Photography

Visit to the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain

Photo Gallery of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain

These are some shots of the fantastic City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia Spain designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.  The complex is a futuristic park that hosts a series of cultural buildings and monuments including:

  • Opera house
  • Science museum
  • Cinema and planetarium
  • Open-air oceanographic park
  • Suspended bridge
  • Covered plaza

The complex includes futuristic landscaping using monumental architectural structures in steel, concrete and glass.  The place resembles and futuristic lunar colony similar to the one in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey.  Here are some pictures taken with the Canon S100 and mid res enhanced with the Mac OS Aperture photo software.

Print cheap photobooks with Vistaprint

Have you ever thought what to do with all your gigabytes of image files?  In my case I have a couple of hard drives filled with pictures I have taken through out the years.  The only way I can access them is through my laptop or website.  I haven’t taken the time yet to print them and have them available for display offline.  Many times I have thought of printing them either as postcard size photos or photobooks.  Recently I have found a cheap and easy way to print them in high quality and it is with an online service offered by Vistaprint.

Vistaprint is a printing company that offers various types of printing services, from business card design and printing to photography high quality printing.  One of their services is photobook printing, which they offer in various sizes and designs. In my case I am planning on printing my photobooks on an L size 28×21 format, large enough to view my photo details and small enough to handle and store at home.  The good thing about it is that a 24-120 page photobook goes for as low as €8 per photobook!   This is a very reasonable price that makes possible the printing of all the pictures on your hard drive.  Im sure that in my case I wont spend more than €100 printing most of my important travel, family and friend pictures.

You can check more details about printing your photobook here.

Back to the future photography by Irina Werning

These are the images of the amazing project “Back to the Future” by argentinian photographer Irina Werning.  The photographer has collected old pictures from friends and volunteers and has re-enacted the photo scene with the same subject 20 and even 30 years later.  In the work the Werning copies not only the clothes, and setting but also the facial expressions, and aged filmed textures.  This is probably the best before and after portrait photo documentary ever done.

Check the gallery Back to the Future with some of the subjects

 

WWII Color Photography

When we think about the Second World War we always picture everything in black and white.  Back then most of the films available were monochrome, however there were color films and development techniques which were not that popular.  Here are some pictures I found of real color WWII photography from Kodak color film.  Development of color was so expensive that most of the pictures and movies available were in black and white.  Here you can see a sample of color pictures that bring the Second World War to our present times.

Playing percussion with girl booties

The American musician Jorge Gonzalez has shown that you can make music with anything including Latin jazz percussion with the girls back. Gonzalez is part of the band Patax fusion band of 5 members that combines Latin jazz, funk, flamenco and contemporary music. In this video you can see how Gonzalez becomes the butt of 4 girls in panties in a battery of Afro-Caribbean drums.

Jorge Gonzalez playing percussion with girls booties

Squirrels epic fight over a peanut

Like two fighters on a UFC match these 2 squirrels fight for their lives on a tree stump on what seems to be a dispute over a peanut.  Russian photographer Andre Morozov took this amazing shots of 2 squirrels while taking pictures in a Botanical Garden in Canada.

How to edit photos with the lomography effect

Lomography has become an art, the art of the old cheap film cameras from the 70′s, the Lomo, the Diana, the Holga, the Sardina, are just some of the models that have been revived to bring back the analog feeling to photography.  These cameras were so imperfect, blurry lenses, inaccurate focus, primitive metering systems that made every picture a unique work of art, of course, a bit distorted from reality.  Lomography brings back the reality distortion, and has made it a type of visual beauty.  People have become bored from the perfection of digital cameras that they are exploring new ways of making images with personality with the Lomography cameras.   I have used Lomography cameras for quite a while very fun, the downside is the developing costs.  Every film roll costs around €10 plus the shots you want to have printed, each going for €1 or so.  I was spending around €30-€50 a month on film print and development, although I enjoying it was leaving a small dent in my savings.  So I decided to find a more economical way of shooting film style without the financial costs.

