Ever since I posted the Nose Hill Park video on my YouTube channel (scroll down to watch it right here in the previous news post, or click/tap over to my projects page), I’ve been bursting with creative ideas. I have also acquired new creative tools since then that will help me achieve some of these artistic goals (one of which I write about in the Nose Hill Park entry). This is going to be a long post...
The burning question
Is there, or will there be, a sequel to the Hawkish 2.0 project? As I write this, I will tell you not to expect such a thing... at this moment... However
, one of the exciting things that has been happening this summer is the return of our family of Swainson’s hawks including 2 juveniles, and near endless opportunities to capture those moments. You can check out some of the early photos on my Instagram: grafxbylisa on Instagram
When the hawks returned this year and I was stuck using our little Canon Powershot (because the optical zoom, and sometimes the digital zoom was better than my 55-250mm lens), I knew I had to get a proper lens. One of the most exciting things for me recently is to finally have upgraded my photography gear by investing in a new telephoto lens for my aged, yet very capable Canon Rebel T2i camera (bought it new in 2010). And now I own it: Sigma Contemporary 150-600mm telephoto zoom lens
I did a lot of research and read some very detailed reviews before buying this lens. It wasn’t going to be cheap investment but it was absolutely going to be more affordable than a comparable Canon lens (3 to 4 times the price). And what do ya know, the sales guy at the camera store (Steve at Saneal Camera, Market Mall, Calgary - very knowledgeable guy, pay him a visit) owns and uses this lens, and so does the fellow I met at the Bird Sanctuary last weekend while we were photographing the osprey. Real world people using the same lens, and loving it.
I should also mention that the Sigma lens is a beast - it is solid and heavy. I had it less than a day when I realized that Steve wasn’t kidding when he said the tripod I had wasn’t going to cut it when using the lens (which is so big it has it’s own tripod mount). I went back the very next day and bought the Manfrotto Element tripod he recommended.
Ever since I’ve been seriously researching photography in general and trying to understand the different types of lenses and accessories you can use, one of the things I didn’t quite have knowledge of but realized I would absolutely be able to use (thanks again to Steve for clearing that up for me) were extension tubes. They can be used with the new lens but for practical purposes, I am probably just going to use them with my 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses. In 2 days I spent a little over $2000 CDN but I know I made the right purchases.
In order to use any tool, there is a learning curve. Not only do I have to learn about the lens but photography in general. I’m just now finally learning, and thankfully understanding how to use a DSLR - aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure, etc.. It only took me 8 years to understand the potential of the tool I already had. Practice, practice, practice, and having fun doing it.
Speaking of tools
Capturing the moment(s) with a camera is one thing... knowing how to make those sometimes not quite perfect images really shine is another. The first way to do this is to shoot your photos in RAW vs JPG/JPEG. While shooting in RAW won’t help you fix a photo that is out of focus, it will certainly give you much more flexibility in post, especially if your image is slightly over or underexposed. The downside to shooting in RAW - file size. On average, the file sizes are around 80mb... your standard JPG is around 5mb. Needless to say, I’m on the hunt for a decent external hard drive to store all of that RAW goodness.
Another purchase for my iPad Pro (2nd gen) - Affinity Photo. Since I want to do as much as possible on my iPad without having to be stuck at my desktop doing any editing or design or website-related work, I really really wanted an app that would truly be comparable to Photoshop. Affinity Photo for iOS is exactly that - a robust image editing tool, for RAW images too! Just another practical tool in my creative arsenal and worth every cent.
Streamlining my Instagram
I had this great idea not that long ago, that making “big pictures” on my Instagram profile was a pretty awesome thing. I realize now that it isn’t such a great idea after all. For one thing, when you do that constantly, as I was almost daily, you are essentially spamming your followers with partial, incomprehensible images. For nearly 2 months now, I have limited that big picture concept to a 3 image group post.
But some of those posts still had partial images that unless people know to tap on your profile, they would never see the full image and would simply pass on it. And so, for the last 2 weeks, I have created single image posts that are still part of a more subtle big picture. Even during these 2 weeks, I have been experimenting with different ways to “frame” those images so that if someone does tap on my profile, they will see a pattern of continuity. Two days ago, I settled on a framing style that showcases that image layout in an individual but connected way. I’ll be tweaking that as I go along.
I’m considering an updated video version of how I create my Instagram posts and other design ideas. Starting with taking the picture, to post, to creating the framed style layout, to researching the subject of the image, to posting on Instagram, or elsewhere. A lot has changed since my last “how I do it” video. Do you want to know how I do all of it?
Be sure to check back in the coming weeks for an additional section on my website dedicated to photography and my creative process.
What about new music? For now, I’m using my current released repertoire in my projects. Will I make more? As I’ve mentioned previously, I do have a few unfinished songs to work with. My biggest hurdle to further music creation is time. I am working to make / edit / post a better line of Instagram and video projects and this takes up a lot of my spare time. This however, is not my day job. I have a life and responsibilities outside of creating. Making music will
have it’s moment and this is where you will learn about it.