November 30, 2007



Last week I did a poll on what subject you would be most interested to hear my opinion about. The majority wanted to know on "Finding your own style" ([link]). Here are some pointers on that.
General thoughts
Photography has been here for a very long time. Every category in photography already been tried, most places have been photographed, portraits have been done, special techniques, weather… So what do we still find exiting and unique?
The answer is not in "what's being said", rather in "the way we say it". It's not the subject of the photo, rather the way we take it, show it, make our own definition of it. If you group 20 photographers in one scene, all having the same cameras, you will still get many different photos. On the other hand, you can tell which photo is who's just by looking at a photo – recognize the style. I have to say that finding your style is not a process you are aware to. It happens while doing photography and you suddenly find you have your own "trademark". Still, we can grow awareness by simply helping ourselves in the process.
A short story
Alex Libak, a photographer I look up to told once he was sent from his newspaper to a bonus photography course abroad. He was already a successful photographer so he thought he would do it just for the trip. In the first lesson the lecturer put 3 eggs on the table. He asked each of the students to take a picture of the 3 eggs. Nothing more, and nothing less. By this point Alex was really skeptical on what he has to learn from this. In the second lesson each photographer had to show his photographs of the 3 eggs. Alex was amazed to see each one of the students did it completely different. One played with shadows, one did a strange crop, one did a play of depth of field… each one had a different point of view. That was a lesson in modesty. There is room for different point of view, different style, no matter how good of a photographer you are.
Looking for your style
The first thing is to search for something that can be defined as your style. For that you need to do mainly two things –
1. Shoot a lot of spontaneous shots
2. Look at a lot of photography by others, and get inspired.
Think differently, Be different
ok, you take a lot of pictures, still you don't know if you have a style and what is it.
That's normal. Now it's time to challenge yourself. You see a tree and you have already taken pictures of trees before. Now, you try to do it differently. Maybe angle? exposure? filter? point of view? depth of field? It doesn't matter – it just have to be different than anything you tried before. You have to challenge yourself again and again. If you let yourself be a cliché, you won't find your own point of view.
While experimenting like that, with the help of the inspiration you get from other photos you see and like, you will be drawn to a certain point of view, that is unique to you. You are now different.
Experiment with different categories of photography
You know what you like to see (portraits, nature, street, landscape, still life, fashion). Are you sure this is what you want to shoot as well?
You have to try a little of each category. That's what a skillful photographer has to do. Maybe while trying a macro shot you will stumble upon a different point of view relating to something that really speaks to you? You can never know. Finding your style means searching and searching and searching.
After a while of doing that, you will feel comfortable with certain categories. That will probably be a part of later will be – your style.
Your opinion is a part of your style
I'm a true believer that art is all about expression. Expression is an opinion. You don't have to give answers, just raise the questions. After you look at things differently, you need to think of what the photo you take represents, what thought will run through the viewers head watching the photo. It's a part of your style – what your photo expresses.
You won't even know you have a style
Style is defined by time. You can't find something fresh right away. You need to find the box in order to think out of it, "out of the box". After a while, you will get outside feedback from others that can see your signature in your work. You will be wise to ask and investigate what do they mean. It's not alway defined, but it's worth trying to figure it out.
Technique and presentation
That's the package, but it's just as important. Finding those things you focus on. The way you compose your work, The way you crop it, special filters you use, flipping the pictures, reflections, B&W, a color theme, patterns, scales, silhouettes, long exposures… all those can be defined as styles if they repeat themselves in your work
To sum it up
Style is in other words – you.
You can't be unique until you are able to escape what you grasp as "normal". You will be simply doing "more of the same" until you challenge yourself to find your personal statement. Even then you need to keep on experimenting to do "fine tunning" on it. Style is something that changes, and still stays you. Think of the photographers you like… can you define a certain style in their work? I bet you can.
The wonderful thing about personal style is that People will recognize your work like recognizing your face in a crowd. Your photography becomes you. You are now a unique artist.
For my full journal on it, and past tutorials -> [link]
Now, I invite you to take a look with me, at 10 of my favorites Under my weekly spotlight

Gilad's Journal

That's a different point of view. Shooting nature shots is one thing, shooing them like that is unique. Mood and atmosphere is captured in a brilliant way using very shallow depth of field, the subject (crows) match the B&W perfectly.

