Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wintry goldfinches from the archives

  Just a small post before eventual long brake from blogging. Dug my archives and found this image of goldfinches feeding. From time to time it's good to go back to those old images which never were post processed, you never know what treasures you may find.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Photography, animals and Ikea

Our soon 10 year old Ikea chairs make a fantastic backdrop for pet photography. I've probably shot all of our cats in these chairs. I love the olive green color, the simple stripes and even our cats seem to enjoy these old, soft furniture. Cats tend to be small, and if they are kittens there is place for at least six pieces of animals. It's not uncommon to see two grownup cats enjoying a nap on the same chair. It seems though, that not only our feline friends like soft, olive green Ikea furniture. Our big boy, who most of the time dwells outside, decided a couple of days ago that it's enough. He wanted to come inside the house, were all the other of his friends are. And guess where he hauled his large, furry and smelly bottom?   

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A lesson learned...

When you go out, and it's raining snow, you need to be ready to get wet and freeze. It's not an big issue if you prepare well. Warm clothes, suitable pants and a pair of long johns under, warm coat, a pair of gloves and a warm hat, a combination that will help you to tolerate the bad weather conditions and this way you will most likely enjoy the outdoor experience a lot more than if you were wearing something less suitable. Yesterday it was a bit cold and even a couple of snowflakes fell down, when me and a friend of mine decided to head out and make a few wintry landscape images. Practically it meant that we were wading in snow. My buddy was wearing a pair of rubber boots, but in no time he had hes boots full of snow. When you get snow in your shoes you start to freeze. When you start to freeze you feel bad, and when feeling bad you don't enjoy what you are doing. He's a brave guy, so he continued the walk with me, even if it meant more snow in the boots and walking in cold water. Finally we decided to return to the car. One thing nice with a car is that there is a heater, and when your legs are freezing, nothing is more pleasing than a car fan blowing some warm air on your legs. Tight and wet boots of... and yes, it feels so good. Can't say we made too many images on that trip, but when we were returning home we saw how the clouds in front of us started to brake up and a bit of sun and a piece of blue sky was appearing. And just on the road on the way home is my favorite hill. A short stop, my buddy stayed in the car, and I took a walk to the nearest horses... Always wear good and warm shoes when it's bad weather.        

Saturday, December 27, 2014

One gone

  It's always sad when your pet dies. Not that cats can't be a big pain in the... you know where, but you still get used to them hanging around, wanting in, wanting out, meowing around here and there and clawing and scratching things they shouldn't. Some are more annoying than others, and Tassu, the one on the right in the image for sure was one of those more annoying ones. But still, you get affected to them and they become like family members, at least in our small family of two human beings, one dog and a bunch of cats. Animals do have only one life, so please take good care of them...

               Moses on the left, and Tassu who were hit by a car two days ago, on the right.

Friday, December 26, 2014

About my workflow

  My workflow, to finish an image, is pretty straight forward and simple. Open the image, if necessary do the exposure correction, fix the white balance, brush away any eventual dust spots and finally do some work with levels and curves. All this I'll do in Nikon Capture NX2. I tried Light room, but didn't like it, so I'll stick with what I like and have, even if there won't be any updates for Capture NX2 (sadly). Try the new Capture NX-D, it might work for you, but in my opinion there's missing, some for my workflow, important tools and thus I use it very little (It's free, so...). Other tool I use is GIMP, a free, photoshop kind of a program, which I use mainly to ad the stupid watermark thingy in my images just to annoy the viewers. The newest tool I'm now learning to use is ON1 software's perfect effects 8, a filter program which lets you to do some nice things to your images, just to make them pop. Mainly it's about filters that you can ad in post to your images. The next image was good, but in my opinion need something, so I added a warming sunlight filter. First some basic adjustments in Nikon Capture NX2, then a added a filter in Perfect effects 8, and finally the water mark in Gimp...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Walking the dog

  It was pretty cold outside yesterday, but I still thought it would be nice to try to make a couple of images when walking our dog. Choosing the subject was easy, and even the backdrop were on my mind from the beginning. Then just add  a little bit of strobe light and shutter dragging, and that's it.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December :-(

  Not that I don't love new places, but the good thing with old ones is that you know them. When you know were you go, it's a bit easier to plan what you will eventually shoot. Then there's always the chance that you feel that everything is done, that there's nothing to photograph, and then you stand there wondering what to do. That's what happened to me a couple of days ago. I asked a friend of mine to follow me to one of my favorite landscape places. As it's already mid December the light is vanishing pretty fast, so you should try to be at the spot were you plan too shoot enough early. We didn't, so we were working in very bad lighting conditions. And just to mention, a forest in December, in a dull cloudy weather in the evening, how would I define it..? Yes, BORING! That's when it's all up to you the photographer. You can go home, or you could try to make at least one image. I made a few. One of my favorites is this image shown in here. Murky, brown water from a small stream mixing up with the clean and clear water in the main stream flowing down to the lake Bebresh.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Finally a couple of sunny days

