Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nikon compendium

scan0008, originally uploaded by gugs.

This is a fabulous reference book I found while browsing in a library. This is an amazing collection of information about all Nikon products from the beginning to the D100/D1X DSLR generation. The most recent generations (2005-...) are not included. You will find all the cameras, lenses, and accessories including some exotic products described with very nice stories about the evolution of the ranges, the marketing, technical and commercial choices. Very interesting and highly recommended to any Nikon fan.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Knock knock

sing 02, originally uploaded by gugs.

no comment. Door of a temple in Chinatown, Singapore. Shot at night in very low light.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Colored lamps

Turkey 2006 31, originally uploaded by gugs.

Just a tourist shot in Kemer, Turkey, in one of those tourist traps (shops)... here I liked the colors and took a picture. D200+18-200VR, the tourist confirguration...


g 8, originally uploaded by gugs.

A simple accessory I recommend to the traveling photographer. It allows to take nice night pictures while traveling light, not having to carry a real tripod. This is a so-called table tripod, but a high quality one, from Manfrotto. It comes with a nice head, in a small pouch and is working pretty well (height is a bit more than a foot and the tripod supports a heavy camera with a normal lens, for instance D200+grip+12-24).
g 7


DSC_1032, originally uploaded by gugs.

A simple shot... this gave me a "Jaws" impression... this is just the GPS/Phone antenna on my car, shot with my now outdated ;-) D70 6MP camera with one of the best lenses in my bag, the 105VR 2.8

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Low light concert

Elia 5 years36, originally uploaded by gugs.

An example of a concert shot. My favorite lenses for this kind of shot are medium length primes like the 50mm 1.8 or 85mm 1.8 or 105mm 1.8 (manual focus). In this case I used the 85 1.8 closed down to 2.2 to get some DOF (still limited) with an exposure compensation (-2/3EV). I do this to try to render the mood properly. If you let the camera expose, you might get a "better" picture with respect to light balance, but the picture will not reflect the actual light effects... I always recommend to voluntarily underexpose when shooting in the dark (not too much of course). Because of the low light environment, I used ISO1600, necessary to freeze the movement.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My first camera - the Kodak Instamatic

DSC_camera4, originally uploaded by gugs.
This is how it all started... my first "own" camera. A present from my father when I was a young kid (I was 5 or 6 if I remember well). This was already a sophisticated version with aperture priority mode ;-). You had the choice between a lot of light and less light. It was possible to use flashes (non-reusable ones) but I never did. The major advantage is that the camera was pretty light compared to the crazy gear I am carrying now when I am travelling...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Difficult light

elia 1, originally uploaded by gugs.

This picture has been used for a magazine and has been a tough assignment... this has been shot in the control room of the dispatching center of the power grid operator in Belgium. The problem was that the room was very dark, with an additional problem: the screen had a glossy finish, giving awful reflections if you used any flash or any misplaced light. It has been tricky to expose this properly. I used two fixed hot lamps (2x650W) with a softbox to get enough light on the person using the telephone, also using the ceiling as a reflector and using them from a distance to get just enough light to take the picture. I needed to balance that light with the information on the screens. I used a D200 on a tripod with a relatively long focal length (105mm) and with relatively slow shutter speed (1/3 sec approx). This is the end result, they liked it and this is the picture as it appeared in their magazine.

Friday, August 10, 2007

singapore 2007 09

singapore 2007 09, originally uploaded by gugs.

This is a recent shot in Singapore, close to the Raffles Place MRT station (the underground) in the financial district. I used a 10.5mm 2.8 fisheye on the D200 to give that strange perspective, shooting in the direction of the sky. The interesting thing about such a fisheye is that you have an enormous depth of field, even fully open, allowing to shoot at reasonable speeds (in fact 1/10 sec or 1/15 sec is enough at that focal distance) with a normal sensibility (no high ISO needed) even in low light. This allows to have relatively clean pictures even at night.

cliff palace bw

cliff palace bw, originally uploaded by gugs.

This is a picture I initially took in color with a Nikon D200 with a Tamron 17-50 2.8 lens. I post-processed the picture with the Nikon Capture NX software to do the black and white conversion and to play with contrast and light (also hue). My idea was to maximize the use of the dynamic and to avoid to lose any information in the picture. I also want to maximize the kind of 3D effect you can get with contrasty BW pictures.
The picture has been taken in Mesa Verde, Colorado. The exact location of the pueblo in the rocks is called Cliff Palace and is a bit the symbol of Mesa Verde. There are lots of visitors and this is almost a lucky shot because I could get a reasonable overview shot without having people in the picture...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


paradisio 10, originally uploaded by gugs.

This bird picture has been shot in Belgium, in Parc Paradisio no very far from a city called Ath. They organize demonstrations with birds of prey, and this has been shot during such a demonstration. Camera was a D200, the lens was a 70-200VR 2.8. Interesting here is that the autofocus mode was group dynamic (a number of sensors activated) around a sensor on the right side to get the bird in focus and the rest out of focus (large aperture used). The DOF (depth of field) is very limited and the camera has been able to track the bird in "continuous" mode. This requires some technique, because if you don't acquire the target properly when the bird starts flying, all your pictures will be out of focus. The very fast ultrasonic focus motor in the lens is of course helping here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

US trip

US trip part 228, originally uploaded by gugs.

I like this one. I saw Salvador Dali with his special eyes, looking at the street and the papers. The angle adds to it (this is one of the cable car streets in San Francisco, not very far from Fisherman's Wharf. This has been shot in low light in the evening (the camera exposes the picture to use all the dynamic range, giving this "daylight"-like result). Shot with a Nikon D200 and the Tamron 17-50 lens.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Monument valley

us trip 2007 034, originally uploaded by gugs.

This is one of the postcard shots I like. I took this picture during my trip in the US. Just point and shoot and you get a postcard... this is in monument valley. I added an object in the frame to make the picture a bit different...


scan0001, originally uploaded by gugs.

one of the best general books I have found about photography. This one stimulates creativity by doing things differently. An eye opener. Highly recommended. I like this book because it is totally different from the classical teaching photography books. If you want to learn something about composition, playing with lights, learning by doing and getting results to become a photographer with a personality, this is the book for you... this book will not teach you how to use the settings on your camera or the technicalities of photography...