Monthly Archives: September 2011

My Paris Photo of the Day

#206 - Choux at Pâtisserie des Rêves

Last weekend some friends and I went to “Pâtisserie des Rêves” (literally, “Dream Pastries”) to have some french pastries and tea. I loved it. My life long love of baked goods tells me that I need to go back again.

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First photos using two polarizing filters as a neutral density filter

Aka “Homemade” Neutral Density Filter

Pont Saint-Michel

View of Pont Saint-Michel, Paris.

In the beginning of the month I wrote about Neutral Density Filters and how expensive it was to get them shipped to France so I decided to follow this article that talked about creating your own with two polarizing filters. I ordered the filters and they arrived safely to my door last week. Yay! for post office efficiency!

Île de la Cité

Woman walking in Île de la Cité, Paris.

Last weekend I tried them on and this is what I learned:

- You will need a “Circular Polarizing Filter” and a “Linear Polarizing Filter”. I got mine at eBay for about €29 from 2 different vendors. The “CPF” was €20 and if from a German brand named Hoya and the “LPF” was €9 and is made by Rowi;

- You have to screw them to your lens in the correct order -> First the “CPF” and then the “LPF”, or else it doesn’t work;

- Mount your camera in a tripod – You will need this because you’re about to do very long exposures;

- Focus your camera, switch it to manual focus after, if you use Auto Focus;

- Turn the filters until you get your viewfinder black, like you would get if you had your lens cap on;

- Switch the camera to manual and start experimenting. -> For these first photos you can see here I used 30 seconds exposures with a small aperture. I could have opted to do shorter exposures with a wider aperture but that would defeat the purpose, which was to have the buildings in focus while the movement of the people (and the water, in the Saint-Michel bridge) was captured and did a sort of “swoosh effect” (this is a technical term, “swoosh”…);

- As expected, the color aberrations where severe. I had to apply a black and white blue filter in post processing. Surprisingly though, not much more needed postprocessing. I’m very happy with the first results!

#193 - Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris filled with people walking by.

Alas, it started to rain so I had to pack up my gear. Next time I’ll try to do it on a dryer day.

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About HDR photos

Report HDR Abuse

Image by: Keith Loh – Licence: Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

“Friends don’t let friends do HDR.” – Lewis Collard

Everybody that knows me knows that I dislike HDR (High Dynamic Range) pictures. I dislike it because it looks bad, most of the time. I’ve seen one or two HDR photos that look cool but I’ve seen thousands that look appalling.

I don’t think that people should be bashed when they do HDR photos but I do think that I need to express my disgust because sometimes newbies feel so fascinated by these novelty gimmicks that they lose themselves forever in a sea of mediocrity.

So, my advice is this:

- Use your time to get to know your camera in detail;
- Study traditional composition;
- Learn more about light;
- Take at least a photo a day;
- Don’t rely on post production to make great photos;
- Trust yourself.

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My Paris Photo of the Day


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Neutral Density Filters

A Neutral Density Filter (ND filter) is a round piece of dark glass that you can screw on to your lens to limit the amount of light that gets to the sensor so you can use a larger aperture or a longer exposure.

websters falls revisited

Photo by: Paul Bica | License: Attribution 2.0 Generic

In the end it means you get to make pretty blurs in the daytime like in this photo above.

I was looking for a ND filter for my Minolta lens of 49mm diameter and I couldn’t find any shops that posted to France for a reasonable price. All of them asked for almost the price of the filter to send it so that would double the price.
So, I have to wait to get the ND filter I want. *sad face*

In the meantime I read this cool article about creating your own with two polarizing filters and I’m going to try it out. I just ordered the filters on ebay and now I’m crossing my fingers that the french mail doesn’t screw this one up. I’m sure it will be fine.

I’ll keep you posted about this experiment. Can’t wait to try it!

Here is one more great photo that uses a ND filter:

Fire Island Lifeguards

Photo by: annabelleny | License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
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