Author: ingimg

These past few days, we’ve watched and we were petrified by Japan’s fifth largest earthquake in history that caused tsunami. I watched it on Youtube just a couple hours after the incident happened, and still in disbelief of the destruction it caused. Japan’s readiness and preparation surely helped the fatality down a bit. The number of victim has reached more than 10,000, and another 10,000 people are still missing. Had it happened in another country, that number could have been more than doubled.

Some of us felt compelled to help the victims of ‘The Wrath of God’ as the Japanese called it. You’ve posted sympathy on twitter and facebook status, and would like to extend your hand in the form of donation. But how? You googled it, and hundreds of links showed ‘Japan Tsunami Relief Fund’. So, how do you decide which organization should you donate your money to? Like it or not, we gotta do some homework if we really care how our donation is going to be used. But to make it easy, here are some pointers on giving donation that I gathered from various credible sites.

  • Money donations are best, because they can be sent quickly, and immediately be put to used. If you already have paypal account, or credit card, some reputable aid organizations will accept them. Even Google has a crisis response page that will make it easy for you to donate to support disaster relief efforts thru organizations like Japanese Red Cross, or Save the Children. Google Crisis Response
  • If you’re familiar with international wire transfer procedure thru banks, Japanese Red Cross Society also welcome direct transfer to their bank account. Check their official website: japan red cross society donation.
  • iTunes Stores in certain countries let you donate to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief fund thru the American Red Cross with just a single click, assuming you already have an Apple ID. Don’t worry if you don’t, you still can donate directly to American Red Cross page.
  • If you would like donate in more specific areas, such as orphaned children resulted from the disasters, you could donate to specific organizations. Save the Children is one of the well known charity that focus in that area. To check which charities providing relief for Japan tsunami, check here, charitynavigator, or here: guidestar. also provides rating of those organizations in term of efficiency, or capacity. So you could know roughly how much portion of your donation will be used for administrative/program expenses, and how much will be used for the tsunami relief funds.
  • You can donate now, or wait a bit to get assessments on the situation and then send contributions. Towns struck by tsunami and earthquake will take years to be rebuilt. So if you’d like to wait til your next paycheck, and donate bigger amount, you will still be able to do so. Just don’t forget. ;P
  • Beware of unsolicited incoming emails that ask for donations. Go directly to credible charities and aid organizations website instead of following a link from an email.


Japanese Manga comics such as Kungfu Boy (Tekken Chinmi in Japan) are really popular in our country.

Japanese autos are dominating the local market.


Ahhh childhood memories.

Like many others, growing up in Indonesia, I’d say I was pretty much influenced by Japanese culture, such as Manga comics or TV series, Japanese confectioneries (Marukawa Fusen bubble gum anyone?), durable Japanese electronic products back when they were still made in Japan, Japanese cars and bikes, and of course Japanese cameras. So hopefully this note, serves as my appreciation to those, will contribute a bit to the victims of Japan earthquake and tsunami. Pray for Japan, the sun will rise again.

by ingimg
ingenious imaging
(sources:,,,,, google,,,,

Rim light refers to the light surrounding the  edges of the subject we shoot, much like a halo. You could achieve this with artificial light, but I always find sun ray more divine.  It’s especially nice during magic hour (in the morning or evening, when the sun at her lower point). If you take a close up portrait, the sun will shine the model’s hair at its best angle during these hours.

Turn your object/model’s backto the sun, set your DSLR metering on spot metering, and aim at the object to get the right exposure of the subject. If you’re using a compact point-and-shoot digital camera, then set to the ‘backlit scene’ mode, and focus on the subject. Position your subjects so their faces are in the shade, but the sun illuminates their hair. And you’re set. See how the hair light makes my angels even more angelic  ;D

In the same morning, see how the rim light differs, depending on the position of the subject. In the first picture, the sun is almost directly behind Kayla. Whilst on Keira in the second pic, the sun is slightly to her right.

Morning sun always seems better than evening sun because the air is cleaner, and there are less activities on the surroundings, especially on a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning. So I guess it really pays to wake up early.

