Why I left Venice for the Countryside!

Sometimes you explore a new place and are surprised to feel so at home. A feeling deep down in your gut that you belong there. And everything just seems to flow together. This is what happened between me and the rural countryside in Hungary, I have not chosen the place but is Orseg that  has finally  chosen me!

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Although I lived in Venice and Milan not to mention many years in London and Edinburgh, I spent most of my life living in a home with small/medium/big gardens. I have great memories with friends and family… 

Now I live half time in Ljubljana the pretty capital of Slovenia and in Őrségi Nemzeti Park in Hungary

Like me, you may be someone who spent most of your life in the big city and wondered what it would be like to live in the country. Here are my top 3 reasons why I left Venice and found myself at home in the rural countryside.

#1 Too many people, cars and buildings

Living in Venice was giving me a touch of claustrophobia. Walking stuck in a herd of a hundred people on the sidewalk is a nightmare to me.

Some big cities are much more sprawling, but certain things you can’t escape. I lived in London and you’ll drive for an hour and all housing subdivisions look the same, every neighbourhood has the same Big Chain stores, and the streets get jam-packed during rush hour.

Is that how we’re meant to spend our time? I really don’t think so.

Let me tell you, today I live in the country. When I need to drive into town, I pass acres of farms, foxes, deer, sunflowers fields exploding up from the horizon. 

 created by dji camera

 

#2 There’s too much smog in the city

It’s not normal or healthy to be surrounded by smog. This sounds obvious but millions of people choose to do so.

Breathing in dirty, dusty sand is bad enough. But heavy smog from industrial pollution is deadly serious to your health. Respiratory problems, skin conditions, cancer, and other damaging effects are to be expected when you live in a cloud of toxic pollution. Plus, if you are going to spend money to live somewhere – shouldn’t it be pleasing to the eyes?

I found Venice extremely polluted and I could not stay without using my inhalers at least twice a day

And this isn’t a static condition. It’s something that gets worse every single day. 

#3 Where are people going to wish they lived in 5-10 years?

After having lived in Venice for a few years, I greatly appreciate the quiet country life. When people come to visit, you can see the stress melting off them. 

I am more creative, I can think more freely and see the world and what is around me in a better more relaxed way, I am not upset all the time, I love it!

I tend to meet more real people with real problems, Social media is less important but stopping and having a coffee or a Palinka is very much appreciated. You may cue in a small grocery store for 20 min because of chats but quality of life is more relaxed, there is a different perception of time. I appreciate more what I have got and what I really need, I am much more closer to a minimalistic way of life... and I am experimenting again the  100 thing you posses or rule 333. There is no luxury, dress code, fashion, etc you are considered for what you really are and what you do and not for how you "appear".

For these reasons and more, I feel that areas like this will be among the most hotly contested within the next decade. Things are getting weird quick in the big cities. People are getting fed up and they want out.  

Claim a spot while you can!

 

Why I freely share some images on @Unsplash

“Beauty has always been free. It came in the box with sunlight and eyeballs. It was granted to us upon birth as we first laid eyes upon our beautiful mothers and then mother earth. For those of us with extreme empathy and a wide-eyed approach to seeing the world, finding the beautiful all around us and capturing it is a deep and glorious honor. Yes, you can have that image at the top for free — perhaps not because it has no value, but because I simply want you to see what I can see. "

    
The above sentence by Swiss photographer  Samuel Zeller reassumes  in few short sentences the main reason why I do love making some of my images free on @Unsplash.

I have a very limited number of free images probably less than 30 but is something that I feel very passionate about it I love to give something back, share what i see for free plus there are few other practical reasons:

 

1) I am constantly inspired by the contents and images of @unsplash.  Here the spotlight being on the pictures, they have the space they need. Between a fraction of a mobile screen, and a full screen, it’s obvious which is going to better display and enhance the content.

If  you have ever visited Unsplash, you’ll agree  with me that the feeds are filled with amazing pictures. Pictures that you can take inspiration and learn from. 

I am also learning a lot on what people and companies are looking for. Here is not  a matter of clicking to give a Like but is what they download and use. So it is good to perfect my craft and develop my skills as far as possible.

