Fine Art Print 50% Flash Sale

Visit our  Celebrate The World Fine Art Gallery
Sale ends May 31, 2016

Sale ends May 31, 2016

For a limited time, we are offering a sale on all of our fine art prints from our Celebrate the World Fine Art Gallery. The price offered includes a 50% discount off our profit margin. This is a significant savings and is available to May 31, 2016 only,  Browse our galleries, make your selection and use the discount code MGXHHG at checkout.

Visit our Celebrate The World Fine Art Gallery

Visit our Celebrate The World Fine Art Gallery

Available as art prints, canvas prints, framed and/or matted prints,gallery wraps, acrylic prints, metal prints, fine art cards, cellphone cases and home decor products any of these images will enhance your home, office or lobby. With a 100% satisfaction guarantee, Fine Art America will produce and ship your order worldwide from the closest of 14 manufacturing locations in the USA, Europe, Australia and Canada.. When you place an order, Fine Art America automatically routes your order to the nearest manufacturing center in order to minimize shipping costs and speed up delivery times. Each manufacturing center can ship products to any destination in the world.

About the Authors. David and Anna Smith are World travel & fine art photographers, Bloggers, photography and fabric arts workshop leaders, key note speakers and cruise ship guest lecturers, Their world image archive: Interface Images and Celebrate the World fine art gallery.  David has just published a brand new series of online travel and general photography courses, visit their blog Travel Photography Tips & Adventures for more. Visit our social network links below and please share our Blog posts on your social networks. New Blog subscribers get a complimentary online photography class!

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3 Reasons Why Travel Photographers Can Toss The Tripod!

Noise removed with Topaz Labs DeNoise Plugin

Three Reasons Why Travel Photographers Can Toss the Tripod!

Frequent travelers experience costly airline baggage and weight charges, size restrictions and lost or delayed bags and it’s getting worse.  Did you know that the rings of Saturn are actually composed of lost airline bags?  As one ages camera bags seem heavier and heavier and traveling with a big tripod becomes impossible. The burden of heavy cumbersome tripods is no longer.  Travel photographers can now toss the tripod. Why?

There are three reasons:

  1. Better high ISO noise reduction capability in newer cameras.  The higher the ISO setting in your camera the faster the shutter speed can be and therefore the reduced need for a tripod to steady the camera in low light situations because of slow shutter speeds. The downside of using higher ISO settings is increased image noise. The advent of better in camera image processors with high ISO and low noise levels means being able to use higher ISO settings without worrying as much about noise degrading image quality.
  2. In- Camera or in-lens image stabilization technology.  Nearly all digital cameras have vibration reduction/image stabilization/camera shake features designed to reduce image blur from camera shake hand movement. Be sure it is turned on!
  3. New and superior noise reduction software products.  Many commonly used image editing software products have somewhat satisfactory image noise reduction options. Some newer software plugins have superior noise reduction capabilities.  In fact some are so good that a single mouse click easily eliminates noise.

Note: Photography purists justifiably insist on using super-size tripods all the time but this post is directed to traveler’s wishing to simplify their airline baggage experience and become more mobile and lightweight while on the move.   Older travellers (like us!!!) now use lighter and smaller cameras.  For a small light tripod solution I bring a small Gorilla tripod Joby GorillaPod SLR Zoom Tripod with Ball Head Bundle for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras on my world travels with flexible gripping legs for those must have a tripod moments such as time lapse video, noise free image capture, astronomy and dark night photo ops.  You can also try Dave’s 5 cent string tripod solution for a fun and quick photo experience to stabilize your camera so you can still shoot with low ISO camera settings in low light.

What is Noise?

Image noise is like static on a distant AM radio station

Image noise is like static on a distant AM radio station

Noise in a digital photography context is the same as noise in the audio world. In short it is static and is present in all electronic circuits and is often measured as a signal to noise ratio. As you increase the ISO level in a digital camera the image (the signal) can be further degraded with multi-colored pixilation, color splotches and dots (the noise). Compare to an AM car radio as the static (the noise) increases as you drive further away from the radio transmitter (the signal) until you the static overwhelms the music or announcers voice.

 

Higher ISO means more image noise

Higher ISO means more image noise

 

What is ISO?

