Kicking off a new series on Black & White (B&W) photography. More accurately, these will be monochromatic renderings of digital photography files. When and how do we decide whether a photograph will look better in B&W? Is it possible to imagine a B&W composition before pressing the shutter? There are a milliard ways to render a color file into a monochromatic image. Contrast, balance, structure, grain texture. Darker reds? Lighter greens? Sepia for a vintage effect? In these series, we will use Canon files rendered in Lightroom. In most cases, the (now free) Silver Efex Pro 2 plugin from the Nik collection was applied. Part I of the B&W series is about People.
Last installment of the series on Ultra Wide Angle (UWA) lenses, dedicated to panoramic compositions, perhaps one of the most common uses of UWA lenses. As in the previous examples, “filling the frame” with foreground, middle ground and background elements remains one key aspect of a successful composition. The images below were taken with Canon’s EF-S 10-22mm UWA lens on EOS 40D and EOS 7D cameras and the EF-16-35mm on the EOS 5DIII camera.
Ultra Wide Angle lenses are not for portraiture. But they can deliver excellent images documenting people and wildlife in their environment. Here a few examples using Canon’s EF-S 10-22mm, EF 24mm L f/1.4 and EF 16-35mm L f/2.8 II UWA lenses.
Kicking off a new series on Ultra Wide Angle (UWA) photography. For this series, we will consider as UWA anything from 10mm to 24mm. UWA photography is wonderful but can be challenging. Exaggerated perspective, distorted edges and weird relationships between foreground and background objects are some of the features that can play for or against the composition. UWA lenses will exaggerate the depth of field, making background objects appear further from foreground ones than they actually are. That’s why UWAs don’t make good portrait lenses, as they exaggerate noses and foreheads. On the other hand, they are ideal to picture people in their environment. UWA lenses add drama to the images and can tell stories more forcefully due to their exaggeration of perspective. The images below were taken with Canon’s EF-S 10-22mm UWA lens on EOS 40D and EOS 7D cameras. These examples illustrate the use of UWA to emphasise perspective in a composition.
Scenes with very high dynamic range (containing very bright and very dark sections) are difficult to capture in a single shot without either blowing out the highlights or underexposing the shadows. Although common sensors in current DSLRs have 7 to 8 stops of dynamic range, many natural scenes would normally have a much greater dynamic range, too large to be captured accurately, even though they would look perfectly normal to our eyes. This is because each photoreceptor in the retina can adjust its gain independently (or almost independently) of each other, while an ISO setting in the camera applies equally to all pixels in the sensor. HDR imaging is a way to extend the dynamic range of a capture by taking sequential exposures of the same scene with bracketed settings. High-end DSLR cameras can do this automatically after dialing in the desired bracketing sequence and interval. Typically one shot is taken at the “correct” exposure indicated by the metring system, while additional shots are taken above (say +1, +2 or +3 EV) and below (say -1, -2 or -3 EV). The trick is to get all highlights and shadows correctly exposed in at least one of the exposures in the series. The images in the series are then combined to generate an HDR image using specialized software. Later editions of Adobe Photoshop can do this. Dedicated HDR software, such as Photomatix, is however easier to handle and yields very nice results.
The three photographs below -taken during a recent visit to Pompei- were shot at 1/125, 1/500 and 1/2000 sec, respectively, on the EOS 40D with EF-S 10-22mm lens at 15mm, ISO400, f/11.0 (always apperture priority for HDR). The corresponding histograms are shown under each image:
Detail in the shadows is totally lost in the first image, but all highlights are inside the histogram and the sky exposed correctly. The opposite aplies to the far right image: shadows are now resolved but highlights are completely blown out. The middle image is the “normal” exposure, what one would have been left with from this scene had one not decided to take bracketed images.
Below is the HDR image produced by Photomatix from the three photographs:
A well exposed, nice image, with detail in the highlights and the shadows, just like my eyes saw it! Incidentally, the marked diagonals add to enhance the composition here. Very pleased with this one!
Jurong Bird Park, on the west side of Singapore, harbors a huge variety of birds in a lush tropical backdrop. It is an ideal site for trying out telephoto lenses. It is possible to get really close to the birds and obtain nice portraits.