2) I started to receive small monetary donations from users showing their appreciation for letting them use my work. They didn’t have to do that.  At the same way I do not need to give my photos away for free. But we both did. I also started to receive bookings and made partnerships that I would have not found in normal and traditional way or with my  regular contacts, agents and channels. Due to some of the images I have on Unsplash, I got commercial jobs, to take pictures with my drone, work for hotels, touristic resorts, not to mention I got bookings for workshops and photo walks. In other words, I made much more money giving free these images than if I would have ever sold them, and that is for sure!

3) The culture of the new is the major problem with photography online on social media as curator and photographer Andy Adams explain « It’s always about the new which inevitably means the not new drops off our radars way sooner that it should »

Social network like Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram are for sure a problem for photographers due to this particular reason. They are good for commercial brands because they can afford to hire social media managers and post regularly.

The images I share for free  on Unsplash don’t lose value, there is no difference at all between a year old shot and a week old shot. Their value are not based on time. When I do not post new images on Unsplash, even for  a month or more I still get a lot of downloads, likes and views.....EVERY day. So I get promoted and is  a free advertising.  Try not posting on Instagram for a month… ;-)

 

How to See the 2018 Shooting starts or Perseid Meteor Shower

Anticipation is quite high for this year’s shooting stars, which peaks over a moonless weekend with projected rates of 90 to 120 meteors an hour.

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Sky-watchers around the world are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Perseid meteor shower, which will be at its best from August 12 to 13. Often one of the most impressive spectacles of its kind, the Perseid shower should be especially vivid this year because the sky will be moonless and dark during the peak.

The Perseids are actually visible from July 17 to August 24, although you’ll see only a few meteors an hour throughout most of that time period. The sky show spikes on the peak dates, with an expected average of 90 shooting stars an hour.

If you have clear skies, this deep darkness should deliver a great performance on the evening of August 12, with rates of up to 120 shootings stars an hour visible from countryside locales. Observers in eastern North America, Europe, and the Middle East should get the best seats for this meteor bonanza since the exact peak is expected to occur at 9 p.m. ET (01:00 UT).

While you can start hunting for Perseids as soon as it gets dark, the best viewing may be after local midnight and into the predawn hours of the 13th, when the skies will be at their darkest and your part of the globe will face the incoming meteor cloud. (See pictures of the Perseid meteor shower.)

Meteors will be visible even under bright suburban skies, but you can expect to see only a quarter to half as many shooting stars. No matter where you are, allow about half an hour for your eyes to adjust to the darkness before you start sky-watching in earnest.

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The Perseids grace our skies when Earth ploughs through a cloud of fragments left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which last flew near the sun back in 1992. As the comet zooms in from the outer reaches of the solar system, its ices vaporize, and it releases debris ranging in size from sand grains to boulders. The particles get spread along the comet’s orbital path in such a way that Earth crosses the debris field around mid-August every year.


When that happens, the comet pieces slam into our atmosphere at speeds of around a hundred thousand miles an hour, causing the meteors to burn up and produce the brilliant streaks across the sky that we affectionately call shooting stars. (Here’s how scientists think we can create artificial meteor showers.)

Meteors will appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, the mythical hero, which will rise after local midnight in the northeastern sky.

Despite their Greek namesake, the earliest known record of the Perseids appears in ancient Chinese texts, which mention awe-inspiring views of over a hundred meteors an hour as far back as A.D. 36.

Reported sightings continued throughout the centuries in many other cultures. In medieval Europe, devout Catholics referred to the phenomenon as the “tears of St. Lawrence,” since the yearly display coincided with the anniversary of the death of Lawrence the martyr. But astronomers didn’t recognize the link between the sky show and comets until the late 1800s.


Souvenir Snapshot1.  

What do you need.....