The higher your camera ISO setting the more noise there is in the image. The term ISO is used by the United Nations’ International Organization of Standards (IOS) as a world standard for the measurement of the sensitivity of a film or digital camera sensor to light.  The phrase ISO is a shortened version of the Greek word “isos” which translates as “similar”.  Remember ASA (North America) and DIN (Europe) in the old film days?  DIN has been dropped and ASA is the same as today’s ISO.  In the film world higher ISO settings caused more image grain (silver halide deposits on the negative) and in the digital camera world higher ISO settings causes more image noise. High levels of noise in an image will degrade its quality

 

High Noise can degrade image quality

High Noise can degrade image quality

 

Just a few years ago ISO settings over 400 (or 200 in a smaller point and shoot camera) caused visible noise so few camera manufacturers exceeded a 1600 setting because of unacceptable noise levels at higher ISO settings.  Today’s better cameras often have ISO settings over 12,800 surely an indication that those camera manufacturers are more confident of their camera’s ability to shoot quality images at higher ISO.  Some pro level cameras even have settings of 25600 and higher with variable types of in-camera noise reduction solutions. If you have a newer digital camera experiment with high ISO settings to re-calibrate your understanding of today’s camera noise reduction capabilities.

Topaz Labs DeNoise Plugin

I am a huge fan of Topaz Labs digital photography software plugins which  include a powerful noise reduction solution called DeNoise.  This plugin comes with a range of one mouse click pre-sets (or full control sliders for customized noise solutions).  The images below show how using one of their one mouse click noise reduction pre-sets can magically eliminate nearly all image noise without degrading image quality.  With this capability, I willingly crank up my camera ISO up to the max to get sharper images in low light situations and without a tripod. The left image shows noise on the faces and background while the right image shows no noise at all. All it took was one mouse click using one of the many presets included. Try any of the Topaz Labs products for a 30 day free period.

Noise removed with Topaz Labs DeNoise Plugin

Noise removed with Topaz Labs DeNoise Plugin

Travel photographers seeking to lighten their load now have the opportunity to use small mirror-less cameras,  micro 4/3 or tiny point and shoot cameras.  Many travelers today use just smart phones and devices. Consider using cameras with high ISO low noise capabilities, smart devices with apps that control ISO and easy to use software noise reduction solutions and you can toss the tripod.

 

Here is a full size and version of our beautiful stunning Marinera dancers in Lima, Peru with no noise. Do you think they are in love?

Tango Dancers in Love? Image noise removed with Topaz Labs Denoise. Click for fine art prints

Latin Dancers in Love? Image noise removed with Topaz Labs Denoise. Click for quality fine art prints with Worldwide shipping.

 

About the Authors. David and Anna Smith are World travel & fine art photographers, Bloggers, photography and fabric arts workshop leaders, key note speakers and cruise ship guest lecturers, Their world image archive: Interface Images and Celebrate the World fine art gallery.  David has just published a brand new series of online travel and general photography courses, visit their blog Travel Photography Tips & Adventures for more. Visit our social network links below and please share our Blog posts on your social networks. New Blog subscribers get a complimentary online photography class!

Social Networks:  

       
Web Sites:

 

 

 

 

A Photo and Video Story – A Tiny Village in Togo

Collage of a visit to Akato Village in Togo

Collage of a visit to Akato Village in Togo. Click for prints

 

We recently visited the tiny village of Akato Viepe in the Aka Valley in Togo in west Africa. This village is about an hours drive from the main port of Lomé,  As a youth I collected stamps from all over the World, not realizing that I would actually be visiting most of those locations during my life time. Togo on the west coast of Africa is one of those countries.

From my 1960’s era stamp collection:

Togolese Natives Cooking

Togo Stamp:Togolese Natives Cooking circa 1960s

Celebrating the Young Olympics LA 1960

Togo Stamp: Celebrating the Young Olympics LA 1960

 

Anna and I were both escorting Oceania Cruise Lines shore excursions tours to this village. Instead of waiting on the benches with guests and before the start of the official ceremonies, I decided to wander the village with my usual serendipitous style with my camera and I was rewarded handsomely.  At the back of the village were several rustic huts with no one around (they were all at the ceremony in the village center) except for a very proud looking woman leaning against her front door. As always I approached her and asked permission to take her photo.I covered the subject of how to photograph people you don’t know in a previous post.  Without answering she whispered in broken English voice “come inside I have babies!” and she held my arm and we both went into her modest hut.  With a sweep of her hand she parted the mosquito netting and laid bare very tiny sleeping twins obviously born just a few days ago. With natural light flowing in from the open door I quickly grabbed two shots, mom with her twins and a closeup of the sleeping beauties. We both tiptoed back to the front door where I captured a simple portrait of this beautiful mother. She wanted nothing in return but I gave her some bills anyway “for her babies”. We smiled at each other while I said ” bella bambinos and thank you” as I shamefully did not know a word of her local ewe language but she knew what I meant. Striking a photo op gold medal I hadn’t even seen the ceremonies awaiting me as I strolled back to the village square with a joyful tear in my eye and the distinct feeling that I must be the luckiest photographer alive.