Total views up to now: 621
Total Favorites up to now: 187

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Playing with light. Working patiently with a flashlight and long exposure, instead of a simple flash makes all the difference. Creative technique to match the idea.

Total views up to now: 63
Total Favorites up to now: 7

Gilad's Journal

The texture, color, composition.
A simple scene becomes special and interesting to the eye. Becomes art.
And let me just add that the title fits very well.

Total views up to now: 108
Total Favorites up to now: 14

Gilad's Journal

Very unique. Shooting a white rabbit in that background made this very pleasing to the mind and eyes. Almost a 3D render.

Total views up to now: 198
Total Favorites up to now: 50

Gilad's Journal

Illustration of beauty and nature. The human and the world around him. The silhouette makes it perfect as a symbol, and the B&W is simply perfect.

Total views up to now: 182
Total Favorites up to now: 25

Gilad's Journal

This is surreal. You take a minute to examine this frame, and it simply takes your imagination out of this world. A flooded playground is something you don't see everyday, and seeing a kid in the middle of it is even more surprising. I don't know what post processing was done here, and I simply don;t want to know…

Total views up to now: 150
Total Favorites up to now: 19

Gilad's Journal

Great urban shot, using a different point of view on architecture to show "the key to the city". Creative and very well composed.

Total views up to now: 76
Total Favorites up to now: 15

Gilad's Journal

There is a lot of nudity on DA. A little too much, if you ask me.
Once in a while you see a very original nude shot, that actually fits the category "Artistic Nude". This is a wonderful example of what I mean. Not just the shape, but the creative way to show and play with it.

Total views up to now: 301
Total Favorites up to now: 31

Gilad's Journal

How adorable.. Animals are easy to fall in love with. When they are photographed in the wild, even more. When they are being photographed like that.. it's irresistible to ignore

Total views up to now: 149
Total Favorites up to now: 35

Gilad's Journal

And finishing off this weekly ten with a breathtaking landscape.
Moraine Lake in Canada must be a breathtaking place, no doubt. Watching it in a well taken photograph is a real pleasure. The composition, exposure, clarity.. wow.

Total views up to now: 244
Total Favorites up to now: 40

Gilad's Journal

It's amazing to see how much beauty and quality is passed un-noticed here in all one week. I hope that more great work will get noticed here. It's up to us. Use the comments favorites power to support the un-noticed.

Keep supporting!

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November 27, 2007

Live Long Your Memory Cards

Memory cards are the lifeline of digital cameras, so it’s imperative to prolong their life as much as you can. Below are some things you can do to accomplish just that. Read on!

Avoid Deleting Images One at a Time

The more you reduce the number of erase cycles, the longer your memory card will live to store your pictures. In other words, it’s better to erase all of your images at one time after uploading them to your computer, instead of deleting them one at a time. Similarly, the fewer times you add or remove data to your card, the better off it will be. Deleting images from your card while the card is still in your camera can actually prolong its life quite a bit.

Safely Remove Hardware

When your camera is hooked up to your computer, make sure you use the Safely Remove Hardware option in your system tray to remove the card, card cialis offer reader or camera. If you don’t do this, you could not only damage the card, but also lose the data stored on it.

Remove Images Before the Card Gets Full

Some cards can behave in peculiar ways. If you fully load the cards with images, you'll increase the likelihood of the card malfunctioning. Therefore, it’s best to regularly remove the images from your cards and store them on your computer or burn them to a CD, rather than waiting until they are full.

