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All posts for the month May, 2012

We were out on Suomenlinna last weekend with friends. Just for touristing, they were over from Holland, and hadn’t been there before.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we spent a good amount of time sitting on a terrace, on the rocks near the sea and roaming the island.
Not far from where we sat on the rocks, just over on the other side of the hill we happened to see a kite appear every now and again. When we were done with our picnic we went for the round around the island and moved toward the kite.
I’ve done some stuff in my time, but this has been on my list of wanting-to-do for a long time. Not sure how difficult it is, or if you can even do it “just like that”, but well… One should never stop dreaming, right?
Kudos to this guy. The wind was very strong and he made it look so easy.

Kite jumping

D800, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm (and quite some PS-ing, the sun was great, but the light for photography terrible)

There are so many ways you can photograph water. But I must admit I was slightly lazy and unmotivated (could be because it actually had been raining for 3 days straight, how’s that for water? ;) ). However, even laziness and lack of motivation can spark some creativity. I set up the flashes next to the tap and let it drip slowly. A little twist on the drop in the water pictures you see come by every now and again.

Focusing is a pain in the ass, and you have to be surprisingly fast with pressing the (remote) shutter. I missed a good few. But I also got a good few nice ones :)

Tap with waterdrop

D800, ISO1600, 1/8000 sec @ f/3.8, 2x off-camera SB-800

Tap with waterdrop

D800, ISO1600, 1/8000 sec @ f/3.8, 2x off-camera SB-800

Some of you may know I have a little project going on, which is… well… abstract. I posted a picture of it a long time ago and I have a separate gallery of the images on my other website.

I thought for the Abstract theme I could find another one for my gallery. And a few extra, too.
Guess I need not say more.

PMS

D800, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 50mm

PMS

D800, ISO100, 1/3 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro

PMS

D800, ISO100, 1/3 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro

Right… Speaking of “out of your comfort zone”. This would be a gross understatement in my case. Strangely, I’m not people-shy. Shy, yes, but not introverted or anything (at least not so much ;) ). But when it comes to walking up to a perfect stranger and asking if I can take his or her portrait… Don’t think so. Chicken right here, if ever there was one! I know I make a cracking portrait if I have to (want to), you can check my portfolio on it. But I need to at least be somehow acquainted to that person or they have to come to me.
“Right,” you say, “go up to a person, make your acquaintance and shoot the damn portrait!”
If only things were that simple… I know, they are, but no, they aren’t. Really…

Anyway… I chickened out on this one, but I got a nice picture for which I wrote the accompanying text as follows:

I had gone to see Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp, and I ran into her on Mannerheimintie just outside Lasipalatsi. She was the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever seen. Jet-black hair, fair, but rather pale skin and the most vivid, stale, green eyes. Not quite as green as her shoes, but very green, nonetheless… There was something in her eyes that beckoned me, pulled me out of the cage of shyness which always prevents me from walking up to a perfect stranger to ask if I can take a picture. She was a natural. And her eyes… My god… I asked her, and she let me. She never took her eyes of me, and I had a hard time taking mine off of her… When I had taken the picture she moved towards me, almost as if she was floating. Then she whispered something in my ear. There was the slightest breath in my neck.
After that I don’t remember much anymore…

Green shoes

D800, ISO6400, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

A man can dream, right? ;)

One of my buddies from the local camera club set up a little 7-day photo challenge for a select group of interested people. It’s always interesting, and challenging (hence the name, I guess), because you get a theme and have stick to it. It may or may not be something you would’ve come up with yourself, and if  it wasn’t it may (or may not) be something that’ll pull you out of your comfort zone.

And indeed, he had some of those (bless / curse him!). I’ll spare you the self-portrait, that was downright scary. And I’ll spare you a few other ones, too, since in my eyes they didn’t come out as nice as I would’ve liked, but I’ll share my favorites here.

On the theme movement / motion I finally got to do something I had been planning to do already for quite some time, but never came around doing. I’ll go out and shoot some more of these, while I still can, before the terrorism-paranoia comes over here, too, and they won’t allow you to shoot anymore in these locations.
It’s a panorama stitched together from two pictures.

Two subway trains in an underground station

D800, ISO100, 10 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

I took it out for a test run today.
Nothing challenging, but interesting to do nonetheless. On my D700 I have the vertical grip. I haven’t got it on the D800 (yet, primarily because I think the Nikon grip for this camera is ridiculously overpriced at 450+€ + 155€ battery). Having only the standard D800 without battery grip makes it feel rather flimsy when you’re used to the extra grip. But it’s only a matter of time. The LCD is superb. Much better than that of the D700. Even in bright sunlight, which it was today, the image is very good.
In terms of file size it really IS a monster. I’ve never really been the big card kind of guy. Rather have several smaller cards, so IF something happens, you don’t loose too much, but for this little guy you really do need some massive storage. I had a nice 32 gig card for my D700, which fit about 1200 shots on lossless compressed raw. I put this card in the D800, formatted it and I could fit 400 shots. The D700 NEFs are between 12 and 15 meg, the D800 NEFs are between 40 and 50 meg. That’s gonna take a whole lot of storage space…

But in the end it’s worth it, I’m sure.
I’ll do some more testing under more challenging circumstances and see what comes out of this. The first ones are very satisfying. The colors are stunning, straight out of camera.
What I did notice, first thing when I took some test shots out of the box, is that the color of the pictures on screen has turned more yellowish/greenish. On the D700 it’s more reddish. The pictures on my calibrated computer screen are spot-on, though.

