Oslo Terror

Thousands of people laying down flowers at the church in the center of Oslo

Hi all.

It’s been a very sad week for us here in Norway, and also for people all around the world. Thank you so much for your support through this horrible ordeal. Last friday, 22/7-2011 Oslo was shocked by a huge bomb going off in the political center of Oslo. I was on my way back from a wonderful holiday when we heard the terrible news. The reporters on the radio were just shocked as their offices were only a block or two away. Nobody knew what had happened, if it was an accident or a bomb. Me and my girlfriend Siv just looked at each other and just didn’t know what to think. Then the news reported that someone was shot at political youth rally, and I just thought, this is connected somehow, wtf is happening??!

Then reports coming in were saying maybe 30 kids and youth had been shot at the island called Utøya, were the youth rally took place. I thought, at first, that this may just be panicked observations by scared witnesses. Nothing liked this has ever happened in Norway before. All day reports, videos and images were all that you could see on TV. I’ve must have watched it all two or three times, and I still couldn’t grasp the magnitude of what had happened. Then the police got control over the situation at Utøya and caught the madman who just minutes before had slaughtered maybe 10, maybe 30 kids and youth.. What a dark day in history this was…. Then the total number of dead hit us all with pure shock; 77 innocent people… Killed by one psycho-madman…

I was expecting people would be out to get him, and start riots and turn the city upside down in rage. But we live in Norway, we are all Norwegians, we all stay together, and look after one another. We will not feed hate, we will survive only together and with love and support. We saw people everywhere in Norway comforting each other, people of all walks of life. If you were in a suit or you carried all your belongings in a plastic bag, living on the streets, if you were old or a child. We all stood side by side, hugging, crying, comforting and remembering those who died in such a meaningless and tragic way…

I went to the Oslo center with my brother the day after the attack, on saturday the 23rd. My brother had his birthday on 22.July, but it wasn’t much celebrating, we had other things on our minds. As we walked around in Oslo seeing the aftermath it became clear, Oslo would never be the same again, BUT not in a bad or sad way, in a GOOD way. I saw the same connection between strangers as I had seen on the news. We all became friends, with the same thoughts in the same situation, we were all Norwegians and in mourning of the massive loss our country and it’s people had just experienced. So good to see all people coming together like this. However, I will NEVER forget that silence walking around in Oslo that day…..

On a final word I’ll quote a Norwegian girl who were interviewed by CNN : “If one man can show this much hate, think of all the love we can all can show together”

Below a few images from my walk around the city

The city covered in Roses.

200.000 people left their roses all over Oslo.

Flag

Love

Flowers

Windows blown

Showing the love

Broken glass everywhere

Cleaning up

A tired young Sgt resting.

TS-E 17mm f4 L, Tilt-Shift!

Does this look weird to you too?

So, my brand new Tilt-Shift lens is finally in my hands! More specific the Canon TS-E 17mm f4 L. I haven’t gotten the chance to use it all that much, but have tried it for a few days now. It’s surprisingly easy to use, with super-smooth control-knobs. However, this is not a lens you buy when you’re tired of your kit-lens. This one is MF (manual focus) only, it’s slow at max aperture of f4, it isn’t weathersealed, it doesn’t take any kind of filters and it costs more than you wanna know. So why would you buy it? Simple, it does things you can never do with any other lens, as this is the currently widest TS-lens you can get.

What does it do then? Well, it allows you to shift and tilt, well duh!! What that means is if you want to shoot a building thats quite high and you are on ground level, you can take your 10-20mm and shoot upwards to include the whole building, but then you’ll have converging lines, which make the building look like it’s falling over. This can be corrected with a TS lens. Simply point the camera directly ahead, now the walls of the building are parallell, and you have included only half of the building and a lot of the street infront of you, now here’s the magic, just turn the shift-knob so that the lens move upwards, camera in the same position and suddenly it looks like you have taken the photo from way above ground (the middle of the buliding) making the lines still parallell, but including the whole buliding in the picture. This is a fantastic tool for architecture and landscape photography!

Here’s and example, maybe it’s not very obvious (which I love), but in this image I’m pointing the camera up to get rid of the ground in front of the bulding, which normally would cause the sides of the building to converge. I applied some upwards shift to correct that. It’s a 5 shot handheld HDR image.

Besides that there is the Tilt-function, which is to make the most of the dof (depth of field) available. For example, you do have a lot of depth even wide open at f4 @ 17mm, but by tilting the lens upward, you can get much less depth which is useful for making only one part of the image or one subject in sharp focus while other intruding things will be blurred out. Do not excpect the TS-E 17mm f4 L to give you any way near the shallow depth of other fast Canon-primes like the 85 L, but it gives shallow enough depth for it to be very useful when used correctly. The other side to this is when you tilt the lens downwards, which does the opposite, increase apparent dof, which means you can shoot at wider apertures (preferably the sweetspot between f8-f11) and still have a dof that stretches from nearest to farthest subject in the image. This is very useful for landscape when you would normally need to stop down to f22 to have enough depth, but that will result in a large drop in sharpness due to diffraction.

Another unique feature of this particular lens is that it can rotate the tilt and shift adjustments independently of each other, which means that you can put the focus plane pretty much where you want to. This takes some practice, and is one of the things that you need to read about and really understand to use effectively. And to be honest, I have scratched the surface, but it will take some more practice to get proper hang of it. And how on earth people knew how much and when and were to combine the three functions of a Tilt-Shift lens without the blessing of LV (LiveView) in digital cameras is beyond me! You can use a bunch of math-formulas to calculate this stuff, but I wanna take some pictures, not do math, so I’ll just use LV and try it out!

