In Focus, Bangkok Photography Blog March 6th, 2010

Trounced By My Assistant / A Modeling Experience

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Thank you for your generous contributions. We've been making some great headway over the last few weeks and soon I'll be running some test images. These test images take a considerable amount of time and computer processing power
so once we start we won't be accepting any new images. Please send in your images now so you can be sure to be included in this great project. I have big plans for these mosaics.

We are still accepting (and pleading for) images of children from SEA. No matter how terrible you think they are, please send them in anyway. These images will be used to complete a set of 3 high quality mosaics which will be sold to benefit the Karen and Burmese Orphans living in the orphanages and refugee camps. The more images the better, I can use all you have. Please take the time to go through your images for anything you think might help. If you missed the "No Place to Call Home" special, you can click on the link and read more about this. Thank you!

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Feature Photograph

Trounced By My Assistant!

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A Modeling Experience

Photography News of Interest

Readers Submissions

Readers Questions A Snapshot of Bangkok Images Week in Review

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Infocus Blog, You Can't Take Pictures Here!

Feature Photograph *menu

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F1.8 1/800th ISO 200

You'll be seeing a lot of this popular photography model in this week's column so we might as well start off with the Feature Photograph! These images were captured by my student David during a recent workshop and I thought this set of three
were extraordinary so I requested permission to share them with you and discuss them a bit.

David contacted me with the goal of learning to take better portraits and to get a better handle on lighting. What do you think, did he learn how to capture some outstanding photographs? My vote is overwhelmingly YES! This is what makes this image significant,
a client set his goals in a realistic fashion, allowed enough time together to really learn the material and let it sink in, and by the end of our time together he was capturing images like these. I'd say his objectives were met with an unqualified

Notice the critical sharpness, the perfect skin tones, exceptional expression, and how the image just flat out engages the viewer? This image is damn near perfect. A small nit would be to have caught the wrist watch and asked her to remove it. To my eyes
the watch distracts. A small nit to be sure.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F1.8 1/2500th ISO 200

It's even more incredible to know that this set of thee images were captured in sequence. He was controlling the model and moving around her for the best poses. He engaged the model and she engaged the camera. Each one of these three images is near
perfect, each one is different, and I enjoy viewing all of them.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F1.8 1/2000th ISO 200

David's goals were realistic, but far from easy. He had to listen well, work hard, and challenge himself in areas where he'd never been challenged before. Impressive! I'm confident he'll be able to repeat this performance on demand
during future shoots.

It wasn't all a bed of roses however. Keep reading to learn the nuts and bolts of a learning experience including some common mistakes, common techniques, and a great time overall.

Trounced By My Assistant! *menu

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/400th 200mm ISO 200

Every now and then when you least expect it, you're taken by surprise. Sometimes the surprise is terrible, sometimes pleasant. What happened to me last week was not only pleasant, but it was also enlightening.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/1250th 110mm ISO 200

At the start of most every workshop I pull an old mechanical camera from my knapsack and I run the client through a sort of 'shakedown' talk to ascertain their level of knowledge. More often than
not this leaves me going through a certain spiel almost verbatim each time around. Depending on the clients level of knowledge this can take from 10-90 minutes. My poor assistant bless her heart, has had to sit through more than a few of these.
I can't think of anything worse.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/400th 200mm ISO 200

The surprising part was that she was actually listening! How do I know? The proof is in the pictures. As my client/student and I sat in the two front seats with big cameras and lenses she'd hand us equipment from the backseat as requested but otherwise
would just sit back and watch. This time she'd probably heard my spiel once too often and decided she'd give it a go.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/640th 200mm ISO 200

She has zero previous experience with a DSLR. She'd never picked one up other than to hand it to me or a client. She'd listened, but she hadn't touched. So I was a bit surprised when I heard the shutter of my spare camera clicking away,
but other than that I didn't give it any thought. Mostly I thought it was great she was giving it a try.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/3200th 200mm ISO 200

My client and I had a great 3 hours or so at Safari World and we figured we'd made some great captures. The camera's LCD helps, but you never really know what you have until you get your flash cards back to your computer and download the images.
Really, this is an exciting time. This is the moment when you're broadsided by the truth. You either made great captures, or you'll need to make up yet another great excuse..

