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Front Element Challenge #5:Lines

January 19, 2010

The challenge this week was abstract; lines. We simply needed to get a picture that involved lines. Here is what we came up with:

Kyle’s Picture

Lanterns in HDR

Joe’s Picture

Landing Strip


Got A Mentor?

January 14, 2010

I have linked a great post from Mr. Scott Bourne about having a mentor. No matter what field you are in get a mentor. Mr. Bourne says:

Mentors help you learn the value of your mistakes, and give you exposure to ideas you’d spend years trying to find on your own. They help you establish a solid foundation and build up a rapport as you work toward the common goal of developing into the best photographer you can be.

Mr. Bourne also says seasoned vets should consider mentoring young photographers. That is the reason I am looking for a photography mentor. If you are interested let me know.

Mr. Bourne Posted a follow up article here: How to Find a Mentor.

Note: I have made the previous post sticky so that Ya-Hui’s feature stays up a little longer.

Photographer Focus: Ya-Hui Lin

January 12, 2010

This is the first in what will be a regular feature on Front Element Photography. We are calling the Photographer Focus. This gives us a chance to highlight an Amateur photographer who is is making great photos. Our first brave photographer is:

Ya-Hui Lin

Ya-Hui Lin is a amateur photographer based in Taiwan. As you will see from her photographs she enjoys various types of photography including: landscape, portraiture, street photography, journalistic, and wedding photography. Ya-Hui’s interests vary more than her preferred photography styles! A few of her interests include: travel, mountain climbing, and painting. Ya-Hui took a break from her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

FE: When you see a cool photo or a particular style of photography what resources do you use to learn more?

Ya-Hui: I approach learning in several ways. I look at lots of photos on flickr but I also like to go to I also have several books that I like to use two of which are The National Geographic Field Guide and The Photographers Eye by Micheal Freeman. Lastly, when I can I like to check out Russell Brown’s conferences on photo editing.

In India

FE: What gear are you using now?

Ya-Hui: That is an interesting question. On the digital side I am using a Canon 5D. Lens wise  I like my sigma 12-24 because it lets me get great landscapes. My 50mm 1.8 is great in low light. I am also carrying a:

  • Canon 100mm f2.8
  • Canon 17-40mm
  • Canon 18-55mm (kit)
  • Sigma 70-300mm

On the compact side I carry a Fuji WP Z33. When I feel like going old school I pull out my Minolta TC-1 and shoot some film.

FE: What is your favorite piece of gear?

Ya-Hui: I love it all. You know each thing has it’s own use. Now, I am planning on getting the Canon 70-200mm F4.

Sun moon lake 日月潭

FE: Why draws you to photography? Why do you enjoy it?

Ya-Hui: I simply love photography. I am not a professional, I just want to take my ideas and create images from them. I also want to capture moments in my life and preserve them as memories. The most important thing is that I can take pictures for the people I love. Unfortunately, I have a bad memory and Alzheimer’s Disease is common in my family. I know it might be a little crazy and I might not have the same disease, but if, (the probability is low), one day I don’t remember anything, my pictures might help me remember.

Find the way out 出口

FE: Do you have a favorite subject? A favorite place to go and take pictures.

Ya-Hui: I usually follow my instincts. If the mood is right I take photos. I don’t have favorite subject or place to make photos.

大屯山夜曝 | Datun Mountain Night Air

FE: If money were no issue where would you go to shoot?

Ya-Hui: If money were no object I would like to stay in Amazon for three weeks. I would shoot the life style there and portraits of the people. There are also some unique animals and plants I want to get some pictures of; just thinking about it gets me excited.

A Wedding

If you want to see more of Ya-Hui’s work you can visit her on You can aslo contact her through mail on flickr.

Danshuei Fisherman's Wharf 淡水漁人碼頭

FE Challenge #4: A Food Macro

January 11, 2010
tags: , ,

This weeks task was to get a macro shot of food! Now neither of us have macro lenses so it is not ‘true’ macro photography but the basic concept. A true macro lens is designed to capture enormous amounts of detail when close up. I think over all Joe’s G11 did a better job than my D40 with a 55-200mm lens attached. Here are the results:

Joe’s Image

Kyle’s Image

This week FE Challenge #5: Lines

New Year Resolutions for the Photographer

January 7, 2010

“I am clutching my 5DMKII and literally buzzing inside, thinking about the photographic potential of the new year. The possibilities are endless. Now, I just have to commit the time and passion required to become a great photographer.”

~Lisa Bettany

What are your photography related resolutions for the new year? I know some of mine!