How to edit photos with the lomography effect

The most important thing for achieving a good lomography effect is having the right app.  I personally recommend these which I use on my iPhone or iPad.  It is not necessary to do any complicated retouching with Photoshop or anything like that, just a good app is enough.

These are my recommended apps, which I have both on my iPhone and iPad.

  • Snapseed
  • Leme Cam
  • Photo Toaster
  • Camera Plus
  • and of course Instagram

The best thing you can do is to shoot the pic with a camera other from your mobile so you can get better resolution.  Even the iPhone 5 lacks the sharpness a good point and shoot or DSLR.

The Workflow

  1. Get digital stock photos from your digital camera or mobile
  2. Import the image to any of the recommended apps
  3. Edit crop and export

The following images were shot with the Canon S100 a 12.1 MP camera incredibly sharp and great optics, edited with Camera Plus.

ig badge 48 How to edit photos with the lomography effect

Funny looking digital retouching

Digital retouching has no limits, on this portraits photographer Cristian Girotto has made his subjects much younger, not only reducing the signs of age but returning them to childhood.  These charming portraits of adults digitally retouched to look like funny children look closer to what hobbit would look like.

 Funny looking digital retouching

3 great reasons to buy the Canon EOS M

The Canon EOS M released in November 2012 took nearly 4 years to enter the mirrorless DSLR market. The new camera, a hybrid of the Canon DSLRs and point and shoots promises to be a tough competitor for the Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds (MFT) cameras. This time Canon thought more on integrating more DSLR features into the EOS M, like the image sensor, lenses and focus systems. Additionally the EOS M has included features that improve lacks on higher end DSLRs, like continuos focus for video and better video setting features.

These are the 3 great reasons to buy the Canon EOS M

1. Significant larger sensor than the competition

Currently the Canon EOS M is the mirrorless DSLR with the largest sensor in the market. The Canon EOS M has been built with a whopping 18 megapixel APS-C sensor. This is the same sensor size used in cameras like the 50D, 7D and 60D. Instead of producing a midrange sensor like the competition, Canon kept their original DSLR sensor format and adapted it to their new mirrorless camera. One of the advantages of the APS-C sensor is that it is 40% larger than its rival the MFT sensor, and almost double the size of the Nikon CX sensor which is the smallest of all on mirroless cameras. Sensor size matters and the APS-C is the king in terms of size and pixel resolution. Also a larger sensor is directly related with better bokeh (blurry background) and shallower depth of field, since there is less crop on the image.

buy canon eos m 300x227 3 great reasons to buy the Canon EOS M

2. Continuos focus during video recording

One of the great failures of recording video with DSLRs is their poor focus capability. Manual focusing has been the standard in DSLRs for years, and it takes a lot of practice to master manual focusing on video. Although many professionals like Philip Bloom recommend manual focus on DSLRs, many users prefer quick and ease of use. The new system introduced in the EOS M is the Movie Servo AF Mode for continuous focus tracking of moving subjects. This system is an adaptation of the popular AI Servo mode used for tracking moving subjects on stills. The Movie Servo AF Mode is a feature lacking on many DSLRs, like the Canon 7D and 60D, but fully implemented on the EOS M.
Similar continuos focus features already exist on other mirrorless brands, however the Canon mode seems to be more promising due to better compatibility on EF and Efs mount lenses.

3. Interchangeable lenses with other Canon Ef and Efs lenses

Another important feature on the EOS M is the possibility of mounting EF and EFS lenses on your mirrorless camera. This is possible with the recently released Canon EOS M Mount Adapter which sells for $200. The adapter will allow you to use other Canon lenses (162 in total) and take advantage of their digital features like auto-focus, aperture and exposure controls, unlike other MFT cameras mount adapters which allow you to operate the lens on manual only.

canon eos m lens adapter 300x225 3 great reasons to buy the Canon EOS M

Canon took 4 years to release their mirrorless dslr, but without an excuse the EOS M is definitely a very promising camera that proves to be a great companion for high quality video and photography at a reasonable budget.  So if you are doubtful about getting the Canon EOS M you should consider the reasons listed above before buying it because they are the main competitive advantages this camera can offer.

