Regoufe Mines

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Hello friends,

Today I propose you a visit to a place little known, but full of history.

I refer to the Regoufe Mines, located in the Arouca GeoPark, and which at the time of World War II, were exploited by the British for the extraction of the volframio, that was very important to the war effort.

It’s worth a visit.

Freita Mountain

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Hello friends,

We are in holidays period and as such nothing better than a suggestion of sightseeing in Portugal

This time I suggest a visit to the “Serra da Freita”, namely the “Passadiços do Paiva”.

Watch the video and get inspired.

Kisses and hugs

Torre Beach

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Hello friends,

Today I bring you a video with the description of how I made a photo in Praia da Torre.

My apologies for the sound quality.

Thank you

Tripods – What you need to know.

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Following a workshop I recently held, I noticed that there are still many photographers who, despite using tripods, still do not know the full potential of these equipment for the act of shooting.

Let’s explore this theme a little to help those who think about acquiring a tripod, or help to better use those who already have.

As its name says, the tripod consists of 3 feet which are the bulkiest elements of the equipment.

The choice of tripod should take into account 3 main aspects: Weight, robustness, and price. And all these elements are directly influenced by the type of material on which the tripod is built.

Materials

Steel

The tripods built in steel are usually the most robust but are by far the heaviest. For this reason, steel tripods are used only in the studio, or outdoors in situations that have an essentially static use. For outdoor use where the photographer moves regularly, it is out of the question.

Plastic

In reality there are plastic tripods but they are usually small and are used for bloggers to support smaller machines. There are also adjustable plastic tripods, for example the Gorilla brand, which lend themselves to ‘curl’ in a support point for less orthodox fixation.

Long tripods with plastic legs, although they can be cheap, are definitely not recommended because they end up being very unstable and fragile.

Aluminum

 In the world of tripods, aluminum is the ultimate battlehorse. It has an excellent resistance/weight ratio, and many options are found in terms of choices and prices.

It is clearly the one that presents the best relationship between stiffness, weight and price.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is a lightweight, strong and extremely corrosion resistant material, making it perfect for tripod legs.

However, being strong in intrinsic terms, its lightness can be a handicap in outdoor situations with a lot of wind, sometimes forcing to hang something heavy on the tripod to gain stability.

 Returning to our three main aspects for tripods, while the carbon fiber tripods are strong and lightweight, they are usually not cheap.

In summary, it is up to each photographer, through the use that will mostly make the tripod, choose the best option of construction material.  

Locking mechanisms

To provide portability, tripod legs usually have folding or telescopic sections, the vast majority of which are of the latter variety. This means that these sections of the legs have some kind of locking mechanism. In general, there are two main types of blocking.

Lever lock

This type of lock is a locking mechanism that opens to release the leg section of the tripod and moves down to hold it in place.

These locks allow the tripod to be mounted quickly and easily, and when they start to gain slack, they have tightening screws that allow you to fine-tune the force of the lock

Twist lock

Twist locks act as threads that tighten the tripod legs. They rotate in one direction to unlock, and in the opposite direction to secure.

Toration locks are generally less likely to fail due to impurities and sand on the lever locks. However, when they start to gain slack, they are more difficult to fine-tune, forcing us to make more force to lock the legs.

Center column

A center column allows the photographer to increase the height of the tripod after positioning the legs to their maximum extent.

The center columns also add versatility to the tripod features, because many of them allow to be placed horizontally, or even placed upside down, i.e. allowing you to shoot with the machine practically near the ground.

 

Tripod Heads

Finally we approach one of the most important elements of a tripod, although it is not an integral part of it, the tripod head.

And we say that it is not an integral part because, on a good tripod, we must have the freedom of choice of the feet (the tripod itself) and the tripod head.

In terms of tripod head, there are several options, however the most usual are:

Ball Head

This type of heads is formed by a ball that rotates freely inside a fitting. This mechanisms allow a lot of flexibility in the positioning of the machine, however it forces us to take extra care to confirm that the machine is aligned (horizontally or vertically).

