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Alexander Dragunov’s Tunnelbana

Published by Diana Tula · March 1st 2013

In October we’ve teamed up with Blurb to bring you discount codes matching the value of 500px upgrade price, since then every Plus user gets $25 and Awesome user $50 to spend when creating a Blurb Book. Alexander Dragunov, IT architect by trade and professional photographer at heart, used this promotion and printed Tunnelbana book. Tunnelbana is a visual marvel displaying different views of the world's longest art gallery — Stockholm’s metro. Welcome Alexander Dragunov as he shares the story behind creating Tunnelbana with Blurb Books.

Introduction

My name is Alexander Dragunov, I'm originally from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, but for last several years I’ve been living and working in Stockholm, Sweden. About a year ago I started taking photos of the Stockholm subway; there were several photographers on 500px who have truly inspired me with their metro images of different cities and countries. It took me about 9 months to complete photographing this collection completed. My idea was to take photos of completely empty subway stations without a single person, it was a time consuming project and was worth the wait.

Then about 2 months ago I've upgraded to a Plus membership and got some Blurb credits. That’s when I decided to publish my series. It took me another 2 months to prepare the photos for the book and I had to revisit some stations to retake the shots that I liked.

Finally today I've received my printed book! Long way to it, but I love the result!  Here it is, now available to everyone: Tunnelbana.

Assembly & Editing

By the time I decided to publish a book I already had a large selection of subway photos, most of them I've shared here on 500px. My first decision was to focus only on Stockholm Tunnelbana subway. Second decision was to publish only the photos of completely empty stations, so that it really looked like a series.

Then it was time to put the book together and the software I decided to go with is Blurb BookSmart application, it was quite easy to use. I uploaded all selected photos to the Blurb BookSmart application and started aligning and ordering them. During the editorial process I realized that I'm missing some stations and that I want to re-photograph some of the stations I already have. Hence, my first photo in this book is dated 2012/04/14 and the last one is from 2013/01/12. The overall process of creating a book is very similar to photography: you are doing something by yourself the way that you see it and want it. So I really enjoyed it.

Left Behind

While putting the book together I was thinking a lot about this photo: Waiting. It did not fit the "complete emptiness" theme that I chose, so eventually I had to leave it out. Funny that just after I've completed and submitted the the finalized book to Blurb this is the exact photo that was chosen to "Editors’ Choice" on 500px. The only one from the Tunnelbana subway series :)

Favourite Photos

I love all of them, that's why I decided to share these photos with everyone. If had to pick there are two that I really enjoy. Maybe this one titled Underground world II that I chose for the cover and it's my highest rated photo here on 500px, and this one titled Hjulsta I was very lucky with this photo as it's a rare occurrence to see two old trains at the same time.


Underground world II


Hjulsta

Thanks to Alexander for sharing this story and thank you for reading! If you’d like to see more of Alexander Dragunov’s work visit his 500px page and to preview or purchase his book click here.

After a twitter shutout by @500px in search of awesome Blurb books Alexander got in touch & now his story is on our blog. If you’d like to share your story, experience or photos with us get in touch, email blog@500px.com. We are always looking for interesting content to feature on the blog and would love to hear from you :)


     

500px for Chrome

Published by Alex Flint · February 28th 2013

Today, we are excited to announce the launch of the 500px experience on a new platform, Google Chrome. Our latest project is a new 500px Chrome Web Store app that can be downloaded from the Google Chrome store for Windows, Mac, and Chromebook computers, including the new touch-enabled Google Chromebook Pixel laptop.

500px Chrome app features include:

  • Most inspiring photos on the planet
  • Browsing images by Popular, Editors' Choice, Upcoming and Fresh
  • Letting users create a personalized photo stream through Flow
  • Touch enabled, built for Chromebook Pixel laptop
  • Tap or click to view photos full-screen
  • Easily find descriptions and photographer's information
  • Seamless one click sharing on Google+, Facebook or Twitter
  • To see it for yourself install app from here!


         

    500px.com Site Update

    Published by Diana Tula · February 27th 2013

    Hey everyone! Our site just got updated with minor nips and tucks to refine and enhance your experience. The major changes are streamlined Profile, Photo and landing pages and emphasized User Tab functionality. What’s changed:

    • User Profile is improved with infinite scrolling and Statistics page.
    • User Tab is upgraded with new links and functionality.
    • Profile and Portfolio Settings are unified, now you can manage both in one place. Just hover over User Tab and click “Settings”.
    • Streamlined header, no more drop downs.
    • Flow, Following & Activity are on the same page. Browsing through your friends’ photos, activity and curated content is easier then ever.

