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PhotoBlazr http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr Fire up your photography! Fri, 08 Nov 2013 05:30:40 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 Nikon DF http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/11/nikon-df/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nikon-df http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/11/nikon-df/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 05:30:40 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=839  Nikon DF

Nikon has announced a beautiful looking retro classic DSLR which sports a 16.2 MP and ISO from 100 to 25600 and 39 point focus auto system. To top it off, the camera is compatible with almost all Nikon lenses including the AI-S manual lenses.

nikon df 2 500x430 Nikon DF

This could be a game changer!

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Capturing Creative Motion Blur http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/11/capturing-creative-motion-blur/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=capturing-creative-motion-blur http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/11/capturing-creative-motion-blur/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 05:21:09 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=825  Capturing Creative Motion Blur

Motion blur is a great way to emphasize movement in what is normally a static photograph.  In today’s article, we go through the process of creating a photograph that captures the hustle and bustle of a crowded downtown street corner while keeping our subjects static.

Remember to always stay safe when shooting photographs on streets – cars, pedestrians, bicyclists are constantly moving around you.  Have a friend or assistant watch over the shoot and be ready to jump in and warn you about a vehicle heading your way.

DSC3391 500x333 Capturing Creative Motion Blur

Let’s look at the steps in capturing a blurry/static street corner shot like this.

1. Shoot at sunset or dusk or in dim light
There’s two main reasons for this: firstly, street lights and building lights will really show prominently in a long exposure photo and will add some great highlight and interests to the shot.  Secondly, motion blur requires a long shutter speed which is facilitated by low lighting. A bright sunny day means you will need to use a fast shutter speed which makes capturing motion blur impossible or at least very difficult.

2. Find a street corner with lots of pedestrians going by
In Toronto, Yonge and Dundas streets is ideal because of the dual-crosswalks. If you do not have access to busy streets, you may have to improvise and shoot inside a busy shopping mall.

3. Scout out your positioning and do a few dry runs
Stand at your shooting positions and wait for pedestrians to go by to see what paths people take and to find an optimal view point. Try different positions – stand up, kneel down, go high, go low.  Wait for more people, wait for less people and so forth.
To get a lot of blur, position yourself so that pedestrians are walking perpendicular to your camera – this way, you will capture the most motion.

4. Take a few practice shots
You will need to use a low shutter speed to capture the right amount of blur.  This photo used a 1/20s shutter speed and F4 aperture.
I took multiple practice photos at different settings to get what i thought I liked the best.

5. Ask the subjects to hold their pose – and shoot!
If the subjects can hold still for a few seconds, that will give you enough time to take a long exposure photo and blur out the moving pedestrians.

Remember to not get in people’s way and watch out for vehicles!

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A Quick Guide to Focusing http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/09/a-quick-guide-to-focusing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-quick-guide-to-focusing http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/09/a-quick-guide-to-focusing/#comments Mon, 02 Sep 2013 02:17:58 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=784  A Quick Guide to Focusing

Today’s post will introduce you to a quick and dirty guide to auto focusing – how to help you get the shot you want without wasting time.

SAS4972 500x331 A Quick Guide to Focusing

Knowing how to use your camera’s auto focus system is essential to taking great photos. So let’s get started.

Auto Focus control

First off, let’s take a quick look at a typical layout of the viewfinder of most Digital SLR cameras:

d50 A Quick Guide to Focusing

See all those little squares? Those are auto focus points that your camera is able to focus on automatically. What can be confusing with all those spots though is that it can lead people to believe any object under those spots can be in focus at the same time. Unfortunately, this goes against physics :)

SLR lenses can only focus within a limited range of distances from the camera at any one time. Objects within that range will be sharp (ie. in focus), and objects outside that range will be less sharp. The further the object is from that range of distances to the camera, the more out of focus it will be.

focus A Quick Guide to Focusing

So when you point your camera and place your active AF spot over an object (usually the square that is lit up when you press the shutter), the camera will try to automatically select the focal distance for the lens so that whatever object is under the active spot is in focus.  If multiple objects are present, the camera will usually try to focus on a spot in between in an attempt and get as much in focus as possible. This doesn’t always work though.

d100 viewfinder A Quick Guide to Focusing

The red square is the active focus point in this case

Aperture settings and focal distances

The problem though is that simply looking through the viewfinder will not let you see what is truly in focus and what is not when the shutter actually clicks. This is because the range of distances is controlled by the aperture setting of the lens. All DSLRs set the aperture of the lens to the widest possible opening until the shutter is clicked. This is to allow as much light into the viewfinder as possible and give you a bright view of the scene. When you click the shutter, the camera sets the aperture to whatever setting you have it set at (eg. F4 or F2.8 etc.) – and this aperture value in turn effects what is and isn’t in focus!

