How not to lose your fingers while shooting outside

I just got back from my little wintery shooting session I was talking about yesterday, and besides the fact that the real feel is still at -25C, we also have gushing winds! Which made everything more fun I admit, but I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes by the time I decided to stop. I frankly have no idea if what I just shot is good or not, because I simply have no recollection whatsoever of the past hour or so. That’s how cold and numb my brains are right now.

I will of course take care of these few shots later today and, hopefully, I’ll have something to post here!

Bye for now 🙂

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Winter

Romania is pretty much paralyzed by ice and snow right now. I have enjoyed it like a child so far, playing around, “running, jumping, climbing trees”, and even though I wanted to take the camera out for a stroll on more than one opportunity, I’ve always found an excuse not to inflict such a weather on that poor little thing. Up until this morning.

As I was walking to work (one of my few daily pleasures I must admit), I “caught” a fellow photographer on my turf. And with a Canon nonetheless. I wouldn’t have said anything if he was using Sony. I am of course joking, you know that, but it made me realize that I am probably missing a lot of shots that I would love to take with me when I’ll leave, shots around my grandpa’s house, shots of these oh so typical Romanian winters.

So, tomorrow morning, I will have my camera with me. Stay tuned 🙂

First Exhibition

I am currently exhibited at the BRD headquarters tower as a finalist to the bank’s national photography contest. This is my first exhibition and I’m waiting for the second one at the Van gogh Café in Bucharest. This is a great week 🙂

The Photography Class – The Park’s 10

As promised, I took the time to PP today’s assignment and here are the results. It wasn’t too hard to keep only ten shots since I was mostly playing with seagulls  and ducks, so with each series of a bird I’d only keep the sharpest shot. It’s easy to shoot birds, it’s the same principle as for panning shooting.

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The Photography Class – A Walk in the Park

As days and classes go by, we all feel more confident about how we see our photography, we learn new things, sometimes big, sometimes small, we start seeing things the way we should. And it’s actually refreshing. So today, we had class in a park. The temperatures were freezing this morning, the wind was maliciously blowing all the time, even through my gloves. So after an hour and a half, we all had to give up. But we all accepted this morning’s challenge:  ONLY ten “nature” shots, you have to delete everything else. It was hard and interesting. I will post my fabulous 10 a little late, I still need to get the feeling back in my toes.

Bye for now 🙂

Wandering around Lipscani

After almost three weeks of not posting and almost not shooting, I’m back with a few shots from Lipscani. It’s amazing how the Historical Center can change over the course of just a few weeks, places closing or opening, good places getting bad, bad places getting good, so on so forth. I’m pretty sure a lot of things that happened around Bucharest happened because of all the football games that will be played at the National Arena, some of which I’ll be seeing live! So, enjoy.

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Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 – First Impressions

I finally got an opportunity to take the Rokinon out for a test drive. I have to admit that I created the opportunity. Tomato, tomato. And it was fun! I indeed needed some time to work around the total Manual “chaos” some people talked about on the Internet, but it took me just a few shots to realize what I was supposed to do with those rings. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Out of the box, this lens looks actually very well build, it’s metal and plastic, which you don’t get to see that often anymore, it has a metallic mount, which actually feels and looks really solid, smooth rings… I have no complains at all about the build of this lens. The only cheap thing about it is the hood cap. It’s big, plastic-ish, very light, it just feels weird. But you need it, the lens sticks out and if you walk around without the cap, you’re bound to mess it up.  Overall, the lens looks actually really good and I like that big eye looking around.

I took a lot of time to read comments, reviews, tests, and what not, trying to figure out how everyone else was using this lens. The only thing that I still need to test for is the sweet spot. f/5.6, f/8? Somewhere between the two. I don’t know yet. What I do know is that if you’re used to shoot everything in Manual, you won’t have a problem, at all.

That’s how I was basically doing it: I wanted the shots to be sharp so I kept playing between 5.6 and 8. I read a review stating that the sharpness in the center was very good in the center at f/5.6 and on the sides at f/8. So basically it doesn’t really matter that much I suppose. Depends on what you’re shooting and the composition you’re going for. Once I decided what aperture to choose, I tested the focus ring. I was confused a little only through posts and reviews, I feel a lot more comfortable with the lens in my hands when I want to drive test. So I started with 1 foot (0.3m) and went from there.

