panoramic athens

One more return to my rich Athens folder. At the top of the small rocky hill, right across Acropolis (when they've kicked out tourists after 5pm), I've spent about two hours. You know, as usual. Playing. With flash, without flash, wide angle, street zoom. And - with FLW filter I have taken this panoramic shot. Made out of 8 vertical shots, each taken at f/8 @ 10 seconds. Enjoy by clicking and opening a bigger size.

PS: and one more extra bonus - different place, different time. I personally like a lot strong line elements here. And I've just changed white balance to tungsten to pop up street lights.

athens in colors

My usual place to visit when in a new city is a flea market. Visiting Athens at the beg. of December (lovely 22°C!) - Monastiraki open market and surrounding areas were an obvious tip from my local insiders. At the first sight, place look a bit dark, but when you look closer - colors are everywhere!

heavy clouds above athens

Cloudy, with a chance of bankruptcy...
OK, I know, such a kind of cheap joke I should avoid. I should - but I couldn't resist! ;)
It was a lovely afternoon/evening. After the light shower - and before heavy rain. And I also got several glances of  beautiful sun rays....

project 52 | week 20 - in the kitchen (aka really BIG fork)

It is 8 meters high. And it is stuck right in the Geneva lake. It is a navigational point of nearby food museum - Alimentarium. I've always wanted to take a shot, but I wanted to avoid touristic chliché (as the one at the bottom :)
I had an idea for a while - obviously, now when we are finalizing new Flash course, it involves flash. Actually two of them. I've waited for the nice dusk sky color and aimed both my flashes (set at full power with red gel) at the fork. It took me a while to manage a proper direction and get the best reflection, as fork was about 15 meters away from me - but it was definitely a reward after two hours on a cold Friday evening. You gotta admit, that fork is definitely hard to miss now!

This is how the regular shot would look like prior the dusk - nice silhouette possibilities, but still not so dominant part of the picture as I wanted.

greece without processing (again, FLW filter makes miracles)

I'm spending weekend in Athens (21.5°C on 1st of December!That's kind of winter I can live with! ;).
As I do not have my comp, I wanted to share only two pictures, where NO post processing has been applied at all.
First one is again a prove of Bryan's well shared tip - FLW filter makes miracles with the sky, when shooting after the dusk (see my previous example here).

05 dec - picture updated, sensor speck removed. photograph is still untouched

And as I am finalizing our new Flash course - I am obviously playing a lot with flashes recently. In my view - a beauty of combining ambient and flash light source offers just vast opportunities! In the background - famous Acropolis (under heavy construction). Highlighted tree in front lit with radio controlled, off the camera located flash NIKON SB-900 with amber gel.
Again - no processing has been applied - this is a straight out of the camera shot.
View at Acropolis  from the nearby hill.

xmas (and lights) are all around us

How about yourself? Do you feel Xmas coming? Yeeah, Xmas are really all around us. Few days ago I've stopped by in one of the shopping mall and a simple escalator ride quickly made me pulling out my camera and tripod. Decorated glass side of the escalator has been decorated with a myriad of small Christmas lights (see at the very bottom). And with a 2 or 3 second long exposure I've got a fantastic time machine ride into a shopping paradise! So next almost an hour I've spent riding up and down all three floors and waiting for a bit more colorful jackets. You wouldn't believe, but 98% of people wear black or very dark coats, jackets and jumpers! C'mon!! Live life in colors! ;)

I love playing with a shutter speed!


A small tribute to my favorite comedian. I have grown up with his silent movies... It was always a treat to enjoy weekend's afternoon with him. Do you guys, who grown up in CZ and SK remember "Komik a jeho svet"?

