vrijdag 31 december 2010

rome with a 28 part 2, the vatican

When I went to the vatican it was a bright sunny day. I figured that the white buildings of the vatican and that blue sky would make a good photograph, especially if i used a polarizer. However there were so many people, and I could not get up to look over the square that i was not able to make a photograph of the St. Peter cathedral that i liked. However i did take a detail. This photograph is taken with the polarizer turned in such a way that it has the maximum effect because i was going for a contrasty, well saturated photograph.

From the top of the St. Peter on the other hand the people on the square were so small that they didn't matter at all. But the people on top of the St. Peter where another story. I felt like i was in a busy subwaystation fighting for a place in the subway. It was ridiculous that they allowed so much people there, I would have been happier with a longer line and less people on the St. Peter than the other way around. To get the photo i wanted from the wonderful view I just sprayed and prayed. Prayed for no people in the photographs, prayed for a good composition. In the end I got a few lucky hits, but wow I'm never going up there again.

The people downstairs were much nicer, near the exit of the St. Peter I found this man. I sat down on the other side of the doorway so I could take a photograph of him. He noticed me taking a first photograph of him (he just closed his eyes, my luck again), laughed and took this pose.

Well these were the highlights of Rome, I took around 360 photographs but I have process them yet. The thing I learned in Rome was to always take a prime. I saved so much time with it. I didn't have to worry about focal lengts or crops because when you are used to a certain focal length you get a feel for what will be in the photograph. The results are sharper as well, compared to the photographs i took with the 18-55 lens during the busride I am able to crop more than with the 18-55. 

Well next time I will put on something useful. A review of my lenses for instance, or how to focus manual in lots of situations. But during my visit to Rome i fel like writing down how much easier it is to take photographs with a prime lens, even though it sounds weird. 

happy newyear everyone

rome with a 28 part 1

Between 26 and 30 december I went to Rome with my family. I had a fantastic time, and Rome truly is a magnificent city. The colleseum for instance dates from the time when Christians were outlaws, and on the other side of the city there's the Vatican. The contrast couldn't have been larger. 
Needless to say, i took my camera with me. This is where the trouble started, having more than one lens. I could take every  lens i own, but this would not have been a wise thing to do. You have to consider that everything you take you will have to carry. I decided that i had to limit myself only to take 2 lenses. 
I took the 18-55 kitlens because i probably would take a bus-tour through the city and than i would need the versatility of a wide to normal zoomlens. 

And i took my 28mm f/3.5 because i really like this lens. It is a slightly wide normal lens on the DX format and probably would do a good job in the crowded streets of Rome. It turned out that this lens almost didn't get off my camera.

Our hotel was close to the colloseum, and we went there on the day we arrived. Even though it was an overcast day i was able to shoot at f/11. Using hyperfocus and F/11 gave me a large depth of field. For the family shots of my brother and my mother i didn't have to worry about focussing at all. However the contrast between the sky and the buildings and the ground was too large for my camera. I had to use a graduated neutral density filter. This filter, and a polarizer filter are always in my camera bag. They are light and during almost every shoot outside they can come in handy. 

The GND filter caused a new problem, the colloseum was way higher than the horizon. I just turned the filter a bit, that the line wasn't in line with the horizon anymore, but with the line which needed to be darkened. I payed very close attention to my composition, because the part beside the colloseum would be darkened. So it should not contain any information, or at least something important. 

The reason i took such pictures, not showing the whole structure, was that everyone knows the colloseum. We all have seen beautiful photographs of it. And that in order to show the whole colloseum you also need to include background. This background was crowded with tourists, busses, and other traffic. I decided to take only close crops of it to get better, less touristic shots.

As you can see in the photographs above the GND wasn't straight but tilted, you can see little lighter areas.I do not really mind this as long as it is not too obvious. It produces a slight halo effect, increasing the contrast between the building and the sky, without blowing out the sky.

However you can make mistakes really easy. The most  important thing, according to me, is that it looks true. One thing you should pay attention to is that you do not darken the buildings. With the photo below I messed up. But due to the darker part of the colloseum at the top it isn't really disturbing, even with this flaw i like this photograph. I particulary like the colours, how the blue makes a great contrast with the colours from the buildings. And that the colours from the colloseum kind of come back in the houses in the background.

In the evening i got back to the colloseum. This is something i certainly recommend when you visit a city, cityscapes look very different in artificial lighting. And most of the times there has been done some thinking about how to light important buildings. I found a small square which was a bit higher than the street. The street caught my attention when i was in the daylight at the colloseum because it made a turn just before it.
The traffic was fairly unpredictable because there were traffic lights just behind me. So i closed my aperture down to f/16 to get a shutter speed of 30 seconds. This way it wouldn't show up in the picture if there weren't as many cars as I hoped for. This approach did quite a good job, but if you look closer there's a traffic light in the middle of the picture as well. It turned out that I had to do 6 exposures before i got the picture i was going for.