I know I am getting a post out on this topic a little late but the new year is has been a whirl wind! It is the 7th of January where I am and I feel like the last week has been a year!  My post is spurred by a post on the same topic as Lisa Bettany of Ms. Bettany is a former Ice Skater and Model who has become a word class photographer in the past few years. Here are some of Lisa’s resolutions:

1. I will learn how to use my camera.

This seems like an obvious point, but we are all guilty of skipping our camera manual and just fiddling with settings…

4. I will not be hindered by the gear I do not have.

You can take great shots with any camera. From an iPhone to a $20 Holga to cheap point and shoot to a 1DMKIII. Don’t let your lack of gear limit you, but rather let it open up new possibilities to be creative…

6. I will learn how to process my shots

No shot comes straight out of the camera perfect. Every shot needs a little bit of processing TLC to take it to the next level.

9. I will set goals and be proactive about my photography career.

10. I will connect with other photographers

Lisa has ten in total but there is nothing special about that number. The key is she has looked at her photography and assessed what she needs to do in over the next 361 days! From the simple task of learning to use her camera, which is highly advanced and a very detailed, to challenging the physiological block we all have of “I don’t have that kind of lens!” or “I can’t afford a flash!” she has considered how to further her photography. For example, when she thinks she does not have the right gear her response will be, “be creative.” For example, If you do not have a flash learn to use light panels to give you a little extra light. Furthermore, learn to use the settings available for your on camera flash or figure out how to use the desk lamp on your desk as a light source. Check out and make your own light source. Essentially learn how to use light, not a flash but just light whatever the source, and creativity will follow. Lastly, each of Lisa’s resolutions show thought about why she is committing to them and reasonable ways of accomplishing them. 

As I mentioned I have a few of my own resolutions:

  1. Publish at least two quality photo books
    With the advent of self-publishing sites like it is easyto get your work out there and get it seen. While getting seen is great it is not why I am going to publish my books. I want to c0mmit myself to this goal because I want to follow through and complete my projects. It is essentially a personal problem that I want to say no to: giving up over the long haul!
    Why two books not only one? Publishing one book should be easy, I have one 3/4 done but a little shy on the quality I want. Two will be more of a challenge. Why not three? I want a challenging but realistic goal that will not stifle my my freedom. I think three books would be enough work to limit me from exploring what I want.  As to quality they may not be full of professional grade images but they will be my best.
  2. Continue the Front Element Challenge
    Every week I will take out my camera and make a great image! This is the reason Joe and I have committed to our weekly photo challenge and it is my goal to see it out for the full 52 weeks!
  3. Learn a new skill, style, or rule every two weeks (or so)
    This year I want to focus every few weeks on a specific skill, rule, or style for a few weeks at a time. By doing this I will learn to incorporate the concept in my photography and learn to see the possibilities of my images.
    Currently I am working with seeing lines and using them to create dynamic images. Over the last few days I have been lax in this but life has been busy. I realize that life gets busy! In light of this fact I am leaving this resolution a ‘loose’ both in how much I learn and the time I take to learn it. How well I stick to this resolution will not be seen solid numbers at the end of the year but in better quality images over the next 349 days.
  4. Project 365
    Everyday this year I will take out my camera and take a photo.  I will not require my photo to be word class but I will do my best to make a quality image. I want to use this in conjunction with learning new skills. I will also display these images so others can see! (solved, will post weekly collections on this site)
  5. Learn through various means
    Over the next year I will continue to get my work out on sites like with the intention of getting feedback on my images that help learn more. I will learn form the many professionals who have blogs and educational sites.

  6. Enjoy Photography
    This is the most abstract and could be the hardest but what ever may com of the other resolutions I will do what it takes to enjoy photography though out the year.

Well those are my six resolutions. January 1st 2011 I will pull this list out and tell you how I did. I recommend you make some resolutions whether photography related or what ever your hobby.

I recommend checking out Lisa’s full article at

FE Challenge #3: The Rule of Thirds

January 5, 2010

The challenge for this week was to make an image that uses the rule of thirds in an effective manner. The intention of this challenge is to unerstand this rule and make use of it. While this rule can be boken in order to produce a more stunning image our task this week is to familurize ourselves with the rule. Joe was out of commission for most of last week so he reached back into the archives to find a photo.

Joe’s Photo

Kyle’s Photo

Joe is ramping up the techical side of his photography as he sets the challenge for this week! FE Challenege #4: A Food Macro.

What Gets You Pumped About Photography?

January 2, 2010

That hope – that belief that something positive will come out of the journey — is what keeps me excited about photography.
-Scott Bourne

I find seeing great image on my computer screen and knowing I clicked the shutter drives my photography. Furthermore, being able to share those images adds fuel to the tank and makes me want to make that next great image.

Check out Mr. Bourne’s thought provoking post on why he and you should be excited about photography.