Shooting with Diana

This was a short shooting (approx. 2 hours including all preparations) with the beauty model Diana Stateva (Bulgaria).

The shooting was done in an old stone quarry. I used 2 strobes to achieve this type of lighting. Camera and lens by Nikon.

Flares were added intentionally while shooting, Photoshop used only for skin retouching. NEF files processed in Capture One Pro 7.2

Click a photo to open it at full size in a new window!

Beauty portrait of Diana

Beauty model shoot

Model portfolio shoot

Fashion editorial

Fashion editorial shooting on location

Fashion shoot with beauty model

Posted in Shooting Photos Tagged , , , , |

Capture One Pro 7 mini-review – does it worth to upgrade

Capture One Pro 7 by Phase One has been recently issued. I am testing the trial version for two days now and I found some very nice improvements.

In the beginning I want to declare that I won’t make here a complete review of Capture One Pro 7, nor have I tested it so deeply to be able to do a detailed review. I will just share my opinion on how good (or maybe bad :D ) is the new version.

So, let’s start!


Engine switch

The first thing to notice is that there is absolutely no difference with your old images, when you open them in the 7-th version. Confusing? Well, it is. You have to go to the Color tab of the editing tools, then take a look at the Base Characteristics tool. You’ll see a notice at the bottom, stating that you’re using the engine of Capture One 6. (This statement will appear for every image you have imported in C1-6.) Next to this you’ll see a button with “Upgrade” label as seen in the image below. When you hit it, you switch to the new engine of Capture One 7. Beware, you cannot go back from 7 to 6!

Capture One 6 to 7 upgrade button

If you have made some corrections on the selected image and especially Exposure, High Dynamic Range and Clarity, you’ll notice a big difference. If you have not made changes on any settings, you’ll not see any difference. Both engines produce almost the same output with settings at default. I say “almost”, because I saw some difference in noise suppression only. There may be others I haven’t noticed.


 Shadows and Highlights

One of the most important changes (for me) is how Shadows and Highlights sliders in the High Dynamic Range tool work. I see here a big improvement. The tool is working so precisely that you easily achieve an almost HDR effect directly from your RAW file. Here is an example with a portrait: The left frame is always the non-corrected version and then you can see the difference between the engines of 6th and 7th version of Capture One Pro with only Highlight correction and Highlights and Shadows correction.

click to enlarge


click to enlarge


click to enlarge


The big difference using the High Dynamic Range tools comes with high contrast scenes.

This cave is a good example on how good the new tool works in comparison with the 6th version.

Shadows and highlights correction in capture One Pro 7

As you can see, details from highlight and shadow areas are well recovered, but the image from v7 lacks this nasty flat HDR look from the version 6 image.



Clarity is the other evaluated tool in Capture One Pro. There are now two modes of clarity: Neutral and Punch. None of them works the same as with version 6. Both produce better results IMHO.

EDIT (February 16, 2013): The current version has now 3 Clarity modes – Classic, Neutral and Punch. I like how Classic mode works, very nice addition!

Additionally, there is a new Structure slider with the Clarity tool. I don’t know how it works exactly, but I like it. It’s some kind of High Pass sharpening I guess and it is useful in some cases.

Let’s see what’s happening with a portrait when adding Clarity.

Clarity tool in Capture One Pro 7

click to enlarge

Not a big difference here. C1-7 produces stronger effect with the same settings. C1-6 used to produce nasty hallows with high settings (above 25). This seem to be corrected in the new version of Capture One Pro.


Local Adjustments

Finally! In local adjustments there is now a Gradient tool in addition of the Brush tool. You can now easily create the effect of a neutral density gradient filter with a few clicks – very useful in landscape photography.


Noise Reduction

The new noise reduction engine really does the job. Now C1 is a real successor of Lightroom and ACR. There is much less chromatic noise at default settings and the produced grain is pleasant and film-like.

Capture One Pro 7 noise reduction


Other changes

Using Capture One Pro 7 you will notice that sliders work differently – a little movement of a slider makes big impact on the image. For example, Contrast +5 is less in v6 than in v7.



