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Featured Photo Wednesday – Thousand windows and one light

I don’t know about you, but I would love to walk through Barcelona to photograph the medieval quarters. So many hidden spots waiting to be photographed. You could spend days there finding hidden gems just waiting to be photographed. When I see a picture like this from the past, I love to hear the sounds. I either listen to the quietness of today, when nobody is on the street. Or the sounds that would have been there back in the day.

Beautiful choice to go black and white, it definitely adds a impressive feel to the photograph, thank-you for submitting!

Cavafis

Title: Thousand windows and one light
Where: Carrer Pietat (Pietat Street), Barcelona (Spain), 2008

When I go for a walk to take photos I like to wander through the ancient part of Barcelona, the medieval quarter. The cathedral, the rests of the roman and medieval walls, “small palaces” and old churches are located in narrow and dark streets. It is one of the most tourist areas in the city, but it still hides some incredible surprises.

Behind the cathedral, you can find the corner that appears in the photo. A peculiar place full of different and beautiful windows that usually are closed. However, in that occasion, light was switched on inside the building. I didn’t think twice and I took the photo with my analogical Pentax MZ-50. I didn’t know when this rare circumstance might recur again and I decided to take the opportunity.

Once I had the digital version of the photo, I realized that colour was not the best option for this picture: the stone of ancient buildings became more realistic and impressive in black and white, but I wanted to keep that special moment. At that time I didn’t know too much about Photoshop, but I managed to obtain the final result: thousand windows and one light.

My Flickr gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavafis/

Featured Photo Wednesday – Matthew Nuttall

At first glance you might think this is one solo tree in the middle of the field, but really there are multiple trees in a circle. It’s beautiful, what a great find and great choice keeping it simple and going black and white.

I like this photo, it pulls me in. I wish I could walk up and touch those trees, see how big the circle actually is. Is there grass in the middle or is it all roots? Nicely done! Excellent story to go with it, with great advice! It’s time to jump off the sofa and head for an adventure…

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When You Find Inspiration…Grab It With Both Hands

I had taken the opportunity to go for a short drive into the Yorkshire Dales, but as usual, the weather had taken a turn for the worse, and the rain had continued to keep falling. Not put off, I still took a leisurely drive through the back roads towards Malham, enjoying the fact that there were no other drivers mad enough to be out on the roads.

After a while, I decided to turn round and head home, not having come close to taking the camera out of the bag. When suddenly, I came across a layby with a view across fields towards a small copse of trees. I am not sure exactly what caught my attention, maybe it was the slight incline up towards the trees, or the gentle curve of the tree tops, whatever it was, something stopped me.

It was still raining at this point, but I could see potential and there were the occasional break in the clouds, so I decided to wait.

It was worth the wait. A small window of opportunity presented itself so I grabbed it with both hands and captured the image I had seen in my head.

So my advice to you is get out, explore. No matter whatever the weather, you just never know when you might find inspiration. One thing is for sure, it’s not going to tap you on the shoulder, sitting on the sofa.

Matthew Nuttall
www.mjn-photography.co.uk
www.mjn-weddingphotography.co.uk
www.facebook.com/matthewnuttallphotography

Featured Photo Wednesday – Roberto Casadio

The innocence in a child’s eyes, captured perfectly!

I love the expression in those eyes, and the colors in this photograph blending together to create a great image. I also like the angle at which Roberto choose to photograph this image. If he was standing up shooting down we might have lost the blurred kids in the background. Nice job!

I also like to spend time processing my shots when I first upload them to the computer, then I leave for a few days for even hours. When I come back to the image, I feel as if my eyes see the picture a bit better. As for this image, I wouldn’t change a thing!