You could also achieved rim light indoors, as long as there’s light source illuminate from behind the subject (i.e. Strong daylight casting thru glass windows, or opened doors, or like in this picture, from a hole on the roof.)

Even during a cloudy evening, as long as your models are backlit, you could still see a soft rim light.

In some cases you would need to turn on your flash to fill in the dark subject. But, I prefer a blown up/washed out background to keep it looking natural.  Share your tips on achieving rim light, I’m sure there are tons of variables for different conditions that one can face.

So turn off the snooze button! Pack up your gear, and start shooting… the early morning! :D

by ingimg
ingenious imaging

Remember those time when you were in this warmth, romantic, nicely lit restaurant, you took a picture with your camera, and what happened? The subject in the picture is washed out, and the background is dark, or in some other occasions, It’s evenly lit, but the subject is blurred. It’s frustrating, but it seems like the camera only works best during the day, outdoors. Well, here’s some tips that could help you take photos in low light condition better.

Romantic, nicely lit restaurant means darkness to your camera. And if you set your camera on auto, the built-in flash most definitely will kick in, replacing the ambient (available light) with high density light that doesn’t reach far. The results just don’t resemble the nice restaurant as you remember. So, try to avoid ‘Auto’-mode in difficult lighting condition, because only you know what is it that you’re trying to capture.

Everything other than front lit (your subject is facing the light, not against it) daylight situation, is considered difficult lighting condition. That’s why in most compact digital cameras, there is the ‘scenes’ mode (pre-set exposures) which will help you define the best exposure for whatever it is that you try to capture.

Valentine’s day dinner with my Keira, the lighting was too nice to pass. I set my camera on high ISO, resting my hand holding camera on top of the camera bag on the table to keep it steady, and use the 2 second self timer. (click on image above to enlarge)

For something like this situation (the romantic, nicely lit restaurant), you set your camera to ‘indoor’ mode (each brand differs in the naming departments, some have specific modes for indoor situation, i.e. ‘party’, ‘birthday’, ‘candle light’). And then what happened? The subject still comes out blurry, or sometimes even the whole picture is blurry. That’s because the camera decided to lower the shutter speed to get as much light as possible for the perfect exposure in those low lit conditions.

The slower the shutter speed, the more likely the image is affected by movement. When we press the shutter release button, our finger motion shakes the camera a bit. A small movement within a large fraction of a second is enough to make a blurry picture. Thus, the waving hand (no shake, please) icon appears in your display to warn you when the shutter speed is slow.

Same goes for a moving subject. If the shutter speed is fast, it stops the moving subject in the picture. But if the shutter speed is slow, you’ll get the subject in motion blur. So the key is to keep the camera as steady as possible, and ask the subject to be still during the point of shutter release.

Differ in some brands, in Lumix LX3 you can set the scene to the ‘party’ mode.

You can do reduce this shutter release shake by using the self-timer and by hand-holding the camera against a steady ground. You can lean your camera holding hand against the table, or on top of the purse that you stack on the table to lift it higher. Sometimes you can use the wall beside you, or the top part of the chair, or anything that will keep your hand steady. Try to use the 2 second self-timer, instead of the 10 seconds, because people’s smile rarely look natural when they have to hold it for 10 seconds. :) (Unless you want to be inside the picture, then 10 second self timer will give you the time to get into place)

On her 5th birthday last year, with her cousin. Had I used flash, the candle couldn’t be the focal point as I intended to here.

Some compact digital cameras already have a built-in stabilizers to counter shakes. There are two types of image stabilizer, the real, mechanical one is the optical image stabilizer which makes some part of the lenses inside react to your movement. And the cheaper version is the digital image stabilizer which only push the ISO number, or open the widest aperture possible to keep the shutter speed fast to minimize blur. If it’s within the budget, get the one with optical image stabilizer. The moments you capture are irreplaceable, you wouldn’t want many blurred mementos, would you?

Many ways to improve the quality of pictures, I’m sure you got other real-world tips on how to take better pictures in low-lit places. Please do share. :D

by ingimg
ingenious imaging