Passions | Photography

 

Passion | Photography

My love for photography is deeply rooted in my childhood. I always was fascinated by pictures and capturing moments. My favorite type of photography is candid where you can capture the right point in time. 
 
 

This post is about the history of photography and the evolution of the equipment I used.

Beginnings

In high school, there was a photography class offered as an elective. I signed up for it and decided to check what it was all about. In that class, we learned and practiced we shoot black and white (b/w) photos and then develop them by hand in the darkroom. It was fascinating to learn!

Interestingly both of my parents were into photography when they were my age. My father knows how to compose a shot and adjust things manually; whereas my mother took a lot of photos of our siblings and captured some great moments. We have a couple of Fuji and Nikon film point and shoot style camera in the family that still work!

First SLR

With the interest of this class, my parents bought me my first SLR camera 35mm film camera, a Canon EOS Rebel Xs. It came with an entire kit with bag and couple lenses and etc. This was used for the photography class and for family vacations mostly.

Gone digital

With my interest growing and technology improving, I got my first digital camera. It was a Canon S320 ELPH which was revolutionary in the megapixel count and image processor called DIGIC.

In my use of the digital camera, my interest for a bigger camera came along but DSLR was out of my budget so I got my first ‘super zoom’ camera, a Canon PowerShot S5 IS. It had a large zoom and more versatile and with a flip-out screen.

using the Canon super zoom in Hong Kong

I used this camera a lot on my trips to Hong Kong. It was fast, robust and compact enough to put in my coat pocket or hang around my neck without much strain.

Here are some examples of how far I could zoom from across the harbor:

 

 

Zoom all the way to top of the peak!

 

With the PowerShot, I was able to get some good self-portraits shots using the timer

Digital SLR

After using the Canon superzoom i saved up money to finally buy a ‘real’ camera so I invested in a DSR. After much research, I decided to stay with Canon since I was familiar with their products already for nearly a decade. I got the Canon XSi which was the first DSLR with live view on the screen.

They say your photography is as good as your ‘glass’. So in one day, I purchased two lenses, 1. Canon 24–70 2.8 & Canon 55mm 1.4 along with a UV filter to protect. This was a very expensive but allowed me to improve my shots and be more dynamic.

Next Level

To push to the next level and saved for a Full frame DSLR and got me the Canon 6d. This was Canon’s first entry-level full-frame with a large sensor of 20MP. I only purchased the body since I already had the lenses. Using them in combination made the overall shot much more than I realized before I can now get blurry (bokeh) shots

 

Bokeh

Mirrorless

By this time I was traveling quite frequently every few months and bringing my big DSLR with lenses etc became a bit heavy to deal with.

So I purchased one day a Sony alpha A6300, which was the first Sony alpha mirrorless to support 4k video recording at a decent bit rate and better quality.

This became my go-to camera for the next couple of years. It performed almost as well as my DSLR but also had some advantages: weight, better color adjustments, flipping screen. 

Mobile

Along the way, I also shoot photography on the current phone I use. Their cameras have come a long way and perform very well for quick shots. At the time of this writing, I have an iPhone 11 Pro which takes stellar photos and is one of the best in mobile for 2019 and 2020.

 

Shot on iPhone 11 Pro

Kits

You can see all my photography kits on my Kit page:
https://kit.co/bstef

Conclusion

I will always take photos and capture the memories.

Passion | Technologies


I’m an avid reader and reviewer of all things tech. I am constantly checking out new things. I was always a gadget and a tinkering kinda person.

My aim in all of this is getting familiar with cutting edge technology and provide a sense of reason and practical use in the product or service. Basically, why YOU should use it.

Stay tuned as I share some of my experiences with technology.


Favorites

Favorite brands are: Apple, Tesla, Disney, Nike (see links)

Favorite piece of tech currently: Air Pods Pro (yes they are worth it)

Favorite Movie: Star Wars (all 3 trilogies) fav of all 9 is “Empire Strikes Back” & “Force Awakens”

Favorite website: Verge; Dezeen; VOX

Favorite experience with any tech is the Sony MiniDisc player.

