Sunday, December 27, 2009

Photoworkshops 2010

Year 2010 is coming. Of course you know that I'll begin it with amazing trip to Ecuador and Florida. But this is only the beginning. It's time to think what I'll be photographing throughout the rest of the year. I've some plans for short photo workshops and what's interesting I can share my time with people that would like to go there with me. But let's start with ideas and talk about my fee later.

1. February/March
Weekend trip (3 days) to Ustron-Zawodzie. I'll visit there "Lesny Park Niespodzianek" that gives opportunity to take pictures of some birds and other animals. This trip will be organized when snow is present. I'll take my kids there, so it means kids are welcome on this trip.

2. April
Weekend trip to Biebrza river (exact date depends on weather and birds availability)

3. Early May
Short 5-6 days trip to Snowdonia Wales. It must be organized with a flight transportation, so probably will be a little bit more expensive, but you'll have a chance to admire unforgettable views... max 4 people due to requirement of car rental

4. around 3-6 June 2010
Short 6-7 days trip to Southern Norway to take picture of puffins and other birds. Of course we can also focus on some fjords. I think of going there by car, but maybe it's not bad idea to fly to Bergen and then use rented car.

5. 12-13 June 2010
1-2 day trip to Góraszka Airshow

6. July
Bee-eater hunting weekend. This year I definitely need to take picture of bee-eater. It may require some trip to Hungary, but I'll do it.

7. 4-5 September 2010
2-3 days trip to Czech for Air Fest in Hradec Kralove

8. 10-12 October 2010
Meringen Switzerland AXALP Airshow

Of course trip above are only my plans and ideas, nothing is arranged as of today. The list can grow or shrink depending on my budgets and time availability. I'll also try to realize as many trips as possible, because I can't live without taking pictures and traveling.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wines#7: Eiswein

Yesterday I opened 10 years old Eiswein. It seemed to be perfect day for trying this kind of wine. It's good to explain that Eiswein is coming from the cold, sweet nectar from frozen grape berries gathered in wintertime. Origin of Eiswein is not very clear - different sources write that it was invented in Germany. Some believes the production method for these wines was accidentally “discovered” in 1794 in Franconia, the famous region located in the central-southern part of Germany. It seems in 1794, in the city of Würzburg occurred an unexpected frost which caused the freezing of grapes. Vintners of the area, in order to save the harvest, decided to crush those grapes and they got an extremely concentrated must which produced that wine today renowned as Eiswein. This is not the only hypothesis about the “discovery” of Eiswein. According to other hypotheses, it seems the first Eiswein of the history was produced in Dromersheim - in Rheinhessen - with the grapes of vintage 1829, a particularly cold year. It seems in the winter of 1829-1830, vintners of that area, in order to save the harvest damaged by the frost and to use them to feed the cattle, they noticed the juice was exceptionally sweet.
They decided to crush those “frozen” grapes and with the few juice they obtained produced a sweet and exquisite wine: Eiswein. It will be only at the end of the 1960s this technique will be improved thanks to the work of Dr. Hans Georg Ambrosi, the man considered the “father of Eiswein”. Hans Georg Ambrosi began his experiments about Eiswein in 1955, when he was in South Africa to study. When he went back to Germany, he continued his studies about this wine and established a winery in Rheingau, therefore starting the production of Eiswein. Other German producers followed his example and Eiswein become a typical product of Germany. Despite Germany is considered the homeland of Eiswein, climate conditions do not allow its production every year. Where the production of Eiswein is ensured every year is Canada, here known as Ice Wine, which became in a short time the main producer in the world for this type of wine.
But fortunately my wine was the original Austrian one. You can easily buy it in Poland and taste for yourself what I recommend. It's very sweet, but also very rich in aromas.

Please be aware that Eiswein history description comes from website.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kirk BH-3 Ballhead

Today I've received my Kirk BH-3 Ballhead and plates ordered at B&H. It was hard decision to what head switch from crappy Manfrotto and finally I decided to Arca-Swiss type. One of the biggest argument for Kirk was the fact that this head is used by famous Art Wolfe. On B&H webpage they write "Kirk BH-3 is a rugged and well-designed ballhead. It features the same efficiency of design and rugged construction as its bigger BH-1 brother, but only weighs in at 19 oz. It is rated to support up to 15 lbs, and is ideal for use with pro SLR cameras with pro zoom lenses attached. In addition to the large single-action locking knob, the BH-3 also features two smaller knobs. One controls the 360° panning control, and the other the amount of ball friction."
And to be honest after mounting BH-3 on my very old (bought in 2000) Manfrotto 190PROB tripod, now I have perfect set. This head works very nice and can easily keep my 1D MkIII altogether with 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS lens. You can use it like Wimberley. I like this set and I can recommend it to anyone who is bored with Manfrotto heads.

