Thursday, 22 December 2011

Tom's Top Ten

It's that time of year again.
Everyone is looking back and producing lists for the year's end. Whether it's the top gadgets or the most purchased records, you'll find ranking lists everywhere.
So, in keeping with this trend, I proudly present my favourite (own) images of the year. I can remember each one so vividly .

In no particular order, they are as follows:

London. January 2011
EOS 5d 17 - 40 zoom
1/20th @ f4 with Speedlite set at -1 stop

This was taken at the beginning of the year when I was over in London. My son Nicholas was with me and we were doing the touristy things. As we were heading home I came across this scene with the red phone box and a pub in the background. I racked the zoom out to 17 mm and stood close to the phone box to make it large in the frame. The ambient light measure 1|20sec at f4 with the ISO set at 500. I stuck a 420 EX flash in the hotshoe and set it to underexpose by one F stop.


Diegten April  2011
EOS 7d 28 - 135 zoom at 65 mm
1/50th @f13

This is near my home and I mentioned it in a previous blog post. I had often seen the blossom on the trees but had previously never had enough time to get around to recording it. Again, I was with Nicholas. I used my Benbo tripod for this image. This is an HDR of three images.


Grossmünster Church
EOS 5d 17 - 40 zoom
1/3rd sec at f13

The only "work" image in this list. This was taken at the Grossmünster church in Zürich for my friend, the Swiss Lighting designer Renato De Toffol. He has installed a mood lighting programme in the church and I spent several hours there. Again, this is an HDR image. The ISO was set at 320.


Bench in the forest
Canon G9
1/60 @F2.8

Nothing much really to write about this one. I was walking with the family through the forest near my home and saw this bench amongst the foliage. As I was travelling light. I used the G9 to record it. I always set the ISO manually and this time it was set at 125.


Through the arrow slits.
EOS 5d 17 - 40 zoom
1/200 sec @ F11

Taken from the Castel Grande in Bellinzona, Switzerland when I was on holiday earlier in the year. This was a slight variation on my sunny day exposure and the ISO was set to 200.


Italian Deli. Lugano, Switzerland
EOS 5d 17 - 40 zoom
1/50th @F5

We spent a few hours in Lugano and I found it really hard to find anything remotely interesting to photograph. my wife went to do some shopping and I wandered around for a while until I came across this popular delicatessen. I took several images of the customers buying food but had to wait about fifteen minutes until the area in front of the deli was clear. the light was fading fast as a storm was approaching so I bumped the ISO up to 320 and shot this one


Boats docked at Gandria, Switzerland
EOS 5d 17 - 40 zoom
1/200 sec @F13

A typical "postcard" type image but I still enjoy this picture very much because of the memories it invokes. I remember the warm sunshine here. The olive trees and the narrow cobbled streets.


Ancient church near Sonvico, Switzerland
EOS 5d 17 - 40 zoom
1/125 @ F18

This is the ancient church of San Martino (Chiesa di San Martino) near Sonvico, Switzerland. I saw this church in a guide book and decided to go and take a look. We found the town of Sonvico quite easily but couldn't locate the church. Sonvico itself seemed to be closed for dinner and there wasn't a soul on the streets. Finally a bank opened its doors and I enquired inside. The bank manager was very helpful and drew me a map. We got in the car and drove several kilometers until the road forked off left and went through a forest. I was beginning to wonder if I'd be able to turn the car around when we came to a clearing and there it was. Beautifully situated in a clearing with the charmingly named "Denti della vecchia" (Old person's teeth) mountain range in the background.


WW1 tank traps at Chichenzimmersattel
EOS 5d 17 - 40 zoom
1/125 @ F14

A couple of months ago, the Swiss organisation responsible for the upkeep of military monuments has a sort of open day. Two of the monuments were in my county so I decided to go and take a look. The first monument was a bunker which was well hidden up the side of a hill in the forest and didn't produce any satisfactory results. The second one was these tank traps which date back to the first world war. They are located on a mountain pass on what used to be the main road to Basel before the current motorway was built. It was extremely windy on that day and the storm clouds began forming. I had to brace myself against a wall to avoid camera shake.


Jetty. St Prex, Switzerland
EOS 5d 28 - 135
1/250 @ F10

This was taken during a stop in St Prex in the French part of Switzerland. I wanted the birds to fly off but they showed no signs of leaving at all as I walked towards them. Finally, I had to hold my camera to my eye as I waved my right arm around. The birds finally got the message.

Well that's it for now. I hope you found this 2011 list of interest. It will be interesting to see what my favourites will be next year. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I wish you all a merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year.


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Take some time out

I was on my way to work last Friday when I saw this beautiful sunrise.

I am by nature not an early bird so I'm thankful for the Winter mornings when the sun can be seen (weather permitting) rising.

I parked beside the church in our village because this afforded me an elevated view on the sunrise. I used my EF 50 mm lens and selected a speed of 1/160 to let me handhold it. The aperture chosen by the camera (in TV mode) was f5.6 The ISO speed was 400.

I ran the RAW file through Canon's DPP programme and sharpened it up a bit. The shadows were lightened just a touch and the saturation increased slightly. What you see here is as near to reality as I can get it.

When I record things like this, I am glad that I have such a passion for photography and that nature constantly provides me with such great subject matter.

Thanks for reading

Friday, 2 December 2011

Extasia 2011. Switzerland gets naughty.

I’ve already mentioned and written about the annual Streetparade but there is one other event which also attracts visitors from afar and that’s the Extasia.
Extasia is Switzerland’s answer to the Venus erotic fair in Germany although on a smaller scale.
The event used to be held in Zürich but moved a few years ago to Basel next to the football stadium near where I work.
The event is always covered in the press in the week’s preceding. This year’s coverage centred on the fact that a religious group would be holding a prayer vigil outside the hall. This no doubt generated free publicity.
I turned up shortly after opening time and bagged myself a position beside the main stage. Looking around me I saw lots of expensive DSLR’s and of course the ubiquitous camera-phones everywhere. 

Hands up if you own a camera-phone 

I had the EOS 5d MKII with a 17 – 40 zoom for anything that might happen right next to me and an EOS 7d with a 28 – 135 zoom to handle the performances that happened a bit further away. Both cameras had flashes fitted.

One 8Gb card gone already 

Here are some of my photographic impressions from the night. Of course there was lots of nudity but I’m only putting the tamer stuff here.
IMG_3473 IMG_4031
IMG_4089 IMG_4228

IMG_4396 IMG_4205
IMG_4143 IMG_3344

Thanks for reading.