Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year Dubai!

It is that time of year again! Time for new years resolutions and of course to watch and also maybe photograph the splendid fire work displays that we have here in Dubai or wherever you are in the world. Here in Dubai we have two firework displays that usually are spectacular there are of course several fire works displays but two that are usually a bit out of the ordinary at least. It is Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world and Atlantis The Palm Hotel. Lets hope I am not wrong and that they both are boycotting fireworks or something this year :-)
For those of you that are photographer enthusiasts I would like to give some tips on how you can capture the fireworks with your camera.
When photographing fireworks your location is very important. You do not want anyone potentially standing in front of you or that a building is blocking part of your view. So location is very important you might want to go and location scout before hand since once the fireworks have started you will not have time to move yourself and your camera gear.
A tripod is almost a must at least very recommendable. If you do not have one find something solid to put your camera on such as a table or a ledge. Because you will not be able to hand hold the camera for the long exposures that are needed no matter how steady you are. A remote trigger is very handy so that you will not get any camera shake but not a necessity. If you do not have one you need to press your shutter very gently, no sudden moves.
Then put your camera on Manual mode. There are of course several different settings that you can choose from nothing is totally right or wrong just give different effects.
But to give you somewhere to start out at you can have your DSLR on ISO 100, Aperture 11 and Shutter speed somewhere between 1 to 8 seconds. At 8 seconds you will have more firework rain (light trails) and a brighter image since your camera curtain will be open for a longer period of time. When you choose a short shutter speed such as 1 second then you will only be able to capture the short bursts of light.
The lower your ISO is the less noise will be visible in your photograph, but if you do not have a tripod you can increase your ISO to compensate that a little but you then have to be aware that you will get more noise in your photographs. Try to predict where and when the fireworks will go off to capture the colorful bursts, you do not want to press your shutter when the rocket/firework starts since it then will take it too long for the colorful bursts to appear and you will overexpose your photo a bit too much.

ISO 200, Shutter speed 4 sec. Aperture F. 14
ISO 100, Shutter speed 1Sec, Aperture F.11 
ISO 100, Shutter speed 3Sec, Aperture F.11
It can also be nice to include people into your composition to show a sense of perspective and dimension. This image below is to display that and that you should not wait till the last minute to photograph a firework display because the sky after a while will become very smoky from all the fireworks which you can see in this image so its not a great image by any means I just want to prove my point. :-)
ISO 200, Shutter speed 2 sec. Aperture F.14
Good luck tonight!  If you live in Dubai you will have a second chance at photographing fireworks during the Dubai Shopping Festival. They always have spectacular fireworks over the creek then. The above images are taken during last years shopping festival.
If all else fails you can always sign up for one of my photography workshops :-) LOL

Happy New Year everyone!
Helen xx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Dubai Beginner Photography Workshops

Announcing The first Beginners Photography Workshop of 2013.
I have received so many requests lately for when I am starting new beginners photography workshops so I sat down the other day to work out suitable dates. Well I have now gotten the dates confirmed for the first one for 2013.
If you have your own DSLR and are wondering a bit about what all those buttons are all about then this course is for you. I will teach you how to stop photographing in Automatic mode and how to use the Creative modes on your camera, such as Aperture, Shutter speed and Manual.
The first Beginners Photography Workshop in Dubai has the following dates for 2013:
20th of January 10.00 -12.00, at Al Areesh Club, Festival City
27th of January 10.00-12.00, at Al Areesh Club, Festival City
3rd of February 10.00-12.00 on location TBA
Total of max 4 pax in each workshop so that I have time to help all of you with your camera. Price: AED 1,200 per person
Call for bookings: Helen 055 107 89 88
*Ladies Only
I also do individual photography workshops so if you are interested in that give me a call and we can work out a suitable schedule for it. Price for individual lessons are AED 2,100 for a total of 6 hours lessons that can be split into two or three sessions. Evenings are also available.

