23 January 2015

Blue hour by the sea

Daily photo - Blue hour by the sea

HDR photo from Crete taken in the late evening

For today I selected this blue hour image from island of Crete.

Technically, this image isn't HDR image. Instead I used Exposure Fusion (Fusion/Natural) available in Photomatix Pro 5, which is alternative to HDR. If you would like to learn more about Exposure Fusion, read chapter about it in my HDR tutorial.

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22 January 2015

Cenote in Mexico

Daily photo - Cenote in Mexico

HDR panorama of one of the many cenotes in Mexico
Today I would like to share this HDR panorama taken in one of the cenotes in Mexico. I already shared one version of this image in the past... but I like this one a big more.

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21 January 2015

HDR photography tip: how many photos do I need for great HDR photo?

HDR photography tip: How many photos do I need for great HDR photo?

Today I have a short tip for you, fellow HDR photographers. Have you ever wondered, while taking HDR photo, how many bracketed photos you should take for a given scene? 3, 5, 7 or even more? Or maybe just 1? Most photographers make wild guesses here, often taking way too many photos (I often do the same so don't feel guilty!) what can result in ghosting artifacts. Or even worse - too few what results in blown out highlights and/or noisy shadows.

Guess no more - here are the steps to take correct number of bracketed photos:
  1. Set your camera to Spot Metering mode. 
  2. Set ISO to the one you will use for your HDR photo (I recommend using lowest value possible). And definitely don't use Auto-ISO.
  3. Switch to Aperture Priority mode (denoted as Av or A). Set Aperture to the value you will use for your HDR photo.
  4. Point your camera at the brightest spot you want to include in your frame (eg. source light, sky) and note down exposure time displayed by the camera, eg. 1/400.
  5. Now point your camera at the darkest spot you want to include in your frame (eg. shadow, dark rocks) and note down exposure time displayed by the camera, eg. 1/40.
  6. Switch to Manual mode. Don't change neither ISO nor Aperture!
  7. Now let's assume that you want to take your photos spacing them by 1 EV. In such case, start with exposure for brightest spot (in our case 1/400), take a photo, multiply exposure by 2 (it then becomes 1/200), take another photo, multiply exposure by 2 and so on until you take a photo with exposure which is greater or equal than exposure for darkest point (in our case 1/40).
    So in our case we would need to take photos at following exposures:
    1. 1/400
    2. 1/200
    3. 1/100
    4. 1/50 (this exposure is still shorter than longest exposure we need)
    5. 1/25
  8. As you can seen we would need 5 photos.
    There is one problem though - this approach requires using fully Manual mode. What if you would like to take photos using Aperture Priority mode and use auto-bracketing? Then instead of taking photos in Step 6, let's calculate number of exposures (you can then set it for auto-bracketing feature of your camera):

    number_of_photos = log2(slowest_exposure / fastest_esposure) + 1
    In our case it becomes:

    number_of_photos = log2((1/25) / (1/400)) + 1 = log2(16) + 1 = 4 + 1 = 5

Also note that if you would like to use 2 EV spacing you would need to multiply exposures by 4.

You can find more tips and useful HDR photography information in my free HDR tutorial.

Daily photo - In the Park

In the Park
Today I decided to share this HDR photo taken in one of the London's parks.

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20 January 2015

1 million views on SmugMug

1 million views on SmugMug

At the beginning of last year, I set up SmugMug account to host my images there. It seems that after 12 months, all my photos were viewed more than 1 million times!

BTW if you are interested in SmugMug, make sure to read my review of it.

Daily photo - The British Museum

Black & white picture from British Museum main hall.
Today I would like to share another image from London - it shows main hall of British Museum which is one of the most famous and one of the biggest museums in the world dedicated to human history and culture. It's a must see spot for anyone interested in history - there are around 8 million works originating from all continents.

I visited the museum just a few minutes before closing in hope that there will be almost none visitors but unfortunately there were still quite a lot of people visiting (probably they wanted to avoid the crowds as much as I did). Anyway I still managed to capture a few images one of which you can see today.

