L’Enfant Extérieur

January 31st, 2013

L’ENFANT EXTERIEUR

I love these!
Photographer Curtat Quentin and retoucher Cristian Girotto really has executed this concept perfectly.
I really like that you can’t really even see what exactly is done to these.
I don’t think it’s just liquifying the bodies smaller and making the heads larger.
I think there is quite a lot of work to really get all these different things to look like a “grown up kid”.

“Without bothering Jung and its “Puer aeternus” or Pascoli with its “Little Boy”, we can certainly agree that, somewhere inside each of us, there’s a young core, instinctive, creative but also innocent and naïve. What would happen if this intimate essence would be completely revealed?
L’ Enfant Extérieur (The Outer Child) takes into analysis this possibility, showing us a world of men in the shape of children, as if the body could slip on the ugliness of life, less expected to imagine big fawn’s eyes winking in the night clubs or little chubby hands shaking in the offices.
An examination that begins from the classical dichotomy shape-substance and that questions itself about the nature of purity and the unavoidability of the corruption, without taking itself too seriously, because in the end, you know, children like to play.
( Text by Michele Panella / ioadv.it)”

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Finnish commercials, voitto.

January 29th, 2013

FINNISH COMMERCIALS, VOITTO

It’s time to choose the best Finnish commercial, Voitto

Here are some of my favorites this year:

And even a video from the company I work for is shortlisted:

Which one is your favorite, and remember to vote.

Is Sigma kicking Canon L´s ass?

January 14th, 2013

Canon 35mm 1.4 vs Sigma 35mm 1.4

My strategy when buying camera gear has been to pay a bit more to get the best.
Instead of buying a bit cheaper and then not being satisfied and then selling and then buying the thing I actually wanted in the first place and losing money.
And this has usually been the case when it comes to buying a third party lens or paying a bit more and getting the quality of a Canon L lens.
The quality difference has never been that huge but if you want the best, then you need to pay a bit more.

But what if you could pay a bit less and get a bit more?

If we are looking at the sample shots and the test results Sigma is actually beating the Canon 35mm in pretty much every category.
In the end it’s not THAT surprising, we have to remember that the Sigma 35mm F/1.4 came out in late 2012.
Canon 35mm F/1.4 L came out 1998.
So Sigma is competing against a 15 year old lens.

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Here are the pros and cons when people are talking about the Sigma vs. the Canon.

Sigma
+ Sharper than the Canon
+ Cheaper than the Canon (800 euros vs. 1300 euros… ish)
+ less chromatic aberration than the Canon (Those blue/red colors that come on the edge of subjects)

Canon
+ Better Bokeh?
(Most people think that Bokeh, (the blurred part of an image) is better the rounder the blurred parts are. Been seeing that people are saying that the Sigma is more the shape of an onion or a cats eye than it is round.
But now people have been looking at examples of the Canon and noticing the same problem.
+ Faster focusing (1/10th faster)
+ less vignetting

But most people are talking about:
Sigma – Sharper photos vs. Canon – Better Bokeh on the photos

But I actually think that the “bokeh” is better on the Sigma.
I think it´s rounder and it doesn´t have the chromatic aberration on the blurred parts.

Now all of the info I have is just of test photos on the net and what people are saying on the forums.
I don´t have either the Sigma or the Canon… yet, mostly because I can´t decide which one I should get.
I wanted to get the whole Canon L set but I wont pay more to just get the red circle and get worse quality.
So at the moment I´m leaning towards the Sigma.
Then there has been rumors about the Canon 35mm F/1.4 II for years.
Maybe they will release it sooner now that they have more a competition?
And if they release it will it be in the same price range as the new Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II = way too much for the small quality upgrade it has imo.

People has as well been saying that with Sigma it´s a bit of luck if you get a good copy or not.
So far I have been really lucky with all my copies.
But they are now fixing this as well.
The problem has been that the lens has been either front or back focusing.
Which means that even if you focus on something, the shot will not be sharp.
There are ways to check if your lens is front or back focusing with different graphs and lines that you print out.
If your lens has this problem, you can also fix it with your camera in a setting called: Micro adjustment.
More info on how to fix it here:

Micro Adjustment tutorial

But Sigma is also aware of this problem and is now releasing a Sigma USB dock as well, but haven´t heard that this has been needed with the new 35mm lens.

I still haven´t been able to decide but I have seen that people are now selling their Canon L lens and bought the Sigma.
And I haven´t seen one Canon 35mm being sold as a second hand lens in about a year in Finland and now they are on popping up everywhere.
Which also means you can get the Canon as used for the same price as the new Sigma.

So which one would you choose?

