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Maja Topcagic

Published by Diana Tula · September 17th 2012

Our blog is a place to promote 500px photographers and their wonderful photos. If you have a story to share or want to feature your photos send us an email. We are open to your ideas and photo experiences.

Today we'd like to introduce you to Maja Topcagic photographer from Bihac, Bosna i Hercegovina who recently turned 23 (Happy Belated!). Her photography is filled with magical scenes and elements from the fairytales.


Love. by Maja Topcagic


Poisoned by Maja Topcagic


Captured by Maja Topcagic


Dreaming by Maja Topcagic


Dark rivers by Maja Topcagic

To discover more of Maja’s magical photography visit her 500px page :)

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment or question to the photographer.


     

Take Back The City

Published by Diana Tula · September 10th 2012

Want to get featured on our blog? Every Monday a theme is announced and you have until Sunday to submit your entry. Upload photos to your 500px profile, then email us the links. You may already have a photo that suits or you can see it as a weekly photo challenge. For announced theme and deadline continue reading.

This week's theme was: Take Back The City.

New theme is: Ghosts and The Paranormal

Theme is open to interpretation so get creative, get snapping and send us the links to blog@500px.com. Deadline is September 16th at 12pm (EST).

Big thanks to everyone who participated this week!


     

Facebook + 500px. World HACK.

Published by Evgeny Tchebotarev · September 10th 2012

Facebook and 500px are travelling the world to bring Hack Days to your cities. As a part of this initiative, 500px joins Facebook in Berlin, Vancouver and Moscow to promote development with 500px API.

Every Facebook HACK event will bring together hundreds of developers, working and hacking with Facebook and 500px APIs in order to create new amazing mashups and apps.

There are three events worth visiting:


You will be able to meet 500px co-founders, ask your API related questions, get exclusive 500px swag, win prizes and code with the most inspiring API.

Can't visit in person on those days? Hack remotely — sign up for an API at developers.500px.com, code up your hack and email me at evgeny@500px.com.
     

Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW

Published by Evgeny Tchebotarev · September 9th 2012

I had a chance to take the latest Lowepro backpack for a spin. Happy to test it out as I’m a long-time Lowepro customer and have been using their bags for a while - during weddings, travel, commercial and personal shoots. Here is my review of Hatchback 22L AW based on one month interaction with it. Disclaimer: Lowepro were generous to let me keep it after and give us extra for giveaway. Keep on reading to find out how you can get your hands on a brand new Hatchback (shipped with love from 500px HQ).

Weight

The first thing I noticed is that the bag feels ultralight. Being a photographer with a passion for travel I’ve hauled photo equipment for years via air, car, motorcycle, by foot and in some cases canoe. Mostly ending up with sore lower back. Not this time. I spent a day hiking, walking the beach and riding the motorcycle with this bag packed with my camera (Canon 5D II), lenses, reflector, snack, and a good read. I got home happy and pain free.

Having tested this bag for weeks since, taking it everyday to work, weekends and my recent trip to L.A. I can certainly say that the lightweight feel of the bag stays fresh; be it empty or full of equipment and other useful bits and bobs. Though light, it doesn’t look or feel cheap. All the stitching and fabrics used are high quality, and there is generous padding on the straps and the back of the backpack. Side note, my co-workers Roxy and Diana (dainty 120lb girls) carried the bag around the office a few times and were impressed with its portability.

The look

Backpack is medium sized and compact. It is a sporty type which is a good thing as it does not scream ‘Photo bag’. In some countries ‘Photo bag’ directly translates to ‘Steal me’ to the street thieves. Sad to admit I had one of my fancy-looking camera bags stolen in the past, with everything that was in it including my passport. Hence, I appreciate utilitarian look and use of this backpack. I have been using it as a photo bag, laptop bag and a few times as grocery bag (my groceries were lucky to travel in luxury). Overall, the look is simple and perfect for the everyday and travel. My backpack is a subtle grey colour, should you feel adventurous you can get the same bag in blue or orange colouring.

Space and pockets

The space is divided into two main compartments, a familiar configuration to most Lowepro backpack owners. General compartment at the front, and lower ‘camera section’ at the back. Lower section smartly opens from the back only, which provides insurance against the occasional ‘Darn, I forgot to zip it!’ moments and makes stealing your equipment a harder job. The top section, at the front of the backpack, has generous space for travel goodies and on occasion can be used to fit your camera or a spare lens.