By placing the spot over a subject to focus on it and using a small aperture value, one can create photos like the one below, where the subject is clearly in focus and the background is blurred out.

SAS5398 500x332 A Quick Guide to Focusing

In Summary

Confusing I know but all you really need to know is 2 things:

  1. When you focus on an object, there is a range of distances that will be in focus. With a wide aperture (smaller f-stop, eg. f/2.8), the range of distance is small. At a smaller aperture (large f-stop, eg. f/11), this range is greater.
    What exactly is this range? It depends on the lenses and with experience you should learn to gauge these distances just by eyeballing a scene.

    focus f281 500x500 A Quick Guide to Focusing

    Example of range of distances at F/2.8

    focus f11 500x500 A Quick Guide to Focusing

    Example of range of distance at F/11

    What this means, is when you’re shooting at small f-stop values, remember to keep the objects you want in focus within the range of distances valid for that aperture.

  2. This range of distances starts and ends perpendicular to the lens.  When you’re lining up your subject to be in focus, ensure that they’re perpendicularly equidistant to the camera so that they are all in focus. People forget this all the time when the subject is at an angle, so remember to keep it mind when you’re moving your subjects around for portraits.

So that’s all you need to know to get some well focused shots. It can be confusing but through some practice, I think you’ll find it easier and easier to focus more quickly and more predictably and shoot some great pictures.

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How to Improve your Photography – Look for the Unique Angles http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/01/how-to-improve-your-photography-look-for-the-unique-angles/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-improve-your-photography-look-for-the-unique-angles http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2013/01/how-to-improve-your-photography-look-for-the-unique-angles/#comments Sat, 19 Jan 2013 03:24:36 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/07/how-to-improve-your-photography-look-for-the-unique-angles/  How to Improve your Photography   Look for the Unique Angles

This is the first article of an ongoing series where we look at simple ways to improve our photography. Many beginners, and even advanced photographers overlook some of obvious ways to better their shots and hopefully these posts will help remind you what to look out for.
SAS6454 SAS6456
In this post we’ll explore how taking a few extra steps to look at a shot from a different angle can help take your photos to the next level.

Don’t settle for the obvious shot

Too many photographers make do with the first view they have of a scene. We see this all the time when photographers pull out their cameras at a popular tourist spot and take their shots. There’s almost always an area where everyone congregates to take their photos. Often, it’s very rare that you see anyone walk away from the crowd and shoot from a different angle. Now I know what you’re saying… Everyone’s taking the shot from there because it’s the best position!

Sure it is! Think back to when you last went on vacation and how you took your photos. Did you walk around the area looking for the perfect angle or spot to shoot from? Did you look to see if you could get any closer to the scene? Or did you just take the first nice shot you saw?

Here’s an example of how taking a few extra steps can really make the difference. I was walking through L’Hotel Des Invalides in Paris, France and looked up to see everyone standing below a display of Napoleon’s clothing. Everyone was snapping away and I took a quick shot as well.

napoleon2 How to Improve your Photography   Look for the Unique Angles

As you can see the photo was pretty boring and really didn’t seem to do justice to Napoleon’s legacy (or to my photographic taste!) I noticed a little path leading behind the display that no one else seemed to care for, but thought I’d see where it led. So a few steps later I look up to see a much more majestic view of the same clothing display!

napoleon How to Improve your Photography   Look for the Unique Angles

Explore, explore, explore!

So whenever you arrive at a scene you want to photograph, by all means snap a few ’safe’ shots, but always look around you and explore the different views available. Yes, this takes time, but with practice you’ll develop an eye for seeing the different positions that will help produce strong photos.

Here’s a beach we found a few weeks ago that seemed pretty boring at first glance.


A rickety fence might not seem like a great photographic opportunity especially when shot from a typical angle. But with a little bit of exploration the fence turned out to be a very photogenic subject to shoot.

So next time you’re out there, remember walk around, climb up on things (don’t get hurt though!), keep shooting and use trial and error to look for the different angles that will help you get those awesome shots you know you can take!