  After it has been quite many cloudy and cold days, the sun is finally shining. Even if we were quite busy today, I decided to take my camera whit me and see if I could make at least one frame. I managed to make a few, and here's one of those. My favorite hill lit by nice warm afternoon winter sun...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some portraiture

  Now that I'm having a solid light stand and a nice new shoot through umbrella, it means I just have to start shooting. So far I've been doing mostly nature photography, but now I'm having serious thoughts about getting in to shooting people. Most likely it will be a pain in the beginning, but with hard work I suppose I will over come the obstacles that are lurking behind the flash and light stand. It's not that I haven't photographed people before, but those lights! Here's two shots with the lovliest of the models...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New toys

  After a great amount of thinking, I finally ordered a light stand, holder for a speedlight and a shoot through umbrella. I placed my order on Thursday evening, and was hoping the delivery to arrive earliest on Monday, but surprise, it came today. As there is ambient light less and less, and this will go on at least till the end of December, I'm happy that I can use some light from a speedlight flash unit to boost my images and even practice some portrait photography with an off camera flash. Naturally I started immediately shooting with my new toys. Opened the package, and way to go... Cats of course!  

Monday, November 17, 2014


  Old walls and windows make a great subject for photos. Wish I'd had small steps with me when sI saw this window. From a bit higher point of view the otherwise straight vertical lines wouldn't fall back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall foliage and waterfalls

Even if I don't enjoy too much of the thought that winter is soon here, the fall, which usually precedes gives some fantastic photo ops which demand to take a walk out in the forest and shoot the always so beautiful fall foliage. I've been waiting for the leaves to throw away their green color and take over that amazing yellow and red, and finally when it happened I almost didn't find time to go and photograph it, but finally I made some time for it and here's some images. I love water and waterfalls so in all of the images there is silky water streams as a result of long shutter speeds...
 One of the first fall foliage images for this year. Nice sunlit image, almost too bright so that I had hard times to get the shutter speed enough slow...

 I love those huge, old and warty beech trees.

  To end up in this place I had to get my feed wet, not only once, but a few of times. Next time I hope I'm wearing rubber boots.

  One of the final images I made. Beech trees and a waterfall... Even if I personally love this picture, it seems that not everybody does. Showed it on 500px.com and it got only six views and one like... Maybe the waterfall is too small and tiny and faraway in the background? So I made a test and put up this next one...

A couple of hours and it's had 316 views and 39 likes etc... Some times it's just strange how we people like so different kind of images.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dalmatian Pelican

  Had a chance to visit lake Kerkini in northern Greece this week. This lake is famous for its Pelican population. Of course there is lots of other bird species too, but for me the most interesting was Pelican. Not that there were too many of them, but at least a couple so that I managed to make a few frames during our 20 minutes stop...


Friday, October 24, 2014

When the light's gone...

  Today it's been a pretty bad day when it comes to weather. Cold, I had to wear long johns. Wet and rainy, bad for the camera equipment. What ever, I felt I had to get out and just to motivate my self a little bit more I asked a friend to join me. When we started it was hardly raining, just a little bit of cold drizzle, but when we were almost there were I thought we would do a few images, it was already raining quite a bit. That's life and bad weather, even if it's raining cats and dogs, shouldn't be a hindrance for photography. There we were walking in the rainy forest with pretty bad light. So what can you do? Grab your speed light and use it. I didn't hope to find any animals but found. One poor Fire Salamander was crawling among the fallen leaves. Camera on the tripod and a little off-camera flash from the right side of the animal. It's almost like sun would be shining out side...

  Wet condition is good for fungi and I managed to make a couple of images of Puffball mushrooms. Again I chose to give the mushrooms some extra light therapy. In the first image the I used a longer shutter speed to give the backdrop some light. The second one has a shorter shutter speed and thus the background is a bit darker, this way you can see why these mushrooms are called Puffballs. The "smoke" coming out from the fungi is its spores, emitted because of an impact from a water droplet. Even if we witnessed this happening because of raindrops, in this image it is faked, my friend took some water from the nearby stream and you know...  


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beneath the rocks

  Flipping stones is an interesting way to spend your time. You never know what you'll find. So many times there's nothing. Then you can find ants, wolf spiders and other common invertebrates. Lizards, snakes and frogs tend to hide under rocks and debris. And of course every now and then there is a vole or mouse hiding there. One interesting critter that can possibly hide under stones is centipede. There's lots of different kind of centipedes, but one of the more nasty ones is the Megarian Banded Centipede. Found two of them on Monday. The first one escaped, fast as they are. The second one stayed, so I managed to make one, not so good, but a picture anyway...


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A short trip to gods bridge in vratsa

   In hopes of finding at least one last snake for this year, a caspian whip snake, if possible, we drove all the way to the town of Vratsa. Lots of voles, but no snakes. The place were we went is called gods bridge, a natural phenomenon of lime stone. The lighting conditions were not the best as you can suppose in a cave, were the shadows mix with sunlight. A big test for the dynamic range of any camera. I tried to solve the problem with my SB-600 strobe, but you know, a tiny small flash in a big dark cave like formation... dark. So, anyway here's a couple of images from this interesting place...


