понеделник, 18 април 2016 г.

Belogradchik rocks - chasing the light - sneak peek

This is just a sneak peek of what I've been up to lately - hunting the perfect landscape shot. Belogradchik rock formations are one of the most spectacular places in Bulgaria - really, the view is amazing! Problem is that the light can be quite a false friend there. So in the following excerpt you'll read about my ordeals with the lighting there.

I promise to write a full-length travelogue and tell you all about it some time soon.

About the place:

Belogradchik rocks in the late afternoon.
It is a sandstone rock formation in the Northwest of Bulgaria. In Roman times, the rocks housed a garrison that used to guard the border and it had been so up till 19th century. Now the main part of the formation (from which I took the picture - I promise to post a shot of that soon) is still called Kaleto (the word for 'fortress in Turkish').
The rocks are to be included in UNESCO world heritage sites - there is a procedure under way.


You cannot stay inside after 6 pm - the fortress gets locked so there is no way to capture a sunset inside without getting a permit first. Same goes for sunrise. It's full of people - it's a very popular tourist destination, after all - so you don't have the time for a tripod or some tweaky long exposure tricks. Besides, the top of the formation is not that big so you don't have much space to move around either.

This is my second visit to the place. You have no idea how difficult it is to get the right light there - even if you go at noon, the rocks would be black against the sky. So I went in the late afternoon and made sure it's a cloudy day. Still the result is not ideal so I guess I'll have to go a third time :) This time I'll make sure that the weather forecast says it's going to rain.
Entrance fee is 6 leva, last group goes in at 7pm (you can even listen to a tour guide but you have to pay some extra money - if you don't - as I did - been there too many times to listen to one and the same story all over again, besides - it was the pictures I was concentrated on - you can roam around freely and enjoy the view.). Outside the fortress you can buy some amazing local wine - totally recommend it!


I used a wide angle lens (10 -18mm) and still had problems with filling the scenery into the frame. Besides, I could only see the images through the viefinder - the sun was shining in the LCD so I shot on autopilot - taking as many pictures as I could. Of course - since I knew that I'll need post processing - I used RAW format.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

вторник, 12 април 2016 г.

Lesson 3 - the colour in things - White Balance

Image taken from http://stylopics.com/tag/tumblr-photography/

Welcome to lesson 3 where we are going to let the hardware be and go a bit into software instead. I know you had to wait fro quite a long time to read that and I hope that it's worth the wait.

By now you already know important is to set the correct aperture and shutter speed to get a good exposure in order to get a good shot. Here we are going to talk about another 'minor detail' that can ruin things if you are not careful. That's white balance. 

By now you probably wonder what white balance is and why do we have to care about it. can whiteness can be balanced? Isn't white supposed to be only white? Yes and no. White balance stands for the way your camera sees the light regardless of what you see. It has to do with the computer inside the camera - remember that I mentioned that in the beginning? So that computer processes the shot BEFORE it gets recorded. Thus the light that to us may have no colour gets one in the picture.
So white balance matters -  it's name comes from the way the white colour changes when you adjust the different settings. Most people learn that setting first. Some never get past that post. If you are wondering right now if you have used the feature or not - look below. if any of those icons looks familiar - you already have.

Image taken from http://www.geofflawrence.com/white_balance.html

If you don't know where are they in the camera menu - take a look at the picture below:

When you click there you'll see this:
Image taken from http://blog.uniquephoto.com/quick-tip-how-to-set-custom-white-balance-on-a-canon-dslr/

So - here's the catch - the difference between those is measured in COLOUR TEMPERATURE - usually in degrees Kelvin -  THE SMALLER THE NUMBER THE REDISH IT ALL LOOKS. Check out the table below to see what I mean: 

Image taken from https://romangronkowski.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/white-balance-and-colour-temperature/

So we care about the colour temperature when we take pictures because if we do not select the right one - it will affect the way the whole picture looks like - and exposure will not correct things. Imagine it as an in-built Photoshop that works on your image before you can correct things. If you are not careful - you can get the whole thing wrong.

Image taken from http://www.fotozzoom.com/blog/top-10-photography-mistakes-avoid-beginners/

With some modes and some situations things are OK but sometimes you can get the whole picture looking red or blue or orange, Some photographers use it as a creative device (for example when you shoot a sunset you will want to get it as colourful as possible so you select a mode that would give you rich reds and oranges) but as a rule if you are a novice - TRY TO USE THE MOST NATURAL-LOOKING MODE.  You'll need to switch between modes a bit but in time you'll know what to use when you see the object.

Do you feel knowledgeable already?

петък, 1 април 2016 г.

Welcome spring!

Hello everyone!

Spring is officially here and I am excited - are you as well? I can't wait to start "hunting" down insects with the macro lens or indulge in landscaping somewhere in the country. 

Spring is normally the time that brings us out of the lethargy of the cold winter and fills us with energy to change - ourselves, the garden, the decoration in the living room, the world...

I can't say that I will make some drastic changes in my work but I just hope that I will try to improve things - you know, you can't develop if you don't push your limits. 
Meanwhile - here is a spoiler :)

Wish you a happy and fruitful spring, full of lots of new shots and other exciting adventures!