•    DSLR body
•    All of your batteries (and spares batteries; if you have an extended grip that holds AAs, bring it)
•    Fast wide-angle prime or zoom lens (f2.8 or faster) with UV or skylight filter attached
•    Heavy duty tripod
•    Cable release or intervalometer (see below)
•    A really comfortable outdoor reclining chair
•    A good flashlight
•    Lens-cleaning supplies

Why do I suggest a wide-angle lens and not a telephoto lens? Probability. The more sky you cover, the greater the likelihood of capturing a shooting star.  You can cover twice as much sky with a 24 or 28mm lens than you can with a 50mm lens and the difference gets more dramatic the longer the lens gets. You may get lucky and pick just the right spot with a telephoto lens, but your odds of getting your perfect shot increase tremendously as you cover a greater area of sky.

The intervalometer is one item on the equipment list that you might not be familiar with. Think of it as a cable release on steroids. With a cable release, you’re shooting one frame at a time. With the intervalometer, you can program the length of the exposure, and the delay between shots. And you can program the number of frames you want to shoot. If you look on Ebay you can get a nice intervalometer for $30 or less.

1.  Open and level the tripod.
2.    Mount your camera and estimate where the best position and angle is for shooting.
3.    An app for your smartphone called “Starglobe” is invaluable at finding the location of constellations in the night sky.
4.    Set the shutter speed on “B” or Bulb.
5.    Set your lenses focus control switch to “MANUAL” this will keep it from searching for infinity in the dark.
6.    Set the aperture to wide open.
7.    Attach your cable release or Intervalometer.
8.    Set the focus to INFINITY by manually aligning the infinity mark on the lens with the focal length point on the barrel you are using.
9.    Set the ISO to either 800 or 1600 to start (experiment from there).
10.    If your camera has mirror lock-up, use it (this will reduce vibration caused by the mirror).
11.    Verify your exposure settings (I shoot at 30 seconds to avoid star movement and spiraling).
12.    Press the start or release button.
13.    Check your first frame for focus by zooming in on the LCD display screen and adjust if necessary.

The Captive Stork (A Rab Gólya)

Since living in the Hungarian countryside I grew very passionate of storks.

Storks do return to their carefully built nests year after year, They bring life to any village!

 BRODSKI VAROS, CROATIA - JUNE 20:  Malena keeps an eye on her  stork chicks on June 20, 2016 in Brodski Varos, Croatia. Stjepan Voki� has been taking care of Malena for 22 years, after an Italian hunter broke her wing and she hasn't flown since. Storks Malena and Klepetan have remained a couple for over 20 years, each spring Klepetan migrates 13,000 kilometers alone to be with Malena.  (Photo by Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

 

I recently discovered a great ballad by Hungarian author János Arany titled A Rab Gólya "The Captive Stork,” written in 1847.

By the way  he was a Hungarian journalist, writer, poet, and translator. He is often said to be the "Shakespeare of ballads" – he wrote more than 102 ballads been translated into over 50 languages, as well as the Toldi trilogy, to mention his most famous works. 

The poem or ballad describes a lonely captive stork standing in the middle of a small plot who would love to be free and  fly, all the way to the seas, but can’t because its wings have been chopped.

Árva gólya áll magában
Egy teleknek a lábjában,
Felrepűlne, messze szállna,
Messze messze,
Tengerekre,
Csakhogy el van metszve szárnya.

Tűnődik, féllábon állván,
El-elúnja egyik lábán,
Váltogatja, cserélgeti,
Abban áll a
Múlatsága,
Ha beléun, újrakezdi.

The stork at one point tucks its head under its wing because it is too painful to look at other “free storks flying to a better homeland.” But the stork waits. Perhaps one day “it will fly into the sky where the blue of freedom reigns.” and "Waiting, waiting, always waiting", the end, however, the “lonely stork" realizes that even if its wings grow out, wicked people will cut them once again.

The original Hungarian can be found online. I was unable to find a proper English version I only found this one

There is a great song from Arany ballad and is  by Margaret Island the Budapest band and the great voice of singer Lábas Viki create a magic atmosphere 

Clearly, the stork has a special meaning for Hungarians.

Klepetan Returns Home as Croatia’s Famous Love Story Continues

 

Klepetan and Malena’s story has touched many hearts around the world 

The remarkable love story of two long-legged birds from eastern Croatia, which has gone on for the last 16 years, continues as Klepetan arrived back home on Thursday at around 10:30 am.

