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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Geographic Photo Contest

Why not? Submit your photos for the contest and/or look for inspiration.


These photos have no artistic value but I JUST LOVE THEM, that's all.
To me a photo does not have to be perfectly composed but it must have IMPACT, invoke a sentiment, a feeling.

World's oldest captive manatee turns 61.
Lee Santiloi has been taking care of Snooty at South Florida Museum's Parker Manatee Aquarium for three years now. She has known Snooty since her childhood. "Every kindergartener comes here to see Snooty," she said. "I was terrified of him when he came up and wanted me to touch him. He looked like a monster to me. Now it's completely different. I loved him ever since."
See the photogallery about Snooty on FOX13:
The article:

Special Need Pets
Special need pets photo gallery-

BIRD PHOTOS- Born Into an Endangered Existence

INDIAN SHORES- Life on the Black Skimmers' colony on the beach is tough. Adults, the citizens of the largest colony in Pinellas County, scrape out small shallow nests and lay their eggs. The sand colored chicks and eggs face the predators-- gulls and crows. As the human population took over the beaches, these birds face even more danger.

Sad News- another newspaper dies in Pinellas

The community newspaper Barrier Islands Gazette died today. The last issue comes out today. I started to work for the paper as a photojournalist about a year ago. I am so sad to know that the paper we most put our heart and soul will no longer exist. I understand the owner's decision for closing down the paper. I will only remember how much this paper meant for the community. That's all.
It was a pleasure working with you all and thank you for what you did for the community.

Not in a Creative Mood

I guess I was just not in the creative mood yesterday at the Tampa Bay Strobist Groups event. Here are some photos about Ybor's hidden alleys. Maybe when I get back next time, I will do better.

Aperture and Shutter- The Basics

I just found a good website about camera basics:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009




These are some of my unedited landscape pictures I recently took. One of the pictures has a river in the background and rocks in the foreground. A better shot would have been a very low camera angle. One advice: shoot from different perspective/different camera angle.


Class Notes- thanks to Deb Wolfe.

The above mentioned settings are the “rule of thumb” only. PLEASE play with your settings while you are taking pictures. And don’t forget- a snapshot becomes a photo when it gets a different perspective.
Exposure is determined by SHUTTER SPEED and F-STOP (APERTURE) (and by ISO or ASA- the films peed but we get to that later).
ISO- the optimum setting for film speed is 200 but you can shoot from ISO 100 to 400. If you use ISO 400 or above the pixels in your picture start to fall apart. You choose ISO 100 if you want to take pictures in bright sunlight. In poor light, you must set your camera at the fastest ISO.
If you take photos in dark places you need a MONOPODS/TRIPOD.
Back to the exposure.

F-stop (notice the pattern)

Shutter speed

f/1.2- f/4 (BIG APERTURE/BIGGER OPENING OF THE LENS)- use these options for portraits (the subject is in focus, the background is blurred).
f/8- f 32 or more- higher f-stop numbers will bring the background in focus.
Slow shutter speed makes the background blurred.
High shutter speed (LITTLE APERTURE) freezes the action.
For portraits (SB in foreground in sharp focus, background blurred) use a small f-stop number (big aperture) and a shutter speed of at least 1/125 or 1/250, 1/500 etc.
For landscapes use larger f-stop numbers if you want to get foreground and background in sharp focus.
For sports photographs- select your shutter speed of at least 1/500 or 1/1000 of a sec. or higher ISO (to stop action). The closer you get to the moving subjects, the faster shutter speed should you select. If you take photos in poor light, select a higher ISO.
F 5.6- I use to do a close-up portrait of a player who has a moving ball coming towards him (or any other portraits you want to do where the SB is doing something).

Here are some of the examples:

You can now creatively select different settings to achieve your goal in photos.

More info on exposure:
Take a look at the diagram on
Shutter speed:
A good article about the camera basics:
Short Videos about the Camera Basics:

Monday, September 21, 2009


Sunday, September 20, 2009

On the Media Credibility

And we are back to the evergreen question about credibility. Even though I don't believe in the old teaching that "journalists must be objective," I still believe I can be objective if I set my own standards and stick to them.
If I can help it I do MINIMAL editing on my images- little cropping and maybe lighten them up. Therefore, as a photographer I have a hard life to publish my photos. I strongly believe that the editors should not repurpose a photograph because it is UNETHICAL towards the photographer and his subjects.