A Togolese mother with her twin babies

A Togolese mother with her twin babies

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Enjoy the excited school children, colorful ethnic costumed villagers and a royal welcome ceremony with the village chief, his royal family and and west African drummers in this colorful 4 minute video:

 

Simple Objects Can Change the Viewer’s perception of a Scene

Sometimes the presence of a simple object will change the viewer’s perception of what an image is about. While visiting this village and during an amazing welcome ceremony by the Village Chief (actually a King), his royal family and the villagers  I came across what appeared to be a father and daughter leaning against a mud wall and wearing beautiful and colorful African fabrics. Having asked permission (see prior Blog post on How to Photograph People you do not know) I photographed the both of them and then a close-up of the young daughter. To get a good composition of the two I had to include an unusual object at the same wall- an empty gin bottle! I photo journalist would likely be fired for removing the gin bottle while a fine art photographer would likely remove it for aesthetic reason. Here are both versions of the scene and each conveys a totally different message – what would you do? Please comment below. The gin bottle can be easily removed in a few seconds with the often used clone stamp tool. I used some of the photographs from this village visit in my last post on Travel Photography Tip – Border Patrol and the section with those images is repeated below,

Compare the Two Images: With or without Gin Bottle? Click on Image for my Choice

Compare the two Images: With or without Gin Bottle? What would you choose? Click on the image for my choice

This is one of my favorite portraits. This image shows how the colors of the young girl’s fabric wrap dress match the colors of the earth in the mud wall exactly. The vivid blue in her wrap compliments the dominant orange-brown tones of this scene  and her beautiful white eyes shine like a beacon towards the viewer against her smooth silky dark face.  Do you get the sense that I love this image?

We also visited the local school where the children went ballistic with excitement as very few visitors come to their school. If you every get depressed just hang out with these wonderful kids, you will be uplifted forever. Watch the video in this post to see what I mean.  This was our second visit to this village and we hope to return soon.

Young girl in Akoto Village, Togo

Young girl in Akoto Village, Togo  Available as a fine art print. Click to view.

 

About the Author. David Smith of Vancouver, BC is a World travel & fine art photographer and is published worldwide. As a Blogger, photography workshop leader, key note speaker and cruise ship guest lecturer, he and his wife Anna have visited over 120 countries on 6 continents. They just returned from assignments in Africa and South America and will be visiting the South Pacific, Mexico and Central America next. Their motto: Capturing the World one smiling face at a time!  

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Travel Photography Tip -Taking Photos of People You Don’t Know

© 2011, David/Anna Smith. For copyright permissons

 

Glamour, Dress, Vertical, Looking At Camera, Outdoors, 2024 Years, 2530 Years, Ethnic, Cheerful, Indonesia, Asian Ethnicity, Standing, Sitting, Smiling, Holding, Traditional Culture, Day, Bali, Padang Bai, Cruise ship. destination, travel, Traditional Clothing, Mid Adult, 20s, 30s, Color Image, Ornate, Three People, Women, Young Women, Portrait, Photography, Adults Only, inba011 Close-up portraits of young Bali women wearing traditonal costumes at Padang Bai, Bali, Indonesia, Asia

Local people add color and excitement to travel pictures so photograph them…an intimidating idea to many of us. Flowers, animals and mountain lakes don’t talk back to you but it is people who make the world colorful, friendly and more interesting (IMHO).  Be aware that different cultures react differently to foreigners and photographers.  Don’t violate cultural or religious taboos on photo taking – research this before you arrive.

To start: Experiment with people you know, Use telephoto lenses. Try children first ….they are much easier with few hang-ups. On Location:  Relax, study your site for interesting subjects, get people to be used to you and that you are a photographer with a camera and using it!  When you arrive at a scene for the first time  you are like a rock in a still pond causing huge  ripples everywhere.  If you have the time, hang out, relax, sip a latte, let the “ripples” subside and others will soon get used to you.