Another aspect that we should pay attention to in this type of heads is the rigidity of the ball lock since, especially with heavy machines and heads of lower quality, with time the lock tends to gain slack and we can not hold the machine in the position we want.

3-axis head.

These heads, as their name implies, have the machine holder supported on a base that can rotate on 3 independent axes, each regulated by an independent clamping knob.

It can be a head in which the positioning of the machine requires more handling than in a ball head, however it has the advantage that, in terms of alignment is easier to achieve, because most of them have a level bubble at its base.

Also when you have 3 independent clamping knobs, it is easier to lock the machine in the desired position.

Once again the choice of the head has to do with the taste of the photographer, and the recommendation is to choose a head that ensures that supports the weight of our equipment, including telezoom lenses, which are always heavier.

And that’s it, I hope these explanations will allow you to choose the tripod that responds to your needs.

Any questions you just have to say, and we’re here to help.

Kisses and hugs.

Travel Photography

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(Video with sound)

Hello friends,

Holiday time approaches and, with this, the booking of trips to distant places (or not) is usual at this time. The virus problem may be a disadvantage at this point, but sooner or later we’ll go back to trips to places we’ve always wanted to discover.

And for a photographer the adrenaline of knowing new places is always greater because the senses are more dispressed for what our eyes see.

If, on the one hand, the sense of discovery is great for our photographic creativity, the temptation to ‘shoot’ for ‘everything that moves’ is also great and leads us to disperse attention and care in choosing the subjects to photograph.

To avoid this dispersion, I will give you some tips that can be useful when you take travel photography, and so you can bring home some photos that will be proud of.

– Before traveling it is advisable to do a search about the place we will go. Understand what we’ll find and, if possible, see some locations photos to start building some photographic ideas.

– If the location is too attractive to shoot, try to restrict yourself to 2 or 3 themes and focus on building a ‘good’ story with these themes. This does not imply that you cannot photograph other things that will draw your attention, but do not disperse, and explore the selected themes well.

– Is better to spend more time photographing the chosen subject(s) than ‘wasting’ time on many subjects.

– This last point is important because, as we all know, not always what our eyes embrace is what we want to show in the photos. Only with time can we visualize the framing of the photo separating it from the whole environment.

– When we visit very popular places, full of tourists, sometimes it is very difficult to photograph what we want without the presence of strangers in the photos. It doesn’t mean we have to shoot without framing anyone, but the excessive presence of people can ‘overshadow’ the main subject of the photo. The way we frame the issues must be well thought out, choosing what we want to include, even sacrificing a better perspective, so that we can exclude what we are not interested.

– One temptation we all have is to make ‘that’ postcard photo that we’ve seen a thousand times. I have nothing against these kinds of photos because I also do them, but we should not leave after the shot. We should make more photos of the subject looking for different angles, try to shoot horizontally but also vertically, a photo of detail or abstract type, anything that is different from the usual and, for sure, we will make a photo that will please you because it is different from the postcard we made at the beginning.  

I could give many more tips, but the subject of travel photography is not exhausted in a post and, of course, we will return to it in the future.

Just to illustrate what I just said, I include a video about a monumental work by Gaudi – The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – that I had the opportunity to visit last year. 

Although Barcelona has a thousand themes to photograph, the Sagrada Familia was one of the themes I chose in advance to dedicate my time photographically.

 I hope you enjoy it, and that the post will be useful for your upcoming trips.

Kisses and hugs.

How a photo stands out

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Today I will address a topic that has a lot of subjectivity, but also curiosity, that is, try to realize how there are photos that stand out versus others that are ‘just’ good photos.

And to support some of the ‘rules’ that I will describe, and that empirically are considered important to highlight the composition, I will use a photo I made more than 12 years ago, when I still photographed a lot by instinct, without much concern about the ‘rules’ that I will address next.  

The photo is called ‘Under storm’ and, as you can see, portrays two fishermen one evening when a storm approaches.  

