Sunday, 12 June 2011

Bonsai Art

Shot of the bonsai by Andrea Melloni. The tree is Juniperus Chinensis and was presented in bonsai exhibition in Vilnius

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Light of Faith

The idea between this photo was to show the cross enlightened within dark, grey sky. I tried to do my best but I am not sure that my post processing is good enough to show the idea behind it.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Monday, 9 May 2011

Blossom


Frankly speaking, I do not know what is the name of this flower.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Blossoms of the spring

While going, I saw a tree full of blossoms (the real spring just started here), and it attracted my eye. After some considerations, for this shot I used my wide angle lens, the very wide end of it actually. I like the dynamics of this shot.

Friday, 22 April 2011

The Team

In this shot I like how similar those sails look like. Also, how vertical lines are going from the left, making this shot somehow idylic for me.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Das Auto

I spotted this car during autoshow in Vilnius, where famous collector presented his collection of vintage cars in the main street. I tried to make this image as centered as I could.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Afterglow

As I saw this cloud, my hand was just immediately 'pulled'  to take a shot - I just love how it contrasts to the higher dark clouds.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Enlightened


I like how the ship was sunlit by the setting sun and how it made contrast to the dark water of the lagoon. Buoys of the fishers' nets just happened to end near the ship - just nicely adding to the composition.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Rose

Strangely I managed to make such shot without any post processing. I like how the red blends with a black (though I made some cropping to have such a balance in the picture)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Life on a bent grass

Actually, I was taking photo of a dragon-fly, resting on this bent grass, as it started raising its tail (or how it is called). I intuitively took a vertical shot and only later noticed how well everything composes - vertical dragon-fly, arched bent grass, spider-web beneath and a small spider hidig. Just like artificially composed.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Calmness in the blue


This photo was made in clear sunny day, somewhere at the noon, when the sun was the hottest. The water looked unusually blue, with very very light breeze. One of those calm, amazing days where you can enjoy your life leaving all the troubles behind.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Amazing skies

I have made those photos some time ago (to be specific, August last year). These were trully the colours of the sky - no post processing, auto white balance and so on. I am still suprised I have seen such.



Thursday, 24 February 2011

How to shoot your friends

Having your camera, you will definitely take photos of your friends, relatives either during the parties, trips or meetings. One of the prerequisites for good portraits (assuming that you are close) is fast portrait lenses. On DX camera (crop sensor) it would be around 50mm lenses, on FX (full frame) - around 85mm. Lenses must be fast - in general, I noticed that rather usable aperture from my point of view is f/2.2-f/2.8 - it has sufficient depth of field, and background is well isolated. Keep in mind, that shooting more than one person they will have to be in the same distance from you as one of them will be blurry. Otherwise you need to step back and decrease aperture. If you want to shoot groups of people and even inside - 35mm or shorter lens is much more usable (and equivalent on FX or full frame sensor) but shorter and fast lenses are getting rather expensive here (Nikon though has very nice 35mm f/1.8 DX lenses - cheap and amazing; see my post on choosing lenses).
Going back to portraits - I have noticed that a lot of people take pictures of their friends and relatives while they are posing. In most cases - those pictures are kind of artificial, as too little people feel natural in front of camera. Better try to catch emotion. Take your camera with you and be invisible. Snap your photo when nobody is expecting that and even will not notice that. You will see - your portraits will be way better and stronger than posed ones, as people express their true emotion, not impersonated one. 
Anyway, if you need a posed portrait - talk with your model, make him smile naturally, not just forcing him to say 'cheeeese' and get one more posed picture.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Fisheye geometry

What I like in this photo is the way how lines are appearing when using fisheye lens. These are Samyang fisheye (purely manual) lens, and I like how vertical lines are distorted and horizontal ones going deep into the photo (from the perspective of viewer standing there). This was done under the bridge in Vilnius. Actually it was rather difficult to get symetry (of pillars framing the picture) as due to the really wide angle of view (180 degrees) even a small move resulted in lost symetry. Even now it is not that perfect.

