Author Archives: Renato Volpe

National Park Plitvice Croatia

National Park Plitvice Croatia

National Park Plitvice Croatia

The national park is world famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Currently, 16 lakes can be seen from the surface. These lakes are a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean karst rivers. The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow. They are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The particularly sensitive travertine barriers are the result of an interplay between water, air and plants. The encrusted plants and bacteria accumulate on top of each other, forming travertine barriers which grow at the rate of about 1 cm (0.4 in) per year.

The sixteen lakes are separated into an upper and lower cluster formed by runoff from the mountains, descending from an altitude of 636 to 503 m (2,087 to 1,650 ft) over a distance of some eight km, aligned in a south-north direction. The lakes collectively cover an area of about two square kilometres (0.77 square miles), with the water exiting from the lowest lake forming the Korana River.

The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

Through different climatic influences and the large difference in elevation within the protected area, a multifaceted flora and fauna has been created. The national park area is home to many endemic species. Those species that prevailed at the lakes before the arrival of man still exist.

Posted in Travel

Photography – Your Lense On The World

DorucakI could start by saying that photography is the process of recording images by capturing light on a light-sensitive medium, such as a film or… But I hope you don’t mind, rather than sharing Information that is accessible in any library I’d like to talk about what makes me passionate about photography.

When I think about photography I think about a medium that is a visual form of expression. According to the objective; it can express a commercial or artistic idea. For me personally, photography is an artistic form of expression, a wonderful way to submit an idea quickly – within seconds by visual means.

There is something fascinating about how humans perceive their environment. For example we judge a person’s likeability within a fraction of a second. So studying and understanding the complex way in which an individual perceives the world around them is a great tool. It enables the photographer to communicate ideas without using words. This gives the persons viewing the image the freedom to interpret the photo in the way that is unique to them and the photographer the ability to cross boundaries of geography, sex, age, race and even education. .

In conceptual and artistic photography technique also serves as a tool to express ideas. This technique can be as simple as a box with a hole that has photographic paper inside, or as complicated as the mountain of equipment found on a professional shoot. Whatever emphasizes the initial concept behind the photo and the idea is perfect. .

Photography for me is an example of the way in which I perceive my environment; I try to express my feelings about my world via my photos. It is a process in development, changing as I grow. It enables me to stand back, to look and learn about other people, cultures and places. My subjects are personal and at the same time they refer to the whole of humanity, how we are slotted between family, society, environment and politics and how that shapes us.

Photography is the lense that is helping me to grow and develop as a person and I hope through sharing this journey; I am able to affect and enhance the lives of others too.

Posted in People

Black And White Photography In The Digital Age

Black_And_White_Photography_In_The_Digital_Age

Drillship at dusk

 

The world is celebrating color in full spectrum, not just in the environment but also in the computer. In the 60’s, people are happy to see their photographs in black and white copies and it extended for quite some time until technology can already reproduce and provide people with colored digital photography.

Why still use black and white? If you have watched the controversial movie “Schindler’s List” (1993) by Steven Spielberg, it has been presented in the screens in black and white color. Critics were expressing dissatisfaction, and to some degree, one could think it is such a waste denying the audience of more than 1 million colors reduced to nothing but grayscale monochromatic theme.

Nowadays, black and white photography is directly proportional to vanity, because everyone desires colored output. In case of “Schindler’s List,” it was released on purpose as black and white, to give way to a dramatic impact for the setting of 1945 Nazi occupation. The effect of black and white reel, has added spice to the thematic goal of the director. The essence of using black and white is important for character shots.

The world is ironic and ridiculous at times, but we cannot simply take away black and white especially in the era of digital photography. We know all Graphic Arts editing applications, scanners, digital cameras, and other photography gadgets have grayscale options.

To start with your own black and white digital photography shots, you will not need extra effort and complications other than shooting as is. Take the shot in color then you can switch the setting of the digital image in an editor, using array of choices. If you are using Photoshop or Fireworks, you can change the whole image into black and white by editing “Hue and Saturation” or simply switching it to “grayscale” format.

Old photographs from developed films can be converted into digital images by scanning them. If you want a black and white portrait out of it, set your scanner into grayscale. The result is black and white photo.

