Author Archives: Tanja

I am heading to Carnaval in Brazil! Salvador de Bahia

Tips on how to experience it right!

Salvador de Bahia carnaval  is spiced with Afro beats. The  samba reggae takes you on a spiritual journey for 6 consecutive  days of highly energetic dancing behind trio electricos. Which are huge  trucks carrying the artists singing live with their groupies moshing around it. You better have a good sports bra on as you bounce along the 6 hour tour. There  are 2 circuits one along the waterfront and the other is through the historical part of town. Both have their bewitchment.

The circuito Barra-Ondina route is along the coast and  takes 6 hours to complete. The one in town is a little shorter.

It is the most exhilarating experience of being in crowd of excited people, dancing singing, in an elated state of happiness. The crowd is so thick that you are shoulder to shoulder, sometimes your body is not where your feet are as you get swept away in the crowd, carried forward only. You have to be strong, it’s not  for sissies. But it promises to be one of the most out worldly experiences that you will ever have, and you will be part of one of the biggest street parties of the world.

During the day you spend time on the beaches or touring the beautiful colonial city. Pelourinho is  the historical old town and is brightly colored with old cobbled streets. Here you will see many traditional Bahian women wearing their traditional dress – the Baiana de Acarajé  which is this beautiful elaborate  layered white full dress that makes them look like Marry poppins. Without the umbrella. They wear headscarves and lots of brightly coloured jewelry. Some will also offer you holy -water, hhhm more about that later.

During the day it’s also time to fill your body with the fresh natural power foods, like the tropical fruits, veges, juices, coconut water all easily sold from street vendors or the markets. Then theres Acaraje, my absolutely favourite but  often to spicy to eat. It is made from black eyed peas base fried in palm oil giving that delicious red colour topped with prawns lime juice and coriander and Chilli – be aware Bahians eat hot. This also should not be eaten on the first day that you are there. Your stomach will not  handle it.

Before you head out on your wild party night be sure to  eat a good plate of food. My favorite is a buffet where you pay per weighted plate. Buffets because they have hot and cold food and loads of vege choices. Black beans,  yuca and rice is my favourite, also dishes try try are the moqueca de camarão spicy coconut, prawn stew, cooked with africa ingredients and the Pancake de tapioca which is made from cassava flour.

Then is  time to change into your gear – the  groups have tshirts for every day for the pipocca, sun cream. – take off all jewelry, have a pouch which you can buy from the street sellers that you strap to your stomach and preferably put it low down  under your shorts away from hands. Comfortable trainers and off you go. On the way down to the starting point at the lighthouse you feel the energy and the bands starts booming up as they do sound checks. Have a ast

Shooting a concert with a mobile phone

Dj opened with some famous Brazilian beat and we were hyped to See  Rael and Indee Styla!

We were at the Sidecar Club in the in the center of Barcelona. The famous club is downstairs in the basement, dim lighting and a magic crowd were ready to rock.

I was armed with just a LG G6 smart phone and this was a test to see how it would perform in these harsh conditions. What makes it hard is that the smart phones have a very small sensor and that there is not enough light that enters the camera to get an exposed shot. Plus erratic fast movement of performers and the flashing stage lights!!


I managed to get in yearly and was tight at the stage so I could point my phone up and not obstruct peoples views to much as I was so close to the stage and they were looking over me.


I watch the lights, they were changing from Red, Blues Greens and Harsh yellows. What a mix up! I need the light to remain long enough on the faces to get a clean shot. You have to cat fast and keep super steady. so no tracking of the  artist, just waiting for the correct moment when they enter the frame.

Camera settings

I set my self up in manual mode.
1/60 sec
Iso 1200 – 1600 ( Lots of grain in the image)

The below shots that have motion blur, I shot at 1/25 Sec

1-25 sec F1.8 1400, below but managed to stay focused on his face.

Indee Styla at SideCar in Barcelona! 

Brightening and colour toning in Lightroom CC for mobile

I brought all my images into Lightroom CC, and played around with the color balance using curves and changing the intensity of certain colours. The lights would often cast a vivid pink  band and its not always pleasing. But the low light meant to not a lot of info is caught and any adjustments in post result in the image getting very grainy. This means that there simply inst enough detail in the image to print out large, but its OK to go on screens or for IG and twitter.



Footage of Rael and Indee Styla on YouTube.

