21 May, 2011

A sunny day in Jaffa - Part 2

As promised I continue with my blog on the day in Jaffa, and here I would share with you some additional sites and even one surprise
Jaffa is best viewed from the north, as seen in the following photo

And here is how Jaffa looked ~100 years ago, ans pictured by the New Zealanders soldiers in WWI.

Origin of this photo is: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Sina-t1-body-d5-d2.html
Getting closer to the port, one can see several rocks in the see. The largest is named Andromeda Rock

Jaffa has many attractive sites, the most dominant one is St. Peter's Church:

and a panoramic view (using the a55 panorama scene)

The port itself also has some nice points such as:

Street Theater shows:

and sport activities:

View of Tel Aviv

...and a panoramic view from the top of the hill

Finally, as promised I have a surprising picture of a non conventional wedding that took place when I was near the Church

That's all for today's Jaffa visit :)

A sunny day in Jaffa - Part 1

Hi all
I decided to enjoy the wonderful weather (25 deg, clear sky) and go to Jaffa port to watch the exhibition of graffiti wall paintings

Obviously it was a good opportunity to test some of the a55 capabilities :)
All photos were taken with Sony 18-250mm lens
The wall paintings were all over the port, done by artists for a promoting a commercial company, here are several snapshots of them:

This photo demonstrates the contrast between the painted houses (actually a warehouse) and the other houses. It was taken using the Panorama scene, cropped at both sides

here are additional photos, click on the thumbnails

In part 2 I'll share with you the other attractions found in Jaffa

16 May, 2011

Let's have some fun with Fake Miniatures

Hi all
Let's have some fun with Fake Miniatures.
What are Fake Miniatures?
Wikipedia defines it as a process in which a photograph of a life-size location or object is made to look like a photograph of a miniature scale model. it is done by blurring the upper and lower parts of the picture, simulating a shallow depth of field. In addition the colors are enhances to create a toy like appearance
Others may call it TiltShift photography, as using tilted lens creates the same impact
I obviously took the simpler path of processing the digital image, and the number of options is large. One may do it manually by using image editing tools such as CS5, GIMP or Paint.net. Others may write scripts or use a dedicated plug-in. I found a very nice web based tool that automates all steps required to create a Fake Miniature, and does it quickly and in a simple manner. The tool is called TiltShift Maker, and is located in the following address: http://tiltshiftmaker.com/. You may use it free of charge for limited output resolution, and for higher resolution you need to pay per the picture size.
here is an example of taking a rather dull photo and converting it to a more interesting one using this tool
Before: St. Thomas island in US Virgin Islands

After: the red roof buildings are kept in focus while the other regions are blurred, look at the cars, how seems to be toy cars now

Now, some homework :) can you create your own Fake Miniature, either using this toll or any other and share it?
FYI, there's a group in Flickr, dedicated to TiltShift fakes: http://www.flickr.com/groups/tilt-shift-fakes/

15 May, 2011

Sony SLT A55 and Twilight Mode

Hi all
The Sony SLT-A55 is packed with features. Among them, a unique feature helps with taking photos at low light, such as outdoor evening or even night photos where there's some light.
To activate this feature, dial the Scene position and select Hand-held Twilight. Once you hit the shutter button the camera will shoot several times, and later use the individual shots for creating a merged photo with less noise and more details. As each of the individual shots is shorter compared to a single exposure, there is less blur for each of the individual photos and the end result is with lower noise and is sharper.
To illustrate the benefits of this feature I photographed my dog, while resting on the carpet at low light conditions
I used the SLT-A55 in programmable mode with 18-250mm lens at focal length of 150mm with aperture of 6.3, SteadyShot on
Here is a crop of the photos taken
Reference mode: shutter speed of 1/5, ISO 1600

Twilight mode: shutter speed of 1/30 (x6 times), ISO 6400

Links to the full pictures: Reference
The difference is quite obvious, showing the benefit of using this feature also for live objects :)
PS: it is possible to use this feature with flash as well, but the time between each shot is significantly higher...

Hello world!

About this blog
Reasons for blogging
I started this blog in order to share my experience as a relatively new comer to the Sony Alpha family of Digital cameras, specifically SLT-A55
This is not my first DSLR, however it's a unique one and calls for somewhat different usage compared to a more conventional DSLR