The light is everything


Village of Capelas, Northern coast of  São Miguel island.


A story behind:  Tropical Storm Nadine spun around near the Caribbean and US East Coast 4 weeks ago, though the storm ended up circling back east toward the Azores Islands. Last Thursday it hit the archipelago bringing some rain, high winds, quite high temperatures and an amazing 99% of humidity in the air. 
Three factors influence how natural light renders a subject: time of day, camera direction and weather condition. 
That night a combination of high air temperature and moisture, acting like a massive filter,  ended up in wonderfully soft and multicolored lighting that gives a calm, peaceful mood to all subjects. This kind of light I have seen twice in my life ( first time was shortly before the tropical  storm in Key West, Florida: link ).
Moisture is a natural soft box: it scatters light sources so that their light originates from a much broader area. Humid air is also much more reflective to light, which often tricks your camera´s light meter into thinking that it needs to decrease the exposure. 

Gear: Nikon D700. ND 0,3 soft, ND 0,6 hard. Tripod. Rubber boots. Umbrella.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/30 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 100



Place taken: Capelas, Portugal.

Date taken: Thursday, September 20th, 2012, 19:25

Maciek.



The proper scale

The concrete-made staircase at the tower of the Niemeyer Center of Art, Avilez, Spain.


A story behind:  Sunday morning at the Niemeyer Center of Modern Art, Avilez, Asturias, Northern Spain.


A photo creation:  High contrast, bright light. In-camera shadow lightening did a great job.
A small human silhouette and huge stairs - another person lost in a concrete world.

Gear: Nikon D700. 

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/250 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Avilez, Spain.

Date taken: Saturday, September 8th, 2012, 10:25

Maciek.

The six giants and the princess

Eastern facade of the Museum of the Modern Art, Bilbao, Spain.

A story behind:  This was our second visit to the Spanish city of Bilbao and its monumental Guggenheim Museum of the Contemporary Art.   


A photo creation: I approached the museum skyline sunrise (above) feeling the impulse to eliminate the clutter and find the patterns and shapes that would add clarity. The idea was to place the window in the center of the image and make it look small and half-hidden. The surrounding six giant metal structures overwhelm and almost squish the window. Properly exposing the photo was another was another challenge. Every-second rising sun was changing the illumination of the building. The light was very different from my last visit to Bilbao ( on the 1st of January 2011 ).

The mystery of creating a three-dimensional image lies in playing with all the light-and-shadows. I choose f/11 as an aperture small enough to assure good overall depth of field and to maximize the sharpness. To achieve the right combination of 1/100 at f/11, I grudgingly selected an ISO setting of 700.  I was standing on the suspension bridge close to the eastern facade of the Museum. Although the traffic at the early Sunday hours was low, the bridge was oscillating, so I high ISO allowed to achieve the right shutter speed and eliminate the camera trembling.
Next was the selection of the polarizer filter to both increase little the color saturation and, more importantly, cut the glare.

Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 70-300 mm. Tripod. Polarizer.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/100 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 70 mm

ISO: 700



Place taken: Bilbao, Spain.

Date taken: Sunday, September 9th, 2012, 07:25

Maciek.

Converging lines. Foz de Coa museum.

The museum of the prehistoric rock art at Foz de Côa, Portugal beaten by the mid-day sun and heat.

A story behind:  Museum Foz de Coa is located in Portuguese region of Alto Douro, deep into the interior of the Iberian peninsula, and only 20 kilometers from the Spanish border. It hosts the prehistoric rock drawings dated 20-30 000 years BC. 

A photo creation:  My idea was to draw the almost-vanishing and converging lines from all corners of the image to get the perspective stronger. I loved the way all of the lines merge in the center of the image.
The contrast of multiple black and white surfaces ( with all the gray shades in between ) and the geometrical patterns of the walls provided an interesting  counterpoint to the linear perspective. But, what I found the most interesting was that the shapes, which are all triangles or rectangles, were not repeating themselves. The non-repeating, but still maintaining some kind of geometrical symmetry structures, made this perspective so appealing.  This kind of "asymmetry in symmetry" disrupts the monotony of the converging lines activating the observes´s mind to solve this geometrical jigsaw.

The walls of the museum are made of concrete and by the definition are solid, stone-like and unmovable. But with all the lines of shadows changing every-second the scene I photographed is almost unrepeatable and unique.
The human silhouette is located exactly where the all the lines meet. It is like a cake with a cherry on top. 

Now also at 1x.com. Link.

Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Handheld. Polarizer.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/500 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 250



Place taken: Foz de Coa, Portugal.

Date taken: Sunday, July 1st, 2012, 13:35

Maciek.

Old city of Porto first light

 A view on the old part of Porto over the Douro river sunbathed in the first rays of the early morning sun.

A story behind:  From June to September Portugal is constantly flooded with hard, unfriendly to any photographer, light. The days are long, the temperatures high and hardly there are some clouds in the sky. 
That early morning I was photographing with Sebastian and we got some luck. A very thin layer of alto-stratus clouds with an altitude of over 6000 meters were seen ( that quickly disappeared an hour later ). The hot wind was blowing from Spain westwards.


Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Hard 0,3, soft 0,6 Filters. Tripod.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/2 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 17 mm

ISO: 250



Place taken: Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

Date taken: Saturday August 31st, 2012, 07:05

Maciek.