For the folks who received cameras last Christmas, welcome to the fold! It’s a wonderful hobby, this photography thing, whether you shoot digital or film, have the most advanced of gear or the  simplest of cameras, are in it to express your creative longings or are in it because it’s the in thing to do.

You’ve probably already shot the hell out of your new toy. Are you pleased with the results? If this is the very first time you’ve used a camera, a film one at that, you may be wondering: where are all the awesome shots I was expecting? Where are the crazy colors? What happened to the vignettes? Why’s it too dark? Why’s it too light? Why’s it all black? This is, of course, if you’re honest. Many new photographers like to convince themselves that their photos are award-worthy, even though they’re just photos of random clouds.

We all want to be better photographers, and the first step towards becoming one is admitting there’s a lot to learn. That means you. That means me. Photography requires us to understand some things, the basics, before we move on to the meatier stuff. To help everyone along, especially the beginners, I’ve decided to embark on a series of articles on the fundamentals of photography. Rather than go all technical, I’ll be focusing more on the basic principles of the art and craft.

I’m not a professional photographer, just an avid amateur, so this serves as a refresher course for me as well. I don’t live and breathe photography the way folks like Scott Kelby or Kevin Meredith do, so a return to beginnings can only serve to deepen my own understanding of this hobby.

We’ll tackle topics like exposure, shutter speed and aperture. ISO/ASA as well. Basic composition and framing, depth of field, panning, the Sunny 16 Rule of course. If I can find guest bloggers, that’d be great, a breath of fresh air to be sure. All that and more. But, I am asking for your forgiveness in advance. I can only write these when I find the time. Some weeks, it’ll come fast and frequent. Other times, it’ll be an agonizing drip-feed. Gotta prioritize writing that puts food on the table, heh.

Well, that serves as our introduction to the course. Now let me go and prepare the first lesson. Cheers.


Last week a reader dropped me an email asking how I create “wiggle 3D” animations from my lenticular camera photos. He’d recently bought a Nishika N8000 package complete with flash, case and Vincent Price video and was eager to try his hand at it. Here, then, for all you Nishika users out there, is my workflow.

Step One: Create Individual Frames

The Nishika N8000 produces four frames simultaneously, each one slightly different from the others due to how its four lenses are angled. I usually get my scans back from the developer like this:

After post-processing (which I won’t go into), select and copy each of the four frames and save them as separate images. Just save them as jpg as these will be for Web use. Organize them into proper folders so you don’t clutter up your directories.

Step Two: Stack Frames

From the FILE menu, select SCRIPTS, then LOAD FILES INTO STACK. This opens your four frames as layers in a single image file. Make sure not to select “Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images.” We’ll be doing that manually in the next step.

Step Three: Align Images

Once the image opens, make sure your stacked layers are in the proper order. Select an anchor point from which to align each layer. I usually choose the subject’s eye or face. Play with the Opacity of each layer to make sure your alignment is correct.

Step Four: Crop Your Image

During the alignment process, you will invariably create gaps at the edges of your image. Make sure to crop your image accordingly.

Step Five: Animate Your Layers

Once your layers are aligned, open up the animation panel from your WINDOW menu. Click on the small pull down menu on the upper right of the animation panel and select “Make Frames from Layers.” This will create a four-frame animation 1-2-3-4. For smoother looping, copy frames 2 and 3 and paste into your timeline in this order: 1-2-3-4-3-2.

Step Six: Save for Web

From the FILE menu, select “Save for Web & Devices,” which allows you to save your image as an animated GIF. You may adjust the size and quality of your image before saving if you wish.

Here’s the finished product.

Rally in 3D @ Nishika N8000