Video from St Pats v Rovers

Probably my favourite video that I managed to record during the football season

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World Press Photo Exhibition

World Press Photo Exhibition

The best photojournalism created last year will be on display in Dublin from next week. The exhibition of the 2013 World Press Photo contest makes its way Dublin for the first time in more than 20 years. The images will be exhibited at the CHQ Building in the Docklands area of the city from 30th November to 22nd December.

This year’s overall winner was Paul Hansen from Sweden for his depiction of the burial of two small children in Gaza. Among the other winners were stills from Europe’s austerity demonstrations, Syria’s conflict, Central America’s gang problems and the Olympic Games in London. But it’s not just the big events – powerful glimpses of daily life are also favoured by some of the talented photographers.

Split into the nine themed categories, including contemporary issues, observed portraits, staged portraits, daily life, sports action, general news, sports feature, nature and spot news, the pictures reflect global life as it was in 2012.

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Selection of World Press Photo Images. Copyright World Press Photos and Individual Photographers on each image

Almost 105,000 images were submitted by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries in the 56th annual competition. For over 55 years the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism.

The contest creates a bridge linking the professionals with the general public. As the announcement of the winners’ makes headlines around the world, so the inspirational role of photojournalism is highlighted to an audience of hundreds of millions.

All the prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year, and published in the World Press yearbook. Over two million people go to a hundred different venues to see the images. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession.

I hope to make it to visit the exhibition over the coming weeks and see some of the stunning images on show.

Click here for more information about World Press Photo Awards

Click here for more Details of the Dublin Exhibition

Canon or Nikon Poll

Ok, I am going to try a little poll for a bit of fun. The perennial dilemma for a lot of photographers is which DSLR to use or which is better. Some people swear by Canon, other are firmly in the Nikon camp while some others don’t really mind as their decision is based on the camera they have. So which are you?

Equipment Review – Canon 7D

Equipment Review – Canon 7D DSLR

For my first ever equipment review I am going to start with the camera that has become the work horse of my camera bag over the last 2 years, the Canon 7D. This isn’t going to be a review of the technical aspects, but instead a simple users review, how I find the camera, its good and bad aspects that I have found from use and a simple recommendation at the end.  I will include a link to a full technical review from Canon as well as a link to what I think is the best review site for all photographic equipment.

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Canon 7D DSLR Front View

When I was on the lookout for a new camera a couple of years ago I had narrowed it down to a simple choice between a full frame Canon 5D Mk 2 or a crop frame 7D. As this was going to be my primary camera for sports it came down to frames per second choice. As I already had a 5 MK2, I got myself the 7D and now had options in my camera bag. With batteries, CF cards, motor drives and lenses all being cross compatible it was a good choice for me.

As Canon website puts it in their introduction, “The EOS 7D combines’ high performance, versatility and cinematic-style HD movies. 18 MP resolution delivers superb quality and 8 fps continuous shooting keeps you ahead of the action”. And I won’t disagree with what Canon say. The camera is an absolute joy to use and it doesn’t let you down in what it promises. The crop factor doesn’t really come into play for anything I do. I use it primarily with a 70-200 F2.8 lens on the front. For weight and balance this combination works superbly for shooting sport and even weddings or portraits!

The camera shoots superbly in normal lighting situations and you will even get a very usable shot in low light conditions, even during high action sport shots. Of course the draw back to the high ISO you will use is that the frames per second ratio drops away considerably but this is where the photographers eye for a shot or anticipation comes into play. It’s not all about the piece of equipment!

Canon 7D DSLR

Canon 7D DSLR

You can shoot in Raw or Jpeg, or a combination of both and file sizes are quite impressive and give plenty of latitude of printing to large sizes, I have printed a few shots up to 20 x 24 inches with no apparent loss of resolution. For reviewing images on the camera, a small 3inch screen is available but like a lot of screens on DSLRs it isn’t really ideal. Of course if an image is out of focus on the LCD screen the chances are it is going to be totally out. What the screen does allow is you to view the Histogram and this is something that has become a habit for me and something I would recommend for everyone to get into the habit of doing.

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Canon 7D Side View

The camera has a video capability but it isn’t something I really use it for as I have a small camcorder for video, and at football matches switching back and forth is feasible so its easier to use a camcorder for video and the 7D for stills. And as such it would be unfair of me to comment a lot on the video capability but any time I have used it the quality has been ok to reasonable, the problems for me only happen when I try to upload, having to run the final video through a converter, while the camcorder can upload right from camera. I may be doing something wrong, but as I don’t use or rely on the 7D video I won’t use that as a drawback.

So overall you may have guessed I love the 7D, the controls are well laid out, menus are easy to navigate and the images are sharp and true to colour. It compares very favourably to my now aging 5D MK 2 and when the time come to replace the 5D I will have a difficult decision as I like have 1 full frame and 1 crop frame camera, but I wouldn’t go against having 2 Canon 7Ds in my camera bag.

Links to Canon Specifications:

Canon 7D Specifications

Full Canon 7D Review and over all a great review site:

DP Review Website and Canon 7D Review

Photographic Equipment

Photographic Equipment

I will shortly do a review of the photographic equipment that I use, including cameras, lenses, flash, Tripod and studio lighting. To do this review it is better that I list the equipment I use mostly for my photographic outings and shoots.

