In search of greener pastures

Today's my last day in the Netherlands. I've decided to leave everything behind me and follow my dreams. I'm traveling this evening, my first destination is Lebanon were I will meet with friends and family. I'll be staying there for some months to rest and carefully plan my next move.

My dream is to become a professional photographer and hopefully have a successful photography company in the future. I'm in a hurry as I have to catch the train to the airport in 30 mins.

It might take sometime before you hear again from me, but please be patient and don't give up on my blog. I'll miss every single one of you. Be safe and have a wonderful day!

Photography tip (33)

You can do awesome things with longer exposures, check some photos with longer exposures. To achieve that one should use a TRIPOD or risk ending up with camera shake on their photo.

Who let the dogs out?

Sometimes you come into contact with your subject and become friends without planing it ahead of time.

It was March 4, 2010 and I was feeling tired an frustrated, I had just heard from the dutch immigration that I had to wait another three months to be able to apply for the dutch passport. So I decided to take my camera and go out for a walk. On my way through the park I came across a lovely girl and her cute little dog, it looked so sweet that I had no other option but to ask the girl for her permission to photograph this little beauty.

I had one shot to make it right because the girl was shy and a little bit impatient. This was that one shot.

These are the camera settings I used for this photo:

I used a faster exposure (shutter speed) 1/350 of a sec to freeze the shot because animals are very unpredictable. I also used a smaller aperture f9.0, to get everything in focus. My ISO was set to 200 which was just perfect for a light absorbent lens (50mm f1.4). Other lenses might have needed a higher ISO or some compensatory flash.

Antique lookalike!

I love antique designs. I find them more interesting that a lot of designs made these days. Recently, there has been a surge of antique clones. This box is one of them.

My brother in-law has tons of antique lookalike furnitures in his home and they add that extra touch of beauty to it. I like it there, because there's always something to photograph.

My choice of design for my home in the future, will be a combination of modern morph design & a touch of antique.

Why I chose the D7000, DX 10-24mm & DX 35mm f1.8 lens

This is a follow up of my other blog-post. You might want to read the other post first. It will help you understand this one better.

Everyone has a reason for doing things, that also goes for buying products. For me, buying a product, especially electronic products is the most frustrating thing to do in my entire life. Wondering why? Well, I'm never satisfied and always require more and more from each product I buy and because of that, I spend months reviewing a product before purchase. Also, with little or no money at all, my choices are very limited. So, mostly, I'll end up buying something with lesser features than I really wanted and regret buying it after some months.

Lets take for instance an example from 5 years ago, when I decided I to become a professional photographer. I started asking friends and photographers for their advice on which product I should buy. My first choice was the new Sony a100 camera, and I made my choice because it won the European award for the best startup DSLR camera of that year. Wrong choice, because no sooner I said that, people pounced on me saying that Sony camera's were new in the DSLR market and has very few lens choices on the market, even though every Minolta lens would work perfectly.

I had no other choice but to do a new research, the research took almost 2 years, and I finally decided to buy a Canon 450D, took it back after a week because I wanted more, I replaced it with the Canon 40D, which I returned a week later replacing it with the 50D. Very expensive, but it was affordable as I had a job. To be sincere, I was satisfied with it untill I lost my job two months later and had to sell the entire gear to pay my bills.

Now after 5 years and with a little bit of photography experience and no money at all, it was time to make a new purchase and work my way towards becoming what I've always wanted to become "A professional photographer". I started doing a research 18 months ago for my next purchase, and made a lot of final decisions on my way, but each decision turned out to be one of those shaky decisions I took in the past. Eventually, I decided to buy a Nikon d90 & a 18-200mm lens. I was certain those were exactly what I wanted till I heard that Nikon was bringing out the upgrade of the D90 a D7000, it would also cost +/- 25% more than the D90, but with tons of improvements & new features. Wow, tons of improvements and new features to a camera (D90) that was already one of Nikon's best camera's ever?! That sounded awesome and a good review confirmed that the D7000 was far more superior that it's predecessor, and it went further than that, it was also far more superior than the much expensive D300 & D300s, which are by the way Nikon's finest camera's in their category. So, reason enough to go for the D7000.

The AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm F3.5-4.5G ED lens is the widest angle lens ever produced by Nikon. That means, more of everything in one shot. It is perfect for users wanting to shoot scenes that require a wide angle perspective effect such as in a small room, or for shooting architecture and landscapes. Landscape, architecture, street photography & portraits are amongst the shortlist of things I'd like to specialize on. That list will get shorter till I discover where my passion lies. This is why I chose this particular lens.

The AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens is the newest & one of the cheapest prime-time DX lens Nikon offers. This lens is made especially for camera's in Nikons DX category, like the D60, D80, D90, d7000 etc... It's the perfect replica of the 50mm f1.8 lens that was made for Nikon's FX camera. It has a very large aperture f1.8 (very good in low light) and is also well built. It's a great lens for portrait photography and has an awesome blur effect too.

Unboxing my new photography gear !!!

Another title might have better portrayed the excitement I'm feeling right now, but the enthusiasm left me with little or no creativity at all.

Finally, after more than a year of frustration & financial problems, I have managed to achieve one more thing that's on my photography goal & wish list. I bought the DSLR Camera & Lenses I've always wanted!!!

The gear consists of:

My thanks & gratitude goes to my girlfriend who helped finance the purchase. I have been looking for someone who could borrow me the money needed for this gear without wanting interest for it, but couldn't find anyone. Now that my girlfriend has a job, she was more than willing to lend a helping hand. She said it was her gift to me, but I told her I would only accept it if she would allow me to pay back the money when I get a job. So, that's our final bargain, at least from my point of view.

I haven't fully tested my gear yet. I did check them for faults & damages though, and luckily, they seem OK. I will try to take some photos tomorrow and find out what features this camera has to offer and what it's huge amount of buttons, knobs & wheels do. I've heard that one can program some of the buttons to their choice. If so, then that will be a real time-saver.

Ohhhhh, Can't wait till tomorrow!

Fading into the distance

oooohhhhhh!!!, I love photography!!! and so love being able to select a point of focus, but mostly, I adore the Nikon 50mm lens.

OK, enough of that. Now, let me tell you what I did to achieve this gradient fade-away shot.

I chose the "AV" aperture mode from the dial, turned on and selected my point of focus, boosted the ISO to 200 because I was shooting inside, then I chose a large aperture number f2.8 to achieve the blur, not the largest I can achieve with this lens though, I went for somewhere inbetween because I didn't want everything to fade away altogether. Last but not least I chose a shutter speed of 1/250 of a sec, fast enough to avoid shaking in the photo.

With a prime time lens, this settings was good enough, I guess any other lens with a higher f-number would have needed a faster shutter speed to avoid picture shake.

Photography tip (32)

When you photograph people in color, you capture the colors of their environment and dressing. But when you photograph people in black & white, you capture their inner-self, authenticity & souls.

Selective focus (Lilies)

A fascinating feature on digital camera's is the ability to select a point of focus and if done properly, delivers the best of pictures.

To achieve this kind of shot, I used a 50mm f1.4 lens and while on the (AV) mode, chose the largest aperture f1.4 and bumped the ISO to 200 to compensate for low lighting. I also chose a normal shutter speed 1/50 to avoid camera shake as I was not using the inbuilt flash.

In Lightroom, I converted the photo to black & white and added some extra sharpness to enhance the points of focus.

Yellow daffodils

Another photo taken with the amazing Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens.

It was cold and I was walking back home thinking about my shot of the day. I had no clue what it would be till I saw this beautiful daffodil flower in-front of a shoe store.

I knew immediately that it would end up becoming my shot of the day for March 11, 2010, and now it is my shot of the day for today too.

Horses! A reflection or not?!

I purchased a 50mm f1.4 lens for a Nikon D90 camera I was allowed to use for a couple of months last year and this is one of the first shots I took with it. As you can see in this photo, this lens has an amazing aperture (f1.4) and creates and awesome depth of field.

Unfortunately, I had to sell the lens a week after I bought it, because the camera got defect and I had no use for the lens. I have no regret though, because the lens was an FX lens and works better with a full frame Nikon camera and that is something I can't afford to buy now or in the near future.

I'm hoping to buy a new Nikon camera in the near future and I will try to purchase the Nikkor 35mm f1.8 lens with it. The 35mm lens is made specially for Nikon DX camera's like the; D90, d7000 etc... and it has the same focus range on a DX camera as the 50mm has on an FX camera.

Hyacinth beans

For some of you, this is an old photo, for other's it's totally new.

I took this photo in the past and posted it to one of my blogs and to my Flickr account, but neither that blog, nor the Flickr account exist anymore, as I decided a short time ago to start all over again, but this time with a goal in mind.

A friend told me that this is a Hyacinth flower, if she's wrong, please correct. If not, then please leave your comments on this photo and help me become a better photographer.