Old warhorses never die

Mostnica is the most well-known gorge in Bohinj. It is a great place to visit with the whole family since the trail is very easy and there are numerous spots of interest that are quite safe.

To photograph some of the more difficult places, however, you need to bring at least one long lens.  Wide angled lenses are well, too wide for some shots. The problem is that professional-grade lenses are big and heavy, and since you will be shooting with small apertures there is thus no need for a ‘Pro’ lens.

This is where the old warhorses come in. One of the most famous old-timer is the Nikon 75-150mm f3.5 Series E lens. This lens was made famous by the late Galen Rowell who used it to make the iconic Rainbow over the Potala Palace shot.

As well regarded as this lens is, it is a difficult old beast to use. First, it has that zoom creep signature and secondly the focus ring is loose as a goose. To get the most out of this lens you need to put a rubber band around the barrel to stop it creeping. Otherwise, as soon as the camera is angled downwards the lens will creep down to 70mm. All shots then need to be composed using Live View and at its maximum aperture of f3.5. When you get the focus right, only then do you stop down to the aperture that you want to shoot with.

But hey, the results are worth the effort. So, don’t even think of retiring those old warhorses. Like me, they just need that extra touch of TLC (Tender Loving Care) to get the best out of.

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By | October 24th, 2014|Categories: Tips|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Blue Zone

Aleš mentioned to me some time ago that Slovenia’s most famous photograher – Arne Hodalič – refers to the light around dusk as “Blue Light”.

This is when there is a perfect match between light above and light at ground level.

However, this is not what I am interested in here. I am interested in the period that I call the Blue Zone. This is about 15 minutes after the Blue Light period and there is now only a trace of light in the sky and the ground is almost dark. What I want to capture is some brilliance in the sky but man-made lights on the ground, and to work with deep shadows.

So, here are the tips:

1. get to the location at least 30 minutes before sunset and work the composition
2. fix the focus point now as later on it will be too dark for the camera to lock focus
3. put on a 3 stop ND filter (or 2 stop ND or CPL) and attach remote shutter release that can lock
4. switch to M-mode and biggest aperture (f2.8) and make sure ISO is 100
5. check metering and adjust shutter speed as required until correct reading is 13 seconds
6. you are now in the Blue Zone
7. change aperture to f11 and shutter speed to Blub
8. release shutter for 300 seconds
9. if you find that you didn’t get enough lights on the ground try again with a 2-stop ND but use 600 seconds
10. you are now out of the Blue Zone
11. wait until it is completely dark to capture the stars or go home

Easy right? No. Come on a tour of the night sky with Aleš and I, and we will take you through the steps slowly.

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By | October 22nd, 2014|Categories: Tips|Tags: , , |0 Comments

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun

OK, so I don’t have a mistress or something like that in case you are wondering. It’s from a song by Sting (Sister moon).

Anyways, Photography is full of seductions and one of them is the challenge of shooting into the sun. There’s nothing else quite like it. You can get some great results or some really bad ones.

There are a number of ways to include the sun in the shot. For example, here is a shot from Aleš:

Pokljuka forest

However, when you don’t want the sun in the image you want to avoid direct light hitting the lens.

One simple technique to deal with problems when the sun just hits your lens is to place a hat at an angle to the camera so that the lens doesn’t take a direct hit from the sun. This also works with other light sources such as street lamps or car headlights.

You can see in the shots below how much of a difference it makes. If you want more tips like this, then you are invited to a workshop run by Aleš in Pokljuka this Saturday (18.10.2014).

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Leave the mistress behind and bring a small umbrella instead. Aleš will show you how much more useful it can be.

 

By | October 16th, 2014|Categories: Workshops|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Infinity and beyond

A couple of weeks ago I went to one of my favorite gorges and was somewhat disappointed with what was available to shoot. Not too bad, but the water was just a tad low.

Today I went back after some good overnight rain and now it is cream-De-la-cream. Beyond words!

Now is the time to come to Bohinj to see and photograph the gorges. In a few weeks time everything will be too red for my taste.

Aleš and I would be happy to suggest to you when and where to shoot. Of course if you want to learn what is needed to create such images we would be even more happy to run private tours especially tailored to your needs.

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And if you are a Zen Master like my friend Davorin Zalokar, you can take a dip in the secret infinity pool below. A word of warning though, the water is seriously cold!

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Teaching an old dog new tricks

Aleš and I ran a short photo tour called Mali Bohinj on the 11th of October with a group of 13.

It was a beautiful warm autumn day and it was supposed to be a small loop around the village of Studor. However, we made a side trip to Lake Bohinj as there was not enough water in the Ribnica gorge.

At one of the spots for an exercise I explained how the shot should be done. Having shot the Lake for so long I had thought that I knew all there was to know.

Mitja Sodja who is a friend and professional photographer came along for the tour and made some shots that made me realize that there are always new ways to see and photograph the Lake.

So, it’s not at all true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. He can even learn in his own “backyard”.

And thanks to all who came along. We hope to see you again next time.

Photos by Mitja:photo_tour_mali_bohinj_2014_08

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By | October 12th, 2014|Categories: Workshops|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Mingalaba

Aleš made such a difficult challenge for this month that not many shots were submitted. You may remember that the challenge was for 35mm using a panning method.

I have absolutely no good panning shots so instead I will tell a funny story.

In the first image below are friends of Tina and I who come to visit us when they can. Normally, with other friends we exchange stories like how we went hiking around here, swimming down in Croatia or maybe shopping in Ljubljana.

With Goran (not his real name, for taxation reasons) we first exchange greetings in Burmese. That is, Mingalaba! After some chit-chat I would ask “So, how was your weekend?”. Goran would casually say something like “Oh, I delivered an Airbus A380 to some Malaysian Airline”. And when he says “Natalie (also not her real name) and the kids flew with me from Seoul to Siem Reap (Cambodia)”, he means that he – the pilot, actually did the flying.

Anyways, I tried to “pan” the kids on the horses but I don’t think they are the standard that Aleš was after.

October is my turn again and to make things easy for everyone I have chosen 24mm landscapes.

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By | October 1st, 2014|Categories: Challenge|Tags: , , |0 Comments