It is Charlie Chaplin's statue located in Vevey, Switzerland. Shot very late evening at the dusk. Front red color created with flash and red gel, Yellow hair color is actually street lamp behind
Nikon D7000 @ f/9 and 15sec, ISO 320. Flash at 1/1 full power, with red gel, located at about 2m away.
PS: And here's the shot without the help of flash. Pretty dramatic difference, huh?

project 52 | week 38 - last moments of the summer

What an incredible weather for a weekend at the end of October with 22°C. And definitely the last moments of the summer, as following week we got 2°C and first snow. Hope my trees and light will heat you up a bit!

project 52 | week 39 - in a motion

What to do while waiting for your menu in the restaurant? Keep your shutter opened for a little bit longer and follow the wave. And you will get a beautiful motion. I love to play with opened shutter speed...

1/2 second, ISO 100, f/8

And you must admit that the motion one looks much cooler than a regular shot below.

love at lake's shore (fall is all around us)

Like all my fellow photographer friends, I couldn't resisted to go out and shoot ALL THE COLORS of this beautiful fall. Obviously, my chosen spot was romantic enough to attract those teenagers, deeply looking into each other eyes for a long time. 

They were so involved in their agenda, they didn't notice myself aiming at them with my tele-zoom at all. Anyway, thank you for being patience models, and if you by any chance recognize yourself,  let me know! Would love to give you a credit! ;)
PS: Nice example how to bring a scale into a picture, right?

broken car

Reflection reflection reflection. A loooooot of reflection! And zero Photoshoping.

All you need is a car - and a reflective material o course. In my case, all that was available at my location found last weekend. That building is soooo nice and so easy to take pictures in it...

project 52 | week 25 - architecture

Still can't get enough of this photogenic, shiny building I have found over the weekend. This I believe clearly falls under "architecture", right?

project 52 | week 41 - colors

As promised - a bit more pictures taken at the location of this very photogenic building I have found over the weekend. This impressionistic-ish, "aquarelle" picture has NOT been created in Photoshop. Not at all, straight out of the camera, as you can see here.

It's just a simple reflection of the actually quite boring surroundings, reflected in this metallic siding of the building. Below you can see behind the scene shots and how the building looks like. And before you will scroll down - try to guess what is this big PINK spot? Answer is inside the article...

project 52 | week 34 - autoportrait

Truth is I am a slightly behind with my project 52, but when I have something good to post, I can't miss the opportunity. Yes, this is an auto portrait, and IT IS me. And no, there IS NO post-production involved, no "punching plugin" has been applied. I've met a fantastic building, where I have spent 2 hours shooting its very special reflective,  metallic, punching sidings. Obviously, security guy with a German shepard got suspicious  (after two hours!), so I had to leave the premises. Anyway, a WHOLE more to come...

Voice Activated Difuser Holder

Have you heard about a special photo equipment, which will help you improve your pictures tremendously?
It's called VADH. And it stands for Voice Activated Difuser Holder.

You say, and VADH will listen and will do whatever you will ask. Perfectly automated, no wires, no wireless triggers required. VADH has several other similar products in their portfolio, like more famously known VAL (Voice Activated Lightstand, terminology courtesy of Joe McNally and Bryan Peterson :)

Yes, and that's me and my new role :) While hanging out with Bryan in Chicago and preparing other videos for some new courses coming to I have become a very handy VADH.

and WITH the help of difuser
without difuser

Full PPSOP phototip available here.

city beach

If there's no beach nearby, why not to create one in the middle of the city? Literally. A bit of sand, beach chairs and something what should evoke beach umbrellas - and voila! Kids with sand toys are welcomed...
Oh, and BTW, did I mentioned absence of the sea?

Colorful umbrellas caught my attention immediately when I was driving around. In order to keep a nice color of the sky in sunset and "umbrellas", I faced a situation with a pretty dark chairs, more like a silhouettes. So I've called for a help of additional, miniature sun. Remotely connected off-the-camera flash with amber gel, placed right behind the purple pole... Definitely more interesting, as to my taste orange colors well fits to the overall colorful image. So when you miss sun - bring your own one ;)

