Aug 252012
 

Before I go to the main part of this post let me mention that…

I do miss Poland… Every time I have an opportunity to visit this wonderful country I feel great. “What’s so special?”  you may ask. Well… I could elaborate, but written words wouldn’t do justice. Funny enough, the same reason why I am not able to write those words (in English) is why I can appreciate Poland so much. Every one of us feels and understands his country of upbringing better than non-natives (most probably). And it is difficult or even impossible to explain some things to others.  Some things, on the other hand, do not need any explanation.

By the way – I am not trying to be “mysterious” by not saying anything concrete. I am simply a rather private man who do not want to say too much on a blog :) “So why the hell did you write the previous paragraph?” you might ask. Well, because the process of writing triggers my memory and I can experience some of this stuff again. It can also trigger memory of a reader, if he/she has  memories of his own which fit in that general description. Worth trying…

Actually there is a concrete thing which I can share! A picture (or two) is worth more than a thousand words, so here it is:

It was a typical lunch my mother prepared, but the ingredients were so fresh and natural that I almost cried tears of joy. So this is one concrete thing which I miss.

Let us now focus on the main part of the post. So another aspect I miss is people, but this one is more difficult to explain. I am not even sure I fully understand it myself.

Some time ago I wrote a post on how people often do not explore opportunities they encounter. Here is the post. So I witnessed an another situation in this spirit. During my recent trip to Poland I attended a conference and met some new people there. And since I had some free time I mentioned I can take some photos of them (free of charge). To make it short: it was by no means easy… to an extent that some of them actually tried to discourage other ones from using this opportunity. Maybe this behavior is not even worth being mentioned after all…

Fortunately it was not entirely impossible. Here is a photo of one of the participants, Monika, a PhD student in mathematics.

Great result, and it was her first photo session!

After that we attended a bonfire, where one (e.g. me) could enjoy more of wonderful food

 

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Jun 102012
 

I took this photo (click it to dim the lights) three months ago and it still brings me great satisfaction.

To encourage my fellow photographers: this photo was made using two flashes in umbrellas (actually even one would do), backdrop is a seamless Savage paper (great thing) and it was shot in a very small room with a low ceiling. Not long ago, I remember, I thought to get such (technical) results I will need a professional studio and strobes.

Now if you read my previous posts you know pretty much everything… Well… good luck.

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 Posted by at 10:01 pm
May 302012
 

Anne contacted me a few months ago to do a photo shoot together. As always – we first met to get to know each other a bit and discuss some possible projects. After that we had a walk and even took a photo or two. Thanks to the model it was not difficult to get a decent photo right away.

We scheduled another photo shoot shortly after that to work together more before some major project.

The day we met again was beautiful but awfully cold. I really appreciate her professionalism – she was not complaining at all, even when I was proposing to walk to other locations over and over again. She was in good spirits even at the very end. Thank you Anne! :)

As I mentioned earlier getting great photos on this occasion wasn’t our priority (but I think we did it anyway). My goal was to see how “serious” (for lack of a better word) look we can get. You can see how this looks evolved throughout the session.

When I took the last photo (from the gallery) I knew we got it! Actually I remember I said to Anne that it was worth spending so much time in this cold weather just to get this one photo! And I still think so.

In the nearest future I will post more photos of Anne from our last session, so stay tuned – they are worth it!

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Feb 292012
 

Well… it has been a while since my last post. The reason is that… well… I have many reasons but maybe I should not make any excuses.

So as you may know I like to shoot people who are NOT professional models. I just like challenges… Imagine, all the obstacles on your way… “I don’t want to be photographed”, “I don’t like myself on photos”, “I have never had any photo taken of me which I liked”, and so on… On top of that quite often this is the first or the second time I meet those people in my life and I need to make them feel comfortable in front of my camera. Now that’s a challenge! :) It’s so much easier when you’re taking photos of a person who likes to be photographed and who you have known for a long time… But then where’s the challenge?!

Some time ago Ryan contacted me asking if I could take some photos of him. I thought “why not? this might be even more challenging”. You may ask why more challenging? I think the reason is that so far I have had very little (next to zero) experience taking photos of men. It is just different than taking photos of a woman.

As with all my models we first met to get to know each other and talk about ideas for a shoot. In my company he seemed to be very shy but I wanted to portray him as a very masculine figure (his face structure is appropriate for that I think), so this was a challenge for me. “Why challenge?” you say… Well, I think human’s basic instincts kick in when you see a big lens aiming at you and behind the camera there is a guy who has (probably ;)) 100 lbs of weight advantage. I myself wouldn’t feel comfortable in a situation like that.

You can see below what we have managed to get. I myself am quite satisfied with the results. The photo with stairs in the background was one of the last ones and you can see how natural he is there. I especially enjoy that photo also because of the colors there…

Feel free to post comments and stay tuned for another post in a few days…

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 Posted by at 9:44 pm
Sep 052011
 

As you may know from my previous posts (for example this or this) I am exploring B&W (or monochromatic for that matter) tonality and so today I thought I will elaborate on this topic.

When it comes to light I recognize two types of photos: geometric/graphic ones and tonal ones (note: I may revise this in a while and add more types or change their names, as this is the field I am exploring). The former ones are more classic and are about basic shapes (lines, triangles, golden ratios, etc.) and composition. At this point I cannot appreciate them as much as I would like to – maybe it’s still too early for me. Those photos often have very sharp tonality as it is the best way to draw shapes (think of silhouette photos).

Tonal photos are different. They are also about shapes but those curvy ones. It is more about how light shapes those shapes, how gentle transitions in shadows paint this object for the viewer. This painting can be flat or reach and vivid.

Maybe my fascination with nature is the cause of this preference. I cannot easily think of good examples of natural things which would benefit more from the graphic approach rather than the tonal one. Maybe you can give me such an example?

Back to tonal photos. I saw very few of them which were actually beautiful for me. Those I saw I keep as a reference to practice my skills. One of the photographers who is able to create such reference points for me is Cy DeCosse. Maybe there are others (feel free to send me links/names) but I had an opportunity to meet Cy in person and actually see his work printed. Simply amazing. Please take a look at one of his galleries: The Beauty of Food. Printing such work is another nontrivial issue which I have a feeling I won’t be able to overcome in the nearest future (actually Cy has a master printer, Keith Taylor, who helps him do that).

By the way – this subject (tonality) applies of course to color photos as well but then it becomes in my opinion even more difficult, as you have to take care of composition of colors as well. The same artist has another gallery worth seeing: The Four Seasons.

Few days ago I thought I will give it a shot and try to create a still life photo which would be in the spirit of Cy’s work. Of course I didn’t think I will be even close to that but as for the first time I think it was a step in the right direction. This is also why I wrote study in the title of this post.

The original photo was taken with a black background (a cotton t-shirt, to be precise). Later on I thought it may benefit from a different background but since I didn’t have anything appropriate at home I just found a simple (and free) background somewhere on the web, made a few color adjustments and put the flower there. It is not perfect but this was not the goal in the first place.

The setting: 70mm, f/20, ISO 1600, 1/250 sec., flash (triggered via CLS) into a Flashpoint softbox on the left.

As I mentioned – I think this was a step in the right direction. I really enjoy gentle shadows on the leafs – they are so delicate that you can almost feel it. This is what I was aiming for. Also sepals look wonderful. And with those small pointy moss-like needles (forgive me for this poor description) on them – just like a touch of seasoning, which gives this wonderful flavor.

Any feedback greatly appreciated.

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