Here testing the 70-200 2.8 L IS from Canon on the EOS 40D. It was an overcast day, a perfect lighting condition to mitigate the tough midday sun of the equator. The light rain was not a problem.
A good close-up on an intriguing variety of peacock is shown here with its characteristic phlegmatic look.
A selection of images from that afternoon showing flamingos, pelicans, parrots, ostriches, birds of prey, ibises, crowned pigeons and more can be seen in the photo gallery HERE.
Geri Allen played with her quartet at the Iridium club on Time Square, New York City on the 20th of June 2009. In addition to Geri Allen on piano, her band included Ravi Coltrane on saxophone, Joe Sanders on bass and the amazing Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums.
Majestic playing from Allen, who once again demonstrated her command over harmony, melody and rhythm. Incredible energy form Watts, a veteran drummer that keeps going unabated with top players all around. Introspective playing from Sanders, not one note in excess. Ravi Coltrane raved on the sax, swinging as needed and with soaring solos that filled the club from the first note.
Virgin voyage for my brand new EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS which I bought a few days earlier.The lens rocked at a venue like this. Iridium’s policy (at least as of June 2009) allowed non-flash photography, a blessing for me who was eager to test the white beast. More photographs taken during this concert cna be seen in the Photo Gallery.
In December 2008, the Swedish Radio showed up at the home of Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson to record an interview and a series of solo piano improvisations at Stenson’s private studio. In the absence of available solo recordings of the acclaimed pianist, this was a very special event. The interview covered several aspects of Stenson’s musical life. Inevitably, he was asked about Keith Jarrett, and the Swedish pianist took distance -without being overt critical- from his colleague’s use (or abuse?) of ostinato techniques. Featured here, from the over 70 minutes piano recording, is the beautiful “Alfonsina y El Mar” from Argentinian composer Ariel Ramirez -now a standard piece of the Stensonian repertoire.
On April 16, 2009, Bobo Stenson played at Jazzclub Fasching, Stockholm, alongside Christian Spering in bass, Lennart Ã–berg in tenor saxophone and Turkish percussionist Okay Temiz (a group otherwise known as Oriental Wind) in a tandem concert with the Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP) from Bangalore, India. The KCP has a long tradition of interaction with musicians from the European jazz scene and Oriental Wind in particular. For this concert, founders Ramamani (voice) and husband Mr. Mani in mridangam were seconded by their common son -Krthik- in ghattam. The concert included several of Temiz compositions for Oriental Wind alongside KCP as well as traditional KCP’s percussion and solo voice sections. In the theme featured here, Stenon’s intro leads to the group theme with Ramamani’s leading voice, followed by piano and percussion solos in an interesting Orient/Occident mix.
Featured photographs from the 2009 Fasching concert (Canon EOS 40D with 100mm 2.8 macro and 24-205mm L zoom). Additional photographs from this concert can be accessed from the link under the photo gallery on the right side bar.
Adam Nussbaum & Bann performed at Jazzklubb Fasching in Stockholm on March 5, 2009, with Seamus Blake on saxophone, Oz Noy on guitar, Jay Anderson on bass and Nussbaum at the drum kit. Amazing concert, specially Seamus. He is a formidable player. With Noy imparting some rock-inspired guitar influences. Picture was taken with the Canon EOS 40D and the 24-105L zoom lens wide open at 24mm. More photographs from this concert can be seen at the Photo Gallery on the left side bar or else HERE.
Costa Rica contains some of the greatest biodiversity on Earth. Over 890 bird species have been recorded in Costa Rica as of January 2011.
Pictured here is the Blue-crowned Motmomt with its gorgeous tail, spotted in the area of Monteverde in the early hours of November 29th, 2008. Thanks to my skillfull guide, we saw plenty of birds on that great morning, including the spectacular Resplendent Quetzal. It was hard to find, but some knowledge about the locatoin of its favorite fruit, and a big dose of patience, helped us to spot several exemplars in the Monteverde reserve.
In addition to Monteverde, our trip during November-December, 2008, took us to Arenal and Baiha Drake, where we could see many other magnificent birds. All in all, over 30 different bird species could be photographed on that trip. These can be viewed in the Photo Gallery or from the link HERE. A very good website ”Tropical Feathers” helped naming many (but not all!) of the birds we saw.