Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring is finally here!

Just some pictures from yesterdays walk to Lazienki Park in Warsaw...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Less than a month...

...left to my USA Kids Trip 2009. It's coming faster and faster. My kids are getting more excited about all the attractions awaiting them in Southern California. Almost all preparations are finished, only few items left to buy and airtickets are waiting to be used.
Plan is almost thought over except few days between visiting all the attractions of southern California and last days that are intended to be spent in LV. In these few days I will probably show San Francisco, Yosemite and Sequoia NP to my kids. But eventually it depends on their wishes, because this particular trip is completely dedicated to my kids. Of course I'll take a chance to shot some pictures, but it's not main goal...
My plans for taking pictures is to focus on night shots (I dream of shooting Santa Monica beach at night, or San Francisco view from Treasure Island). Maybe I'll have some time to visit Channel Islands National Park, but who knows... we'll see....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Canon 5D MkII considerations...

After this nice camera has been released I started wondering if it's worth buying. And finally I think it is, but...
All in the world is about "but". I didn't buy 5D MkI, because it was just giving worse results than my precious 40D. Of course it had full frame, but you couldn't find lens that would be counterpart to 17-55/2.8 IS for full frame. You can choose 24-70/2.8, but it lacks IS and according to many tests it's worse than 17-55/2.8. To be honest it's hard to make a fair comparison of these two lenses, because one is dedicated to cropped body and the other one to full frame, but...
Important thing is to have a set (body+lens) that gives you just better results and I'm convinced that 40D+17-55/2.8 IS will give better results than 5D MkI+24-70/2.8. Besides I - as a landscape photographer - need some wide angle lens. Of course I can choose 16-35/2.8 for 5D or even for 40D. In this case it's better to have 5D, because you can reach 16mm that is very wide. But again you can also have 40D+Tokina 12-24/4 that gives you similar results at muuuuuch lower price. And what's important at the end of the day is picture. But... was the case of choosing 5D against 40D. Now we have new 5D MkII. This body is really amazing and has a lot to offer. It has more megapixels, can record movies in HD, has microadjustments for autofocus feature and many, many more... So I started the research again. Currently I've 40D+17-55/2.8IS and Tokina 12-24/4 - would need to get a 5D MkII + 24-70/2.8 and 16-35/2.8 MkII instead. The price of the latest set is more then twice as big as price of 40D set and would it give me really so much more possibilities for better pictures? I'm not convinced... but I'm trying to convince myself, because I like the body :)
After switching to the new set I'd have at least two problems... 1. lack of IS, 2. filter size 82 mm. First problem is not a big one, because I rarely use IS and personally I'm not big fan of IS technology. Of course it's useful sometimes, but I don't know for who? Landscape photographers use tripods, and reporters can't use IS, because they usually take pictures of moving objects and it's not a perfect use for IS. The only users of IS are probably amateur photographers that are to lazy to carry tripods and are taking pictures of architecture etc.
Second problem is filter diameter of 16-35/2.8 MkII - 82mm is something new for me. All my current lenses have diameter of 77 or sometimes 67mm. I've a plenty of filters that are 77mm in size and changing them all is impossible, because these filters are usually expensive. From the other side taking landscape pictures with such a lens with no filters is waste of time. So I would need to buy some more filters at 82 mm - another bucks to spend.
So finally I still don't have money for 5D MkII, lenses and filters so must wait till dollar will reach proper level and maybe then I'll buy. But I still don't believe to get so much better pictures, because as I always repeat - it's the photographer who take picture, not the camera. Camera can only help to take better picture and that's it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Navajo Falls doesn't exist anymore!

Today in march issue of Adventure published by National Geographic I've read very sad news - Navajo Falls doesn't exist anymore. As a matter of fact they mentioned about two newly created waterfalls, but I will miss Navajo. Below scanned excerpt from the magazine and my picture of Navajo Falls taken few months before the flood...

PhotoWorkshop Bieszczady 2009 #3

Sunday was the last day of the event. We planned to wake up early and take another chance to photograph sunrise, but finally it turned out to be too hard, so we missed the sunrise. After great breakfast we headed to the forest in the vicinity. The interesting thing was apiary in the forest - it was just a set of hives covered with snow - very good object for winter photography. Below you can find few pictures taken on Sunday.

1. Zagroda Magija #1

2. Zagroda Magija #2

3. Forest

4. Apiary

5. Hive

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

PhotoWorkshop Bieszczady 2009 #2

In the previous post I've shown you few pictures from the workshop in Bieszczady. Of course I've more to share. All you've seen were taken before dinner and what I'd like to show today are from evening session. First we went to little known waterfalls in Uherce Mineralne village. Waterfall is on the river Olszanka and for me is really amazing as for polish conditions. For sure it's kind of challenge to take a nice photo of it, especially in this grey, winter weather. But please see pictures below and comment them if you wish.
After very short session at the waterfall we headed to Solina dam. Janusz promised that it will be fully illuminated from 6pm to 6:30pm. I could hardly believe it, but after we spread our equipment and waited few minutes, dam started to get lighter and lighter and after a while it was completely bright!!! What an amazing view! It was really unbelievable, but true. We started taking pictures then moved closer to the dam to take even more pictures. In the last few minutes we managed to get on the dam itself and take some pictures from above. Illumination shut exactly at 6:30 pm as promised, but we still wanted to take some more pics. We started to play with long exposure time and got some nice pictures with words "Solina" and "Magija" - see them below. Then we got back to the Zagroda Magija for supper and short photo review...

1. Workshop - step 5 - waterfalls #1

2. Workshop - step 5 - waterfalls #2

3. Workshop - step 5 - waterfalls #3

4. Workshop - step 5 - waterfalls #4

5. Workshop - step 6 - solina dam completely dark

6. Workshop - step 6 - solina dam fully illuminated

7. Workshop - step 6 - solina dam and river overlook

Sunday, March 8, 2009

PhotoWorkshop Bieszczady 2009 #1

So tonight me and mis amigos Sylwek y Czarek came back from very successful workshop (FotoWarsztaty) that took place in Bieszczady. As I mentioned before, it was held in small village Orelec in so called Zagroda Magija. This is wonderful place owned by great guy Janusz. Place seems to be a couple of old, wooden houses built in the middle of nowhere. The whole event was conceived as a little theory and a lot of photography workshop. Besides Janusz, it was one more very important guy - Paweł - who was trying his hands at teaching us something about photography. I've to say that he would have been really successful in this, but personally for me scope was too easy. Of course it doesn't mean that it was waste of time, because you can always learn something new. For example I got some knowledge on batteries and learned some tricks in Photoshop - very precious learning. Thanks Paweł!
Of course I can write here a lot of praises, but I think it's better to show some pictures. Today you'll find few of them and I promise to put more in the next few days as I'll process them.

1. Unsuccessful sunrise #1

2. Unsuccessful sunrise #2

3. Workshop - step 1 - architecture

4. Another student in the group #1 ?

5. Another student in the grup #2 ?

6. Workshop - step 2 - panoramic picture - compounded of 6 separate shots

7. Workshop - step 3 - models of Orthodox churches #1

8. Workshop - step 3 - models of Orthodox churches #2

9. Workshop - step 4 - running horses #1

10. Workshop - step 4 - running horses #2

Sunday, March 1, 2009

1st Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of my blog. Exactly year ago I put my first entry here. Since that time a lot of people are reading this shit - I even don't know why, but have to say that it's a bit pleasant. I'll do my best to keep this blog alive and focus more on trips and photography. Just keep reading and give me some hints what should I change? What can I improve? Any other suggestions are also welcome! Just please put some more comments here...