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Adobe Lightroom 3.0 is now available http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/06/adobe-lightroom-3-0-is-now-available/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=adobe-lightroom-3-0-is-now-available http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/06/adobe-lightroom-3-0-is-now-available/#comments Wed, 09 Jun 2010 13:51:15 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/06/adobe-lightroom-3-0-is-now-available/  Adobe Lightroom 3.0 is now available

The official release of Lightroom 3.0 is now available after a long public beta testing round. There’ve been a number of interesting changes from the public beta version, and this final release looks like it will be a great tool for photographers with significantly more features than in v2.0 that would be worth upgrading for.

More after the jump.


You can download the 30-day trial here.

The official announcement from the Adobe Blog lists the following changes between the final and beta releases:

  • Profile-based lens correction that addresses:
    • Geometric lens distortion(i.e., barrel or pincushion)
    • Chromatic aberration
    • Vignette effects
  • Manual geometric lens correction
  • Horizontal and vertical perspective correction
  • Improved Web templates for updated color and design options
  • Additional Print templates to utilize the new creative layout options
  • New develop presets for creative B&W and Color adjustments
  • Focal length filtering available in the metadata filter
  • Updated SDK with publish collection functionality and access to collection and keyword metadata
  • Improved interactive responsiveness
  • Ability to upgrade Lightroom 1, Lightroom 2 catalogs as well as Lightroom 3 beta or Lightroom 3 beta 2 catalogs
    • Images edited in Lightroom 3 beta or Lightroom 3 beta 2 will migrate to Lightroom 3.0 with little to no visual adjustments. Minor sharpening adjustments may appear.
  • Ability to migrate Photoshop Elements 6, 7 or 8 catalogs to Lightroom 3
  • Updated print resolution limits of 720ppi for local printing and 1200ppi for printing to a JPEG file.


There’s also a great Getting Started with Lightroom 3 video from Adobe TV here:

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4 Essential and Free Photography Apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/04/the-top-4-free-photography-apps-for-the-iphone-ipod-touch/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-top-4-free-photography-apps-for-the-iphone-ipod-touch http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/04/the-top-4-free-photography-apps-for-the-iphone-ipod-touch/#comments Thu, 22 Apr 2010 17:27:59 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=739  4 Essential and Free Photography Apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch

I love my iPhone and I love all the apps that are available for it. So today, I wanted to go through PhotoBlazr’s top 4 FREE photography-related iPhone apps. All these apps do work on iPod Touch as well by the way

iphone white background

Now I’ve downloaded a lot of photography apps for my iPhone over the last month or two, and most of these programs have turned out to be fun for about 5 minutes, before I’ve gotten bored and moved on to the next gimmick. These 4 apps though have remained on my iPhone for a few weeks now, and have proved themselves worthwhile. They’re not only fun to use, but have also improved my productivity. The best part is that they’re all free!

So starting at #4, here’s the PhotoBlazr Top 4 photography apps on the iPhone:

4. Dash of Colour

Dash of Colour is a fun little app that let’s you ‘paint in’ or ‘paint out’ the colours in your photos. You just use your finger to paint around the photo areas you want. Now, I know it sounds like such a simple little app, but it really helps produce very creative photos in a very intuitive way.

dashofcolor 4 Essential and Free Photography Apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch

It wasn’t until I started playing around with the app, did I realize how cool the effect of painting in the colour of people’s faces and objects was in photos. Ok, sure, it might not be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but for a free app, it’s worth the download.

3. Camera Plus

Have you ever wanted to take a photo with your iPhone but didn’t have zoom capability to truly capture the moment? Camera Plus lets you zoom into a scene now. The interface is very similar to the native iPhone Camera app as well.


cameraplus1 4 Essential and Free Photography Apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch cameraplus2 4 Essential and Free Photography Apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch
Without Zoom With Zoom

Camera Plus uses ‘digital’ zoom to blow up the scene (versus optical zoom) so the quality isn’t as great, but when you’re in a tight spot and need to zoom in for the shot, this app comes in very handy.

2. Flickr

The Flickr app is a neccessity for any photographer with a Flickr account. The slick interface allows you to easily connect to your Flickr account, browse new comments, see recent photos, and message your contact list. You can also quickly view your tagged sets and favourite photos, and search for photos easily.

flickrapp 4 Essential and Free Photography Apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch

Of course, the Flickr app allows you to upload photos direct from your iPhone, allowing you to tag, set permissions, and create descriptions for each photo. What I liked the most about it, was that it allowed you to select multiple photos and upload them in one shot.