Creatively correct exposure

Hneď v úvode nášho vlajkového kurzu Naučte se exponovat kreativně na sa obšírne venujeme názornému vysvetleniu rozdielu medzi správnou expozíciou a KREATÍVNE správnou expozíciou. Pri každej fotografickej príležitosti sa môžete rozhodnúť pre niekoľko kombinácii nastavenia clony a rýchlosti uzávierky. Aj keď tieto kombinácie zaistia správnu expozíciu, v našom kurze vás naučíme, ako nájsť a zvoliť práve tú z nich, ktorá je kreatívne správna. Tú, ktorá vás aj ostatných nadchne a zaručí vám úspech.
Na názornom príklade nižšie máte možnosť niekoľkokrát vidieť kolotoč nafotený v tej istej dobe. Aj keď  všetkých 5 snímkov má rovnaké svetelné podmienky a ich expozícia je správna, je úplne evidentné, že výsledné zábery sú s použitím rôzneho času uzávierky diametrálne odlišné.
A určite s nami budete súhlasiť, že zábery č.4 a č.5 zaujmú diváka viac, ako tie predchádzajúce a dovolíme si tvrdiť, že sú kreatívnejšíe v porovnaní napr. s "obyčajným" záberom kolotoča č.1. 

Objavte svoj fotoaparát a naučte sa fotiť v manuálnom režime. Prejdite do módu "M" na svojej digitálnej zrkadlovke a prihláste sa k nám do kurzu Naučte se exponovat kreativně. Foťte s nami - naučíme vás to!
photo © 2012 by Patrik Banas |

i love motion

It is not a secret, that I love playing with my shutter speed, so I couldn't miss the opportunity to go the shoot carousels at city fair event in my home town over the last weekend. Then we end up 6 photographers together and we became main attraction of the evening with 6 tripods and big lenses playing around :)
We had tons of fun, we asked kids around to be our models and  they've enjoyed it a lot too.
Like for example this girl below. I do not her name - and if you know her - let her know I'm looking for her to send her pictures...

lantern festival

Lantern festival in St. Louis Botanical Garden! What a splash of colors! And the worst part? I couldn't decide where to be during those magic 20 minutes, when the sky was so beautifully cobalt blue. Well, looks like I'm going to have one more trip there!
More info about Lantern festival can be found here.

By the way, white dragon you can see in the middle is about 20 meters (apx 25 yards) long and has been crafted from thousands and thousands of china porcelain plates, spoons and egg bowls! Porcelain has been imported in huge wooden boxes directly from China, together with about 20 Chinese specialists. They were knitting it together for a few weeks. Amazing!!

v správnej chvíli na správnom mieste

Zachytiť ten správny moment je veľmi často záležitosťou byť v správnej chvíli na správnom mieste, ale aj tak sa nám nemusí vydariť pôsobivá fotografia. Poďme sa pozrieť na rozdiel medzi správnou expozíciou a kreatívne správnou expozíciou tak, ako to ja a spolu s Bryan Peterson učíme v Online Škole Perfektní Fotografie.
Obe fotografie, ktoré vám tu ukážem, boli nafotené v tom istom čase a myslím, že budete súhlasiť, že obe sú celkom vydarené. Skvelé osvetlenie a farba oblohy za súmraku, výrazný svetelný element a čo je podľa mňa veľmi dôležité - pridaný ľudský prvok, ktorý fotografiám dodáva perspektívu a definuje dimenziu záberu. Jedná sa o jednu z atrakcií (neviem či úplne sedí slovo kolotoč?), ktorú som stretol na "jarmoku" v mestečku Ballwin (tam, kde sa mi podarili aj tieto nádherné ohňostroje). Je to niečo ako vláčik, ktorý sa točí dookola v kruhu a ten kruh samotný rotuje okolo svojej osi.
Ale, aj napriek tomu, že obe tieto fotografie majú technicky správnu expozíciu, nie sú rovnaké. Rozdiel medzi nimi je to, čo v našom kurze v kurze Naučte se exponovat kreativně nazývame kreatívne správna expozícia. Čo to je? Je to celkom jednoduché.