Reformat Cards at Regular Intervals

Since memory cards don’t have a defragging system like you have on your computer, the best way to keep them in optimum condition is to reformat them once every few days. This will wipe out any data, images, file names, etc. on the card and it will set it up fresh for your camera. Now, how many times you need to do this depends on your usage patterns. If you use your camera frequently, you should reformat it at least once a week. If you use it infrequently, once a month should do. Ideally, it’s advisable to reformat your cards every time you download all of your images onto your computer. One more thing: formatting the card in your camera, rather than someone else’s, helps, especially if the other camera is of a different make than yours. In cases when you do reformat your cards on another camera, make sure you reformat it again on your camera after you have all of the images saved on your computer.

Power Off Before Removing the Card

For those of you who read your camera's user manual, this tip isn’t new. But, to those who don't, please note that it’s best to switch off your camera before removing the memory card to either replace it with another one or to use it on a card reader to download the images. Either way, it’s best to do this when the voltage fluctuation is kept at bay.

Update When Needed

Manufacturers are always fine tuning camera software and fixing several bugs along the way. Therefore, it’s important to keep tabs on those updates to keep your camera up to date with any fixes for errors or problems that are identified with a camera. Some of these can relate to the camera’s interaction with the memory card.

Keep Your Batteries in Optimum Condition

If your batteries die on you, that could result in card errors. This usually happens when an image is not fully written to a card. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep an eye on the battery power and either recharge them or change them over for a fresh set before they completely run down.

Don’t Switch Off Too Soon After the Shoot

When you're taking pictures at a constant clip (this is particularly true when using the "burst" or "continuous shooting" mode), make sure you don’t switch off your camera too soon after the shoot, because you could lose your images and even find yourself with a system error. Cameras need time to write all of the data you’ve taken to the memory card. If you’ve taken numerous images very quickly, your camera will be buffering those images and that requires some time. Some high-end cameras continue to buffer even after they are switched off, but that's not the case for every camera.

Store Cards Properly

This goes without saying, but some people do abuse their cards by not storing them properly. If you are not using your cards for a long period of time, it’s best to store them in a plastic casing to give that extra layer of protection. Also, make sure you keep them away from liquids and extreme temperatures. And yes, don’t drop, bend or puncture them. It’s best not to expose them to electromagnetic currents as well.

Here's to a long and prosperous life for your memory cards!

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November 26, 2007

What Grammar Rules Are You Using?

Have you ever found yourself wondering about the rules MS Word is using to make its grammar recommendations when you check your documents?

Ever wish you had a little peek into the madness behind it all?

Wish you could tell Word to stop checking a few things that just drive you crazy?

If any of this sounds familiar, read on to take a look into the grammar rules used to check your documents.

In older versions of Word, you need to start with the Tools menu, Spelling and Grammar choice.

At the bottom of the Spelling and Grammar window, click the Options button.

This will take you to the Spelling and Grammar tab.

In Word 2007, you can get there directly through the Office Button, Word Options button, Proofing choice.

Once there, you can select and deselect a variety of options. One to pay attention to is the Writing Style choice.

Using the drop down list, you can choose to have Word check either the "Grammar Only" or "Grammar & Style."

Interested in what the specific differences are between the two choices?

No problem!

Click the Settings button.

The Grammar Settings window will open, displaying the choices for Grammar checks.

When you select "Grammar Only," you only get the grammar portion of the list. In contrast, the "Grammar & Style" choice will have items from both parts of the list selected. (Notice that you can toggle between the two Writing Style choices at the top of the window, allowing you to easily compare the two).

Scroll through the list.

You're free to check or uncheck items as you see fit.

When you're done, click OK and then OK again. cialis normal dose (If you're in an older version of Word, you'll also have to close the Spelling and Grammar window).

That's it! You now know where to find Word's control over the Grammar check. It looks like it's time to customize and make it your own!

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November 22, 2007

The BIG Keyboard Shortcut List

What exactly is the allure of keyboard shortcuts? Do they really save time? I mean, why bother if your mouse is permanently attached to your hand, right?

