Vinh’s Photography Adventure Vlog Episode 02

I was at Jackson Street Bridge around 4:00 AM to take some photos of Atlanta Skyline. It was rainy and cold, but I got a few photos.

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Lightroom 4 Photo Fun – Vietnamese 2013 New Year, Year Of Snake, Random Shots

Vietnamese 2013 New Year, Year of Snake, Sneak Peek Photo

Vietnamese 2013 New Year, Year of Snake, Sneak Peek Photo

Yesterday was an eventful day for me.  Drove my mom to a Buddhist temple to celebrate a Vietnamese New Year (2013 — a year of snake).  Took some photos there.  When we left the Buddhist temple, we witnessed the aftermath of a freak car accident on a highway.  A car was burned to crisp, but before that a flame was engulfed the car, ejecting huge plume of smoke up high into the air.  Another car was flipped upside-down with broken glasses.  Furthermore, I think there was a third car which involved with this accident, but I’m not sure.  Anyhow, I took some photos of the accident with my HTC 8x smartphone camera.  Luckily, I also remembered I had Nikon D3200 with me and so I used it to capture the accident scene some more.  Unfortunately, I could only capture the burning car with engulfing flame on HTC 8X smartphone camera, because by the time I got my Nikon D3200 out the firefighter had arrived onto the scene and blocked up the view and did what they had to in putting out the flame.  Anyhow, as usual, in post production, I retouched the photos I took on February 10th of 2013 with Lightroom 4, and now these photos are on Flickr for you all to see.  Enjoy ’em photos by going to EndlessBit.com (my photo blog) or just view the slideshow right after the break.

Lightroom 4 Photo Fun – My Sister Posing For Some Facebook Profile Photos

My Sister Posing For Some Facebook Profile Photos

My Sister Posing For Some Facebook Profile Photos

My sister wanted some new photos for her Facebook profile.  We tried to use her point and shoot camera, but them photos turned out to be rather bad and dark.  Luckily I got my Nikon D3200 DSLR, and so her photos turned out to be stellar.  Unfortunately, I don’t own a flash yet, therefore I could only rely on the ambient light when taking her pictures.  Luckily I got Lightroom 4, and so I was able to manipulate the light within Lightroom 4 to my desire.  Anyhow, check her photos out if you want.  Enjoy!!!  You can also visit EndlessBit.com to enjoy all the photos that I took in the past!

What About Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera? (Personal Experience)

Video Basics with DSLRs: Lighting a Scene @ ME...

Video Basics with DSLRs: Lighting a Scene @ MEDIA ARTS Center San Diego (Photo credit: MACSD)

Got to play with my Nikon D3200 DSLR camera for couple weeks already, and so I made a video to describe my personal experience with it.  The truth is that I’m a brand new DSLR camera user, and so D3200 DSLR camera would be my very first DSLR camera ever.  Nonetheless, with D3200 DSLR camera, I think I will go far with photography in general.  So, don’t be shy and check out my video right after the break, OK?

DSLR Versus Smart Phone Cameras

With the influx of ready to go cameras that are being bundled with almost every smart phone out there, one has to wonder why do we even need a DSLR camera.  To tell the truth, even a compact DSLR camera feels heavy when holding, as we compare it to a smart phone.  Nonetheless, we have to be honest to ourselves when we want to get serious about taking photos, because any DSLR camera probably offers a lot more features and higher image qualities than any camera which melted with a smart phone.

For an example, with a DSLR camera that sports different types of lens, one can totally apply such lens to one’s “heart’s content” when it comes to being artful with taking photos.  Each type of lens is unique in a sense that it’s designed for specific photography task.  One can say, the len which allows users to zoom way in or way out is unique.  Furthermore, special lens might allow camera users to apply special effects even before the special effect features within the camera kick in, and a good example of this would be a len which allows the camera user to apply fisheye photographic effect.  With lens that allow a camera user to zoom way in, one can see the benefit of such lens as a camera user can totally manipulate the settings within the camera to take great closeup photos.  How about applying bokeh effect right at the moment of taking a photo?  Yes, with a right len and settings within a DSLR camera, bokeh effect can be applied right at the moment of taking pictures, saving one’s time from not having to apply bokeh effect through the usage of a photo editing software.  Beyond lens, many DSLR cameras have the benefit of allowing camera users to use sport mode when taking pictures, and this allows camera users to shoot consecutive pictures in the heat of the moment — capturing things that are in motion.  Sure, many point and shoot cameras do have this feature too, but I don’t think there is any camera that came with a smart phone can do the same thing.

Just as there are many great advantages of having to use a DSLR camera, there are as many disadvantages of having to use a DSLR camera too.  Carrying a DSLR camera around feels like you’re wearing a chain when it hangs around your neck.  When taking many pictures in a session, the holding arm can get really tired.  The holding arm can get really shaky if one does not know how to steady the DSLR camera in a correct holding posture.  One cannot hide a DSLR camera in a pocket, therefore one might also have to drag around a backpack or a huge camera bag.  Within a camera bag, there might be some oversized lens to accompany the DSLR camera, and this adds more weight to the already cumbersome DSLR camera.  Most DSLR cameras tend to be more expensive than point and shoot cameras and smart phones.  Indeed, the list for the negative things that associate with using a DSLR camera can be quite long, but one has to wonder why somebody is crazy enough to choose a DSLR camera over those super light, easy to pocket, cameras that melted with smart phones?

I think it’s all about how serious one wants to be when taking photos.  I experience this first hand!  Taking photos with a DSLR camera, it feels a lot more serious.  With a DSLR camera on hand, for some strange reasons my brain tells me that I better get really serious about composing my shots.  Perhaps, this seriousness derives from the variety of choices and features that a DSLR camera can offer.  Obviously, with so much features and choices, it’s a lot harder to use a DSLR camera than the one that melted with my iPhone 5.  Nonetheless, it feels great when I compose a shot that isn’t overexposed or underexposed.  It feels like you’re actually taking real photos when the shots you compose right there on the camera, in the heat of the moment, turn out to be just right.  How do you know when you have the right shots?  Most if not all DSLR cameras do come with some sort of screen to let you quickly preview of what you had captured.

With all that seriousness when using a DSLR camera, one has to wonder is it all worth it?  I guess it all depends on how one views the benefits of having a specific type of camera.  In my personal opinion, I rather use a favorable DSLR camera over the cameras that melted with those smart phones.  How come?  I think in most situations, if a person knows how to use a DSLR camera correctly, image quality might be a lot better than otherwise.  With my iPhone 5 camera, I cannot really compose the shots that I want.  For an example, I cannot zoom in too close, because the iPhone 5 camera introduces tons of noise into the image when I zoom in.  Sure, my DSLR camera can also introduce noise, but it’s considerably less than my iPhone 5 camera in most situations.  With my DSLR camera, I can zoom in a lot closer than my iPhone 5 camera, and yet I barely notice noise in the background.  I think lens make a big difference in the world of photography.  Without the right lens, the shots you want to compose would be impossible.  For an example, even with only a general 50mm len, I can definitely zoom in much closer than my iPhone 5 camera.

Besides the seriousness and the craziness of having to use a DSLR camera, it’s a lot of fun when composing shots with a DSLR camera.  Albeit, it’s also very frustrating when one does not right away know what settings a DSLR camera needs to be set at in certain unique photo sessions (i.e., in a unique environment when the lighting can be tricky), I think the fun outweighs the frustration in the end.  With that being said, one can just let go the frustrations when using a DSLR camera by switching a DSLR camera into auto mode or guide mode, because taking photos in one of these modes is like using a point and shoot camera.  Still, for some strange reasons, I rather torture myself in term of playing with the DSLR camera settings and hoping of getting the shots to be just right.

