Thursday, December 24, 2015

The midwinter sun

   Dark days during December, so an additional light or two might be a good thing. One speedlight can do a lot for an image. A little snow might have been helpful, I mean it's winter anyway, but it seems that the climate exchange is doing its job so no natural reflector from the all white ground. What's cool, is that the weather was sunny, actually almost springlike. So, here's a few photos from a short and healthy walk accompanied by one Yongnuo YN-560 speedlight and Nikon D300s + my lovely wife as a model...

Saturday, December 12, 2015


  Thought I'd like share a couple of images from this fall. Even if some people still seem to think that it's best to shoot the sun behind the back, it might be a time to change the point of view. Sun makes an interesting element in your image if used right. Just be careful with the flare so that it don't ruin your image.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

DIY for flash photography

  Without light there wouldn't be any photography. So true, it's all about the light. Where the light goes, how much of it, and of course where it does not got. For all this you need some tools. You need light and you want some light modifiers. When it comes to modifiers, you can always buy them, but there's an option... DIY! Basically I hate DIY, but I decided to try to make my own speedlight honeycomb grid. With some black plastic straws, glue, black cardboard, black tape and a little patience you'll end up with a light modifier that controls your flash in an awesome way. As a base for my grid I used this idea. I really don't believe that my bungle will last forever, so I probably will be buying one in the future, but for now I'll try to cope with this handmade thingie. Here's a couple test shots...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Is it cheating?

  "That's cheating!", said one of my friends when I showed him how fast you can make an image look better with only a couple of tweaks on your smartphone. So is it really cheating to alter an image after you have pressed the shutter on your camera? First, it's so much easier if you can make as much as possible to your image already when pressing the shutter release on your camera. The lighting, the cropping... less work afterwards. All this is even more crucial if you are shooting in jpg-format. Many serious photographers though shoot in RAW, and that means that there is usually at least one step you have to take afterwards, that's converting the image to jpg. I dug a little bit in my archives and found this image of an old 16th century church called the church of holy George. How did the original image look like, almost straight out of camera, with only conversion to jpg and watermark? Like this...

A bit dark and dull. The light, when I shot the image was pretty nice. Not too moody, but soft and beautiful. What I tried, was to expose for the sky so that it would have some detail, and that's why the image is a bit under exposed. If I would be a purist then I probably would leave my image like this. But then on the other hand it would look boring. Definitely wouldn't enjoy showing this image around. When seeing this unprocessed image, would you like to visit the actual place? I wouldn't. So my next step would be to open up the details a little.

A little bit better, right? Used a masking brush in Nikon capture NX2, first for the sky, and later for the ground. Just simple tweaks with the levels and curves tool and the job is pretty much done. This image I probably might even show to people. A documentary kind of image, but better than the original. But then I might want to be a little more artsy, and that's where the filters come handy. After converting the image to jpg, I opened it in ON1 perfect effects and played a bit with all kinds of presets and filters. The final image is maybe not true to the lighting conditions when the image was shot, but if someone would show me this type of an image, I would be ready to go to that place right away for a couple of camera clicks.

 So is it cheating if you do some post processing on you images? My answer is no, but who knows, maybe you have a different opinion and you have the right to it.   

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Portrait shoot, and a couple of lessons learned

  Asked today a friend of mine if he'd like to be a model for a short photo session, and luckily he had the time and agreed, despite his busy student schedule. Because it was pretty late afternoon, and the sun was setting we headed to an abandoned hotel construction nearby, for the shoot. Cool place. Never been inside so my first lesson was, good to scout the place were you will be shooting before hand, that way it will be easier and faster to make the images when you know where to pose your model. Second lesson for me was that when you are shooting a newbie model (I'm pretty much a newbie too, in shooting people), it's crucial to know something about guiding the model, something which I will be trying to learn during the coming months. Here's a couple of photos from the shoot.

Friday, November 13, 2015


  I don't know if you've ever had this experience, when someone tells you about this just sooooo extremely cool and awesome place were you just have to go. Then you go there, full of expectation, waiting to see, to live, something mind blowing, and... Blaah! You just felt disappointed. I've experienced it a couple of times. No, it's not that the places have been bad, it's just that we people have all kinds of tastes, I like this and you like the other thing, and she... so on, and so on... The thing is that nowadays, when someone tells me about a great place and uses a lot of superlatives when describing the destination , I'm a bit of a skeptic. I try not to have too many expectations if I decide to go there. You know, a pessimist won't be disappointed, right? Then an exception, Belogradchik. A friend of ours told about this cool rocky place a couple of years ago. Two weeks ago we finally decided to visit the place. My expectations? A couple of big rocks and that's it . What an awesome, cool place! If you've never been there, you just have to go there. The couple of hours we spent there were just too little to fully explore the 90 km2 of interesting and outstanding rocky landscapes, so I hope that next time we will have more time. So... If you are moving around the northwestern part of Bulgaria, don't miss Belogradchik. But remember, this is just my opinion.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Urban exploration

   I don't know why old and abandoned buildings are so cool. Today we entered one, just to make a few photos and it was awesome. The light wasn't maybe the best, actually it was very harsh, so it was a bit of a struggle to make any decent images. Not that an old building wouldn't be cool just as it is, but I just think that adding a person in to the surroundings makes an abandoned place look even cooler. Didn't have a model with me, so I decided to use ugly me instead. The good thing is that I don't need to care about filling model releases and such. Maybe next time when I return, and I will, I will take a model with me.


Friday, October 30, 2015

A couple more fall images

  Honestly... I made a theft this week. Twice. I stole some time to get out there, just to enjoy the fall colors, which at the moment are just amazing. On Monday I went to one of my favorite places, made a couple of images of an wooden bridge. In my opinion it lacks a person, but that's something I'm working on. On Wednesday I went to a place nearby, where I haven't gone in maybe three years. It's a fortress ruins from the Thrace era and the place is just fantastic with a very nice view. Two first images from Monday and the third one from Wednesday... So much yellow.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trabant 601

  Somehow my last post disappeared, and I don't have a clue what happened with it. Anyway, I liked the few images made with my phone, so I'll post only the three images without the mumbo jumbo about Instagram and my one image per day plan. Here's the images of a nice DDR made car and my gorgeous favorite model and wife...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Above the clouds you'll find the sun

  Maybe, hopefully not, but probably yes, the last really warm day of the fall. Sunny and clear day, so what could be better than to climb a mountain. Peak Zvezdets was our goal. Lots of cool views, cows, and eventually the last macro photos for this year. A sad thing was that we didn't have a single plastic bag or a basket with us, there were parasol mushrooms everywhere.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fall, forest and fungi

  Fire salamanders aren't the only signs of fall. Yellow leaves and fungi popping up here and there in the forest tells that the nature is slowly starting to get ready for the upcoming winter. Encouraged by the first salamander for this year, I decided to return to the same place as on Friday. No amphibians this time. I'm pretty sure they were there, but all hiding under stones and logs. But as said, there is so much more to be photographed this time of the year so I wasn't too disappointed. A forest covered in fog and different kinds of fungi was on the menu this time. A few days, max. two weeks and the forests will be full of bright yellow, orange and red, so this was a good training for the upcoming fall spectacle.