Well, I like to use keyboard shortcuts quite a bit, especially if someone is watching me, because they make me look like a pro! With just a few key strokes, I can leave a mouse spinning his wheel. So, whatever your motivation, here's a big list of keyboard shortcuts for you to try out. I hope you enjoy them!

General Shortcuts

ALT + F4 – Quit a program/Shut down.

ALT + TAB – Hold down the ALT key and hit the Tab key to cycle through open windows.

CTRL + ESCAPE – Display the Start menu.

SHIFT + TAB – Tab backward through a form.

CTRL + X – Cut

CTRL + C – Copy

CTRL + V – Paste

F1 – Help menu

CTRL + Z – Undo

SHIFT & Restart – To restart just Windows and not your whole computer, hold down the Shift key when you click the OK button on the shutdown screen. This will save you a lot of time.

CRTL + TAB – Navigate tabs on a tabbed screen.

File and Desktop Shortcuts

Hold SHIFT while inserting a CD – Prevents the CD from "autorunning."

If an item is selected:

CTRL while dragging a file copies the file.

CTRL + SHIFT while dragging a file creates a shortcut to the file.

SHIFT + DELETE – Deletes an item without sending it to the Recycle Bin.

ALT + ENTER – Display a file's properties.

F2 – Rename a file.

In Windows Explorer:

LEFT ARROW – Collapse the current selection if it's expanded.

NUM LOCK + MINUS SIGN ( – ) – Collapse the selected folder.

NUM LOCK + PLUS SIGN ( + ) – Expand the selected folder.

RIGHT ARROW – Expand the current selection if it is collapsed or select the first subfolder.

NUM LOCK + * (asterisk sign) – Expand all folders below the current selection.

F6 cialis no prescription – Switch between left and right panes.

In My Computer:

BACKSPACE – View the folder one level up.

ALT + RIGHT ARROW – Move forward to a previous view.

ALT + LEFT ARROW – Move backward to a previous view.

Internet Browser Shortcuts

For Internet Explorer 6 (may work in older versions as well):

Open History Window Ctrl + H

Internet Explorer Only

Open Favorites Bar Ctrl + I

A faster way to type in addresses with Internet Explorer is to just type in the name of the site:

For example, just type "worldstart" into your address bar and hit Ctrl + Enter. The "http://www." and the ".com" parts will be added for you!

Windows Key Shortcuts

The Windows key can be used in conjunction with other keys to act as a keyboard shortcut for faster access to menu commands. Now, while the Alt key tends to open program menus (for example, Alt + F opens the File menu and Alt + E opens the Edit menu) and the Ctrl key performs actual operations (such as Ctrl + C will copy and Ctrl + V will paste), the Windows key will open various Windows tools.

Win key + R will open the Start menu's Run box.
Win key + F will open the Start menu's Find window.
Win key + E will quickly launch Explorer.
Win key + Pause/Break will open the System Properties window.
Win key + M will Minimize all open windows.
Win key + Shift + M will undo the minimize of all open windows.
Win key + D will switch between minimizing all open programs and showing them all.
Win key + Tab will cycle through items on the taskbar.

The Windows key by itself will open the Start menu.

You can also open programs or folders on your desktop by pressing the Windows key + the first letter of the program/folder/shortcut + Enter. Sounds kind of tedious, but if you're in a bind with your mouse, it can come in quite handy!

Arrow Tricks

Here's a cool little arrow trick to try with word processing programs. The next time you're using your arrow keys to go from one area of a sentence to another (left and right arrows), hold down your Ctrl key. Instead of moving one space at a time, you'll go one word at a time.

If you're using the up and down arrows to go from line to line, holding down the Ctrl key will make your cursor jump from paragraph to paragraph (well, from carriage return to carriage return anyway).

One last thing: If you hold down the Shift key while you do this (for instance, hold down Shift + Ctrl at the same time), you select text as you arrow along.

I've tested this in MS Word and Wordpad, but it should work no matter what word processing program you use.