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On Wednesday nights, in July, there is a “kids market” in the centre of our hometown, where families trade used toys, clothes and whatever children have outgrown. It is a moment of gathering and entertainment, with street performers and concerts. I like to go and just put a prime lens on my camera, no flash – in the spirit of street photography, you may say. One of those evenings of last year, we were selling some of our children’s old stuff, and while people where crowding around our desk, my son was sitting aside, against a window – tired, bored, “begging” for something? I was planning to try out my new 28mm f/1.8, which I love on a full frame sensor, because I can blur the background and still see some perspective in the picture. But that is not the point. I had just taken my camera out of the bag, hardly set properly, but my eye didn’t want to miss the shot. It came out a bit blurred, in fact – shutter a tad slow, focus on the wrong part? Can you tell?
I usually spend time post-processing my shots, until the colours come out to my satisfaction. And perhaps a month later, say, I rework them in a totally different fashion – taste changes: black and white, or more saturated.
But there is something that sticks to me in this version of the picture of my son I took that night. Perhaps it is the look in his eyes, that says “Dad, you always taking pictures?”, or his dirty hand grabbing the air. Or it is the colours I finally (?) got. I cannot quite tell.
In any case, to me it is one view to digital photography: seize that moment and work on it. It will stay.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobcita/

Featured Photo Wednesday – Geoff Hunter

I am extremely excited to feature Geoff this week! Geoff is not only an amazing photographer, but also can write a pretty great story! I felt like I just took a trip to Nepal and experienced an amazing journey.

I am always impressed when someone can take a single picture and capture exposure and emotion in a single instance. The composition on the photograph is lovely. The way he captured those eyes, and the girls hair catching the sunlight creates one of my favorite images! Thank-you for sharing with us today!

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“Where to sis”?
1998 – Everest Region – Nepal

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a fascination with mountains and wilderness.

Since I was a child, my father would often take me to remote places and camp, mainly to fish for trout and explore various mountain wilderness areas. Due to the hot Australian climate, most trout fishing in Australia only exists in the high country, which usually means walking long distances in the mountains. I didn’t know it at the time, but all these trips as I grew up seeded my resultant love of mountains …and it was this fascination that eventually led me all around the world over many years, rock climbing, hiking, mountaineering and exploring and eventually, into the Himalaya of Nepal.

It was 1998, almost exactly two years after my first trip to Nepal, that I returned to climb a couple peaks in the Everest region. I joined a small Australian expedition of 9 people, lead by a native Nepali man, (at that time living and married in Australia) who had successfully climbed Everest a few years earlier. Our group aimed to climb a couple of 6,500M peaks – in particular, Island Peak – where the base camp is about a days walk from Everest’s base camp. The trip was very well planned and executed. We had 3-4 weeks in the high mountains to slowly acclimatise and for all of us to take in the amazing sights of the Himalaya. We’d lightly train to gain strength and in the process, hopefully adapt to the high altitude in the region they also called “the roof of the world”.

As part of our acclimatisation process, we would sometimes avoid the normal tourist/mountaineering trekking routes to get from A to B. Instead, weather permitting, we’d break trail and trek up and over snowy icy cols that linked two valleys, sometimes camping overnight near the summit. These nights would always be challenging to have a quality sleep because of the larger altitude gains. On one of these occasions, most of our group did not sleep well and were all up very early the next morning, gear packed, eager for the mostly down hill trek to a village called Lobouche later that day.

After a quick breakfast and cup of tea or two, we set off at around 7:00am with directions from one of our sherpas where to meet should we get lost on the trail. It was a fantastic weather day. The sun was out, no clouds in sight, a slight breeze and it was a crisp 2 deg celsius (35f). We had made excellent time descending the col in the first hour or so and soon had our crampons off and back walking on a rocky scree down to the trail head. The whole time, we could see the infamous peak of Ama Dablam dominating the skyline in front of us. We had been following a small stream for a good 15 mins when we rounded a large decaying rock buttress and came across a little traditional himalayan stone house. It was practically in the middle of nowhere, far off the main trekking tourist trails and not mentioned at all in our instructions at breakfast.

We decided to stop for 5 minutes to take on some water and have a light snack. Adjacent to the house was the small stream we’d been following – fast flowing from the ice and snow melts from the surrounding mountains and it’s roar made it was difficult to hear each other speaking. No sooner were we packing our water away, when I looked up to see a young nepalese boy standing in front of me, the sound of his approach masked by the stream. He was perhaps no more than 8 or 9yrs old and carrying his baby sister on his back in a makeshift sling. He simply stood there calmly and started pointing at me, pointing to my lips. It wasn’t obvious at first what he wanted, but soon enough I realised he noticed I was wearing lip balm (an absolute must have in this part of the world). I happily obliged. Whilst I was finding some spare balm in my pack, another of our small party gave the little girl a Pringle chip and she was happily munching away wondering what all the fuss was about. The boy was not interested in chips and was watching me look for the lip balm. I had soon enough found it but before I handed it to him, I took out my film camera, wound it onto the next frame, adjusted my aperture and quickly took this single shot. That was it.