The short answer of the question in the title is YES. The upgrade is definitely worth the money (only €69 in Europe excl. VAT). I will upgrade, for sure. You should too.



I shoot with Nikon cameras and I made this “test” with RAW files from my D3x. With other brands and models this could be different.



Here is an image that reveals the power of Capture One Pro 7 with high contrast or under-exposed photos.

Image editing with Capture One Pro 7


Does it worth to upgrade

Absolutely YES!

Posted in Computers and Software Tagged , , |

Free 2013 calendar template

And here comes the new year 2013 free calendar template.

The file is an Adobe InDesign CS4 interchangeable file format – inx, compressed in a ZIP archive. The file could be opened in all InDesign version after CS2.

As with the previous year template, this template is fully customizable – months are created with tables and you can quickly and easily modify the look of the calendar. Using the paragraph styles, you can change fonts, colors, spaces and so on in seconds. And finally, the template is absolutely free for personal and commercial use. If you like it, please share it on Facebook or Twitter, or add a link to this page on your blog or website. Thank you!

DOWNLOAD: Free 2013 calendar template (ZIP, 172Kb)

LICENSE: Free for personal and commercial use
FILE FORMAT: Adobe InDesign CS4 interchange (.inx)


Free calendar template 2013 preview

click for larger size preview

Posted in Utilities Tagged , , , , |

Dimana – fashion shoot in town

Well, I know I am late with this post, many of you have already seen these pictures on my Facebook or Flickr accounts, but better late than never. I am now posting here some of the best photos from the in-town fashion shooting with the young model Dimana kafedzhieva. Camera was a Nikon D3x, lens was (generally) 70-200/2.8VRII, I’ve used also up to three SB strobes with or without different kind of lighting umbrellas.

Click the photos to view larger sizes!

fashion shooting for model book

fashion shoot in town

Fashion model shoot

editorial photography in town

Black and White fashion photography

Fashion editorial shooting

fashion girl posing behind an old arch

Beauty model posing in fashion robe

Fashion photography retouched

Black and White fashion photo

fashion photo model in front of old door

Posted in Shooting Photos

Black and White nature photos

Today I found somewhere deep in my computer some rather old photos I took back in 2007 in Sinite Kamani national park near Sliven city in Bulgaria.

I decided these photos will look nice in Black and White with increased contrast, so here they are.

The camera was a Canon 1Ds (1-st edition) which produces incredible detail and captures very wide range or tones, especially in the dark areas.

Click the photos to view larger sizes.


Posted in Shooting Photos

Free wallpapers 1920×1200 HD

Today I found in my computer an old (in fact not so old) folder with photo wallpaper backgrounds I’ve made when I’ve got my first Mac computer – a 17″ MacBookPro with screen resolution of 1920×1200. I’ve been using these wallpapers lately when I got a 21.5″ iMac, which was 1920×1080.

So, I decided to share these wallpapers with my site visitors. Many of today’s computers are using displays with screen resolution of 1920×1200, so I hope a lot of people will enjoy these pictures.



You can use these wallpapers on your home or company computer, personal use only.
You can freely distribute the wallpapers, while noting my name and website.
Back-links to this page are highly appreciated.



You cannot use these pictures for any other purpose than desktop backgrounds.
You have not the right to change/modify the files in any way.
You cannot sell or rent these wallpapers.


HD wallpaper black and white sunset

Nature wallpaper 1920x1200 free

Free 1920x1200 wallpaper beach sand

Tree roots free HD wallpaper 1920x1200

BW landscape free wallpaper HD 1920x1200

Shiny water drops background wallpaper

Free 1920x1200 pine forest nature wallpaper

Old oak wood free wallpaper

Free black and white wallpaper

Free wallpaper of sunset with tree

Posted in Computers and Software Tagged , , , |

Some fashion and glamour portraits with Dimana

Well, these are some of the best photos from a 3-hours shooting with the young model Dimana Kafedzhieva. This is her first shooting, and she did quite well, considering her 15 years and lack of experience in front of the camera.

She did her hair and make-up, I did the lighting, took and retouched the photos. Enjoy!