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/640th ISO 200

Watching my images download and flicker across the screen I noticed a few hundred images I didn't remember taking. A thought later I realized these must be the ones my assistant captured. Suddenly this perfectly detailed ostrich head popped on my
monitor and the amount of detail was stunning. The exposure was spot on and critical sharpness had been achieved. "Lucky shot" I murmured..

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/1250th ISO 200

And just as my lips stopped moving another picture of a stork pops up and it was also stunning, perfect detail, critically focused, and ideally exposed. Okay, she has my attention now!

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/2500th 200mm ISO 200

Forgetting my own images I focus on hers and go through them carefully one by one. A few weeks ago I completed the micro-adjust on my 70-200mm but hadn't had a chance to use it since. The lens was always great for photojournalism, but I rarely used
it for wildlife because critically sharp images were rare with this lens. Looking in the perfectly focused blue iris of the Ugly Bird and the fine down detail, I couldn't help but notice she made the sharpest capture I'd even seen from
any 70-200mm lens!

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/5000th 70mm ISO 200

How could this be? Lets assume for a moment that the micro-adjustment tweaked the lens to be as sharp as it could possibly be. Sure, okay.. but how did she learn to use that lens to achieve this level of result? This level of sharpness and detail is difficult
enough to achieve with an uber-expensive 300mm F2.8 IS lens.. but a beaten up PJ's 6 year old 70-200?

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/500th 200mm ISO 200

I started to notice other things. You guys have seen Safai World through my camera/eyes more than a few times. I know how I 'saw' every individual venue of the park.. but I'd never "seen" it the way these images were showing. She was framing different scenes, seeing different things, she was pulling off the 300 point bowling game and I couldn't take my eyes off the pins..

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/400th 200mm ISO 200

The perfect exposures, critical sharpness, and interesting framing was consistent from start to finish. Did I mention the camera and lens combined weighs about 5-7kg? Try holding that much weight out in front of you for 2-3 hours.. She barely breaks 120..
how was she doing this?

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/1200th 150mm ISO 200

Some of the shots showed a 'bit' of inexperience, like not enough depth of field (DOF) to cover from the nose to the eyes.. but that's really nitpicking.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/800th 190mm ISO 200

Splashing playing bears are often a challenge. Part of the challenge is they're so big the necessary amount of DOF can be deceiving. Not for my assistant, ever bit of the bear was properly focused and the background pleasingly defocused.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/500th 185mm ISO 200

Many of her shots had the animal looking away from the camera, a true sign of a professional. It takes a novice a fair amount of time to learn that if your portfolio is full of models, animals, and whatnot starting directly at the camera then things aren't
as interesting as they first appeared to be. Catching both eyes in all their glory while the subject is looking away from you takes experience. Or perhaps not..

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/500th 190mm ISO 200

I continued to go through her images giving adequate attention to each and every one. Each time I asked for a different lens she'd stop, she was being distracted from 'her' photography, and
she'd hand me the requested lens. The lens not being used would find it's way to the body she was using. I noticed how well she used each lens in each scenario. Very well!

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/200th 200mm ISO 200

In 200+ images less than 10% had any error at all, an outstanding feat a seasoned pro would feel good about. Of that 10% only a small handful were totally unusable. Novice mistakes like blowing out a background were rare indeed.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/3200th 200mm ISO 200

She even caught the Big Ugly Bird feeding the baby Big Ugly Bird. Catching old fish breath regurging would make most people pause, but not her. Taking the sight and smell in stride she kept shooting.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/1250th 200mm ISO 200

It's also worth noting that she hasn't yet seen her work. She doesn't stick around for the post processing, when the client and I retreat to the air-conditioned comfort of the workstation room she goes her way until next time.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/800th 190mm ISO 200

She made it look so easy it was like she was sticking her tongue out at me! Perhaps next time I'll crawl in the backseat for a nap and let her teach the class..

So.. I'm guessing she's not also an expert at post-processing.. so I processed all these for her to use in this weekly. I didn't do the greatest job either, because I've been extremely busy I only spent a minimal amount of time on
these images and they contain more than a few post-processing errors.

I sent her an email asking her if she would read my column this Saturday. I haven't exaggerated. I think she might be surprised. Personally I want to see her do it again, it's a bit humbling to be trounced by your assistant!

