Evora and the Alentejo

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Evora, city I'll be leaving shortly to head towards the Algarve.

This was my second time in this beautiful town, and I already regret not having spent a few more days in the area. Not only there's so much more to explore on these charming and mysterious streets, but I really want to photograph the landscapes of the Alentejo.

There's still hope, though. Where I'm going is not too far from here so I could always do a day trip, and I'm also hoping to find similar landscapes down there.

For now, these are some of the images that I made during these short two days here in the capital of the Alentejo, Evora.

PS: I made a video about our time in Evora, and I also talk about being a photographer in a foreign country.

Holga Pinhole Lens for Sony E-Mount cameras (Sony a6000)

I believe that in imperfection lays the beautiful.

That's why I shot a Holga for quite a while, why I love to shoot film or use cheap lenses on my digital cameras.

Something I've wanted to try for a while was pinhole photography. I didn't want to do it on film because it could get expensive, so I built my own pinhole lens. That worked just fine but I didn't really like the idea of having the sensor exposed through a physical hole. I went ahead and bought a Holga Pinhole Lens on eBay for 20-25 euros.

This is the lens I'm trying in this video, where everything is about embracing imperfection.

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Shooting film is not vegan

[...] film is not a vegan product. Film is made of gelatin, which, as you may know, is a product of animal bones.

I never thought about it.

While this is not a big deal (no animals are killed to produce film), I have thought about the environmental cost of shooting film before and I have mixed feelings.

I am aware that the production of digital cameras isn't good either.

After almost two years developing film, though, it's hard for me to think that my digital cameras have had a similar footprint in the environment. Imagine the 250+ rolls of film I've shot so far: the film itself, the backing paper, the spools, the chemicals, water and paper used for development, the archival sleeves, the energy to scan them.

And I don't even have a darkroom.

How to have a distraction-free phone without crippling it

I truly believe smartphones are the single most empowering tool of our era. These little devices can do things we couldn't even dream of just a few years ago, no matter where we are.

With great power comes great responsibility, though.

My phone has greatly improved my photography, but it's also hurt it. I've found myself losing track of time while on my phone and missing shooting opportunities, like a sunrise in the morning. I've also found myself replying to tweets in the middle of a shoot, just because I grabbed my phone to meter the scene and saw the notification.

To avoid stuff like this, many people go to the extreme of keeping just the very basic apps on their phones. This is a mistake, in my opinion. Trying to avoid the downsides of using a smartphone, they are also missing out on the good stuff.

I believe there's another way, a way where we can still take advantage of these devices while limiting their negative effects.

This what I've come up with (this is for iOS, but Android should provide similar functionality).

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Biarritz: last hours in France

The French Road Trip is over.

Biarritz was my last stop after 40 days on the road. I wasn't planning on making any images there since I only had a few hours, but I liked the town so much that I couldn't not try.

The conflict between the two sides of photography

Photography is a weird activity in that it involves very active periods of time, followed by stretches of inactivity.

The time we spend outside shooting will inevitably produce work that we'll need to perform inside: working either in the darkroom or in front of the computer, or both.

Finding a balance between these two sides of photography is not easy, and having a regular schedule is almost impossible. If your photography happens outdoors, you have to adapt to things out of your control like the weather.

I find myself being most inspired early in the morning, for both the action of shooting and the more inactive parts of photography, like printing / developing images, writing on the blog or editing a video.

That creates a conflict between those two different sides of photography.

I would love to have a morning routine where I sit down and write or edit, slowly sipping and enjoying my coffee. But when would I go out and shoot? Most of my photography is made at that time.

I also struggle switching from one side to the other: I find myself doing one or the other side of photography for a few days in a row, and that really shows on the side that I neglect.

On the other hand, I feel like taking a break from either side of photography is at times very good for me.

I don't know if there's an answer to this, maybe there isn't one.

Brittany

It was time to leave Brittany behind, after 2 weeks. This video is a compilation of clips and images that never made into a full movie.

Sony a6000 + Sigma 30mm f/1.4 in Roscoff, Brittany

We visit the small town of Roscoff, in Brittany, France, as I try a relatively new lens to me: the Sigma 30mm f/1.4.

Despite having the f/2.8 version, I decided to pull the trigger when I found a good deal on this one. 2 stops faster, but what else does it offer? Is it good for video?

Find out what I think about this lens after a little montage I made using the Sigma paired with my old and trusty Sony a6000.

This is something you have to do every day

Casey Neistat tells us to show up every single day.

I think it was Michael Kenna who said, during an interview, that photography is something you have to do every day.

Showing up doesn't mean that we have to shoot every day. There's so much more to photography than using a camera: from developing / editing the images to publishing and promoting them, organizing your work in books, contacting models, agencies or brands, uploading stock images, planning your next trip, even cleaning your gear or posting on Instagram.

The point is: photography has to be in our minds every day, and we should make every day count, even if it's just a little bit.