Monday, December 14, 2009

24mm not always equal to 24mm

In case of Canon lens math doesn't seem to work. I mean 24mm in 24-70 lens is not the same as 24mm in 24-105 lens. At least this is what I've discovered recently testing my friend's 24-105 lens. He bought used lens and asked me to compare with my 24-70 or check if that 24-105 is sharp enough. So I set up my tripod with 1D MkIII on it and first attached my beloved 24-70L/f2.8 lens to photograph scene consisting of bottle of Baileys and few russian dolls. After taking a series of pictures (24, 35, 50 and 70mm at apertures like 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8 and 11) I've changed lens to 24-105L/f4 IS and taken another series of pictures. After downloading them to computer I was surprised that at 24mm they had quite different frame coverage. Then I read that angle of view has a difference at about 10 degrees between these two lens at 24mm. I still don't understand this phenomenon, but have only pictures to proof it...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1D MkIII hints and tips

After getting my new camera I started to look around and search for some information on how to customize it to my needs. EOS 1D is really nice gear that you can perfectly adapt to your requirements. I was positively surprised with multitude of functions and settings that can be customized. There are some interesting articles and webpages covering the less and more hidden functions of this great camera. Just because my memory is short, I decided to note them here.

1. Tailoring the camera for different situations
2. EOS 1D MkIII whitepaper
3. Canon Masterclass
4. Official custom functions guide
5. Rob Galbraith AF issues history and explanation

Of course there's a lot of other docs on the net, but above are the most useful for me now. Hope they can be also of some use to you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Doctor visit

Today I visited my physician to ask for recommendations for Ecuador trip and to get some vaccines. I received vaccine for typhus, diphtheria and tetanus. Fortunately my hepatitis vaccines was ok, so I avoided them this time. One that I have to do is yellow fever, but Medicover doesn't have it. It's limited to governmental clinics. In addition to that I got some prescriptions for drugs I might need when in Ecuador. One of the most important is medicine for malaria called Malaron. Besides I got some special info about potential diseases and how to prevent them. I think it's worth writing down, so I'll enlist them below:
1. When there's possibility of malaria one should use Malaron or other similar drugs - very important thing is to take it few days before entering the dangerous zone and few days after leaving it.
2. Main prevention method against malaria is also usage of repellents like Mugga or Mosquitex Care Plus DEET 50
3. Another important disease is diarrhea. One can try to avoid it, but if it happens, use Xifaxan, Gastrolit, Lacium, Linex forte, Enterol, Loperamid, Laremid, Imodium, Stoperan, Ciphin, Cipronex, Cipropol, Tinizadol or other similar. It's a must to read attached leaflet. My doctor recommended to take Ciphin and Gastrolit, so they'll be in my first aid kit for sure!
4. One should also take something against fever. In my situation this is ibuprofen or something similar.
5. There's a recommendation to have some kind of general purpose antibiotic. It can be one of: Sumamed, Azitrox or Azitromycin.
6. Another threat comes from allergies and skin diseases. One should have some medicines for them. My doc recommended me to take Flucinar, Bedicort and Telfexo. But others also exist.
7. Of course one should also complement first aid kit with different types of bandages, band-aids and other dressings. But it's better idea to find some first aid kit in the shop and just add other drugs to it.

I've just decided to write it down, because it may be of some help in the future. It also can help you to prepare for a trip to South America or other countries, but it's even better idea to check required vaccines on official US pages or your local clinic. Health is really important and can't be passed over in preparation process.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wines#6: Verrazzano Rosso 2007

Recently I've discovered really nice italian wine from Tuscany. It comes from Chianti region. The full name of this wine is Castello di Verrazzano Rosso 2007. I've also found a few nice words about this wine on webpage: "A dynamic and adaptable red wine which has retrieved the old tradition, now in disuse, of mixing red chianti with white grapes: the body and fruity taste of sangiovese and canaiolo combined with the softness and fluidity of trebbiano and white malvasia create a pleasing wine suitable even for contemporary gastronomic creations. Light-bodied, harmonious and round on the palate, with flavors of red fruits, black currant and plum."
My personal opinion about this wine is that it's really light, tasty, has some plum and other wild fruits in it and it definitely needs to be open at least half an hour before drinking. It's for sure worth its price and in Poland you can buy it only in Winnice Południa - my favorite wine store.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Short visit to Kazimierz Dolny and Naleczow

This weekend I had also opportunity to visit Kazimierz Dolny and Nałęczów - two polish beautiful cities. Of course weather in general isn't very convincing, but I had luck and Friday/Saturday were really sunny and nice. Here you can find some pictures from my short phototrip.

1. Kazimierz Dolny

2. Nałęczów

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lublin changed dramatically

Today I had a chance to visit Lublin for the second time in my life. It was tough decision, because when I was there last time in 1996 (it means over 13 years ago!), the visit in this city was the worst experience in my life. First of all I was hungry and there weren't ANY open restaurants or bars (exactly ALL were reserved for weeding parties). Second I had to use public transportation - it was stinking with alcohol and was full of drunkards. Third the whole old town was a big puddle and I got stuck in the mud up to my knees! Then I had decided not to visit this town anymore in my life.
But people are changing and places are changing. Besides I was very close to Lublin and had good opportunity to check what changed. And I must say it was good decision. Now this city shines! It's beautiful, has a lot of really nice restaurants, pubs, bars and its old town is in many parts perfectly renovated and in others still under renovation. Lublin has that atmosphere and something mysterious. It's very good place to take nice pictures if you've enough patience and luck for weather. My pictures are not perfect, but I'd like to share some of them with you, just to show you that's worth visiting!