 I want to draw attention that I put ‘rules’ in quotation marks because in photography there are no strict rules, only guidelines that can help improve, or not, the photo.

I chose this photo, not because I had the concern to use one that ‘fit’ the ‘rules’, but rather a photo that was awarded in a photo contest held by Camara de Cascais in 2009. If it was highlighted, not by me, but by a jury of a contest, then it’s worth studying it to try to understand the reasons for its prominence.

For this I will use some of the such empirical ‘rules’ that help us make great photos.

– Simplicity – It is said that the simpler the photo, the stronger it can be. In the case of the photo, it is simple because it has few relevant elements. Just the two fishermen, and a storm approaching with the sun tearing through the clouds. We don’t have any more distracting elements.  

– Balanced photo – We say that a photo is balanced when the relevant elements of the photo are not all ‘leaning’ to one side of the photo leaving the other side something empty. As we see in the division I did, we found that the left side is almost a mirror on the right side, that is, it is perfectly balanced. As I said, it is usually not necessary to follow this rigour in balance, but in this case the image provided this balanced framework.

– Rule of thirds – An old ‘rule’, which already comes from the times of painting, and which says that the relevant elements of the image should stand on the lines that form a grid with nine equal spaces. As we see above, the photo did not exactly obey what the ‘rule’ says but did not stay very far, with the two fishermen close to the vertical lines, and the Sun almost over the upper horizontal line. The ‘rules’, as I said, should only serve as guidance, which is what happens in this case.

– Perspective – Everyone knows that photography is a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional world.  It is up to the photographer to try to represent this three-dimensionality in the photo, and this is achieved through perspective. This perspective was created in the photo giving highlight to the size of the fishermen in the foreground (occupy almost the entire height of the photo) versus the Sun that is far away on the horizon. If we compare the size of a man versus the size of the Sun, there is no comparison, however in the photo men are ‘larger’ than the Sun. It is this perspective that creates the depth of the photo, its three-dimensionality.       

– Light/dark contrast – The use of contrast between the lightest and darkest zones of a photo has the effect of transmitting calmer when this contrast is smooth or, on the contrary, creating a tension environment when the contrast is more pronounced. In the case of the photo the high contrast between the bright sun tearing the clouds and the dark profiles, almost silhouettes, of fishermen create a climate of tension, providing those who want to document the approach of a storm.

– Capture the moment – Knowing how to wait for the right moment to register and thus enhance the story, is an essential element for a great photo. Associated with the moment should be concerned to ‘fit’ the frame of the photograph, using some of the orientations I mentioned above. In the photo under analysis, in addition to all aspects of framing that I have already talked about, there was concern to wait for the moment when the sun appeared in the squealing between the clouds and the horizon. It might not have appeared, and the clouds would cover to the horizon which, even following all the previous ‘rules’, without that moment of the sun shining, would never get a picture with the impact it has. Glad it appeared !!        

To recap, the ‘rules’ are not to follow to the letter and sometimes if we break them we even get spectacular photos, however it is always good to have them in our resource chest to help us make the photo that stands out.

My friends, these and many other guidelines for making great photos are covered in the Photography Workshops that Photofinders promotes. If you want to develop your knowledge in this area, go to the Photofinders website and point out that you are interested in our training actions to quickly put them into practice.   

I hope the post has been helpful and arouses your curiosity, and until the next.

Kisses and hugs.

Learning from exhibitions

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Hello friends,

Liking photography involves many facets. Obviously, one of the main ones is to do photography, but it’s also to see photography, and to learn with the photography of other photographers. It only enriches our Photographic culture .

The facet of seeing and learning from other photographers, goes through see a lot of photography of different photographers, with varied approaches, through of books or photographic exhibitions, the latter where we have a chance to see photographs printed in larger dimensions, which gives them a better highlight compared with others visualizations.

This introduction is about a photographic exhibition i saw recently in the CCB, and that I advise everyone to visit, because it will be in exhibition until 21/06/2020. I refer to the exhibition Deeper Shades Lisbon and Other Cities by austrian photographer Andres H. Bitesnich.