A Modeling Experience *menu

This week, thanks to the generosity of my client/student David, I'll be sharing his experiences and his images with you. As I said in the opening Feature Photograph section David contacted me about learning to take nice portraits and he planned a
realistic amount of time to achieve his goals. I'm not going to cover our entire three days together in a short article, but I will take you through some of the processes and techniques and talk about them a bit. Mostly, for most of you,
this will just be a mildly interesting journal. For those of you looking to improve your portrait taking skills you'll find a lot here of interest.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8G @F5.6 1/100th 55mm ISO 200

One of the biggest challenges with portraits is achieving perfect skin tones. Keep in mind that perfectly "accurate" skin tones most often won't be the most attractive skin tones. Still, if you can achieve a perfect white balance it gives
you an excellent starting point either way. To achieve this perfect white balance we shoot in raw and we useWhiBal kit This is the easiest and surest way to get
an accurate white balance reading. I have the model hold it near her face for the first frame of every new scene we shoot.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8G @F5.6 1/100th 55mm ISO 200

This "scene" was up against a white wall. The goal here was to get comfortable with the model, practice placing the single AF (autofocus) point over the closest eye, and to experience some of the
issues shooting indoors in such conditions.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8G @F5.6 1/100th 55mm ISO 200

Immediately we can see shadows are a huge issue. If you shoot this close to a wall with flash, even if the flash is off-camera, you end up with a huge ugly shadow.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8G @F5.6 1/100th 55mm ISO 200

The solution is to "fill" the shadow side of the subject with a second light, or don't shoot against a white wall with a flash. Notice the left side of the frame is nicely lit, yet the other
side isn't? The Nikon SB-800 is "off-camera" and being held over to the left side directing light in from a 45 degree angle. If it wasn't for the wall this type of single light effect
would make a pleasing image and is in fact my favorite type of lighting technique.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8G @F5.6 1/100th 55mm ISO 200

Prompting him to try "shooting up" we now loose the shadow and with the light still from the left we achieve a more pleasing light. She's starting to warm up to her photographer.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 17-55mm F2.8G @F5.6 1/100th 23mm ISO 200

Using the same techniques, the same settings, the same everything, we move her away from the wall and into the middle of the room. Notice there's no shadows? Good, but there's still two areas that need immediate improvement. From the waist up
she's properly exposed, but her legs are dark. This is because small handheld strobes like the SB-800 can't spread the light out enough to cover all of her. Backing up would solve that issue, but then we'd lose the modeled light.
It's all about choices. A small strobe at 1/2 power behind the couch (or in this case in front of the couch) would fill in the dark background for a more pleasing image.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F8 1/100th ISO 200

A new scene. Now we're done in the exercise room. Our new goal is to properly expose our model standing in the exercise room, while at the same time properly exposing the model. Because they're in two different types and powers of lights.. this
can only be done one way.

What you do is turn off the flash and then putting the camera in manual mode adjust the aperture/shutter speed/ISO for the outside exposure level you want. THEN, using the SB800 strobe (speedlight) in manual
mode you adjust it to perfectly expose the model. Simple eh? This principle is a vital tool in the photographers toolbox, yet relatively few are familiar enough with the technique to do this with any sort of competence.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F8 1/100th ISO 200

New scene, new white balance frame using the WhiBal kit next to the models face. The outside is perfectly exposed (how it was intended to be exposed) and the client/student thought the cameras LCD was showing
the model to be perfectly exposed. She wasn't. What was the problem? Simple, you need to spend a fair amount of time learning the different brightness settings of your LCD and what the exposures look like in the different brightness settings
you're shooting in.. and to remember to turn OFF the "dim adjust" feature that automatically adjusts the brightness of your LCD.. 🙂 And of course, an old fashioned lightmeter would have nailed
this exposure from the first shot of the scene.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F8 1/100th ISO 200

Here we have the same exposure deficiency as before, due to the same issues as before, and one new problem. The client/student's eyes were so full of pretty legs he didn't properly frame the image and he ended up cutting off her feet which ruins
the image. This is very common. You need to always be aware of your framing. If you do this a lot you might want to order a focusing screen with etched lines for a 8×10 or 5×7 inch perspective.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F8 1/100th ISO 200

