The Forest Beauty

This photo shows one the rare moments when my phone camera lens was able to create such a nice bokeh, a real explosion of light behind the object in focus! At macro focal lengths, I can compare the optics of the tiny Pixel 4 lens to my Pentax-M F1.7/50mm when shooting at normal portrait distances. This was an interesting experiment. :-) I love my Pentax-M lens, btw! (Here’s a sample shot with the 1.7/50, “Red and green” — in the distances between 0.4 and 2.0 meters, the large Pentax lens will truly shine!) But shooting in full manual mode is quite difficult and time consuming; so I am carrying with me much less often my Pentax K100D + 1.7/50.

When shooting macro, the Pixel 4 is as good as my old Nokia Lumia 830 with Zeiss optics (here’s a macro shot that I made with Lumia 830, “The Magical Kingdom of Mushrooms“), probably even better — which is to be expected, because it’s newer and has better optics and better imaging processor.

The Forest Beauty
A real forest beauty! Shot in the forest of Marchaevo on 30-Oct-2021. (Shot with Pixel 4; macro subject distance, minor post-processing.)

Note: I have posted this shot also at 500px.

Update (01-Nov-2021): My little moment of fame… my photo made it to the “Popular” page on the 500px website! :-)))

Ye olde water tower

This old water tower (designed and built by the engineer Franz Salbach in 1929) is located in Lozenets, Sofia. It is now the home of the +365 art gallery.

The old water tower in Lozenets, Sofia
The old water tower. (Shot with Pixel 4; Night Sight mode, minor post-processing.)

I visited this place a few days ago, it’s autumn now and the tower looked absolutely magical at dusk… :-)

P.S. (27-Oct-2021) I’ve just remembered that a friend of mine, Nixo, posted a cool (and funny) set of pictures featuring this exact same tower! Take a look! :-)

Autumn sunrise

I love autumn. The colors in the sky, the colors on earth… they’re magical.

Autumn sunrise
Autumn sunrise over the old nut tree. (Shot with Pixel 4; minor post-processing.)

This morning, it was the sky.

What if cameras were able to show what we see with our own eyes? Hélas! Ce n’est pas possible… pas encore.

P.S. Five minutes later… and the colors were gone.

Autumn sunrise, 5 minutes later
Only five minutes later…

The forest of Marchaevo (a short photowalk)

On 11/Sep./2021, we went to Marchaevo village. There is a nice forest right next to the village where we may go every once in a while. It’s not a very popular place so we could enjoy some peace and quiet — which is always a nice thing. :-)))

The forest of Marchaevo: An experiment with ants, beginning.
An experiment — let’s give some tangerines and bread to the red-black ants… and see what happens a couple of hours later!

The forest of Marchaevo:
Just a crop of the previous photo. I love all the details that the Pixel 4 was able to capture in this macro.

The forest of Marchaevo: Onopordum acanthium.
A Scottish thistle, also known as Onopordum acanthium.

The forest of Marchaevo: Brambles.
Brambles. They were tasty, too, not only beautiful!

The forest of Marchaevo: The Peaceful Forest
“The Peaceful Forest”

The forest of Marchaevo: The Peaceful Forest, Part II
“The Peaceful Forest, Part II”

The forest of Marchaevo: A magical web.
A magical web.

The forest of Marchaevo: Birches at sunset.
Birches at sunset.

The forest of Marchaevo: The experiment with ants, three hours later.
The experiment, three hours later — the bread has 100% disappeared; while the tangerines were still work-in-progress. :-)

The forest of Marchaevo: A deer.
A deer, staring at our car!

When we were going back to Sofia, Ani suddenly saw a deer! A young beautiful deer. We have never seen a deer around these places — but lo and behold! here it was. We tried a shot or two, but of course, a digital zoom is no match to an optical one and the photos were blurry and pixelated. Still… more important is that we saw this beautiful animal. :-)

The deer stared at us for a minute or two, and we stared at the deer. Then it left — jumping elegantly, it soon disappeared in the woods next to this meadow.

This was the most magical thing of that day…

*update* (10:37): Ani made a better photo — still blurry but it’s better, here’s a crop:

The forest of Marchaevo: A deer. [photo by Ani]

Vitosha mountain, the plateau above Kumata chalet — a short walk

Yesterday, it was Tuesday, just a regular day full of work and other tasks. But the kid suggested in the morning, “Hey dad, can we go see the nice plateau near Kumata chalet? After you have finished work?” and I said, “Sure, why not?”.

And so we went there — we reached the plateau right before sunset, after harvesting quite a few wild raspberries along the path leading up. :-) The air was clear and fresh, the raspberries were perfect, and the sunset was beautiful.

All in all, it was a very good idea to run away from the big city for a couple of hours! (And while high up in the mountains, we could forget all the bad news of late…)

While we were heading home, we saw a wild baby fox crossing our road carefully — we don’t have a photo proof of this but some things should better be kept in our hearts and memory, I think…

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Soon, more “afternoon adventures” like this one, I hope. :-)

Two autumn photos made with Pixel 4 (or: “Good-bye Lumia 830”)

I didn’t write here recently, nor did I post new photos…

* * *

I spent many years with Nokia Lumia 830 (Windows Phone 8.1). Lumia 830 has a brilliant camera! I especially like how it “paints” light (a.k.a. bokeh) when you shoot close-ups/macro. Here are two examples with Lumia 830:

Mini-roses in the hot summer afternoon
Roses in the hot summer afternoon… — 500px. (Nokia Lumia 830)

Little magical forest kingdom.
Little Magical Forest Kingdom — 500px. (Nokia Lumia 830)

Carl Zeiss optics, ’nuff said! (Of course, when you shoot portraits and make photos from a greater distance, things become much more ordinary — the limitations of the too small lens come into play.)

But the hardware and the software of the Lumia 830 became too old, this is a 5+ years old model. So time has come for something new

Google Pixel 4 (Google Android 11). Pixel 4 als has great optics! Here are two sample photos which I made with the Pixel 4:

Sunset
Sunset. (Google Pixel 4)

Little mushrooms
Little mushrooms. (Google Pixel 4)

In addition to the good optics of the Pixel 4 (which can be compared with the Lumia 830 optics), the Pixel has a powerful AI which is able to improve the dynamic range of the photos (shadows and highlights can be well balanced), it can shoot in portrait mode (put the subject in focus and “blur” the background), it can shoot stars, and more and more… But I’ll write about the Pixel 4 in more detail maybe some other time… :-)