Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Viveza 2.0 Foolin Around

I downloaded a trial version of Nik Software Viveza 2.0.  I think it is going to change the way that my pictures look.  Check out the change in the two photos below.  This was my first try.  You can find more info and even tutorials on Viveza 2.0 HERE.  Enjoy!

Pre Viveza Edit

Post Viveza Edit

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Greek Island Adventure

Hey, you have any Cheetos?

Armed with a passport, a small bag of clothes, a handful of Euros and my camera, Elise and I set off with a group of friends to visit the Greek island of Thassos for a Bulgarian long weekend.  Since weather reports were not cooperating, we were preparing for the worst.  We were welcomed with a solid afternoon of rain.  A few bottles of wine, board games and some good friends helped us make the best of it.  Luckily, the rest of the weekend weather turned in our favor and we went on to enjoy our stay.

The photos of the seagulls were taken on the fairy ride over as some of the passengers fed the gulls with what looked like Cheetos out of their hands.  I took the images of the gulls by setting my camera on AI Servo and Av mode (f4.0) and selecting the center focus point.  I found it best to try and follow the birds with my lens zoomed out to 70mm and wait for them to come within range.

The remaining two photos you see in this post are of the harbor and church in Thassos.  Both of these photos were taken in Av mode (f4.0) and One Shot focusing mode.

The island was a beautiful example of Greek luxury and we are looking forward to visiting it again when the weather turns even warmer.

Thassonian fishing boat


From one talon to another

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Made in Home

After reading a blog entry about giving your self assignments, I decided to try my hand at food photography for a second time.  During this attempt I went down to a restaurant called Made in Home near NDK (see location map for details and this is their Facebook link).  Although I enjoyed the photography, I enjoyed the food even more.  The highlight was the Quinoa Salad with nuts and berries, splashed with a topping of arugula.  The toasted almonds added the perfect touch of flavor to an amazing meal.  The best part about the meal was that I walked away feeling healthy and satisfied.  I can wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Sofia.  It is simply amazing with friendly staff and delicious food.


The photos in this post were taken with an off camera flash placed behind the dish and reflectors placed to each side in order to catch some of the light and fill in the shadows.  The flash was set on 1/32 power at about 1.5 meters and the camera was operated in manual with a 60mm macro lens at f2.8.  In order to get the candle light, I had to slow the shutter speed down to 1/4 of a second and then expose the dish with the flash.  Considering this was all done hand held I think it turned out quite well!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grease Lightning!

I recently had the opportunity to play guitar in a production of Grease.  It was a bit of a nerve racking experience as I hadn't played guitar in front of people for a while but it turned out well ... I hope.  While I was waiting to come on, I shot some photos of the performance.  The light level, quality and variance turned out to be a real challenge but it was an great experience and I think some of them turned out quite well.

The photos were taken in a mixture of Av and M mode.  Av mode was used at f4.0 and I set the manual settings to ISO 1600, f4.0 and 1/250th.  The choice to move from Av to M mode was driven by the fact that I wasn't stopping some of the motion.  Initially, I was getting a f4.0, 1/160th reading from the camera.  I then decided to pump it up to f4.0 and 1/250th and just deal with the resulting noise in the shadows at ISO 1600.  I did use Lightroom to remove the ISO.  Overall, I'm quite happy with the result but I would love another chance to get in there and try this again ... especially with a Canon 5D mark III!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rila Monastery Hike

Saturday was spent visiting a beautiful and popular location 2 hours outside of Sofia.  The Rila Monastery is the self described Jerusalem of Bulgaria.  Founded in the 10th century by the hermit Ivan Rilsky, the monastery is a poignant reminder of the connection of the Bulgarian ethos to the natural environment.  For more information on the Rila Moastery, click HERE.

The pictures contained in this post were taken all using available like and a 17-40mm f4.0L lens.  I concentrated on keeping the histogram "between the goal posts" and bringing up shadows in post.  The bad picture of a waterfall was a 10 second experiment that I conducted on a trail that we hiked just outside of the entrance to the monastery.  I have always been slightly curious as to how people blur waterfalls so I set my camera on a rock, dialed the ISO down to 100 and the aperture to f22.0.  I put the camera in Av mode and took the shot.  It was approximately and 0.5 second exposure and the water seemed to show the beginnings of a soft, smooth flow.  Because we were hiking, I continued on but the photographer in me wanted to spend the next 3 hours at that sport experimenting with different angles and exposures.  I'll try again next time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Walking Route 10

I spend this fine Sunday afternoon walking the tram 10 route from my house downtown.  After watching a video that emphasized "looking for light" I started to approach things a little differently.  I tried to play with the cracks of light coming through the buildings downtown.

All pictures were taken in Av mode using AI servo and cropped in post.

At least the dress matches the bag
The peg that sticks out

Friday, May 4, 2012

Experimenting with Headshots

After doing an online course on headshots, I convinced the wife to stand in front of the camera and experiment with some different types of lighting.  My first attempt was quite unsuccessful.  I tried lighting her with a single ring flash with two speedlights creating a blown out background.

I think my second attempt was much more successful.  I opened up two umbrellas and used clam shell lighting to take the following shots, underexposing the bottom "shell" by about 2/3 of a stop.  I also had a third bare speedlight on the background.  Each picture was shot with the 60mm macro Canon lens at 125th and f2.8.  I concentrated on focusing on the front eye for each shot.