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The two storks made their nest on a chimney in Brodski Varos in eastern Croatia more than two decades ago. The pair would fly together until Italian poachers injured Malena’s wing which left her flying capabilities restricted.

With storks being a migrating bird, this caused a problem. Every winter for the last 16 years Klepetan would leave Croatia and make his way more than 13,000 km to the warmer climates of Africa.

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Without fail, however, Klepetan has always managed somehow to negotiate his return to Croatia in the spring when the weather warms up to be reunited with Malena.

However when Klepetan failed to turn up by the end of March last year the nation began to worry. He did return though two weeks late keeping the love story alive.

“It is true, Klepetan has been late 3-4 days than when he was younger. The journey is long, more than 13,000 km. Last year he was 2-3 weeks late but nobody is happier than Malena and I when he arrives,” Stjepan Vokic, who has taken care of the birds in Brodski Varos for over a decade, told 24sata.

The famous love story continues.

Vero the new app, why and how to use it

Vero, a photo-sharing app that launched in 2015, is the latest app to benefit from ongoing frustration with Facebook and Instagram's hated algorithm not to mention recent uselessness of Twitter .

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A week ago, Vero was ranked so low it didn't even appear in the App Store's top 1,00 apps; today it's the most popular app both on the App Store and Google Play Store. It's gotten so popular that the app's servers have been overloaded, with many users unable to post or even sign up for an account. 

The creators and owner of the app are very clear and upfront it will be a pay as you go app. I like the idea and I never believed in freebies and if is free is too good to be true.

I like as well the concept no algorithms no advertising. In exchange of a fee?? Why not!

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Here is a summary of the manifesto: Vero is unhappy with the way social media has become about algorithms and ads, and they’re trying to create a more “natural” way of sharing things. In practice, that means no ads, ever (the service will be funded in part by an annual subscription model they’ll introduce soon, and in part by Vero receiving a commission on sales made through the platform).

It also means users have more control over who sees their posts: the news feed is chronological rather than thrown together by an algorithm, and users decide whether each post they make will be broadcast to close friends only, friends only, friends and acquaintances, or anyone who chooses to follow them.

In its manifesto, Vero said it does not incorporate advertising into its revenue model, but will instead begin charging users for a subscription after 1 million free users have joined the service.

“As a subscription-based service, our users are our customers, not the product we sell to advertisers.”

Vero’s been variously described as “the new Facebook” and “the new Instagram”, but in reality, it’s actually more like a combination of both

It’s similar to Facebook in that you can have friends as well as followers, divided into acquaintances, friends and close friends.  You can use it to chat with people, and you can post a range of content like links, text posts, photos, film recommendations etc.  It’s similar to Instagram in that you can post nice looking photos. There are no stories, it is good for me...I never used them anyway.

Arguably, its biggest selling point is that it has a chronological feed, allowing users to see everything. Companies can’t pay to boost posts because there is no algorithm that highlights certain posts over others, meaning – provided you scroll far enough down – you won’t miss any of your friends’ images.

Another interesting feature is the fact that, unlike Instagram, users aren’t required to crop their images: full-sized photos can be uploaded and displayed in their original ratio.

This business model stands in stark contrast to other apps like Facebook, which has become very advertising heavy. Without money from advertising, Vero has admitted it will eventually charge users to sign up for the app, however, the first million users will receive free access for life.

I like very much the modern design the easiness in creating an account and in how to use it.

Of course, at the moment it is a bit of an empty place...but was exactly the same on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! I do not mind to try a new medium in the hope it will work

 

 I am on vero as marco secchi

I am on vero as marco secchi

How to use Vero:

Like most social media apps, you first have to sign up with your phone number and email address after you get Vero. By entering your phone number, you can let Vero access your contacts to see which friends are also on the app. You can also invite your contacts to make a Vero account. This step is also skippable, and you can connect with friends later.

Once you’re all signed up, you officially have a Vero account. Now you can add a bio and avatar to your profile page.


Vero will then show you its “Featured Content” page. Similar to Instagram’s Explore page, it’s where you can check out posts from verified Vero users.


When you tap “Done” in the upper right-hand corner, you’re brought to the main page — your Vero feed. The app will then direct you to share your first post.


