1 Sept 2017

Landskrona Citadel

It's an oldie but I liked it so much I decided to post it again.

Wide vs Tele - Which One is Best?

I am often asked why peoples selfies make their faces look distorted and my answer is always the same, serves you right you narcissistic fool! Well no, not really. But the right answer is that the lens on your front cell phone camera is wide and therefore distorts your face making your nose look big.

In regular photography shooting with a wide lens close up has the same result, whatever is closest to the camera looks bigger and therefore the resulting picture is distorted and not a realistic representation of whatever it is you are photographing.

However, this also opens up some creative possibilities. Deliberate wide angle distortion can provide some artistic flair, or interest, or emotional tension, or merely highlight a certain part of an object or product.

I recently took some photos of my beloved motorcycle and was using my nifty Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 lens. The first photo was taken at 50mm and the second at 17mm. Which is best? Well that depends on what you are trying to achieve, your own personal taste, etc.

The tele produces a realistic representation of the subject at hand,  but to me the wide angle produces an entirely more interesting and dramatic photograph and leaves the viewer with a little more awe and wonder.  But that's just me.



So which one do you prefer?

23 Aug 2017

Faux Absolut Vodka Ad

I have always admired the Absolut Vodka ad campaign that used to run in magazines worldwide some years ago and always thought of how I would like to try and recreate something similar. I think it is a study in simplicity embracing the "less is more" ideology while having an attention capturing visual impact. The first step was to find a current news topic that would grab attention, hence I settled on Brexit and the "hard" or indeed "absolute" nature that it entails.

Next step, purchase said product and relevant prop, in this case a bottle of vodka and a Union Jack bowtie.

I studied the lighting techniques that the original ads used and tried to "reverse engineer" it. I used three studio lights, one from behind the backdrop shooting through a snoot, and two from the front on either side of the bottle shooting through two softboxes and positioned so as to give the two reflections in the shiny bottle cap.

After metering the lights and setting up the camera I shot two photos from a sturdy tripod mount, one with only the rear light and one with only the two front lights, and then spent a little time on the computer editing and combining the two to achieve the effect I was after.

The final step was looking up which font they originally used in their campaign, download and install it and then finish off the advert with authentic Absolut punchline at the bottom.

Lighting setup pull back shots below.

16 Feb 2017

Food Photography, with whatever camera you happen to have on hand...

I originally (many years ago) trained as a chef in South Africa and I was quite good at it (if I say so myself) but circumstance and providence led me along other paths for many years. However a couple of years ago I received a good offer and took up a position as a chef at a company here in Sweden. This has of course left me with less time to pursue my love of photography, hence the slowing down to a crawl of this blog.

At work I have been called on many times to photograph dishes for the company website and the requesting always comes when the only camera I have with me is my phone camera. I do not have the latest and greatest, but I have found that with my old Samsung S5 and the incredible Snapseed photo manipulation software for Android I can get amazingly good results. While the fine detail and colour management I get from my DSLR is undoubtably much MUCH better I think that at internet resolution the photo below is just great!

Bear in mind that this was taken, edited and published directly from my phone with only window light in between my normal duties as a chef. It is no wonder then that camera sales are plummeting and photographer jobs are scarcer by the day...