Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tilt-shift... Fake...

Where to start... Yes, I found another very interesting blog, it is called "31+ days to better photography" (if not done yet, pass the cursor over the name of the blog I just wrote for you and it becomes a link! This is not magic... no, I just learned how to use this blog actually).
So, what did I say... yes, this blog is really nice, but in it, Mr.Peter West Carey speaks about a Compact camera he has or bought for someone - poor memory of mine -and the Miniature function he found there, and: NOT TO USE IT.
Well, I understand his point of view but as often in my life, I did not obey and I am happy I didn't because I learned a lot of things!!! And it was even fun...

First I learned that if it is around noon during a sunny day, the shadows are so strong that it becomes difficult to work around it. And that strong shadows donc look very natural on "miniature style" shots.

Rule nr.1:

Here are some of these shots:

I "Photooshoped" one of them to show how the shadows play against me:

In this other exemple, I went back to take the snap again (when the evil sun was finally covered by the holly clouds). More then just the shadows, notice how all the colors and contrasts are much easier to deal with...

I still have a few things to tell you and write you but time is time, and this is mine... See you in a futur post...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What is Tilt-Shift ?

To go forward in my photography knowledge I decided to proceed a bit differently :

I will not take random shots and then select some to put in this blog. Nop. From now on, I will choose a theme for the following five pictures. This will help me to get more control about what I am doing as limits push the creativity.

The first theme will be: the Tilt-Shift effect. I could try to explain what "tilt-shift" is but it would probably take me a lot of time and it might still not be very clear so to get what it is all about you can just follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HRYlJUwzYA

OK, so that was an introduction to tilt-shift lenses, but I don't have a tilt-shift lens, I just have the "miniature" effect on my S95 so I suppose that it is more of a shift than a tilt... Let's try out!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the 13 P6 shots

Some news of my German BigBoy !!!

As sad in a previous post, I walked around Prague a few hours with my 2 kg BigBoy. I shot a bit of anything actually just to test the framing and "how" good I am to take shots using my S95 for light measurement. I was afraid that the Pentacon curtains might be slow so I always put the setting a bit faster: what a faithless little creature I am! This copy is just perfect in all possible ways. Can't wait to shoot the next roll.

BTW: This is the first roll I shot with my P6 but I used one before to test the framing with the "B mode and pen technic" and it is confirmed : my P6 delivers 13 beautifully framed pictures! :-)

Here are the 13 first:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

90 left: Starve the ego

What can be better, not to be retouched, than a candide shot. Very good advise by the way...

91 left: Flower wall

I like the very soft Bokeh of this one. Gentle, you still see the tree really nicely, just a hint out of focus :-) Sweet...

92 left: fly!

Of course the S95 is not the best tool to do "macro" but this one is not so bad, the focus is nicely on the flowers and the fly.

93 left: Flash wheet

(The colors have NOT been retouched, this is what you get with low exposure + flash on the closest objects. Nice, isn't it?)

94 left: Me, "eye" and myself...

P.S. This is not a double exposure but just a long exposure where I stay longer in two positions.

Not edited snaps : the "almost"good enough ones

As said, I went for snaps that I would not edit at all. I did some interesting experiences and came back with some shots. Here are the ones I like but that, for a reason or another, didn't do it to be in the "100 snaps challenge":

Playing around with the shutter speed, this one is called "Pablo knows":

Untitled, an urban Bokeh trial:

Another Bokeh shot called "Bokeh wheet 2":

A trial with exposure down and flash. What a dramatic effect, I love it! It is called "Flash wheet 2":(once again, I did not retouch the colors at all!)

To finish, two shot of flowers in the Letna Park, above Prague:

and now, the 5 that made it...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

About postprod...

As you've already read if you follow this blog //No wait, actually I am the only one to follow this blog...
So, as I already wrote it in a previous post, I have to lower my postprod "FX" usage, and to do so I decided to be a bit extreme: I will post my 5 next picture WITHOUT ANY POSTPROD, only pure S95 raw shots. I already have a few shots ideas, so let's go on the field!

Friday, July 20, 2012

95 left : Petit trou...

Inspiration can be anything, something simple, here, just at your feet: "Macro macro Maaaan... I want to be, a Macro Maaan..."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The cone'helicious story

Walking to work (already the second picture I take on this journee...) I saw this lovely, creepy cone. It was slightly raining and the colors were so beautiful that I decided not to edit this picture. But once at home, when I uploaded the file to my computer... OMG, no contrast, not much brightness neither: a flat photo actually.
So I turned on my little "pocket b..." and wow: a very nice looking picture! on the S95 the picture looked really great.

