Sunday, May 29, 2011

Selected by National Geographic!

I'm quite happy today as I just saw one of my shots was selected by National Geographic for their daily dozen (May - week 4)!

Here is the selected shot:

Off the Map

This photo was taken during our journey in the White Desert, Egypt. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. The night before, we had simply slept on a carpet looking up at the Milky Way. I don't think I've ever seen it so vivid and clear, the sky was so white it seemed the stars were touching my eyes! Being removed from any trace of civilization was a truly great experience!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


A few weeks ago, I went to the hospital maternity to visit Anna, my best friend's newborn baby.
I just took my K5 mounted with a FA 50mm f/1.4.  Simple, light and nice for baby portraits (and more).  Furthermore, it allows for some nice depth of field control as well as very low light shooting when you don't want to mess around with a flash which is pretty much always my case.  I guess I should get into flash photography sometimes soon ;) I've been thinking about getting a basic strobist kit for some time now, but I still haven't really had time to really look into it.  Oh well, I'll keep this matter for another post!

I'm quite pleased by the results, although some shots are not perfectly in focus.  The bokeh of the FA 50 is quite pleasant overall.  From f/2 and up it's actually sharp enough for most applications.

1. Dreaming.
50mm f/2, ISO 1250

2. At Peace.
50mm f/2.2, ISO 800

3. Tiny Fingers.
50mm f/2.2, ISO 640

4. And the Show Begins.
50mm f/2.2, ISO 1000

5. Blue Eyes
50mm f/2, ISO 2500

This last shot is of her big sister who's got such beautiful eyes that they HAD to be captured! ;)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Post-processing Magic

I was recently asked on dpreview's Pentax SLR forum what kind of post-processing I performed to obtain the following image:

The original RAW file looked in fact, rather bad.  I had purposely under-exposed it to avoid blowing highlights, knowing it wouldn't be much a problem given the Pentax K5's incredible dynamic range.  This is how the original RAW shot looked like:

So as promised, here is a step-by-step description of the exact steps I performed obtain the first image from the image just above.
I use Lightroom 3 (3.4 to be accurate) exclusively to do all of my post-processing. Since I run the Linux operating system and Lightroom doesn't exist for Linux, I have no other choice but run Windows XP through a PC emulator.  In my case, I use Virtualbox as it's free and much lighter than VMWare.
Thus, do not worry if you see the main window below saying "Windows XP...", it's just because Windows XP runs inside a Linux window. Anyway, it should be irrelevant to what's following ;)
1. I always shoot RAW, so the first step is to import the image into Lightroom. Here you can see the original image. I underexposed it on purpose as I know I can easily recover it with little noise even in the dark areas, thanks to the K5's incredible DR :)

2. I usually start by cropping the image to my liking

3. Here I used the Split Toning tool to add a yellow and magenta cast

4. Then I adjusted the temperature and tint to obtain a more green cast

5. Now I tweaked the fill light, recovery, black, contrast and brightness to lift up the shadow and give the image its final exposure

6. Next I decreased vibrance and saturation

7. Then I tweaked the contrast curve a little bit

8. I also tweaked a little bit the hue and saturation values to make it very slightly less greenish

9. I decided to add a bit of vignetting in order to make the subject stand out

10. Finally, I noticed that the "Embedded" profile gave a better tonality than the Adobe one (I actually found this by accident!)

Here it is, you have exactly all the steps I did.
Quite a difference between the RAW and final image, isn'it ? 
I hope it was helpful!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mother's Day

For Mother’s Day we were invited to my parents’ place. What I really like when visiting them is to walk in their garden. It’s full of little details and they have so many flowers that keep changing over time. Spring is probably the best season as everything is blooming. Now, we are a bit late in the game, but I still managed to get a couple of shots.

This first one is wide-open with a lens I’m starting to like more and more, the DFA 100mm f/2.8 macro (the non weather-sealed version which I’m starting to lust after.. arg).

For this second shot, 100mm was to long, so I switched to my trusty FA 35mm @ f/2.5:

Finally, this last one was again with the 100mm macro at f/2.8:

I can’t recall the name of these flowers, but they sure are very pretty!
Too bad, they don’t last for very long. In only two weeks they will already be gone :(
Spring is just too short to capture the million of things that are going on... The good thing about it is that it keeps changing, so there isn't a lack of potential subjects. That’s something I really enjoy about seasons: things never stay the same and there is already new stuff to discover :)

It was about time...

…to finally create a photography blog!

On this site, you’ll find some random shots, post-processing tutorials, random rants, informal lens reviews and probably some other photography-related stuff.

I may not always add new entries on a steady basis, as it depends on my available free time, but I’ll try to keep things going as often as possible, so come back to see what’s new!

Also don’t forget to visit my photography website at, especially if you’re interested in buying prints :)

Welcome aboard!