my flickr photostream

Thursday, April 29, 2010

52 weeks: Week 15 and 16 wrapup

© 2010 Simon Hucko

Life has been rather crazy for me lately, and things here on the blog just got away from me. I apologize, and thank you guys for posting photos last week and this week even though I wasn't keeping up with things. The good news is, my wife and I closed on our new house on Tuesday! The bad news is, we're living out of (a lot of) boxes and I can't find the charger for my camera. Lesson learned: I should have grabbed the charger before the move and stuffed it into my bag. C'est la vie.

On to the photos! My photo for week 15 was slightly different for me. I don't get a chance to shoot street photography much, but it's something I'm interested in and would like to shoot more of. I was walking around Cornell and came across this message spelled out on a fence. Students were walking to and from campus, so I framed the shot and waited for the right mix of people in the frame. I'm pretty happy with the shot, a nice little slice of life at Cornell.

My pick for week 15 is from newcomer garycollins2:

Sun Embraced (1/52)
© garycollins2

I love the rich red color in the sky and the great silhouette of the leaves (especially the two that are nudging up against the sun). Lucky accident or no, that little detail really makes this image. Wonderful first entry, I'm looking forward to seeing more. :)

Week 16

Owego Earth Day Pano
© 2010 Simon Hucko

Week 16 was unofficial Earth Day week. I originally set out to do something special for Earth Day, but considering I couldn't even get the normal wrapup post out on time, it just wasn't going to happen. Thanks to those of you who embraced the idea and posted something Earth Day-ish anyway. (And no points lost to those who didn't). My photo this week was a panorama of the town that I live in. I recently discovered a nice vantage point for this, and thought it would be a fitting photo for my Earth Day submission. I have plans to go back up when we get a nice colorful sunset and take another one, possibly even have it printed and framed.

My pick for this week is "Lincoln-3" by djhucko:

© djhucko

What can I say, I'm a sucker for symmetry (especially black and white symmetry). Wonder where I get that from... I also like that this was captured with his cell phone - I always like getting a glimpse into how people see the world around them, and phone cams tend to provide the most organic way for people to share that.

I want to mention MairinJean's Earth Day entry as well:

Earth Day!
© MairinJean

I thought this was a very interesting rule breaker, and I can't stop looking at it. It feels "wrong," but I also really like what's captured here and how it keeps me thinking about the image. Thanks for the head scratcher :)

Ok, that should get me all caught up. I promise to keep up with things from now on. Thanks for being patient and sticking with it despite my absence. Deadline for week 17 is coming up Sunday at midnight, so get out there and get shooting!


[title of blog] on flickr

Monday, April 26, 2010

SuperLame is Super Awesome

No meaty post this week (still busy with the house), but I thought I'd throw up a link for you guys to play with. hosts a web app that lets you add speech/thought bubbles to your images. It's fast and super easy to use, and lets you fully control the size and position of your bubble (even extending beyond the photo). I believe they have a facebook app, too, although I haven't played with it yet. I may have to set that up, because those are the types of photos that will get the SuperLame treatment most often. Earth shattering? No. Fun to play with? You bet. Happy Monday :)

Thanks to Aaron Mahler over at TWIP for the link.

edit: I did a little digging into the facebook app. Turns out that it's pretty lame (pun intended). As far as I can tell, you still have to upload a photo from your computer (rather than having it interface with your facebook photos). It will let you save your finished photo directly to facebook, which is good.


[title of blog] on flickr

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The Mrs. and I (with the help of some family/friends to whom I owe infinite gratitude) moved into our new house on Saturday, so I've been rather busy and exhausted over the past few days. That means no new blog post this week, my wrapup is late (but coming), and I've decided to scrap the Earth Day thing. I still encourage you to take a photo on Thursday, but I know I'm not going to have the chance to set a place up to put them all. Sorry. Look for normal blog activity to return next week. In the meantime, get out there and take some photos!


