Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More commercial shots

Alain Mikli





This is what I do for fun at Contacts&Specs, Chicago. The 13x19 prints on Museum Etching Paper look phenomenal. That is currently my favorite paper from Canon, developed by Hahnemuhle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Advertising shots

Shooting products for an online store could be boring at times. Think routine, think hundreds or even thousands of shots taken in the same position, same light, same set-up.

Well, not this time. When I saw this Bevel frame, I knew exactly what kind of shot I wanted to get. Quick set-up in my living room, front natural light coming from the balcony sliding door, a little touch of flash from left side to fill in.

And of course, my little star here: Angelina, a red-eyed tree frog from Costa Rica, my pet.Not really cooperative that day, she kept jumping around, very uncomfortable with her new modeling job. Still got a few keepers...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Climbing Mt Whitney

Alpenglow, September 20th 7:00 am,
four hours into the climb

Rock formation as seen from the
infamous 99 switchbacks

Looking down from the summit

Me and my brother, on the summit

One last look back at the ridge

All rise! This is the one. The highest peak in the continental United States, that is, excluding Alaska with its mighty Denali. Situated in the dry and rocky Sierra Nevada, California, it stands at an elevation of 14,497 ft. While this is not a difficult technical climb, the trail leading to the summit is 11 miles (17 km) long, elevation gain being a whopping 6,500 ft, making for a good 2-days hike.

Obtaining an overnight trip permit depends on literally winning a lottery, so we opted for a one day permit, meaning that we only had one shot, one single day to bag it. The lucky day was set to be September 20th 2008.

Long story short, we started at 3:15 am, using headlamps and walking continuously for 4 hours into the dark in order to stay warm, as the temperatures were in the mid 30's (coming from daily highs of 90's and even three digits in Vegas and Death Valley the previous day).

After a glorious sunrise and a quick snack, we started to climb the strenuous switchbacks, about 99 of them in total. I didn't bother to count them... but I can tell that was really the most difficult part of the trip. When we managed to get past the junction to Muir Trail, we knew we were going to make it.

Easier said than done, because the altitude starts to take its toll: breathing gets more difficult and your head starts to feel a little light. But we made it, after hiking for 7 1/2- 8 hours. We spent about 45 minutes on the top, calling our parents in Romania (friggin' technology!) and then we started the downhill part of the trip. Oh Boy! It seemed that it would never end, it felt like the distance just doubled, especially the in lower part which we didn't get to see early in the morning.

A total of 15 hours, 22 miles round trip that ended with a cold beer and the best hamburger I ever had in my life at the foot of the mountain, at Whitney Portal.

As a side note, I've learned my lesson on Mount Rainier: don't bring the 5d at high altitudes! I shot the pics with a low quality Fuji digicam and I couldn't be more happy with the decision I made. The 5d with my 24-70 mm zoom feels like a brick in my backpack, there was no way I would carry it during this 22 miles marathon.

More pics here:


This climb set my new personal altitude record. In order to beat it, I will have to travel to Alaska or South America. I was invited to join a romanian expedition to Aconcagua, in the Andes, in 2010-2011. I couldn't pass, and therefore, this is my new goal: Mt Aconcagua.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Southwest Trip

Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California

Rodeo Drive, L.A.

Santa Monica Beach, L.A.

Death Valey, California

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The winter is here, the days are shorter but the memories from our recent trip to the American Southwest are still fresh. The snapshots I took during this trip are long due, I apologize for taking so long. I was very busy editing weddings, portrait sessions and other gigs. I'll add some pics covering the ascent of Mt Whitney in a future post. More pics here


Monday, October 13, 2008

A lion with attitude

I needed to relax so badly... it was a stressful week. I decided to go go for a mini-safari at the Brookfield Zoo. The weather was superb so I just grabbed my 1D Mk2N and 100-400 mm IS on a monopod. Bad luck: most of the animals were sleepy and the whole place was so crowded! I just took a long hike around, enjoyed the exhibitions I was interested to see and by the time I was ready to leave, I noticed the lion was slowly coming back to life.
Oh boy! What a beautiful, majestic animal! He's got some attitude too, I really like the expression he's putting in some of the shots, almost like he was posing for me.
For more shots, here's the link:


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Canon EOS 5d MK II released

After a very long three year waiting period, Canon announced their highly successful 5d camera replacement: 5d Mark II. It's not revolutionary, but a pretty serious evolution instead. Just one gripe, a serious one though: they used the same old shitty diamond-shaped 9 point autofocusing system. I guess they didn't want to totally cannibalize the 1Ds MkIII market, an $8000 camera compared to a "mere" 2700 for the new 5dII. I'm on the list...
More info here: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/canoneos5dmarkII/

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Canon EOD 50d released:

Canon is acting erratically lately... Instead of announcing the most expected camera (EOS 5d Mark II) they just released an upgrade of not so old 40d... which is nevertheless an awesome camera. I'm pretty sure at this moment that the new 5dMkII is due for a release next month at Photokina and it will be a serious response to the new Nikon D700. The next couple of months should be very interesting...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Markus Sfetcu

Shooting portraits is not my thing... but this is a special one: Markus Sfetcu, Gabe's son. What a beautiful baby!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chicago Water and Air Show

Last Sunday I made it to the annual Water and Air Show which took place at the Lakefront. We secured some good spots and enjoyed a very nice, hot and sunny day. Here's a few shots that I like. If you would like see more, here's the link: Airshow

Blog up and running

Long story short, I finally made up my mind and decided to put up a personal blog, a photographer blog. I'll try to keep it updated on a daily basis (if I have something to say...). I'll post here some of my work, events, useful links and maybe some personal thoughts and ideas. Comments and critics are more than welcomed... Enjoy!
Calin, August 23, 12:51 am