Book review

I have just read The Photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman - it is amazing book. I would advise to read it everybody who is interest in photography composition, is not professional and has not studied arts (like me) - it explains the basics of composition in a simple way. The language use is simple, easy to understand. These are the things I lacked in my knowledge. All descriptions are visually explained which the descriptions much more useful. After reading it sometimes I started analyzing pictures of good photographers' - in pictures you can actually see those basics of compositions you would never think of if not knowing those basics.
Though I should confess that this is a first book I have read about photography (other than various tips in interent).

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Memories

These sculptures are one of four sculpture groups on the Green Bridge (Žaliasis tiltas), in Vilnius, erected in soviet times. They are still causing a debats shoud they be removed or not as soviet monuments. I would prefer leaving them as the reminder of our hard past. Also for me they are inseparable from Vilnius cityscape, in contrast with sculpures of Lenin or Stalin. This one is called "Agriculture".
I tried to emphasize them in the contrast of old and new buildings and all that blue skies (it was cold winter day).

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Graffiti



Though in general I am against graffiti, especially in our Old town of Vilnius (why you should muck such a beautiful old buildings?), this one I find really funny - luckily it is not in Old town. What an imagination of someone, who came up with such a cat? Definately he has a vein of artist (though an outlaw a bit as it is illegal to do so).

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Street art

Today I have been enjoying my new lenses - Nikkor 10-24mm, i.e. ultrawide even for DX sensor. They are amazing! Here is one photo I have made. This piece of art is placed on the wall in Literatų str., Vilnius (roughly tranlsated as Litterateur street) and was created by Arvydas Pakalka in honour of Vytautas Rubavičius (as you could probalby guess there are 147 preceding this one).
What I like about it - is how its colours contrast to the old wall and how it immediately attracts attention.

How to shoot your baby

One of the reasons I have convinced my wife to spend pile of money on DSLR was that were waiting for a baby. Point and shoot cameras are not too good at that, as usually you are shooting indoors and you cannot use flash. Thus DSLR with fast lenses (See my post on choosing main lenses) is very nice option. Following are the tips which I learned during my shooting:
- avoid dressing your baby with various strange stuff (like rabbit ears etc.); it simply looks cheap;
- find a moment when your child is awake: you can see a lot of pictures of sleeping babies (in their first months), but not so much of ones with open eyes;
- don't forget the parents;
- try to catch emotion - the image will be much stronger; it means that you shoot not when you want but when your child dictates (sometimes on crazy times);
- and the most important - perspective! A lot of people shoot their babies while standing near the bed or then one of parents is holding him in its hand; lay down, see from the baby's level.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Ageless

What I like about this photo that I thought about it and had to get back to take it. I saw this while driving through and actually it was quite difficult to find a proper place to take a photo (as there were no sidewalks around this road).
I like how it loses sense of time and is so eerie, desperate and continuing to be such agelessly. I specifically needed overcast day to strengthen the impression. Somehow I do not think that B&W is appropriate for this photo.
And, what is interesting, everything looked so gray around this building (it even look like this in real life - grey, desperate place).

Monday, 14 February 2011

Sunset (2)

This one is one of my favourites. It looks like a picture, and has some romantic cues. I took this using telephoto lens (my Sigma zoom at 300mm with aperture of f/32, to make sun look bigger). Luckily, my eyes did not get hurt as I was pointing directly to the sun :)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

