05 December, 2011

Shutter Therapy

Hi all
It's been a while since I took some photos, and as such I decided to take advantage of the blue sky and exercise my fisheye lens. As this lens distortion is most evident at straight lines, I looked for round objects. The recently rebuilt HaBima theatre in Tel-Aviv was found to be the perfect location.
As it was a sunny day, with bright buildings and dark shades I decided to use 0.7ev bracketing and later use HDR software to refine the result. I used Photomatix Essentials 3.1.1 which I purchased recently, so without any further delay, here are the photos:

and after a gentle HDR treatment:

The 2nd photo has enhanced colors, but aside of it there is no real difference between them.
Here is the front side of the building, starting from the original photo:

and the HDR, which, I think improves the visibility inside the building

and another version, which is more artisitic...

I took photos of a near by small garden, above the underground parking, here is how it looks with a regular lens

Taken with fisheye lens:

and enhanced by Photomatix

Now, let's see the famous 3-coins statue, partially obstructing the sun (Post processed)

And last, a regular photo of a scooter :)

That's all for today

21 November, 2011

Padlocks in the Colosseum

Hi all
While visiting the old part of Rome, and enjoying the beautiful weather, I saw a strange thing: Tens of padlocks where connected to each other in some places, as you can see here:

It took me some time to find a reference (thanks Google...) to the source of this phenomena: These are locks of love, usually put by young couples who write their names on the locks. They are cluttered in several places in Rome, especially at the oldest bridge of the city, Pone Milvio. It all started back in 2006 when a book and TV episode written by Federico Moccia where it is claimed that a couple who put their names on a padlock on a lampost on this bridge, and throw the key to the river will enjoy eternal love. So it seems that the legend found its way also to the surroundings of the Colosseum
More details are found at the following link

23 October, 2011

No Entry Sign in Rome

This street No Entry sign is located near the Pantheon in Rome

The artist is Clet, http://www.facebook.com/pages/CLET/108974755823172
I wonder if it helps obeying the law in Rome :)

22 October, 2011

Red Vespa in Rome

Hi all
it's impossible to think of Rome without the plurality of 2-wheel vehicles running all around.
The most famous one is obviously the Vespa, with its many years of history
They come with all colors, but the most noticeable is the red color :)

35mm, f/13, 1/80 Sec, ISO 100, Red filter applied, other red color areas removed later by post processing

17 October, 2011

My New Fisheye Lens

Hi all
Finally I received a fisheye lens: Samyang 8mm which is adapted to Sony A cameras.
It is a manually tuned lens, with very good reviews, so let's see some early shots with it...
Here is the very 1st one, just out of the box in a typical sunny Tel Aviv day (f/8, 1/500 Sec, ISO 400)

Next, I tried to see what happens when the sun is included in the picture - it is very difficult to avoid such cases due to the width of the lens: 180 degrees for my camera. The lens has a multy-layer coating which claims to do the work, and as you can see - it does it quite nicely (f/8, 1/800 Sec, ISO 400)

My next photos take you to Italy, as I used the opportunity of visiting Italy to experiment this lens
at TLV airport, with low light f/3.5, 1/40 Sec, ISO 800

and here is the main square in Todi, Umbria: (f/11, 1/125 Sec, ISO 100)

One of the key usages of fisheye kens is with landscape photography, and this is the view from Perugia, Umbria (f/11, 1/50 Sec, ISO100). Again, no real impact of the sun on the image quality, although included in the photo

Getting to Rome, I took a photo of the great monument of Vittorio Emanuele II, built with white marble stone
f/11, 1/100 Sec, ISO100.

One of the most visited buildings in Rome, is the Pantheon with its unique roof. No other lens can capture the ceiling as the height and diameter of this huge building are identical. here is the result with the fisheye, taken in low light conditions: f/3.5, 1/8 Sec, ISO800

This photo was also taken inside the Pantheon (f/3.5, 1/30 Sec, ISO3200). Again - very low light but as there are people in the photo I had to use 1/30 Sec and compensate with increased ISO

and last, that was my rented car, the beautiful Lancia Delta, F/11, 1/125 Sec, ISO100

Summary:
The Samyang 8mm is a good a solid lens. It behaves as a fisheye should behave, handling well direct sun light.
Pros:
Good built
low flare
low cost
Cons:
Sharp only for f/8 and higher
Manual control, no electronics inside the lens

06 August, 2011

Black Sea Summer Resorts - Sunny Beach

Hi all
This is the 2nd part of the Black Sea photos. In this part I'll describe the area north of Nessebar, which is called Sunny Beach and accommodates many hotels along its 6 km promenade.
It has a nice beach at day:

and at night:

Many new hotels are located there, each tries to outrun the other by lights and glamour, especially at night time:
Victoria Palace Hotel:

Helena Hotel at night:

Majestic Hotel at night:

and at day:

A Panoramic view:

And I'll wrap up this section with another photo of Majestic hotel and one of its pools

The Promenade
The best entertainment in Sunny beach is to take a night walk in the promenade, which quite a few tourists are doing...:

Once can stop by at a restaurant and have a BBQ

Buy a toy

Watch the Dancing show of the Casino (or enter and play)

Attend a "African" show at the hotel

or take a photo dressed as a Pirate

So, as you can see - anyone can find whatever he or she is looking for at Sunny Beach
That's all for the Black Sea Resorts

31 July, 2011

Black Sea Summer Resorts - Nessebar

Hi all
I would like to share with you some impressions from 2 adjacent places located on the west shore of the Black sea - Nessebar and nearby Sunny Beach
Nessebar (also appears as Nesebar)
an ancient Bulgarian town, located on a small island which is connected with a narrow bridge to the mainland
Very old, well preserved, unique atmosphere. This is claimed to be the oldest house in the town, located almost at the peak with windows at all 4 directions:

There are numerous souvenir shops, practically located everywhere, some offer unique local art, many are just "tourist traps"...



and some local crafts:


The town is famous with its churches, there are about 40 that survived the time, which makes Nessebar the town with the highest number of churches per capita. The most famous one is the Church of St Sophia dated from the 5th century. Due to its unique acoustics, the church is used for hosting open air music events

Here are several more photos of the Church of Christ Pantocrator, see the fine details in the 2nd photo:


The Church of John the Baptist (HDR On/Off)

In addition to the remain of the churches, there's also a fortress that protected the town from the mainland

and finally, let's have a view of Nessebar from Sunny Beach which will be described in part 2