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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

It’s “hip” to be square

In the 1960’s, if you said that someone was “square” it meant that they were very un-cool. And in those days something that was cool was said to be “hip”.

But in the 80’s the band Huey Lewis & the News came out with the song that said that it was now “Hip to be square”.

Whatever your view is on the square there is no doubt that as a photographic format it is a difficult composition for many a photographer.

This month’s challenge was the square format but with the 105mm lens.

Aleš and I are delighted that two guests submitted photos for this month’s challenge and we would like to thank them.

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By Petr Nucnuc1

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By Majid Alamgirmajid

By | September 2nd, 2014|Categories: Challenge|Tags: |0 Comments

Day trips from Bohinj and back

One of the best things about living in Bohinj (or just about anywhere in Slovenia) is that everything is close enough to do as day trips. Whether it’s skiing in Austria or shopping in Italy you can have a great day out and be back in time for dinner.

Although Bohinj has an endless amount of hiking trails some are a bit too long when you have young kids who can manage only an hour or two.

A great day trip to the north west of Slovenia is the Vrsič pass. From here there are kids-friendly trails with spectacular views.

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Head over and down the pass, and you are into the Trenta valley where the Soča river and its source are nearby.

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After lunch you can discover more of the delights of the Soča river before heading back up to the Vrsič pass and be back in Bohinj for a swim in the Lake. Or just relax by that tree which has been immortalized by Tomo Jeseničnik.

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By | September 1st, 2014|Categories: Day trips|Tags: , |0 Comments

Where else but Bohinj?

We all know that Bohinj is the best place in the universe for landscapes but I had never thought of it as being a great place for something that I call PortLands. This is a cross between portraits and landscapes.

A few days ago Petr, a friend and professional photographer, and his girlfriend Denisa from Czech came and stayed with us. Petr specializes in portraits and architecture, and he suggested that maybe we could shoot Denisa (a model) with Lake Bohinj as a backdrop.

Petr and Denisa have continued on with their travels so we can’t see Petr’s work right now (I will post a link later) but here are a few that I managed to get.

So, apart from classic landscapes you now have another reason to come to Bohinj – PortLands!

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IMG_9793Photo by Petr Nuc

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By | August 18th, 2014|Categories: Landscapes, Portraits|Tags: |0 Comments

Just a little “cheating”

The thing that I get asked a lot about my photography is whether or not I “cheat” using Photoshop.

Normally, I get pretty annoyed because I want to say “Look, Photoshop is just a tool, bla bla bla.”.

But sometimes Photoshop is necessary if you want to create an image the way you want but just can’t do it with one image.

With the Before and After image below you can see that the image works better when both the two guys in the background are looking at the tightrope walker. When only one of the guys is looking, the image doesn’t quite work.

So, it’s not really cheating. OK, maybe just a little bit.

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By | August 13th, 2014|Categories: Photoshop|Tags: |0 Comments

Think Different

Shortly after Steve Jobs went back to Apple inc (after being fired in 1985), in 1997 the company was only 3 weeks away from becoming bankrupt. He turned it around, and today, well…

One of the first major things Jobs did was to come up with a new slogan – Think Different. Of course, grammatically it should be Think Differently. But that’s Jobs for you.

Now, neither Aleš nor I are going to turn TLiB into anything like Apple but as photographers we need to constantly come up with new things to make our work interesting and relevant.

Aleš decided that he and I should have a monthly challenge so that we are as often as possible shooting outside our zone of comfort. So, the first challenge was for one of the least used lenses to a landscape photographer – 85mm.

Typically, the 85mm is for head and shoulder and/or 3/4 length portraits. Of course it can be used in many other ways.

So here goes:

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The challenge for August is with the 105mm lens but it must be a square format.

You are all invited to join in the fun. To make it easier for you just send us an image that is square. We will included it in next month’s challenge blog.

By | August 4th, 2014|Categories: Challenge|Tags: |0 Comments