Friday, October 10, 2014

Time for sleep

  There's always those moments when you really get sad. One of those moments for me was this week when my wife found a hound dog in the rain. It was most likely hit by a car, who knows when, and then left to die. There she was, couldn't move, couldn't do nothing. Some nice person, who still had some humanity, had brought her some bread. Thanks to that person. We carried this poor creature in to our outbuilding, dried her with a towel and gave her water. The next day we took her to the vet, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. Some people seem to think that animals are toys, as long as they like them and they are of any use for them it's ok, but when they are done, get sick, can't work they'll  ditch'em... that's what pretty much happened with this poor creature, something that we understood very well from the visit to the vet and a short conversation in there . No other options, but a needle and everlasting sleep.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cat with a flash

  Thought that I should start to use my old faithful flashgun more and more. So today I was trying to use off camera flash in various situations. Mostly this happened with people, but as I love to shoot our pets, of course one of our cats ended up as guinea pig...
 Our youngest one got a bit tired, so it was pretty easy to try some flash techniques on him while he was resting.

  And one more image. A beautiful woman with a kitten, a nice conclusion for the day.     

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Zinnia getting visitors

  One of my favorite flowers is Zinnia. Not only that it is interesting looking and beautiful, but it's a tempting flower for different pollinators. For a couple of days I've been trying to photograph a couple of those nectar hungry invertebrates. For the purpose I chose just one flower, the tallest one...

High noon and both the flower and the background are nicely lit 

A hummingbird hawk-moth visiting the flower. The background  is in the shadow of a nearby building

  Some kind of a hover fly spotted the flower and came for a sip

Not all of the insects are of flying kind. A couple of shield bugs enjoying the fall sun

   Last but not least a small white butterfly taking advantage of the juice of the zinnia flower.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tiny little grass snake

  Probably the last snake for this year...

As it's already a bit cold this small guy didn't even bother to escape.

Monday, September 22, 2014

On a rainy day

On a rainy day if you are not too keen to get out and get wet, you can always stay inside and make images of things you have at home. Here's some wilflowers shot with a smart phone and edited in camera...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wild fall flowers

  Just edited a few images with a laptop and using Nikon Capture NX-D. Not really my favorite combination, but have to do, otherwise no chances to update this blog during this and upcoming week. Flowers are a great subject. I usually shoot portrait type of images of flowers, just one or a couple of flowers in a nice tight group, but when there is a whole field of wild flowers of course you have to do some wide shots of the colorful fields and why not even a closeup shot with a 10 mm wide angle lens. Here you are... three shots from this week...


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grey herons... nope, but purple ones

  A couple of days ago we noticed that there's quite a bunch herons at a nearby place. First time we noticed them I didn't have a camera with me, so no photos. What I thought they would be, was grey herons because there's a nesting site nearby the town. The next time we went by the same place I didn't wait to see them, I thought they'd already gone. To my surprise they were still there and when we approached they took of with quite a noise. Good thing was that I had my camera with me, but the bad thing, as I said,  they took of and I didn't expect them to be there so I was not prepared to for a shoot. Anyway I managed to make a couple of birds in flight images. Yesterday when I opened the images I noticed that the birds I'd thought are grey herons are actually purple herons. So a new species for my life list.  Here they are...

  Here they are just after the take of...

  One who was a bit late...
   And finally the group flying in formation.    

Monday, September 15, 2014

An intimate portrait

  Fire bugs are pretty common insects, you can see them here and there and often many at the same time. It's not uncommon to see these invertebrates to be fastened to each other from their butts. That means that a male have found a female and they are breeding and soon there is more of them, actually a lots of them. However, I like these interesting small bugs. They are brightly colored and a nice subject for photos.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


  Quite a bit of negative space in this image but I still like it. Probably wouldn't get trough QC in stock agencies, too much of noise and such. But here in my blog I can always publish what I want so here it is, one more cat pic.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

A garden spider in the garden

  It's been a pain to try to make an image of our newest guest in the garden. Hes artwork is usually most beautiful in the morning when covered in dew.

  But to make an image of the artist her self has been a hard task. Every single morning you can see that she has been working on her web during the night, but in the morning she' gone. She's hiding. She's waiting for a prey, like this...
  Hiding behind the apple leaves and having control over the fine strings of her web with just one small touch of her leg. And if and when some poor insect flies to the so beautiful but so fatal trap...

  She's ready, but so was I too!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A tradition for the fall

  Somehow it seems to be hard to find any vipers in the beginning of the season. Probably it's just me, don't know the places etc. But something happens every single fall and it happened today too. We were walking a path, the same path as last year and the year before, and there it is, a nose-horned viper basking and just waiting a photographer to pass by and make a few photos. So here's a couple of images of that photo shoot. Enjoy! I did!