As quickly as I handed over the lip balm he and his little sister were off. It was a strangely fabulous moment. No false pleasantries, no forced smiles, no waves of goodbye, no words were exchanged other than mutual respectful communicative gestures and the needs of the boy and his little sister were met without fuss. As the boy headed down the path before us, we wondered whether we may see them both again during the day either along the trail or at one of the tea houses along the way. Perhaps we’d even see where they lived, but we never did. We’d never see them again. All that day, I had a clear vision of his cute dirty face, the common runny nose you typically see on every child in this part of the world, the strange looking beanie on his head, all firmly in my mind. As we continued to trek further down the mountain over the next few hours I wondered where they had come from, where they were heading, why were they out so early, how long since they both had a wash – all things I guess parents think about with children.

16 years on and I still glance at this image and marvel at it. Not because of it’s pixel-peeping qualities as it has none, not because the image resulted in amazing clarity and detail …actually none of those things are important in this image. It was because of the innocence it draws, the focused look in the boys eyes, the raw emotion and simplicity of the boy …the “star of the image”, the impromptu’ness of our meeting …and the cause of the boys simple desire of obtaining something of need and value from a visiting westerner in his wonderful backyard, the mountains, the Himalayan mountains.

If only life today was as uncomplicated like that experience back in 1998, the world would undoubtedly be a better place. Thank goodness that we all still have photography to capture those unexpected special moments!

Geoff Hunter | Sydney, Australia.
www.flickr.com/photos/geoffhunter/

Featured Photo Wednesday – Chris Kench Photography

Talk about being at the right place at the right time! Beautiful, peaceful, the atmosphere the clouds create makes this a amazing image! To think if Chris decided to journey to the top of the mountain just 30 minutes later, this image would not be possible. Timing, atmosphere everything that creates an image go hand in hand. Thanks for sharing Chris!

Chris Kench

The Buddha is on top of a mountain on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. There is a long cable car journey to the top, I took this picture as soon as I got out of the cable car, it was just as well because within 1/2 an hour the clouds had descended further and the statue was completely obscured by them.

www.flickr.com/photos/kenchie/

Featured Photo Wednesday – undead_m0nkey

The bokeh on this image is absolutely amazing! I love the idea of taking out an old lens, dusting it off and seeing the magic it brings after all those years. And this lens can really bring it! After seeing this image you might want to check what’s in your old camera bag… Thank-you for sharing this image today!

undead_monkey

Last summer I had a chance to use a wonderful M42 screw mount lens from my uncle’s (unfortunately) long retired Zenit 35mm camera on my Nikon D7000.

It was an old Industar 50-2, a 50mm f/3.5 prime made in the USSR in the late 1970’s, around the time when i was born. Optically, a copy of the much more famous Tessar by Zeiss, Industar 50-2 used to be shipped as a kit lens with various SLR’s made at the time.

I had never looked through this lens before, although I had smiled at it many times – most of my childhood pictures were taken by my uncle. Mounting the lens on my camera felt somewhat like assembling a time machine.

After snapping pictures of everything i could lay my eyes on for the following 5 – 10 minutes, as the schedule was pretty tight, I was really looking forward to seeing what the RAW’s looked like on the computer screen. And oh was I surprised by the images this tiny Russian “pancake” made, especially by the quality of bokeh and the way it rendered colors. It did lack a lot of contrast (some scratches on the front glass and quite a bit of internal dust had a lot to do with this), but I took care of it in post, trying not to affect the colors much, or not at all.

Quite happy with the set here, I already got myself one of these little giants not long after that day.

I hope you all enjoy viewing, and leave some comments!