Colour Grading Video – I use LUTS but in this instance the  the files are ungraded as for some reason the LUT files sound corrupted.

Have a look at the video 🙂 links below

Making vertical footage look good in YouTube

How to make your portrait videos look better in a YouTube clip.

Getting that dynamic blurry background.

You probably shot your portrait video on your mobile phone for IG stories or snapchat.

Now you want to use it in your vlog on Youtube and you don’t have it in vertical 16.9 format which You Tube uses.

Inserting your portrait clip on your timeline will give you big black line on the sides. Which does look great when you are viewing wide screen footage and the video jumps to a portrait clip. It’s just not visually pleasing.

SO here’s a quick and easy way to edit your portrait clip to get that awesome 16.9 format with blurred background.

Open up and import your video from your phone.

There are couple of ways to do this.

You can Upload to google drive and then download to your PC.

Add your video to your timeline

If you have audio you want to unlink the audio by right clicking

Now select only the video , copy and paste next to it in the timeline

Drag it above the other clip

Now we will work on the bottom clip and make that blurry.

Select and resize to fit your screen, control, transform, increase size

Effects, blur, abstract or Bokeh effect / Gaussian blur

Thats it now you have vertical footage that fits in your Youtube video.

Hope you found the video useful and inspiring,

Please give me the thumbs up, hit that like button. It motivates me to make more videos like this.

Please leave your questions and comments I would love to try help you out.

And please hit that subscribe button so you can see more videos on Photography, social media tips and gear reviews.

See you around!

Video link is here

Getting that  lens flares & sunburtsts with your mobile phone

Lens flare for photographers was a no no and you can go into lengthy discussion about lens comparison, the quality of the glass, the focal length,  lens hoods, all to avoid that dreaded lens flare. The general discussion in photography is to get rid of it but you may like it and at time I use it in y photos to enhance mood and tell a story with theis beautiful natural light source..

Lens flare is caused by light that is reflected from internal lens surfaces or thats scattered by imperfections in the glass.

If you like the lens flare effect here is how to get it using a mobile phone.

Shooting technique

  • Tilt your lens to the sun have it just towards the edge of the frame.
  • Try get the sun behind your subject, it needs to peek out form it
  • Your mobile phone will expose the scene for the total amount of light in the photo and it will tend to cause the shapes in the foreground to become silhouettes. If you want to meter the light better and not get silhouettes, then use manual mode.
  • Best time to get the flares is early in the morning or evening when you don’t have harsh light and you’ll be able to shoot directly into the sun

Negatives that it will do

It does alter skin tone so be aware if you are doing portraits

Try it out, have fun and explore the possibilities and don’t forget to show your work. Get some feedback from photographers or friends. It will all help you develop your skill.


Getting great water shots!

GoPro is an awesome action camera for still photos and video. I love the wide angle lens, burst mode and time lapse modes and I love using it in the water. I live in Barcelona so whenever I can I get down to the beach and explore the seas with my GoPro Hero 5.

For those amazing under over shots you need a dome port. Yes you can use a fish bowl and go jump in your pool and take some cool shots. Or dip your phone into a glass and take it into the pool. There are few hacks out there, go have a peek on YouTube.

If you have a small budget and want to expand your underwater portfolio then I strongly suggest to get a dome port. It’s fun and people are very curious about the dome giving you the chance to get some cool shots.

Things to look for when purchasing get dome
Make sure it fits your gopro version
Get a wrist tether to keep it safe in the waves
Get a trigger

There are few brands to choose from:
Official gopro dome
Knekt Dome
Telsin / best is TELESIN 6″ Underwater Shooting T05 Dome Port

How to use it
The Dome for GoPro HERO5 allows you to use all camera modes normally. You don’t have to turn on camera before inserting it although I prefer to setup the camera before inserting into the dome. Once in the dome you can change the settings by pushing the tiger on the shutter button
Check you FOV – I like Wide
Timelapses – you can set the amount of frames it captures in a time frame
Burst – used for action shots
Usel the level line at the back
Buy some Aniti fog stips inside the dome.
Visit my YouTube Channel and watch my Video

For Video
Often filming a split clip in a dome port there is so much information in the clip thats its quite distracting and the viewer gets lost in the amount of information seen. If you slow down the motion is easier to view and more impactful. So you’d be using a frame rate like 60FPS or 120FPS.

How to take care of it
Rinse off the sea water after each use
Use protecting case
Unscrew all the parts and rinse off