[title of blog] on flickr

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Earth Day 2010

© 2009 Simon Hucko

As you may or may not be aware, next Thursday (April 22nd) is Earth Day. Last year I participated in the Earth Day Mosaic project, but I haven't heard of anything similar going on this year. Therefore, I'm going to give you all an assignment for next week's 52 weeks photo: go out and take a photo in the spirit of Earth Day on Thursday the 22nd and post that for your weekly entry.

Even if you're not participating in the 52 weeks group, I encourage you to join in this little project and post something anyway. I'll give some more details about where/how to post when it gets closer to the day, but I wanted to get everyone thinking about it now so you can start planning something. More to come next week


[title of blog] on flickr

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Totally called it

Just over 2 weeks ago in my article about video, I predicted that it wouldn't be long before one of the HDSLR manufacturers took their chip and lens mount and moved it to a more video friendly format. I didn't realize we'd be hearing about it within a month, but it makes sense. Panasonic announced today that they will be releasing a camcorder based on what looks like the chip from the GH1 and their micro 4/3 mount. This camera should solve a lot of the issues with HDSLR video, namely the form factor and audio inputs. No price announced yet, but I saw the number $6,000 get thrown around (no idea how valid that is). That seems a little high, considering the GH1 retails for around $1250. My initial guess was $2k, but apparently I underestimated the cost of adding audio inputs and the advantage of being the first to market. We'll see where they end up. $6k puts it pretty well out of the consumer/prosumer range, targeting it more at commercial videographers and indie filmmakers. At that rate it would be cheaper to still use the GH1 with an appropriate support system and an external audio recorder (somewhere in the neighborhood of $3k cheaper). Mistake.

The full press release can be found here (

What are your thoughts on all this?


[title of blog] on flickr

Monday, April 12, 2010

52 weeks: Week 14 wrapup

Fleur de Leaf
© 2010 Simon Hucko

edit: If you're a RSS subscriber, sorry for the double post. I hit "publish" instead of "save," and tried to delete the post but it already went to the feed. So you all get your 52 weeks fix a day early this week

It appears that spring is springing, and this week's photos reflect the warmer times that are upon us. I think I even saw a hint of blue sky and sunshine in some of them. I feel like I'm finally getting out of this photographic funk I've been in for the past few weeks. Hopefully we can pick up a few people who might have missed posting the last few weeks for similar reasons.

My photo for this week was taken while I was still feeling uncreative. The bush/tree/whatever outside our building was starting to bud and grow in leaves, and they looked like little flowers. I tried to capture them as such, but I don't think I did a great job of it. I'll have to give it another shot before it's too late. Photo taken with my 50mm reversed at f/5.6 (poor man's macro) - I stopped down a bit to increase sharpness and depth of field.

This week's winner is "[I|" by ilektrik:

© Adam Baker

This is one of the most well-composed images that I've seen in a long time. You owe it to yourself to view it larger. Everything fits into the frame very well, and it just draws me in and holds me there for a while. The color gradient in the sky/reflection is also fantastic, and adds another dimension of interest to the photo. This is definitely worth getting printed large and hanging somewhere. Nicely done.

Keep up the great work everyone!


[title of blog] on flickr

Focus on the Eyes

Let me in!
© 2010 Simon Hucko

Quick tip today to help with your portrait photography. As you know, I'm a focus then recompose photographer. So what do I focus on?

This isn't a trivial question, especially if you're shooting with a shallow depth of field. The answer is, always focus on the eyes. The eyes are what make a portrait, and as long as they're in focus the viewer will perceive the photo as being sharp. This is why it's important to choose your own focus point and not let the camera do it for you. If you're shooting with your fast 50 wide open, it's perfectly possible to have the eyes in focus and the tip of the nose and the ears starting to go soft. If you let the camera choose, it could grab on to something else (the tip of the nose is closest), and you'll wind up with a blurry shot. I usually grab onto the inside corner of the eye, because it's a nice high contrast point to focus on.

