Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Pinhole Photography - What Landscapes?

As promised there is another great pinhole camera shot, which is not a wide-angle landscape! Just like most of the pictures I come across, I found it on Flickr.

Photo by DelioTO, February 2009.
The picture was taken with a 24 minutes exposure (12+12), while the guy was reading his morning newspaper. He says on his Flickr page that the aperture was f/250, which corresponds to a pinhole diameter of about 0.2mm (assuming the focal length was 50mm). This means that the pinhole is almost 45 times smaller than your aperture when shooting with a 50mm lens at f/5.6, which is quite amazing and makes the long exposure times possible! In the case of the pinhole camera the amount of light is further decreased due to the lack of a lens, which collects light and focusses it.

Admittedly, pictures of this kind are bound to be blurred or distorted in some ways. So one has to like this style. However, imagine what you can do with long exposure times like this! For instance, a whole motion sequence could be 'recorded' in one image. People who are watching you taking the picture would be entertained too by your slow motion pantomime play in front of a cardbord box.


Photo by DelioTO, February 2009.
How a pinhole camera looks like!

In case you always asked yourself why the hell a bigger f-number corresponds to a larger aperture, here's how you calculate it: f/5.6 really reads current focal length divided by 5.6 (or whatever the number is). Thus, if you are shooting with a 50mm lens at f/4, your aperture diameter will be 12.5mm. If you are shooting with 100mm at f/4, it will be 25mm. Hence, the amount of light increases if you use a longer focal length, or you decrease your f-number.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Pinhole Photography

It's quite amazing how basic a photo camera can be: a light-proof box with a small hole in one side (aperture) and - opposite to that - a medium that can capture an image (photographic paper, sensor). Thats right, no lens! Rather than me rambling about the technical details, you might want to read how it works on Wikipedia.

Despite the basic making of a pinhole camera, it is possible to get quite interesting and nice pictures out of it. This pinhole shot on Flickr (which was taken with a slightly more fancy pinhole camera) reminded me that I always wanted to make my own one. I'll let you know when this actually happens ...

Photo by Tom J. Hole, London, Battersea Power Station, 2009.

One can argue whether one likes the pinhole style or not, but one thing is for sure: considering the elaborate cameras that are widely available these days, such a back-to-the-roots approach is quite appealing. It reminds of how simple the principle of imaging actually is. Besides, I quite like the vintage look that comes for free anyways.

I'll try and dig out something else than a landscape for the next post, because it's also possible to shoot the slightly different portrait with a pinhole camera.

Friday, 13 February 2009

York PhotoSoc - Competition Next

Following up from the post yesterday, here's my second favourite from the York PhotoSoc competition 2009.


Photo by Kerry Grainger 2009.

It is not very surprising (at least to me, as I am interested in doing more dance shootings like this one myself) that I like this photo: it's a great silhouette in natural lighting conditions, dynamic, about dance, and a cool outfit is involved!

Particularly the fact that the dancer's face and hand are lit, whilst everything else remains a nice silhouette adds this extra bit to this shot for me. Only thing is that there could be slighly more sky on the right hand side, but I suppose it takes quite a few shots anyways to capture the whole model in mid-air!

Check Kerry's Flickr page out, as there are more interesting shots like this one!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

York PhotoSoc - Competition

This spring the Photographic Society of York University held a competition amongst its members. The competition was open topic and any kind of post-processing was allowed. A few days ago, the winners were announced on the society's website. Yeah! I made it to the top ten with a photo of Castle Howard on a foggy day!

However, I have got two other favourites among those top ten. The first one is this amazing shot of Jason Piper.

Photo by Jason Piper

I think it's well spotted and well done! The fact that the 'stuck' bus has got the number 13 gives it an extra bit of (unintentional?) mystique, and everybody who read the books that must not be named probably thinks Harry Potter.

P.S.: I'll post my second favourite tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Helena Belly Dancer from Leeds, UK

I took some photos of a belly dance event at the York Carnival 2008. Helena is a great performer and teacher of various belly dance styles, based in Leeds, North Yorkshire, UK.

When I recently visited her website, I was pleased to see that she used some of my photos on her website (the two that are in focus ;-)). Thanks Helena!

Photo by Martin Trefzer 2008

This is one of my favourites of this event last year. Some more photos can be found on my Flickr page. Hey Helena (or other dancers / dance groups based around York)! In case you come across my blog and would like to do a shooting or get some pictures of an event, don't hesitate to contact me. I am very interested in doing dance/motion photography.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Retro Graphics by Aloa from Abduzeedo

I have found this great tutorial for creating retro graphic artwork via the Flickr site of a fellow event photographer Helen.

There are a lot more tutorials for graphics design like this on this website called
Abduzeedo. The particular one that shows how to do the picture above can be found here: Retro Geometric Vectors in Space with Illustrator and Photoshop.

