Saturday, August 3, 2013

Latest shoots

 A few from the latest wedding shoots and engagement shoots taken in and around Cape Town.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Desmond Tutu

Last week I had about five minutes to photography Desmond. While I was shooting he was talking about how terrible it is that the media is treating the fact that Mandela is ill as if it was just another opportunity at sensationalism.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Article Published on Ezinearticles

I wrote a new article and got it published on the very-difficult-to-publish-on website,  I've copied and pasted the article below, or you can click here to go to EzineArticles


Deciding on Which Wedding Photographer Is Right for You

First of all, the single most important thing about the photographer you hire is just how well you as the client and he/she as the service provider get along. Its important that both parties be able to communicate comfortably, the reason why I say so is because if both parties get along then the quality of communication between them is sufficient for both parties to understand their needs, fears and desires. This goes without saying if you're a photographer, especially if you're a photographer who makes their living out of photographing people. If I were an animal or pet photographer, it'd be most important that I get along with animals...
The next most important thing is, obviously, the quality of the photographers work, and this is a very subjective topic. What one person regards as good photography, is not necessarily what everybody else would consider good, this explains why there are so many wedding photographers who are quite frankly bad photographers (or not real photographers at all) but still seem to make boat loads of cash doing it. If you're happy hiring someone who creates mediocre imagery by over-photoshopping their pictures, by all means hire them. On the other hand if its important to you that you continue to admire your wedding photographs years later, then try to look for someone who creates work that really impresses you.
In order to spot someone who claims to be a wedding photographer but is actually just a poser, or not experienced enough, there are a few things to look for in their work that are telling signs. These are a few of them:
  1. Look for pictures that were taken with head on flash. In other words, a picture taken with the flash while the flash is attached directly to the top of the camera. What this does is create unflattering light because the light from the flash is coming from the same direction from where the picture is being taken from. It requires quite a bit of experience with a TTL enabled flash to bounce the light from the flash off of walls and ceilings effectively thus creating a more flattering appearance of those photographed.

  2. Look for pictures that look as if the wedding took place in dark room. It requires experience to balance the light coming out of the flash with the ambient light in the room. An amateur will underexpose the ambient light in their exposure making the background in the image pitch black, which is very ugly.

  3. Poor cropping is another sign of inexperience. If you're not a photographer this might be a little difficult to spot, but if the important elements in the image are not arranged in a nice way in the picture, the photographer is probably not experienced.

  4. The Decisive Moment. This is an obvious one, if a lot of the pictures have people in them that were half way through blinking their eyes at the moment the picture was taken, don't hire this person. Being able to see a moment in which a good photo can be taken and then taking the picture at that exact moment, is a skill someone is born with, if this person does not have this skill, don't hire them.
To finish off, the most important factor in photography is, LIGHT. If the photographer can prove a beautiful and flattering style in their use of light, you will most likely end up with wedding photographs that you'd want to brag about. And as a photographer I can tell you, that it is very satisfying if you find out through the grapevine that a former client of yours was bragging about their wedding photos.
Keep your wits about you and don't just sign with the first photographer you meet with.
I am a wedding photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. And I have heard from dozens of clients how difficult it is to choose the right photographer, and I have also heard some horror stories. Go to my website to view some my work.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

19th Consecutive Mother City Queer Project ~ Cape Town 15 Dec 2012

Today was the 19th consecutive MCQP party.  An annual affair in Cape Town that began in 1994, it was initially started as a themed costume party meant to celebrate South African's news constitution and its acknowledgement of Gay rights.  Every year the dress-up theme is different, this year the theme was 'fairytale fantasy'.  Click here to view the rest of the gallery.

homosexual, men kissing, kissing, fairytale fantasy, 15 dec 2012, MCQP, mother city queer project, 2012, 19th consecutive, since 1994, new constitution, gay rights, south africa, cape town stadium
Love on the Dance Floor

Friday, December 14, 2012

AWA (Africa Wrestling Alliance) - Parow

I have never been to a wrestling match before, so I decided to do a small documentary on the wrestling scene here in Cape Town.  What I learned was, that people who think that this kind of wrestling is fake are missing the point.  The reason why these guys wrestle, is to entertain the crowd, to hear the crowd cheering for them.  Nothing more.  Check out the rest of the pics here

ed electric, awa, africa wrestling alliance, parow, black mamba, shaun koen
Ed Electric entering the arena...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How to Use All of your Depth of Field


The definition of Hyperfocal distance is:  The hyperfocal distance is the closest distance at which a lens can be focused while keeping objects at infinity acceptably sharp.   

When using hyperfocal distance, you are focusing the lens to a particular distance determined by the focal length and Aperture combination that you are using, to ensure that everything from half the hyperfocal distance, till infinity, is acceptable sharp.  This is mostly used in landscape photography where the photographer will decide on a focal length and Aperture combination, that gives him the hyperfocal distance he needs.  Once you learn what it means and its uses, Hyperfocal distance will become very useful in other fields of photography too, such as studio photography, where its important to get the whole subject acceptably sharp.