Here is where the world opens up. You can post a myriad of different things to your Vero feed. Search for music (they literally have it all), movies (seriously, they have every movie ever), books (yeah, all the books), places, links, and finally photos and videos.

Still kind of afraid of the great beyond, we decided to keep things simple with a photo post.


The Vero photo editing process is almost identical to Instagram’s. Your filters and simple editing tools are cleanly displayed below your photo. You’ll still be able to pre-edit in another app and then upload from your library, too, if you like to have a bit more variety in your editing options.


Tap “Done,” add a caption, tag a location if you like, and then choose who’s able to see your post. When adding friends and followers in Vero, you’re able to categorize them into “close friends,” “friends,” and “acquaintances,” thus letting you control how far you want each post to reach.

 

 

My Fav Settings for Fujifilm XT2

INTRO
So you have got yourself the X-T2, taken a few pics, played with the menus, but somehow feel lost or not sure how to best utilize some of the options available. Well, you’re in luck, read on and I will take you through each setting and explain what each does, what your choices are, what I personally have and for what reason. Maybe my settings will suit your style of photography maybe not, either way, I'm sure you will find most of the info helpful.

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PREPARING THE CAMERA
First, let's do a factory reset to make sure we are starting from scratch. Scroll down to the SETUP-UP menu (Wrench icon) and select USER SETTING>RESET>SHOOTING MENU RESET>OK and then go back again and select SETUP RESET>OK. Make sure you have a fresh battery and a cool refreshment nearby. Now that we are set, let’s start from the beginning.

NOTE: If you haven’t already done so, check that you have the latest firmware installed. Press and hold the DISP.BACK button while at the same time you switch the camera on. The rear LCD will display the current firmware version for both the X-T2 and the attached lens. If not up to date visit Fujifilm's firmware page, download the firmware and copy it to the root directory of your SD card. Once inserted, press and hold the DISP.BACK button again and this time follow the on-screen instruction for updating your firmware. Basically, all you do is hit the OK button, wait for the completion and then switch the camera OFF - and you’re done. 

Basic Settings, Set-up, and Functions


File Type: For landscape work I shoot in RAW Mode only. All files will be processed from RAW using Lightroom, ACR, or Iridient Developer, and then finished in Photoshop. RAW Recording is set to Uncompressed. For street work, or people, I will use RAW + JPEG Fine and I will employ the Fuji Film Emulations.

White Balance: Auto. I hardly ever vary this as it can be manipulated in post processing.

Noise Reduction: I have this set to 0 as my default.

Long Exposure Noise Reduction: Off.

Dynamic Range: I leave this set to DR100 as my default.

Color Space: Adobe RGB

Card Slots: My Card slots are set to Sequential, which means, that when one card fills up, the camera switches to the other card. You can set it to BackUp and RAW/JPEG as well but I never use these.

Image Size: I typically leave this at the default range of L3:2. Any relevant cropping I will perform in post-processing

Film Emulations: I love the Fuji Film Emulations and use them often when shooting in the RAW + JPEG Mode. But I use them even in shooting RAW as a Live View Screen setting to get a sense of what a final image might look like. The Velvia and Astia Emulations give the LV Screen image a color boost and the ACROS Emulation lets me view the potential of a B+W image.

Function Buttons: The Function Buttons are a way for you to customize the settings you want close at hand. For my camera’s I have made sure that the button assignments I use are the same on each camera body.  You can assign the various FN Buttons by going to the Set Up Menu > Button/Dial Setting > FN/AE-L/AF-L Button Setting, and work through the diagrams. The following list is how I assign my buttons:

Front FN1 Button. Wireless Communication;

FN2 Button > Face and Eye Detection.Wireless Communication;

FN3 Top of the D-Pad > AF S Custom Settings on X-T2,

FN4 Left D-Pad > Film Emulation Mode;

FN5 Right D-Pad > Timer Setting; Having this handy is very useful when I am shooting a longer exposure without or without my electronic shutter release.