Rowing boat in Porvoo

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

100% crop of a detail from the above image

100% crop of a detail from the above image

Or your jpgs, of course, although if you have a sky as in my original image, there will be no detail left in your jpg.
The discussion raw vs jpg has been beaten to death. Many times over.
“Jpgs look a lot better when they come out of camera!” Of course they do. They are processes IN-camera with either the default settings from when you bought the camera, or the customized settings that you entered. Raw images always look flat and boring when they come out of the camera, because you’re looking at unprocessed data. YOU need to do the post processing, and here’s the good thing: you get to control what’s happening ;)
In any case, fact is: raw files contain more data to recover than jpgs, so if you have the time to fuss around in post-processing, then do shoot in raw. If your end-goal doesn’t require high resolution and/or high detailed material, and you don’t have too much time on your hands to spend post-processing, you’re better off shooting jpg. Or if you have money to burn on memory cards, shoot both, so you can have the goodies of both worlds.

Street in Tallinn, Estonia

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

The above is the originals. Yes, IS the originals, it’s only one file. It’s a fake HDR, basically. The left image is the original exposure @ 1/125 sec. The right one is the one where I pulled down the exposure slider in Lightroom almost all the way to zero. That gave me just enough detail in the sky to work with (try that with a jpg! ;) ).

I opened both instances in Photoshop and copied the right one onto a new layer.

Photoshop layer palette screenshot

Photoshop layer palette screenshot

First two adjustment layers are to make the sky blue. The rest is for bringing out the colors in the walls and roof of the buildings. The last -curves- adjustment layer is for the street. The top layer was added to straighten the buildings.

Street in Tallinn, Estonia

The end result after the Photoshop work is done.

Let me warn you in advance. If you’re sensitive to graphic material, leave now. If you’re under 18, leave now. The last part is not pretty. And no, this blog is not going to feature this kind of material structurally.

I’ve written about Vappu before. It’s the Finnish celebration of Labour Day. It’s one of two days (together with Pikkujoulu – Little Christmas), where people are “allowed” to drink themselves into oblivion theoretically without *any* moral or ethical consequences.
I don’t drink alcohol myself, so drinking yourself into oblivion always gets my judgment. I don’t judge anyone for drinking alcohol, but if you get so wasted you don’t know or remember what you’re doing, you lose my respect (like that is worth anything, but let’s not go there ;) ).

Anyway…
We’ll do the nice part first. The day after…
It was a beautiful day. I don’t think it’s ever been this nice weather in all those years I’ve been in Finland. Sitting with a stack of magazines and/or a good book on a picnic blanket drinking tea, sodas, champagne and/or cider (not for me, but thanks Eugene! ;) ), crackers with cream cheese, chips… Few things can beat that.
A staggering amount of people sitting and roaming around, and at the location where we were the traffic was completely stuck. Those foolish enough to have come by car, or tried to wrestle their way back home got plenty of time to practice their patience.

Vappu 2012 - free porn Vappuaatto was also very nice. Relaxed day, and a relaxed evening before going downtown. We had tickets to a concert of Aikakone, which we didn’t make it to. We ended up elsewhere first for a bit too long, and when we got to the place where the concert was, the line was so endless that we decided not to wait. And so we had a healthy bite of fast food and headed home. We got to our apartment building to find two people having at it in our portal (really, this is not the dodgiest part of town, so we were quite surprised). And not just having at it. The guy had his had up her crotch and her skirt was so far down that a nice tattoo just above the cheeks was prominently visible.
We were by bike, so we went around to the back entrance and got in from there. When we came to the hallway from the back entrance (from where we could see into the portal) the motion detectors switched on the lights, and that kind of snapped our horny visitors back into this world. She pulled up her skirt, he wiped off his hand and they took off. And that was it. Or so we thought.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against sex. I have nothing against porn. I’m a guy, I have no problem admitting I watched some (and -although I have no scientific proof for this- I’m convinced most of the guys have (and most of them who say they don’t are lying :D ) ). And I have absolutely no problem against people making out on the street, up to a certain extend, of course. And if you’re of the public type, I also have no problems with it if you want to do it in a toilet in a restaurant, bar, or whatever, for all I care you do it in the fitting room of a store.
But there are limits. Now we’re getting again to this point of Vappu, where people are “allowed” to do “anything” without consequences. I’ve been in this country for a decade, and I’ve seen my fair share of funny, questionable, shocking and unethical things. Vappuaatto 2012 takes the prize. By a mile.

We got to our apartment and before heading to bed we looked outside, and guess what…? Our steaming couple from the portal had moved across the street and had continued their session in the all-brightening illumination of the street lights. His hand was yet again in her crotch, and she was enjoying it. Clearly. And after that her head went into his crotch. I kid you not. There were people passing by from both sides and they didn’t even look up. They just went at it. And still for about 40 minutes or so.

Vappu 2012 - free porn

I’m typically not a paparazzi. I tend to think I have respect for people and think that you’re free to do what you want (also up to a certain extend, of course). But this was a whole different thing. I took out my camera and put on the 70-200mm. Big Brother’s watching.
What you do in the confines of four walls is your own business. If I would happen to see my neighbors across the street having a go at it in their apartment I turn away. That’s their business, that’s their home, and I respect that.
Maybe you’ll ask: so why put up these pictures? Why not show respect for these people and stay quiet about what you saw? Why embarrass them by putting these pictures for the world to see? And I’ll answer you: why would I have ANY respect for you when you have no respect for yourself? No dignity? When you stoop so low, when you allow yourself to get so drunk that you engage in oral sex on the street in plain sight? When you embarrass yourself and others for having to witness this when they pass you?
My respect for people does go so far that I did blur out the faces. I’m not out to destroying anyone’s life, but I do kind of hope that one of them two happens to come across this blog post and realizes that this is simply not done. And that if I was there with a camera, someone else may have been, too. With less “honorable” intentions…

 

Anyway… Hope you all had a great and sunny Labour Day, and that y’all behaved ;)

 

 

 

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