Setting your digital camera into “evening shot” mode automatically converts the image as monochromatic. You can remove saturation to convert it to black and white. Digital camera works efficiently with a computer. You can do everything about it in full control—that is if you are adept with the manipulation of the technical side of it. It will be quite expensive but worth the effort.

Technology is getting better and better, if you choose conventional effects, as long as you have the 360-degree options to enhance possibilities, then black and white digital photography is very simple to produce.

Posted in People

Decorating Spaces With Photographs

 

Decorating_Spaces_With_Photographs

Decorating Spaces With Photographs

In most interiors art photographs are brought in as the finishing touch.
It’s one of the elements that can instantly warm up a space and make it feel like home.
Photographs can expand a space both visually and emotionally, give us a window to the world, bring interest and color to the wall spaces, and generally liven up the place.
Here’s concise hints how to arrange photographs in a room.
In general, photographs should be hung so that the center point of the photograph or grouping is at about eye level for the average person. While this won’t be possible in every situation,
it’s a good guideline to keep in mind.

Size and Grouping
Relate photograph to wall size. Choose smaller pictures for narrow walls and larger works for big wall spaces.
Relate photograph to furniture size. When hanging a framed photograph over a piece of furniture it should not be longer than the width of the furniture.
Don’t hang the photographs too close to each other or you will end up with a cluttered look. Don’t hang them too far apart or you’ll lose that unified look.
Proper use of line can set the mood in a room:
– Strong horizontal lines in photograph, or in the way it is hung, tend to be calming and can give the illusion of width in a narrow room.
– Strong vertical lines in a photograph or in the arrangement on the wall add to the feeling of height in a room.
– Strong diagonal lines either within a photograph itself or in a line of photographs arranged on the wall add drama and excitement.
Use symmetrical or asymmetrical arrangements of photographs to create either a formal or a casual feeling. Symmetry adds balance and formality to an arrangement and is generally pleasing and calming to the observer.
A grouping of photographs should be thought of as one unit.
One large photograph makes a statement and keeps things simple.
A number of photographs framed in one mat and frame will have more impact.

Themes
Support your room theme with photographs, repeating the colors, motifs, and style of the room’s interior.
Landscape photographs visually open up a smaller space. The view of a distant horizon acts as a sort of window.

Color
Vibrant colors bring excitement to a room, neutral colors are more calming.
Photographs will have greater impact if matted in a contrasting color to the wall. Choose a dark mat for a light wall and a light mat for a dark wall.

Framing
Choose frame colors and styles that match the style of your home.
To harmonize a set of photographs, mat and frame them alike.

Lighting
Illuminate photographs well. It can be lost unless well lit.
Depending on a given place, one can use a picture light, track lighting or recessed lighting.

Hanging
Hang photographs securely. Rate picture hooks for the weight of the framed photograph.

Care of Photographs
Never hang photograph in direct sunlight: it can fade.
Never hang photograph above a working fireplace.
Never hang photograph on an exterior wall without adequate insulation: it can dampen.
Maintain a constant room temperature and humidity.
Mat boards and adhesives must be acid-free, otherwise yellowing will occur.

Posted in People

Will Camera Phones Destroy Photography?

 

Will Camera Phones Destroy Photography?

Will Camera Phones Destroy Photography?

In any “photo op” moment any more, it is impossible to miss the invasion of the camera phone.  Where it used to be easy to tell when a camera was around and if people had them handy, now anyone with a phone could be a clandestine photographer.  Even at occasions that used to be ruled by the professional photographer such as weddings and the like, we now see those dozens of hands going up snapping photos with camera phones that seem to dominate the scene.

Conventional photography is a highly developed art form and profession.  The precision of the equipment and the ability of photographers to deliver a high quality product to their customers is well known and the result of decades of evolution of the craft.  But today it is possible for anyone to become an amateur photographer using that tiny cell phone in their pocket or purse.

The question needs serious consideration for three audiences.  For the professional photographer, is this the end of your profession?  Will digital phones wipe out your customer base and make you obsolete?  For the aspiring photographer, what about your future?  Should you even invest in learning to use the sophisticated equipment that makes professional photography so superior?  Why bother if camera phones are going to make it all obsolete?  And for you the consumer, can you get the same quality of photographs with using camera phones as you can by hiring a photographer?