The Industar 50-2 set on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/undead_m0nkey/sets/72157634536610940/
My photo stream on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/undead_m0nkey/

Featured Photo Wednesday – Mike Hillis

This is the first Golden Gate Bridge picture posted on the site, and it’s amazing! The lights, the water, the silhouette of the tree just under the bridge.

As a photographer, you see the shot you want. You get up early, stay out late, venture to spots unknown, all to get the shot. And when you do, you know it! Mike went on quite the adventure and ended up with the prize image for his efforts! Thanks for sharing with us today!

Mike

I often go out with my camera with an idea in my mind, and just as often return with something a little bit different. This is one of the times that things turned out almost as planned, but with a few twists along the way.

I was in San Francisco for a conference in October, and hoped to have an opportunity to take some photos, but knew that because of other commitments it would have to be early, before or around sunrise, or out in the evening around or after sunset. I also wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. The first few days I was there I managed to get up early, and get out late, looking around the waterfront, and took a number of photographs of the Bay Bridge, getting an idea of the light and exposure times. The weather was perfect, with daytime temperatures of 23-24C, and mostly sun with a few clouds.

I thought I should get to see the Golden Gate Bridge before leaving, and on my last afternoon was able to get away a little earlier than expected. The evening before I looked over satellite views on Google Maps to try and decide on a good location. I have to admit I didn’t really look at photographs of the bridge until after, or I would have realized just how many there are. Two stops on BART, and a forty five minute bus ride, and I arrived at the toll booth area of the Golden Gate. After wandering around a bit, I decided to follow the trails down on the harbour side and get out to Fort Point which is just underneath the bridge. After getting down to the road, my heart sank. There was a barricade across the road leading out to Fort Point, with a large sign that said “Closed due to Federal Government shutdown. No pedestrian traffic”. I stood there for a few minutes thinking about what to do, when I realized that a large number of walkers, runners, and cyclists were completely ignoring the sign and going around the barricade and out to Fort Point anyway. I decided to go out the road and see what would happen. It was about 5:00 pm, with sunset to occur about 6:40 pm.

Out at Fort Point I had an hour or so to decide on location and composition. In the interest of traveling light, the only tripod I had packed was a Gorilla Pod. The best location for the mini tripod was right at the edge of the concrete seawall, which still allowed me to get some of the rocks along the shore into the foreground. Fortunately the harbour was unusually calm. I think that the waves and spray can often come well up past the place I was set up. I wasn’t really sure how the light and the bridge would change as the sun went down, so I started taking frames every few minutes. Supper was two packages of Peanut M&Ms, and luckily I had thought to pack a sweater, jacket and hat, as the evening began to cool.

The combination of light from the sky and lights on the bridge turned out to be about best twenty minutes after sunset. By this time all of the other people seemed to have left the area, and I was alone. I had just finished taking the frame which I liked the most in the end, and was taking another one, when I noticed flashing lights on top of a vehicle coming up the road. Well, I thought, this is going to be great – Canadian tourist busted trespassing on U.S. Government property. I picked up my camera in the middle of the exposure, and holding it in view started walking back down the road, ready to take my medicine. The vehicle just kept driving on by, went out to the building at the end of the road and parked there for a while, with lights flashing. My heart was pounding.

Not wanting to tempt fate, I walked as quickly as possible back up the road and around the barricade. By this time it was quite dark. I was approached by a man and a woman who were running. They asked me if I thought it was safe to go up the paths in the dark – exactly the direction I had to go. I had to admit I didn’t know, and they turned around and went the other way. I, on the other hand, had to get back up to the toll booth area where the bus would stop. In the dark. In a strange city. I brought up Google Maps on my phone, and using the little blue GPS dot made my way up the dark roads, trying to hide the light from the screen so I would be hard to see. I got up to the bus stop without seeing a soul. The government shutdown must have kept the bad guys away too. My heart was pounding.

After all of that, I think I got the photograph I was hoping for. Like most of my photographs, when I look at it it really brings back the memory and the feel of the evening I took it. Of course, I have since seen more than a few shots of the bridge from his location, but I am sure that not too many of them have a story like this to go along with them.