Over and out for now.
Helen xo

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dubai Christmas Cards

If you are a bit like me and enjoy a little bit of DIY jobs at least when it comes to crafts, maybe not to put up your own book shelves. :) I love it when you get gifts when you can tell there have been some thought put into it and not just a random tie or a pair of socks. (oops I gave my hubby a tie for Christmas) Ok so don’t do as I do, do as I say :-)
While you still have your Christmas decorations up take  advantage of it and plan next years Christmas cards already now.
It does not have to be difficult, go and get your christmas ornaments,
choose some of your favorite ones, if you have children it can actually be some of the ornaments that they have made in the past that can make a lovely and sentimental christmas card both at the same time.
This is my daughters first Christmas so we don’t have any ‘special’ ornaments yet only what I bought at ACE hardware last year.
What you need to make this Christmas card:
  • A camera (does not need to be a dslr, any camera will do. It is all in the composition)
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Printer (or go to your local Kodak shop)
  • Computer (not necessary if you go to your local Kodak shop, unless you want to add text to the photo, but I think your local printing shop can actually help you with that as well.)
  • Hard thick paper (you can get this in your local stationary shop, or Carrefour and Hyper Panda also have them)
  • Scissors or paper knife or paper cutter
  • Glue
  • Ruler (to make sure you cut in straight lines)
  • Large piece of paper or sheet (for your background so can be anything that you would like to have as a back ground colour in your photographs, can be your christmas tree as well)
Ok there are a few things that you should think about when arranging your ornaments. If you have really shiny ones then you will probably get a reflection and see everything that are behind the camera. Such as yourself and anything else. I for example saw myself with my tripod and my washing that was hanging on a clothe horse behind me to the side.... Not what I want all my friends to see in their christmas card.
This is what my set up looked like. I used my washing basked upside down to get the ornaments off the floor. You can also use a table or what ever you have at home that is suitable for you. 
Once I realized that I saw myself and how messy the room I used was I started to dislike all the ornaments that had a reflecting surface. You can of course edit those areas in photo shop but my motto is to get it right in the camera so that you don’t create extra work for yourself afterwards, as much as you can at least.
Also remember to dust off your ornaments to make sure they look really nice. Because in a photograph you see everything. I saw on some of mine that a strand of my own hair was stuck in it I was very annoyed with myself that I had not seen it when I composed the photograph. Since I had missed it I edited it out in photoshop afterwards.
When you compose your photograph think of if you would like some text to go on the photograph it self. You then need to ‘save’ some space in your photograph for it so that you have the same background. If you add more space afterwards in photoshop or other software you will be able to tell that you have done exactly that.
Here are some finished photographs. You now just need to print them in the size you want and glue them to a card and post them.
You can of course give me a call and I can come and take a family photograph of you and your family and use that on your christmas cards. Tel. +971 (0)55 107 89 88 Ask for Helen 
I can also help you with printing your own A5 size Christmas cards they are folded and plain inside. I have a professional printing company that I use for that.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Holiday Greetings from Dubai

Happy Holidays everyone.
Having lived in the middle east now for over a decade I know very well that far from everyone are celebrating Christmas. But it is hard to believe when you walk out in any of the shopping malls here they have all gone full on Christmas from decorations, large Christmas trees to having Santa’s grotto etc. One of the fun advantages of living in such a multi cultural place as Dubai is that you get to be part of so many different Holiday’s in a year because they are all very heavily celebrated but all in a very good way!
This year it was my daughters first Christmas and she is so easy to photograph she practically smiles all day long so when I put a camera in front of her face she just continues with being her lovely self. I cant ask for a better model.
Since it is our first Christmas as a family I wanted to send a personalized Christmas Card this year to our family and close friends. Here are a few snaps that I have taken of my daughter, in my search of finding our perfect Christmas card. Please let me know which one is your favourite. I think my favorite is the one below, the first one. That one unfortunately did not make it as a Christmas Card because I took it too late so it would not have arrived in time. I have learned this year that I need to be much more organized and start already in October to think of fun Christmas cards ideas to have time to both take and print them in time for me to send them so that they arrive before Christmas.
I wish you all a very Happy Holiday if you are celebrating and a lovely and prosperous New Year!
My though on this one was to have something that represented where we lived now. It was unfortunatelly not the best weather while we took this one.
A bit of fun.
Happy New Year!
Ps. Don’t forget to photograph the New Year fireworks it is great fun and makes for great Photography Wall Art and fun cards.