Great Video Review of the Canon EOS M

Shooting landscapes and close-ups in the outdoors

When shooting photos in the outdoors you have a wealth of options to decide from on how to shoot nature. You have landscapes, like mountains, lakes, oceans and forests where you need wide-angle and panoramic lenses. And you have the miniature world of nature with flowers, small animals and insects where you can grab a great amount of detail in their smallness. In this article we will explore the two most common types of outdoor photography and how to shoot them, landscape and close-up photography.

Landscape or close-ups?

In the outdoors you have millions of options, the vastness of nature and almost microscopic universe of the fauna and flora is all yours for you to shoot. It is up to you to decide how you want to shoot your landscape and close-up pictures of nature. Personally I prefer landscape, therefore in my outings I usually take my Canon DSLR with a couple of wide-angle lenses, a Canon 10-22mm or a 17-55mm. These wide-angle lenses allow me to get the whole landscape and capture de greatness of the location I am shooting. However, do not underestimate the power of your point and shoot and/or cellphone.

gallery placeholder 1 Shooting landscapes and close ups in the outdoors

Nowadays standard point and shoots have a landscape mode feature that automatically gives you settings for shooting outdoors and most of them have a panoramic photo setting that can stitch a couple of frames into a super wide-angle panoramic photo. These are pretty useful when the camera frame is not enough to capture the whole setting. And if you have an iPhone with the latest iOS5 you have the option to shoot panoramic photos directly from your phone. I have tried the iPhone panoramic feature and it is fantastic, additionally you can download panoramic photo apps that give you super advanced frame stitching options that make your shoot look almost surreal. Here is an example of super wide-angle panoramic photos of the great Swiss Alps outdoors.
Panoramic Photos of the Swiss Alps

Close-ups of Nature

The outdoors can also give you great opportunities to shoot close-up photos. To accomplish that you would need a good zoom lens for long distance closeups or a macro lens for short distance closeups. These types of lenses are often expensive, however for low budget photographers a good point and shoot can offer you both decent zoom and closeup macro features that can allow you to shoot a few centimetres from your subject.

 

Nowadays these features have migrated to mobile photography and most of the inbuilt mobile cameras offer you decent macro features. In terms of zoom photography, mobile phone cameras fall short since the lenses in these devices are so small that do not allow to fit a lens barrel to be long enough to have zoom ability. However, recently many accessories have been released that can give your mobile phone the ability to shoot zoom, macro and even fisheye pictures.

With today’s technology there are virtually no limitations in shooting landscape or close-up photos in the outdoors, even with a low budget you can afford a decent point and shoot that can give you amazing shots. And for those with a much more restricted budget a phone with a good panoramic photo app can be the best easy to carry companion when shooting in the outdoors.

 

New Canon 7D Firmware Update Revamps The Monster DSLR

canon 7D new firmware 2 New Canon 7D Firmware Update Revamps The Monster DSLR

Today I found that Canon had already released the new Firmware Update 2.0 which they have called “The Next Evolution”.  This new Canon 7D software update  brings new features and breakthrough enhancements to this camera.

Nuevas funciones del Firmware 2.0.x de la Canon 7D:

  • Higher maximum burst rate, up to 25 shots in one burst.
  • Compatibility with Canon’s GPS GP-2 System
  • Manual controls for audio on video mode
  • Expanded ISO form 3200 to 6400
  • In camera RAW processing.
  • In-camera JPEG resizing.
  • In-camera ratings from 0-5 stars.
  • Quick control during playback.
  • Customization of file names.
  • Time Zone settings
  • Faster scrolling of magnified images.