Simply increasing the exposure of the subject during raw processing reveals that by doing so you are now blowing out the background exposure and that the feet don't magically appear.. 🙂

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F2.8 1/1250th ISO 200

Now we're outside in a new scene using only natural light, so we take a new white balance setting. Is white balance really that important? YES! No matter how much the green hedges and green grass cast a ugly green light across the model, by simply
clicking the white balance eye dropper on the 18% grey card, you achieve perfectly accurate skin tones. Again, the most attractive skin tones might not be the most accurate skin tones.. but it's a great starting point.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F1.8 1/5000th ISO 200

By now David has the model eating out of his hand, she's laughing and having a good time. Perfect! Using his 85mm F1.8 portrait lens wide open, natural light coming from over his shoulder, and his developing positive rapport with the model he's
destined to turn out some great images this day.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F1.8 1/3200th ISO 200

Now that he's got everything perfect, great exposure, recorded the perfect white balance, light (sun) from the perfect direction, pretty model.. now he can concentrate on helping the model relax, tell
few jokes, and encourage the type of facial expressions every man wishes for with beautiful woman.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 85mm F1.4D @F1.8 1/2500th ISO 200

He's doing well by getting her to not look directly in the camera, sometimes you want this, sometimes not. A good mix is a decent goal. Notice her watch? It totally stands out and catches the eye in a negative way. Always check your model, girlfriend,
etc. for such distractions as much as possible.. before the shoot.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L @F2.8 1/50th 60mm ISO 100

During the entire shoot I can't help but shoot over David's shoulder with my own camera. While he's using the flash and controls the ideal shooting position, when you shoot over someone's shoulder you'll probably need to shoot
at a higher ISO (less image quality) and you'll have to choose between an ideal exposure on the subject or an ideal exposure on the background. In this case she's engaging the camera which
works very well with her.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L @F4 1/60th 40mm ISO 100

Using the exercise machines as props, and the mirror to reduce background exposure (by simply turning left 90 degrees), I've now got a balanced exposure. Her expression is gorgeous and her skin tones
perfect. Have you noticed yet that her face is whiter than her arms and legs? Thai women often use makeup to make their face appear whiter, enough so that you'll notice it in a photograph. If using a MUA (make up artist) be sure to discuss the look you desire beforehand.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L @F2.8 1/50th 52mm ISO 125

Still in the exercise room she's flirting with the camera. Such brilliant smiles and body language flirts can't be faked.. she's having a great time. Notice how relaxed her hands are and how she's using them to convey she's relaxed
and at ease?

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L @F3.2 1/50th 45mm ISO 200

Now that she's at ease I ask her to lean back against the backrest and talking softly I do my best to put her at ease. I'm rewarded with an incredibly radiant smile and relaxed posture that screams "I'm COMFORTABLE AND ENJOYING THIS!"

Canon 5d Mark II, 85mm F1.2L @F1.8 1/50th ISO 200

Now we're outdoors and I'm shooting over David's shoulder once again. Body language says everything. What's her body language saying? To me it's saying she's comfortable, at ease, and if someone asks her to smile one more
time she's going to slap them.. 🙂

Canon 5d Mark II, 85mm F1.2L @F2.8 1/800th ISO 200

Taking over the directing I make some jokes and she lightens up even more making cute faces and showing her personality. When a model does this then their body loosens up to match and often you end up with some incredibly sexy images.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L @F2.8 1/50th 52mm ISO 200

Again, body language. The technical's are perfect so relaxing the model so she's comfortable being sexy and cute.. becomes your priority.

Canon 5d Mark II, 85mm F1.2L @F2.8 1/800th ISO 200

At this point I'm demonstrating to David how to illicit cute expressions from the model. We laugh, we joke, we tell Somchai jokes, whatever it takes to get that beautiful smile, the sparkling eyes, the teasing smirk, and that perfect white smile
pleases beyond all expectations.

Canon 5d Mark II, 85mm F1.2L @F2.8 1/800th ISO 200

I wish I could remember what I said to get this response.. but it probably wasn't fit to publish.. 🙂

Canon 5d Mark II, 85mm F1.2L @F1.8 1/50th ISO 200

This expression is terrible. I picked it to share because it is terrible. Now she looks very ordinary, even bored a bit.. You don't want looks like this.

