Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Embracing High Contrast Mid-Day Sun in Baalbek

I had the unique opportunity to visit one the best examples of Roman architecture in the world, the temples in Baalbek, Lebanon.  You can read about the temples here if you are interested.

Since the temples are open from 8am onwards, I was challenged by being forced to take pictures in the mid-day sun.  I decided to embrace the challenge by going for high contrast photos with sun bursts.  I used the 16-35mm f4.0 exclusively at f16 to create the starburst effect and then processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.  The starburst technique is created by setting  your camera to aperture priority, metering mode to average and setting an aperture of f16 or higher.  Starbursts are best when kept to the perimeter of the frame with a wide angle lens.

The pictures below contain some examples of this technique along with other images from Baalbek.  If you are ever in Lebanon, these ruins are a must see.  In my opinion, they rival Angkor Wat in Cambodia, if that is any reference for people out there.  Simply amazing.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Astrophotography and the Milky Way

Well, I got lucky.  I've been trying to get a chance to do a little astrophotography but finding a night where there was a new moon, I was free the next day, no city glow and a cloudless night was proving to be challenging.  A week ago, all of those factors happened to align magically under the Milky Way up in Northern Ontario, near Bancroft.

As is usually the case, I was woefully under-prepared.  I had done some reading about settings and general guidelines but I was afraid that it wouldn't be enough.  Without a tripod, I mounted my new 16-35, f4.0L on my camera and gave it a shot.  I used a boat bumper and a stool to balance my camera in the right position and I started playing around with my settings to see what I could get.  Through a few hours of experimentation, I eventually decided that focusing slightly in front of infinity with camera settings of ISO 3200, a shutter speed of 25 seconds and an aperture of f4.0 worked out the best.  I also engaged mirror lockup and used the builtin timer function to release the shutter and reduce camera shake.

The hours of experimentation resulted to two photos that I liked included in this post.  I processed these files using Lightroom and Photoshop and I've ordered a canvass print of this photo for my mother.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Wide Angle Lenses

As an Xmas present to myself, I recently purchased a 16-35 f4.0L IS lens.  The raving reviews of this lens along with its stellar performance underwater made it a perfect match for my new 5D mark III Ikelite housing.

With my purchase justification squarely in tow, I went out today to run the lens through its paces on land before experimenting with its capabilities under the water.  Elise and I went to the Mohammad Al Amin Mosque in downtown Beirut for a quick walk to explore the iconic landmark.  I used the 16-35 lens to snap a few photos of the interior of the mosque.  The image stabilization and incredible sharpness from corner to corner gave me some beautiful images.  Here are a few for your perusing.