In addition to these changes, Canon might have also enhanced and corrected  digital and image processing minor issues. This update is a leap forward with the Canon 7D that extends the life and puts it on par with the new Canon models of similar rank.

The firmware can be downloaded from this link: Canon 7D Firmware 2.0

The 7D was launched in September 2009 and is still in production. At that moment the camera was the most advanced of its range. With 18 MP, an advanced focus system, high shutter speed, up to 8 frames per second and a revolutionary video in Full HD, the 7D outplayed almost every camera in the market, hence its nickname “The Monster”. The 7D is one of my favorite cameras due to its great versatility and high speed that achieves sharp images in any type of situation, call it sports, events or fashion photography.

Tools for Speeding Up Your WordPress

imagen tools 150x150 Tools for Speeding Up Your WordpressAs I mentioned in the article SEO Essentials for Photographers, the speed of your site is an important factor in the positioning of your website. This is because a fast page, is easier to crawl for the Google bots, and saves time for our users that usually get easily frustrated when our pages are slow.

In photography loading speed is a critical factor, since such pages have images, photo galleries and often videos, which make the pages slower than the average website.  There are several solutions to improve the speed of loading, and in this article I will recommend some that I use.

Before doing this first I recommend visiting these diagnostic tools load speed should be used before recording the changes that will recommend these include:

  • Google Page Speed (general diagnosis of the site structure and loading of the page)
  • Pingdom (scores, loading speed and load size)

There are many more but these are the ones I use, I would recommend seeking a more in order to compare and see the differences and relative velocity can be in many cases depending on the server location.

Following is a brief description of some essential tools to improve the speed of your site:

1. Cache Tools

The cache is a temporary memory site that is stored on your computer and saves time server connection instead using resources stored locally on your hard drive. These tools provide the basic elements of the page are recorded temporarily in the computer users, so that when they revisit the page is loaded much faster. Cache tools are also responsible to compress these files down faster and update whenever a change occurs.

A really good cache tool for WordPress I recommend is W3C Total Cache, this free plugin does several things like,

  • Page cache managemente
  • Compression for objects, html code, scripts, CSS and Java Script
  • Management of Content Distribution Network (CDN)

The tool is a bit technical for the average user but the default setup of W3C Total Cache is more than enough. In my case the install this tool to improve the loading speed by 15%.

2. Image Compression Tools

The main content in a photography website are the photos, it is important that these are large enough for good quality and small enough to lighten the page loading time. The basic thing is to find a standard format for uploading images, in my case I seek medium to high quality jpeg and a maximum size of 1024 x 1024 pixels and the image does not exceed 1000 KB or 1MB.

Additionally I use a service called Yahoo Smush it! which is a service of image compression. I do this through a free WordPress plugin called WP Smush.it. This plugin automatically compresses the images within WordPress lightening its size. In my case the compression is a 5.10% per image, little long-term but saves time in loading images. This will greatly improve the performance of the photo galleries and improve the site experience.

3. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDN or Content Delivery Network is a network that handles cache take the contents of your website on servers closer to those users. This prevents the user from having to connect to the source server in many cases this long distance to instead connect to the closest server and download content faster. This means that the CDN servers located globally stored in its cache and distribute your product faster to the users of that network.

There are several CDN, Akamai, Amazon Cloudfront another call, etc.. most are paid, but they are not expensive. I use a free one called Cloudfare. It is a basic service that redirects your CDN product Cloudfront servers to speed up page loading. This service improved the speed of my site by 10%. Test it and see the difference.

Conclusion

These are basic tools speed optimization, although not accelerate your site to 100 x 100 make small changes are noticeable long term. Photography websites by their nature need to have good content management and with optimal tools you can eliminate the frustration in the loading time of photos and galleries. I recommend you to at least try a couple of these and see if it improves your site performance, it also will help your site be more visited and crawlable by the Google bot.