This would cause me to lose my head. For instance, if an editor would use one of my pictures out of context like it happened with David Hume Kennerly's photos about Dick Cheney cutting meat at a family dinner. Here is his response to the repurposing of his photos:
Bottom line, Kennerly went to shoot photos at a family dinner and the editors at Newsweek gave the photos a political connotation.
To me it is like rewriting someone's article totally.

Bottom line, Kennerly went to shoot photos at a family dinner, the subject(s) trusted him. BUT the editors at Newsweek gave the photos a political connotation and the subject may not trust the photographer anymore.

It shocked me more the newspaper's response to Kennerly. I thought I am dreaming after I read the vice president of corporate communications at Newsweek, Frank J. De Maria's statement. After all that's happening in the media industry now, there are media people who think the public and OTHER media people are dumb?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Controversial Images- Comments on the AP Photo about the Dying Marine

The AP photo of a wounded marine taken on Sept.4 caused a controversy. Please see some comments here:
We are back to the war photos of Robert Capa.
I think that we should look at all sides- the photographer's decision to take the photograph and the media outlet's decision to publish the photo (what photos did the media outlet choose not to publish before- photos of the coffins being brought back, photos about the Danish Muslim cartoons. Did that particular media outlet represent issues such as abortion, war etc from all perspectives?). One of the criticisms against the photographer, Julie Jacobson is that she was not "patriotic" when she took the photos. Since when does a journalist or photojournalist has to be patriotic to represent the truth?
You can read her view about publishing this photo here:
She said she wanted to portray the reality of the war. I think this should be a photographer or photojournalist's main concern: to show the real world and tell the truth. If Jacobson takes this this approach on all her photos, she is a REAL photographer.
I agree, taking pictures of dying and suffering people has been a controversial issue since Robert Capa’s time. But I would never agree to distort the reality and imply the war does not claim American casualties. After reading the article mentioned above, I also could read about the photographer’s intentions for taking the picture.
I believe, sometimes journalists have to put informing the public before anything else. Let's not forget, her purpose was to remind the tragedies of the war. So that the public does not forget the price Americans paid for freedom. Whether one agrees with the war the public has to know there are consequences. And they have the right to do something against it if they don't like it. For me, the image symbolizes the power of a photographer who dared to speak out and dared to show the other side of the war. A side that other media outlets avoid (see the controversy the images of the coffins has caused).
And by the way, the article does not mention the trauma of the photographers who shoot pictures of dead people, hungry kids, and sick old people?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Robert Follette's blog

Check out this blog because you can find out good info about the Rule of Thirds and other useful photography tricks.

Two special photo events coming soon

There are two events coming up that may be interesting to photo enthusiasts:

Two special photo events coming soon: Sam Abell and Geekfest

Thanks to freelance photojournalist and professor at USF, Debbie Wolfe who emailed me the info.

More photo contests!!!

Photo Contest on St. Pete Beach!!!!

Suntan’s call to artists

St. Pete Beach, FL: Suntan Art Center, located in the Don Vista Cultural Arts Building at 3300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, is putting out a call to all artists for their upcoming Open Awards Art Show. The show is open to all artists; entrance fees are $15 for Suntan members and $25 for non-members. Cash prizes will be awarded in three categories: 2-D, 3-D, and photography and artists are invited to submit one work of art in a variety of media such as painting, mixed media, photography, fiber, sculpture, etc. All entries should be submitted at the Don Vista Building on Friday, September 4th from 10:00am to 4:00pm or on Saturday, September 5th from 10:00am to 2:00pm. All submitted works will hang in the gallery from September 8th to October 2nd and there will be a opening reception held on September 12th. For more information, contact the Suntan Art Center at 363-2144.

Cool photo websites!

Learning photography- it depends on you!!!! You may find out photography is for you or not. Besides taking photojournalism 1 course, I suggest you find a photo group in your area. Check out the following sites for Tampa Bay:
This last one also has PHOTO CONTESTS!!!!!!! I strongly suggest you submit your photos to one of the contests (if you are interested in photography).

For those who want to learn more about photography I suggest they join forums where they can get answers and have their photos critiqued or just look around on some websites. I found useful info on the following sites:

Bert Stephani's site

Photo techniques from Bert:

About portrait photography:

About digital Photography:

Digital Photography Course:

About night photography:

Take a look at these sites, pick out a couple of photographers and follow them: