Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The colorful and amazing faces of India

As many of you know, I just returned from 3 weeks in the northern part of India. I was there teaching photography on another photo tour with M&M Photo Tours.

Unlike the tours to Africa and Costa Rica where we are constantly photographing wild animals, this trip included a lot of scenic and portrait photography (as well as photographing wild tigers - but that is coming in another blog post).

As I looked back at my photos from this trip, I saw so many incredible faces that I thought they deserved a blog post just for themselves.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 278mm, ISO 640, f/5, 1/400 sec)

All of the photos here are posted in the chronological order that I took them, and this first photo was taken on our first full day in the country. I saw this woman standing on a small street and loved the colors that she wore, and well as the colors in the background.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 227mm, ISO 800, f/5, 1/250 sec)

As with all my portraits, I am focusing on the eyes to make sure they are tack sharp. For most of the photos in this blog post, I was using the Canon 5D Mark IV and a Canon 100-400mm lens.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 176mm, ISO 400, f/5, 1/50 sec)

The Canon 100-400mm lens is not my typical portrait lens (I usually opt for the Canon 70-200mm 2.8), but I traveled with only a Canon 24-105mm lens and this one long zoom. The longer zoom range of the 100-400mm lens let me get in close to these people without intruding on their space.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 400mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/500 sec)

I framed this woman in orange between the child and man wearing blue.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 271mm, ISO 500, f/5, 1/250 sec)

This woman was standing near a fruit stand, so I quickly moved to a location where I could capture this profile shot with the colorful fruit in the background.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 400mm, ISO 160, f/5.6, 1/320 sec)

This older gentleman was cruising by on the back of a tuk tuk (a small motorized vehicle commonly seen all over the roads in India). He looked at me right as I hit the shutter release. Normally I would be bothered by the yellow strap coming down in front of his face, but in this case I think it actually adds to the frame.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 300mm, ISO 160, f/5, 1/160 sec)

Our group was walking through the streets of Delhi when we spotted these rickshaw drivers waiting for paying customers. I moved to a point where I could get all three of these guys in one shot, but purposely focused only on the first man.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens at 105mm, ISO 640, f/4, 1/40 sec)

This guy had such striking eyes, I just had to take his photo. When I see his eyes I think I see sadness and melancholy, and it just makes me want to know the real story of this man.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens at 85mm, ISO 640, f/4, 1/500 sec)

I posted a photo of this guy in a previous blog post, but just love the combination of his look and the reflection in the glasses.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 340mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/640 sec)
We were walking through the VERY crowded spice market in Old Delhi when I spotted this young boy drinking water. I quickly raised the Canon 5D Mark IV and took a burst of photos hoping to get the shot right as he poured the water into his mouth.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 106mm, ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/80 sec)
The streets of Delhi are full of people, loud noises, materials for sale, and color. Lots and lots of color.


This man intrigued me, with his worn skin and colorful hat.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 153mm, ISO 640, f/5, 1/200 sec)
One Sunday afternoon, we took a walk into a small village. As we walked down the dirt roads, we saw parents and children out in front of their homes. This mother was standing in her doorway in perfect light, and we all took turns photographing her (with her permission of course). And just in case you are wondering, that is not a german swastika on the wall. In India, it is very common to see this symbol on homes and businesses. The Nazis took this positive symbol, reversed its direction, and used it in negative ways.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 400mm, ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/640 sec)
While on the same walk into town we encountered numerous groups of women in their colorful sarees (spelled "saris" in the US but not in India).

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 400mm, ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/500 sec)

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 400mm, ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/200 sec)
This little boy was standing out in front of his home, just staring at us. His cute little outfit and big brown eyes captured all of our attention.


As I mentioned, it was a Sunday - A perfect day for some rest. I saw this guys snoozing in his backyard, and was able to raise the 100-400mm lens over his fence to grab this shot.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 400mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/250 sec)
This little guy was really shy (but still interested in watching us). I grabbed this shot of him watching us cautiously from behind his wall.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens at 95mm, ISO 400, f/10, 1/200 sec)

On our second day in the city of Agra, we decided to spend the morning across the river from the Taj Mahal. While waiting for the sunrise, we had fun with this endearing young man. He ended up being our impromptu model, with all of us photographing him playing around. I just love his smiling face in front of the iconic building.


This woman was washing clothes in one of the small side streets. I took a couple of photos of her as she worked, and then she turned and gave me this smile. Love it!

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens at 105mm, ISO 2000, f/4, 1/2000 sec)

There are many forts to visit when you go to India. We were walking through one of them when I saw this woman in a hallway, looking out through an opening. I also saw that there was a great reflection off the smooth stone in the hallway. I quickly moved to include her, with perfect window light on her face, and the reflection.


This woman was posing for a cell phone photo. I was standing to her side, tilted my camera and shot this at an extreme angle, making it different from most of my other portraits.


This gentleman was standing in front of his store in late afternoon light. My wife and I noticed his orange color hair, which seemed to be a common hair color for older men in India. I also liked the way that his hair color matched the late afternoon sun and the color on the walls.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens at 105mm, ISO 50, f/22, 1/20 sec)

This older gentleman was standing at the edge of this road in the old part of Jaipur, and he was standing incredibly still. At first, I took a couple of photos of him at a fast shutter speed, and then thought that, since he was standing so still, it would be fun to slow the shutter and get motion behind him. I encouraged all of our tour attendees to do the same.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 200mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash at -1)

These next three photos are of a beautiful young lady named Nitya. During our second week in India, Mike (the owner of M&M Photo Tours) and myself thought that it would be fun to hire a model for all of us to photograph.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 200mm, ISO 160, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash at -1)

Nitya started in this traditional Rajasthani dress, with amazing colors and details. This was a great chance for me to teach the tour attendees about composition, lighting and posing.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 200mm, ISO 500, f/5, 1/500 sec)

After photographing Nitya in her Rajasthani dress, she changed into one of her favorite saris. As you can see from the color of the light, we took these photos just before sunset.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 300mm, ISO 160, f/5.6, 1/80 sec)

Our last stop on the trip was to Jaisalmer to photograph the desert festival. Upon our arrival to the city, we walked through a touristy area with vendors selling their goods. This young girl was sitting on a wall and turned towards me just as I took the photo. I was captured by her eyes, and all the thoughts that were being transmitted from them. Can you see it too?

(Photographer's note: At first, I found the fence in the background to be distracting. I went into Adobe Photoshop and carefully removed each chain link(see below), but found that I actually liked the original photo better. What do you think?


The modified version...

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens at 95mm, ISO 500, f/9, 1/1600 sec)

We were shooting sunset at an ancient burial ground in Jaisalmer, and I searched all over the place for interesting foregrounds for our attendees. We found some nice buildings to photograph and all was good. But I still felt that there could be something better. Just before the sun set behind the horizon I saw this Indian couple watching the sunset. I offered to do a silhouette portrait for them, and asked them to face each other. I later sent them this image, which I really like.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 234mm, ISO 160, f/9, 1/400 sec)

At the desert festival, there were lots of people wearing traditional clothing. This man not only had great colors, but also had this amazing mustache.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens at 38mm, ISO 500, f/4, 1/200 sec)

We were visiting an old ghost town in the desert, and I was walking through one of the buildings that was still intact. I saw this woman in her colorful sari and asked if she could sit on this ledge for a portrait. So pretty!

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 100-400mm lens at 124mm, ISO 160, f/8, 1/320 sec)

This last photo was taken on our final evening in the desert before flying back to Delhi and then home. I took numerous group shots during the trip, but this was my favorite. I took the first group shot, then stepped out and had my wife shoot another one with me in it, and I then composited the two for this final result.

I hope you enjoyed these photos from India. I have more to come!

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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Canon just announced development of a new full frame mirrorless camera and new lenses!

Just a couple of minutes ago, Canon announced the development of a full frame mirrorless camera, called the EOS R5 and some really interesting new lenses.


Just to be clear, this is a technology announcement and not a product announcement, which means that they are leaking some information to all of us, but not giving us the entire specs. What we do know is that the new EOS R5 camera will have a full frame sensor, in-camera stabilization (which will work in conjunction with IS in existing lenses), able to capture 20fps (and 12fps with a mechanical shutter), 8K video, and has built-in WiFi (which will allow uploading to a new Canon Cloud platform).

Canon has confirmed that this camera does indeed have two card slots, and thank goodness for that! They have not said what type of memory card this camera will support, but I am also hoping that this camera uses CFExpress cards, or at the very least, high speed SD cards. Canon has also not given us any information about the back of the camera, with button layouts or joystick options. (UPDATE: Canon Japan has uploaded this video, showing the back of the camera. It looks to have a similar layout to the 5D and 1D. This is great news.)

But, from what they have said so far, this appears to be the first mirrorless camera from Canon that makes me say "I need this thing and I want it now!"


Canon also announced another handful of RF lenses for the mirrorless lineup, including one that interests me a lot. They announced a 24-105mm lens with variable aperture. and development of 1 new long zoom and two extenders. The long lens is the new RF 100-500mm lens, and this one gets me crazy excited. I use the current 100-400mm lens all the time and would welcome a little extra reach on the long end. The aperture of the lens ranges from f/4.5 to f/7.1 which is decent. I wish it would top out at f/6.3, but we can't have it all. If the clarity is anything close to the current 100-400mm lens, this will be an awesome lens for sports and wildlife photographers!

No pricing has been announced yet, but I am ready to put my order in for both the camera and lens today!

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Purposely underexposing: Working another photo from Delhi, India

In the last blog post, I explained how I captured a really beautiful moment and the thought process in taking the photo. I had numerous comments from people who appreciated that blog post, so I that I would post another one for all of you.

This time the photo is not a portrait, but like the photo from the last post, it definitely sets to capture a mood.


We were walking through Humayun's Tomb in Delhi when we came across this doorway. At first I was attracted to the pattern of the door, but then I noticed the really pretty shadow that was cast on the floor in front of me. I thought that this was a great time to teach our guests about exposure compensation and how it would greatly improve the photo.


I took a photo of the scene without changing any exposure compensation to show everyone how over exposed it was. The mood was lost.



I then changed the exposure compensation of my Canon 5D Mark IV to -2 to purposely under expose the shot. Dramatically under exposing accomplishes four things:

* It protected my highlights so that they were not blown out (so bright that there is no data in the bright areas of the scene).

* It darkened the shadows which adds drama to the photo.

* It accentuates the pattern of the door and the pattern on the floor.

* It creates an overall mood and encourages you to look at the photo a little longer to follow the patterns.

For those wondering, here were the settings in my camera:

Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 24-105mm lens
ISO 320
f/5.6
1/400 sec
Exposure comp -2

I did minor retouching in Adobe PhotoShop to pull the shadows up slightly and pull the highlights down.

Next time you see a scene that is dark and moody, don't be afraid to set your camera to darken the scene even more. If you think that is crazy, check out photographers like Cliff Mautner who has made a career doing this.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The evolution of a favorite image from Delhi, India

In the later part of the second day here in Delhi, India, we took the our group to the Qutub Mintar ruins. We had beautiful light coming from the late afternoon sun. We spent more than an hour walking around and photographing the famous ruins and minaret.


Since it was Republic Day here in India (a National Holiday), it was pretty crowded. As we walked around, we looked for nice compositions while trying to avoid lots of people in our shots.


I reminded people to look for nice natural frames to get photos that are different from the standard "minaret only shot" that everyone else was taking.


We also spotted these parrots who inhabited the area. I liked having them amongst the delicately carved walls


I explained to everyone that my goal is to always shoot a scene like this in a unique way. I searched for something different and eventually came across these small trees. I thought about shooting a photo with one of the trees in focus and the minaret diffused. And then I saw movement from one of the branches and saw this chipmunk feeding. I quickly focused on chipmunk and made him my subject with the minaret as the supporting subject.


I also found this guy with reflective glasses and thought that this would be a cool way to show the minaret.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens, ISO 640, f/18, 1/50 sec)

We were nearing the end of the sunlight when I saw this woman looking out of this archway. It was at this split second that I had an idea for a shot.

I quickly switched the aperture of my Canon 5D Mark IV to f/18 and moved so that the sun was just barely visible at the edge of the archway. I knew that the small aperture would give me a starburst, and just hoped that this Indian woman would stay in that spot for another couple of seconds, with the sun rim lighting for face and upper torso. I was able to get a couple of photos as I was instructing the other guests how to get this shot. Everyone took turns capturing this great scene.


It was only moments later that this woman turned and faced us. She had a large purse in her hands and the moment was lost. It just goes to show that we need to act fast to get the epic shots we want.

Normally I take photos with people facing me, but having this woman turned and looking through the arch at the setting sun, really created the mood for this shot. I did very little retouching for this shot, removing a couple of people from the background and slightly adjusting the shadows and highlights. A relatively simple shot, but definitely a favorite from this trip so far.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Cuba Photo Tour - Ending the trip with visits to Vinales and Trinidad

When most people think about Cuba, they tend to focus on the city of Havana and all that it has to offer. On our trip to Cuba, we started with 3 full days in Havana, but then ventured out to some of the other areas of the country.

On our 4th day, our guide drove us from Havana to the small town of Vinales so that we could see some of the countryside and the tobacco fields. We were driving on a small road when we passed this farmer working in his field. As we drove past, I had just enough time to spot this guy and see that he would make an amazing subject for photos. I asked our driver to turn around and go back to the farm, and asked our guide if he could get permission from the man to photograph him.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 100-400mm lens, ISO 800, f/5, 1/640 sec)

The farmer had no problem with us photographing him, and so we all exited the vehicle and started taking photos of him. At first, we just photographed him as he worked in his field, and then I asked if we could take some portraits of him.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 100-400mm lens, ISO 1250, f/5, 1/400 sec)
I was using my Canon 1D X Mark II with the Canon 100-400mm lens which worked perfectly for taking wide and tight shots. We also had overcast skies which created perfect portrait lighting.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 100-400mm lens, ISO 1250, f/5.6, 1/500 sec)

Everything about this man said "Cuban farmer" to me. The weathered face, the old hat and even the colors he wore. After thanking the farmer for his time, we all got back in the car excited to have these images.


