Yearly Archives: 2009

An annual tradition is to create our own personal christmas card, we always used our cat as main character, but since our daughter was born, she is the new main character. We made two variations. A small version that will be send via analog mail, and a large version that will be ditributed electronically. The first version is a clean version without text balloons. And the second version with text balloons. So a merry christmas and a happy new year to you all.

Some time passed, but I dusted of my Canon 5D and went on a little trip with my daughter Nickita. We had a lot of fun playing tag. I used Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software to transform the photo so black and white and to mimic an Ilford HP5 400 iso. I love the film grain setting in Silver Efex. Brings back old memories.

On our trip to Cyprus I brought a book written by Joe McNally, The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes. A book about the use of small flashes (Speedlights). Joe McNally describes how he uses these small flashes in real life situations. He has a pleasant way of writing and seems to have more than enough experience to deal with most problems which you can encounter while in need of light during a photo shoot. For me this was by far the best book I’ve ever read on flash photography. Written in a very educating way, while it keeps you very well entertained, so you are hungry for more. Are you into flash photography? Then you need to have this book in your collection. Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: New Riders Press; 1 edition (March 13, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 0321580141 ISBN-13: 978-0321580146 To visit Joe McNally’s website follow this link

When we returned from our holiday our house was invaded by insects. (my mom likes to leave all the doors open). Even the toilet was occupied by a new little friend. A weevil decided to start living there. I managed to capture him and held him till the next day. We had some sunflowers on the kitchen table and I just bought an E-TTL sync cable of 2 meter to time to play. Took my gear – Canon 5D, 580EX II Flash, 100mm macro 1x, and the MP-E 65mm. I placed the weevil on the yellow petals of the sunflower and started to experiment with the position of the flash. My little friend didn’t took long to gain enough energy to become very active and after a while he started to look for a new house between the petals. So hard to light with the 580EX. But I still managed to get some good shots. I was just wondering why I always manage to get yellow backgrounds when I photograph weevils…..? Dunno, maybe I just like the color combination of weevil brown and yellow. This reminds me; make sure you never forget to pay enough attention to your background. It is very simple to use the color of nearby flowers or the blue of the sky. If it is not possible to use these you can always use colored paper or anything else with color. Personally I prefer a bright color instead of the black background you see most of the time in close-up photographs.

While I was packing for our trip to Cyprus I doubted if I should bring my 100mm 1x Macro lens. I’m glad I did, because in the area surrounding our apartment there were a lot of mantises. I never had seen one before in real life and at first I was real careful, not knowing if I would scare them or if they would scare me… As soon as I approached them, they would turn their head into my direction so I had to move slowly otherwise they would flee. I was amazed by their appearance and it was a joy to photograph them. Especially because it looked like they were looking you straight into your eyes. I only brought my Speedlight so no macro flash. So the lighting is not what I hoped for. The only option I had was to equip my omni bounce and hope that the light would spread enough. This was not always the case but luckily I also had some good results. Click here to see the rest of the gallery [Canon 5D, 100mm f/2.8, no flash]

Finally I took the time to update my travel gallery. Almost everything is in there dating back to 1988. Just follow this link to see the gallery. I still need to update 2007 but that will be done soon. Untill 1994 it’s all black and white, and from there on I started to use color. I actually can’t remember the moment when I decided to make the switch but it is cool to see the difference, and also the switch to digital in 2000 (first compact and later DSLR(2004)). All memories….

Last week I did some editing on old photo’s of Nicki, and I decided to combine them in a collection on the site. (Click here to see the collection.) I did not much editing, just transformed them to black and white with Adobe Lightroom. For some I used the Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software

Found some tutorials on the net and started to play with them. Not the result I was hoping for, so again, I need more practice. I still thought that the end result was worth putting on the site. I do like the rough look that is generated by using the high pass filter in Photoshop. But you can read more on that in the tutorial. I’m still thinking about doing this with a female portrait. Hopefully without offending the lady… The tutorial can be found here link. There are actually several tutorials and most of them are interesting enough to spens some time on

This month the weather was good enough to enjoy shooting outside and this gave me the opportunity to get some macro work done. I managed to place a moth in my little terrarium so I had a few moments to get some shots. Later that weekend I managed to capture a big spider. Joan started to feed him little insects which the spider enjoyed a lot. Unfortunately the distance between the spider and its dinner was too large which made it impossible to shoot with my MP-E 65mm macro lens. The DOF was way beyond the lens’ limits. The MP-E 65mm keeps amazing me, but I also still love my 100mm f/2.8 macro is still a favorite. I Also added some shots made with this lens to the gallery. Insects gallery Flowers gallery [Canon 5D, MP-E 65mm and 100mm Macro, Macro flash]

Just a tryout with my 16-35mm lens and flash while my daughter was eating a sandwich with apple syrup. (one of her favorites). I love the (slight) fisheye effect that the 16mm produces on my full frame Canon 5D. And I really like the fill-in effect caused the flash. Basically the same technique I used while I was shooting Nicki with her sandbox toys in the garden. Set (in manual mode) the right exposure for the surrounding on your camera, and you the flash (also in manual mode) to make sure that you light your subject correctly. You can leave the flash on ETTL (auto mode), but I prefer to have full control over my camera and flash. Next day I tweaked some settings in Adobe lightroom (exposure, clarity, and vibrance) to give it a little bit a vintage look. Click here to see the larger version and the other photos from the same series. [Canon 5D, 16-35mm, Flash]

I love to shoot while I am on the road, just traveling and taking pictures. It does not mather if I travel by car, bike, or train. I just like to shoot images of little things that I see daily when I travel. The images below are just a few examples. [Canon 5D and Canon IXUS 75]

Beautiful weather, nice flowers, great smell, lovely little lady. The perfect setting to get the camera out of the case and start shooting. These are just the raw shots, so they needs some rework, but at the moment I lack the time to do so. Will be updated soon. Click here to see the rest of the gallery [Canon 5d, 24-70mm f/2.8, flash polarization filter]