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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Venice

(This is the last of three parts of our Italy trip.)

If you haven’t been to Venice, it will take your breath away the moment you walk out of the train station. That’s the excitement we have experienced. We of course had heard about it many times from different sources. But to be there and see it with your own eyes, it’s just unbelievable. Once the water bus started leaving the dock, I just couldn’t help but kept snapping pictures. It’s like a kid entering into a wonderland.

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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Travel

 

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Circular Polarizer

In previous post, I mentioned that using a circular polarizer to make the blue sky bluer. In case you’re wonder how effective it is, here are some examples.

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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Photography Techniques

 

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My Gears

Two years ago, my wife and I were on a trip in Salzburg, Austria. After taking some photos in the Cathedral, we viewed them on a computer and found them totally unacceptable, all dark and blurry. The FujiFilm FinePix A330 was not up for the job. In daylight, it seemed fine. But it’s pretty much useless in dimmed places such as churches. So we decided to get a new one to replace the 5-year-old A330 which we got for free with Air Miles points.

I happened to mention it to our friend Pietro S. and he persuaded, or seduced, me to get a DSLR instead of a point-and-shoot one. The price was a bit too high than our budget. So I’d been doing some researches, going to sites such as DPreview.com, trying to justify my mentality, and decided on the Nikon D5000. (To this date, I still think at entry level, Nikon DSLRs beats Canon by a notch.) There was a sales promotion for buying the D5000 with 18-55mm kit lens plus 55-200mm VR. I’ve been using them to this date. However, I do feel very inconvenient to change lens all the time when taking vacation photos. Nikon does have a 18-200mm lens. But it’s filter attachment size is 72mm which makes the 52mm filters (more of this in a moment) I also bought unusable.

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Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Photography Techniques

 

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Taking panoramic photos

From my experiences, here is my two-cents of how to do it.

For exposure, only use Aperture priority mode or Manual mode on the camera. Avoid Shutter priority, Program and other auto modes, as you should keep aperture value consistent across all images. Even with Aperture priority mode, you need to make use of the AE-L (auto-exposure lock) button so that all images will have same exposure, instead of one being brighter, another one being darker. It looks bad if one part of sky is blue, but the next part of it is white. Use smaller aperture f8 or f11 to have large depth of field, to have much of the scene to appear sharp.

Switch to manual focus mode on your lens. If you choose AF-S, single servo auto-focus mode, (AF-A and AF-C are no good for our purpose here,) after making the first attempt of auto focusing — press shutter-release button half-way, still switch it to manual focus on your lens, so that the focus plane won’t change across all images. There is, of course, another way, which involves changing the behavior of the AF-L (auto-focus lock) button and use that button to do the focusing job, hence the shutter-release button won’t try to re-focus for each image.

For focus area mode, switch to single point mode and use the center point to focus, as the center of any lens has the best image quality and best focus accuracy.

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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Photography Techniques

 

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Florence and Pisa

On the map, Florence (Firenze, in Italian) doesn’t seem to be a big city, and it isn’t. The size is only about 10×10 km. Do you know people can walk 5 km per hour on average? So within a day, you should be able to finish the whole city. But taking the time to climb the 278 ft bell tower at the Piazza del Duomo is a different story, even though it’s no comparison to the Cologne Cathedral (471 ft) as we had done it before.

The Piazza del Duomo is the center of the city and most tourists flock over there, in addition to a few famous museums including the Accademia Gallery which houses Michelangelo’s David. It happened to be a cultural week when we were at Rome/Florence. So there’s no need to pay for entering all national museums. However, you WILL have to pay for the “reservation” (for a few euros each person) in order to bypass the long, long, long waiting line of people without “reservation”. Another way to get you, huh?

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Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Travel

 

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Don’t you love facebook ads?

First, I must apologize to my friend for writing this post. But it’s funny and I couldn’t get it off my mind.

When I was viewing the slideshow of her trip on Facebook, this ad from pardonswaiverscanada.com keeps showing up in the corner. What the funny part is, when the photo of her or her husband slid in, I couldn’t help being distracted to look at the ad — Al Pacino’s smashed-face criminal record photo. Criminal? Who?

Oh well, what can you do?

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Rome

(This is the first of three parts of our Italy trip.)

Rome (Roma, in Italian), as the capital city of Italy, has many memorable histories of Roman Empire and Roman Catholic Church. Being the 11th most visited city in the world, third most in the European Union, the city is very crowded. It claims to be the country’s largest city. Luckily, most attractive sightseeing area seems to be within walking distance — to tourists anyway. We walked around in the city for all four days. Although exhausted, it’s very rewarding. The city is old and there are not many modern high-rise buildings. The relics of the historic sites make it look even older. There are already many web sites talking about Rome. So say no more, here are the photos. (image count: 101)

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Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Travel

 

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