When its your intention to get absolutely everything in focus, for example a flower with everything in front and the whole landscape and mountain behind it in focus as well, then it will not always be best practise to just focus on the flower and select a large aperture and shoot.  If you did it that way you will find it difficult to get absolutely everything sharp.  In order to get everything acceptably sharp you'd need to set the focus of the lens to the hyperfocal distance for your specific situation you're in.

The easiest way to find out what the Hyperfocal distance is, is to use a technique that involves the DoF scale and distance scale on your lens.  In preparation for this article though, I discovered that none of the modern lenses today have the DoF scale.  So writing about how you can use that technique wouldn’t help anyone who is breaking into the field of photography.  Therefore you need to calculate your Hyperfocal distance through the use of a mathematical formula.

calculating hyperfocal distance, hyperfocal distance, focal length, circle of confusion, aperture,
The circle of confusion is a part of this formula, and its important to realise that the size of the circle of confusion depends on the size of the sensor you are using.  As you know, not all digital cameras have the same size sensor.  Some have a sensor that is the same size as the 35mm format for film (36mm X 24mm), cheaper entry level cameras have a sensor that is 1.3 or 1.6 times smaller than that.

The Circle of confusion size that you need to use in the above formula are as follows, and I only included the camera formats that are used mostly by digital SLR users today:

  • Full Frame Camera (sensor size of 36 X 24mm)     =  0.03mm
  • Sensor with 1.3 times crop factor of Full Frame       = 0.023 
  • Sensor with 1.6 times crop factor of Full Frame       =  0.019mm 

Here is an example:  lets say you are out in the field and you decide to shoot the scene in front of you.  You have a 35mm lens on your camera because its wide enough for your scene, and your camera is already set to quite a small aperture, lets say f/11.  This is how you'd insert this information into the above formula:

This is the formula to calculate Hyperfocal Distance

With this information, if you focused your lens at 3.747m and used an Aperture of f/11 with the 35mm lens you had attached to your camera, everything from half of the hyperfocal distance (1.8735m) till infinity will be in rendered acceptably sharp in the photograph.


Getting to know and understand how and why you’d use the Hyperfocal distance to maximize the use of your DoF will naturally make you wonder about where else you could use this kind of technique.  For example, if you were being paid by a magazine or any kind of client, to photograph something in a studio, and part of the client’s requirements is that the entire object be sharp.  How would you go about making sure that the object in the picture is completely sharp, would you wing it?  Or would you be a professional and make sure the job is done properly the first time?  Below is a diagram explaining the situation in the studio, and its your aim to get the entire table sharp.  In other words, you’re trying to fit the entire Depth of Field over the entire table.  There is a way to custom make your DoF to just the right size for the object you’re photographing.

This is a diagram explaining the hypothetical situation in which the aim is to get the whole table acceptably sharp.

  • The closest point to the camera that needs to be sharp is called the “near DoF limit’, and is designated with this symbol 'DN'
  • The farthest point to the camera that needs to be sharp is called the ‘far DoF limit’, and is designated with this symbol 'DF'
  • The focus distance setting of the lens (subject distance) is designated with this
    symbol 's'
  • The Aperture that we need to use in order to get the whole object sharp will be designated with this symbol 'N'
  • In this situation I am using a 35mm format digital camera, which has a sensor dimension of 36mm X 24mm.  This lens has a circle of confusion size that is 0.03mm, and circle of confusion is designated with this symbol 'c'

So you’re standing in the studio with this table in front of you, and you know that the closest point to the camera that needs to be sharp is 1.5metres, and you know that the farthest point that needs to be sharp is 3.5 metres from the camera.  You could ascertain this information by either measuring the distances yourself, or by focusing on each point and reading the distance off of your lens.  The first thing you need to work out is what your focus setting should be, and you are able to calculate this with the information you already have.  Use the following formula and solve for “s”

s = subject distance

This is the formula to calculate the focus distance (subject distance), with the near and far DoF limits.  All measurements were converted to millimetres, but in this format you could also just leave the measurements in metres.

Now you know that with the camera at the distance from the closest and farthest part of the table, the lens focusing distance should be set to 2.1m.  At this point you can guess where 2.1m is and just manually focus the lens to that point, or you could take out a measuring tape, your choice.  

Now to calculate what the aperture is that we need to use we need to work out the following formula and solve for N.

N = the Aperture we need

This is the formula to calculate the Aperture needed.  All measurements were converted to millimetres because the focal length (f) and circle of confusion (c) are always expressed in millimetres.

And there you have it.  With the aid of mathematics we have calculated that the focusing distance should be 2.1m, and what the Aperture should be using is f/16.  Now you can go forth with confidence and fulfil the brief explained above, if you ever get one like that.  On the other hand there are much easier methods to work out the information that we have just worked out.  There are Depth of Field and Hyperfocal distance calculators online, and available to download to your cell phone or tablet device.  These are much easier and time saving, but at least now you understand what these devices are doing.

If you would like to read more about the theory of photography, go to Stephen Williams' website.