These are valid questions.  It is very common when a new technology begins to make inroads into a profession for the old guard of that profession to feel threatened.  It happened when television came along and the media called it the death of radio.  It happened when talkies and then color was introduced to movies and television and at each technological improvement in the music world.  And with each dire prediction of the demise of an industry, the opposite took place and that industry adjusted, evolved, got better and prospered all the more.

So there are good reasons not to worry that camera phones is going to destroy photography as we know it including…

*    Camera phones cannot achieve the same levels of quality.  There is a good reason that the professional photographer has invested in the highly sophisticated equipment that he has in his studio and that he or she takes to a shoot.  The many years and decades of research have surfaced the problems with quality that primitive equipment could not deal with.  Modern photography equipment has precise instrumentation to handle lighting issues to properly frame each photograph and to produce a professional quality outcome that people want from a wedding, a portrait or any kind of professional photography.  You can bet that forensic photography, fashion photography and photography for publication will ever be willing to accept the low standards of quality that are the outcome of camera phone pictures.

*    It’s an amateur game.  When you see kids holding up their camera phones at a concert to steal a picture, you know that device is not going to result in a professional quality shot.  This is especially true in a live setting like a concert where there are myriads of issues such as lighting, visual noise and other problems that have to be overcome with sophisticated instrumentation just not available on a camera phone.  Camera phones are an amateur photography device.  And they will always occupy that niche.

*    Standards of the final product would be compromised.  And high standards of quality are what make professional photography a value to it’s customers.

This is not to cast camera phones in a negative light.  They have their place and they are great fun.  But we in the professional photography world have nothing to fear from the growth of this technology.

Posted in People

Adobe Photoshop

Reptil

In the history of photography, there has never been a time that we can achieve such phenomenal results in editing as has happened in the digital age.  And while there are a myriad of tools that the computer and internet have made available to us to enhance and change the images that come from a photo shoot, none can top the popularity and power of Adobe Photoshop.  The program has become so synonymous with editing and creating effects that the term, “to Photoshop” has become a verb that means to enhance or alter an image.

We can “Photoshop in” new outfits, accessories or even people to a shot where it was just not possible before.  So if you want a picture of you shaking hands with the president, you don’t have to go to Washington to get it, just “Photoshop” your image into the image of the president and it will look as real as if you had been there.

Similarly, we can “Photoshop” out things from a picture we don’t want to see there anymore.  So if you have a physical flaw, that can be removed.  You can even remove a distracting person from the background of the shot.  The program is so sophisticated that these images are possible and you really cannot tell the alteration has been made.

Photoshop has become such a de facto standard for photo processing that if you are setting up a photography studio or business, a copy of the software is as necessary as Microsoft word or PowerPoint.  The good thing about this software is that it is readily accessible and a lot of people know how to use it.  So if you feel insecure about learning yet another computer application, you can probably find a college student, someone at the high school or maybe the junior high that knows Photoshop in and out and can help you jump start your use of the software as well.

But Photoshop has not always dominated this genre.  The program was created in 1989 by two brothers, John Knoll and Thomas Knoll.  While the brothers developed Photoshop for custom uses they had at the time, it wasn’t long before the market potential of this software became evident.  So, being smart entrepreneurs, John and Thomas founded a little company called Adobe and began operations in 1990.

Adobe has been a shining example of how to achieve success in the age of the internet.  Today few of us who use the internet are not aware of Adobe.  You probably cannot find a personal computer that uses the internet that does not have a free copy of the Adobe reader on it to read PDF files.  The PDF format is yet another example of how this little company has created and then taken over a particular market of online business.

To really become skilled at using Photoshop, the first thing to do is probably find a copy to play with.  Like most computer applications, you can probably find a copy on a friend’s computer just to tinker with it and get a feel for the controls.  Then if your friend is a wizard at Photoshop, let him or her show you some of the real “wiz-bang” things they can do with Photoshop using the same menus you were just tinkering with.  This little Saturday afternoon experiment could turn you into a Photoshop addict forever.