FN6 Bottom D-Pad > AF C; This is Single Point, Zone, or Wide Tracking

AE-L Button: This is set to AE-L Only

AF-L Button: This is set to AF-L Only

I think setting Function Buttons comes down to your personal way of shooting and camera operations you want at your fingertips.

Focusing: I switch between S, C, and Manual focus depending largely on what I am shooting. In operation, the S Focus Mode puts the focus at a single point or zone. The C Focus Mode continually seeks focus and is good for moving objects. For my landscape work, I shoot in entirely in Manual Mode – manual focus and manual settings – and at the native camera ISO of 200. (more on some of this below). For editorial and street work, I typically use AF and utilize the Joystick to move the focus point. I will often switch to C Focus Mode and select Continuous Low CL, or Continuous High CH Modes which fires the shutter in high speed bursts when shooting news sporting events. CL will shoot from 3 to 5 burst frames and CH will fire from 8 to 14 burst frames. In addition, you can couple this with one of the five Custom AF Settings in the X-T2. I am not afraid to work the ISO when shooting on the street and invariably go over 800 to 1000. For Manual Focus I use Focus Peaking. This coupled with the Focus Distance Scale is a great way to dial in your focus and know you have the shot. To set Focus Peaking go to AM/FM Setting > MF Assist > Focus Peak Highlight > Then select your Peaking Option. I use the Red (High).


The Power of “T”, Back Button Focus, and the Distance Focus Scale


Now, let’s take a look at some other incredible components built into the Fuji X cameras. But, before we go there, I want to talk about the Screen and Viewfinder set-up. The screen set-up is entirely customizable on the Fuji’s and can be accessed in the Toolbox Menu. Aside from the usual things you might want such as AF Mode, Film Emulation, and File Type, the four items that are set on each of my cameras, both in the Viewfinder and on the Live View Screen, is the Electronic Level; the Exposure Compensation, set to Scale; the Histogram; and the Manual Focus Scale, set to Feet. Everything else notwithstanding these four singular settings are the most important to my shooting.

I almost always shoot in Manual Mode, and to be clear I set the Aperture, the ISO, and the Shutter Speed. I work quicker this way and it is the way that my mind thinks while in the process of making an image. My Exposure Mode is set to Evaluative Metering and I take my light readings using the Exposure Compensation Scale and the Histogram, and more so than not I base my exposure judgements on the Histogram. For street work I will periodically check the meter readings using the Exposure Compensation Scale and set it to 0. This usually gets me to within a stop or so of the right reading when I take a shot.

Despite what camera you shoot with I believe having the Histogram viewable while you are making exposure adjustments is a must. With aperture and ISO set then it is a simple matter of just turning the Shutter Speed Dial to manipulate the exposure while looking at the effect in real time using the Histogram. After choosing a shutter speed you can use the front Command Dial to adjust the exposure, up 1-stop and down 1-stop, in 1/3-stop increments. This is quite handy for micro manipulation of the Histogram.

But, here is where the Power of the “T” can simplify this even more. The “T” is located on the Shutter Speed Dial, and when set it allows you to use the Front Command Dial (or rear if you set it that way), to manipulate the shutter speed ranging from 30 seconds all the way to 32,000. So, with my aperture and ISO set, and the Shutter Dial set to “T”,  the only thing I have to manipulate is the Command Dial. It could not be more simple and I can quickly change aperture to suit conditions, and manipulate the exposure quickly while using the Histogram. Because the Command Dial moves in 1/3-stop increments as well, I can make micro adjustments to the exposure too. I have both of my cameras set this way and with the turn of the on-button, and a quick read of the light, I am shooting instantaneously. I think at the heart of this set-up is simplification – to simplify the mechanical process and make it automatic – so that I can concentrate on making images.

Back Button Focus Now a small word about Back Button Focusing.

