Thursday, August 30, 2012

More kids ...


I'm not sure why, but I have found myself taking pictures of children ... all the time.  Well, maybe I do know. The number of children that I was around this summer could almost be considered insane.

I've also found that taking portraits with the 70-200mm at 4.0 worked best by keeping my shutter speed above a 125th.  These shots were taken in open shade and the ISO was adjusted to keep the a fore mentioned shutter speed.  I pumped the contrast up in post and looked for the right moment.  I think I caught a few keepers but I'll leave that up to you ...


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Katia's Birthday

As people that follow this blog know, yesterday was a special day for the De Coster family.  Katia celebrated her 2nd birthday at the Lozenets Restaurant among a large group of close friends and family.  Katia has sprouted over the past few months and everyone was surprised to see how much she has grown.  For those that do not follow this blog, Katia is a very special child who was adopted by the De Coster family.  Both Katia and the family were lucky to find each other and I think many people would agree that both of them are lucky to have found each other.

This shoot provided some unique challenges.  There were many erratic moving subjects, low light and objects moving between the subject and the camera.  The low light situation was solved by employing two different strategies.  First, I took a look at the light filter through the trees and then positioned myself with the sun at a 45 degree angle over the back of my left shoulder.  This gave me a stop or two more of light and also help give me achieve a slightly higher shutter speed (in order to freeze the motion).  Secondly, I boosted  my ISO to 1600 and dealt with the noise in post.  The issue of moving subjects and objects moving between camera and subject was solved by using AI servo focus mode.  All photos were taken with available light.  Wide angles were taken with the 17-40mm at 4.0 and the 3/4 shots were taken with the 70-200mm at 4.0 at various focal lengths.  All images were then corrected in Lightroom.  Hope you enjoy!



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Palma de Mallorca - Land of Sun, Sand and Study

Having landed late last night in Sofia, I spent this morning going over my photos from my trip to Palma.  It is a beautiful island with beaches that you wouldn't believe.  Transportation on the island is incredible and it is a great place if you are looking for some serious sun time and a nice relaxing getaway.  With the first summer of my administrative certification under my belt I'm looking forward to going home to Canada to visit the family and get to see some old friends at a wedding.

Although I avoided taking my camera to the beach (for many different reasons) I did quite a few walkabouts in the city.  On one of them, I managed to run into an austerity protest in the middle of Palma.  Residents told me that this was nothing compared to other protests going on in Spain but it seemed pretty intense to me.  Being aware of my surroundings, I snapped the photos you see below and got out of there as quickly as I could in case things turned ugly.


The trip to Soller was well worth the cost of the train ticket, although I would recommend taking the train there and the bus back as it saves both time and money.  The view of the countryside is quite nice and the slow ride on the rickety old train does give you a sense of the historical significance of the railway.

Train to Soller
The rest of the photos in this post were all taken with a available light.  I have tended to get back to basics lately and really focus on using what I have around me rather than depending on electronic flash to create what I need.  Some of the photos are hand held HDRs (see the caption for details).  The architecture photos were taken with the 17-40 f4.0 at f8.0 or greater and most of the portraits were taken with the 70-200mm at f4.0.

The post processing of these photos made me think carefully about my workflow in Lightroom.  This time I tried a different approach that seemed to work well.  I started with adjusting the exposure and then the highlights.  I avoided touching the white adjustments as I haven't had much success in bringing out detail with this slider.  It seems to simply move the white point in and not necessarily recover much detail.  I then adjust blacks and/or contrast and sometime put is a bit of clarity.  If you are looking for a starting point for your workflow I would highly recommend this process.  It seems to generate some positive results for me.

Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to all the fantastic people at the Residencia just north of Palma.  You made my trip and I will always remember your generosity and friendliness.  Muchas gracias!

Flower Girl
Spanish wedding

Mom, can I play?

Football helmet outside gorgeous Palma cathedral ... really?

"Seriously, this is why my white purse is much better ..."

Captivating street performer in Plaza d'Espana
Night view of a plaza and the cathedral