14 September 2012

A few words on my gear

Even though my blog already has Gear tab, which details photo equipment I use I would still like to write a few words about it.
First of all I use two cameras (Canon 50D and 5D Mark II), for a few reasons. One of them is that I don't need to change lenses that often when being on location (so I can limit amount of dirt entering the inside of the camera and and I don't waste time to switch the lens so there is a better chance of not missing some great photo opportunity).
Moreover one of them is a full-frame and the other is a crop camera. While 5D Mark II produces images of higher quality (especially considering depth of field and low-light situations), 50D also has its strengths - 6 frames per second are useful in many cases (eg. action shots, hand-held HDR) and also as it is a crop sensor it is useful when shooting with a telezoom lens. Crop factor is 1.6x what means that 70-300 lens becomes equivalent of 112-480 without a teleconverter! Quite useful at times.
As you can see I use a number of lenses for all occasions: 10-22 mm, 24-105 mm and 24 mm prime lens for landscapes and architecture, 50 mm mainly for portraits, 100 mm for macro and portraits and 70-300 mm whenever I need to zoom in very close. Each of this lenses has its strengths and weaknesses (eg. 100 mm is sharper than anything else) and good for different occasions. However, my favourite lens is Canon 24-105 f/4 L lens - it offers very nice image quality and also the focal range is very universal (good both for landscapes and even some portraits).

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13 September 2012

Funny figure in Royal Baths Park

I shot this earlier this summer in Royal Baths Park in Warsaw, Poland. Although the shot isn't the best one I must admit I really liked that figure.

Camera: Canon 5D MK II
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 24 mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure time: 1/100 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 400
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: no
Filters: no
Software: Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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12 September 2012

Street in Lisbon

Street in Lisbon


It's a photo I took earlier this year in Lisbon. I'm really satisfied with the tones and textures in it.

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11 September 2012

The Copernicus Science Centre - the last one

Centrum Nauki Kopernik
Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.
Yesterday I promised no more photos of the Copernicus Science Centre but here is one more I would like to add. This time really the last one.
Here is EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/13.0
Exposure time: 1/5 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures:7
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Photomatix Pro 4.2.4, Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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10 September 2012

The Copernicus Science Centre once again

Centrum Nauki Kopernik
Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.


Ok, here is one more HDR photo of the Copernicus Science Centre (the last for now :) ).

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9 September 2012

Under the Swietokrzyski Bridge

Here is another photo of the Swietokrzyski Bridge in Warsaw, Poland. The composition is rather simple but I look several things about this shot: warm light, look of water and reflections of the bridge.

In the back you can see the National Stadium where several matches of Euro 2012 took place (eg. opening match and one of the semi-finals).

Here is EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/13.0
Exposure time: 1/5 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 7
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Photomatix Pro 4.2.4, Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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8 September 2012

The Swietokrzyski Bridge (evening shot)

Some of you have seen this photo before but I still decided to upload it here. Although it isn't perfect as some of you pointed out (especially lack of space above the bridge), it's one of my first evening bridge HDR photos - so I hope next attempts will be even better.

Here is EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/13.0
Exposure time: 1/2 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 7
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Photomatix Pro 4.2.4, Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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7 September 2012

Tutorial: Finding your lens sharpest aperture

Probably you've already heard that sharpness of your image depends on many factors and that one of them is the aperture being used. Each lens have its sharpest aperture which is usually somewhere between f/8 to f/11 (but not always). That means that photos taken with this aperture will be the sharpest ones.

Please note, that sharpest aperture differs from lens to lens and it can even differ for the same lens at different focal lengths.

Ok, we now know that being aware of sharpest aperture is useful and important but how can you find it out? It's very simple in fact.
  1. Put a newspaper (or other text or drawing with strong lines and contrast) on the wall using a tape (make sure it cannot move as it can potentially ruin the test).
  2. Mount your camera on a tripod just in front of a newspaper.
  3. Set your camera to Aperture priority mode (Av for Canons) and set your ISO to 100.
  4. Focus on the newspaper and switch to manual focus to avoid refocusing (what could result in different sharpness due to Auto-Focusing missing the target).
  5. Use shutter release to avoid any camera shake and take photos of the newspaper at different apertures. Start with the widest aperture and close it slowly (I used 1/3 EV increment in my test below). To be honest to avoid touching the camera during the test I connected my Canon 5D MK II with my PC via the USB cable and released shutter and changed exposure parameters using Canon's EOS Utility.
  6. Copy files to your PC.
  7. View your files at 100% magnification and compare them. You will notice that some photos are more blurry than others. There will also be a few which are much sharper than any other. Note aperture of these photos - it is your lens sharpest aperture.
Here are some test shots for my new Canon 24 f/1.4 L lens, taken at apertures of f/1.4, f/7.1 and f/22.
From these images it should be easily visible that for this lens the sharpest aperture is f/7.1. If it isn't view the images in full size - the difference should be much easier to notice then.

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5 September 2012

New records

Internet is a weird beast. Day by day you can get almost the same number of visitors (with constant but rather small increase in time) and then suddenly your site gets a few times more visits because someone shared a link to it. That happened yesterday to my blog. Usually I don't have many unique visitors/pageviews (about 100 - 150 unique visitors and about 250 - 350 of pageviews daily). But yesterday all records were beaten. I don't know who shared the link and where exactly, I only know most of the traffic came from Facebook. So whoever did it, I would like to thank him or her.

Today I would like to share a photo of the Warsaw University Library. I was there with a group of friends about half an hour before sunset meaning that many people were finishing their work. That made it very difficult to take a decent shot (because every few seconds someone went in front of your lens) and this is the best I got.

EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure time: 1/30 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 7
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Photomatix Pro 4.2.4, Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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4 September 2012

Sunset over the Vistula River

Today one more photo from a recent photo walk. It shows the Vistula river bank during the sunset.

Here is EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 16 mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure time: 1/5 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 7
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Photomatix Pro 4.2.4, Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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2 September 2012

The Swietokrzyski Bridge

The Swietokrzyski Bridge, built in 2000, was the first cable-stayed bridge in Warsaw. It is the first time I had an opportunity to take a photo of it. Unfortunately there was this orange balloon flying behind it so one day I will have to repeat this shot.

Here is EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 12 mm
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure time: 1/5 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 7
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Photomatix Pro 4.2.4, Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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1 September 2012

The Copernicus and the Blue Hour

Yesterday I posted an entry about the Copernicus Science Centre. Here is another photo showing it. As I mentioned I don't take photos during the blue hour very often but it's one of them. I like this shot especially for the complementary colors (blues and oranges). However, one day I'd like to retake this photo because I slightly regret not slowing down the aperture by a few stops (I shot at f/10.0) what would result in better "stars" around the light sources (and there are quite a few of them in this frame).

BTW, August was yet another month in which number of visitors on this blog significantly increased (by about 30% compared to July). I'm really happy about that because it means that some of you like my ramblings :) I would be of course grateful for sharing this blog if you find it interesting and/or useful and also for writing more comments because your feedback would make this site much much better. Thank you!

Here is EXIF data:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/10.0
Exposure time: 1.0 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Photomatix Pro 4.2.4, Lightroom 4.1, Photoshop CS5

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