Category Archives: Photography

Ancient castle courtyard.

Courtyard of the ancient castle is especially pleasing on the evening after the sunset. The noisy tourist groups, accompanied by guides in a hurry, left it already and slow passage of time came back inside the ancient walls.

Ljubljana castle, entrance
Ljubljana castle, entrance

Many friends told me that they filling presence in the courtyard when they are looking at the picture. They asked me how I created this filling and which post processing have I used. I have to say, at the begging, that this photo is not a composite or HDR and I didn’t use any advanced post processing in this case…

I have spent multiple evenings to catching the right image. Under the right I mean the picture how I was imaging it and how I would like it to be, so it would communicate my filling from the place. My eye was caught by the color contrast of warm yellows and cold blues. So it became obvious that picture must be composed around that. To increase depth I found a place where my foreground would be darker than main scene. I also blurred the nearby background on the right so it would be as our eye expects. That forces the eye to travel from the corner up to the mild ground where the ivy is brighter and sharper. On the left, there is a repetition patter of columns from the side to the middle. This receding pattern just confirms the filling from the right side. Bluish-ness of the pavement beneath and foreground on the right side is in contrast with warm yellow openings of the gallery on the left. I think that also stretches the space. When our eye reaches the portal there is again play of shadows and lights which creates extra depth. There is another element which forced me to spend one more evening catching the right moment… It is the sky which you can see behind the portal and tree silhouettes. I would like them to be exactly as it is depicted here and that brought an issue, either the sky was too dark on the moment when external lights balanced with embedded light or lights were coming later than I need it, but finally I succeed…

I have a strong feeling of accomplishment and excitement in such cases when everything goes as I anticipated and planned it to be 🙂

Cheers!

P.S. The look of the courtyard was changed shortly after the shot has been taken. Framing tree was totally cut off. The wall was cleaned from the ivy. So, it recalls world known phrase – “You could not step twice into the same river.” (Heraclitus)

Equipment:

Sony a7, Sony SEL3528Z, tripod.

Sony a7: Firmware update

I would like to install the time-lapse application from Sony app-store and occasionally found that my firmware obsolete, so that would be a good time to update it also.

Here is my experience of update from 3.10 to 3.20.

General recommendations

First above some general recommendations which applies for firmware updates, please, read them carefully.

  • Download firmware only from the producer’s web site!
  • You have to select exact firmware for you device, select it carefully!
  • It is recommended to use power safety devices like UPS for desktop or Laptop with fully charged battery.
  • Battery of your camera must be fully charged or you can use external power supplies (AC PW-20).
  • Close all application so update software wouldn’t have any occasional interruptions. Don’t try assemble time-lapse during the update or export images from Lightroom. 🙂
  • It is also recommended to disconnect all other USB devices. (Very strange requirements, I have USB keyboard and mouse for example  🙂
  • Use approved USB cable.
  • Don’t use USB hubs.
  • Remove flash card from the camera body.
  • Be patient!Update takes around 15 min, screen of the camera can stay blank or blink during this period, don’t switch off camera till the moment it is directed. (It was very disappointing when update software shows finishing installation and camera screed still dark. “…Don’t worry – be happy…”  🙂

Checking current firmware version

  1. Switch on camera.
  2. Enter to the Menu (Menu button)
  3. Open section (tab) “Setup”, the last one.
  4. Look for “Version” ()  st the “Setup” screen and press enter button (central button of the Joystick wheel).

Downloading camera firmware

I am downloading required firmware from the following web site: Sony support.

  1. Select your camera.
  2.  Select your operating system.

sony_a7_firmware_3.203. Download the firmware update.

Preparing camera for update

  1. Switch on camera.
  2. Enter to the Menu (Menu button)
  3. Open section “Setup”, the last one.
  4. At the “Setup” screen, looking for “USB Connection” (page 4) and select “Mass Storage” options.

Camera is ready for update! Let’s begin!

Updating firmware

Note: Software provides very accurate instructions what to do during the update read them carefully, they might be different in your case.

  1. Start downloaded software. It will automatically unpack and start.sony_a7_software_update_start
  2.  When the following window appears connect camera to the PC and press Next. 02_sony_a7_update_start
  3. Application will check connection to the camera. During the connection screen of the camera will became blank. If connection is not established probably you would like to reboot your camera or connect it to another USB port.03_sony_a7_update_connecting
  4. Next window prefaces version checking, so simply  pressing Next button.04_sony_a7_update_version_checking
  5. Next window will offer you to verify currently installed version and version which will be installed. If they are correct press “Next” and go further.05_sony_a7_update_version_displayed
  6. Sorry I lost somewhere screen for camera reset. Shortly:
    • Don’t remove USB cable!
    • Safely remove USB device through icon in task bar.
    • On camera: Press central button of wheel/joystic
    • Press Next button in the update application.
  7. 07_sony_a7_run_the_update
  8. Update running08_sony_a7_update_in_progressPlease, for your and camera safety don’t switch off anything! 🙂
  9. Finishing the update08_sony_a7_finish the updateBe patient, first wait till the camera screen will show invitation to use www.sony.net/pm URL.
    • First screen blinks.
    • Then the following message appears: “Recovering data, please wait.”
    • Then a screen appears notifying us that USB Mas storage device connected
    • And finally invitation to visit www.sony.net/pm.
    • Now you can press Finish button.

10. Disconnect USB cable.

11. Do a hard reset (remove battery or external power source).

12. Check if version was update correctly.

Installing the same firmware

Attempt to install the same firmware will cause the following window appear: 10_sony_a7_update_isn't_required

Cheers!

P.S. This article represents personal experience and doesn’t replace official firmware update guidance from Sony. Author succeed in this procedure and can not be blamed for a break bodies. 🙂