Shoot around your subject, then move closer & SMILE.  Engage in friendly conversation “I love your hat” “you have a beautiful village”  “Can you help me find —?”  After establishing any type of relationship with your subject ask “may I take your picture?” or if there is no common language, point to your camera then your subject with  a “may I?” gesture.  If there is a negative response – move on, there are billions of people in the world left to photograph.   The first poses are often stilted or unnatural – get your subject to hold and show you something or interact with others and plan on taking several shots to get a good one.  Come back later and try again, the second time your subject will be more natural and relaxed.

Don’t feel obligated to tip unless your really want. Bring home town pins, flags, momentos to hand out. In high traffic tourist locales tips can attract amazing subjects dressed in local costumes for better images.

In a photo rich setting, watch and prepare for candid shots and practice your camera techniqee at home to be ready for that once in a life time opportunity, like this one of women fruit sellers in Antigua, Guatamala. David had 2 seconds to grab 2 shots before they turned down a lane.

 

Closeup. portrait, ethnic, Viet Nam, Viet Namese, Asian, Asia, Da Nang, Hoi An, village, historic, looking at camera, old, man, 70 to 80 years, 80 to 90 years, ancient, rotten, teeth, no teeth, toothless, straw, hat, wearing, smiling, backlight, tooth, toothy smile, blind, backlit, back light, water, boat, canoe, fishermna, fishing, fisher, posing, staring, People, Contemplation, Dress, Hat, Outdoors, War, Vietnam, Traditional Culture, Day, Hue, Traditional Clothing, One Person, Vietnamese Culture, Adult, Young Adult, Color Image, South Vietnam, Old man, Photography, Vietnamese Ethnicity, David Smith, Interface Images, Close-up of a Vietnamese man wearing a straw hat in a fishing boat in Hoi An village, Viet Nam

Close-up of a Vietnamese man wearing a straw hat in a fishing boat in Hoi An village, Viet Nam

A few tricks:

  • Let children pose themselves – they’re natural; Say “Touch heads” and you will always get a smile and a laugh.  Want a friend for life? – exchange contact info, send/email photos.
  • Using a digital Camera? The BIGGEST icebreaker by far is to show them the picture you took.  Everybody likes to look at themselves. Capture yourselves with your new friends by using Dave’s Smile Circle ä effect, a technique which will be explored in detail in a future post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teenage, girl, young, model, beautiful, attractive, Karen, hill, tribe, Chiang Rai, Thailand, brass, neck, long, ring, neck, longneck, village, villagers, ancient, historic, medical abnormality, ethnic, portrait, tribal, custom, smile, smiling, photographers, adventure, travel, outdoors, Asia, Asian, culture, Thai, ethnicity, culture, David Smith, Interface Images, Teenage girl in the Long Neck village of the Karen hill tribe near Chiang Rai, northern Thailand

Teenage girl in the Long Neck village of the Karen hill tribe near Chiang Rai, northern Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No need to travel afar, watch for local festivals and special events.  When people get dressed up for parades and cultural festivals, they are really saying “take my picture”  Don’t get there just for the parade – get there for setting up and post parade interaction. If you are on a tour be sure to photograph your traveling companions doing things, your tour guide and any local hosts or entertainment events.

gay, pride, pryde, parade, Vancouver, rights, festival, lesbian, bisexual, homsexual, public, nudity, celebration, event, day, editorial, procession, gay rights, movement, transvestite, out of the closet, David Smith, Interface Images, Image by Interface, gayp019 Participants in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver, BC, Canada on August 5, 2007

Participants in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver, BC, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember -A memorable portrait is really a moment in time between a photographer and a subject and is an effective  tool to get to know, experience & appreciate people around the world.

Please share some of your favorite photos and stories of people you didn’t know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s David & Anna?

Here we go again. We are repeating our “Where’s David and Anna” contest by popular request.  The first  ten people who can correctly guess the major city (and country) near where this famous place is located will receive complimentary access to David’s complete online photography courses, a $120 value.  Do NOT put your answer in the comments section but please click here to send us an emaill with your answer. City and country please. Hint: It’s in the southern hemisphere and we are in front of the largest one in the world.

Where's David and Anna?

Where’s David and Anna?

If you missed the answer, you can take 50% off all or any of David’s online photography courses, until March 31, 2016 just use the coupon code dave50 at checkout. Good luck in the contest.

ANSWER!

Thank you to the dozens of people who entered this quiz. Congrats to all the winners. The correct answer is under the world’s largest cashew tree near Natal, Brazil.

