Tomas Sobek Photography

Free high resolution images

Photogallery Photogallery
Panoramas Panoramas
Slideshows Slideshows
Articles Articles

My Toolbox

Camera & Accessories

Nikon D7100
18-200 mm VR kit lens
11-16 mm ultrawide zoom
10.5 mm, f/2.8 fish eye
50 mm, f/1.8 prime lens (aka nifty fifty)
35 mm, f/1.8 prime lens

Custom-made panoramic bracket, somewhat similar to these brackets but not as precise when locking in position. My inspiration for spherical panorama creation is this short movie (except of using free software Hugin for stitching - see below).

Manual flashes LumoPro LP120 + Cactus V4 remote triggers
TTL flash Nikon SB-400 + short TTL cord
A few light stands, swivels, umbrellas... mainly from trademe (New Zealand e-bay like site)

Software

I prefer to use and support free software. Currently all my workflow consists of software licensed under GPL or similar. I pay no licence fees but I donate to help projects of my choice.

Linux Mint
User friendly distribution of GNU/Linux operating system based on Ubuntu. Complete and easy to use replacement of Windows or Mac OS X. Most of the software I use is available from Mint/Ubuntu software repositories. All you need to do is to find it in the list and click Install button. Your application of choice will be downloaded and installed without any user intervention needed. GNU/Linux systems offer better performance and better security compared to proprietary systems.

Darktable
Photography workflow application and high quality raw developer. Full replacement of Lighroom. Another excellent raw converter you should check out is RawTherapee.

Gimp
A mature replacement of Photoshop. Current mainstream version allows 8-bit colour depth. Other than that I haven't found any serious limitations. There is a wealth of plugins available too, check out this repository. There are goodies like Wavelet Decompose, Exposure Blend to simulate HDR and tone-mapping in one step, or high pass filter.

Hugin
Powerful panorama photo stitcher. Whether you need to stitch a couple of hand-held shots or a full spherical panorama, Hugin will offer you all the tools and knobs to get the job done. Recently supporting also HDR. The sheer number of buttons and levers might seem little overwhelming for a novice user but well worth the learning. There is also a simple wizard tool available to automate most of the process.

Piwigo
Full featured on-line photo gallery (for techies: PHP + MySQL application). Available are templates and wide range of plugins and configuration options.

Pannellum
A light-weight panorama viewer built using HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and WebGL. You can view my spherical panoramas here.

Kdenlive
A mature non-linear video editor I use for both my video projects and new slideshows from still photographs.

Diascope
A slideshow generator for Linux command line. It creates high quality photo shows with music, that I upload to Vimeo and Youtube. I get music licensed under Creative Commons from Jamendo.

GAP
GAP is an animation plugin for image editor Gimp. I have used it to create visual trace of an off track tramping trip on a topographic map. You can see the result at the end of this video slideshow.

Learning Sources

Strobist - Lighting 101 course
Strobist - Lighting 102 course
Digital Photography School website
Light, science and magic: an introduction to photographic lighting, an excellent book by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, and Paul Fuqua
The Photographer’s Eye, a book on photography composition by Michael Freeman
Living Landscapes, great and concise text from New Zealand landscape photographers Todd and Sarah Sisson
Linux Photography blog

D.I.Y. Photography Accessories

GoBo's and Snoots
Grid from black drinking straw
Beauty dish

Colour Management

My current colour management is limited to my LCD monitor only. To create the ICC colour profile I use ColorMunki Display colourimeter (monitor calibration gadget) and Argyll colour management software with DisplayCAL GUI frontend. Once the ICC profile is set in the operating system, many aplications can use it to display accurate colours:

Note: To get mpv to use default system profile, add following line into configuration file ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf:

vo=opengl-hq:icc-profile-auto

If you wonder about difference between display calibration and profiling, make sure you read this article.

If you want to create an image with perceptually uniform steps like the one below, read this step-by-step tutorial. And if you cannot see all 21 steps of the image, consider calibrating and profiling your screen.

Other Resources

Documentation of lighting setup
A handy template for creating diagrams that show positions of your subject, camera, lights and modifiers, together with notes and comments. Great for sharing the setups with other photographers. Download the file from here. Open it in Gimp and save as .xcf format for future use. Similar template is also available here, including on-line version.

Script for downloading photos from Nikon D90 via PTP
I like scripting routine tasks. This is a script for downloading photos from camera to my computer running Ubuntu or Mint. Unlike my previous Nikon D40, D90 can connect to computer only via PTP protocol and not as a standard USB drive. This makes the task little more interesting. The script here will download all files from the camera to your local hard drive; the default location is ~/Pictures/YYYY/YYYY-MM-DD. Once downloaded, it will rename every file to include current date in the filename, i.e. DSC_NNNN.NEF will become YYMMDD_NNNN.NEF. You can get the script here.