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19 January 2015

Royal Albert Hall

Daily photo - Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall
Time for another photo from London - today it shows Royal Albert Hall - music and entartainment venue named in tribute of Queen's Victoria husband - Prince Albert.

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16 January 2015

English Pub

Daily photo - English Pub

English Pub
Not really sure if it's really an English Pub (or maybe Irish?) but it's in London so let's assume that :)

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14 January 2015

The Best of 2014 - By Community

Time's up! This year's The Best of 2014 project is over. The idea was to share the best photos from my photography friends and here they are. It's really great that some of you took part in this project second time in two years time!

Thank you everyone for contributing! You took some really amazing photos in 2014 and I hope that you will continue to do that in 2015 :) and that you will share them in next year's edition of this project (hopefully more people will take part!).

The order in which the photographers and their photos are listed is completely random. Apart from the photos I provided links to Google+, Facebook, Flickr, 500px and websites below each author's name so make sure to follow the artists whose photos you liked.

Also click on the images to view them in large size as many of them look MUCH better in larger size.

Frank Tegtmeyer

Bio: Hobby photographer living near Hamburg/Germany.

Google+: +Frank Tegtmeyer  

Tyler Glover


Larry Neel

Bio: Larry Neel is a retired wildlife biologist who lives in Fallon, Nevada USA.  His wildlife and landscape photography is shared on Facebook and exhibited regularly in the western Nevada region.  His prints are handled by the Rising Sun Gallery in Fallon and he will be featured at the Liberty Fine Art Gallery in March 2015.

Google+: +Larry Neel 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Larry-Neel-Photography/118809074918744
Website: http://larryneelphoto.com/

Christine Shaaban

Google+: +Christine Shaaban 

Ludwig Sörmlind

Google++Ludwig Sörmlind 

Kuba Jurkowski

Google++Kuba Jurkowski 

Alami Imala

Website: http://photographyofmorocco.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008383242501

Kazz Takahashi

Bio: Japanese photographer who loves night photography and HDRs. Love city scapes.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kazz.hdr
500px: https://500px.com/Kazzpix

Alex Stratis

Website: stratisphere.biz
Website: stratiSphotoSphere
Google+: +Alex Stratis  

Elmer van Zyl

Bio: I favour the Canon range of equipment (cameras and lenses) and upgrades my photography equipment annually to stay updated with the latest technology and trends.
I have a passion for taking HDR photographs. The creative flair that i add to an ordinary photograph creates a work of art and finally a photography process can be put onto paper just the way the human eye sees it.
Through social media sites i have become friends with various well known photographers from all fields all around the world. I find that these relationships keep me up to date with latest trends and the information sharing assists with styles, lighting, and post processing techniques as well as equipment updates.
I have trained a number of photographers on a one on one basis over the years and is always open to discuss a package with anyone who shares the same passion and is keen to make a career out of photography. High Dynamic Range has opened a lot of doors for me and is a great tool to use to my advantage. I also capture a lot of cars and recently i was commissioned to capture a unique car collection for a publication "Musings of a Million Miler" and 70% of my images were HDR imagery.

I was also in the lucky position to win numerous photographic contests all thanks to my HDR photography and process.

Google+: +Elmer van Zyl 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Van-Zyl-HDR-Photography/655158544605439?ref=hl
500px: https://500px.com/vzphoto

Robert Lundskow

Google++Robert Lundskow 

Stanisław M.

Google++Stanisław M. 

Aasif Iqbal J

Google+: +Aasif Iqbal J  

Maciek Żelazowski

Google+: +Maciek Żelazowski

Lechmoore Simms

Google+: +Lechmoore Simms

Marek Koteluk

Google+: +Marek Koteluk 
500px: https://500px.com/oxygenum

Matthew Donaldson

Bio: Matthew is an IT professional and keen amateur photographer living in Australia.  He enjoys hiking, especially in the less populated areas of the country, and taking many photos capturing the beautiful scenery God has put into His world.

Website: http://www.datadeliverance.com/photos

Jan Danek

Google+: +Jan Danek 
500px: https://500px.com/JanDanek
Website: www.jandanek.com 

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