Obr. 1

Toto je záber č. 1, expozične správny a celkom pekný, ale dala by sa táto scéna zachytiť aj inak? Samozrejme! Totiž, aj napriek tomu, že existuje niekoľko správnych kombinácií nastavenia hodnôt expozície (clona, rýchlosť uzávierky, ISO), výsledky, ktoré dostaneme nie sú vždy rovnaké a zvyčajne len jedna z nich nám dá výsledok, ktorý je najviac "sexy".

V mojom prípade to bola tá, ktorá zaistila zachytenie kolotoča v pohybe - teda rýchlosť uzávierky otvorená na 4 sekundy, ktorá zachytila tento svetelný kruh (spolu s citlivosťou ISO 200 a clonou f/16). S touto expozíciou som dostal záber č. 2:

Obr. 2

Jasné, mohli ste dostať viacmenej tú istú krásnu farbu oblohy a to isté množstvo svetla povedzme pri ISO 800, clone f/4 a uzávierke 1/100 sek. ALE - práve tá rotácia, ten najzaujímavejší prvok na zábere, to UFO, "či-čo-do-kelu-je-to-za-hviezdnu-bránu?" by tam vôbec nebolo. A dostali by ste niečo podobné ako na zábere č.1. Správna a pekná expozícia, ale... chápete, čo mám na mysli, však? Musíte uznať, že záber ktorý som nafotil počas rotovania celej konštrukcie je výrazne pôsobivejčí, ako ten obyčajný záber č. 1.

4 legs puzzle

Well, truth is, that this hores HAS 4 legs. You just need to comlete the puzzle by the end of the week ;)

Picture taken at Grant's farm and starring iconic Budweiser Clydesdales.

real or fake?

Pets play a very important role in my life. And recently I had an opportunity to cover a fantastic event, where you could meet a lot of canines, taste a glass of good wine and try some really good cheese. What a combination, you might think, right? Believe or not, it worked!
And those three pupies just got my attention - so today's question is - the one in the middle is real or fake? :) And yes, I'm aware, that this is soooo kitsch, but hey, he so cute, huh? ;)

project 52 | week 17 - water

To do a nice and interesting shots of plain subjects (including water) might be sometimes chalenging. This week I'm returning to my water freezing session and water swan is my favorite for today.

PS: I'm officially sooo behind my project 52, that instead of giving it up completely, I'll go and work with my archive in some few posts now.
PS2: And here's one shot of the "studio setup" for this water shot! Thanks goes to Monika for holding the hose! ;)

fireworks differently ("defocusing" during exposition)

As summer fireworks season is approaching (think 4th of July), here's a one cool photo technique tip I would like to share with you folks. Before you'll head out to find a best spot and try to capture this beauty same way as last years, consider to try something new this time. I had to wait whole year to try it, but finally, my wait was over - last Friday city of Ballwin was celebrating their Ballwin days! Hooray!

So what is this buzz all about? It's actually simple. Put your camera on tripod, set up exposure to have shutter speed at 2 or 3 seconds and then try to aim to the epicenter of the explosion.
Then while having your shutter open, rotate your focusing ring (hence "defocusing fireworks") from infinity where the fireworks is sharp to a minimal focus distance your lens will allow you (or vice versa, play!). The full focus ring rotation has to happen during those two seconds. It is a very similar method to "zooming" technique, which Bryan Peterson maybe taught you in his books, workshops or online school. But instead of rotating zooming ring, you'll be rotating focusing ring.

Couple of things you need to take into a consideration for your setting:

guess what?

Ok, a little teaser. 
Guess what is it? I had a fantastic session over the weekend and this is one of the output. It is a straight out of the camera image, no editing, no photoshoping, no computer generated imaging. Give me a day or two and I'll "reveal the mystery" :) Leave the comments below. Thanks!

project 52 | week 19 - detail(s)

That's the closest distance those two fine gentleman let me in, so that's my best detail of theirs. Both shots taken at Grant's farm, STL.

project 52 | week 21 - black and white

Black and white theme in a bit unusual way. Pictures are in full color. It's just my models, who are BLACK AND WHITE! That's what I call quality time spent at the Farm. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Blade, Rodeo, Chill and Pancake!



