BTL: Street Performer in Las Vegas

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There are many things to see in Las Vegas. Some of the more interesting are the street performers. Some of these characters have some interesting talent. While I was in Las Vegas for a conference I was hired to film, I spent a couple of evenings walking around. One night, I photographed a series of long exposure photographs on the strip of Las Vegas. In front of the Belagio Hotel and Casino, there was this street performer who seemed to be sitting in mid air. He had a crowd of people around him trying to figure out how he was doing it. There didn’t seem to be anything that would hold him up or keep him balanced. My thoughts are that his staff went into a hole in the ground. I did not return during the day to see if in fact I was correct, but upon inspection of some of my photos, it was all that made sense to me. The one thing that stuck out to me was how still he was being. He didn’t move at all. I have never seen someone sit so still before. This led me to wanting to include him in a long exposure photograph. I felt that the image would look cool with the lines the lights of cars would produce behind him. Las Vegas is a bright place. With just about everything being lit somehow, long exposure photography would become hard because when you take a long exposure photo, a lot of light is able to hit …

BTL: Capturing my Daughters Birthday with my Smartphone

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Not every photo has to be taken with high priced gear. You don’t even have to have top of the line equipment to get great photos. This photo is a good example of that. I captured this photo using my iPhone and the Sony QX30. The Sony QX30 is a camera that uses your smartphone as the viewfinder. You also use the phone to control the manual settings on the camera. Though the QX30 does not have full manual mode, it does have Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes, which is pretty close to manual. The QX30 turns my smartphone into a camera capable of shooting in just about any condition. I know that I can get decent photos using my iPhone 6 Plus so long as the lighting in the room is decent, but my iPhone can notĀ capture a photo I would deem worthy of printing and putting up in our home. This is why I often default to using my DSLR for all situations, but DSLR cameras are large and you can’t easily share photos from them to social media. Not yet anyway. The lighting for this photo was only window light from across the room. It was about 9:30 in the morning when I took this photo and the sun was actually on the other side of our house so the light coming through the the windows was not that bright. Below is a photo of the windows so you can get an idea of the lighting. My daughter was facing the windows …

BTL: My Son on the Dock in Newport Beach

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This is one of my favorite photos I have taken of my second child. I captured this photo while we were on vacation in Newport Beach in 2013. He was 17 months old at this time. He was sitting on the steps of the dock and I just happened to have my camera in hand. I walked right up to him and said, “hey buddy.” He looked up at me, smiled and I took the photo. The sun was low as it was less than 30 minutes from sunset. The sunset was actually behind me but it was blocked by houses. To compensate for the fact that the sun was not out and shining at that point, I increased my ISO and opened the aperture wide. This also gave the photo a nice shallow depth of field, which I believeĀ helps draw your eyes to him. A shallow depth of field puts everything in the background out of focus. You can see that in this photo, though the furthest point of the background is not far away, it is out of focus. I made sure to quickly focus on his eyes using back button focus rather than allowing my camera to focus as I pressed the shutter down (I will post a tutorial on back button focus soon). I have missed focus so many times by allowing the camera to focus as I press down the shutter button, especially when I needed to capture the photo fast before the moment had passed. I kept the shutter speed …