Fujifilm X-E1 / FujinonXF 18-55 R LM OIS / 18 mm / f/18 / ISO 200 / 30 seconds

Link to my Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/portview/

Link the the photo on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/portview/11008970895/

Featured Photo Wednesday – Ginparis

That would have been so exciting to come home and find that old hand written book from 1798! What an amazing place to take photographs, opportunity around every corner.

Beautiful composition and lighting, especially knowing where this photograph was taken. I would have thought it was in a controlled lighting environment, not at the fair! Great job!

Ginparies

Twice a year, I go to the Antiques and Ham Fair in Chatou, France. I usually go with a photographer friend and we aren’t there to buy. We’re there for the photos and to watch people.

For this photo, my friend and I were examining an old weathered leather pouch with the word “Telegraphes” tooled into the leather. The pouch made for a great photo (www.flickr.com/photos/ginparis/6987530093/) and we were thrilled that the vendor was friendly enough to let us handle the merchandise and take photos. We inquired about the price and tinkered with buying it at a mere 50€. Then, we opened the pouch and inside there was a hand lettered book from 1798! It appeared to be a book of recipes and I took the photo you see here. We asked the vendor if the book came with the leather pouch and she scurried over to us to get the book. She said she had no idea it was in the pouch! What a find that would have been to have bought the pouch and later discovered that lovely old book nestled inside.

Featured Photo Wednesday – Oliver Henze

This is one of my favorite pictures! I love the way the light comes in through the fog, capturing the forest in such a magical moment… Fog is one of those things you can’t create in Photoshop or Lightroom, you have to seek it, find it. You have to be ready to pick up your camera bag and go for it, the fog won’t wait for you. Thank-you Olli for sharing this moment with us!

Olli
Beech forest in fog

Autumn is the most beautiful season. It may not always be “golden autumn”. For me, the moments with fog are the most interesting.

On the weekend we had a day where a lot of fog was watching and I took advantage of this opportunity. Photographic equipment was packed and I quickly went into the forest. Here is quiet, away from people, sometimes only watch a deer. The rest you need to take pictures. Rest to recuperate from everyday life. I love it!

I was lucky and was able to watch as the white wall came up to me. Fascinating to see how fog rolls and suddenly you can not even see your own hand in front of eyes.

Forests are and remain mystical and fantastic for me.

Kamera: Canon 600D
Objektiv: Tamron 70-300mm

www.flickr.com/photos/gruenewiese/
www.facebook.de/zweifarbenart.de
www.facebook.com/pages/Oliver-Henze-Photography-/479026708796050
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Featured Photo Wednesday – Pulkit Malhotra

Beautiful story, it brings so much depth to this image. We’ve all had those moments where you find yourself admiring the scene around you. You set the camera done just long enough to take it all in, then you do your best to capture what you see. Whether it’s sunlight through the branches or snow lightly falling we try to capture what we see and share the moment. Thank you Pulkit for sharing with us today. Beautiful image I think you did a great job capturing the moment!

Red_Tree

I went to visit my sister in NY during Thanksgiving last November. I was really keen on exploring the city on my own so I woke early morning took the next subway and started wandering in Brooklyn City when I came across Green Road Cemetery. I came to know that It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1850s and was the place most famous New Yorkers who died during the second half of the nineteenth century were buried. It is still an operating cemetery with approximately 600,000 graves spread out over 478 acres. The rolling hills and dales, several ponds and an on-site chapel just adds to the amazing experience to wander off in this majestic place.

While taking several pictures of the cemetery I came across a few graves surrounding a lake. It was amusing since you don’t see that ever since it only happens only in real world where people buy houses with lake view or ocean view but I guess you would like to have it even after you have been buried. So I started walking around the lake and I saw the most beautiful tree I had ever seen in my life. I just stopped for few minutes with my eyes wide open looking at this beautiful tree and sun rays falling over it. I spent most of my time admiring the view and I tried my best to capture this tree in my camera so I can later share it with my friends and family.

I spent about two hours here and it will be one of most memorable places to visit. I never expected a cemetery to be so beautiful with such amazing architecture. If I would die rich I would really like to be buried at green road cemetery.

Flickr Account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pulkitmalhotra/