There are extra compartments and pockets to the bag. They are great for your keys, photo filters, gum, pens, holding your water bottle, and fitting in a magazine, small reflector or a tablet last minute when rushing out. The slim front compartment can be used for your laptop. While you can tightly squeeze in a 13-inch MacBook Air when bareskin it’s not possible to fit it in with a case (e.g. Acme Made). If you are planning to use the backpack as your laptop travel bag I recommend to pick an 11-inch model or smaller.

Camera section

It is awesome! While it seems very compact, it fits a large full DSLR and several lenses. I was using Canon 5D II with Canon 24-70, and there was enough space for 2 more lenses (50mm and 85mm). You can rearrange the sections any way you want, something I was doing quite often when carrying different equipment. Also you can easily remove the camera box when needed (it is secured with strong hold velcro), and fill that compartment with misc. items or your jacket (perfect for cool or rainy weather).

Water-proof

The material of the bag is water-proof. For additional water-proofing there’s a built in weather cover for the bag. The cover is located at the bottom, gets pulled out with ease and adjusts to the backpack straps with velcro, securing the cover for the rest of your trip. It took my co-worker Diana, who saw this cover and bag for the 1st time, under a minute to find the cover, get it out, put it over the bag and secure it. Also, you are unlikely to forget or lose the cover as it is attached to the bag with a sturdy strap.

Summary

I'm simply in love with the bag. It’s compact, light, smart, minimalistic, and is a great example of user friendly design as all its aspects are intuitive. Great for travel, city roaming, and motorcycle riding; I am sure it has a lot more uses that I am yet to discover. If you are planning to get this bag and got questions or you already have this or similar bag and got feedback let me know in the comments below :)

Win it!

Participate in a tweetup and get a brand new Lowepro Photo Hatchback 22L AW shipped to you. Open internationally, we will ship anywhere the mailman would go. One winner will be chosen randomly and DM-ed asking for shipping details. Rules:
1. Tweet @500px @Lowepro
2. Mention why you'd love to get this bag in the same tweet
3. Use hashtag #LoweproHatchback


     

Fabian Oefner

Published by Diana Tula · September 7th 2012

To discover more about the living life behind a lens we started portrait interview series featuring 500px photographers. This week we’d like to introduce you to Fabian Oefner, talented Switzerland-based photographer whose work marries visual aesthetic and science.

Dancing Colors No.3 by Fabian Oefner
Dancing Colors No.3 by Fabian Oefner

Hello Fabian, tell us how and when did you start your photographic journey?
I come from a family with an artistic background, therefore I have always experimented with all different kinds of art forms at a very early stage. Photography turned out to be the form of art that I was most interested in. 

Today I have a photo studio in Switzerland, where I work on assignments for various industries and realize free projects. What you see on my 500px page are images from free projects.

 

There is a definitive style that carries through all your photographs. How would you describe it?
Most of my work has to do with bringing science and art together. I often use natural phenomena that appear in our daily lives, being it sound waves, that I used in "Dancing Colors" or iridescence, which is responsible for the stunning colors in soap bubbles.  What I am trying to achieve is to show these phenomena in an unseen and poetic way and therefore make the viewer pause for a moment and appreciate the magic that constantly surrounds us.

What/who inspires or influences you?
From a "subject" point of view, I am inspired and influenced by the world that surrounds me. I have a deep interest in all kinds of  fields of science and I try to read as much as possible about new findings and technologies. Every now and then I come across something that I feel is worth exploring further. When I start with a new subject I rarely know, how the final images will look like. After experimenting with it, I start to get a feeling for it and after a while an idea for images develops. 

Of course I am also inspired by the works of others. The other day I discovered the video "Yosemite HD" by Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty, which is absolutely outstanding. That doesn't influence my projects directly but seeing how beautifully this planet was created is a powerful source of inspiration.

