Monthly Archives: February 2014

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh: Winter Time

It is always interesting to visit places at different times of the year. Edinburgh being relatively far north, the position of the sun at sunset or sunrise significantly changes during the year. Therefore, for a given point of view, the sunset light is quite different in winter time than it is in August for example.

Firth of Forth long exposure from Portobello beach, Edinburgh

With the sun setting behind my back, I took this first long exposure of the Firth of Forth from Portobello beach.

I like to photograph at the beach in Portobello, Edinburgh. The location provides great backgrounds for portraits. For landscape (or seascape) photography, one can find simple compositions, a favourite style of mine. I also have a personal project going on. I’m building collection of Edinburgh seascape photographs.

Firth of Forth long exposure from Portobello beach, Edinburgh

The receding tide exposed more of the sand of Portobello beach, leading to this composition

A couple of weeks ago, the sunset light looked to be interesting and I decided to visit Portobello beach once again. I was a able to capture a few photographs of the golden hour light on the Firth of Forth, as seen from Portobello beach.

Firth of Forth long exposure from Portobello beach, Edinburgh

As the golden hour light was slowly disappearing, I managed to change my point of view and get this photograph before heading back home



Why I Learned To Love Good Makeup Artists

Rebecca from Superior Model Management beauty portrait

Rebecca from Superior Model Management. The makeup artist and I loved the colour contrast between the model’s hair and her eyes.

A few weeks ago, I did a beauty shoot with Rebecca from Superior Model Management, a modelling agency in Glasgow. In the above photograph, you may notice the nice colour contrast between the hair and eyes of the model, and the flattering beauty light. You may hardly notice the makeup (save the lipstick). Yet, the makeup is just as important to the quality of the beauty portrait as the model and the lighting.

You might argue that the photograph looks the way it does because the model is a young lady from a modelling agency. Well, that’s what I used to think too. Now don’t get me wrong, a young lady with good skin is a must for a beauty shot like this, but there is a lot more than meets the eye.

I learned this when I first worked with a good makeup artist, a couple of years ago. Looking at the files on my big computer screen after the shoot, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The skin looked beautiful and there was very little retouching to do (a few skin blemishes here and there, but that was it).

Rebecca from Superior Model Management beauty portrait with heavier makeup

A change in the hair style, makeup and head tilt can significantly change the appearance of a subject.

The makeup in the photos shown here was done by Maria Carmela Chierchia, who has been in the beauty industry for a number of years. It is not readily noticeable, yet it is a very important reason why the pictures look the way they do.



Lausanne, Switzerland, Winter Sunset

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you may have noticed that I’m fond of macro photography. The reason is that  things do look different when you get very close, and I like to find new ways to see familiar objects or scenes. This is why I also love time lapse photography. Time lapse shows the world in a way you are not used to, and people haven’t been saturated with it yet.

Close-up of reed with out of focus setting sun in background , taken in Lausanne Switzerland

With my telephoto zoom, I moved in as close as I could and made sure I would frame the setting sun in the background. In Lausanne during the winter, the sun sets over Lake Geneva near the Geneva end, while in the summer it sets behind the mountains. A photo like this can only be taken during the winter months.

Sunsets, on the other hand, have been shot over and over again, so you may wonder why there are sunset photos on my blog. The warm colours of sunset light and the nostalgia of a day gone by evoke strong emotions in me. So once in a while, I still like to take pictures of sunsets. Now if I’m going to take a sunset photograph, why not try something that has been done less often? For example, a close-up shot with the out of focus setting sun in the background, as in the above photograph taken during the winter in my hometown of Lausanne, Switzerland.




Buzios, Rio de Janeiro: A Blast From The Past

It is winter time in Edinburgh, and without snow, it is mostly dull and grey. In order to cheer myself up last week, I looked at some of the travel photos I took in more clement weather.

Drakkar ship at sunset in Buzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This Viking drakkar ship was anchored for the night. I believe that, during the day, it took tourists on sightseeing tours of Buzios

While I was living in Tallahassee, Florida, I met and befriended a wonderful Brazilian scientist who was on sabbatical at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the place where I used to work back in the mid 90’s.  It always pays off to be nice to people, and if they are from Brazil, they can return the favour in wonderful ways. I believe it was thanks to some help from my Brazilian friend that I got an invitation to a conference in Buzios, a beach resort in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It was back in August 2008 and I got to spend a wonderful week in Brazil. It was sunny the whole time I was in Buzios, so I got many opportunities to capture wonderful sunrises and sunsets. At the time I was just taking photographs for the fun of it, but I was beginning to take photography more and more seriously. To the point of skipping some conference talks to make sure I was able to capture the golden hour light.

Beach chairs in Buzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I wish I were resting on one of these chairs right now!

Looking at these pictures brings back some wonderful memories. Now that I am a photographer, I sometimes get so caught in the process of creating images that I forget the why. Preserving memories is a very important function of photography, and it’s good to get reminded (pun intended) of that fact from time to time.