Category Archives: Photography Tips

The New Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM lens: First Experiences and Sample Images

Since a week I’ve been a happy owner of the new Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM lens. I tested it in different situations and can share my first experience with it (spoiler: satisfied).

canon-85-1.4-lens-review

My new lens

For years I did not own a 85 mm prime: I had this focal distance covered by the amazing Canon 70-200 f/2.8L II IS US. It fits my style of shooting and I always got the results I wanted. But as I mainly work with natural light I regularly have situations when a fast prime portrait lens would be useful.

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New Photo Series: Pastel

Today I wanted to share something different: a few images from my experimental series. The preliminary title is “Pastel”. When I used to paint and draw pastel was one of my favorite mediums because of its softness.

During my last holidays in France I started a new series inspired by pastel. These photos are created using long shutter speed. It was not meant to show the existing movement. Actually, the idea was quite the opposite this time: adding movement to still objects and scenes. I moved my camera, let it kind of dance, to achieve this vagueness and softness of lines, faded shapes and mixing colors.

pastel-effect-olgarook-4

The night alley with dark blue sky (“Chorus”) had lately received an Honorable mention at the International Color Awards, and the Chinese vase was published in my online Vogue portfolio a few days ago. Hear are some more photos.

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Photography “Cheat Sheets”: focal length, crop-factor, DoF and a checklist for sharper photos

In my previous post I’ve shared with you a few “cheat sheets” on the exposure and its “big three” factors you can balance: aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

Today I want to share with you an overview on focal length and sensor size – how they affect your field of view, depth of field, how to use the crop-factor, etc. There is also a slide explaining how you can control the depth of field and a checklist on how to make your photos consistently sharp.

photography-cheatsheets-focal-length

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Photography “Cheat Sheets”: Exposure, Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO

Time to share some “technical” stuff – I hope you’ll find it funny and helpful. Photography is like a universal language we all understand. If you want to use it to express yourself better, then knowing its syntax is a good idea, right?

I offer workshops and one-on-one mentoring to amateur photographers seeking to bring their work to the next level. My mentoring clients have usually read books or blogs on photography and have understanding of its basic principles. But, as I have realized, sometimes it is still necessary to look back at the basics if they are not yet fully mastered on intuitive level.

So I have developed a number of slides for my workshops (and now also for you) that – I hope – provide a simple explanation of photography basics. A kind of visual summary, a mental shortcut to what you have already learnt. Do you own a DSRL camera but don’t yet dare to abandon the automatic mode? Then it’s for you!

Today I am sharing the cheat sheets on the ground principles of photography: exposure, aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

photography-cheatsheets-aperture

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Wall Art: Presenting the Photos

Portraits and artworks on the walls make a great difference when it comes to the atmosphere and psychological comfort you feel in a room. A room with naked walls would lack personal touch even when filled with design furniture. And a single image (of course, I am not talking about mass production here) can turn a boring home into a stylish one.

Some time ago we have talked about decorating your walls with photography. There are several ways of arranging photos (and other wall art) in a pleasing and coordinated way. It’s about balance and composition: depending on your taste and the room’s interior you may choose symmetric, asymmetric or eclectic approach.

When you plan to put a photo or a grouping of photos on a wall a question often arises: what kind of material and framing to use? Shall you have the photographs printed, matted and framed or do you prefer unframed photos mounted on canvas, aluminium (dibond) or plexiglas (acrylic)? There are several factors to consider here when you make this choice.

An example of photo presentation on a wall.

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Creative distortion: The large eyes

My story about a family photo reportage in Wassenaar wouldn’t be complete without one funny episode.

Some of my favorite photos from this session I made when we have already finished our photo session, on the way back. I was still making candid photos of little Floris from a distance, when Charlotte came to me and peeped directly into my long lens making funny faces. I quickly switched to the wide-angle lens and said to Charlotte: “Can you do it again for me?” She did laughingly, and suddenly all of the children stood in a row, jumping enthusiastically and wanted to do the same. Wide-angle lens creates a specific distortion of the proportions of nearby objects, and I could use it for a creative effect here. Just look at Olivia’s large shiny eyes – isn’t she a perfect symbol of joyful and carefree childhood?

Color portrait of a little blue-eyed girl laughing

And when I directed my wide lens from close and above at Diederick – who already has amazingly large eyes – then it just becomes unreal!

Creative children photography: a black and white portrait of a little boy with large eyes

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O, Jerusalem

Lat month I’ve spent a few days in Israel. It was peaceful then, and we had a wonderful excursion to Jerusalem. I’d like to share with you some images from that visit. This ancient city wrapped in mystery…

Jerusalem black and white photography: view on the city and the Dome of the Rock

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