Glamour headshot

Portrait photography

Classic portrait photo

Fashion photography

Studio fashgion photo

Glamour photography

Fashion shoot with young model

Studio fashion shooting

Editorial photo with young girl in bikini

High key monotone portrait

Posted in Shooting Photos Tagged , , , , |

Color issue: Leaf Capture vs. Capture One Pro

I am testing some RAW files from Leaf digital backs and especially the Aptus-22 since I plan to purchase a medium format system – better detail, better dynamic range and true 16-bit color.

It is not easy to find RAW files from MF digital backs on the Internet. Fortunately, there are some on the Leaf website. I downloaded almost all files and registered to be able to download the Leaf RAW developing software – Leaf Capture.

I do own PhaseOne’s Capture One PRO, and since Leaf is owned by Phase, as you can guess, Capture One Pro opens all Leaf RAW files. The two programs are quite different, but they share exactly the same color profiles and curves presets. As the two companies belong to one family, I was thinking their processing algorithms are the same. So, it is normal that they produce the same color, if I use the same color profiles and curve presets. But, as you’ll see, not exactly…

Bellow is a sample from a RAW file I downloaded from Leaf’s website and processed with both Leaf Capture and Capture One PRO with the same presets: color profiles and curves, all other settings at default. The big picture is the whole frame, bellow it are two 100% crops from a shadow area. At first look, images from LC and C1 look the same (excluding sharpness), but after I examined the shadow areas, I noticed a very strange (and not expected) behavior of Capture One: shadow areas have increased reds.

Leaf Digital Back test image

Click to enlarge (opens a new window)

This is not the first time I notice increased reds in Capture One PRO… I shoot with a Nikon and I develop NEF files with C1 Pro. To obtain correct color in dark images, I have to cut the left side of the red channel by 1 or 2 levels. Yes this is not too much and it is not something to worry about, but it is present and I see it. With images containing less dark areas it is not a issue, but with dark images it could be, especially if you work some color-critical project.

Finally: The Leaf RAW files files, processed in Leaf Capture look absolutely flawless, with superb dynamic range, correct natural colors and great detail. I have to say that I’m really impressed with the image quality from all Leaf back, even the quite old Aptus 22. I will probably buy one in the near future.

The file I used for this “test” is shot with the Aptus-II 6 on a Mamiya AFD system (© Alex Amengual) and is publicly accessible as a RAW file from the Leaf website HERE

Posted in Photo Gear Tagged , |

Free web Christmas card templates

Here are three templates for e-mail/web Christmas and New Year greeting cards. There is now year on the card, so you can use the cards as many years as you want. The width of the card is 960 pixels to fit all contemporary monitors.

All three cards have a white gradient where you have to place your company logo, to brand the card. Then just send the card to your clients, relatives or friends.

How to use the templates:
Click the thumbnail – the card template will pop-up in a new browser window, then open the template in a graphic editing software and add your logo. Save the card and send it to your relatives, clients, business partners…

You are allowed: to use the templates for personal or corporative cards; to distribute the templates thru your website.
You are NOT allowed: to sell or rent the templates; to remove the copyright statement.

Christmas card template free

Christmas card template free frozen window

Christmas card template with white frozen tree


Posted in Utilities Tagged , , , |

Free 2012 calendar template

Well, I’ve made a calendar for 2012 and I just want to share it with my site visitors who work their own designs and need a ready-to-use calendar for year 2012.

The calendar is a downloadable ZIP archive of an Adobe InDesign CS4 file. The months are actually tables with editable text, so everything is fully editable – you can customize the fonts, colors, cell size and spaces, lines between cells and so on. In addition, all text elements have Paragraph Styles applied, so complete customization can be done in seconds.

I’m in Europe, so this calendar is European standard – week starts Monday.

DOWNLOAD LINK: 2012 calendar, Adobe InDesign CS4 file

File format: Adobe InDesign CS4
License: Free for personal and/or commercial use


Free InDesign calendar 2012

Preview: Free calendar 2012


EDIT: Since many of you requested, here is an universal file in inx format that can be opened with all latest versions of InDesign.

DOWNLOAD INX FILE: Call_2012_en.inx


Posted in Utilities Tagged , , |