July, 2009

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Orange on Green

Friday, July 31st, 2009
Orange on Green

Orange on Green. No, I don't know what it is either.

A picture from the (recent) past: Orange on Green.  Originally posted to my Flickr photostream on 7/19/2009:

Sweet Deals

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I promise, I’m not a shill for Tony Sweet.  Really, I’m not.  But I do get asked about where my ideas come from, and right now I’m gaining most of them from different existing photographers.  Sometimes it’s Joe McNally, Moose Petersen, or Jim Goldstein.  When it’s flowers, it’s usually Tony Sweet.

Tony doesn’t have that many books out there, and his style isn’t for everyone (is anyone’s?).  I will say that I really like his Visual Literacy: Photography Workshop DVD.  As far as raw technique, it’s pretty much the best of his bunch.

Looking for more flower ideas? Grab his Fine Art Flower Photography.

Some other day, I’ll write about his other books…

Sometimes it’s good to see the Big Picture

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

And by that, I mean the Boston Globe’s photoblog.  I mention it because there was an excellent series of photos on the 27th.  Covering a marraige, harvesting of albinos (humans, no less), and “sea gypsies,” it stands out as one of the best posts I’ve seen in a long time.

I’m no photojournalist, but this is one of the best examples of “telling a story” that I’ve seen in quite a while.  If you haven’t read it, do so now.  And add this blog to your feed!

The Sweet Treatment

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Below you’ll see a pic that’s more of an abstract than anything else.  You’ve seen this treatment from me before, but I think this has far better results.  I call this the “Sweet” treatment after Tony Sweet, who shows this technique in his Visual Literacy: Photography Workshop DVD.

The basics and the pic itself, after the jump… Click to continue »

Had my hands on a Speed Graphic

Monday, July 27th, 2009

well, for a few minutes at least.  The one I had my hands on was one of the older (70′s?  60′s?) models, the type that had originally been used by the press. It was great: bellows (with holes, unfortunately), all manual switches & dials, 4×5 film size, even a plate on the back for viewing – and true to large-format cameras, you view it upside down.

So, why mention in here?  Just because it’s cool.  I mean, how often to you get your hands on a large-format camera with bellows?

More on the camera (from Wikipedia).

Quick work in the morning

Sunday, July 26th, 2009
Cream in my Coffee

Cream in my Coffee

Similar to the in-home studio the other day, I shot the photo to the right. This was not nearly as difficult to take as it might appear, although it does require knowing a bit about your camera and strobes.

So the setup: similar to before, although with different items for proping up the flash.  Flash was still to camera left, but this time it’s firing against the background.  The background was black before, but this time it’s solid white.  In fact, it’s the same piece of paper that I was using as the reflector in that previous shoot.

Overall settings: to capture moving items, you need a fast shutter speed.  Here I’m running at 1/200th of a second.  To regulate light, I had to mess with the f-stop and the flash.  I expected 1/16th power at f/9, but it turns out I was just fine with 1/32nd power at f/13.

Timing?  There’s no magic – just take a ton of pics.  In this case, I took almost 70 pics, out of which maybe 5 were gallery-quality (timing-wise, that is).  This was the best.

Go ahead, click through to Flickr.  You’ll see incredible details on the larger version!

Salvaging poor pics, ctd.

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Continuing on with yesterday’s thoughts, I noticed a post on DPS, where the author uses Photomatix to create a worthwhile photo. The short version: he uses two differently-rentered (but the same) photos and blends them in Photoshop.

I’ve used a similar technique before, but haven’t gone this heavy into the HDR feel when doing it (BTW, I think he did an excellent job of not overdoing it).  Looks like something new to try…

Salvaging poor pics

Friday, July 24th, 2009
Some sort of flower

Some sorta flower my daughter named 'em "giggle flowers."

I’ve been thinking lately about the quality of my pictures.  The quality is sure going up, and that’s a good thing – I hate spending time on post production. On the other hand, there are always decent photos that are just missing a little something – maybe flat, or the background doesn’t stand apart, or not fully sharp.

Take the photo to the right: in the original (not shown here), the photo is pretty dull.  Low contrast, not terribly interesting, and fairly dull colors.  The greens were good, but nothing really stood out.  Minor tweaks in Adobe RAW helped (as usual), but didn’t really solve the entire problem.

In the end, I had to pull the entire thing into photoshop and use NIK’s Viveza to breath life into it.  Look at the pic in the large view & you’ll see.

Urban disguise, a second impression

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

After a short couple of weeks, I can say that I’m starting to like what the urban disguise offers.  Give me a month though, and you’ll get a better overview.  I have some events coming up that’ll really put it through the paces.

This short in, I just want to say: it does very well at storing everything you need, like a “go bag.”  Right now, I can grab it & go, assured that I have the minimum of what I need to get things done.

On saturation of images

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
Fishing at Dawn

Fishing at Dawn

A continuation of the other day’s thoughts: Flickr users seem to have this thing for highly saturated pics.  Bright, bold colors, strong contrasts.  For most of the year, I’m one of them.  We have three months of brilliant greens, and nine months of drab greys.

So now, by mid-July: I’m over-tired of over-saturated pics.  The pic to the right is one of my favorite pics of the week: low contrast, subtle, pushing the yellows of the early morning…

And yet, today it’s lightly raining.  In a couple of weeks, the rains will come, but heavier.  August and September are typically our rainiest months, and then we get hit with Autumn – browns and a few yellows.  Then Winter – all grey.  Soon I will be missing colors again…