If you are in Manual Focus Mode and you have the AF-L Button set to AF-L Lock you can use the Button to Back Button Focus. This is a great help for street photography or even for shooting portraits. When in Manual Mode you can use the Joystick to move your focus point, and once you have it where you want it, hit the AF-L Button. The camera will lock focus at that point and you can then press the shutter button as many times as you wish without the camera changing focus. Additionally, if you go to the Set-Up Menu > Button/Dial Setting > AE/AF Lock Mode, and set it to AE&AF On/Off Switch, this will decouple the buttons and allow you to lock focus and exposure when the camera is set to C or S, AF Mode, and you are in Aperture or Shutter Priority. So, much like the Back Button Method, once you have achieved focus, you can select the AF-L Button and it will lock focus until you press the button again. This is the same for the AE-L Button. You will know you are locked in when you see the AF-L and the AE-L indicator in the lower left corner.

In the image below I had already locked focus in the zone around the grill using the Back Button Focus, and when Chef Chris hit his Usain Bolt pose, which caught me completely by surprise, I was ready to make a capture without worrying about the autofocus kicking in and perhaps missing the moment


Fuji’s Distance Scale is nothing short of brilliant. Shown below on my Live View Screen, it is the linear graph at the bottom of the screen, just above the shooting data. The White Tick Mark on the graph is the point where I have focused the lens, in this example at 2 feet. The blue line indicates the hyper-focus zone of the lens, in this case from just inside of a foot to 5 feet. Since Fujinon lenses are all chipped this information is conveyed to the camera for each focal length. I use this information in concert with Focus Peaking for all of my landscape work and it is extremely accurate. Much like the other settings described in this post this is another technical innovation from Fuji that allows me to focus on image making and not wondering if I am in focus or actually where my hyperfocus zone is located. The Depth of Field Scale has two options – Pixel Basis, and Film Format Basis. Pixel Basis is for images that will be viewed on screens and Film Basis is for images that will be printed. For my work I use the Film Format Basis. To set this go to the AF/MF Setting Menu > Depth of Field Scale > Film Format Basis. The Distance Scale can be set in feet or meters based on your preference, and to set this go to the Set Up Menu > Screen Set Up > Focus Scale Units > Feet.

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The image below illustrates the base set-up for my Live View Screen which is also mirrored in my Viewfinder. To the left is the Exposure Compensation Scale; to the lower right, the Histogram; and the Focus Distance Scale along the bottom. The Green Line is my Horizon Level Line. Additionally I have the Composition Grid set in thirds. To set up your screen go to the Set Up Menu > Screen Set Up > Disp. Custom Settings and place a check in the box for the items you wish to display.

Venice Carnival: is it really necessary?

The circus performances, under the theme ‘Lights, Camera, Action’, are inspired by the work of Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.  

The flotilla featured tightrope walkers, fire eaters, boats and animal floats to the backdrop of music from Fellini’s films.  Circus performers hold up barbells and breathe fire as part of Venice Carnivale celebrations

However, celebrations were marred by reports of thousands stranded outside the gates along the banks of the canal.

According to local paper 'La Nuova Venezia', police restricted entry to the Cannaregio Canal. It is part of a push by authorities to restrict the crowd size to 6,000 people, citing public safety concerns.

Embed from Getty Images

More tourists are expected to arrive in the city as festivities ramp up. The celebration of the Angel’s Flight in Saint Mark’s Square, a major festival event that takes place next Sunday, has in recent years drawn crowds of over 100,000 people. This year there will be a restriction of 20,000 in Saint Mark's Square so expect more chaos.

The Venice Carnival should return to its "original" roots of 1980, lose most of the commercial aspects to return to be a celebration for the Venetians and tourist who like to take part, with activities all over the city and in most of the Campi and stop being monothematic in Saint Mark's Square.

Improve your long exposure with photo stacking

Are you planning on shooting soft, silky waves? Do you wish to create dreamy, daytime landscapes with smooth, stretched clouds?

This post will help you improve your long-exposure skills and overcome the most common challenges that occur in daytime long-exposure photography.

Photo Stacking for Daytime Long-Exposures

When doing long-exposure photography–photography that requires light to hit your camera sensor for more than 2 minutes a lot of problems can arise and those can easily ruin your shot: false light, camera shake, accidentally tripping over your tripod, etc. 

With exposure time around 4 minutes, you can easily waste a lot of time trying to capture the perfect shot of soft clouds or silky waves.

But by dividing the shot into several shorter exposures of the same subject and stacking them together in Photoshop, you can overcome most of the issues, spend less time on wasted shots, and come away with better images.