Canon 5d Mark II, 85mm F1.2L @F1.8 Various Shutter Speeds ISO 200

These images were captured about 3/4 of a second apart. You want to establish a pace and keep that pace. Don't bore the model, and don't expect her to stand out in the hot sun with her makeup melting and her black skirt getting piping hot and
then give you a nice smile. Know your gear well enough to get out there and be ready to shoot with a minimum of camera fiddling.. and keep them engaged for only 2-3 minutes at time in heat like this.. Shoot images for 2-3 minutes, and then let
her stand in the shade while you chat her up for 4-5 minutes. Share the results on the cameras LCD.. women love seeing themselves in action and good pictures will motivate, but be careful because bad ones will shut her down really fast.

I had a great time with David and I feel he learned an entire toolbox full of solid techniques for portrait shoots. Can he learn more? Sure, there's no way I can teach someone 'everything' I spent years learning.. but he's ready to
practice these new learned techniques for a period of time.. and then come back to polish the edges and learn more advanced techniques..

Give it a try!

Photography News of Interest *menu

Imagine, no more taking pictures of people in public without first asking for a model release. Imagine allowing anyone to use images for commercial purposes they "find on-line" after "claiming" they can't locate the owner of the image. Imagine a police state where it concerns photographers, you have no rights and your right to safeguard your copyright and intellectual property
is taken away. The Digital Economy Bill
currently before the UK Government will do just that and is expected to become law soon. I don't know what UK Citizens can do at this point, but it appears you're about to be given a royal bending over concerning your rights!

If you're one of the professional users of Capture One Pro you'll be glad to know they've just updated their product and it now supports the newest digital cameras. You can
download it here.

The most significant camera release in the last few months has got to be the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV DSLR. A 10fps 16mp hot rod of a sports and photojournalism camera which can capture low light images better than anything else expect perhaps Nikon's new D3s. Digital Photography Review recently released their comprehensive 34 page review which
gives you a great look at this modern photographic tool.

The Canon 5d Mark II is turning out to be a legend in it's own right, in a large part due to it's ground breaking HD video capabilities.
Canon continues to support this photographic icon with a planned firmware upgrade in mid-March which will add even more video capability. Canon is also releasing
updated firmware for it's T1i (500d in Asia and Europe) and they're also updating DPP and their other supporting software. Canon has been busy this month!

I've written many times about the draconian police state laws being enacted against photographers in the U.K. Didn't believe me? This photographer filmed his arrest under the U.K.'s "anti-terrorist" legislation and it's really quite revealing. You'll want to view this one!

Does your story have a chance at inspiring a nation to embrace science? Would you like to win 1150 pounds worth of Canon equipment? Enter your image representing life-changing science and see if you win the big prize.

If you've been paying attention you'll have noticed Nikon is revamping almost every lens and this is a good thing. Most Nikkor lenses have needed updating to remain competitive for a long time now.
Their newest release the Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm 1:2.8G ED VR II telephoto is said to be a gem of a lens. Digital Photography Review just released a comprehensive review which gives a potential purchaser a very good evaluation of this exciting new lens.

Apple releases Aperture v3.0.1, a timely upgrade to it's premier raw processing software which supports the newest DSLRs.

Readers Submissions *menu


Tried to copy some pics but they come out full size 2.5 mg each – waaaayyy toooo big.

And they take wayyy tooo long to download.

From the photo shoot yesterday.




Bart –

WOW! This looks like a lot of fun. Someday I hope you write a small piece telling us what its like to be involved in an extreme sport.. 🙂


Hello Steve,

I was just reading your weekly column and read about all the accidents that happen in you area and the lack of emergency response after an accident. Well I think then that I'm very fortunate in that where I live (Rattanathibet in Nonthaburi) emergency
vehicles appear at the scene of an accident quite quickly.
In October last year I witness an accident just in front of the shopping center where I live and within 10 minutes the E.R.T (Emergency Response Team) were there and a short
time later an ambulance arrived to take the injured taxi driver away.

What was amazing was that this accident happened in peak hour traffic and the taxi rolled after hitting the embankment and didn't hit any car, the chaos after the accident was that all lanes were blocked but the emergency vehicles were able to weave in and out of it to get to this bloke.

