Happy Lunar New Year!

A very Happy Lunar New Year to everyone from Truphotos! Here’s wishing everyone a blissful and peaceful year ahead! Ate and drank too much CNY goodies? We’re sure we didn’t lose out to anyone! 😉

Thank you for all the love & support and we look forward to another exciting year! :)

How to publish your WordPress blog to Facebook wall and display feed image using RSS Graffiti

The issue of images not getting displayed on the Facebook wall using the RSS Graffiti Facebook app seems to be quite a widespread problem among bloggers despite setting it up correctly. One of the reasons could be due to the fact that images are not being sent to Feedburner.

Solution

Go to WordPress admin panel > Settings > Reading and set “Full text” for “For each article in a feed, show”.

Make sure that Post Style under RSS Graffiti’s Target Settings is set to “Standard” to allow it to publish any available media in the post (image, audio or video).

Next, log in to Feedburner, click on your feed and go to “Edit Feed Details…”. The Original Feed address should be entered as http://www.yourblogname.com/feed.

After saving the changes, visit Google Reader and search for your feed. Images in your original blog post should be displayed together with the entire feed. The Firefox feed reader will only display an excerpt instead of the full post.

Try posting a blog and RSS Graffiti should publish it correctly to your Facebook wall displaying the first image in your blog!

 

What to consider before and during taking a photograph

When we look at any image, more often than not, we wouldn’t realise how much effort and/or time went into creating those pieces of work. No matter how physically or mentally demanding the process had been, what mattered to the viewer more was the end result, and the image and value of the photographer will be more often than not judged based on that.

This was what went through my mind when I was shooting some architectural images recently.

1. First of all, a large portion of time was spent on brain-storming to come up with a vision and relevant concepts.

2. Next is the recce where the “feasibility study” portion comes in to try to match reality with the concepts from the brain-storming phase. The photographer has to visit the locations where the shoot is to be carried out to find out the possible as well as impossible angles, take note of various factors such as the flow of people, adequate timing for the shoot, anticipate any interferences or disturbances that may arise on that day and the like.

3. Next is to identify the correct equipment for the job. I don’t think there’s any right or wrong to the equipment selected as long as it produces results and gets the job done.

4. On the actual shoot, some things may change at the very last minute from what was originally planned. This could range from weather, to the vantage point being occupied, and even breakdown of equipment so the photographer has to be flexible enough to cope with these sudden changes and switch to Plan B (if available!).

Here’s a simple example. Setting up your equipment and executing the shot is one thing, getting all the differing factors together, and working within the constraints and interferences is another! Apart from having had to keep an eye on the composition, I had to be constantly aware of time running out before the sky went pitch black. This image above, taken at JCube (the former Jurong Entertainment Centre), shows the original composition before finalising the shot, with unsightly flare on the right side and empty road in front.

1. For this shot, while I had a few vantage spots in mind, ultimately I had to decide on only one as there was obviously not enough time to alternate between all of them considering that the beautiful twilight sky lasts for only a mere 10 minutes!

2. One of the challenges is to make sure that I timed my shot adequately to include the light trails from vehicles zooming past preferably on all the lanes.

3. The building lights were alternating between different shades of colours which I had to keep track and coordinate to achieve the desired effect.

3. Flare was encroaching into the frame from camera right (refer to top image) from a strongly lit road lamp and one hand was used to hold a black flag (my DIY flash bounce diffuser came in handy!) to try and reduce its effects.

So I ended up in quite a comical position; one eye on the viewfinder for the composition, left hand in an awkward position to click the shutter, and constantly looking up to check the oncoming vehicles and changing building lights while holding up a black flag with my right hand. The drivers in the vehicles going past must be wondering what on earth I was doing! The resulting image is shown below.

How to check camera shutter count/shutter actuations

In the not so distant past, in order to check the shutter count of our cameras, a software such as Opanda Ixif has to be downloaded and installed on the computer. Recently, this process has been simplified greatly to simply uploading an image file to a website.

The 2 websites which provides this free service are Shutter Actuations and MyShutterCount. To check your shutter count, upload RAW (.NEF or .CR2) or JPG files directly from the camera. Try to avoid exported files (eg exported JPG file from Lightroom) as some software tends to strip off the EXIF data.

Interviews, features, showcases and published works

Below is a collection of my interviews, features, showcases and published works for easy reference. This post will be updated as and when more information is available. Links are provided if available.