Take a look at what some other people think about the lens as well.
They have more photos and tests when they actually have the two lenses to try out.

lcap.tistory Sigma vs Canon 35mm

Fstoppers Sigma 35mm review

the-digital-picture.com Sigma 35mm review

jaycassariophoto

Lens rentals

sam hurd photography

the-digital-picture.com sigma vs canon

Girl with the glowing orb

January 3rd, 2013

GIRL WITH THE GLOWING ORB

Last year when I was in Thailand I went to look at these amazing looking temples on to of a mountain.
When I took the background shot, I knew I wanted to build something from that background.
I had this idea of a girl with an orb probably for a year in my head before I actually had time to go and shoot the rest of the shot.

So here are some step by step shots on how I made the “Girl with the orb.”

Click on the photo to watch a bigger version of it.
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I started with a photo I took in Thailand last winter.

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I wanted to get a more evening mood to the photo, so I changed the sky.

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I photographed a girl in my studio and tried to match the perspective of the background shot.
Usually you shoot models with a zoom lens but here when I had shot the background with a wide angle lens, then I had to shoot the model in the same way.
I had to stand on a table to get the shot from the same angle and I shot her at 16mm which was the same length that I shot the background at.

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I had my main light from a large octabox to match the sun.
You can see from where the sun is coming from, from the shadows from the stairs.
I wanted to add a bit more dimension to the model so I added left and right rim lights.
Then I added a flash with a grid on from in front that lit up her hands and stomach to pretend that there was light coming from the orb that I knew that I wanted to add in later on.

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I added the model, but without the shadows she really looks out of place.

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So I added the shadows.
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I then added the orb.

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I felt that everything was a bit too symmetrical so I added a humming bird to break up the symmetry a bit.

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Erik Almas – On Aspects of Image Making, DVD

December 13th, 2012

ERIK ALMAS – DVD

Erik Almas is still one of my favorite photographers of all time.
So much creative stuff coming from this man.
He just released a new DVD where he reveals some of his secrets.
So now I have this DVD on my Christmas wishlist. We’ll see if Santa is on a good mood this year.

The lawyer shoot with a few tricks.

December 13th, 2012

THE LAWYER SHOOT

This was a quite fun shoot because it was quite a challenge to figure out how to actually get it shot.
So I got a job to photograph lawyers.
We went through the style they wanted and we looked at some examples what we would like to achieve.
We decided on a black and white shot with quite a shallow depth of field.
We didn’t want to just shoot it in the studio, because we wanted something in the background as well.
So we decided to shoot it in their office.

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Problem number 1.
My plan was to shoot with a Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 at around 200mm at around 5.6 which should get me the shallow depth of field that I wanted.
I went to check out the place, and noticed that the rooms aren’t big enough to shoot at 200mm which I was a bit afraid of.
(If you shoot with a long lens the depth of field will be a lot more shallow than shooting with a wider lens. For example shooting at F/8.0 at 200mm will still get a blurry background but if you shoot with a 24mm at F/8.0 everything will be almost in focus)

Problem number 2.
So plan B, shorter lens and larger aperture.
I was able to shoot with my Canon 85mm F/1.2 II if I got close to the wall on the other side of the room.
Did some test shoots and noticed that I still had a problem getting the background blurred enough.
I moved the subject as far as possible from the background to get as much shallow depth of field.

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Problem number 3.
I ended up using F/1.8 to get the depth of field I wanted to have.
Now I knew that my studio flashes which I used would never be able to shoot as low power as needed to be able to shoot at F/1.8.
(Studio flashes has a minimum power which usually is quite much power, and studio flashes has a sync speed that you can’t go over. Which means that you can’t shoot over 1/160sec which is my sync speed on my gear, faster than that and I will start getting black borders at the bottom of the photo)
Because of this reason I use the D-lites 2 instead of the D-lite 4 for example, because the D-lite 2 can shoot at a lower power than the D-lite 4.
So now my settings are at: Iso 100, 85mm , f/1.8, 1/160. Which is looking good, but now I don’t have any flashes on, and the person is looking really flat.
So I put the flashes in the right places at the lowest power and took a test shot. Everything super over exposed, just as I thought.
So here comes the ND filter to the rescue.
I have a few different ND filters with different stops, I used the Hoya ND8 which is a 3 stop ND filter.
So now comes the math, I am at F/1.8 and I want to use a 3 stop ND filter, so what power should I use my flashes at?
If you have checked out my other articles on lights, you know that 3 stops means that you go from 1.8 -> 2.5 -> 3.5 -> to F/5.0, which is 3 stops.
So I used my light meter and changed the power of the flashes until I got them to F/5.0, this is where light meters come in handy.
So now I had the right exposed face which shot at F/1.8 but with the ND filter even if the flashes are firing at a power for F/5.0, which is pretty much the lowest you can go at ISO 100 and 1/160 sec.