Being a photographer specializing in nude portraits, in this exhibition brings us a different facet of your photography, Street Photography where it offers us a very personal view of various cities who visited, being Lisbon one of the last that deserved his attention.

As the room sheet refers, Andreas’s photograph is not intended to represent the real, or to be circumstantial or contemplative, is rather a work of clipping small pieces of the city, and its inhabitants, reinterpreting them through predominantly monochrome, high contrast, and very dense in its pictorial form.

For me, i like black and white photography (B/W), i like street photography, and I like to photograph Lisbon, there was an interest added to seeing how another photographer with similar tastes, photographed the cities, in particular Lisbon. How did he interpret the scenes, how he compose them, what ‘feeling’ their photos provoke us.

Without stretching me on the pictures of other cities, which incidentally follow the same pattern of Lisbon photos, I can tell you that I really liked the exhibition, especially the Lisbon photos, perhaps because they are the ones that are in more number, but also by identifying me more with the location.

And why did I like it? Because I had the opportunity to see a different approach to what I usually take, even though we’re talking about B/W photos, and Lisbon.   

The motifs photographed, some of which were very similar to those I have photographed, however, are concerned with having a framing, a light, a ‘feeling’ that blends very well with the type of editing chosen, a contrasted, grain-grained B/W in the style of the famous ‘noir’ films of the old cinema.

The search for shooting early in the morning, with deserted streets, or the artificial light from lamps, cars and storefronts, enhances the gloomy but appealing environment of your photos.

Balancing street photos and street portraits also is present in the exhibition, because the city are not only streets with buildings and monuments, are also the people who inhabit them, but always depicted within of the same gloomy pattern, without being sad or cold.

I liked it because I could see ‘my locations’ with other eyes and it move our creative vein, reminds us that the same place, the the same motifs, can always be photographed differently, and be in the same interesting photos.

Just to open your appetite, I leave you here some of the exhibition photos, which I registered with my phone, which is a great tool for saving ‘photo sketches’ for later consult. 

My friends, as soon as the corona virus crisis allows, I advise those who like photography to visit this exhibition and discover another look at the cities, especially of Lisbon.

I hope you enjoy the suggestion, and until the next post.

Kisses and hugs.

Documentary Photography

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Hello friends,

After a long absence due to various photographic commitments, and not only, I come back today with a theme that seems interesting because any of us, with more or less photographic experience, can explore.

I am talking about documentary photography, an area where, as its name implies, we will document something through our own experience of the event. It can be a cultural, sporting event, a region, a job, etc.

The interesting thing about this type of photography is that we can and, if possible, we must give our personal inside, our visual interpretation, of we want to document. I’m not saying that we fake the description of the event, it means we can describe it with a different look, highlighting what attracts us the most, highlighting the details that can make the difference in the way we tell the story.

For this I’m going to show some pictures I made last year in Elvas, at the feasts of St Matthew, in honor of St. Jesus of Piety. These parties include, among other activities, a procession and the respective Fair of St. Matthew.

In an unpretentious way, without much preparation, I tried to photograph some aspects of the procession, as well as small fair clippings in its night life.

As I said above, there are certainly many ways to document both the procession, and the fair, however, my choice in the way to tell the story was through the record of details that were bouncing me into sight as it went through them. I think this is a good way to photographically document the event, without the concern of tell the story of the event as is, rather show my personal vision.   

Trying to illustrate what moved me in the way I photographed, I can say that, as far as the procession is concerned, I had the concern to photograph the connection between those who go in the procession and those who watch on the edge of the sidewalk. Details of acts of devotion, such as barefoot lady or the lit candle of a promise that is fulfilled.

If you notice some of the photos, they’re not technically very perfect, even though there’s some blur and ‘grain’ in some, but this even enhances the aspect of improvisation, the chance in which the photo had to be made.  