After that, you would do well to download a copy for yourself.  You can get an evaluation version that will give you most of the features.  But you really only need that if you are not sure if you are going to buy a copy.  Since Photoshop dominates this market, you almost certainly will buy a copy so you might save some frustration and purchase a licensed copy right away.  Now, you will probably find yourself playing with the software for long hours just having fun and that’s great.  But don’t overlook the value of taking some organized classes in photo editing using Adobe Photoshop.  These classes can show you the shortcuts and how to get the most out of the software.

From there on out, your imagination is the only limit to how you will use this tool to make your photographs better for your customers.  And you will be able to respond enthusiastically when someone says, “that’s ok, you can just Photoshop that and fix it right up.”

Posted in People

Viewbug.com finalist award

One of my photos received a very positive comments and ended in the viewbug finalist (21) photos.

Over 10,000 photographies were submitted, makes me proud to receive this recogonition. I didn’t win this time though 🙂

Nature Park Papuk in Croatia

Nature Park Papuk in Croatia

Posted in People

Night Photography Tips For Amateurs

Petronas-Towers-Kuala-Lumpur

Night Photography Tips For Amateurs

Taking a photo is not as easy as focusing on the subject and then clicking the camera. It takes more than that. In fact, it takes a lot of intuition and a set of lessons. This is why amateurs in photography need not only experience but also lessons in techniques and of course in the basics.

One of the hardest thing to master is night photography, not only because the subject is hard to find but also because the shadows will make it more difficult for the amateur photographer to take a good shot. Below are some tips that any amateur photographer can use to master night photography.

Safety

The first thing of course that amateur photographers need to remember is to choose the location well. Remember that if you are going to do the shoot, you will have valuable equipment with you. There are places in the country especially in the cities that are very dangerous at night. Safety is paramount. If possible, do your explorations with one or two people as you cannot very well conduct your shoot in daylight or under artificial lights.

Spares

Another reminder is that batteries often run out easily in cold conditions, so it is best to carry an extra or if you have none, try to fully charge your batteries before going out of the house and proceeding with the shoot. You should also bring a good case for your camera as moisture during the night can easily permeate to your camera.

Other equipment

The best camera to use for night work is actually the one with the manual exposure settings, preferably an DSLR (digital single lens reflex). Automatic cameras are not often recommended, as they are not powerful enough to fight the darkness. Another requirement is a sturdy tripod with a rubber leg to minimize slippage. A cable release is also needed as this will enable you to hold the shutter speed open. Another viable option is a remote or iPhone/Android application which could be connected to your DSLR.

Exposures

One important thing that an amateur must remember in conducting night photography is the fact that longer exposures are needed compared to ordinary lighting. We are talking about exposures that may go from seconds to minutes!

First off, set your aperture anywhere between f/11-f/16. You do not need to go above these f’s.

Expose for the highlights, set exposure correctly.

Zoom in as much as you can and set your focus manually until the photo is clear.

Take the exposure, shoot.

Use of flash

Some photographers will supplement the ambient light with a hand-held flashes, a technique known as “painting with light.” Other more sophisticated ones may also use movie lights and torches as additional lights. Consider use of hand held lasers for an additional WOW effect, try it and let me know how it works for you.

Posted in People

Photographing Fish: 5 Tips For Frustrated Beginners

Aquarium-photography-discus-fish-photo

Discus

Photographing pets can often be a difficult proposition. Add water, glass reflections and the low lighting of an aquarium environment, and you’ve got the recipe for one extremely difficult photo shoot.

But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Armed with the following tips, you can get great photos of your fish in just about any situation.

1: Get a tripod.

Tripods are usually used for non-moving subjects. But they can be immensely helpful when photographing fish, even ones that are constantly moving. Low light levels lead to slow shutter speeds. So anything you can do to stabilize the camera will be of tremendous help. The best way to photograph moving fish with your camera on a tripod is to loosen the levers on the tripod so you can move the camera freely left, right, up and down but the camera will remain in position if left alone.

2: Get your fish acquainted with the camera.