Travel Photography Tip – Border Patrol

Where you point your camera can make or break a travel image.

Cutting an ankle, trimming words on a sign or letting a tree branch come out of someone’s head ruins an image so conduct a “Border Patrol” before you press the shutter. When travelling your vacation brain doesn’t see the bus in the background, the litter in front of your subject or wires piercing through a head while your camera’s brain records it all. Quickly check your image edges in your viewfinder or LCD screen and move yourself forward, back, left or right, wait for people or vehicles to get our of the way, zoom your lens in or out to avoid cutting an an ankle, wrist or knee (your image viewers feel the pain!) and your travel images will be significantly improved. Sometimes there is no time for border patrol so just take the shot.

Border Patrol before shooting!

No Border Patrol = Bad Image!

 

Border Patrol was done on this image. Click for fine art print

Step back: Border Patrol was done on this image. Click for larger version

Fixing Bad Images by Cropping

Some photo opportunities require a quick grab shot without any time for “border patrol”. While photographing in a fresh market at the UNESCO site of old Antigua, Guatemala I spotted several Mayan fruit sellers chatting and strolling towards me about 50 feet away so I quickly shot off one frame with my zoom lens at 200 mm. Suddenly they turned right down a lane and were gone forever. With no time for border patrol I had cut off their ankles and created a half person on the left. Fortunately I had a solution to the lack of
border patrol – simply crop the image! All photography software has a cropping capability and it can be used for quick fixes. The resultant cropped image was such a huge success it was actually picked as an editor’s choice in Canon’s European professional network (CPN) competition a few years ago and published in Geo Saison (Germany) magazine. Here is the before and after versions:

both Antigua

Image on the right is cropped. Click to view.

 

Use the Clone Stamp Tool to Fix

Watch for tree branches!

Oops! Watch for tree branches!

 

A few months ago while on a travel photography guest lecturing assignment on Oceania’s cruise ship Insignia Around the World voyage we visited the Portuguese island of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) off the coast of Africa where I captured a panoramic scene of Mindelo  and the beautiful coastline of of São Vicente island from a mountain top. The last frame of the multiple image series included a photographer (hi Ryan!)  capturing the same scene but I did not notice the tree branch coming out of his head (well, I was on the cliff’s edge with no fence and was more more worried about falling off the cliff than taking the time for border patrol). The easy solution was to use the clone stamp tool to remove the branch and incorporate the edited image in the final panorama as shown below.

Cape Verde Panorama. Available as a fine art print

Cape Verde Panorama. Available as a fine art print

Simple Objects Can Change the Viewer’s perception of a Scene

Sometimes the presence of a simple object will change the viewer’s perception of what an image is about. While visiting the tiny Akato Viepe village of  in Togo (on the west coast of Africa, in the Ako River valley) and during an amazing welcome ceremony by the Village Chief (actually a King), his royal family and the villagers (this colorful event will be the subject of an upcoming post) I came across what appeared to be a father and daughter leaning against a mud wall and wearing beautiful and colorful African fabrics. Having asked permission (see prior Blog post on How to Photograph People you do not know) I photographed the both of them and then a close-up of the young daughter. To get a good composition of the two I had to include an unusual object at the same wall- an empty gin bottle! I photo journalist would likely be fired for removing the gin bottle while a fine art photographer would likely remove it for aesthetic reason. Here are both versions of the scene and each conveys a totally different message – what would you do? Please comment below. The gin bottle can be easily removed in a few seconds with the often used clone stamp tool.

Compare the Two Images: With or without Gin Bottle? Click on Image for my Choice

Compare the Two Images: With or without Gin Bottle? Click on the image for my Choice

Border Patrol – Summary

Remember that image edges breath – don’t cut them. How do subjects interact with their environment and how to objects (buses, gin bottles, wires, tree trunks) interact with the subjects? Do a border patrol – simply move a bit, wait, zoom in or out and simple cloning or cropping edits can make your bad travel images sing! Border patrol is a must for every travel photographer.

About the Authors. David and Anna Smith are World travel & fine art photographers, Bloggers, photography and fabric arts workshop leaders, key note speakers and cruise ship guest lecturers, Their world image archive: Interface Images and Celebrate the World fine art gallery.  David has just published a brand new series of online travel and general photography courses, visit their blog Travel Photography Tips & Adventures for more. Please share our Blog posts on your social networks.