When it comes to the photos of the fair, there was the curiosity to photograph what I consider most ‘typical’ in this type of fairs, the ‘King of Knives’, the ‘Farturas’ ladies, or the candy stall, but always in a perspective of connection with the people who visit them.

Another aspect that attracted my attention was the colorful of the tents that is customary at these fairs, as well as the ‘sophisticated’ promotional signs, the last ‘fashion’ in terms of marketing. These are aspects always present at popular fairs.

Finally, as we were in election campaign season, there was no shortage of opportunity to make a ‘snapshot’ of a candidate for legislative elections, always usual presences in these popular events.

I don’t want to finish without first inviting them to visit and subscribe to our new project, the Photofinders photo community (www.photofinders.pt) because it will be through of this project that I can best help them have fun learning and developing your photographic skills.

I hope you enjoyed it, and bye until the next post.

Kisses and hugs.

Tours vs Workshops

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Hello friends,

Today I’ll write you about a theme, in fact two because they are different, that many photographers confuse, even some professionals. I’m referring to Photo Tours versus Photo Workshops.   

I think it’s important for people who like photography, and see in the social media Photo Tours and Photo Workshops offerings, distinguish what is expectable in each one, to doesn’t create false expectations, since it is common register for a Tour and wait for a Workshop. A reason for that is there are many Tours offered incorrectly labeled as Workshops.   

A Workshop is an educational experience to help improve technical and creative knowledge. Usually a Workshop is designed to teach photographic techniques, outside or in a studio, or teaching post-production techniques.

A photographic tour is designed to take you to special places, preferably at the best time of the day, and the year, trying to maximize photographic opportunities with minimal instruction from the guide Tour.

The best way to avoid being disappointed is to be honest with yourself about what are your real goals when you choose each one of these offerings.

When you should choose a Workshop and when to choose a Tour?

Workshop

If the main intention is to develop the photographic technique, focus on something specific, such as composition, use of filters, lighting, flash, macro, people, post-production, etc., then a Photo Workshop is the right choice.

It is advisable that a Workshop should have a small number of 5 or 6 people, if it’s with only one instructor, or up to 10 people if they’re two instructors. This caution will allow the instructor to devote time to all participants, showing the techniques, and answer individual doubts of each participant.

It is not critical that the Workshop be in a stunning place, because the intent is to take advantage of some place features to potentiate the teaching of the techniques, which does not mean that it can not be a visually appealing place to take advantage of the photos for the participants personal portfolio.  

During the Workshop, the instructor’s main concerns is to teach and not photograph for himself, even if he can do so, to illustrate the teachings.

Tour

If the participant’s main intention is to meet new places, people, environments, etc., potentiated by the knowledge that the guide has from those locations, and enrich their portfolio, then the Photo Tours is the right choice.

Obviously it is not impetive that, during the tour, the guide aso be able to pass on technical and creative knowledge to improve the participants photos. In fact it’s a current practice to happen, however we must take into account that this is not the main Tour goal. The objective is to explore new places and, therefore, photograph.

It is also common practice that the guide itself also makes the their own photos, taking advantage of the atmospheric conditions of the moment, because every day is always different in terms of light, colors, environment, etc.

A tour may have more participants than a Workshop, 10 participants per guide it’s a good number, but it’s also important not have a big group because, besides creating dispersion if the group has to move between places, the technical/photographic support component becomes more difficult to do.

However, there are some common elements when we participate in a Workshop or a Tour, one of the most important is the interaction among participants. This interaction will potentiate the exchange of knowledge, experiencies, creating new ideas for photo projects, establishing new friendships, at the bottom potentiate the fun that’s the key point of these events.

And for now, my friends, That’s all. I promise to go back to this topic in the near future because it is my intention to develop these themes, promoting Photo Tours and Workshops. Nothing too complicated to non one feels embarrassed to participate, and can enjoy the advantages above described.

If you think you’re interested in participating in these events I’m thinking organize, leave a comment, or send me a mail, to know your interest. The more of you express interest, faster I’ll go with the idea.         

Until the next post.

Kisses and hugs.