My Budapest (42): The little house in Városliget (long-term project)
This is my first long-term photo project. I wanted to follow the way the same view changes over the seasons. So the idea was to take one photo of this little cottage in Városliget every month of the year. The result of this project (December 2012-May 2014) is spectacular, even though I did many mistakes that should be avoided in the next projects. Firstly, I should have chosen one specific day for all months (say every second day of each month) and I shouldn’t have shot randomly. So the time perspective should be improved. Secondly, I should have selected one specific shooting point in order to have the same perspective in all photos. This is a bit difficult to do, but not impossible – so the viewpoint/angle perspective should also be more carefully managed. Thirdly, I used all my three lenses (16-85, 70-300 and 50 mm). But now I believe that only one prime lens should be used (say a 50 mm 1.8) and probably only one value for aperture (say F/6.5). A tripod, and sometimes a flash would also improve photos’ quality. Fourthly, the pictures should be taken in the ‘Golden hour’ (the ‘period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer compared to when the Sun is higher in the sky’ – source). Most of my photos were taken around 9-11 AM, some of the worst hours for photography of course – but the reason is that I completed this project while also walking my dog 🙂 Fifthly (and finally) a better handling of white balance settings would be a nice thing (most pictures – though not all of them – where shot on auto white balance). Now this is my self-criticism. I’m waiting for your opinions!
So here are the photos. Don’t forget: double click on each photo to enlarge it!
The first photo was shot on 16 December 2012 (10:47 AM). The somehow surrealist image (dense fog, strong colours, some snow and a few trees still green) made me think about this long-term project. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/1.8, 1/640s, ISO 100, exposure compensation – 0.7 step, white balance: auto.
One week later, snow is everywhere – 23 December 2012 (5:14 PM). If the previous photo was surrealist, this calm, night image (shot at the widest aperture, a slow shutter speed and no tripod) clearly reminds one Christmas is coming. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/1.8, 1/40s (handheld), ISO 1000, exposure compensation + 0.7 step, white balance: auto.The photo below was shot on 9 January 2013 (10:07 AM). Still snow everywhere, and the pale colours of this photo suggest a harsh, cold weather. Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 70 mm, F/4.5, 1/60s (handheld), ISO 100, white balance: auto. Below the date is 11 February 2013 (10:44 AM). A lot of snow, but the colours of the image make the view somehow more friendly. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/8, 1/125s, ISO 100, exposure compensation: + 0.7 step, white balance: auto.
Surprisingly, the following photo was shot on 27 March 2013 (10:16 AM). Yes, you read it correctly: it was the end of March, and this was the last (and the biggest) snowfall. Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 52 mm, F/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 100, exposure compensation: + 1.3 step, white balance: auto. The next photo is taken in the same day (27 March 2013), but because of so much snow I preferred to also change the perspective and I shot the photo from behind the house (behind-left). Let’s say, from the ‘backyard’ 🙂 The time was 10:21 AM, and the camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) at its widest aperture (16mm) and F/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 100, exposure compensation: + 1 step, white balance: cloudy.
Now something happened and it seems I did not take any picture of the house in the month of April. I have no idea and cannot remember why (though I believe I was out of Budapest). However, in May everything was completely different. The picture below was shot on 20 May 2013, 9:41 AM. Everything is green, and even some firs (looking like Christmas trees) were planted in front of the house by the park keepers. Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 70 mm, F/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 200, white balance: auto.
Two days later, on 22 May 2013 (9:45 AM) I took the photo below and I applied an in-camera fisheye filter. Interesting result. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 100, white balance: cloudy. The next photo is not shot with Nikon D7000, but with my Agfa Isolette V (with 120 mm black and white film @ 100 ISO). I cannot remember the settings, but I know that the exposure was set with the help of Nikon D7000 in order to approximate it better. I don’t even remember the date I shot it, but since you can see the firs in front of the house and since these firs disappeared in June (as you will later see), I guess the photo was shot probably on May 2013 (or early June at the latest). One more thing: the photo below is NOT post-processed. I tried to do it and it may look clearly sharper, but I believe it is better to leave it as it came up directly from the camera. The film was developed in Sofia, Bulgaria 🙂 (thanks again, A!).
One month later, on the 30th of June 2013, two things happened: firstly, the plant that covered the house broke into blossom. Secondly, the firs (the trees planted in front of the house) suddenly disappeared. The photo was shot at 9:58 AM and here are the camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 85 mm, F/6.3, 1/200s, ISO 100, white balance: auto. The house hasn’t changed at all one month later. The photo below was shot on the 21st of July 2013, at 8:20 PM. Of course, what is known in photography as the ‘Golden hour’ (this time, around sunset) made the colours look great. Unfortunately, some ugly graffiti appeared on the walls. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/6.3, 1/80s, ISO 1000, white balance: auto. The next photo was shot on 21 August 2013, 9:41 AM. Even there are still some flowers left, one can see that the colours started to dilute and part of vegetation to fade away. And sadly, more horrible graffiti. Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 62 mm, F/8, 1/80s, ISO 100, white balance: auto. Just three days later (24 August 2013), I took the photo below at 8:07 PM. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/1.8, 1/160s, and flash, ISO 3200, white balance: auto.
On 9 September 2013, more than two weeks after the last photo, the vegetation was still looking good. The photo below was taken at 8:32 AM. Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 70-300 mm VR) @ 70 mm, F/8, 1/60s, ISO 100, white balance: auto. After almost 40 days since the last photo, on 18 October 2013 (11:29 AM) the scene is completely different. The ivy is almost leafless and one can easily see the autumn colors. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/7.1, 1/160s, ISO 100, white balance: auto, plus flash. On 4 November 2013 (9:54 AM) everything is prepared for hibernation. There are only a few yellow leaves left, the grass is pale green… and unfortunately, the horrible graffiti is still there – everywhere. Camera settings: prime lens (Nikkor 50 mm 1.8) @ F/5, 1/100s, ISO 100, white balance: cloudy.
On 9 November 2013 (10:38 AM) I decided it is time to play. So I took one of my zoom lenses and tried to study the technique called ‘zoom effect‘. And let me show you three of the most successful results. For the photo below, camera settings are: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 65 mm, F/6.3, 1/60s, ISO 320, white balance: auto.
The same day (9 November 2013, 10:42 AM) I also wanted to sh00t a black-and-white photo from a different angle. This is the result (blah, more stupid graffiti!). Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 24 mm, F/5.6, 1/50s, ISO 250, white balance: auto.
On 14 December 2013 (11:01 AM) the view is rather of late autumn than full winter. Still not even a snowflake. Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 16 mm, F/3.5, 1/160s, ISO 100, white balance: auto.
Unfortunately I left Budapest at the end of December for five months. The project stopped, even though I would have finished it anyway, since I did succeed to follow the changes over one year period. However, coming back to Budapest I did wanted to take one last photo of my fairy house. Interesting to see that the view look exactly the same as the one captured one year ago in May 2013. Nature follows its own monotonous but lively course. Photo taken on 17 May 2014, 09:18 AM. Camera settings: zoom lens (Nikkor 16-85 mm VR DX) @ 85 mm, F/8, 1/125s, ISO 100, white balance: auto.