So I finally edited it, trying to get as close as possible to my S95's screen colors, contrast, brightness and sharpness. It took me about half of dozen tries but I am really happy with the one posted here.

I just added a bit of progressive blur around the cone to give it a hint of Bokeh, that's it, the rest is really just to try to represent what I see on my LCD screen. But there is still quite a gap between edited and not as you can see on the following picture: (not edited on the left and edited on the right)

P.S. I was still not satisfied as the screen is too high in contrast and saturation, which is good for visibility when used outside but not as a setup for pictures... Hmm... I decided to cut the apple in two mixing both pictures with 50% transparency. The result is visible in the "100 snaps challenge".
I think I will start to look at postprod like Coco Chanel was looking at her creations: “Always take off the last accessory that you put on.”

P.S. nr.2: I also did a very strongly edited version that I just found back (today is Saturday the 4th August).

Cone'helicious (Color Burned Mix):

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

96 left - cone'helicious

First shot of the serie with (almost) no post-prod FX. More details in a coming post, but for the moment let me introduce you my last creation : cone'helicious!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Metrostairwayflora - The Making of...

As it is raining outside, I have a bit of extra time for my blog. So, here are the story and the steps of this shot :

The story:

I saw two very interesting stairways' pictures these last weeks and I think they inspired me. The first one is a shot of Eric Kim (that you can see here http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/02/street-photography-interview-on-shuttersalt/ ) and the second one is a snap from "ph5050" on Flickr (here it is http://www.flickr.com/photos/76342081@N06/6850695145/in/faves-81607369@N04/ ). I love the reflexions on the "stairs sides" on Mr. Kim's picture and the SciFi atmosphere of ph5050's picture. That's for the story of what inspired me that shot. I should actually add the fact that there was this girl doing this position just in front of me too... The charme of Street photography, sometimes things just happen.

The different steps:

The picture as you can see it is quite far from the original shot, so let's see how it evolved.

(click to enlarge)

1. the original file
2. picture's straightening, light and contrast corrections
3. overlay of the same picture but in BLACK & WHITE to "boost" it
4. horizontal flip, mask layer and blur effects to "dramatize" the scene and put the focus on the subject
5. a "bluish" color filter to give it a "space odyssey" look and here we have our final image!

97 left - Metrostairwayflora

A nice little 'SciFi like' shot:

Friday, July 13, 2012

98 left - The joker's return... 2... he's back...again ;-)

A decent classical shot :

P.S. I almost forgot : I blured everything but the poster with a layer mask to give a hint of Bokeh to my Pocket bitch...

The "commercial poster shot"

This is what I consider to be a 'street photography' classic : you use an advertisement and build your shot around it. It can be quite funny sometimes, but it is a bit too cliché for my taste. Anyway, I did one of these shots last week and started to retouch it a bit :

- First I cropped it to square
- Then I worked on the colors and contrast to offset the "tungsten" lights effect

Here are these two steps :

But as I was still not really satisfied I decided to turn it to B&W... and I quite like the outcoming. In any case, enough to believe it deserves a second snap for my snap collection.

99 left - Hiding in broad daylight

I was on my way to work yesterday when I saw the possibility of a nice snap. Quite alot of "retouching" on this picture but I really like the outcome :

It is called "Hiding in broad daylight", got it? :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Starting gears

So, if you read the two first posts of this blog you should know which cameras I have :

1. My modest but very handy Canon S95
2. My GBB (for German Big Boy)

As the Bigboy is not so easy to find and as its usage cost is quite high and as I do not scan the negatives (or pictures) I will use and post the pictures I will manage to do with my "pocket bitch" :-)

Which gives us the following gears :
- Canon S95 : 7990 CZK
- 8GB SDHC card : 290 CZK
- camera cover : 239 CZK

Total : 8519 CZK (340 EUR)

I also plan to buy something for a few euros but as I don't have it yet, this is my starting kit.

Finally, I use a few freewares to retouch my pictures :

- the Gimp (similar to Photoshop)
- Photofiltre (similar to... Photofiltre :-) I love it!
- blueMarine (similar to lightroom)

I will post pictures before and after retouching them only when asked in comments (hehe, I have to make it interactive or this blog will turn to a boring monologue :-).