project 52 | week 16 - street photography

How to effectively and enjoyably utilize the lunch break downtown in St. Louis? Bring your photo gear and go out for a short walk! :) Harsh, very sunny mid part of the day gave me the opportunity to try again my very very dark 10 f stops Neutral density filter. So in the middle of the day I was able to have my shutter opened for 30 sec and get so beautiful velvet/creamy look of white moving clouds. Is it "street-ish" enough?

project 52 | week 15 - yellow

Yellow is a bright color and is the most favorite color of my daughter. And it also happen to be a color of the week in our project 52. I didn't have to go far away to spot a nice yellow(ish) subject. During our trip to a newly discovered beautiful Lone Elk Park, tens of very curious water turtles approach us and let me take a few peeking portraits. With a significant yellow details ;)

12 days difference

The very same spot, but only 12 days later - and so naively hoping, that sun will be still in a highway proximity. No way! Miles away!! ;) As I've already mentioned in my original post, such a spectacular combination is available only twice a year!
Happy commuting.

Photo taken on 2nd of April 2012. As you can compare below, sun is rising really really far away of THE desired spot.

The very same location on 21st of March 2012.

project 52 | week 14 - circles

Week 14 is here - CIRCLE one. Last week I had a pleasure to meet again my friend from Death Valley - Jennifer Wu, she was presenting in St. Louis. And we had manage to have une petite rendez-vous in Missouri Botanical garden. To be very honest, we've spent more time chatting than shooting, but at least I kept my eyes opened for a circles around me. And this bamboo pipeline with a juicy background just got my attention!

Happy Easter everyone!

project 52 | week 13 - pets/animals

My last 52 assignment covered several topics (windows, green, asymmetry), so let's go right to the week 13, which is "pets/animals" focused. Well, being at the farm during last days gave me an opportunity to take a tons of animal pictures, so I'm just picking two of them. My favorites of the day ;)

sunny daily commute

Everyday commute can sometimes provide a breath-taking scenery. Driving highway 40 in St. Louis is my daily routine and sometimes I can go in almost autopilot mode, listening morning show @ Y98. But in last few days, thanks to a two specific conditions, I am rewarded with this stunning view (together with thousands of other commuters travelling from West County to downtown). Well, day is a bit brighter in the morning! Those two conditions creating this magic moment: a) time change from winter to summer time, when a typical commute time is during a sunrise - about 7.00-7.15am. b) only during a limited time of the year (twice a year, actually) you can have sun rising right in front of you, popping up from the highway at the hill where Hwy 40 meets Hwy 270. You must admit this definitely looks like riding towards a very sunny day!

When I've noticed existing opportunity, I've spent next three mornings waking up at 5.40 to find a safe spot, where I was trying to capture with my camera what my eyes were seeing. Not an easy task! Let me tell you why...

project 52 | week 10 - symmetry / asymmetry

Last week assignment was symmetry or/and asymmetry. And this week is all about windows. So when I was actually searching for windows I've realized, that this is actually a great symmetry photo! So I'm filing this under "symmetry" and in case I won't find a nice window in coming days, I'll just extend this post for two weeks and I'll be covered with windows too. Am I smart or lazy man looking for shortcuts? ;)

i, rock (or size sometimes really doesn't matter)

It's exactly a year I've spent a fantastic photo 5 days in Death Valley with Scott and Jen and other fellow photographers and I still have to get back to my pictures. I just love them! ;)
My dear friend Andrea send me few months ago a nice snapshot of myself at the Racetrack and that reminded me favorite topic about the power of photography to mess with your size perceived vs the real size. One of the most common reaction when presenting "Moving rocks" from the Racetrack was: "Wow, those are HUGE rocks! How they can move?" Well. It's actually just a perspective trick when you use very wide angle lens and you get very close to you subject. With an aperture at f/13 and combination of wide angle I've got a pretty sharp background, but heeeey, that rock in front is enormous, right? ;)

Well, not really. You can compare here. All moving rocks are actually pretty small :) It's just again another evidence supporting our men's position - size really doesn't matter, right boys? :)
The best of my Death Valley is located here.