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Picture of the week - Reykjavík in Black and White

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I made that picture last year when winter actually had snow. This year it was mainly rain and storms. Last week there was even a thunderstorm, which I have never experienced in Iceland. Thunderstorms occur when cool air collides with warm air. One of those is rare in Iceland.


Fun with plastic bags and flash

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I only have my inbuilt flash to work with. That does not mean one cannot get creative. So the other night I got out my camera, some plastic bags and started experimenting. First I took a picture of myself w/o flash setting the white balance to tungsten light. As you can see, my ceiling light makes bad lighting for portraits, my face is in shadow.


With the inbuilt flash alone, there are hard shadows (look under my chin) and reflection from my glasses.Not really a good portrait.


Then I took the white plastic bag, blew it op and put it around the inbuilt flash. Viola, instant diffuser.


My portrait is now much better, the light is softer and more equal



But of course I did not stop there! I got the blue plastic bag and took a picture of it, using it to set custom white balance


Basically I told my camera that the blue of the bag is actually neutral grey, so when I took a picture with the setting everything had a red tinge


Now I set up my camera with the blue plastic bag as a diffuser (it was bigger and thicker than the white one and really hard to blow up)


Now my portrait has normal light while the background is red. Not really interesting with my closet as the background, but a proof of concept for now. I'm going to collect a lot of plastic bags and find a nice spot outside.



Picture of the week - HDR pictures with gimp

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I don't actually like the look of HDR pictures, especially of landscapes. I always find they look fake. But for learning purposes I decided to create an HDR picture with gimp. I took three pictures of Kirkjufell in Grundarfjörður, with normal exposure, -2 and +2 exposure. I did some basic white balance correction and normalizing for each image.



Then I opened the pictures as layers in gimp (File → Open as Layers). with the normally exposed as the base image on on bottom and the overexposed image on top. I opened the layer dialogue (Windows → Dockable Dialogs → Layers) and chose "Add Layer Mask" for the underexposed picture by right clicking on it in the layer dialogue. I chose a Grayscale copy of layer as maks.
I then did the same for the over exposed image, but inverted the grayscale layer mask (Colors → Invert).
Layer masks determine which part of the layer is transparent and which opaque, with black being full transparency and white full opacity. Thus the lighter parts of the underexposed and the darker parts of the overexposed image are layered over the base image. I then played around with the layer modes using screen (other possibility = addition or normal) mode for the underexposed and burn (other possibility = multiply or normal) for the overexposed. See here for an explanation for layer modes in gimp. I played around with transparency of the two layers until the result was less fake looking. The I merged the three layers together and corrected the colour balance again. Here is the result:




Picture of the week - a tree

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For a long time I wanted to take the picture of tree branches against a dark sky. On our Easter trip I finally found a tree standing by its lonesome, sunilight hitting its branches. I used a red filter and thanks to the low sun got a nice gradient effect.

Unedited picture:


Picture after cleaning the background, emphazising contrast and adding a soft light layer with a white to black gradient to enhance the effect.


Same tree taken with a wide lens, large aperture, my favourite setting:



K&F Concept Pro Lens Mount Adapter for Canon FD, FL Lens to Canon EOS Camera

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I used a film camera during my travels. Last summer I bought a Canon DSLR (EOS 100D) and then noticed that my old lenses did not fit. I bought a Sigma zoom lens, which I like a lot, but was missing my old 28mm manual prime lens (and filters) and the different approach one has to taking pictures with it.

So I got a lens adapter and was not disappointed. Here is a picture I made as a test:



It focuses to infinity and has a good sharpness. The only thing to remember when using the adapter is to turn it to "close", other wise it won't be possible to set the aperture and light seeks in creating a soft focus and glow effect. Which can be used creatively, of course :)

Picture of a sofa outside of the fab lab at Hlemmur:


Posted on - Categories: Photography


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