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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Moonrise & Sunset

Something tells me that I left work yesterday at the right time. This is what the New Jersey sky looked like at 7:30 pm.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Just Got a New Camera - for $14.95

I flipped through this British photo mag the other day when this toy came to my attention the first time. Now I'm proud owner of a Holga 120N - my very first not-digital camera. It's all plastic (even the lens) and very cheap. Those cameras are built with many mistakes and almost no functionality, causing effects you usually try not to have in your pictures. However, the results are very unique looking. I bought it with some professional black & white film and I'm looking forward experimenting a bit with it.

- Check out Dave Nile's website to see some very nice Holga shots. He uses this camera since a long long time.
- Toycamera.com is another great place to get inspired.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

White Balance

I made an interesting observation: Somehow the majority of my male friends become daddy this year. Congratulations! A somewhat natural reaction once the baby is delivered is grabbing a camera and go crazy with it. So I got an email from a friend who played with his camera asking: "what is 'white balance' all about?" He asked me to answer this shortly and in clear words. I will try:

A camera is not as smart as a human eye. Your camera is like a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease. You have to say: "hello camera, this is white". Then the camera says: "well, if this is white, than this must be red, this dark red, and this light red, and then this is blue...". If you don't do this whenever the lighting situation changes, the camera gets confused.

Imagine the following: You take a nice landscape picture where the sun is your light source. You have green grass in it and a white sheet of paper somewhere in the picture. If you set the white balance correctly, the paper appears plain white and the grass green.
Now you take this sheet and bring it inside your house. You lower all the blinders and the only light source you have is a bulb. Now the same sheet appears rather yellowish (warmer), due to the warm color temperature of your light source. What you have to do now is, show the sheet of paper to the camera and tell: "The light in this room has a different color temperature than the light outside and white looks now like this." If you don't do this, the colors in the final picture will appear very warm, so that the sheet looks very yellow and people's faces even more yellow.

Fortunately, almost all cameras can be set to automatic so they figure this out by themselves whenever you take a picture. Some cameras are good in this, some are less. Most cameras also have presets for different situations.

In case you want to know what I do: I don't take pictures in JPEG format but in RAW. The RAW format allows me to set the white balance after taking the picture.

Latenight Hacking

My roommate Alex working in the darkness. Looks kinda cool.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Princeton Photo Club

I became a member of the Princeton Photography Club yesterday. This is a good chance to get in touch with other local photographers. So yesterday was the first meeting after the summer break and people were showing what they did during the summer. It was impressive and entertaining. The club is preparing an exhibition right now and I'm thinking of contributing one or two pictures. Most likely things you haven't seen on my website yet.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

A little teaser...

...for the upcoming Chicago series.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Pia Torelli

One thing I liked about the Chicago trip was that I ran into a number of talkative people. One of them was Pia Torelli, a photojournalist from San Francisco. We had an interesting little chat and later on I checked out her portfolio online. The diversity of the pictures is nice. Here is a link.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Miniature Rooms

Yesterday, in the Art Institute of Chicago I found these little miniature rooms. These are basically very little and highly detailed models of rooms. Mostly English drawing, dining and bed rooms from different time periods. So what I did was using my wide angle lens on 12mm pressing it against the window (to avoid reflections of the light behind me) and make these rooms look huge. Besides many little details, the artificial sunlight shining through the little windows make it look even more real. I'm very curious how those pics turn out. There is a book available showing all the rooms photographed. On the pictures you can see the models very well, but they didn't excite me much, since they are all taken with a standard focal length and the light appears too balanced. It would be nice to create the illusion that the photographer was actually standing in the room on a sunny day. I hope my ISO 100 pictures turn out sharp. If not I have a backup in ISO 3200.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Random Walker

Two days and nights of constant walking and exploring. This is more hiking than I did in Yosemite last year. Maybe because there is no Starbucks on every other corner waiting to refresh me. Actually, there are not even corners in Yosemite. So far ㅑ ㅗㅁㅍㄷ 내ㅡㄷ what's going on with this keyboard??
So far I have some nice shots with plenty of concrete, steel and glass, this might turn out well in black and white.
I'm looking at four more days here in Chicago and the weather is supposed to be rather unfriendly tomorrow. For those who are looking for me: You'll find me in the local museums.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

All Over the Place

Hey Ho!
I'm in Chicago!
This city is much friendlier and cleaner than I expected. Definitely an eldorado for people who admire skyscraper architecture.
What could I tell about this place you couldn't find on any Chicago related website? Not much so far. I prefer telling silently by taking pictures anyway.