1. Streets of old town

2. The castle

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands Guide

Today I came across recent edition of Lonely Planet guide in very nice American Bookstore in Warsaw. This book was published in Aug 2009, so it's really fresh and up-to-date. That's why I've decided to buy it. Nobody knows Ecuador and Galapagos Islands like Lonely Planet. Their books give us the tools required to create own adventure, whether we want to rummage around colorful handicrafts at Otavalo's market, climb active volcano Cotopaxi, swim with Galapagos penguins or visit Vilcambamba. This guide is also packed with accurate, practical and honest advice, so I hope that with it we will make the most of our trip. Also the price was low, because I've paid only 79 PLN and original price is about 23.99 USD, so not bad!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wines#5: Shiraz from Australia

My good colleague has nice audio equipment. We've been trying to meet for at least a year or so, but finally I've visited him two days ago. His audio setup really rocks! I felt like in the concert hall listening to SACD version of different pieces. But in the hall you can't drink alcohol. Music is much better when accompanied with some very good wine. And I had such wine - it was 2006 Shiraz from famous Australian winery Brown Brothers.
I will not invent any own descriptions, because it's perfectly described on producer's webpage, so let's cite them: "Showing the vibrant magenta colour of youth, this medium-bodied wine has fantastic lifted aromas of red berry fruits, dried herbs, pepper and an alluring floral note. These aromas follow through to the palate which has generous juicy fruit and a fine tannin structure. This supple medium-bodied Shiraz drinks well now but cellaring for 3 to 5 years from vintage will add complexity."
It's not easy to buy this wine in Poland, but if I come across, I'll definitely buy some bottles. The chance is that this shop can have it for 72 PLN - I must check it. I also recommend you to try this amazing wine!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

1D MkIV is coming...

Canon 1D MkIV is really coming on October 20th. It seems to be a dream camera. 16Mpix, crop 1.3, ISO 102400, 10fps, HD movies recording, etc. etc. It will cost 4999 USD, so a little bit expensive for me, but it also means that prices of 1D MkIII will definitely drop soon and I'll have a chance to get one cheap. MkIII seems to be enough for me, so I'll be happy. Moreover 1D MkIV will be available in December, what means just before my trip to Ecuador. I don't see any chance to get one before (according to availability), so I must go with MkIII.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Funny photographers

Mi amigo has just sent me nice link to wonderful pictures of funny photographers in action. I want to share it with you, but I especially like these pictures:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wines#4: Cheap Australia

During our trip to Bieszczady we didn't forget about some luxury stuff. Sylwek managed to provide complete supplies. He also bought two bottles of red wines. Both were nice, but one is worthy of notice. First wine we had at first outdoor lunch. Food itself was great, because we managed to prepare sweet-and-sour chicken with rice. It wasn't easy having only one MSR, but eventually we were successful and had complimentary spanish wine. It was Peña Tejo Cosecha 2007. Nice, aromatic, deep table wine - perfect to be served along with food.
But the other wine is the most important one. It was from Australia - Jacobs Creek Shiraz Cabernet. It was nice red in color - deep crimson red with purple hues. It also tasted perfect - mix of berry, cherry and plum fruit, subtle cedar trees and light coffee aroma. After first gulp of this tasty wine I recalled its taste from the past. Few years ago I had this wine very often, but later switched to more expensive and more sophisticated wines. It was mistake. This one is cheap and really good. Sometimes it's even better than wines for 80 or even 100 pln. This wine was also appreciated by wine tasters - it has many awards (depends on vintage). So now I will drink this wine the whole winter, because it's very addictive!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bieszczady in the fall #3

Day 3 in Bieszczady was also interesting. First we visited some more orthodox churches. Then we went to Solina to compare autumn view with winter view that we remembered from our recent stay in March. It's completely different (one picture below). Later we headed to Sanok and decided to spend our time on watching heritage park. It was worth it. Of course I don't know what is what, because I never was interested in history, but this architecture was really nice for the eye and we had good time. You can see some pictures below... Enjoy!

1. Solina

2. Sanok open-air ethnographical museum


ps. You asked for more pics from Solina, so I've added one more... :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bieszczady in the fall #2

Second day in Bieszczady was much harder. We decided to climb Tarnica from Wołosate, but get back through Halicz and Rozsypaniec. It's long trail - I even don't know how many kilometers, but it has taken us about 8.5 hours in hot sun with heavy tripods and backpacks full of photo gear. Luckily it was worth doing, because we've taken a lot of pictures and have seen nice landscapes. You can also see below what we came across on the trail.

TBC - pictures from day 3 are in development now... keep waiting!