-Beach Volleyball Player Jill Blanchard

Today's athlete portrait is of Canada Games women's beach volleyball player Jill Blanchard. This was the final shoot done for the series, and it was a great way to end it.

Before you get too exciting, you won't see the normal photographs that get taken with women's beach volleyball. If you don't know what I mean, just type "beach volleyball" in Google images.




Canada Games Athlete Portraits-Baseball Player Sean Silliphant

Today's portrait is of baseball player Sean Silliphant.

Similar set up as many of the other images. Set the subject up in front of a bright background, expose for the background to make them a silhouette, and add light on them with the flash.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Canada Games Athlete Portraits-Rugby Player Walker Blizzard

Today's Canada Games Athlete portrait shoot is of rugby player Walker Blizzard.

This was one of the earlier shoots, so again the weather was cloudy. Which was fine, as again, it would allow me more control over the light. So I started off with Walker in front of the rugby uprights. I exposed for the sky to make Walker go dark....


allowing me to add the light with the flash.


I liked the effect, but found the sky a little blah, so I thought I'd add some color using the TUNGSTEN WB/warming gel effect. Just to recap, set the WHITE BALANCE to TUNGSTEN, which turns EVERYTHING blue, and place a CTO warming gel(orangey) on the flash to warm the light back up.


Tried some different angles with the light from the flash to create more of a "tougher" look.


Also did some monster lighting which looked kinda cool.


Like the first shoot with golfer Jennifer Armstrong, I had the option of trying to put the sun in the frame. So I had to under expose quite a bit more to get the sun a nice glowing ball, resulting in a really dark subject.


Then adding the flash to light up Walker.








Thought I'd try some throwing the ball shots too...




I also tried some shots using slow shutter speeds and panning the camera with Walker running with the ball. This one worked the best of all, but due to the fact I couldn't do the 2nd curtain sync(flash fires at the end so the sharp image is on top of the blur), there was a bit too much blur if I went too slow.






For the final shots, I thought I'd try using some of the graffiti on the rock wall at Hazen White field.
But because I needed to light up both the background and Walker, I had to have the background flash really close to the rock. So in this shot, while I like it, a little problem with the flash and stand being visible. Before you say, just photoshop it out, ethically that's a no no for newspaper photography. Anything like that, it would have to be labelled as a photo illustration.


So the solution was to set it up so Walker is in front and covering the flash and stand.


And finished it off with some more monster lighting(flash directly below the subject) which I thought looked really cool!


To see more in this series, head to my Canada Games Athlete Galleries on my site. I will be posting the images from each shoot after they have run in the paper, so keep checking back!

To read the story by Telegraph Journal reporter Jon MacNeill, click here.

Next up....baseball!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Swimmer Jacqueline Murchison

Today's Canada Games athlete portrait is of swimmer Jacqueline Murchison.

I wanted to start off with some portraits outside the pool. Figured it would be easier to shoot them first, that way she wouldn't get all wet and have to stand around.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Rower Keegan Drummond

Today's portrait shoot is of Canada Games rower Keegan Drummond. With my previous water based shoot experience, I realized that I needed MORE POWER if I was going to be able to light up Keegan while he was in the water.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Wrestler Megan Getchell

Today's portrait is of Canada Games wrestling team member Megan Getchell. This was another indoor portrait, which as previously mentioned, can be beneficial as you have total control over the light.

Canada Games Athletes-Volleyball's Chika Ikejiani

Today's athlete portrait is of volleyball player Chika Ikejiani.

Chika's a great guy, and I owe him a lot of thanks for his patience and the stupid amount of work it took to get this shot. You will understand why I need to thank him soon...


Monday, August 3, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Tennis player Daniel Blake

Today's shoot is of Canada Games Tennis player Daniel Blake. Another shoot where I had an idea of the shot I wanted...the player leaping through the air, stretched out, smashing the ball...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Kayaker Sean Wells

Today's Canada Games Athlete is kayaker Sean Wells, who was motivated to make the team to make his late father proud. Since there was a bit more emotion to the story, I wanted to come up with shots that could convey that kind of mood.

Canada Games Athletes-Runner Barry Britt

Today's athlete shoot is of runner Barry Britt. I've photographed Barry more than a few times, mainly during actual races, and man, can this guy run. He always seems to be leaps and bounds ahead of his fellow racers coming into the finish line.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Diver Christian Zehmer and Kirsten MacDonald

Today's portraits are of divers Christian Zehmer and Kirsten MacDonald, taken at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Saint John. Again, a two person shoot made me have to think about to come up with some good compositions. I started off with each of them standing on a diving board.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Cyclist Justin Theriault

Today's athlete is cyclist Justin Theriault, who I photographed outside the Telegraph-Journal office in Saint John.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Soccer's Cassian Ferlatte and Marisa Duguay

This was the second shoot done for this series, this time it is soccer players Cassian Ferlatte and Marisa Duguay.
As previously mentioned, the first day of shooting was an overcast day. Which is good in that the light is lower and makes for better flash control, but the skies tend to be gray and boring. When I started this whole series, I took the time to find out who I was shooting and tried to come up with ideas beforehand. 


Canada Games Athletes-Softball player Sam DeBortoli

Today's athlete shoot is of softball player Sam DeBortoli.
This was the second baseball/softball related shoot that I did, so I started up with something different.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Golfer Jennifer Armstrong

Today's Canada Games Athlete portrait is of golfer Jennifer Armstrong. This was actually the first shoot done for this series. I shot her at the Riverside Golf and Country Club where she is a member.