Photo stacking is not a technique for every situation, but sometimes stacking your long-exposures is the only way to get a good shot. However, it is important to recognise when you need it during shooting.

When to Use Photo Stacking

False Light

During the day, you’ll often have too much light available for long-exposure photography. Long-exposure photography in daytime light using a 10 stop ND-filter might still result in an overexposed shot. 

At night or during the blue hour, when the light is limited, you can adjust your camera settings to give you a 2 or 4 minutes exposure even without using neutral density filters.

  This long-exposure image consists of 4 shots of 40 seconds each. I was standing on a metal bridge and there is often passage of heavy trolleys and people

This long-exposure image consists of 4 shots of 40 seconds each. I was standing on a metal bridge and there is often passage of heavy trolleys and people

 

Photo stacking your daytime long-exposure photos will ensure that you get correctly exposed shots. Furthermore, if you don’t own a 10 stop neutral density filter, using a less strong ND-filter and taking multiple images to combine later will give you similar results.

Camera Shake

Next to false light, shaking is the most common reason for failed shots in long-exposure photography.

At night, factors that can cause your tripod and camera to shake are usually lessened: lighter wind, fewer waves, and less traffic, for example.

But during the day, these factors are stronger, heavier, and more problematic for daytime long-exposure photography; strong wind or heavy traffic can make your tripod shake or vibrate, resulting in blurred or unsharp shots. 

While we’re at it, remember to take the camera strap off your camera while shooting long-exposure. It acts as a sail in the wind and causes shaking to the tripod and camera.

And make sure the ground is sturdy enough to support your tripod and keep the camera steady for a long-exposure shot.

 

User Error

And then there are those unforeseen hiccups that can ruin a great long-exposure shot.

Regardless of whether its daytime or night, another common mistake is simply forgetting your remote. Without a remote, you are stuck with the longest exposure time your camera allows excluding bulb mode.

Bulb-mode without a remote requires that you press the shutter all the time, which is a no-go to avoid camera shake. My camera, like most, has a max of 30 seconds exposure.

How to Photo Stack Long-Exposure Photos

Factors like too much light, too much wind, or the risk of camera shake make it worthwhile to use photo stacking for your daytime long-exposure photos instead of doing a 2- or 4-minute exposure.

You now know when to use photo stacking; below you will learn how to use photo stacking–how to do it in the field and how to blend the exposures afterwards in Photoshop.

Equipment

This is the equipment I tend to use for Long Exposure shots

 

Setting Up Your Camera

At the location, set up your gear as normal, but make sure your camera settings and ND-filters gives a good exposure with a histogram peaking just over the middle to the right when using an exposure time of 30 seconds. To get the effect of a 4-minute shot, aim for 8 good shots, each at 30 seconds (8 x 30 seconds = 4 minutes).

Get some extra exposures just in case some of them get blurred due to camera shake from a sudden wind gust or bypassing bus. You can leave out a particular shot from your sequence in the photo stacking process.

Processing in Photoshop

In  Photoshop, go to File → Scripts → Load Files into Stack. In the appearing dialogue, choose Add Open Files to make the set of images appear under files to use for stacking.

Remember to check the boxes Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images and Create Smart Object after Loading Layers.

Click OK to begin the blending process. It usually takes some time for Photoshop to create a single Smart Object from all of the exposures.

Next, go to the menu Layer → Smart Objects → Stack Mode → Mean. This makes Photoshop automatically blend the images in the stack into a smooth long-exposure, to look like it was a single very long exposure.

At this point, you don’t need the layer to be a Smart Object anymore, and keeping it this way would prevent you from using a brush tool, for example, so you should convert it by right-clicking on the layer and choose to Rasterize Layer.

After this, you need to process the image as you would for a normal daytime long-exposure or any other image. To get the best results when you process your daytime long-exposure photos, be sure to only use selective sharpening of the areas in your photo that are not moving.

Long-exposures taken during daytime often have a lot of large white areas with clouds or silky soft water. If you apply sharpening to the areas that are supposed to be soft, you’ll cause an unwanted grainy look to your photo.