Photography talk with random tangents into the unknown


Where’s Muki?

If you're wondering where I've been for the past couple of months, I've been working on my other pet project, Seven in Sydney.

I originally started this site as a random assortment of thoughts, then focused it down to just photography. Strangely enough, Seven in Sydney has become a combination of the two again and although I've shyed away from posting anything to do with the photographic process, it hasn't felt quite right to post anything here.

So what's the go? The truth is, since changing jobs I no longer have the luxury of spending the hour or two of my lunch break on writing up original content for this site and I've been required to place more of my time into focusing on Shinobi Photography which, when I'm not working on client work most evenings, is also suffering from a little less attention than it should be getting.

But the situation isn't too bad. In the past few months I've become an accredited member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and have possibly nailed down some office/artistic space that we can use after hours and on the weekends, which suits my schedule better.

So what happens from here on? If the past few months have been any indication, I can't dedicate very much time to this site without compromising on my other projects, especially those that are paid for. However, I don't want to give up on providing an insight into my photographic activities that isn't suited for Seven in Sydney. So I'm hoping to post a little more diligently, but perhaps only once a month or when there's enough of a lull in my schedule.

Nobody said doing this would be easy, but rather than fold, let's rise to the challenge.

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Smash! 2011 – A long(er) inside perspective on the event and its management

They say that late is better than never, right? I've had to question that while writing up a post-convention report from my attendance at Smash! 2011.

Please be warned, this is long, and may offend.


Just a quick note about Animania Sydney 2011 photos

Hi to all the newcomers to the site from Animania over the weekend.

I've got a whole heap of photos to process, but the timing is a little poor and it's unlikely I'm going to have a chance to take a crack at them over the next few days due to work. Make sure you check in over the next few days.

Also a huge thank you for those that attended the Photography 101 session a few weeks back. I hope each of you got something out of it.

I also dropped by Japan in the past week, so I'll have something to post up quite shortly, along with a few more talking topics. Stay tuned! =)


Photography 101 – Getting off automatic

Everyone has a digital SLR these days. They're getting relatively cheap, and they're so much faster than some of the point and shoot alternatives out there.

You've got one, don't you? You bought it because you wanted something that gives you more control and a greater ability to shoot in a creative way, but are you still shooting on automatic? Do you know the differences between lenses? Or even which ones to buy? Do you want to become a better photographer?

Photography 101 is about giving you back the control that you bought your DSLR for. You wanted to improve your craft, but you're still letting the camera do the thinking. In this course, you'll learn how to master the elements of exposure and how to use each one together to produce a photo that you had in mind, not the camera. You'll learn to pick what you want out of a lens other than it's zoom range. You'll learn to adapt to the shortcomings of your equipment, while playing to its strengths. You will be able to focus on expressing your creativity rather than wrestling with the camera.

If you want to take back control of your craft, drop me an email at muki () It'll be a one off class, run entirely free, on 3 September at Australian Technology Park. Places are strictly limited, so make sure you get in contact to receive additional details and secure your spot.

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Five tips for photographers and cosplayers

I'm taking a break from processing photos I took over the weekend at Smash!, but while I've got some thoughts for cosplayers and photographers fresh in my head, I thought I'd splurge them out. Bear in mind, these are for cosplayers and photographers taking photos during the cosplay event on stage, not wandering around the venue.


Getting your geek on: Supanova review and photos

It was certainly not the coldest Saturday morning I'd experienced, but my choice in clothes wasn't helping as I walked along one of the longest expo lines I'd seen in a while. I wasn't quite sure what line it was for at first, until I overheard one of the organisers explaining to a family that they would need to join a different line to buy tickets, then join the line for entry. Ouch.


Another year of conventions

It must be getting close to convention season again.

I tend not to make this site just about the conventions, but I must say, a heck of a lot of you seem to be visiting because of them!

So, I'm happy to let you all know that both Smash! and Animania have invited me back to shoot at their flagship events this year. As something different, I've also approached Supanova this year since there seems to be quite an overlap. I'll hopefully hear back from them soon, so cross your fingers. They're quite happy to have me along also!

In other news, I've been getting a few requests for running another Photography 101 class from those that missed it the first time. While I don't have anything planned at the moment, last year's happened because I was able to get some teaching space at Australian Technology Park. If that happens again this year, I'll be hosting another free session. Keep your eyes peeled.


Vivid Sydney 2011

Made my first foray out to Vivid Sydney last night and somehow managed to lose the group I was with!

Nevermind, I met up with some others and wandered around The Rocks side of town.

I was surprised that some of the locations I would have gone to didn't have many people. At the Opera House itself, right next to the sails, there weren't too many people. Also, the Cahill Expressway, looking out to the Opera House and the bridge, there was absolutely no one there. Over at The Rocks, you can climb up to the bridge on the eastern side and with a long lens get a fairly decent shot of the Opera House.

I'll likely try again some time over the next two weeks and this time bring a wider lens.

_MG_5704 _MG_5712 _MG_5727 _MG_5732 _MG_5740 _MG_5760 _MG_5798 _MG_5807 _MG_5817

Creating a consistent shooting style

Most people will tell you that you need to develop a style in your work -- something that sets you apart from everyone else, usually inspired from everyone else. For the most part, I agree, but the one thing a lot of us forget is that it's not always about the end images. Sometimes, it's the way you get there.

I shoot a lot in aperture priority, offsetting my exposure where I need to. I do it because it affords me the necessary manual control over exposure (within a 6 EV range), but more importantly, I am most comfortable shooting this way.

The last thing I would expect of a professional photographer in the field is to miss a photo because they weren't at one with their equipment -- that they don't have something that they're comfortable with and that they know works.

When you develop your style, this is also the best time to consider how flexible you are. Most photographers shoot through the lens, using the eyepiece. They live with the disadvantage of never being able to see the final image when it is taken and instead pre-visualise the depth of field -- a trade off that helps with them knowing they'll get the composition spot on.

Others spend copious amounts of time practicing how to shoot from the hip.

I know photographers who spend significant amounts of time never using the viewfinder and instead using their LCD to determine depth of field and get exactly what they want to see. I doubt they'll ever do the same in fast-paced sports, but they know exactly what they're getting.

Are any of these wrong? No. Some might have different applications in the various genres of photography, but a shooting style is yours. The most important thing is to develop a consistent style, know what works, know what doesn't and always have a plan for when things go south.

What's your style?


The difference between buying lenses from the US and Australia

For photographers, the retail market in Australia is so hideously overpriced you're better off shopping from the US. This is pretty widely known, but I've decided take a look at how much you might save.

Let's do the math and take a look.