Favorite big tech is my 55in LG OLED TV


Discovery

Product hunt

Producthunt is a website where people can share and distribute their ideas or products. I stumbled upon while looking for new technology. 

It provides a daily update on new products and services. I use some of them regularly now after discovering them. I recommend you use their apps.

Uncrate

Uncrate s an online magazine publication and buyers guide that features some of the coolest designed products and gadgets that will or have come out already.


Absorb

I am one of the very few people that actually browser to <whatever>.com site but rather I use RSS feeds to read things on the internet.

I use Feedly to read any kind of news, You can add basically any website and you will get its updates. 

You can check out my Feedly collections here: https://feedly.com/bstef

New Year; New passwords

Welcome to 2020! It’s a fresh start to a new year and decade.

The new year brings time for new years’ resolutions and other goals you’d like to accomplish this year.

But for the topic of this article…The new year also a good time to change your passwords.

Are you secure?

Seriously… when was the last time you changed your password to your GMail? Or say your Facebook account (amid all the privacy issues with Facebook)? Do you have two-factor turned on your accounts like Dropbox, Instagram, Twitter, etc?

Well fortunately you can use a tool to save all your passwords. and accounts security. This article will shows you practical way to secure your online accounts.

Password Managers

These tools keep track of your passwords so that you don’t have to remember them all. Plus its good practice to have different complex passwords for each login.

What is it?

What is a password manager? Its a centralized secure location of your passwords. All you need to remember mostly is 1 (one) password to get into seeing your other passwords.

The most popular Password managers are the following:

  • LastPass
  • Dash-lane
  • 1Password

They all offer similar features and at decent costs.

I been using LastPass for over a decade now! And I use it literally everyday or multiple times a day

I chose LastPass because it was the cheapest and easiest and integrated with every kind of device. It also checks all the boxes from this PCMag articlewhich has impressive amount of great features.

It works well on your mobile phone and PC and browser extensions.

Two-Factor Authentication:

Why do you need two-factor?
In today’s world of phishing and email scams, your online accounts can be compromised easily. To make sure it’s you that is logging on two-factor (2FA) is an extra step to make sure.

I have turned on 2FA on everything possible, most online accounts now have 2FA support. You can set it up with sending you a 4–6 digit text to your phone after your enter your password. You can also use an app like Google Authenticator to store your token codes.

Managing Two-Factor

I also been using a 2FA app to manage my token codes called Authy. Its far superior to Google auth app is that it backups your codes so that you don’t have to redo the token codes if you get a new phone. Plus Authy supports more than one device and includes PC not just mobile.

Physical Key
You can be even more secure by using a physical security key like a Yubico key to authenticate, this is like a physical RSA but you push a button or fingerprint to authenticate.

The Fido keyis popular and wotkseith and USB PC device(USB C included)

I have the Google Titan security key which is similar to Fido but works similar. The advantage is that it also works on Bluetooth as well.

Where to start?

Here are the links to enable two factor for the most popular web applications:

Who is Ben Stef?

Me

Hello I am Ben Stef. Nice to meet you.

You can describe me in 3 words: determined, technologist, risk taker.

I grew up in Chicago but was born in the country of Romania. I learned from my parents what it means to work hard and to work for the benefit of others first. I am very much a team player, pushing others to work as hard as I do.

My passions are technology and the impact they have on our everyday lives.

I do a lot of reading and research on technology to get the full picture on the latest and greatest in gadgets and computers.

Another passion I have is for photography. It was something I enjoy and people tell me “I have an eye” for it. something I always bring with me is my camera. I go the extra mile to lug my 13 pound Canon. Yes I’m a “Canon guy” . If you ask me why, I’d say its what because I been using them for years. If you use a DSLR, never put it in “auto” mode, be creative and try some settings out!

I delight taking pictures but never of myself. Seeing others smile through my view finder and then showing them the results brings me joy. Check out my flickr page to my work.

On my Blog you will see me share my thoughts about technology’s impact on our social life and how its meant to benefit us. Technology is a tool use it and don’t be afraid to take risks!