Studio Photography

Finally got a chance during my photography class last Wednesday to give Studio Photography a try. It was my first go at using external light sources, rather than simply shooting with a standard flash gun. I must say that the technique itself is fairly straight forward, especially if you have a light meter handy. You simply position your lights, tether your camera to the light kit, take a reading on the meter and then just dial in the settings.

The truly difficult part however, is managing the model herself. I definitely see the value of communicating constantly with your subject, asking her to move around and try new poses that would really make her shots come out flattering. I managed to take roughly around 300 shots or so over the course of 2 hours, and happily ended up with about 10 or so that look fairly decent, one which is shown below.

Taken with my Canon 60D and Canon 24-70mm F2.8L lens, at ISO 100, F9.0 and 1/125 shutter speed. This shot was taken with a single softbox to the right of the model.

Studio Photography - 1920c

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Monkey Business

On my way back from Myanmar in December, myself and a few colleagues of mine decided to take a private tour in Bangkok, to visit the Bridge on the River Kwai. Despite the 3 hour drive to the outskirts of Bangkok, the scenery was great and well worth the trouble. For me however, the real reason for wanting to visit this place was to finally see in real life the actual bridge from one of the movies I used to love as a child – “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. Can’t tell you how many times as kids my brother and I used to whistle that tune pretending to be marching as the soldiers did in the movie.

As nice as the tour was however, the real highlight of my day was what I got to experience on our way back to Bangkok. As we were driving through the valley, we witnessed an entire herd of over 50 monkeys crossing the road. We immediately asked our driver to pull over, quickly got out of the car with our cameras, and followed them to a nearby resting area where conveniently 2 locals had set shop selling bananas! As my colleagues were busy feeding them with one banana after another, I was even busier taking one shot after another. I managed to snap a bunch of decent pics, but my favourite was this one below of the mother carrying around her baby.

Shot with my Canon 60D and Sigma 3.5-6.3 18-200mm OS lens at ISO 400, F5.6, 1/800 sec.

Thailand Monkey 2 - 1920c-1

Lake Boat

Over the Christmas holidays, Daria and I flew to Thessaloniki (Salonika) in Greece to spend a few days with my cousins. The plan was to stay in the city for a couple of days to do some late Christmas shopping and then head to Florina (a town on the northern most part of Greece bordering FYROM) for the rest of the week. We would then use Florina as our base to explore the surrounding area.

I have to admit that this part of Greece is truly spectacular. I can honestly say that the scenery of western Macedonia has nothing to envy from the Swiss Alps. Snow-peaked mountains, forests and lakes as far as your eyes can reach. The picture below was taken at Vegoritida lake which we visited while taking the scenic route from Thessaloniki to Florina.

Taken with my tripod mounted Canon 60D and Canon 24-70 F2.8L lens at ISO 100, F8.0 at 1/320 and bracketed at -2/0/+2.

Boat in lake - 1920c

New Year’s Resolutions

resolutionsHappy New Year to everyone and I wish happiness and health to you and your loved ones!

Can’t say I am a big fan of New Year Resolutions, but in the spirit of the season I would like to set some goals for myself (photography-wise) for this new year. Since the whole point of why I created this blog is to keep myself dedicated in a hobby I really care about and enjoy, it only seems fitting to set some goals that will help me achieve just that. So here is a fairly short (and hopefully achievable) list for 2013:

  1. Explore Cyprus! I’ve been fortunate this past year to have the opportunity to travel a fair bit and in the process I’ve managed to take some decent photos. Even though I feel that it’s easier to find great photo opportunities when you are travelling abroad (compared to the familiar surroundings of Cyprus), this certainly is to a great extent psychological. Cyprus has some great scenery and all it takes is the will to go out and explore. So no more excuses here…the goal is to visit some new places and take at least 3 new pictures depicting life in Cyprus (either portraits of people or scenery).
  2. Long Exposures: Last summer on my trip to New York, I forked out a fair bit of money in purchasing a 10-stop solid ND filter. The whole point of such filter is to reduce the amount of light coming through the lens (by 10 times in this case), so I can slow down my shutter speed and capture movement in a single frame. The results can be truly astonishing (see examples), and over the last couple of years this technique has become very popular among both professional and amateur photographers. So my goal here is to finally take that filter out of its box and experiment by shooting some landscapes (minimum of 2 pictures posted on this blog), particularly in Black & White.
  3. New types of Photography: I am more or less happy with the variety of pictures I’ve managed to take over the past few years. There are dozens of other photography types however that I haven’t yet experimented with e.g. aerial, street, stock etc.,  and feel that I should so as to stretch my skills and improve. This year’s resolution therefore is to post 3 entries with photographs from types of photography that I have yet to experiment with.
  4. Frame a Picture: For all those of you who’ve been to my apartment, you can attest to the fact that I only have one single picture (though fairly large) hanging in my entire apartment. This is a B&W version of the Havana Car picture I posted on my blog this past August. I made the conscious choice that I would hang more, so long as these pictures were my own  and they had to fit-in with the rest of the decor. Suffice to say that I failed miserably so far, and the empty IKEA frame hanging in my bedroom is a testament to this failure. The goal therefore for this year is to take one picture that fits the above-mentioned criteria and is worthy for me to enlarge and hang anywhere in my apartment.

I will post updates of my progress against these goals during the year. Have a great year everyone!