 

Photos For Beginners Magazine issue 10, Mar 2012

Singh-Ray filters, Mar 2012

Elements Magazine: EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview  with Weizhong, Feb 2012

Shadowness, 2012

Design You Trust: Great Pictures by Deng Weizhong, Feb 2012

Cromoart: External Photo Inspiration – Great Pictures by Deng Weizhong, Feb 2012

Daily Art Inspiration #98: Deng Weizhong, Jan 2012

RAW: Interview with Weizhong Deng, Jan 2012

National Museum of Singapore, The Year in Pictures, Platform 12.1, 2011, Jan 2012

 

Noise Singapore Festival Showcase, ION Orchard, Group exhibition, Feb-Mar 2011

 

Imagenomic, Dec 2010

Asian Geographic Passport magazine, Issue 11/2010

OneAsia Festival 2010, Group exhibition, Dec 2010

Travel Without Borders photography competition, Celebration Asia! category, Runner-up, 2010

Noise Singapore Festival Showcase, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Group exhibition, Feb-Mar 2010

CapitaLand-National Geographic Channel, ION Orchard, ION Art, Group exhibition, Aug 2010

 

Minoh Citizen’s Activity Centre, Osaka, Japan: Solo exhibition, 2008

Osaka Prefectural Central Library, Osaka, Japan: Solo exhibition, 2008

Osaka University, Osaka, Japan: Solo exhibition, 2008

Reasons Why Professional Photographers Cannot Work for Free

An in-depth article written to explain the reasons why photographers cannot work for free. This is in response to the commonly seen situation where photographers are regularly approached, not for work, but for free images.

Summarised into the following points:

  1. If images are given out for free, photographers will not be able to make a living.
  2. The issue of “budget constraints” pleas from clients are hard to fathom. Ever tried asking for discounts on your electricity or utility bills?
  3. Receiving a “credit” in the form of a link or watermark don’t mean much. “Credits” don’t pay bills.

 

Here is another insightful but short article on how much it costs to create one image. Easily in the thousands. That is why serious photographers do not give out their images for free as they need to cover costs of running their business.

If photographers are thought to be expensive, think again. Or refer to an earlier post about why wedding photographers are expensive.

Why are wedding photographers so expensive?!

Have you ever wondered why wedding photographers are so expensive? Aren’t all they do is bring a large and expensive camera to the venue and press some 1000 times on the shutter button? It’s just too easy for them to charge $3000 for a one-day wedding when all they do is hang out there and edit some photos.

The fact that they are making so much money is just absurd.

 

Sounds familiar? Look no further. The answers to your long-time queries have been answered in this article

http://blog.nikkimaydayphotography.com/2012/01/26/why-wedding-photographers-prices-are-wack-erie-pa-wedding-photographer-response/

 

“Exposure” won’t buy you shit

Here is an short and interesting article about how some organisations try to get free images from hardworking and deserving photographers by enticing them with some “exposure” to their 10,000 clients and customer base.

http://benrobertsphotography.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/photography-students-and-recent-graduates-please-read-this/

I recall reading about this online, does it mean that your clients can forgo paying water and electricity bills just because they are from some non-profit organisations? Can they get “discounts” from the local photocopier? Come on, people still need to make a living!! And such organisations are destroying honest people’s livelihood by having the cheek to even think about that.

Stop saying you will give the photographer exposure through your publication by giving full credit. And stop giving out your work for peanuts or even for free. It degrades yourself and your work. Credit for images used is mandatory in the first place.

Processing and posting of Bhutan images

TP1111WZ03593

I will currently processing and editing images from my Bhutan trip as much as I can. Normally, quite a lot of time is spent on each image for the selection, adjustments of white balance, colour, cropping etc, but I will post each of them as I finish, like what is being done for the past few blog posts you can see here.

You can also find my works on Facebook | deviantART | Twitter | Blog.

Post processing – File-naming, storing and archiving your photographs

This post is a follow up to the previous article which addressed issues photographers face during renaming and storing their photographs in an effective and failproof way.

After figuring out how you should name your images, the storage part should be easy and straightforward. For instance, if your file naming convention goes something like TP1110WZ00001.NEF where “1110” refers to “Year 2011″ and “Month of October”, you could consider sorting your images in folders according to “Month”. For eg, TP1101, TP1102, TP1103 etc.

If you decide to name your files using only the “Year” as in TP2011WZ001.NEF, sorting in folders according to “Year” is another option.

To make locating images even more efficient, you could also consider adding some descriptive text to the folder names such as the event name for instance so that you can easily identify the content of each folder.

Post processing – Failproof file-naming system for storing, archiving and cataloguing all your photographs

One of the most common issues among photographers is the topic of how to name and store their images effectively. The main point here is to rename the images in a way such that:

1. All images will have a unique identification so as to eliminate any problems that may arise due to overlapping of filenames.

2. The naming system should cater to the volume of images the photographer takes comfortably without running out of names.
Consider the following file naming convention I use for my own images:
TP<YEAR><MONTH>WZ<SEQUENTIAL NUMBER>.NEF

For eg, TP1106WZ00023.NEF

 

Let me explain briefly how it works.