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Problem number 4.
Everything is looking good, except the background.
I have 1 light from in front, and 2 from behind, but I don’t have a forth light with me which I would have wanted to put on the background.
But a fun little trick that you can do is to change your shutterspeed, changing your shutterspeed doesn’t change the exposure from the flashes, but it changes the exposure of the ambient light in the room.
So I took the shutter speed down from 1/160 to 1/60 which wasn’t much, but I got a bit more light to the background, which was just enough.
I used a beauty dish from in front of the subject which I also used to make a glow around the persons head, because it first lights up the subject then continued to the door in the background.

So in the ended up being quite a challenging shot where you needed to use quite a few different techniques, and while looking at the shot it still looks quite basic.

Sometimes life isn’t fair (for Diego Verges)

December 12th, 2012

SOMETIMES LIFE ISN’T FAIR (DIEGO VERGES)

Really got sad and pissed of when I saw this video on Diego Verges Facebook page.

Come on, the guy goes to Russia to help out with a human rights organization and get’s attacked by some asshole who steals his camera gear.
And not just that, he goes around the world helping out people in difficult situations.
There are so many people doing bad things in the world, then when someone really tries to help, he gets beat up and looses all his stuff, just feels so wrong.
Someone should start a fundraising and get enough money together to get Diego a new camera and a new tilt shift lens.

Diego Verges Portfolio

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Reuters – Best photos of the year 2012

December 11th, 2012

REUTERS – BEST PHOTOS OF THE YEAR 2012

Here are the 95 best photos from this year from the Reuters photographers.
Check out all 95 photos on Reuter’s site, and read the description, makes the photos even more amazing when you read the story behind it.

BRAZIL/

INDIA/

AFGHANISTAN

PAKISTAN/

STORM-SANDY/HURRICANE

CHINA/

OLY-MOON-DAY7/

PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/PROTESTS

STORM-SANDY/

UN-CLIMATE/

STORM-SANDY/

NEPAL

SPACE-SHUTTLE/

KOREA-NORTH/

I stumbled on some really interesting statistics on Gizmodo on how this shots were taken by the Reuters photographers.

CAMERAS
cameras

PRIME LENSES
primes

ZOOM LENSES
zooms

SHUTTER SPEEDS
shutterspeeds

F-STOPS
aperture

ISOS
ISO

Which means that the most popular combo is the Canon 1D Mark IV with a 16-35mm lens at 1/320 sec at f/2.8 at ISO 200.
(Am I the only one that found those statistics interesting, even if it really hurt my eyes and brain to try to figure out which means which on those pies.)

354 Photographers

December 11th, 2012

354 PHOTOGRAPHERS

354 Photographers (Maxime Delvaux and Kevin Laloux) has some really nice shots and retouching jobs.
But I especially like this “box” section.

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Fujifilm X100, a pocket camera worth buying?

December 8th, 2012

FUJIFILM X100

There has been so many times when I’m driving home from work.
There is snow in the trees, the streetlights lights up the street in a very mysterious way.
And you think to yourself, that would make an Awesome photo!
And of course your big DSRL is in your camera bag at home.
So I thought that enough is enough, I don’t want to miss all these opportunities again.
So I started going through different pocket cameras that I could fit in my bag or in my pocket in my jacket.
I’m really no expert on digital pocket cameras, but I would say there are 2 kinds of compact cameras, the ones with the lens built in and the one where you can change the lens.
I got really interested in these new Canon M cameras.
Those would be great, I already have the lenses and the quality is really quite good!
But then you have the same problem, you need a bag to carry around those lenses.
So I started to look at cameras which has the build in lens.
There are the Canon G10,G11,G12,G15 series, I do like these, but you can still see on the photos that they are taken with compact camera.
Then there is the new G1 X, this one is the Newest one of the Canon series.
This one has almost everything you need, almost everything that a DSLR has.
It has 16x more zoom than the Fuji X100, it has image stabilization which the Fuji lacks.
The fuji is a PRIME, you can’t zoom with it, it is a 23mm lens, (which becomes a 35mm with it’s sensor)
It has a flip out screen and has a larger screen than Fuji.
It is a lot faster than the Fuji.
And is cheaper than the Fuji.
So why not buy the Canon? I am a huge Canon fan.

There are 3 reasons why I went with the Fuji.
1. It has a larger sensor, a 40% larger sensor.
2. Because of the larger sensor and it has a wider aperture (F/2.0), I can get the depth of field (Bokeh) that I like so much.
3. Because of the sensor, it’s better in low light.