Let's go!

Ingenious Basterd ? Why ?

I love Photography!

To be sincere, I am not really good in it... but I love it!

It is not the worse addiction you can have, but if you're a compulsive buyer as I am, it can fast cost you arm and leg. And if you believe, as I do (did?) that "the best camera" will give you "the best shots", you will spend a lot of green juice... and most probably finish being disappointed. Your "last generation" Dslr will catch dust on the top of a wardrobe or under your bed and might see some light again during next holidays.

Yep sir, I was exactly in this direction and... and I decided to stop the madness.

Photography is my hobby and it shall be treated as such. I will get better gears when I will deserve them. I don't need to buy a new camera to do better pictures. Actually I am very far of having even an idea of the possibilities of the ones I have. So this is exactly how I shall proceed : the investment in new material shall be determined by an ABSOLUT need. If I am stuck, if there is NO other way (or if it is really cheap :-) then and only then will I buy material. Wow, I even start to speak like Master Yoda...

So, the rules are clear, the game is going to be fun, and that's what it is all about! I will have to use my eyes (at least one) and my fingers (most probably more than one :-) but also my brain... and my gears... and light... Yep, I am sure I will learn a lot... and become a better photographer too. What about a digital Dslr ? Well, we will see when I will bring back my hundred scal- I mean snaps ;-)

I love this game already!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pentacon Six TL : my German Big Boy...

What actually happened is somehow "cliché" : we expect a blessing of life for the end of the year so... CAMERA NEEDED !!! :-)

Not that I do not have one (I have 3 small "old" digital compact cameras + another one that must be somewhere in a drawer), but I wanted something better (normal reaction of the basic consumerist sheep), after all "how can I pretend to become a good father if I am not even able to take good pictures of my child ?!", but this is another story...

I need a camera, ok, but which one. So the quest started...

A reflex ? It's big... A compact ? I already have 3 of them... A compact with changeable lense ? What size of sensor ? How many Megapixels ? WHAT WOULD BE PERFECT ???

I spent evenings after evenings on websites like lesnumeriques.com (in french) and dpreview.com comparing the different models caracteristics. Then I spend hours whatching tests on youtube, checking prices and availability on selling websites and so one. Till I was sure, sure of what I want.

The Olympus EPM1 it will be... I ordered it... then cancelled the order :-( Small camera, big lense, "half big" sensor...

Ok, so a reflex it will be ! Nikon D3100... no, D3200... Wait, these are still not full frames... Ok, D800... in 10 years... when I will have the cash : my child will have beautiful pictures of it's teenager's years. But in 10 years the D800 will be completely obsolete.

Bloody hell, there was just no solution to this problem... So I gave up and went for the most practical : a compact... that would become my "pocket bitch" ! And with the consumerist pressure down, I will be able to find a better solution.

I bought the Canon S95 (very good pocket bitch btw) and started to shoot. The pleasure was back. Shooting everything I could. Starting to get interested in shooting strangers in the street, metro, markets, bars... Dozens and dozens of pictures every day. I had even a hyperfocal setup for these unexpected moments when you need to shoot within a second. I have a small camera bag that I can fix on my trouser's belt and my S95 can be ready to shoot almost instantly. The only boring part is to sort out the "millions" of pictures... but that's street shooting, isn't it ? Anyway, I am actually very satified with this camera : small, very nice to use, manually operable, the picutre quality is fine and it even shoots raw. Very, very nice little thing. But I was missing 1 thing...


I want more Bokeh in my life ;-) and as bokeh is linked to sensor size and lenses... You see my problem ? No ? MONEY ! CASH !! FUNDS !!!

Hasselblad does a very nice Medium Format digital camera... oh, yes, it's around... no, you don't want to know... it is over my budget... for a car. Pentax also does a nice one, half price... but still over my budget for a car...

I don't really remember how, but I stumbled on a website speeking about the Pentacon Six TL. A medium format camera in my budget ! (around 100-200 USD) WTF, I was dreaming ! I had to check this out in a shop. I went to the biggest one in my city : they had 6 of them ! I looked in the waist-level finder and I knew. I knew it would be mine. It is huge, it is massive, it is to cameras what the Desert Eagle .50 is to guns. I LOVE IT. And the shutter's noise... and the noise when you load it... wow. That's a weapon for real man... I take pictures with my S95 but not with this. With this I "nail" pictures. Holly molly, I totally love this stuff :-)

I got mine. It's my German BigBoy and I think it is the best possible combo with my Pocket Bitch. Here it is on a picture I retouched to give this dramatic interrogatory effect : (oh yes, it was produced in East germany, has a Carl Zeiss Jena lens and it is a film camera. I shot my first roll with it two days a go... no idea what it will give, let's wait and see)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Digital or Film photography ?

