Rainbow Windows

To mark my 50th post on this blog, it’s time for a small facelift! Time to switch up the header image into something a bit more colourful!

One of the key ingredients to getting a decent picture, is proper composition i.e. how to best frame the shot. When I started reading my first photography book, the first chapter was all dedicated to explaining some basic principles one generally has to follow to properly compose a photograph. I’ve read about the rule of thirds, leading lines, foreground interest etc, but for some reason my favourite one is patterns. Can’t explain it really – but somehow the ability to capture patterns either natural or man-made, always brings a natural rhythm and harmony to photographs.

This is a picture I took on my recent trip to Venice. Admittedly though, I got in and tampered with it a bit in Photoshop, as the original one captured had all windows in a uniform deep green colour. There was nothing wrong really with the original picture, but since I wanted something cheerful to uplift the face of my blog page, I thought appropriate to add some colour in post production.

Rainbow windows - header

Taken with my Canon 60D and Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC HSM lens, at ISO 100, F8.0, exposed at 1/60th of a second. Processed in Photoshop CS6.


Tuscan Landscape

Just got back from a 10-day vacation in Italy where I got the chance to drive around Tuscany for the first week followed by a visit to Venice for the last stretch of the trip. Had a great time there, with the highlights being the great scenery, the wine and definitely the food…ah yes, the food..what the heck do they put in that pasta that makes it so tasty!?

In preparing for this trip (from a photography perspective), I’ve read countless articles online about the great Tuscan landscapes, with the endless fields of grass, the iconic cypress trees and the variety of colours in nature. Unfortunately, I also read that the best time to visit Tuscany is either spring or autumn, which was somewhat disheartening given the timing of my trip in mid-August. Nonetheless I wasn’t discouraged, to the point where I made an impulse (yet relatively inexpensive) purchase of a new ultra-wide angle lens (Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC HSM), which would be perfect for this type of landscape scenery.

I first got the chance to put this lens into good use, when I passed by this endless field of sunflowers, near the village of San Gimignano (half way between Florence and Siena). I immediately jumped out of the car with my tripod and started running into this field, being careful not to step over the flowers. The composition was tricky, as I was trying to shoot straight into the sun. I stopped down my aperture to get the sun look more like a starburst, and fitted a 3-stop ND grad filter to bring back the sky. Unfortunately, I got significant flaring on my lens, but to be honest I don’t mind it that much!

Sunflowers - 1920c

Shot with my tripod mounted Canon 60D and Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC HSM lens, at ISO 100, F18, and bracketed at -3/-1/+3.

Explosion of light!

After a successful attempt at photographing an unplugged light bulb, I decided that my model was destined for bigger and better things. In this new photo-shoot (a journey of no return), I placed the bulb in a zip lock bag, then used a hammer to break the outer part, crossing my fingers that the filament would remain intact.

I then hooked up the bulb onto the electrical rig that I had built for my previous experiment, secured my camera on the tripod, and dialed in the continuous shooting mode. With one hand on the electrical switch and the other on my remote cable release, I turned on the power and fired 5-6 continuous shots. The result is the picture below – the final grande portrait and a testament of my subject’s short-lived modeling career.

Filament Lamp - 1920c

Shot with my Canon 60D and Canon 24-70 F2.8L lens, manual settings at ISO 200, F5.6, at 1/1000 sec.