Let have some fun shall we?  Right below, you see that how easy it’s for me to compose a bokeh effect when shooting a picture with DSLR, but it’s not so easy for me to do so with iPhone 5 camera.

iPhone 5 Camera Water Bottle Image Without Any Retouch Effect

iPhone 5 Camera Water Bottle Image Without Any Retouch Effect

D3200 Water Bottle Image shot in raw format then export as JPEG with Pixelmator without any retouch effect

D3200 Water Bottle Image shot in raw format then export as JPEG with Pixelmator without any retouch effect

As you can see the images below, I can totally overexpose a picture even though I’m in the dark when using a DSLR camera, but it’s not the same when I use a smart phone camera.  Obviously, I could totally change the settings of the D3200 to make the shot of the iron to look like how it would have been taken by iPhone 5 camera.  This is why it’s really fun to use a DSLR camera.  You have more choices.  What about the noise?  I guess it is depending on what ISO setting I would like to have when using a DSLR camera.  If I use a very high ISO, my DSLR camera will introduce a lot of noise into the picture.  High ISO does help the camera to capture objects in really dark environment, but one doesn’t too careful might turn their otherwise so so noisy pictures into overexposed pictures.  Like the iron picture I took with my D3200 below.

iPhone 5 Iron In The Dark Room Image Without Any Retouch Effect

iPhone 5 Iron In The Dark Room Image Without Any Retouch Effect

D3200 Iron In The Dark Room Image Exports To JPEG With Pixelmator Without Any Retouch Effect

D3200 Iron In The Dark Room Image Exports To JPEG With Pixelmator Without Any Retouch Effect

How about taking pictures in the daylight? Image quality can totally be enhanced when using a DSLR camera, because one can change the settings of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.  Perhaps, I was testing only and didn’t configure the settings of the DSLR camera to my liking, therefore the image that I took with D3200 DSLR camera below might not actually exult the high image quality of a DSLR camera.  Anyhow, with most cameras that came with smart phones, one can’t change much, because the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture settings are set in stone for these cameras.

iPhone 5 Firey Tree In Day Light Image Without Any Retouch Effect

iPhone 5 Firey Tree In Day Light Image Without Any Retouch Effect

D3200 Firey Tree In Day Light Image Exports To JPEG With Pixelmator Without Any Retouch Effect

D3200 Firey Tree In Day Light Image Exports To JPEG With Pixelmator Without Any Retouch Effect

Some smart phones do actually allow the users to expand storage space with memory cards, and this is good!  Nonetheless, my iPhone 5 doesn’t allow me to do such a thing.  This is why I’m glad I have a DSLR camera, because I can capture pictures to my heart’s content and not having to worry about the storage space.  With a DSLR camera, I can expand my storage space in a photo shoot session by switching out the full memory card with another one.  One can totally purchase a memory card that comes with humongous storage space.  One example would be buying a 64 GB memory card for a DSLR camera.  Obviously, DSLR memory cards can be very expensive.  By the way, if you own a DSLR camera which allows you to take HD videos, you must buy a more responsive class 10 memory card, or else you will not be able to take HD videos since the write speed would lag a ton.

In conclusion, I think DSLR cameras still have a lot of advantages over the cameras that melted with smart phones.  Performance wise, DSLR cameras are versatile. Feature wise, DSLR cameras come with more options.  Cool factor wise, DSLR camera makes you look serious when you’re taking photos.  Capacity wise, DSLR camera sometimes or more often than not beat out the cameras that melted with smart phones.  With all of that being said, I can see why the cameras that come with smartphones will be the biggest threat to DSLR cameras as time progresses.  Cameras that come with smart phones are getting better at we speak.  The obvious benefit that these smart phone cameras have over DSLR ones is conveniency.  It’s convenient to have a phone which acts as a nice camera.  It’s convenient to have a camera which is also a smart phone, and it’s light (you can hold and caress it all day long).  As time progresses, cameras that come with smart phones might get so much better that all the DSLR advantages might not be so obvious anymore.  If such a time will come, people will definitely ditch their DSLR cameras in a heartbeat.  For now, whenever I take photos, I’m going to choose a DSLR camera over any camera that melted with a smart phone.