Monday, April 23, 2007

Basic Photography Concepts

Now that I've started getting back into photography, I've decided to refresh myself on some basic concepts of photography starting with exposure.

Exposure is the combination of four element related to light: light, sensitivity, intensity and time. Unless you're using a flash or providing a light source, assume that light is a constant (i.e. you work with what the environment provides).

Sensitivity of film/sensor is measure by the ISO (international standards organization) rating. The higher the ISO, the less light is needed since the sensor is so... sensitive. Thus, in low light situations, one can use an ISO 3200 film and still use a high shutter speed to snap shots. However, the downside of a high ISO is that the result will have more noise (grainy) then a less sensitive (lower ISO) sensor/film.

Shutter speed is the time the curtain of the camera remains open when a photo is taken. It is measured relative to one second so a shutter speed of 25 means that the curtain is open for 1/25th of one second. A fast shutter speed means less time for light to pass through to the sensor but allows for sharper pictures. With a long shutter speed, there is a higher chance that the photo will be blurred since during the time the curtain is opened the subject could move or your hand wasn't steady.

Aperture is the size of the lens opening that controls the amount of light that reaches the sensor. Lens aperture is specified in f-stops and the higher the f-stop the less light is allowed to pass through the opening. At first I was always confused by aperture terminology and didn't really understand how the number is derived.


The aperture of the lens effects the amount of light passed through and that in turn effects the depth-of-field. The equation for determining aperture:

aperture equation

When comparing lenses, the focal length (f) can be set as a constant of 1 thus the higher the f-number (N) the smaller the opening and thus allows less light.

The combination of these different factors equals the exposure of a photograph. As you can see, the same exposure can be obtained with different combination.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Actresses that I'd go see

A few actresses who's movies I'd go see just because they're in them:

Angelina Jolie
Scarlett Johansson
Elizabeth Hurley

Ones I'd seriously consider going:

Kirsten Dunst
Julia Stiles
Natalie Portman
Catherine Zeta Jones
Jodie Foster
Heather Graham

There are a few actors who I find tend to turn in good performances so I'd be willing to go to their movies despite so-so reviews:

Dustin Hoffman
Gene Hackman
Morgan Freeman
Denzel Washington
Johnny Depp

Monday, April 2, 2007

Weber Spirit E-310 Grill

I promised that once the backyard is completed, I would get myself a grill and do some BBQ. I didn't want a massive grill that's loaded with hundred of features, but didn't want to get something that is too basic. After researching online, the Weber Genesis Silver B was one of the most recommended grills for its quality and price, but Weber no longer makes it. It turned out that they just changed the name from Genesis to Spirit and I decided to buy the Weber Spirit E-310. A friend came by this weekend to help me assemble it.


It took us about 45 minutes to put it together. The only time two people was really needed was lifting the center piece onto the stand, but having two people always help! We got ourselves a full tank of propane and lit it up full blast for 30 minutes to let it clean all the grilling surfaces. I was pleased to note that while the cooking area got plenty hot, the heat was all contained in the grill. The surrounding areas didn't feel the heat. I was initially worried that having such a small yard might cause plants and house to feel the heat of the grill, but it turned out to be a non-issue.

The grill has a good amount of grilling space, ceramic-enamel cooking surface, a small work tray on one side and the heat/fire control on the other. Overall the grill doesn't take up too much physical space while still provided plenty of cooking surface. I didn't get the optional burner on the side since that adds another $200 to the price tag when I can just go into the kitchen and do the same thing.

I'm pleased with the initial test run of the grill and felt it was a good purchase. I got a cover for the grill to protect it from the element and will hopefully extend the life of the grill since I don't want to have to get another one in the near future! :-)


Now I can get in touch with my inner caveman and cook meat over fire! Rrrr...