I've seen them park their vehicles in the car park at night time and along this stretch of road and up to the Mall at Ngam Wan Wong, there could be up to 4 of these found beside the road.


ps, by the way these were taken by my 1mb mobile phone camera.

Charles –

Thanks for the pictures! Not bad for a mobile phone. I'm glad you were able to observe some actual emergency services in action.




From early times jaffa is a city that was always mention. its a 5000 years old city . from chalcolitic times until todays.many armies pass through this city . Egyptian navy pass near by the cost on his long sailing north to Lebanon and Turkey.Jaffa was
an Egyptian colony with a governer.a station for traders,sailmen and soldiers.

later on in each era there was always an army there to control the city port .

The old city of jaffa located on the Tell. a Tell have few important meaning(in Hebrew and Arabic).first of all it mean a hell (and looks like it).second its an indication for an ancient city all over the middle east .

in Jaffa of today live together Jews ,Christians and Muslims. its a mix city .one of the very few in Israel.

This project which you will see here connect Tel Aviv Jaffa from north to south to a one big walking street.

A mosque in south part of jaffa.

Peres peace center .Shimon Peres .the Israeli president now . the" last muhikan".from the generation who built this country .since ever he was always in most governments . built a monument which carry his name ever after .like his peace vision
on the middle east ,now there is a peace center .lets hope one day those dreams about different middle east become true .quietly it works very well with few Arab countries .

nice houses in Jaffa.

Different view near Peres peace center

Givaat Aliya beach .nice beach in the south of jaffa

Hi Steve

Here are more pic and a narrative about them.

More of the nice houses in jaffa .once it was a very poor and neglected area . now its a attractive real estate area in Tel Aviv metropolis.

Looking at Givat Aliya beach .

Looking at the new project .the southern walking street of Tel all the sea cost of Tel Aviv has one long walking street which cover many kilometers.

this area that you are seen here was for many long years a garbage dump. it wasn't by a mistake .The main reason was to prevent from people in the area to built houses on a land which belong to the government .I think this project is quite impressive
. a big park for all people and not just houses .


Eyal –

Thank you once again for these fine submissions. I realise it's a lot of work for you structuring your English and we really appreciate it.


I suspect the readers submissions will be a highly anticipated section of this column and I encourage anyone with photographs and travel accounts they'd like to share to please send them to me at:

Readers Questions *menu


Thanks for the great weekly column you publish. As I have told you before it is well written, easy to understand and contains a lot of good information.

Thank you Rick. Your feedback is very much appreciated.

Your “Deadlines” summary was interesting and I do understand the dedication and discipline it takes to meet a weekly “Deadline”. You and Stick have both given good advice, saved me money and perhaps brushes with the boys in

Often.. we let fail to recognize the true value, and perhaps even take for granted, those who give us so much. It never hurts to take stock of what's around us and take note.. I very much appreciate Stick's efforts through the years.

I would appreciate some direction on a serious tech problem. 555 What software or other method would you use to merge 4 different photos in to one picture and save it as a JPEG. I have tried using my Corel Paint Shop Pro photo x2 with no success.

Seriously, any advice on an easy to understand and use solution to this would be appreciated.




I was with a client today and this subject came up in a round about way. The client was asking which software package made the most sense for him. I stated that occasionally I recommend entry level packages that have limited functions which are self-apparent
to most users. He then asked "what about more advanced features?" And this is where it gets interesting:

More advanced features usually require a bit of learning. Some of us can learn by reading the manual, some need help in the way of a demonstration or visual aid. If you have a skilled friend using a certain package who is willing and able to help you
with your questions then by all means consider that package.

However, if not then it pays to use an 'industry standard', in this case Adobe CS4 Photoshop, or Adobe CS4 Photoshop Elements (much less expensive). This is because industry standards are used
by more people and you'll easily find professionals and others well versed in how these products operate.. which means they can give you an easy answer.

This was brought up because I spend a fair amount of time answering questions from my previous clients. I offer this as an open service, but I must limit it to the most common software applications, and the ones that I use and teach. Otherwise it would
take too much time to learn all the different programs which are available. I'd rather be good at one, than barely proficient at many.