Canada Games Athletes-Basketball player Laura McCaffrey

Today's New Brunswick Canada Games team member is basketball player Laura McCaffrey. Being indoors gives you total control over the light, as you can use the flashes at higher power levels to overpower the ambient light, or turn the lights down or off indoors!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Canada Games Athletes-Sailors Alex Black and Kelvin Gilliland

The second portrait in the series is of Team New Brunswick sailors Alex Black(l) and Kelvin Gilliland, one of the few multi-person shoots. They can be a bit of a challenge as you are trying to get both people into the composition along with the equipment/background, etc that tells their story.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1st Canada Games Portraits-Nicole Barry and Marlene Vaughan

The New Brunswick Canada Games athlete articles have started, so I can now start posting some pix from the shoots. The first story is about Nicole Barry, who is playing on the women's softball team for this year's games in Prince Edward Island, and her grandmother Marlene Vaughan, who competed in softball in 1969.

The idea for this series was to do really cool portraits, which meant being able to take the time to do it right. Even before the shoot I tried to think up ideas for each athlete that would be better than the normal shots we take. This meant using flash, poses, and backgrounds in a more creative way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coming soon...Canada Games Athlete Portraits

Over the past two weeks or so I've been fortunate to be working on a special project for the Telegraph-Journal, shooting cool portraits of athletes that will be heading to PEI next month for the Canada Games. I'm really psyched and can't wait!

I can't show you any photos yet, but they will begin running in the paper on July 24th, and as soon as the shots of each athlete run I will be posting the shots(including others that don't run) and hope to be doing a blog post about each one talking about how the shots were done. Big thanks to my assistant, Tanner Cheeseman(the gentleman on the left of the photo who is ensuring that $2000 of canon flashes don't fall into the Kennebecasis...already did that with a $2000 lens, thank you...), for all his help!

So, stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some recent work put up, take a gander!

I've put up some more recent work on my gallery page. Everything from firefighting to former Prime Ministers to children with water guns...lots of silhouettes too of course!

Take a gander here

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Some links for your viewing pleasure...

Thought I'd put up some photography related links that may be of interest to you all!

Classic Photographs in LEGO!
A hilarious take on some of the most famous images in history, redone using LEGO by Balakov! He also includes links to the real photos, plus a photograph of the set up to take the shot. Take time to browse his whole photo stream, lots of neat stuff there

Light-Test.com
This site contains images used to test lighting set ups for shoots, uploaded by photographers. Sort of a behind the scenes image, usually containing an assistant. Kinda neat!

Russian Past and Present Combined
A really neat project(all in Russian text though) that combined historical photographs of Russian streets during the WWII era with current images. Really interesting to see the past and the present merged into one.

Photoshop Disasters.com
This website is all about showing off terrible photoshop work on images in magazines, advertisements, etc. Note that it may show a bit of nudity, so as they say, NSFW(NOT SAFE FOR WORK!)

Also I wanted to mention work being done by two of my students:

Custom Camera Straps by Randi Gallant
One of my students, Randi Gallant, along with being a talented photographer(website), also creates custom camera straps!

Fountaingraphicsink.ca
Another of my students, Sonja MacAskill, has a business restoring retouching photographs. Check out some of the great work she does, and if you have an old photo that needs fixin, contact her!

And as always, if you want to see some great images taken by my students, check out the STUDENT GALLERY!
If you have any good links to share, send me an email, with LINKS in the title!


Friday, July 3, 2009

Fun with Camera RAW

Hello all...been a while since something useful was put up here, my apologies! So here, let's have some fun with CAMERA RAW

One of the cool things you can do with CAMERA RAW from CS3 on is open ANY image in RAW.
On a MAC, when you go FILE->OPEN, click on the FORMAT box and select CAMERA RAW. On a PC, you have to choose OPEN AS.
This will bring up the RAW box.

One big advantage to shooting RAW is the ability to switch the WHITE BALANCE at any time. This is especially handy when you use the wrong balance...for example DAYLIGHT when the light is TUNGSTEN...which equals YELLOW....
If you had shot RAW, no big deal, just switch the WB...but if you only had a JPEG, or were working from a scan of daylight film shot under tungsten, you are S.O.L right?


Nope, open it in RAW, and then you can adjust the WHITE BALANCE!
Now, it's not the same as if you had shot RAW, you don't have all the presets- DAYLIGHT/TUNGSTEN, etc...but you can adjust the color by moving the TEMPERATURE and TINT sliders. Moving to the yellow adds more yellow, moving to the magenta adds more magenta, etc.
You can also adjust the exposure, recovery, fill light,clarity, vibrance, and saturation sliders.


Now, the CORRECTED image still looks a bit green, but if I went any further with the magenta, parts of the kids face's would have been big pink blotches! Still better than if I had of tried to correct it just in photoshop!

IMAGE TONING

Something else fun to do is to take a black and white image and tone it!
1. Open the image in photoshop, and convert it to black and white however you like.
2. Convert it back to RGB by selecting IMAGE->MODE->RGB COLOR
3. Save and close the image.
4. Reopen the image in CAMERA RAW using the method above.


Now, once you have it in raw, you can adjust the TEMPERATURE and TINT sliders to tone the image whatever color you like. Play with the VIBRANCE and SATURATION sliders to adjust how bright or subtle the colors will be. Here are just some of the examples I came up with quickly:


If you come up with some great images with these techniques, why not post some to the Photoshop album on my student's gallery HERE