  • TP: Abbreviation of Truphotos.
  • <YEAR>: Expressed by the last 2 digits of the year when the image was taken. In this case, “11” is taken from “2011”.
  • <MONTH>: Expressed in 2 digits when the image was taken. For eg, January will read “01” and June will read “06”.
  • “WZ”: This alphabets were used to make it easier to differentiate the numerals for the <YEAR><MONTH> and the <SEQUENTIAL NUMBER>. In other words, ease of identification when vewing or searching for an image.
  • <SEQUENTIAL NUMBER>: Expressed as a 5-digit running number such as “00001” or “02324”. This depends on the total volume of images you produce in a month based on reasonable estimation. If you are absolutely sure your photographs will not exceed “9999” images a month, then you are fine with using 4 digits.

With this file-naming convention, you can easily see that every single image will have a unique filename and it will not overlap (unless we reach the year 2111 for instance), until the day when I decide to break a record by shooting my 100,000th image of course. That is why determining the <SEQUENTIAL NUMBER> for yourself is important.

If you are using Lightroom to rename your images like I do and require a running sequence number, use the “Image #” token. This automatically updates itself to the last number used and continues from there whereas “Sequence #” is useful for renaming files from a certain number onwards, without reference to the number of images imported. However, note that there is a bug in the Lightroom renaming function. You can read more about it here.

Following the above guidelines, you can customise it in many ways to suit your style. For eg, you could have something like “2011XX0001.NEF” if you prefer to sort only by the year, and making sure that your images taken in any year is less than 10,000.

For photographers who submit to stock or microstock sites and prefer to separate personal images from such images, you could consider having 2 systems with different abbreviations at the beginning, such as TP1110WZ00001.NEF (TP for Truphotos) and MS1110WZ001.NEF (MS for Microstock).

Japan Kanto Great Earthquake aftershock magnitude 7.4

The largest aftershock since the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on 11th March, Northeastern Japan was hit by another earthquake of magnitude 7.4 7th April 11.32 pm Japan time. This aftershock caused more electricity blackouts and could be felt as far as Aomori prefecture to the north and Tokyo to the South. A couple of people were found dead and at least a few hundred injured.

Camera giants, Canon and Sony, had plants shut down in the Tohoku region due to the quake. Sony provides sensors to Nikon. Nikon’s plants in the Northeast region were also shut down. It is expected that camera prices will continue to rise due to the shortage in electronic parts.

Status of Nikon Sendai plant and Nikon employees

It has been reported that 1 Nikon employee at the Sendai plant has been confirmed dead, and 3 others unaccounted for.

The Sendai plant (which manufactures FX bodies) is scheduled to be back in operation by the end of March, but other problems such as power shortages may prevent a return to full production. It is expected that there will be shortages in some Nikon products. Due to this issue, prices such as camera bodies and lenses are expected to rise.

Japan Kanto Great Earthquake – Water injected into Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant No. 3 reactor

Japan time: 9:48 am

As of 9:48 am Japan time today, 2 helicopters carrying an amount of 7.5 tonnes of water have started operations of injecting water into Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant No. 3 reactor to cool the reactor core.

This operation was scheduled to take place a day before, but was postponed at the last minute due to high radiation levels near the nuclear reactor.

Japan Kanto Great Earthquake – Explosion at reactor 2 and increase in radiation levels

Latest news report that there was an explosion at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor 2 this morning due to a loss of its cooling function. There was also a fire at reactor 4.

It was reported that the radiation levels measured around the reactor 3 reached as high as 400,000 microsieverts, equivalent to 400 millisieverts (mSv). Levels at reactor 4 was at 100 millisieverts (Sv). Residents are advised to stay at least a radius of 20-30km away from the plants.

Japan Kanto Great Earthquake (Sendai earthquake and tsunami) 11 March 2011

A massive earthquake took place off the coast of Japan near to Miyagi prefecture, measuring magnitude 8.9 and registering as the worst earthquake to happen in Japan in 140 years. Not only was Sendai in Miyagi prefecture badly hit, prefectures lying along the coast such as Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, and all the way down to Kagoshima suffered damages in terms of huge floods and lost of lives.

Sendai is a familiar name for users of Nikon equipment as it is one of the major manufacturers located in Japan.

Other prefectures lying further inland have no worries of being hit by any tsunami, but the massive tremors still managed to cause widespread damages to buildings and infrastructure.

As of now, 1500 are reported to be dead, and the number is expected to rise.

The most recent news reports of an explosion at one of the nuclear plants in Fukushima prefecture, the Fukushima 1 Nuclear Plant.

I sincerely hope for the return and safety of the people who are still missing. Our sympathy and support goes out to all those who have been impacted by this tragic event in any way.

Happy Lunar New Year 2011!

Truphotos would like to wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year 2011!

We hope that 2011 will be a year filled with health and happiness for everyone.