Vinales is not only a picturesque town, but it is also known for its farming and tobacco growing. When driving through the region, you can see many huts like this where the tobacco leaves are stored and dried.


These are young tobacco plants.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/200 sec, Canon 600EX-RT flash)

We entered the drying hut where the son of the owner of the farm was set to demonstrate cigar rolling for us. But he had his table and chair deep inside the hut in a really dark area. I asked if we could move his table and chair closer to the doorway to get some of the ambient light on him. He was fine with this. I then set up a remote flash (with an orange gel) to light up the dried tobacco leaves in the background. Our guests then took turns using the remote flash to get their shots.


It was really cool to see how easily he rolled the cigars.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/200 sec, 2 Canon 600EX-RT flashes)
After he was done demonstrating his craft, I asked him if we could take some portraits of him. This time I set up a second remote flash to light his face. As you can see, he is a natural model.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 100-400mm lens, ISO 400, f/5, 1/250 sec)

The next day, we went to visit an organic farm at the top of a hillside. A guide was showing us how they plant their crops, but I was more interested in the gardener who was tilling nearby. Again, I asked if we could make him our subject.

(Canon 1D X Mark II, 100-400mm lens, ISO 1000, f/7.1, 1/200 sec)
It was towards the end of the day and we had perfect golden light on him. He even gave me these two cigars to take home. Since I don't smoke, my brother was the happy recipient.


We were done shooting portraits of this man when he sat down to relax. I saw him sitting there in the distance and, using my 100-400mm lens, waited for him to breath in on the cigar and grabbed this natural pose of him.


The next day we made the long drive from Vinales to Trinidad. And just like our drive in to Vinales, on the drive out we saw another photo opportunity along the roadside. This man was tilling the soil with his two oxen and we all wanted to photograph that. Again, we checked with him to make sure he was OK with us taking his photo. He agreed and then went about his business as we captured many images of him working hard in the field.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens, ISO 100, f/10, 1/250 sec)

It was pretty late in the evening by the time we arrived in Trinidad, but we thought it would be good to stretch our legs after the long drive. After eating dinner we decided to walk the two blocks into the heart of the town. It was dark, but we could see how amazing this place would be in the daylight. And the next morning, we were enjoyed our first photo opportunities in this colorful town.


We walked through the more touristy areas, but also walked into the less traveled spots to capture the true vibe of the town.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/60 sec)

There is a man in town who is well known in his country for being a master at pottery. We were lucky enough to watch him work his magic. This was also a great chance for me to teach the group about shooting with really slow shutter speeds (thus showing the movement of the wheel and clay).


This photo was taken at 1/8 sec to accentuate the spinning wheel. I waited for the artist to keep his top hand relatively still with slight motion in the lower hand.

(Canon 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens, ISO 500, f/4, 1/160 sec)
And yes, just like everyone else we photographed, we took portraits of him too.

He asked if anyone in our group wanted to try working the wheel, and after everyone declined I readily volunteered. My pot wasn't too bad, but nothing like his!


As we walked back towards our villa, we saw this man sitting in his doorway. I fell in love with the distressed walls, the doorway and his look. We took photos of him, and it wasn't until reviewing the images that I noticed how worn out his shoes were. I had an extra pair of shoes that I had packed with me, and after seeing this, I asked our driver to bring him my extra pair of shoes on his next visit, which happened the be the following week.


It was towards the end of our time in Trinidad and the trip itself and we did not have group photo yet. I saw this home with great colors and steps and thought it was a perfect location for a group shot. I was just about to get everyone together for a photo when these school kids turned to corner and walked towards us. We asked the teacher if we could do a group shot for them. I plan on printing many copies of this photo and bringing it to them in December when we return to Cuba on our next photo tour.


And then, after the school kids left, it was time for our group shot. I took the initial photo and had Mike and Elmer leave room for me. Then I asked everyone else to stay in the same spot and had Elmer shoot an image of me. Using Adobe Photoshop, I dropped myself in.


On our first day in Havana, we visited a hotel rooftop to get a photo of the newly refurbished capital building. I thought that, as a final photo of the trip, that this location would make for a great night shot for the group. We were cutting it close, returning to Havana from Trinidad, and our driver was doing his best to get us to this location before sunset. We made it with only minutes to spare. We all jammed up to the rooftop, set up our tripods and cameras. I was using my Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon 24-105mm lens. We set our cameras to ISO 160, f/16 with a 6 second exposure and got this parting shot. A perfect way to end an amazing trip!

We will be going back to Cuba at the same time next year, since the weather is optimum at this time. If you want to know more about that, you can get more information here.

And now...we are off to India!

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________