Logically enough, anything that’s beyond 10 feet (3m) will be tack sharp if you set the ring just before the infinity mark. If you want to shoot a close-up, set it to 1 foot. After a few hours, I actually started having a better “spacial understanding”, I would evaluate the distance and set the focus ring to the first thing on the foreground. If I wanted the background to be sharp, I’d put it at the infinity mark. So there you go. With that in mind, you can either play around on the focus scale, or just leave it to whatever you most often shoot and never touch the lens ever again. I’m a whole Manual freak, I love MF and shoot 99% of the time in Manual, I touch everything all the time, so I played around like crazy with this lens, and I just love the experience.

I love choosing my composition with this lens. If you put the horizon right at the center of your shot, everything in the middle will be straight, everything on the sides (up – down, left – right) will be distorted. Since it’s a stereographic lens (read this), distortion will be different from a “regular” fish-eye lens. And it makes it that much fun and interesting. Did I mention you get 180 degrees shots with this baby? Well, you do!

Here are some (sometimes stupid) shots, nothing too artsy, I was looking for CA, fringing, flare, so on so forth.

I’ve done some minor PP on them, the main thing I see right now is the lack in contrast sometimes, CA is present, as it is with any other fish-eye lens,

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Nice sharpness on the tower, f/8, infinity.

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As I previously said, straight in the middle when centered, curved on the sides. Noticeable CA on the flower, nothing too hard to PP.

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Once again, nice sharpness in the center. I cropped this one because it was at work, but the handbag is nice!

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You can actually shoot the whole ceiling with this lens. Set on infinity, sharp ceiling. Same issues as before (CA and all).

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Flare is controlled. You don’t get a lot of “spots”, rather “lines”. It’s a nice effect in my opinion. Spots are still visible on other shots.

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Nice sharpness. You can definitely have fun with composition as you can see. Again, lines rather than spots.

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Same as before. Sharpness is actually sometimes pretty much impressive for this lens. I can definitely see potential here.

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Nice color, nice sharpness. Since you get 180 degrees shots, always be careful with your feet. You’ll see what I’m talking about. But the effect on this one is pretty cool I think.

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Piata Victoriei is a huge place. The Rokinon can catch it all in one shot. Same thing as before, straight in the center, curved on the sides. Don’t get anything on the extremities of your shot and you’ll get a “regular” ultra-wide angle lens shot.

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Watch for the feet!

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Sharp, visible CA, I had to boos the contrast again. But other than that, very nice I believe.

So there you go, you get the idea. If you need a wide-angle lens, and don’t have the big bucks, go for this one, it’s a cool little rock.

Lipscani Randomness

I found myself a photo-buddy. My best friend isn’t here and I found out that my new colleague is into photography too (Canon, unfortunately) and we decided to walk around Bucharest’s old center, Lipscani. I also wanted to show him where my favorite camera store was so, there, perfect timing.

I got a third-party grip for my camera, I had trouble stabilizing my 70-300G and almost always got my focus shifted to the left. Which isn’t good, obviously. But damn, with the grip on, and the weight all balanced, it’s pretty much amazing. I should have bought a grip a long time ago! So here are some random shots. I deleted most of them since I was mainly fooling around, but I kept some too. I finally focus where I want to.

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An Afternoon At The Japanese Gardens

These gardens are a very quiet and relaxing place. Especially when the whole city decided to leave for the country-side and that the park is almost abandoned. But anyway! We wanted to see the place for quite some time now. The cherry blossoms were beautiful but we couldn’t enjoy it that much, up until today. We went out for a nice picnic! Food, drinks, blanket, the whole shebang. I, of course, got sunburn, as usual, but at least I do it with style. Which means no hair line given the nice haircut I got this morning. We spent something like four hours enjoying the sun’s warmth and we came home for a nice rest with the soft sunlight coming through our curtains. What a nice Saturday.

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The Flower Lady Is Back

You remember her, right? Well she’s back. She’s been back for some days now but I wanted to try this shot out with the new lens and I’m pretty fond of it. Amazing colors and sharpness, beautiful bokeh even stepped down… I could go on for hours.