It actually has a larger sensor than for example a Canon 60D (APS-C 23.6×15.8mm vs APS-C 22.3×14.9mm).
And I wouldn’t mind having a Canon 60D in my pocket all the time :)

ISO 1600, F/2.0, 1/60 sec
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ISO 3200, F/2.0, 1/50 sec
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ISO 3200, F/2.0, 1/50 sec
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ISO 800, F/2.2, 1/105 sec
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ISO 800, F/5.6, 1/400 sec
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ISO 800, F/5.0, 1/320 sec
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ISO 800, F/2.5, 1/120 sec
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If money wouldn’t be an issue, there are still the Sony DSC-RX1 and the leica M8 and the leica M9
The Sony and the M9 are full frame sensors, so they are still a bit nicer than this one.
But the Leica M9 has the lenses and is fully manual… and it is a bit out of my price range :)
But if someone want’s to trade his or her Sony RX1 with my Fuji X100, I am willing to do so :)

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I’ve only had my Fuji X100 for about a week but here are my Pros and Cons so far:
+ Image quality
+ Image quality at high ISO’s
+ Compact size
+ Design (I do like the retro look)
+ A bunch of fun small functions, panorama, ratings of photos, photo styles.
+ Build quality
+ Prime lens, I get more creative compositions while using a prime rather than using a zoom.

- Not the fastest focus.
- I’m having a hard time knowing when I should change to or from Macro mode.
It doesn’t automatically change to or from macro mode and it doesn’t tell you if you can’t focus because something is too close.
- The menu button isn’t the easiest to press down, I often press the “menu up” button by mistake for example.
- The manual focus is a bit hard to use.
- Prime lens, sometimes it still it could be nice to zoom.
(But how often do you actually zoom with a pocket camera? I never use it on any pocket cameras I have)

So should you buy this camera?
It all depends what you are after.
This is great little camera if you want almost the same quality as your DSLR but you don’t want to carry around your big DSLR.
But if you want camera that will focus quickly and you can shoot sports as well as landscapes with it, then this might not be for you.

SIGMA 24-70 mm F2.8 EX DG VS. CANON 24-70 F2.8 L

October 9th, 2012

Sigma 24-70 F2.8 EX DG Macro vs. Canon 24-70 L I

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For many years I wondered if I should buy the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro or the Canon 24-70 F2.8 I L
I didn’t have much money at the time so I went with the Sigma.
In the back of my mind I have always had the feeling that I should have bought the Canon.
But of all my lenses, I have probably used the Sigma 24-70 the most.
It’s just a good all around lens, but lately I have started wondering if I should sell this and buy the Canon.
Before I do that, I borrowed the Canon 24-70 and did some quick tests.
I have always felt that the Sigma isn’t really sharp enough compared to all my other Canon L lenses I have.
But now when I’m comparing the Canon 24-70 against my Sigma 24-70 I’m not really seeing a huge difference.
And to check that I´m not the only not seeing the big difference, I’m not going to tell you which one is the Canon and which is the Sigma.

WHICH ONE IS CANON AND WHICH IS THE SIGMA, TOP OR BOTTOM?

(It’s brand X on top and brand X below on all photos, shot with a Canon 5D mkII)

Shot at 24mm at f/8 ISO 800
Click on photo to see full size.
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Shot at 24mm at f/2.8 ISO 800

Click on photo to see full size.
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Shot at 70mm at f/8 ISO 800
Click on photo to see full size.
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Shot at 70mm at f/2.8 ISO 800
Click on photo to see full size.
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My pros and cons.
Canon:
+ Canon is quieter.
- Double the price.

Sigma:
+ Half the price.
+ Has Macro functions.
- Loud while zooming and focusing.
- Zooming in the “wrong” direction. (turns in the opposite directions than all my other lenses)

The Walking Dead – behind the shoots

June 27th, 2012

THE WALKING DEAD – BEHIND THE SHOOTS

About a month ago there was the official Zombie Walk day in Helsinki.
I’ve missed it the passed years and only seen photos by other photographers of the event later on.
So this year I wrote the date in my calendar and went out to shoot for an hour or so.
Before I started to shoot, I knew I wanted to do some kind of photo manipulation of these shots, instead of just shooting them at the spot.
So I shot ever zombie I saw so that the light came from the same direction and I wanted full body shots of all the zombies I shot.
So after cutting out people for a few days I was able to put them together in a new photo.

It got a bit inspired by the TV show, The Walking Dead.

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Here are some shots before the zombies got cut out.

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