 

Your photo subjects, be it a toy car, soap bubble or magnetic water colours are macro. What attracts you to such subjects?
I am not particularly interested in macro. This has more to do with the fact that it is easier to shoot these subjects in a "macro" version. But if somebody would like to provide their Ferrari 250 GTO to cover it in a gypsum shell, I am happy to do it :-)

Hatch 02
 
 by Fabian Oefner
Hatch 02   by Fabian Oefner

Using fibre glass lamp to create an illusion of nebulae or a bursting balloon to hold the shape of cornstarch. How do you come up with such creative solutions?
Such ideas are developed over quite a bit of time. As described above, I often do not know, what the final result will look like. The idea of the "nebulae" series developed when I was looking at the title of Stephen Hawking`s book "The universe in a nutshell". I thought why not take this title literally and try to create the illusion of a universe in a very small space. So I started to experiment with all different kinds of media to create that illusion. Finally I came up with using the fibre glass lamps to create the nebulae. Sometimes, after a project is finished, the technique to achieve the result seems fairly easy, but it goes a lot of research into it.

 

How do you achieve vibrant and clear colours in all of your photographs?
Having a color sensor in the camera helps quite a bit :-)  Seriously in some of the projects I cannot influence the colors, for example in the Soap Bubble series. But wherever I can control the colors, I think about them for a long time and experiment with many combinations before deciding on the final colors to be used.

Many of your photos are shot in studio. Could you share your lighting tips with us?
I use customized High Speed Flashes, that I modified to freeze the motion seen in my images. These units are capable of creating flashes at an extremely short duration. The drawback of these flashes is that, the shorter the duration the weaker the light output. Therefore I often use more than 6 units to get enough power from them. If you go to my "stories" section of my 500px site, you can see the setup used for the "dancing colors" series. 

 

What are your thoughts on post processing?
99.5 % of today`s images go through post processing before being published. In my case, it depends on the project, how heavily post processing is used. For example in the “millefiori” series, I barely touched the images coming from the camera, I just enhanced them in terms of sharpness and saturation. But the "Nebulae" images are created from dozens of individual images. It took longer to compose the final images than shooting the raw material.

Millefiori Nr. 02
 by Fabian Oefner
Millefiori Nr. 02 by Fabian Oefner

What camera/s do you shoot with and what is your favorite equipment?

For some of the projects I used a Hasselblad H4D, for others the Nikon D800. Most of the time I just use standard lenses, except for the "millefiori" project. Since the structures in these images are so small, I had to photograph them with a special microscope lens attached onto bellows. Although my images involve a great deal of technical gear, I am not very enthusiastic about the equipment. I just think of what’s best suited for the subject to photograph and then I use that, I don't really have a preference.

 

How do you market your work?
I use different kinds of channels. I was fortunate enough to be able to publish some of my work in renowned magazines all over the world like The New Scientist or Esquire. This is of course a great way to make yourself known to a larger audience. Nowadays I offer my works for sale in galleries, both physical and online ones.

   

What advice would you give to beginner photographers?
Try to find out what genre of photography you are most interested in and strive to improve your skills in this particular type of photography. I think it is very important to experiment with all different types of photography at the beginning of your career but at some point, you have to decide, which direction you want to go. Otherwise you risk the danger of dissipating your energies by trying to be good at everything.

 

Do you have any memorable stories to share from any of your photographic experiences?
A funny story happened to me the other day. I was working on a new project, where I use a lot of red paint in a very messy way. So I was working in the studio the whole day and when it got dark, I returned to my  apartment. On the way to my door I passed by my newly moved-in neighbor. I greeted her, but to my surprise she just looked at me in a mistrustful way. It was  when I entered my apartment and looked into the mirror, that it dawned on me, why she was a bit distrustful towards me: My clothes were covered with red splatters all over plus I was carrying a heavy tripod and a large, black bag...I haven't met here since. She probably still thinks her neighbor is either a trophy hunter or a serial killer :-)

 

Tell us 5 things about you that are unrelated to photography, which would introduce us to the person behind the lens.

  1. I love music, I go to loads of concerts each year. 
  2. I really like cooking, my dad used to work as a cook so I guess I inherited that passion from him.
  3. I speak five different languages, English, French, Italian, Spanish and German. But thats fairly common here in Switzerland. 
  4. Since I live in Switzerland I am a keen skier and mountaineer, I spend a lot of time in mountains.
  5. I travel a lot to get new inspiration. I just got back from the Himalayas, where I saw the highest mountains in the world, truly an awe-inspiring experience. 

Thanks to Fabian for being interviewed and to you for reading! Feel free to leave a comment or question to the photographer below, we love your feedback :)

P.S. Send your interview suggestions to blog@500px.com.


     

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