It’s probably not a good idea to publicly confess this, but owwell… It seems that I got away with it this time.
But you know… The best pictures usually come from places where you’re not supposed to be at a certain time. I got some funky pictures in this place. It’s an old abandoned farm house, destroyed by fire for the biggest part (and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a collapse-danger), but very photogenic.

Check this out:

Facade of a farmhouse destroyed by fire

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

Facade of a farmhouse destroyed by fire

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

Or your jpgs, of course, although if you have a sky as in my original image, there will be no detail left in your jpg.
The discussion raw vs jpg has been beaten to death. Many times over.
“Jpgs look a lot better when they come out of camera!” Of course they do. They are processes IN-camera with either the default settings from when you bought the camera, or the customized settings that you entered. Raw images always look flat and boring when they come out of the camera, because you’re looking at unprocessed data. YOU need to do the post processing, and here’s the good thing: you get to control what’s happening ๐Ÿ˜‰
In any case, fact is: raw files contain more data to recover than jpgs, so if you have the time to fuss around in post-processing,ย then do shoot in raw. If your end-goal doesn’t require high resolution and/or high detailed material, and you don’t have too much time on your hands to spend post-processing, you’re better off shooting jpg. Or if you have money to burn on memory cards, shoot both, so you can have the goodies of both worlds.

Street in Tallinn, Estonia

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

The above is the originals. Yes, IS the originals, it’s only one file. It’s a fake HDR, basically. The left image is the original exposure @ 1/125 sec. The right one is the one where I pulled down the exposure slider in Lightroom almost all the way to zero. That gave me just enough detail in the sky to work with (try that with a jpg! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

I opened both instances in Photoshop and copied the right one onto a new layer.

Photoshop layer palette screenshot

Photoshop layer palette screenshot

First two adjustment layers are to make the sky blue. The rest is for bringing out the colors in the walls and roof of the buildings. The last -curves- adjustment layer is for the street. The top layer was added to straighten the buildings.

Street in Tallinn, Estonia

The end result after the Photoshop work is done.

That same light, directional as it is, also can create interesting shadows and patterns with a lot of contrast.

Fire escape

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm

Every now and then you run into this fantastic scene of complementary colors. Here’s one example. Love it when everything comes together like this.

A beautiful, crisp cold day (-24 degrees Celcius during the day), sunny and a perfectly cloudless blue sky…

Complementary colors

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/9.5, Nikkor 50mm

Laundress Lane

Unedited original, D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm

Yeah, I know… There are some pictures that everyone probably has taken. In that sense I’m a tourist like everyone else.
But then… In many ways I’m not just a tourist, so I probably tend to do things from a different angle (pun intended) than most of the people. So here’s the recipe:

  • 1 over-photographed street sign in Cambridge
  • Lightroom
  • appr. 5 cms crop (it doesn’t have to be that exact, but don’t overdo it!)
  • a pinch of exposure correction
  • two cups of fill light
  • 250 gr tone curve adjustments
  • Photoshop
  • a splash of HDR (two instances of the same image, with different highlight settings)
  • 1 tablespoon curves for good contrast
  • 1 teaspoon curves for over-all enlightenment
  • some cloning
  • add noise to taste
  • (and back into Lightroom) add some post-crop vignetting and split toning for seasoning
Laundress Lane

After 20 minutes in the oven...

Anyone who wants can have a piece of the pie. Prints available, prices depending on the size and material.
Inquiries via photos [that funny symbol here]

From the outside you wouldn’t really think it. Well, maybe a bit, but it’s not obvious. From the outside the building fits in the surrounding historical environment quite snugly. But from the inside… Boy, Cambridge Judge Business School is one funky building!