    See all the changes first hand with the screen shots that we’ve prepared for you. If you have any questions or feedback about the updates let us know in the comments below, we love to hear your feedback.

    Infinite scrolling. Ditch browser plugins and spend minutes or hours looking at photos on user Profiles with infinite scrolling. Visit Mark Bridger’s profile and experience the joy of infinite scrolling for yourself :)

    Statistics. Browse conveniently between photos and Statistics in one place — your Profile. Remember, Statistics page remains private “for your eyes only", it cannot be viewed by others and is a feature available to paid accounts only.

    User Tab. If you want to go to your Profile page or manage any of the settings just click or hover over the User Tab. User Tab is literally a tab with your avatar and full name located in the right hand upper corner of the site. Click on all the different links in your User Tab and see where they’ll take you. PS If you can’t see the User Tab you are not logged in.

    Settings. We have married Profile and Porfolio settings together so that you could easily toggle between the two. To get to the Settings page hover over the User Tab and press “Settings”.

    Landing page. We've optimized the landing page, gathering Flow, Following and Activity in one place, now you can track your friends' and your own activity side by side. To visit the landing page sign in to 500px.com or click on 500px logo.

    Thanks & leave your feedback!


         

    Photo Tutorial — Splash High Speed Photography

    Published by Diana Tula · February 27th 2013

    There are many fun photos of commercially inspired splash images on 500px and we wanted to share the secrets behind this technique with you. Patric Bergkvist was generous to volunteer and talk about his personal experience with splash photography. In this article Patric reveals the step-by-step process behind “Coffee with milk” photo giving away his home studio tricks.

    Introduction

    Initially I was planning to shoot in the pool outside, but it was taken up by the kids. So I had to wait, reconsider that idea and instead settle for shooting indoors using an inflatable pool. My place is not very big so I had limited space to work with. I am usually assisted by my girlfriend when shooting splash images and after some time she bought me a wireless remote shutter release (Phottix Aion) as an early birthday present. I guess she was not too fond of standing and splashing different types of fluids anymore.

    Equipment

    At first I needed to gather all the equipment in order to setup. Here is a list of all equipment used:
    • 1 glass (attached or glued to a tripod mount)
    • Liquids: Milk or milk-like substance, water and coffee
    • Inflatable pool and plastic covers (to protect your home from stains and pool to gather all the splashed water)
    • Duct tape or painters tape to seal all the covers together
    • Camera
    • Tripod and tripod mount
    • Remote control for the strobes
    • Soft-box with strobes on tripod with soft-box grid. Grid is useful to direct the light for narrowing down and spotlighting. You can DIY a grid for under $10
    • Flash on a tripod, used to light the subject from the other side
    • Backdrop. You can use just a plain wall or cover the wall with large sheets of bristol paper (experimenting with plain white or colour paper)
    • Flash gels (to change the background colour)

    Setup

    Once I gathered all the equipment I started to redecorate the hall, inflated the pool, took out tape and plastic sheeting and taped it up to the wall. Then I took superglue, a bolt and an empty wine glass. I glued it all together so that the wine glass could be mounted to a tripod. Here are some pictures of the setup as a whole, I was in a hurry to start photographing the product so I did not take as many behind the scenes photos as I wanted.

    I placed a tripod in the middle of the pool and bolted the wineglass onto the tripod — now tripod served as the stand for the wineglass. Next I started setting up the flashes (one external flash on a tripod and one with a softbox and a grid). Then I taped up the background with backdrop paper. Turned on the remote switch for the the camera and took out my iPad. I bought an Eye-fi card to send JPEG images to the iPad while I shoot, this way I don’t need to run back to camera to see if photos turned out OK, checking for brightness, sharpness, etc. The background paper that I taped-up was very wrinkled but that was the only paper available that was wide enough so I had to use it. To combat the wrinkles I decided to use the widest aperture possible to blur the background and hence smooth out the wrinkles (with a zoom lens zooming all the way in would achieve a similar affect). Going for wide aperture I had to balance it out since I wanted to avoid a shallow of a depth of field as I needed for the splashes to look and be sharp on camera. Hence I needed to run test shots to see which aperture worked best. Not wanting to waste liquids and get the place messy without a need, I used a box of sparklers as a point of sharpness measure (also it served as a great focusing point). So I put a pack of sparklers on top of the wine glass and ran some tests.