Since I carry my iPhone everywhere, I’ve found it to not only be an indespensible aid in monitoring my account, but also in uploading photos for my Photo A Day project.

1. Photoshop Mobile

PS Mobile is a great little app that will let you do some basic but significant changes to your photos right on your iPhone or iPod Touch. I’ve found this amazingly useful as I can take a photo, make some basic edits, and then upload it directly to my Flickr without even touching a computer.

Some of the current edits you can make are: cropping, rotating, exposure, saturation, tint, contrast and black & whites.

psmobile 4 Essential and Free Photography Apps for the iPhone & iPod Touch

You can also enhance your photos by using selective focusing and sharpening options, and then add some great borders and artistic effects to add some oomph. After you’re done completing your masterpiece you can upload it to Photoshop.com for free as well.

So that’s it, that’s a list of our favourite 4 photography apps, all available at iTunes for no charge. Try them out and have fun!

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Photoshop CS5 – A Game Changing Release? http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/03/photoshop-cs5-a-game-changing-release/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=photoshop-cs5-a-game-changing-release http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/03/photoshop-cs5-a-game-changing-release/#comments Tue, 30 Mar 2010 15:46:08 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=716  Photoshop CS5   A Game Changing Release?

Adobe Photoshop CS5 was just announced for release on April 12, 2010. This much anticipated release will introduce among other things two brand new game-changing features:

  • Content Awareness and
  • new brush tool behaviours.

swadobephotoshop11.0cs4 Photoshop CS5   A Game Changing Release?

More about each of these features with links to some mind-blowing demo videos after the jump.

The Content Awareness feature will allow PhotoShop CS5 to fill in areas of a photo with what it ‘thinks’ should be there based on the rest of the photo. For example, you can easily remove a tree and replace it with a sky background without having to painstakingly clone the tree out.

The demo below shows you this feature in more detail:

The other amazing feature involves the behaviour of the different brush tools. PhotoShop CS5 now allows one to pin points in an image and move the rest of the scene around using different brush strokes. Watch the video below to check out this feature.

Overall PhotoShop CS5 looks like it will provide some incredible new features for photographers, and I for one can’t wait for the release date.

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Studio Lighting Setups & Examples http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/03/studio-lighting-setups-examples/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=studio-lighting-setups-examples http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/03/studio-lighting-setups-examples/#comments Fri, 12 Mar 2010 05:40:01 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=705  Studio Lighting Setups & Examples

This presentation highlights the differences betwen reflector lighting, umbrella lighting and softbox lighting using examples.

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4 easy composition rules for strong photography http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/02/four-simple-composition-rules-for-strong-photography/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=four-simple-composition-rules-for-strong-photography http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/02/four-simple-composition-rules-for-strong-photography/#comments Sun, 28 Feb 2010 02:03:07 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=692  4 easy composition rules for strong photography

I created and presented this slideshow a while ago for the Rotman Photo Association. We use examples of strong photos to describe 4 simple techniques to create your own great pictures.

If you found this slideshow delivery format helpful/not helpful, I’d love to hear any feedback.

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How to Build A Portable Studio-Quality Background in 20 minutes http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/02/how-to-build-a-beautiful-studio-quality-background-in-20-minutes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-build-a-beautiful-studio-quality-background-in-20-minutes http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/index.php/2010/02/how-to-build-a-beautiful-studio-quality-background-in-20-minutes/#comments Wed, 17 Feb 2010 15:10:45 +0000 Sasi http://www.photoblazr.com/photoblazr/?p=670  How to Build A Portable Studio Quality Background in 20 minutes

This weekend I took on a DIY project to build a decent background for use in portraits that would give me studio quality shots but still be light, portable and easy to store.

Since I have no talent in painting or construction, I knew I wouldn’t be able to paint one myself or build something too complicated.

As they say, necessity (or is it laziness? ;) ) is the mother of invention and so I forced myself to look around for materials that were ready-to-use and easy to put together.



After the jump, this week’s video shows you how to build a great photography background in less than 20 minutes.

Ry and I found a great Damask print wallpaper at the local hardware store which turned out to be perfect for the type of portrait photography I liked. Of course, as you will see in the video you can use any wallpaper print you like to fit your needs and tastes.

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