Egypt

18 December 2014

Angry Sky

Posted in: Egypt, hdr, landscape, reflection|

Daily photo – Angry Sky

High Dynamic Range image of very dramatic sunset in Dahab, Egypt

Today HDR image from Dahab in Egypt is pretty old one and if I was to shoot it today I would probably approach it differently (but does it mean better is hard to say 🙂 ) as I’m not really fond of composition which I find quite boring. However, what saves this photo is amazing sky. It was really dramatic sunset and I still remember that very feeling when I was capturing that image – I was afraid that it’s some severe sand storm approaching from over nearby desert. But it wasn’t.

If you would like to create such images yourself, make sure to read my free HDR tutorial where I show how to do that.

Camera Info

Finally some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure time: 1/4 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 3
E.V. Step: 2.0 EV
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masks
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 5.0 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.4, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Detail
21 December 2013

Dramatic sunset

Posted in: Dahab, Egypt, hdr, landscape, reflection|

Dramatic sunset in Egypt
Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.

It was one of the most dramatic sunsets I’ve ever seen. It looked like sand storm was coming (but fortunately it was just an impression). It looked like the end of the world.

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure time: 1/100 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 3 
E.V. Step: 2.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 4.2.7 (Details Enhancer), Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC
20 December 2013

The Family

Posted in: Egypt, reflection|

Family
Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.

I shared one photo from this shoot some time ago (you can see it here) but as I really love this scene and the reflection I decided to share yet another one.

There are two interesting things from technical point of view about this photo. First of all, I used very high ISO of 3200. As you can see final image does contain just a little bit of noise and as I previously wrote using high ISO values isn’t something that you should be anxious about when using modern digital camera. High ISO is there to be used. It’s not just a marketing slogan. On my current camera I used even higher ISO values like 12800 (and even 25600!) and still got results that I was happy with.

The second thing is that I used exposure of 1/100 s despite using focal length of 300 mm. It’s due to image stabilization built-in the lens I used (without it I would need to use exposure of 1/300 s). Nowadays IS systems are really powerful. In case of this lens I was able to shoot in the dark and still get sharp enough images.

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK II
Lens: Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS USM (read my review here)
Focal length: 300 mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure time: 1/100 s
ISO: 3200
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: no
Filters: circular polarizing filter
Technique: n/a
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC

17 September 2013

Thoughts: Specialization in photography

Posted in: Dahab, Egypt, hdr, landscape, thoughts|

Dramatic sky during sunset in Dahab
Click on the photo to view it in large size on black background.

There is so much to do in photography. You can shoot landscapes, architectures, cars, real estate, portraits, fashion, weddings, tamed or wild animals, insects, stars, street scenes… whatever you want. Really – sky is the limit. The problem is that each of these subjects requires a bit different approach, technique and skills. And even different equipment.

For example landscape photography is much about patience and strong will (and steady tripod!) because you might need days or weeks to capture a single photo you have in mind. And you will often go back home with nothing worth sharing (eg. when you expected nice sunrise but it was raining). It’s even worse when you need to hike for several hours to reach your destination just to find out that there is nothing really worth capturing (eg. the light is boring). What’s more you will often need to get up very early (to shoot sunrise) or miss dinner (to shoot sunset). Wild-life photography is much about understanding animals, knowing their behaviours, spending hours studying them. But you also need to be silent and cautious. You need to become part of they world. Sort of. Portrait photography requires good interpersonal skills to tell the model what you expect from him/her, make him/her feel comfortable during the shoot etc. And also you need to have great understanding of light. And let me tell you one thing – I as former 3D graphics programmer know equations describing light, how it behaves, reflects off surfaces etc. Yet I cannot apply it to my photography. I see light as mathematical formula not a tool to craft art. Unfortunately.