    Test Shots For Aperture

    F/11

    F/8

    As you can see above the background became blurred and the folds were less visible at aperture F/8, and there was sufficient clarity on the sparkler packaging.

    Flash Setup

    In the pictures above, I have a flash on the floor near the background with the flash head angled upward to get this fade-effect where it goes from lighter at the bottom to darker at the top, but did not think it was quite as I wanted it, so I took place, and put the flash on a tripod and set it so the flash ended up flush with the wine glass, and put it then from the side to get a circle behind the wine glass instead, and took some pictures and then adjust the position of the flash until the circle ended where I wanted it (Here facilitated the sick much to have the Eye-fi card that sends images to the iPad, as well as wireless remote shutter release).

    Change Background Colour / Flash Gel

    I knew I was done with flash testing once I got the spotlight affect with light, so I decided to move forward and fill up the glass with liquids and take more photos from there. My idea was to have a product shoot of coffee with milk, so I gathered the liquids needed. Filled up the empty glass with approximately 75% coffee and the rest with milk and got a nice brown (chocolate milk looking) colour. After I took a shot with the liquid it reminded me of photos that I’ve seen before and I wanted to add more interest to it. To solve this I decided to add colour to the background with photo gels. I picked up my little box of gels and looked up a purple color. I adjusted the photo gel mounting it to a flash, adjusted the grid to get the circle and took a photo. The results were these:

    Handling Liquids

    That day I brewed 30 cups of coffee, about 3 quarts and poured it into a bucket. I stood under the stairs (to the left of the camera view) and splashed coffee while with the other taking photos with remote switch. It took me about 5-10 exposures before it was the right time to splash coffee and shoot, so that the moment when the coffee hit the glass was synced with the time the shot was taken. When the coffee bucket was empty it was time to add the milk to the coffee photos. I went into the kitchen and filled that bucket with 1.5 liters of milk and mixed in about 1 liter of water. Once I had bucket full of milk mixture I went back and started splashing milk taking photos in a similar fashion. When the milk was finished, I scraped for the liquid mixture that was now in the inflatable pool and started splashing again. All images were sent from camera directly to the iPad so I had an eye on how the pictures turned out while I was doing all the splashing, taking brakes in between to review the photos. Here are the photos of my iPad and camera setup:

    Results

    When everything was photographed, it was down to selecting three photos and merging them in Photoshop. I chose three photos: one with coffee, one with milk and one with coffee and milk mixture. Then I merged those three in a post-processing program. You can replicate the same in Photoshop or any other program using multiple layers, transparency and erasing all the parts that you think do not suit the final image. The idea is to make the final photo look as natural and real as possible.

    Thank you for reading & thanks to Patric Bergkvist for sharing this tutorial! If you'd like more advice from Patric or to follow his future updates like his Facebook Page. For more tutorials visit "Paint with fire", previously featured post that will introduce you to Light Painting.

    Do you have photos taken using this technique? Upload them to 500px and share links in the comments below, we'd love to see your results. If you have any questions or details that you’d like to know from Patric about this tutorial feel free to ask away.

    Let’s share your skills and educate those new to photography. If you have a tutorial you’d like to share, be it in shooting, post production or tips for getting your work out there please get in touch, email blog@500px.com.


         

    Christian Cantrell & LEGO

    Published by Diana Tula · February 26th 2013

    Christian Cantrell is a man of many trades — a writer, photographer, and software developer living in Northern Virginia, USA. His photos on 500px are well arranged LEGO scenes with not to be missed funny titles that bring the narrative together. With no further ado, here is a curated selection of Christian’s work. Be a kid again and love LEGO :)


    Bad Boys Of The Galaxy
    How We Would Really Use the Force
    "This is SO going on Facebook."
    AT-AT Nursery
    Dissent
    Disillusionment
    Heavy Breathing


    Darth Mall

    To get to know Christian Cantrell’s work better visit his 500px page, there you can follow his future photo uploads and add Christian to friends.

    Our blog is a place to promote 500px photographers and their brilliant photos. Every week we publish a brief photographer profile introducing you to a photographer from 500px community and his/her body of work. This could be you, email us blog@500px.com and let us know about yourself and your work.


         

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