The Beauty in photography can be defined by some rules, like the composition, or if it's well exposed, colors, etc... many different factors that, all togheter, can define if the photo you are looking at is a good or a bad one. But there is always a threshold that changes with your personal test. A picture that can be defined, using the above factors, good or not, can be amazing for someone or awful to someone else. I'm not saying anything new, as we say in Italy, I discovered the hot water.
But even if it's a very simple matter, there are events that makes you think about this simple, obvious, matter.
For example, look this photo:
If you are getting into long exposure photography there are a few things you need to have: a sturdy tripod, a good wide lens, a remote shutter release and, unless you want to photograph only at night, a good Neutral Density filter.
For years I've been using a cheap but quite good Cokin P-System with Cokin ND8 filters. They are cheap, they add noise and decrease sharpness, but at the end they do a decent job for the price you pay, and for a while a ND8 filter was enough for me. Obviously I was forced to use them only in the golden hour, when there's still enough light but not that much, and in that case you can bring home great shots even with a simple ND8 filter, or, if you want, you can stack two of them, so you get 6 stops of light reduction, but the price to pay is very poor quality and a very heavy purple color cast, which in some case it might be fine, but most of the times is not.
So last november I decided to invest some money to get a better ND filter, and a few months early I was well impressed by the filter of a good friend of mine, it was (nominally) an ND400 (which is 8 stop light reduction) at his maximum, and a light ND4 at the minimum. I'm specifying maximum and minimum because this is a variable filter, which in many cases it's a cool thing.
One thing I really love, especially on the weekends, is to take the DART, and get off wherever I see something it might be interesting to photograph. Sometimes is that simple, you take the train, stop somewhere, take some pictures, and go back home. But after 5 years, I can say that I've been almost everywhere in the Dublin bay, so here a common but sometimes very underestimated tool enters in the game: Google Maps.
And sometimes with Google Maps you can discover hidden places, or at least not very well known, which you were totally unaware of their existance, and last week I was looking the nice but well known Dalkey, about 15km (I think) south of Dublin, and I was trying to find any interesting cliffs to photograph with my brand new ND filter, when I noticed a tiny place with a very fancy name: Hawk Cliff.
Today Adobe realeased a sneak peek of one of the functionalities that will be added in the next version of Photoshop, which it will probably come late this year, the Deblur tool.
Essentially this tool will turn your blurry pictures into sharper ones. Magic? I would call it Math. An earlier stage of this technology as shown back in October 2011 at the Adobe Max, and this video confirm that this technology is ready for Photoshop CS7.
Now we only have to wait until the next 6th May to see what other fancy tool Adobe is going to show us :-)
Going to the north and watch the northern lights has been one of my dreams for many years, so you can easily understand that I couldn't share this amazing video, made by Ole C. Salomonsen, mixing still shots and actual video footage, which shows the beauty of the northern lights and how they look in real time. Most of the sequences has been shot in the arctic northern Norway, and few others from Finland and Sweden.
So take 5 minutes of your time and admire the beauty of the nature.
Here we are with another Phlearn tutorial, and this time we are talking about how to combine multiple exposures in Photoshop, which it makes you create amazing HDR-like photos using only one image.
Despite the fact that I'm italian and the italian stallion myth, I generally don't like photos of naked people, most of the times there is not art or photography on it, it's just an excuse to show a naked body and nothing else. But sometimes, if it's well done, and not just someone with no clothes, it can be a great photo. Because it's not anymore a naked woman, but it's all about shapes and lights, and here Aaron Nace of Phlearn.com shows us a good example of a body shoot. Down here you can see the lighting diagram.
This is the tutorial for one picture, but if you want more, you can consider to buy their Pro Tutorials.
Here we are, with the last day of our trip to Donegal, and Northern Ireland at the end, as we decided to drive a few extra kilometers and stop at the Giant's Causaway, probably the most famous natural attraction in Northern Ireland. I've been there before, but it was very late (never travel with 3 women, never) and it was pissing rain. This time was the opposite, apart from the wind which it seems to be quite constant in this place, so almost sunny, and with plenty of time, plus it was a good test for my brand new ND filter, the Lee Big Stopper (but I'll do a proper review about this yoke in the next weeks). The only real problem of this place is that it become too famous, while a few years ago there were almost nothing apart a small office, now there is an insane (shopping) center, which they will going to ask you a fortune to see (34 pounds for the four of us and the car), and obviously because it was easter, and as I already said it's a quite famous place, it was crowded from tourists (like us), especially some silly japanese which they don't really get the fact that you can't walk with high heels on these rocks.
At this stage you probably know that I'm quite fascinated by timelapses, and this one is pretty interesting, but I'll just quote the author of the video, which is Michael Shainblum:
"Ever since I was a kid, I have always been mesmerized by extraordinary beauty of my hometown, San Diego. The city has many hidden treasures that have always captivated me, and they continue to do so. Most people only get to experience the tourism side San Diego, but I wanted to show the city through my own eyes and artistic vision. I wanted to showcase San Diego from the eyes of somebody who has lived there their entire life. I have been working on this piece for about four months to really harness the details and create a visually striking Timelapse film. I wanted to make something that was unique to my own perspective of filmmaking. I also wanted to create this video to encourage people to go out and witness how beautiful San Diego really is."
Adobe just released the public beta for the next version of Photoshop Lightroom 5, which will bring plenty of new features:
Advanced Healing Brush
The beta program will run through June 30th, and you can download from here.
Bear in mind that this is a beta version, so it's still far away from a finished product, and do not uset it in production environment!