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Best books

Yesterday I updated you on my reading list, and I forgot to mention one great source to find great books. Each year, Goodreads has Choice awards for the best books. And right now the 2018 ones are slowly reaching the final winners. I always have a look at them, to find some great book. Only yesterday I found The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton as one of the nominees, and I’m already half way through :) If you want a good book to read, I would have a look there.

Passing winter tram

While browsing my photo archive, I stumbled also across this photo. And as I never posted it here before, here it is :) I actually took this one on the first January of 2017. It’s one of those perfect dates when to take photos. That, and the week between Christmas and New Years, are the times when there are very few people in the city centers. Everybody is at home or with their families, which makes the city a photographers playground. Each time I can I go out to take some photos.

This photo is a single exposure, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Passing winter tram, Bratislava, Slovakia

Reading list

Been a while since I did a reading list update, so i will do one now :) Recently I got through 6 books, three fiction and three nonfiction. Let’s start with the nonfiction ones.

Somehow the three nonfictional book were all with the same subject. Skepticism and critical thinking. Each one just look at a different thing to by critical about. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe by Steven Novella, Bad Science by Ben Goldacre and Paranormality by Richard Wiseman. All are very interesting to go through and are worth a read (or listen :))

From the fiction part, I was quite disappointed by the Elevation by Stephen King. Just an interesting premise with no payoff at the end. The other two Inner Space by Merlin Fraser and The Others by Jeremy Robinson were quite better stories, even if not as developed as they should be.

Have not yet decided what to listen to next, but will update once I got through few of them :)

In the fog

There has not been much snow in Bratislava the last few years, but what we have a lot of is fog. And the season for for is slowly already starting. Not that much yet. This shot is not from this year, but from 2016. I do think though, I will get some new ones soon :)

For this photo, I used two exposures. Blended in Photoshop, to get the brightness of the lights a bit down. Photos like this one are not that easy to edit, as one can easily crate a really strong color banding. But there are ways to get rid of it, and you can see my guide on that here.

This photo is not a panorama, I cropped it to this aspect. Usually I don’t do that, and keep the standart 3:2 aspect ratio, but slowly I’m warming more and more to the idea to give a photo the aspect it just fits the best. No longer keeping to the classic one. Probably from doing so many panoramas and vertoramas that are not in the classic aspect, I got used to it.

In the fog, Bratislava, Slovakia, SNP bridge

In the mountains

After the yesterdays city photo, how about we go back into the nature with the today’s one. I went back into my huge photo library (my Lightroom catalog show that it’s over quarter million, exactly 276 733 photos :)) and selected a photo I took under the Matterhorn in 2014. Funny how it still feels like only yesterday.

This is a single exposure, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s takne in the area round Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Matterhorn is a bit to the left of this view.

In the mountains, Zermatt, Alps, Switzerland

Vertical monitor

LightroomNot long ago I posted a photo of my work-space, and you may have noticed I have two monitors. One horizontal and one vertical. I never liked having more than one monitor before, but I have to say, the vertical one can be so useful.

Even if I don’t use it for anything else than browsing the web. It’s just perfect for that. Now that most things are formatted for mobile, having a vertical monitor just gives you such a great view of things.

And today, when I was editing today’s vertorama, it was even better. On my ultra-wide monitor the photo was just so tiny when I wanted to see it fully. But on the vertical one, it worked perfectly. Here you can see a screenshot from Lightroom. This is how it looked like when I was editing this photo of the Almas tower (this screenshot was taken before I edited the photo in Photoshop, so that’s why it looks different than the finished one).

What do you use? A single or a multi-monitor setup?

Almas Tower

Today’s photo is a really tall one :) But the Almas tower is also really tall, so it fits. The Almas tower is right in the middle of Jumeirah lake towers area, near the Dubai Marina in Dubai. It’s really hard to miss due to the star shaped bottom. There is no other tower that looks like this.

LightroomI was standing on a balcony of a nearby skyscraper when taking this and I really wanted a photo of the whole tower. And I also wanted to get minimal distortion here. My widest lens, the 12mm Laowa was just not wide enough to get the whole tower into the shot, and I did not want to use a fisheye. So I went with a vertorama. I used the 17mm tilt shit and took three shots.

But even so, I could not get the whole tower into the picture. I was still missing the top. So here I did something I do in cases like this one. I first took the three shots I was able to get while shifting the lens up and down. Then, I shifted the lens as high as I could, and I tilted the camera up, until I got the whole top in the shot. Like this, the top photo will be distorted, but as the whole bottom part of the vertorama would be straight, I could correct that in post processing.

I used here 4 shots, each one from three exposures. Normally, I would combine this in PTgui, but that refused to put them together properly. So instead I used the new function in Lightroom, the HDR panorama one. It combined the shots really well, as you can see. I still had to correct few moving cars and people, but not much. In the end, I got a 80mpix image (the PSB was 5.8GB :)) that I’m really happy with :)

Almas Tower, Dubai, UAE, vertorama

And here are few details:

Almas Tower, Dubai, UAE, vertorama

Tilt-shift effect

I wrote about the tilt-shift lens recently, and I will stick to it a bit today to. You maybe heard of the tilt-shift effect. It’s a way of taking a photo to make it look like a miniature.

To tell the truth, I don’t understand why it’s called tilt-shift. To get this effect, you use the tilt function of the lens, not the shift. So it should be the tilt effect then, no? But maybe it got called that way after the whole lens, not just the part one uses.

But you can get this effect also in post processing, and Photoshop has a tilt-shift blur filter build in. And as today’s photo of this small mountain town looked like one that it would fit, I created a version with the effect. Which one do you prefer?

Btw. funny thing, my first photos that I ever posted online (to Flickr here) were tilt-shift photos :)

Small mountain town

Today’s photo was taken from quite high up. I took it while visiting the Five fingers lookout platform in Alps, close to Hallstatt, Austria. If you like a great view, this is a place to go, and you can take a cable car almost completely to this spot. You just have to walk like 15 minutes from the spot the cable car ends, and not even up the hill. You can see the full view in this post here.

For this shot, I zoomed in as much as I could with my 200mm lens. It of course was very hazy with such a view, but the dehaze slider in Lightroom really helped here. For those curious, this is the town of Obertraun.

This is a blend of two shots, edited in Lightroom and blended in Photoshop.

Small mountain town, Obertraun, Austria

And here are few details:

Small mountain town, Obertraun, Austria
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