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Accordion Man

My first out in Berlin since i got my trigger shipped, eager to shoot a portrait. Went to the intersection of Wilmersdorfer Straße and Bismark Straße ( big plaza out of what used to be a cobble street ) in hope to find some musicians or beggars or anyone willing to have their portrait taken by me. To my surprise … the beggars there having no problems sitting in the middle of the road harassing every person passing by for money or cigarettes suddenly develop principles when it comes to photography. They’ll all take 1 euro or a cigarette, but seriously have a problem with having their picture taken. Next time they’ll have a meeting with the far end of my telephoto lens ( How do you like me now ? )

Eventually I come across ( what looks to me like ) a gypsy accordion player. We talked a couple of minutes, found out that he was not a gypsy but had a dark skin and was subject to discrimination for it,  he wanted to know what was the point of me taking his picture ( i.e. if i make money of the picture ) and quickly agreed to have his picture taken. He has that “something” in his eyes, serious , sad … something …

The lighting is a combo of low exposure ambient light ( used for a general fill and a rim light ) and a flash diffused through a softbox used as the key.

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Tough Shell

I love taking pictures of people, it’s fun , interactive and as the assignments become ever more complex so does the lighting become more challenging and the result more rewarding. That being said,I lost my trigger somewhere and until a replacement came back I had to use the flash on camera. I lit this with a strobe aimed at the ceiling and shot it with a telephoto/macro lens from a meter away. Has a very National Geographic look to it, don’t you think ?

Angry things come in small packages .

Can you say … Apfelstrudel ?

That’s right, apfelstrudel …  Andrei Photography moved to Germany, yes … the whole team consisting of one person ( that is obviously, myself ) packed up and got on a bus for Berlin. I’ve spent the past week sight seeing and taking in Berlin and I can say, I’m never leaving this place ( well … maybe on holidays and special occasions ).  The place is clean and civilized, the metro system is well optimized and easy to follow even if you don’t know a lick of German. Apart from the standardized cuisine that swarms you from every corner of the street such as Starbucks , Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and McDonald’s there are many little and intimate bars where the mood is just right and “mom & pop’s” stores with baked products that are delicious.

That being said, my girlfriend brought me to a really cool Cafe called Extrablatt, where they serve breakfast and have and open bar buffet at lunch, a private smoking lounge ( indoors … finally ! ) ,  rather dim tungsten lights in the evenings to make the mood just right, good music and and wi-fi . They are situated near the “Wilmersdorf Arcaden” entrance that is close to the Bismarckstraße Metro exit. So come by … and have a coke and a smile 😛

Ze Germans …

So far, all of the German people I’ve met have been friendly and very cool. Contrary to popular belief, they are warm people, who like to interact with tourists, so much so that on occasion they will start a conversation with you out of thin air, inquiring about where you are from and so on. They are respectful and appreciate good manners, and any act of kindness will be well received. A good amount of people speak English, some of them pretty well and most of them speak it just enough to help you out when searching a street or something. Drinking is allowed here in the streets and in the public transportation system, although I’ve only seen people drinking publicly in the evenings, and that’s fair and most welcome.

My Place

At the moment, I live in the west part of Berlin , at the north side of a district called Charlottenburg near the Halemweg Metro station in a loft / studio apartment on the roof  of a 7 story building and the view is spectacular ( not for the people that are scared of heights ).

If any of you creative people live in Berlin, feel free to drop me a line, maybe we can spawn some art together.

Cheers.

I strobe my donkeys in the morning

Early Sunday morning I go to see a huge estate in the middle of the Tuscan plains with batteries almost out and dirty lenses (which were properly cleaned in the car on the way over ).  I had heard they have a bunch of animals there , including two donkeys and some funny looking goats … and having never seen a donkey in real life i was really excited. The estate is huge … a big Tuscan manor … decorated in a sort of classical Italian style, it all speaks to the character of those times, took us about 20 minutes to see half of the interior after which I got impatient and asked to be taken to the animal pen 😀

The sun was just rising and the sky was full of clouds, which meant the ambient light won’t overpower my flashes and the sky is closer in exposure range compared to the ground. I usually hate shooting in the mornings because the light get’s worse and worse by the minute, and unfortunately this morning wasn’t different, except for a couple o minutes when the sun came out form behind the clouds and illuminated the background from the left and i quickly adjusted my aperture and my shutter and shot a test frame , a frame with the donkey and another frame to be sure i have backup material to correct for any focus or texture problems that may occur (and that’s a good practice by the way).

I hope you enjoy it , Cheers !

Autumn Love

This photo was taken when i did the Lucherini photo shoot, and even though i had processed it and it did make it to my Facebook Portfolio, somehow it never got to the blog. She’s a shy girl with freckles and crazy red hair an he (i assume) is crazy about her. The shots couldn’t have gone better … although my equipment dragged me down a smidge, I compensated in post production.

Shooting people in love

Easy like Sunday morning ! First of all they were actively participating in distracting my subjects ( the Lucherini brothers) and making them laugh, which in turn made my job easier, and at the same time became comfortable with the process of a photo shoot … So, when push came to shove … they were shy and not really eager to stand in front of the camera … until they connected and forgot that i was even there. Suffice to say they didn’t really care, and that works fine for me. I got true emotion on those frames and that’s what it’s all about.

Masked Killa’ (final part)

It was a good one …

I learned more in 2010 than in the past 5 years … so yeah … it as a good one from a creative stand point . So given the amount of spare time I’ve been having lately I decided to push for one last retouched frame …

Making of …

I gave this a little bit of thought … figured some people may wish to see how the final shot was achieved.

I started with 4 pseudo brackets from the initial raw, and progressively color corrected and retouched the image … leaving the tiniest details and local sharpening for last .

( Retouch Workflow )

Hope y’all like it … cheers

Accidentally, Gipsy

In the park …

So, me and my buddy Andrei, decided to grab our gear and head for the park at night … in hopes that we may find some skaters or rollers or something. None of those were around … but what we did find was a blonde girl that had a big white fluffy dog. This story … is not about her, or her fluffy dog.

The ocasional gem …

As we were shooting … out of nowhere a couple of gipsy’s came and started playing with the dog and asking for money … I thought i’ll snap a picture of the gipsy girl begging … and luckily Andrei took notice of my intention and moved to the camera right with a bare strobe just in time for me to fire my one and only shot. Unfortunately other photo shoots took priority and I never got to this photo and eventually forgot about it … until now.