Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Dancing bears"

  Had a chance to spend a couple of days near Bansko, Bulgaria, between the Pirin and rila mountains. Instead of photography, it was mainly sunbathing and swimming in the pool. What we wanted to achieve was a good rest and I think we managed quite well. Even though we wanted to rest we still thought it might be nice to see something interesting while there. Quick search on google and we found out that there is a town called Belitsa nearby and a short drive from this town, up in the mountains there is a bear sanctuary for the so called "dancing bears". You may ask what are "dancing bears"? Long story short, one more example of human cruelty towards animals. There was a time when some people "taught" bears to "dance". All this was achieved by means of cruel torture, the teeth and the claws were ripped of, the nose was pierced so that a chain could be attached to the animal for more control, and then there was the cruel schooling process with violin music and torture. Then this "fiddler" would walk around with hes "pet" playng his violin and people would give him some money because of the "funny show" with the "dancing bear". The good thing is that it's now forbidden to keep a wild animal as a pet in Bulgaria, this is from year 2007, but the park in Belitsa has been working since 2000 saving bears. At the moment there is 26 bears enjoying their well deserved retirement with the help of the Four Paws International and Brigitte Bardot foundation. No more "dancing bears", and that's good. I'm not very fond of zoos, but this place in Belitsa was for sure worth visiting (I really would say it's a zoo. More likely a place were bears have a safe haven from bad people), and I highly recommend everybody who's moving around in southern Bulgaria to go there. Even if there's a lot of bad people out there abusing animals, this kind of places show that there still are good people too, people who are interested in the welfare of not only people, but animals too. Here's a few images and a video clip in the end, and I'm pretty sure that when you see the behavior of the poor bear you agree that it isn't normal. Not all bears were acting like this, but this one was and it was very sad too look how cruel captivity has left its marks on it.

                                                    Lot's of climbing. Wear good shoes!


                    Here's their facebook page:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Smartphone photography.

  If there is a camera that I've been using lately, it's my Samsung Galaxy s3. Easy to carry with you everywhere, and even if the image quality is maybe not as good as with an DSLR, I just love to play with this camera. A while ago I downloaded Adobe Photoshop Express from the play store, and this makes my life even easier. Turn on the camera, compose, focus, press the shutter, open the image in PS, edit, save and finally share. Here's an image from today. Even if still suffering of a summer flu, we took a walk in the park wit the dogs and while taking a brake, I shot this image and later edited in PS express.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The big day of Petya and Nikolaj

  Marriage is always a big, but joyful step, so congrats to Petya and Nikolaj, who took this step on Saturday. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had the privilege to make the photos at their wedding. It's quite awhile since I last photographed a wedding, so just to be sure that I'll make through the big day, I read quite a lot about wedding photography, lighting and posing, beforehand. Not that I did catch all the moments nor didn't make any mistakes, but I still believe I managed to cover pretty much everything that I should've. The day was moving on in quite a pace and there was lots of venues to go to, and it was hot. Mostly it was a photo journalistic approach which I used, but we had even a little time for some more intimate images in a nearby forest just one minute drive away from the main venue. Mainly I used my Nikon D300s with a Sigma 17-70mm lens and a Nikon SB-600 strobe. For wide angle shots I had my D5100 with Sigma 10-20mm, and for low light and no flash I used Nikon D700, with 50mm or 150mm attached on (in case some one is interested in gear used). And as a bonus, I used my Yongnuo YN560 mark 4 speedlights in a slave mode, and I  have to say that they worked like a dream. The only problem was that it became quite a flickering every now and then, because I wasn't the only one with a camera and a flash. Hope that I didn't ruin too many pictures made by other guests. Here's a couple of images I'd like to share...


Monday, August 10, 2015

Lady in red

  Saturday was a big day for my friends, Nikolaj and Petya. I had the honor to be the photographer, so later when the post processing is done and the couple has got their images I'll try to post a few photos. At the venue I saw this beautiful (mysterious) lady, dressed in red. Just couldn't help my self, but had to ask her to pose for a couple of shots. Used my old faithful Nikon SB-600 on a stand behind a white glass door to the right from the model.

Friday, August 7, 2015


  Lately I've been flashing quite a lot. Nooo... not in the bad way, but I bought two of those quite cheap and great Yongnuo manual flashes and one YN560-TX radio trigger. That's a lot of light for me and I love it. Working still on my flash technique, as I mentioned in a previous post, but it's getting easier all the time. A good rule of thumb seems to be as the pros say, start with one light, if it's good, great, and then add more lights if necessary. Here's a sample from yesterday evening. One flash from behind the happy cat owner and one 45 degrees camera right (no modifiers, just bare bulb)...


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More kittens... (sigh!)

  Working on my flash technique and trying to figure out how to use a reflector by my self. Really, I feel like I need one more hand, two for the camera and one for the reflector or flash. I guess an assistant would be even better... maybe one day. So, anyway, the kittens are growing and we even got rid of with two, both went to good homes. One'll stay, so it means three to go. Meanwhile, as I feel it's too hot to get out, I'm shooting kittens inside. As said, I'm trying to hone my lighting skills. Still quite faraway from Joe Mcnally, Frank Doorhof and other lighting gurus, however I'm trying. So here they are, more kittens, enjoy. ( I'm sick of kittens already, but what can I do? )