Category Archives: Urban Exploration

Breaking the Rules – Street Photography with the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

We’d normally use ultra-wide lenses for two reasons: (1)  to capture something very big (i.e. landscapes, buildings, stars in the sky); or (2) to create a sense of space in a place where there is none (i.e. real estate photography). Portraits are generally a big no-no because its inherent visual perspective creates a sense of unease. But then again, a cinematographer like Masanobu Takayanagi can use it masterfully in Silver Linings Playbook to subtly bring out Bradley Cooper’s troubled mental state in front of Jennifer Lawrence.

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Ian Norman over at The Lonely Speck uses this Rokinon to great results for his astrophotography

I bought my Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 on a whim and while it was on sale. At $339 MSRP, it is one of the most affordable lenses in the Sony E Mount line up. But as neither a landscape or an astrophotographer, I had no real need for an ultra-wide. And I suspect for real-estate photographers, who incidentally have the highest average salaries out of all photographer types, they won’t be relying on this bargain basement lens with wild barrel distortions either.

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The Rokinon is also labeled as the Samyang. When mounted to the A7 series, it is absolutely humongous. Not the ideal street photography lens then, but fun to use nonetheless.

One day, over better qualified candidates like the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 and as if to defy the camera gods, I decided to bring this lens during my recent trip to China for Lunar New Years since Asia, in general, is great for street photography. So, I challenged myself to use a 14mm ultra-wide on the streets and this is what I’ve learned.

Continue reading Breaking the Rules – Street Photography with the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

“Rooftopping” – (Part 2: An Evolving Subculture)

In a previous article, “Rooftopping – Part1:  The Beginning” I introduced a craze in photography known as rooftooping that many urban photographers are exploring.  I communicated how rooftoppers were not particularly thrilled exposing where they shoot from and exposing their secrets.  Understandably because they often gain access by trespassing onto the properties they are shooting from.  The images often raise curiosity among the viewers leaving them to wonder where exactly they were captured from.  In the instances where the viewer is familiar with the city it is not too difficult to pinpoint the general vicinity where the photo was shot. However, figuring out the exact building tends to be more complicated.

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Image courtesy of Vitaliy Raskalov & Vadim Makhorov |

I want to make it clear that I am not revealing any secrets.  Many well-known rooftoppers openly discuss their experiences and post videos of them in the act.  I am friendly with several local rooftoppers therefore, it is not my intention to upset anyone.  I want to be able to share some incredible images by extremely talented young photographers, most who are self-taught.  As well as, acquaint readers with what is typically involved in such extreme photography. Continue reading “Rooftopping” – (Part 2: An Evolving Subculture)

Abandonment Issues

Urban Exploration, often referred to as Urbex or UE, is the exploration of abandoned buildings that are generally restricted and closed to the general public.  A commonly inquired question people want to know when they see these astonishing images from these not-so-easy to access locations is how to find out exactly where it is situated and how to enter.

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Klooster Sint-Anna | Taken by Lucas O | 1.3 sec at f / 6.3, ISO 320 |

https://www.flickr.com/photos/115687325@N06/

www.lucaso-photography.be Continue reading Abandonment Issues

Montreal: My Home and Native Land!

Summer was quickly coming to an end so my friend Kally and I thought that a trip to Montreal for Labour Day weekend would be a stupendous idea. One of my best girlfriends had recently moved to Montreal and I have been missing living in Paris so I thought visiting an old friend and taking in some European culture would be the perfect weekend getaway.  Kally and I wanted to research the best places to take pictures in Montreal before we endured the five plus hour drive.  Especially since we both we are both extremely passionate about photography.

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Skyline seen from Old Montreal | 30 sec at f / 11, ISO 100 |

Continue reading Montreal: My Home and Native Land!

Shooting in Groups | A New Experience

When I first starting shooting on somewhat of a regular basis, it was all done with my iPhone 4s and alone.  I was living in Paris at the time and would be walking around and see something that would catch my eye and I would quickly capture the moment.  The more I would photograph, the more I was determined to improve my skills and learn how to properly use a camera.

I did some research and decided to purchase a Canon 70D just last September.  I have used a Canon many years before but only used it in fully automatic mode. I had no real technical background or an understanding of photography whatsoever!  I would encounter difficult situations that I didn’t know how to perform and decided it was time to get a better grasp on the basics of photography.  I enrolled in few beginner courses to educate myself enough to become familiar with my camera and the basic tools necessary to achieve my desired vision.

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Glasgow, Scotland | Shot with iPhone 4s | October 2012 | Taken by Alyssa Black |

Continue reading Shooting in Groups | A New Experience