Home/End Key Fun

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through a huge folder? Well, if you need to get to the beginning or the end quickly, just press Ctrl + Home. If you want to get to the end, click Ctrl + End.

And hey, that's not all!

This little trick works on more than just folders. If you use the Home key in a word processor, it goes to the beginning of the line you're currently working on. If you hit the End key, it should head to the end of the current line. If you pair Home and End up with the Ctrl key in a word processor, you will be whisked away to the beginning or end of the document. Again, this should work, but it depends on your word processing program.

Wow, that should be enough to keep you busy for awhile. Have fun!

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November 21, 2007

Capturing the Sun

Sunsets and sunrises. They're two plain words, but in photography, they assume huge significance when you realize it’s not such an easy thing to capture them on your memory chip. They usually turn out to be too over exposed or too under exposed. Or, even worse, the timing can be all wrong. Well, here are a few tips you can follow that can help you take stunning sunset and sunrise photos. After all, no good travel photo album is complete without them. Here we go!

Plan For It

Most times, we take pictures by default. The sunset just happened to be there and you just aimed your camera and took the picture. But, this is where we go wrong most of the time. It’s important to think ahead. Not that sunrise and sunset shots can’t be taken spontaneously, but the best ones come from a little planning. First of all, scope out the places that might be good for sunsets a day or two before your shoot. Look for interesting places where you might not only be able to see the sun track all the way down, but where there will be opportunities for shots that include foreground elements and silhouettes.

It's also good to find out when the sun will set or rise and get there at least half an hour beforehand. The real magic usually happens around that time. Keep an eye on the weather as well. There are a variety of different types of sunsets that produce a range of different types of lights and patterns in the sky. Don’t just go for clear days for these shots. I mean, while they can produce some wonderful colors, it’s usually the times when there are clouds around that the real action happens. Also, be aware of days when there is dust or smoke in the air, as they can produce amazing results too!

Try Different Angles

Shoot at a variety of focal lengths. Wide angles can create sweeping landscape shots, but if you want the sun itself to be the feature of the shot, you’ll want to be able to zoom right in. Keep in mind that the sun is just half a degree across, so when you shoot with a wide lens, it will only be taking up a reasonably small part of the photo. If you want it to be a feature of your shot, you’ll need to zoom in on it, using anything from a 200mm lens upwards. That will increase your need for a tripod as well.

Use Silhouettes

As with all photos, sunsets need a point of interest and one of the best ways to add one to a picture is to try to incorporate some sort of silhouette into the shot. This could be something large, such as a mountain range, something that is part of the environment, like a palm tree, a pier or it could even be a person. The great thing about silhouettes is they add mood and context to a sunset or sunrise shot.

Keep Your Subject Off Center

Remember the rule of thirds when photographing sunrises and sunsets. While you can always break the rule, it’s often a good idea to place elements, such as the horizon, sun, silhouettes, etc. off center.

Carry the Right Equipment

When you are out shooting sunrises and sunsets, carry extra batteries and lenses that will give you a range of focal lengths. And not to mention, a tripod. If you’re shooting at longer shutter speeds and with longer focal lengths, a tripod or some other way of ensuring your camera is completely still is essential.

Use Manual Focus

Sometimes when shooting in extreme lighting conditions, some cameras can have trouble focusing. If this is the case with your camera, consider switching to a manual focus to ensure you get nice, crisp shots.

Wait For Your Shot

Whenever you're on your shoot, look around you. This will not only make you more observant, but you will see things you hadn’t noticed earlier. The wonderful thing about sunsets is they not only create wonderful colors in the sky right in front of you, but they can also cast a beautiful golden light that is wonderful for other types of photography. As the sunset progresses, keep an eye on other opportunities for shots around you (not just in front of you). You may find a great opportunity for a portrait, landscape shot, macro shot, etc. You just never know!

Don’t Give Up

A cialis news sunset or sunrise constantly changes over time and can produce great colors well after the sun goes down or appears, so keep shooting at different exposures and focal lengths until you’re sure it’s all over.

Have fun capturing the sun!

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