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Alternative Berlin

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The thing that I love the most about Berlin is that it’s a city that doesn’t judge. You don’t have to possess certain predetermined characteristics there to be accepted by the society. In other words, in Berlin it’s okay to be “strange”.

This summer I photographed these beautiful works of art on the streets of Berlin. I think the best thing about these graffiti is their “temporary nature”. You know they’re not going to be there forever, you know that they will change as the times change and as the city changes. They are not made to last nor do they want to. Their sole purpose is to have an impact on the society at the right time and then after their message has been delivered, they just, disappear.

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Classic cars

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Around a month ago I had the chance to photograph these magnificent cars in Konstanz Germany. I used two very different lenses. The Canon 50mm f 1.8 and the Canon 10-18mm f 4.5 for wider shots. Both these lenses have their pros and cons when you’re photographing cars. The pictures made with the 50mm lens have a warm feeling to them and have amazing background blur but the problem is that you have to get very far away from the car that you want to photograph in order to get a full shot and most often car exhibitions are really crowded and it’s hard to get the shots you want without people blocking your view. The 10-18mm however, gives you the opportunity to get really close to your subject and still be able to get a full shot but the results are less “artistic”.  I hope you like these photos and I would love to know what you think about them.

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Canon EF-S 10-18 mm review

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This lens is Canon’s newest wide angle budget lens. It costs around 280 Euros and let me say right off the bat that it has plently to offer for that relatively modest price. I think it was a really smart choice on Canon’s part to produce this lens since before it, all you could do was to purchase a third party lens such as the Samyang 14 mm or the Tokina 11-16 mm if you wanted to stay in the 300-500 Euros price range. From what I’ve been hearing it has been selling outstandingly and photography stores are asking for more, so kudos to Canon for making this fantastic business choice.

 What is it good for?

Photography is like manual work. For each job you need the right tool. Different lenses serve different purposes. The Canon 10-18 mm is an ultrawide angle zoom lens and is ideal for architecture and landscape photography. It allows for large portions of the environment around you to be present in your photos which is exactly what you’re looking for when you need to photograph the entire facade of a big building and you don’t have much space behind you. At first when I started working with this lens I was surprised at the amount of things I could fit into one photo. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise for someone who photographs buildings and urban areas quite often.

What are the main characteristics of this lens?

First of all you should take into consideration the fact that it’s an EF-S lens which means that it was specifically designed for crop sensor Canon cameras and it will not work on full frame cameras which is not really a problem if you are not thinking of upgrading to a full frame camera any time soon.

The Canon 10-18 mm lens has almost the same dimensions and weight as the 18-55 mm kit lens and balances itself quite nicely on my Canon 1100D camera body. The overall build quality of the lens is fairly decent and it feels quite solid when I hold it in my hands and I don’t care if it’s made entirely out of plastic because it wouldn’t be fair to expect more out of a budget lens. The zoom ring turns smoothly and has reasonable dimensions whereas the focus ring is a bit too thin.

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This lens also has image stabilization which some might argue isn’t all that necessary in an ultrawide angle lens. I highly disagree with that statement because you can never have enough image stabilization! This option allows you to take clear long exposure shots without the need of a tripod. The autofocus on this lens is also surprisingly fast and easy to work with. The following picture is to show you how good image stabilization and autofocus on this lens actually are. I was at a train station and wanted to show the contrast between a moving traing and a person standing still infront of it. To reach that purpose I needed a relatively long exposure time so I zoomed the lens all the way out to 18 mm and decided to choose the following settings: 1/2 secs exposure time,  f/11 aperture,  ISO 200.

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The only downside to this lens is that it’s maximum aperture is f/4.5 and it decreases as soon as you move away from 10 mm and zoom further out. This might become a problem in low light situations but if you use higher ISOs and turn the image stabilization on you could take fairly decent photos indoors (such as in a museum) as well.

How does it compare to the Canon 18-55 mm kit lens and should you buy it?

I personally am really happy with this lens and I’m really impressed with how wide it is. It makes taking pictures of buildings and landscapes alot easier. Those 8 mm of difference between this lens and the Canon kit lens are crucial for architecture photography and besides, many Canon kit lenses don’t have image stabilization. Below, you can see a comparision between the two lenses. The first photo was taken using the kit lens at 18 mm and the second photo was taken using the 10-18 mm lens at 10 mm.

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In conclusion, if you are not thinking about buying a full frame camera any time soon, this is a fantastic lens for wide shots and you should definitely buy it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

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“Whatever is on my mind, I say it as I feel it, I’m truthful to myself; I’m young and I’m old, I’ve been bought and I’ve been sold, so many times. I am hard-faced, I am gone. I am just like you.” – Detachment

It’s a quote from one of the best movies I’ve seen lately. It talks about the complexity of human emotions and how we can get caught up in our everyday lives and get consumed by them. This is my entry to this week’s challenge.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette (4)

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Let me tell you the story of this man. He’s a poet and he walks around the city and whenever someone wants a poem all he/she has to do is ask him and he composes one right on the spot. One morning I was on my way to the university when two construction workers that were working on the renovation of the cathedral of Florence asked him for a poem and he started : “This mighty structure that graces our city everyday…”. He is one of the most well known and respected citizens of Florence.

I took this photo a while ago with a film camera, a Kodak retina 1b. A camera my grandfather bought in the 50’s and still works perfectly to this day.

This is my last entry for this week’s photo challenge. I hope the next one will be as exciting.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette (2)

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My second entry for this week’s photo challenge. Yet another foto I took with my phone. This time though, the light source is the river which is reflecting the light of the setting sun and the protagonists are the shadows of the buildings that are being reflected on water. I’m really enjoying this week’s challenge, it seems to be bringing out the best in people . As always I would love to read what you guys think of my photos.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

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My entry for this week’s photo challenge. Took this photo in Florence some months ago with my phone. The sky was particularly colorful that day and there was this amazing contrast between the profiles of the buildings and the rest of the environment. Hope you enjoy it. As always I’m eager to know what you think about my photos.

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