First all manual focus photosesh!

(post in progress...)

Did a shoot with a couple, with their pets. Since I already have sold most of my Canon L-lenses (I've only kept my 24-70 2.8L for everyday use), I accepted the task since it was the perfect opportunity for me to:
1. test shooting all manual focus
2. test my new setup and find out if it does improve focusing
3. shoot stills and moving shots of a horse (if you think it's hard with an AF telezoom, then guess how it is with a MF 135/2 prime)
4.  shoot couple photos
5. conclude if my switch from AF to MF is a legit move

I'm not planning to make detailed reviews of my new equipment, nor compare them to other products. All I intend to do is share the results from my shoots. 

As the title implies, all photos are taken with manual lenses. These are "temporary" quick-exports, and may be post-processed further.

135/2 - Unedited RAW - LOVE this! Definitely more confident now with MF. 



35/1.4 - Unedited RAW - could have stopped it a bit down to get her face a tad sharper. Focus is on the horse's head. Skies were unpredictable, so there may be blown-out highlights.




Street Art

Proud to be from Larvik - Thor Heyerdahl's homecity! Major creds to the artists as well. I think the plan is to create a series of 5 ginormous street art portraits of famous norwegians with roots from our city. I really hope vandals would keep their untalented hands away from these amazing works of art. 

Best portrait so far?

I don't know... probably because I shot it full manually, so it kinda gives a satisfying feeling of mastery (call me Sensei). In all seriousness though, the image was shot from a couple of meters away and is cropped quite a bit. hence the forgiving DOF. But it was shot at f/1.4, so I wasn't expecting the entire face to be that sharp. Was pretty amazed by the outcome. It definitely gives a confidence boost to go analog on shoots. I don't know if it was pure luck or just coincidence, but I actually decided that day to start shooting without filters. That's right, we got a badass over here! Generally speaking, an extra layer of external glass will inevitably reduce the image quality / reduce the aperture speed, regardless the price of the glass. The amount of reduction in image quality and f-stop may vary of course, but the key fact is that it does decrease! I personally don't spend loads of money on filters. Primarily, I buy them just to protect the front element. But the other day, I just realized that it is quite counter-productive to invest shizzleloads of money on expensive optics, and then mount a cheaper piece of glass in front of it. Don't hate! I bet Confucius would have said the same thing. 

How can one possibly dislike this shot? 

A few of many honorable mentions from the same days:

Fail or Win?

Forced myself to wake up 5 a.m. during a cabin trip, to practice some bracketing. First thing I immediately learned was ND/graduated ND filter is pretty much a must-have when shooting landscape. Second, if you have a lot of memory space, just keep shooting and don't delete photos. You never know, maybe an accident shot may turn out pretty well in post-process. Just like this 3-image bracketing that fired while I was wrapping it up. I merged them, and gave it a spin. Turned out pretty funny (and slightly trippy). 

Levitating weed? 

And here's the 7 bracketing right before sunrise. -/+ 3x third stops

Handheld, 7 bracketing on a tiny boat.

Just do it!

(New lenses, new location, zero prep)

Step 1. Aquire new lenses
Step 2. Aquire a client
Step 3. Pick a new location
Step 4. Spray and pray for nice images

Tried it. This is how it went.
Sometimes, you gotta think and work fast. Everyone has to train for that.

Lenses: Helios 44-2, Zeiss Planar 50, Sigma 35 A (all manually focused)

Practicing manual focusing

Want to know the quickest and most effective way to getting used to your manual lens?


I'll tell you anyway: find a subject that is constantly on the move, focus, take single shots (not bursts), and do like 10 in a row before reviewing the shots...

...what I'm basically saying is - consider going to a dog park. Practice quick-focusing while the subjects are moving. No treats! That's cheating. 

Was on my way home and passed by the neighborhood's dog park. I did 5x10 really quick shots, and got ONE decent photo! Not sure how I'm supposed to feel about that. 

Contax Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4 T*

Fitness shots

I have a childhood friend who is now based in Antwerp, Belgium. He owns his own fitness apparel, and does fitness photography on the side, plus some other businesses. Check out @archiemcgwirevisuals

He asked for my assitance one day, and assistance did he receive. 

He basically asked me to process an image for him, allowing me to do whatever I wanted with his photo.

Left: his attempt on the image. Right: original RAW image. 

My take:
1. Definitely color, not b/w
2. Attempt to enhance the clouds to give the picture more depth and texture
3. Straighten the lower body, perpendicular to the ground. Makes the pole look heavier and leaning towards the subject, rather than the subject leaning onto it
4. Give him a tan, which is normal for fitness shots
5. Crop away the top part of the pole
6. Minor dodging and burning

And the final result:

Satisfied client @max_czermak - successful collab


During a party, a friend of mine asked me if I could snap some awesome picks of her golden retriever - Theo. I didn't hesitate and said "Yes!" before she even finished her sentence (may have been my liver talking at that very moment, though). It didn't dawn on me until an hour before the shoot, that I've never actually photographed a dog before. What if it went total Roadrunner-mode? How am I supposed to get a good framing? And I just sold my 7D!

Long-story-short, that didn't happen. In fact, I was the one running, crouching and proning all over the place, attempting to cover every possible angle. He basically held a pose when he was told to. Even I could order him to hold still, up to 2-3 minutes! That really impressed me. My mom can't even sit that still for a few phone snapshots. Totally pawesome. (yeah, I'm a punny guy; deal with it).

"Yes!" to more pet portraiture!