Railway lines

Today I was waiting for a train in the cold when the image of the railway lines came to my attention. Rigid, strict, aligned movement, mechanically perfect. I took my camera and tried to summarize these feelings in a picture.

I tried a few compositions from different positions and this came out strongest. I decided to put it into black and white to emphasize the industrial look of it. The blue sky and redness of the building in the background didn’t work out for this (see for yourself below).

DSC_0484-Edit

(Nikon D7000 + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 @ ISO 200, f/22, 1/40 s)

DSC_0484-Orig(Original picture)

Photographic edits: lens correction, color adjustments (black&white).

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Cool summer evening

I shot this picture several years ago on a short boat trip in the area I live, somewhere in summer time. I remember having a glass champagne while the sun was slowly disappearing. The temperature was dropping and it was getting a little cold to sit there in my t-shirt. I snapped this shot imagining the wind turbines catching the last glimpse of sun for that day.

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Night at a restaurant

I shot this picture last weekend on an evening out with friends. I – again – shot with my 35mm f/1.8 lens, and this is the only reason I was able to shoot in the dark without flash. Result: a picture representing the natural warmth present that evening. Flash would have totally destroyed this.

On a side note: the food was great, the bill… not so ūüėČ

DSC_0378
(Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 @ 1/30 s, f/1.8, ISO 1600, auto WB)

DSC_0406
(Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 @ 1/30 s, f/1.8, ISO 2000, auto WB)

Portrait at a party

I took this picture a few years ago at a family party. It’s one of many examples why prime lenses (fixed focal length) are so great: large aperture catching all the light, sharp foreground on a blurry background letting the subject ‘speak’. Absolutely fabulous for portraits.¬†

DSC_0266
(Nikon D70s + Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4 @ A-mode, ISO 200, 1/160 s, f/1.4, auto white balance -3)

This is also a fine example of why camera bodies are not that important: the D70s is now 6 years old. It’s the lens, stupid! Or even¬†better: It’s you, stupid!, because even the finest camera and lens will shoot bad pictures if the scene is boring.

No flash

No-flash photography is great because pictures will reflect how the environment actually looked in reality. Using a flash will wash away the mood of the original scene.

Take a look at the photo I took last weekend at a birthday party:

noflash
(Nikkor 35 mm standard lens @ f/1.8, shutter 1/30 s and ISO 1600, NO FLASH)

Prerequisite to shoot in such low-light environments is a lens with a large aperture. Fixed focal length lenses are excellent choices, like my 35 mm f/1.8 lens costing only 189$. Doing the same with zoom lenses is virtually impossible, even with the 1000$+ f/2.8 zooms.

Note that shooting pictures of people was impossible without flash. A shutter speed of 1/30 s is fast enough to avoid motion blur¬†by involuntary movements of the hands, it’s way too slow to avoid motion blur by¬†moving people.

Welcome

I started this website to provide basic lessons for beginner-photographers mainly dealing with the technical aspects of photography (see the menu’s above). And while this knowledge is important, thousands of websites already cover this and more (and better).

So I decided to focus more on how I came to photograph a scene, a view into my mind as I was standing there with my camera. This can include camera settings (aperture, shutter, …) and/or artistic views and feelings (balance, composition, …).

A word of warning though. I am an amateur and still learning every day. I would even dare say I am a beginner myself. So don’t expect any pro-grade artistic advice. There will just be my thoughts and opinions, that may be right or wrong or nothing at all. In the process I can only hope to help a few others.

August 2014