So when you say the Corel package I can't offer you any help there.. But I can tell you in Photoshop this is fairly easy. And I think it's a great question that I'll write about as a learning topic for sometime this month. When I do I'll
write a detailed demonstration and include several visual samples. But for now it briefly goes like this:

  • Open the first image.
  • Go to the "Image" selection and click.
  • Add in enough additional canvas space to accommodate the images you want to add.
  • Open the additional images.
  • Use the "Move" tool to drag those images to the enlarged canvas.
  • Arrange the images as you want them.
  • Flatten the layers.
  • Save the image.

If this is hard to understand I promise to make it much easier in a upcoming column.

If you need this done now.. send me the images and I'll do it for you and shoot it back to you..

Thanks for the great question!


Please submit your questions to All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.

A Snapshot of Bangkok Images Week in Review *menu

February was a very busy month and I'm grateful for the work. Hopefully March will turn out the same and so far it looks like it will.

This last week we had three workshops, traveled to Pattaya, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, and several places between.

Today I placed an important order for two high end imaging monitors. They are supposed to be delivered in 45 days and I'll be bringing you a full review not only of the monitors, but also of the calibration device and software recommended for these

A new SSD is en route as well as a new GPS to replace my current girlfriend who's been with me for 4 years now. Reviews on both will be forthcoming a few weeks after their arrival.

Infocus Blog, You Can't Take Pictures Here! *menu


I hear this more and more in Thailand. It's almost at epidemic levels. Mostly I hear it from shop owners who for some odd reason don't want pictures taken of their merchandise. I've experienced this in the malls, JJ Market
(Chatuchuk Market live animal section), 7-11's, and even new car dealers! It seems everyone is afraid the pictures will be used against them in some way.

Recently while in Pattaya I saw an interesting gas pump and I leaned out the window and handed my client my camera and asked him to snap a picture of this hand gas pump.

Canon 5d Mark II, 16-35mm F2.8L @F5.6 1/20th 16mm ISO 1250

He took a few frames when all of a sudden this crazy old lady comes running out of the store demanding we stop taking pictures of her gas pump. We smiled and moved on.

As far as I know there are no laws preventing you from taking whatever pictures you want in public and more often than not I merely smile and move on so I don't severely annoy anyone. Besides, you never know when someone will take you photographing
their gas pump too seriously and create an incident.

I wonder if this has anything to do with my recent experience in Pattaya trying to find a model. My client wanted to learn to photograph people and we needed a 'model' to stand in for a few hours for basic technique drills. My assistant who
is a Thai lady volunteered to find someone for us. Now mind you, this was a simple 2 hour job for someone willing to be photographed in their street clothes with no special preparations required.

She started out offering people 500 baht. They wouldn't take it! After two hours walking up and down Beach Road she had raised the price to 2000 baht and still she couldn't get anyone. She arrived back very upset that she couldn't find
a model and frankly I was dumbfounded. No worries, she substitutes well as a model.. 🙂

Later that evening my client headed out to Walking Street and said he'd bring back a model we could use the next day. The next day he said he couldn't get anyone to agree to be photographed CLOTHED even for 2500 baht! All the beach road
'ladies' were gladly willing to make 500 baht in the horizontal position, but they couldn't be talked into honest work being photographed vertically for four times that much.

Why? Well, we know they probably think its some scam. Who would pay them 500-2000 baht just for their rather rough looks? They probably think you're trying to lead them off somewhere. But then consider they wouldn't trust my assistant who is
a Thai lady. Did they think she a cop trying to set them up?

Another angle is we know is pornography in Thailand is strictly illegal and very loosely defined. Were they worried a police officer would find their image on-line and use it to extort from them?

I'm really not sure what their reasons are, but for certain things have changed from just 3-4 months ago. 3-4 months ago and for the last ten years finding someone to photograph in Pattaya, even totally nude, was as easy as waving a 500 baht note
above your head. Things have changed.

No problem, we were heading back to Bangkok and I have 4-5 very nice looking young female models on retainer who routinely pose for my clients so a phone call later we'd arranged a time and place and our mission was completed. Still, I'm left
wondering why I had this experience in Pattaya and why mostly everywhere in Thailand people are growing unreasonably paranoid about being photographed?

Until next time..

nana plaza