How to choose main lens

As usual, when buying a camera there is a tantalizing choice - what lenses should I select? Assuming, that most first time DSLR buyers would buy not a full frame DSLR, I would offer to buy at least one fast prime lens (i.e. fixed focal length with wide aperture). From my experience, the most useful lens is 35mm (Nikon has very nice 35mm f/1.8G intended for DX DSLR, and these are really cheap). They usually have decent depth of field, are pretty fast (and would represent around 53mm on full frame equivalent for Nikon) and can be used more generally. The loss of zoom (let's say like with kit lenses of 18-55mm) can be solved with your legs. I also have 50mm f/1.4 but these are already rather long on cropped sensor, and there is limited use of them indoors, especially taking photos of several people. What I noticed - as soon as I bought these lenses, I stopped using my kit lens (18-55mm). Using fixed lenses makes you think about the photo, how it should be composed and so on. Also, they are really fast. Now as I check, most commonly I use aperture from 2.2 to 2.8 and go to 3.5 or smaller only on rare occasions (and kit lenses most wide aperture is around this figure and getting lower with longer range). Funny thing - I do not wish lenses like 17-55 f/2.8 as they would be too slow for me indoors. I am not a pro and do not make for living from photography, so usually I take photos of my family in evenings after working hours and thus in low light; I do not use flash, as integrated one is rather awful and I do not have more money to spend on flash (I used all my budget in buying those two primes).
I also made a stupid mistake - actually first I bought 50mm f/1.4 (after reading all those articles about nifty fifty) for only to realise, that actually I needed 35mm on crop sensor (Nikon has a factor of 1.5). 50mm makes amazing portraits, are fast but are too long for general photography making 35mm much more useful.
To sum it up:
- if you first time buyer, avoid buying kit lenses, instead buy 35mm fast prime (on DX, or crop, sensor) or 50mm for full frame; buying 50mm on DX sensor has rather limited depth of field on shorter distances between camera and the object, especially limiting your abilities to take photos of several people indoors (and outdoors you'll need to go rather far); in general, if you are using other systems, such lenses should be 50mm equivalent of full frame camera;
- decision not to buy some zoom lenses is difficult to make, and I initially bought kit lenses, only to sell them later;
- these lenses most likely will be your working horse for all kind of photography;
- above tips are only for those interested in photography, composition of photos and so on; if your intention is point and shoot, you need zoom lenses (of course, you will loose a lot of possibilities to shoot in lower light without flash and to make portraits with so called bokeh);
- second lens choice should depend on your preferences - either some wide angle (for cropped sensor should go at least to 10-12mm at widest range), telephoto or macro.

To the wonderland

I made this photo with fisheye lenses I rented for a weekend to play (as those there fully manual, I had to guess all exposures by myself, as my camera does not meter with manual lenses). They were absolutely amazing, giving such an interesting view. As in most cases, I made this photo without any planning, just something attracted my eyes. I also tried to have a symmetrical photo with sunstar, and those opening doors for me give kind of mysterious look, inviting you to come in.

How to choose a camera

Probably each site about photography has its own tips how to choose a camera. This one is not an exception. In general, all are speaking about Nikon vs. Canon vs. Pentax etc. This actually does not matter. All of them are really good. The main tip I found most useful (couple of my friends as well - they made a choice based on this) is to hold the camera and see how it fits to your hands. Then you will decide, as this criteria is really important (imagine some irritating feature of camera which will annoy you each time you hold it). The only thing to consider choosing between manufacturers is lens options and the level of camera. As always buying the cheapest one brings no good, though buying too expensive is waste of money - you must keep in mind that really important thing is lenses which cost a lot (thus instead of buying top notch model you can opt out for better lenses). As you might guess Canon and Nikon has the biggest number of lenses to choose from. I would say, that you should not rule out such manufacturers as Sony or Pentax - they have their own lenses, also third party ones for offer (like Sigma etc).
Personally, I opted for Nikon mainly of two criteria - holding a camera and a very good discount provided for camera and two kit lenses. I did not consider other than Nikon or Canon as probably everybody would agree that those companies are the leaders (not only in cameras but also in lenses with biggest selection).
To sum up:
- see what is you budget;
- see what cameras are available with your budget (including lenses);
- hold them and decide which you like mostly and which fits in your hands; that is your choice.
I advise like this because generally all manufacturers provide approximately the same quality with slighty different options, so if you want to shoot instead of counting pixels, just grab the camera which was created for your hands and use it. Don't waste your time in trying to find out which camera has slightly lower noice at stupidly high ISO.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Probably many has read a novel of Harriet Beecher Stowe called 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. When I was visiting my grandmother, I took photo of this cabin. And the name of this photo popped to me only afterwards, when I was looking at it. Now, as I think, I would imagine it like this, old shack, near some trees, and the photo definately must be black and white to loose sense of time.

Sunset



This photo was made last summer (2010). It is one of my favourites. I tried both vertical and horizontal orientation and vertical is the one I prefer. Probably because it shows all the transitions of various colours, with almost all horizontal lines up to the black.

About this blog

This site is of amateur photographer who wish to share his photos. Not more and not less. Thus I will update this site from time to time, presenting my photos, made recently or some time ago which I would like to share.