When I was young, or at least “much younger then todaaaay”, people asked themselves the very same question… but in a quite different way. It was more like: “why would I pay more money to get less quality?”. Well, what happened since is that digital cameras improved, prices dropped, almost everybody has got a computer at home and got himself equipped at least with a compact digital camera.

No problem so far. Digital won the war. The resolution is so high that most professionals use this technology. So why does this “Digital or film” question still exist? It looks like there is still a small community of film camera users. I was actually not even shocked by this news. After all, you can find mumbo-jumbos everywhere, why not in photography? I was more astonished when I found out that this community is still quite active though… and it even seems to be growing! You can see guys doing “their coming out” on you tube to tell the whole world that they decided to definitely quit digital shooting in order to live an exclusive film photographer life. Wow!

With this come back of film (or analogic) photography, I thought it might be interesting to see why do some “mad dudes” use this archaic technology again, especially at a time when even phones are able to shoot several Megapixels’ pictures. I recently saw an article on internet titled “will Nokia kill the cameras” or something in this spirit. Obviously, there are still people buying cameras: compact ones but also bigger gears like reflex. So, nice dramatic title, but… hmm looks like it is not only about having a loads of pixels, is it?! Because if pixels are the point: film cameras have a bloody loads of them!

Before sharing with you the experience I had buying and using a film camera again, two weeks after having purchased a compact digital one (that I am of course still using), let’s see the result of an opinion gathering of both camps’ points. It looks like what makes people choose one technology or the other is sharply linked to the respective process.

Film process chain:
- loading the film in the camera
- the film has a smell (like it or leave it but it’s a fact)
- settings up the camera and manual focusing
- caring about your shots (as their amount is very limited)
- developing (some people love to lock themselves in a dark room…)
- getting a physical items (the negatives) and having to take care about them.

Optional :
- scanning the negatives
- digitally retouch the pictures
- show your pictures to your friends or share them online

Digital process chain:
- charge your batteries
- load a memory card
- shoot
- shoot
- ehh… shoot ?
- yeah ! shoot !!!
- upload your pictures in your computer
- select the ones you wanna keep and delete the ones you wanna trash
- digitally retouch your pictures (I have the feeling this part is not really optional for digital cameras owners anymore…)

Optional :
- share your pictures online
- in more rare cases : get some of them printed out

I am not really sure that image quality is still a decisive factor to "keep" with film shooting.

So, yes, valid points on both sides. The digital big advantage is quite obvious: the ease of use. A digital camera is just very comfortable to use. You can take hundreds of shots and just keep the ones you like. You can see the result of these shots immediately and also improve them via your computer’s softwares. And some of these cameras are very affordable. Can the life be any better?


or maybe… maybe it depends… maybe it depends on what you are looking for…

“I want a camera to keep souvenirs of my holidays”: buy a compact digital camera
“… but I want good quality”: the new compact products are amazing, no joke, some of them even shoot raw, and if you don’t know what raw means, believe me, a compact digital camera is what you need.

“I am a professional”: so why do you ask me? you know better than me! LOL For professionals also, digital looks like the way to go. The pro reflex cameras will be THE tool for most of them, if not, they can have a look to the digital Medium Format cameras. (how do you add a dribbling smiley on Blogger ? ;-)

“That’s it ?” you’re going to ask, ”Two-zero? End of the game?”. Well, digital cameras are quite a success, there are reasons for it… what did you expect?

…ok, there is actually a third category of people. You can call these people photography amateurs or enthusiasts. And for a lot of them, digital is also the way to go because nowadays’ gears will allow them to get beautiful pictures, in a really good definition.

...BUT (of course there is a but… no "but", no reason to write this article) if what matters for you the most is TAKING PICTURES, this very moment, or if you want to get great antic cameras for a decent price, or if like me you want both of the previous points AND have a chance to shoot medium format without having to rob a bank, THEN you might start to have a look to second hands film camera to find your new shooting bro.