This image was taken at Chinatown during the Chinese New Year season. This old man was performing some Lunar New Year song on his Chinese musical instrument with shoppers strolling past and paying no heed to him. It so happened that 2 little kids was walking past and glanced curiously at the old man for a fraction of a second, creating an interesting composition.

Truphotos invited for gallery showcase at Imagenomic

Truphotos was recently invited to be an imagery contributor for a gallery showcase at Imagenomic’s online gallery. Imagenomic is the leading software developer for award-winning programs used in photo retouching and enhancement such as Portraiture and Noiseware.

Personally, I use Imagenomic’s excellent noise reduction processing program, the standalone Noiseware Professional Edition. I am in no way affliated to Imagenomic but this reflects my personal experience. I decided upon Noiseware after comparing and trying it out together with other offerings such as Neat Image and Noise Ninja.

In a nutshell, I find Noiseware to be fast, powerful and hassle-free, which are my main priorities. It is user friendly in the sense that I can achieve what I want, which is effective noise reduction with still retaining image detail. The choice of the Professional Edition lies in the fact that it supports ICC profiles, which is basically support for accurate and consistent colour reproduction.

Check out Truphotos’ online landscape and nature showcase gallery at Imagenomic.

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year!
A year has passed and I thank all readers for showing your support to Truphotos. I hope to offer more easy-to-understand tips and techniques in 2011 to help you improve on your photography and capture stunning images.

Follow Truphotos also on Facebook.

Official statement from Nikon regarding D7000 hot pixels issue

Today, Nikon issued an official announcement on the Nikon Japan’s website regarding the D7000 hot pixels issue which was discovered by some users and widely discussed in photography forums.

The following is the translation of the official statement on Nikon Japan’s website. Here is the original statement in Japanese.

“The issue of visible hot pixels appearing in videos taken in low light with the D7000 was brought to our attention from a handful of our customers. Although this issue will not cause problems from a practical standpoint, in order to achieve a greater level of customer satisfaction, we have decided to offer a firmware update to reduce such occurrences.


Details will be announced at a later date.


For any enquiries, please contact the Nikon Customer Support Centre.

We look forward to your continued patronage.”

I am not sure if a firmware update will be able to solve the problem completely, but it is good to see that Nikon is responding to its users’ feedback.

Main page updated

In case you have not noticed, we have updated the main page with some of our favourite collection of photos and also changed the existing slide show function to one which is easier and more intuitive to navigate. We hope you like to new look!

*Special postcards promotion!!*

For a limited period of time whilst stocks last, instead of 8 postcards all consisting of the same image, postcards are now available on mix-and-match! Select from the following images:

Minimum order of 8 postcards for $6 still applies.

To order for this promotion, please use the contact form to indicate the index number of the image shown above together with the number of postcards you require.

For example,

Image (1) – 4 pieces

Image (3) – 3 pieces

Image (4) – 1 piece

After receiving your order, we will reply to confirm and arrange for payment. Postcards will be sent by air and should take around one week for delivery.

Happy New Year 2010!

A very Happy New Year 2010 to all!

My New Year resolutions (as if they mattered in the first place):

1. Take part in the Youth Olympics in August

2. Get a Ultra Wide Angle (UWA)  lens (preferably a 12-24mm) or upgrade my camera body (preferably a D400 if it appears)

What are your new year resolutions?

Photos up!

I finally managed to upload a small section of photos after tedious work of adding titles and keywords. More will follow at a late date!

In the meantime, please visit the gallery for the images!

A home-made DIY flash bounce diffuser

DIY diffuser

Just managed to complete making a DIY diffuser. Went all the way down to Art Friend at Bras Basah for the materials:

  • White and black foam paper ($1/pc)
  • Velcro strips (~$5)

The above for less than $10! It’s definitely better than getting a “pro-looking” diffuser off the shelf for $90! At least I enjoyed myself making and fine-tuning it. Just in time to cover a friend’s wedding too!

The results are pretty good too. Refer to the following samples taken with the diffuser attached.

View more images taken with the DIY diffuser at Kennard and Tomoe’s solemnisation

Notice the diffused shadow under the bride's chin

After trying it out for some “real world” shots, I decided that this comes in very handy especially in open spaces where you need to light up relatively large areas for group photos, portrait shots etc. The good thing about this is that since the area of the light source is increased significantly, a larger area can be covered with more diffused light compared to just using SB-600 or SB-900 alone. Moreover, the material is soft foam, so you can be sure that the shadows will not be as harsh as direct light. All in all, a very satisfactory piece of accessory to standby in the camera bag.

Dry cabinet

I finally bought a dry cabinet for my photography equipment. I had been going without one ever since I bought my D60 in Japan, which was in March 2008! I read about how fungus damages the lens etc, but up till now, nothing has happened. Maybe I was lucky. Anyway, I finally bought a Digi-Cabi 60L and it should be delivered next week.