Artwork by Aloa from Abduzeedo

The tutorial and design is created by Aloa, one of the Abduzeedo writers. Personally, I find these tutorials quite inspiring. Studio 54 and the seventies live! Unfortunately, the guy uses relatively expensive commercial tools to create the designs, but you should be able to achieve similar results using free (open source) software like Inkscape and GIMP. Both are available for Linux, MacOS and Windows.

Hope that we'll see more event advertisements of this kind again in the near future!

A Flock of Seagulls

There was a lot of snow in North Yorkshire recently. On a particularly cold and foggy day, one of my colleagues went to feed some geese and ducks during our lunch break.

We wouldn't have thought that a third force would come into play and attack, in order to get hold of the food resources ...

Photo hosted on my Flickr account.

I happened to have my camera with the Sigma 10-20mm wide angle attached to it with me. So we ended up throwing bread into the direction - but still out - of the frame, which resulted in this seagull action shot (f/9.0, 20mm, ISO 400).

Slight vignetting and gradation curves postprocessing, to make it more dramatic*.

*Ok, I'll admit it: The huge amount of birds was originally distributed over 5 shots ;-).

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Great Portrait of Christy Turlington

What makes a great portrait and how can I shoot one? Well, the most common approach these days is to buy a digital camera, go to a party, pop the little built-in flash up and be surprised that all of our friends appear to be Zombies (unless you happen to be invited to a party where Christy sips a drink too), but that's not what I want to moan about (again).

I wonder what makes us pausing for a moment when surfing the web reading articles and looking at photographs? Why, for instance, do I find this portrait so great?

Photo by Patrick Demarchelier for Harper's Bazaar (July 1999)

Well, for starters, the photographer used a very basic - yet effective - lighting setup. There are just two light sources: a large, softbox (or umbrella) high camera left (45°), and a beauty dish (a small light source that reflects in the model's eyes) above the photographer. The backdrop is just a plain (I guess) whiteish wall/paper.

The one thing that makes this picture different and interesting is the little mouse on the model's shoulder. Maybe that's because when I think of mice, I imagine small, furry, quickly moving animals that are barely seen sitting somewhere. However, it's sitting there and seems to ask for attention. It also draws attention, because it is the brightest object in the picture, and the tones range from white mouse smoothly to black hair. Awesome idea, well done Patrick!

I'm absolutely convinced the quality of the portrait has absolutely nothing to do with supersymmetric├╝berbeautyperfectbodybigeyes Christy Turlington! It's all the mouse! Trust me!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Seven Sins - Lust

On a recent Flickr journey I somehow came across the group theSeVen. Despite it is still a small pool with at the moment a few more than 100 photos, there are quite a number of really great ones! I was quite surprised that - compared with other subjects - there were not that many pictures on Flickr dealing with the Seven Deadly Sins.

And most of the ones that are there resolve the inherent problem of depicting feelings like lust, sloth or pride with undressing one of our female fellows. Don't get me wrong, I think undressing as many women as possible and taking potographs is great, but when one thinks of movies (watchit!) like Se7en, it just seems to be a slightly onesided approach.

Although I have to admit that, when thinking about realising a Seven Sins project of my own, I found it quite hard to come up with something really catchy (which will not make me not trying at some point).



Hence, I was amazed when I saw the photos of Urline, actually a guy who managed to create a sinister atmosphere with strong colours in his pictures. Admittedly, this guy has a good deal of postprocessing skills, which helped to create these images. Whatsoever, they are great and my favourites on Flickr so far!

For everyone who cannot recall all of the seven sins (I hope you don't!), here's the link to the omniscient Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Not Switzerland


Hard to believe, but true: we are not in Switzerland, although we had a lot of snow today! Besides, it's pretty hard to hide the fact that there is not the slightest elevation in sight, and my Photoshop skills are not good enough to flatten the Alps anyways.

So at the moment the British weather has changed it's bistable mode pale sun - drizzle to sunny snowfields - snow storm, and amazed us inhabitants once more. It was fun to watch people building snowmen and getting involved into snowball fights.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris

When surfing the web on this lazy Sunday evening, I came across the PX3 photography website. The website is well made and the most interesting thing to me is the announced photo competition 2009. They have extended their deadline to February 28, 2009.

One of the nice things about this competition is that they actually distinguish between Photographers and Professional Photographers (those who actually earn their money with taking photos) when judging the photos. There is also an entry fee for each photo submitted, which might result in people considering more carefully what they are going to submit.


The winner's gallery of the past years looks quite promising. The pictures shown are conceptually interesting and technically good, although a certain level is required technical perfection is oviously not necessarily the main criterion.


According to their own words, "The 'Prix de la Photographie, Paris' (Px3) strives to promote the appreciation of photography, to discover emerging talent, and introduce photographers from around the world to the artistic community of Paris. Winning photographs from this competition are exhibited in a high-profile gallery in Paris and published in the high-quality, full-color Px3 Annual Book.", which sounds great!

email entry

This is my first entry by mail.