Cambridge Judge Business School

D700, ISO800, 1/125 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm

Cambridge Judge Business School

D700, ISO800, 1/125 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 14-24mm (thanks Arnab ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Awhile back I drove home from downtown after an appointment I had there and when I was about to turn onto the motorway I saw a massive, seriously HUGE cloud of smoke slowly roll over the road a bit further on. It looked like there was a serious fire burning in a building, even if the smoke was white. There was just too much of it to be a simple… well, a simple what, really?
When I came closer, I saw the smoke came from in between two buildings of the Helsinki Energy factory. At that time -of course- I didn’t have my camera with me, like is always the case when something really cool happens and again I was really annoyed. This happens to me all the time, I keep on writing about it *LOL* (and I never seem to learn!).
Yesterday I was on my way downtown for an appointment and guess what…? When I came off the the motorway, there was a similar cloud again. And guess what…?
Ha! Wrong, this time I DID have my camera with me. And it looked SO cool! It did make a terrible noise, but owwell… I got my pictures this time.

Smoke rising from the factory of Helsingin Energia in Helsinki

D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm (3 images stitched together in Photoshop)

Smoke rising from the factory of Helsingin Energia in Helsinki

D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm (2 images stitched together in Photoshop)

Ok, maybe some of these aren’t really oblivion, but I’ll keep on counting anyway, so I don’t have to put up two posts a day ๐Ÿ˜‰

Or then… Maybe this is somewhat oblivion. Roaming the town in the middle of the night… Anyway… Not the perfect conditions, weather-wise, for shooting a full moon, as it was all hazy in the sky, but with some post-processing I did get this old-fashioned kind of feel to it, I think. It’s not an Ansel Adams, I know (we don’t have Yosemite in downtown Helsinki, sorry to say), but it’ll make-do (and no, those are not dead pixels, they are stars, the big bright one must be Jupiter, the rest I put in for good looks ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

Helsinki under the full moon

D700, ISO800, 20 sec @ f/19, Tamron 28-75mm

This was really Day 6, but I guess I can cheat a little bit here and there, right?

I shot a wedding yesterday, beautiful couple and boy, were they lucky with the weather! It’d been raining pretty much the whole week. This sad, not just overcast but completely white in the sky kind of autumn weather, like it is again today. But yesterday… just out of the blue (weather forecast had it all wrong, of course, it was supposed to rain yesterday, too!): glorious, sunny day, blue sky, a bit hazy, but nice and warm until deep in the night (people sitting on terraces until well after midnight, that’s not normal in this time of year in this place).

The couple got married in Temppeliaukionkirkko, one of those must-see tourist attractions in Helsinki. A beautiful place, really, and it shows from the amount of buses with tourists that drive: On Friday I went scouting to see how the light was inside the church (on one of those cloudy, rainy days, mind you). I shot a series of images and stitched them together.


D700, ISO200, 0,5 sec @ f/11, Tamron 28-75mm; 9 images stitched together in Photoshop

After the second post about cross-processing I thought I’d make second post about HDR to even things out. So here goes. Victim this time was the old church in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

No auto-bracketing or anything, just two straight-forward exposures. One for the church, one for the sky. Manually merged in Photoshop (CS3). I’ve never been too impressed with the auto-merge in Photoshop. Just upgraded my system to CS5 and I have yet to test those features there (I’ve heard they’ve improved a lot, so I’m curious to give that a go).

Old Church in Uusikaupunki

Left: D700, ISO800, 1/350 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm. Right: D700, ISO800, 1/1500 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm.

Old church in Uusikaupunki

The above two images merged in Photoshop CS3. Levels, curves, contrast and saturation adjusted.

See there’s no halo around the church (sure, go ahead, click image to enlarge)? That’s one of those typical things you see when HDR exposures are merged together automatically using software. It’s one of the reasons why I prefer to do things manually (still). Then you’re sure that things are looking more natural, and if you HAVE to cheat, you decide where you cheat and how you cheat. Of course I’m cheating. Do you really think I’m masking around branches and leaves in the trees? Of course not. I cheat. But I make sure you don’t see it, unless I want you to see it ๐Ÿ˜‰