Lens and Sensibility, by @martinaybiel

February 8, 2017

Today I’m starting an exciting photography project on the blog. I’ve been thinking for a long time about opening this space to inspiring individuals from whom we could learn a lot. Personally, I find it extremely enriching to look at other photographers’ pictures. I’m always surprised by the generosity of those who share all their knowledge and savoir-faire, like on photography forums such as Camera Mama or Dear Photographer. Every week a photographer writes about his or her picture in great detail. I’m fascinated by their explanations and the truth is they enrich the way I look at things and the way I photograph.

As you can see, the idea is not revolutionary, but I really think it can be interesting to follow in the steps of those fantastic American photographers’ communities within my own photographers’ circle; the people I follow daily through their pictures and who leave me in awe of their work.

As everything I’m doing so far on this blog, I don’t know whether it will work or not, but I really wanted to give the idea a try. So, let’s start!

Olga Sola, @martinaybiel on Instagram, is the first photographer I would like to present here. Olga has been taking pictures for years and her work is gorgeous. She loves landscape photography and, as a mother, enjoys portraying her kids at sunset in the middle of spectacular landscapes.

After having taken and looked at lots of photos over the years, Olga has come to the conclusion that getting THE photo depends mainly on perfect composition and capturing THE moment, as we all know that it can be in front of our eyes for a microsecond and we need to be ready to shoot at that particular moment in order not to miss it.

Olga has agreed to present a couple of her pictures, which are among the ones I like the most. She’s going to introduce the context, technical details and how she processed them. Before leaving you with Olga, I wanted to thank her warmly for having accepted to do this.

The kids on the beach

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This inspiring place is the Delta del Ebro (Tarragona). It’s a place with a very peculiar climate: due to its strong winds, it can rain all day and at the end of the day the sky clears up and you have a spectacular sunset. That was the case the day I took this picture. After the rain, we had very beautiful clouds and the kids were able to play on the beach for a long time. They were walking in the water and I waited until they passed just through the sunset light to take the photo.

You can see all the technical details below:

  • CAMERA: Canon 7D.
  • MULTI-SHOT MODE: Kids never stop moving, which makes this mode almost compulsory with them.
  • WIDE-ANGLE LENS 17-40, focal length 17mm. Although I’m more and more into fixed focal-length lenses, a wide-angle lens is necessary if you want the landscape to be an important part of the composition. This lens helps to accentuate the lines and the magnitude of the landscape, compared to the tiny silhouettes.
  • It can often be a hassle, but I had been taking landscape pictures for a while at low shutter speed and it helped a lot for this particular picture.
  • LOW ISO. As we were there during the first hours of sunset, I would have needed at least 600 or 800 ISO, but thanks to the tripod I was able to shoot at ISO 250 without trepidation.
  • APERTURE f/7,1: in order to get the landscape in focus and to give texture to the mud zone in the foreground.
  • SPEED 1/320: in order to freeze movement.

The truth is that none of these settings were planned. Parameters often come from a first metering. I try to make sure the speed is the right one for the shoot and I decide the rest from there.

I processed the picture using Lightroom, adjusting shadows and lights, applying a graduated filter in the sky (with a light blue tone), and another one in the mud zone (with a light sandy tone).

I love traveling, especially because it allows me to shoot nature. Since I became a mother, my favorite landscapes include my kids. I really want to capture the moments we spend together, like the day I took this picture, when we stayed watching the sunset until it was dark.


“Flying” Biel

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It was an ordinary day in May, 4 pm, lots of sunshine. We ended up on that road, a little bit lost, I must say.

We were so amazed by the landscape that we had to stop the car to check if the blue of that sky and the green of that wheat were real. We felt like in a dream and didn’t want to leave. We stood there, gazing silently while the wind was rocking the wheat. My husband, who always has great ideas, said: « What if I throw Biel into the air and you try to take a photo of him as if he were flying? ». It was a fantastic idea, but not an easy one! Every jump was different and my boy’s position wasn’t always straight enough to look as if he were flying.

But we succeeded! Here are the technical details I followed in order to take this picture:

  • CAMERA: Canon 7D.
  • MULTI-SHOT MODE: It was necessary in order to capture Biel « flying ».
  • 50 mm LENS. In this shot, the most important thing was to capture him, so this was the right lens to be close to my subject without getting distracted by the landscape.
  • ISO 400. I wanted to make sure I had enough light. I’m lucky to have a camera that doesn’t produce noise at that ISO level.
  • APERTURE f/3.5: in order to get my son in focus and leave the landscape out of focus.
  • VERY FAST SPEED 1/8000: in order to freeze movement.

I processed the image with Lightroom, adjusting shadows and lights, slightly erasing my husband’s hands with the spot removal tool. This is perfect in order to clone little things without having to use Photoshop. I saturated a little bit the yellow, green and blue colors and nothing else, as they were vibrant.

The best part of the whole process was Biel’s laughter every time his dad threw him into the sky. I’m lucky to have a very adventurous kid and a strong hubby. I think this picture will make my son remember that feeling of freedom, pure and clean air, and totally perfect landscape.

I really hope you liked the pictures and my explanations. The best advice I can give you is to forget about technical details and go for THE picture. It is often not far away and you just need to wait for it, move and shoot.

It has been an honor to participate in this blog post, Marta. I am sure this photography project will be a success!



[…] and tell us more about how they work. My dear friend Olga (@cerrandoplano, @martinaybiel before) inaugurated this space. One day it occurred to me that perhaps she would like to help me with this section by selecting […]

Like the new subject of introduction of other photographers! So I can learn at same time ????. The photo at the waterside is breathtaking. Nienke

Thank you so much! I’m glad you like it!
Looking forward to seeing you soon,