Cameras: Canon 7D and Canon 5D MK2

Lenses: Canon 70-200 F2.8, Canon 24- 105 F4 and Sigma 100-500 F6.5

Canon 7D with 70-200 Attached

Canon 7D with 70-200 Attached

Battery Grips: Canon BG-E7 (2)

Flash: Canon 580EX2

Tripod: Manfrotto 190XPROB

Monopod: Manfrotto

Camera Bag: Tamrac Expedition 9X

Studio Kit: Elinchrom D Lite It 4 Set

Backdrop: Wex Dual Background

Canon Remote Trigger and Endeloop Rechargable Batteries (8)

SanDisk Extreme 2 CF Cards 16GB (4)

Samsung Galaxy S3 Camera Phone

All of the above is the equipment I have and use on most photo shoots. The canon 7D and 70-200 lens are never parted and the 5D MK2 is always attached to the 24-105 unless in really good weather at football matches and only then will the Sigma lens be attached to either camera, the 7D being first choice.

My studio kit is fairly portable and including the backdrop fits nicely into most sitting rooms in an average house so is ideal for family portraits. A full review will follow in a future article.

Elinchrom D Lite It 4 Kit

Elinchrom D Lite It 4 Kit

Full reviews of most of my kit will feature over the coming weeks. These will not be technical reviews as they can be gotten of good websites, but user type reviews and how I use the cameras and what I think are the good and bad.

Famous Photographers – Steve McCurry

Famous Photographers – Steve Mc Curry

One of my earliest inspirations as a photographer was Steve McCurry. It was one of his most famous photographs that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, the striking portrait of a young Afghan Girl. I have already done a little article on my blog about the photo and it is still one of the most famous National Geographic covers ever. My previous post about this photo can be found HERE

Steve McCurry image for National Geographic of young Afghan Girl

Steve McCurry image for National Geographic of young Afghan Girl

Born in 1950 in the USA, McCurry career really took off when he travelled into Afghanistan from Pakistan just before the Soviet Invasion in the mid 1980’s. His photographs from that time were some of the first to show the world images from within Afghanistan during the conflict. I have travelled to Africa in my previous job, photographing villages in Chad and Liberia as well as United Nations Peacekeeping troops and I always found the images captured by Steve Mc Curry as a guide to what I was trying to capture, get my images to tell a story.

As a photographer with National Geographic, some of the images taken are truly a great inspiration for any budding or professional photographer. With awards the world over Steve McCurry has to be one of the most iconic photographers of the 20th century.

Photographer Steve McCurry

Photographer Steve McCurry

I consider McCurry as one of the leading ‘storyteller’ photographers. A photo journalist, a documentary photographer, a photographer that always tries to get the human side to any job he covers. Reading from the press kit on his own website, one of McCurry’s inspirations was the topic of my first  Famous Photographers article – Henri Cartier-Bresson. I can only dream to be in the company of photographic greats like these two men.

For more reading on Steve McCurry a press kit is available from his website. Press Kit

Steve McCurry Website

Steve McCurry on Magnum Photo

 

My Journey through Photography 4 – Final Part

My Journey through Photography 4 (Final Part)

So onto where I found my inspirations, what drives me, my ideals when it comes to photography and where I see my career going in the future.

As a young photographer I was lucky enough to receive National Geographic magazine each month. I always looked forward to the magazine arriving and I don’t think I read an article till I was in my mid-twenties, it was always the photography that grabbed my attention. This was in the day before the world found internet so it was a monthly wait for the next issue and my next fix of stunning images from the photographers of National Geographic.

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National Geographic Cover with Afghan Girl

It was through looking at these photographs and trying to find out about the photographers that my interest really spiked. One of my inspirations was Steve Mc Curry, who famously took a photograph of a young Afghan Girl for National Geographic. I will be writing about Steve in my next article so I won’t dwell on him now. Another inspiration was the postcards of John Hinde. These images of Ireland and its own stunning scenery and simple images showed me that it’s not always the sunsets and slow moving water shots but simple proper composition can also be used to make a great photograph. Don’t be afraid to copy postcard images when starting off, and then develop that image a bit different with different angles.

This brings me to my ideals as a photographer, don’t be afraid to take a picture that you have seen a 1000 times, get the composition right, get the in camera exposure correct as well and if you get this much right and you like the finished photograph, well then you have succeeded. This is not a recipe for award winning images, but it is a simple recipe for images that you will be happy with. And first and foremost that is the most important thing about taking photographs, you being happy with your images. Of course to make a living you need to start to take images that other people will like, but if you start of well and get the simple things right, all the other stuff can develop.

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Me at work in a studio setting with a Canon 7D and 70-200 2.8 Lens

So what does the future hold for me as a photographer? At the moment things are very fluid. Having just started a new job, the football season coming to an end and my final year in college now is not a time for big decisions or changes. I will always take photographs, I will enjoy sharing them online and hopefully will continue to be paid to teach beginners and for my photographs. I won’t get rich but my photography will always bring me happiness and I hope some of the images I take also passes on some pleasure to my viewing audience.

I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my journey, from a young lad getting my first camera to a mid-forties man who still has a love for photography.