For above reasons, apart from a few photographers who are just exceptions proving this thesis (take a look at works of +Michael Woloszynowicz or +Pawel Tomaszewicz for instance – both these guys are shooting wonderful landscape, architecture but also portrait work), most of the others are greatly specialized. And so am I. As you probably noticed my main area of focus is landscape photography. From time to time I share other photos ranging from macro to portraits but my main strength is shooting nature views. I like hiking, I like silence at sunrise/sunset, I don’t have problem with eating late meals. I feel great when I can photograph landscape. I might not be the best landscape photographer in the world (quite frankly I’m nowhere near the level I would love to reach) but it’s my world. I specialize in this kind of photography.

Focusing on one area is a very good thing because you spend your efforts improving quite a small subset of skills (eg. you don’t need to learn artificial light if you’re mainly shooting with natural light). You also spend your money only on equipment targeted towards this kind of photography (eg. ultra wide angle lenses for landscape photography or powerful flash units for potraits). This way you also increase your chances of capturing some really stunning photos. If for 10 days in a row you go out to photograph sunset there is quite a chance that at least one of them will be stunning. But if one day you go photographing sunset, another you shoot portraits, on the next one animals and then macro… well, there is a great chance you’ll end up with mediocre photos…

At the same time bear in mind it’s a good thing to try something different from time to time to see other possibilities and improve general skills (like composition for instance). If you focus on something too much you loose wider perspective what can also be a bad thing for your photography. So summing up specialization is a great thing that can make you a great photographer. But at the same time step out of your comfort zone from time to time to progress as a photographer.

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure time: 1/100 s (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 3 
E.V. Step: 2.0
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 4.2.7 (Details Enhancer), Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC

16 September 2013

Evening walk

Posted in: Dahab, Egypt, reflection|

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

I took this photo last year in Dahab, Egypt while doing some landscape photography. It shows a family during an evening walk near the sea. The water you see in the picture remained there after high tide.

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK II
Lens: Canon 70-300 f/4-5.6 L IS USM
Focal length: 300 mm
Aperture: f/9.0
Exposure time: 1/100 s
ISO: 3200
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Technique: black & white conversion
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC

8 May 2013

End of the world

Posted in: Dahab, Egypt, hdr, landscape|

Photographing dramatic skies or light conditions is one of the easiest ways of getting powerful and beautiful image. You just press shutter button, apply a bit of post-processing and you’re done 🙂 the only difficult thing is to actually come across such conditions. A lot of patience and a bit of luck is required.

I took this HDR photo in Dahab, Egypt last year.

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure time: 1/200 (“middle” exposure)
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 2
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 4.2.5, Lightroom 4.2, Photoshop CS6

2 May 2013

Apocalypse

Posted in: Dahab, Egypt, hdr, landscape|

I took this photo almost one year ago. Initially I didn’t like it but when I was going through the older photos yesterday I thought that it looks sort of cool. The sky was really dramatic, it looked as if some nasty storm was approaching.

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 USM
Focal length: 10 mm
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure time: 1/200
ISO: 100
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 2
Flash used: no
Tripod: yes
Filters: no
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 4.2.5, Lightroom 4.2, Photoshop CS6

27 December 2012

My Top 5 this year

Posted in: Egypt, hdr, lisbon, warsaw|

With year 2012 getting to an end I decided to make a small summary of it. It was a very nice year for me concerning photography. I greatly improved my skills (both as a photographer and retoucher), I became Shutterstock contributor, some of my photos were exhibited and also a few were used in a magazine. That’s all great and I hope the next year will bring even more interesting things. But the most important thing is I took a few shots that I think are of high quality.

Below you fill find summary of my best photos taken this year. It’s a very personal choice. Interesting thing is that only 2 out of 5 photos below are HDR photos. It shows that this year I tried a lot of different techniques and types of photography.

#5 Photo of a family in Dahab, Egypt.

#4 Photo of the jaguar from Warsaw Zoo.

#3 The Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon

#2 Two roads, Milky Way over Fuerteventura Island

And the winner is…
#1 Buying books, Warsaw photo I took very recently became my personal favourite this year. I love everything about it – from composition to colors and mood it creates.