Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The art of self portraiture

A self-portrait can be an ideal valentine's gift to your partner.

Whether you are shy, lack personal skills, egocentric, narcisstic or simply don't have a willing model, self-portraiture could be the answer.

Whilst challenging, creating a self-portraiture can be a lot of fun and you will learn a lot about your camera and yourself. If you're new to self-portraiture, here are some starter tips to get you going.

Useful equipment for taking a self-portrait are a tripod and a remote release.

- A tripod can be invaluable in some self-portraits. It gives you enornous flexibility on where to take a photo from, especially what hight to take it from. Also many people take self-portraits indoors where light conditions are low and challenging. Using a tripod will go some way to reducing blur in low light conditions.
- A remote release will enable you take a photo some distance away from the camera. There are many advantages in this. If you are using auto-focus you don't have to worry so much about focus as you can place yourself where you want to be in the frame and click the remote release button, the camera will auto-focus on you and take the picture.
Also a mirror can be very useful for taking quick self-portraits shots.

Useful camera settings

Timer release

Framing - Initially this is difficult as the subject you're going to frame isn't in the frame.

1 - is to find a spot to take your picture from. If you are using a tripod this is easy. If you don't have a tripod then find a stable spot where you can place your camera.
2 - find a substitute for you. This can be a pillow or object of similar size. Ideal it would be another person.
3 - increase the size of the frame (for first couple of shots at least). You can crop to ideal frame afterwards.
4 - check frame for clutter and remove it if possible or reframe if not.

Focus -- Many people find this out by trail and error. The problem is usually the place you want to focus on is empty. This can be partly resolved by using someone else or an object in the place you want your picture taken. But if you're using auto focus problems can occur.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Taking pictures of pictures

Is this a Duchamp? They are definitely ready mades. These gorgeous paintings are from Bundi Palace. This is an amazing place and there are endless 'ready mades' to take photos of. These are from the government owned part, which is free to enter but the guard will expect a tip if he shows you around. Well worth it! I gave him 20 ruppees.

The picture above shows court life. The Rani (Queen) is being pampered by a fan and two musicians.

These wonderful colours comes from natural sources, most from vegetables, I believe. Though I'm not sure. I love the 2Dness of the pictures and the life they depict.

For more details on Bundi paintings see

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Wales, Wales, Wales

Image by Peter Morgan/Mooganic

What a shock! What a pleasure!

I only started watching the game 23 mins into the match. I had waited around for the hotel people to go to bed. They liked the football and we watched Man U stealing a point with seconds left.

Then I flicked the channels and saw the score -- England 16 Wales 3 and I thought oh no. Then the commentors said that England hadn't taken all their channels and I though 'OH MY GOD, NO!' but I haven't seen Wales play for ages and I wanted to see them.

I watched the rest of the first half and Wales managed, somehow to close the gap.

In the break, I ran down to 7/11 to get a beer in. Met some English boys, they suggested that I go to the Irish bar but I thought it'd be full of English and I wasn't confident about Wales. There was no reason at that time to have confidence in them. I kind of regret not going now but .....

Anyway, watched the second half, brilliant! We all know what happened!! Come on Wales! Play like that more

I'm happy


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bundi -- living in the past

The magic of Bundi is everywhere and in everything. In it's magnificent and slightly deteriorated palace, in the abandoned fort who's kings are now monkeys, in the streets of the old town that define time, the seductive countryside that surrounds it and in its peace and slowness.

Like Snow White, Bundi is lost in time, from staying in Havelis hundred of years old, wandering maze-like streets that are lined with greek-like geometric houses coloured mainly in pastel blue, hearing chants are from the temples to sharing a masala chai (Indian tea) with some locals.

The impressive gates to Bundi Palace

The Sathi Lassi is a big hit with travellers. This is the creater, Mr Sathi himself (below).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I love my India

This is what I came to India for. Admittedly, I haven't gotten very far with my intented Indian project, though I have learnt lots and I'm definitely not abandoning my ideas.

This approach is hard work, especially when travelling and the results are a little so, so.

It was fun getting the posters up though. I created several different ones, one with drawings of Indian men and women, Indian gods, the Taj Mahal but the villagers wanted this one.

When we're putting up the posters Arjan started singing I love my India.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Photo Challenges

There are a lot of them going on the web. I found quite a few through Epic Edits but I've seemed to missed the boat. The December challenge, a portrait for each day of the month sounded well worthwhile. This challenge was set up by Trevor Carpenter, here's his link.

Trevor has a community photo challenge on at the moment. Check out his website for more details.

There's also Ben Spark, who particiated in the self-portrait with your camera competition. He's just completed his taking a photo everyday for a 1,000 days (that includes uploading a photo a day!!) and has committed himself to another 1,000 days.

On a smaller scale, there's a 365 plus 1 group on flickr.

I'd really like to get involved in something like this. I'll keep my eye out for them.
Here's an update from Epic Edits. Check it out, there are some fun pictures that lead to great blog sites. There's a helluva lot going on out there in blog space.

This is the first competition I've enter and I feel like a cheat as I had a ready made photo. I have done a few more since but still feel my 'entry' is stronger.

Anyways, results are on the 21st.