Now that you have a tripod (since you faithfully followed the first tip), set it up in front of your aquarium with the camera mounted on the tripod. Now leave it. For as long as possible… several days would be ideal. The purpose of this exercise is to get the fish used to seeing the “thing” you’re constantly moving around, pointing it at them and making noises. When they’re comfortable with the sight of the camera, they’ll be more relaxed and less prone to dart around the tank or hide.

3: Use a digital camera.

Digital cameras allow us to “just take the picture” without worrying about whether we’re wasting the film and processing money on a shot that won’t be good. When you can focus on getting the best shot possible, no matter how many tries it takes, you’re on the right track to get the shot you want.

4: Turn off the lights in the room.

Ambient light causes reflections on the tank glass that may ruin a perfectly good fish photograph. Eliminate all sources of ambient light that you can, and be very aware of any reflections as you shoot. If there are some reflections you can’t get rid of, try putting your body between the light source and the glass to shield the tank from the light.

5: Clean the glass, cut the pumps.

Turning off the aquarium pumps before you shoot is an excellent way to clean up your shots of particles and bubbles in the water column. and if you happen to have a planted freshwater tank or reef aquarium, this will also prevent the plants or corals from swaying in your picture, turning into a blurry mess.

Cleaning the glass is probably the most overlooked step to aquarium photography, and quite possible is responsible for more ruined photos than any other issue. Remember, just because you don’t see it now, doesn’t mean you won’t see it in the picture. Amazing how that happens. So clean the glass well, every time, before you pick up the camera.

6: A Bonus!

Have fun. Aquarium photography can become an interesting and challenging hobby all its own. Have fun with it, experiment freely, and be sure to share your pictures online!

Posted in People

Digital Photography The New Way To Taking Photographs

Mynamar_Yangon_Rain_Reflections_at_Shwedagon_Pagoda
Photography is an art.  It takes practice, skill, and an eye for the unexpected.  Not all people will take the time to study a landscape, wildlife, building, or other subject to find the hidden depth within, but when they do often they will find great meaning in the photo they take.  Photographers spend their lives looking for new and different ways to shoot a subject.  Digital photography is just one new way of taking a picture.  There are many advantages for working with digital photography.

The darkroom is out the computer printer comes forward for most of us using digital photography.  We are able to send our pictures to all our friends with a few clicks of the buttons.  Digital photography makes taking a picture simple, by eliminating some of the guesswork.  With the LCD screen on a digital camera you can now view the photo you just took without waiting and hour or longer to see the film develop.  We are no longer limited by film capacity, but by memory cards.  Most memory cards have 32MB or 1GB depending on how much you’ve spent on equipment.

Digital photography can encompass the professional cameras with the interchanging lenses, manual setting or it can be a simple point and shoot camera.  Whether you are looking for a professional grade picture or something your friends will laugh over digital photography has made taking photos easier.  As I said before we can see the picture before we ever print, and also a lot of digital cameras will allow you to crop and save the photo before printing.

Digital cameras can be all sizes from a key chain camera to the professional.  We have all had a little fun with digital on our phones.  If you are more interested in the professional side of photography the first digital camera you choose should have interchangeable lenses with a high resolution.  It can be automatic if you feel more comfortable with light settings, however most have ISO settings, aperture, and shutter speed choices as well.

Like with older photographer setting up your shot is half the fun.  Determining the settings you need to use for light is the other.  Setting up your shot still requires you to have an eye for the unusual or for making the unusual out of a common scene.  Walk around the subject and look for every possible angle, you may even decide to take several photos to choose the best angle.  This is where digital photography surpasses film cameras every time.  Once you have looked at all angles and taken photos you get to see if the effect you wanted is there.  It is a faster way for you to learn how to set the shutter speed and aperture on a shot and use lighting because you see the results while you still looking at the scene.

Digital photography may not seem like it would still use all those skills you learned on your old camera, but this is definitely not true.  Instead digital photography enhances your learning while you are still at the sight.  Instead of long hours in a darkroom or waiting in line you can get the picture you want right then.  It certainly gives more towards vacation photos when you can see if your thumb is over the lens or the camera strap was in the way or worse someone just walked in front of you.  Digital photography like all things has evolved to help us experience a new way in photography.

Posted in People