If you are into landscape, architecture this is THE lens for you. I won’t go into detail on the technical stuff, you can read all that here. But in conclusion of a brief hands-on report of this remarkable lens, I’ll say a few words of what I think of it so far.

First of all, this is the highest quality wideangle, in the 17mm’ish range from Canon. What makes it stand out, without any tilt, shift or rotate applied, is the fantastic sharpness aaaall the way out to fullframe corners. It has extremely little CA, almost non-measureable, even wide open. On the 1dmkIV (1,3 crop) it shows little to no vignetting. Very little distortion. Besides the premium optics, the focusing ring is the best I have ever used, even better and more direct than the 24 L II. The build-quality is the “L” worthy to say the least, it’s just astonishingly built! The knobs and switches to the movement of the lens when applying tilt, shift and rotation is unparallelled (nerdy-pun). Only thing you need to be REALLY careful with is that huge bulbus front-element, Canon have included a strap for the lenscap so you have it right there when you’re not shooting, use it!! This lens, as mentioned, doesn’t accept any protective (or other) filters, and hasn’t got any lens-hood, so the lens-cap is the only protection you have. Canon uses a very effective coating on the front element so if you accidently touch the glass with a finger it almost doesn’t show, unless you’ve just been eating a peanut-butter&jelly sandwich, and even then it wipes clean very easily. Even better than the 14 L II, which has the same type of front element.

*UPDATE* I discovered a high-risk feature of the lens cap, I attached the strap of the cap to my camera-strap (since it’s going on and off for every picture), but have almost tipped the lens off the table twice today (I do not seem to learn fast) when changing lenses. I set the lens with lens-cap down on the table, twist the camera off and pull the camera back to attach another lens, guess what happens! Maybe it’s just me that’s clumsy, I just thought I should mention that you need to pay attention when taking the lens off your camera, keep an eye on that strap!

 

If you want your images in architecture and landscape or other wide-angle images to really stand out, this is the ultimate lens. It comes at price, you can buy a 17-40 f4 L and a 70-200 L II for this kind of money. It isn’t for everyone, so if you just want the baddest wideangle, and with AF, without any switches and knobs to worry about, you should really consider getting one of these three; 14mm f2,8 L II, 16-35mm f2,8 L II or the 17-40 f4 L to replace your kit-lens.

 

When it rains it pours!

1d4+70-200 II

June is suppose to be a month of summer, sunshine and a lot of people in the streets. But it has been quite rainy as the image above describes. The train-station is normally filled with people, but the heavy rain force them all to stay inside and run out the last second to jump on their trains. Wish I had more time to shoot in the rain, as you might know already, bad weather is great photo-weather!

So instead of sitting inside being miserable, put on a rain coat, bring an umbrella and go have some photo-fun in the rain!!

New Panasonic GF3 announced!

Worlds smallest interchangeable lens with built-in flash!

Official press-release here

Whos is this camera for? Well, either you’re bored of the slow compact-cameras, and want something that gives you more of the SLR-touch on your images, but don’t want to drag around a huge camera. Or you need a smaller handier camera for when you’re SLR is just in the way of everything. I’m a fan of these small cameras with larger sensors and the ability to change lenses.

I own the Samsung NX100, which is in the same category as the new GF3, hopefully I’ll find the time to put together a small hands-on test of that one for those of you who want to see what all the fuzz is about, and what you get and what you miss out on compared to an SLR camera.

New Canon budget telephoto lens!

Read the official release in the link below:

Canon Announces EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS II

This is an update of the older version of the same lens, fits in nicely in your kit alongside with the ef-s 18-55 IS lenses, usually the lens in the entry-level Canon kits.

The first post!

1d4+14mm. Shot 5 raw files, handheld. HDR.

So, this is the first post of my brand new blog/photo-site! It has taken me some (ehh, a lot) of time to get the page up and running. Siv (my girlfriend) has made this page from design to setting up everything for me, and was done with it a long time ago. It’s just me that haven’t gotten around to getting some content in place. With work and my son Alexander, things seem to take a bit more time then usual.

Now, for image above, I’ve used my newly discovered HDR-technique. It makes shooting HDR much easier in my opinion, especially since I hate to drag around my tripod as I find it limiting when it comes to moving around.

What I do is this (you need and SLR camera):

Set your camera to LV (LiveView)
Set your camera to Bracketing mode (AEB)
Set Drive mode to a 2 sec Time Delay and Single Image (not burst mode)

This is good for two things, first off, the mirror doesn’t flap up and down between shots, and second, you do’ not need to press the shutter button and you can just concentrate on holding the camera still. Preferably support it on something solid, but if the shutterpeeds are fast enough, this is a very good way to get sharp results even handheld for 3 or 5 shots.

Post-processing:

I use Photomatix Pro 4 and Adobe Lightroom 3.4

Load all your bracketed raw-files into Photomatix.

Leave everything at Default, maybe, drag the White point down a bit.
Store as 16-bit TIFF

You now end up with a pretty dull and flat image that looks boring, but not to worry, we’ll fix that!

Open the image in a raw-converting software like Adobe Camera Raw, Bibble, Capture One etc. I use Adobe Lightroom 3.4.

The you edit the 16-bit TIFF stored from Photomatix in Lightroom , boost up contrast, curves, color and sharpness. This will make the final image, do as much or as little as you like, I used a Black&White Preset in Lr (Lightroom) for this one.

With this method you’ll a minimum of blurry results due to camera-movement, and also a lot less noise than when trying to make the final image in Photomatix. In additon I want to mention that this technique makes for a much more natural HDR-result, some people like to make HDR’s look like a painting, but that’s not my cup of tea. I want the HDR’s to capture the scene the way I see it with my eyes.

Hope this was helpful, any question can be added to the commentary section, and I’ll try to answer!