Another portrait trick is to enhance the eyes a bit in post. Brighten the whites of the eyes, boost the saturation a touch, and denoise/sharpen them. This will make them pop a bit, and give your portrait that extra "wow" factor. Note: DO NOT go overboard with this. I've seen plenty of neon eyes blazing out from plastic skin before, and it's not pretty. As with other editing "tricks," subtlety is key. Do this in photoshop on a separate layer so that you can blend it in to taste.


Blogger is now incorporating Amazon Associates, and I signed myself up for an account. The only change here will be a small ad on the right side (if you're reading on the blog and not in your reader), and some links to Amazon whenever I talk about a bit of gear or a book or whatever. All I ask from you is, if you're considering a purchase from Amazon anyway, and you like what I do here, that you click through from something on my blog. Thanks for your support.

Still don't have a fast prime?
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras


[title of blog] on flickr

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

52 weeks: Week 13 wrapup

Blue Dumpster
© 2010 Simon Hucko

13 down, 39 to go! Thanks to everyone who posted this week. For those of you who celebrate, I hope you had a good Easter. I'll admit, I was expecting some Easter themed shots this week. Maybe I'll set up another table top studio shot for week 14...

So due to poor planning on my part, the photo I posted for yesterday's blog post is my photo for this week. Rather than post it two days in a row, I offer up another shot I took this weekend. I really liked the bright blue of the dumpster with the orange brown rust. I boosted the colors a bit, and added a vignette to help make the dumpster pop. The shot needs something else (a person, another object, possibly some weeds or something growing up around it), but oh well. Enjoy the little glimpse into how I see the world around me.

This week's winning shot is "In bloom" by MairinJean:

In bloom
© MairinJean

I really like the lighting and texture in this shot, there's a lot of detail in the petals and the leaves if you view it larger. The one thing I might have changed was to crop in a bit from the right edge to remove that one leaf, but I also have a thing for square formats so it could just be that talking. Nicely captured.

Keep up the great work everyone!


[title of blog] on flickr

Monday, April 5, 2010

Take the Shot

Fog and Flare
© 2010 Simon Hucko

One of my favorite parts about getting into photography is that it really opened my eyes to the world around me. I look at things entirely differently now, and spend a lot of time checking out what's around/blow/above me. Every so often I look at something and think "that's a photo." When I can, I'll grab my camera and take the shot. If not, I'll make plans to come back and get the photo when I have the time (or when the weather/lighting is better). I find, however, that I wind up with a very long "to photograph" list, and I often regret not stopping to take the shot in the moment.

Last week on one of my morning commutes I saw a gorgeous foggy scene unfolding. That little voice inside me said "take a photo!" I almost ignored it and drove on to work, but I pulled over, grabbed my camera (always in the back seat ready to go), and fired off a few shots. Less than 3 minutes later I was back to my commute, but I knew that I had a great shot in the can. If I had kept on driving, I would have regretted not stopping all day long (and all the next day, when I realized I didn't have any photos to upload).

Moral of the story? If your gut is telling you to stop and take a photo, do it. Don't put it off for another day unless you have a good reason to and will actually follow through on your plans. Some of my favorite photos have been taken this way.

[Photo info - I closed down my aperture to f/22 and underexposed by about 2 stops so that there would be some definition to the sun. The flare was intentional - you can see usually see it in your viewfinder so you can place it where you want. I chose a vertical shot because I wanted to get everything from the field to the sun in the frame, and the vertical gave me a much better line in the hills than the landscape shot. White balance was set to "cloudy", giving it a nice warm feeling. I cooled down the shadows a touch in post, giving the trees a more neutral feel and letting the golden sun and fog shine through. I had to touch up a lot of dust in the image, so I think it's time for a cleaning. Maybe I'll post about it.]


[title of blog] on flickr