Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 6: Tiles

Taking a cue from one of the photography emails I get daily i decided to play with word tiles.  Considering i have a few sets of these laying around from the kids I didn't think it'd have too hard of a time finding a few to make something.

The first task was what should I spell out from things I have around the house.  I was in the mood for potato soup and I remembered that there was a whole bag of potatoes in the cabinet.  It was around 12:30-1pm on a sunny afternoon so I knew I wanted to use natural light.  I picked out a potato and had to move the fridge to find the last tile i needed for SPUD and grabbed the cutting board as I didn't feel the counter top would have looked as well as I wanted it to.

I had my Pentax 50mm f/1.4 on the camera and I went with that as its a better piece of glass than my kit lens.  I got as a close because I wanted to crop within the camera and keep as much of the count as I could.  The hardest part for me with this was composing it.  I had the potato where I wanted but the tiles were a problem.  I wanted it to sort of look like they were put there by a child but every time I placed them they looked well, placed.  I finally settled on what you see above.  The sun coming through the kitchen window gave me more than enough light and I like the shadow that it casts on the far side of the potato. 

I changed the angle of the shot and took about 8-10 shots.  I kept coming back to this one after I was done and this was about the third picture I took.

In editing I didn't really have to change much, I bumped the tone curve a bit for the highlights and brought out some of the shadows.  ISO was 200 so no worries about noise.  I played with the colors a bit so the tiles would stand out a little more.  I knew I had to do a bit of cropping but realized the upper right corner had a bit of the counter top in it and i couldn't remove it without removing more of the picture than I wanted.  I hopped back to the Photoshop side and clicked the "clone stamp" tool.  I had used it before and I have gotten some decent results from it.  Well as you can see, you can't see the counter top in the picture.  Of all the aspects of the photo, it's one of the parts I'm most proud of. 

Would I have done anything differently?  Maybe I could have gone from a higher angle and placed it where there was a little more light coming through, from maybe the living room windows.  Its an ongoing process but I've been pleased with the photos I've taken this year so far.

There's no "B" side for this one as I couldn't really find another angle or way I wanted to present this.

Tonight's film: Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

January 5: Country Road Take Me Home

January 5, 2013: Country Road

Being as the winter time yields little daylight its hard for me to get out and explore the area I live in.  So when I get a clear afternoon after work and about a half an hour I tend to get the urge to go outside and shoot.  I decided I wanted to drive around some of the country roads here in the Hershey/Palmyra area, especially ones I hadn't been on before.  Hanging a right instead of a left I came across this short stretch of road.  Now I wasn't out looking specifically for anything but I remember reading about lines and rule of thirds and having a focal point in your photo.

I'm not sure if i was able to capture the line and create that focal point especially since the road is wavy and curves upwards.  There aren't a lot of straight, flat roads in Central PA and not a lot in far country either.  But I put the car in park, waited for the road to be clear and walked out on the road and crouched.

I was using my JC Penney 135mm f/2.8 for this shot.  I set the aperture to f/8, metered the camera (the lens is completely manual) and fired away.  The first shot was a nice hue of blue, as I had forgotten to check my white balance before shooting.  This is something I always do and can't seem to remember consistently.  I took about 5 shots from this perspective with each shot at same shutter speed and aperture.  The only thing I did differently was changed where I pointed the camera and focused on.  I don't know if it made much of a different, maybe if the lens was being shot wide open at f/2.8 but at f/8 I figured I had a good enough DOF to capture the whole scene.

In editing in CS5 I tweaked the highlights and shadows a bit to add a little more contrast.  I shot at ISO 200 so no sharpening was required, at least that i could see, so none was applied.  I found that when I shoot outside and the sky is blue I like to bump the luminance and saturation of blue in the photo.  Blue is one of my favorite colors and I like to see it in my photos so it normally stands out.  I tweaked the greens and yellows a bit to balance them out as a well.  Cropped the photo a little bit and I was done.  I've read over and over to edit/crop in the camera.  So when I was taking the pictures I was making sure what I wanted was in the viewfinder before pressing the shutter button.

Overall I am happy with it.  I'm pretty pleased with the composition which is one of my main focus points in 2013.  If the road had been flatter from front to back (behind me the road curved up and away I couldn't see traffic coming behind me), I would have laid flat on my stomach and gotten that shot as well. 

Here is my "B" side.  A little tilt makes the world seem like a slightly stranger place.

Usually there is some sort of film playing while I write this blogs which usually takes place at night while everyone is sleeping so i'll finish these with whatever I am watching:

Tonight's film: The Evil Dead

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 3: Happy Birthday

While watching the classic film Blow-Up (1966) about a London photographer who may or may not have witnessed a murder I decided to do a late night photo shoot. Mind you this was 10:30pm at night and I was already set to go to bed. I got up off the couch and unpacked my new tripod and went out in to the kitchen where I eyeballed the birthday cake that was left over from the day before.

I put my 50mm f/1.4 Pentax and lit a candle and started shooting. The above picture was the best of the bunch. The shot was at f/3.5 I probably could have gone up to 7.1 to add a little bit more depth of field. I really enjoy the picture but notice that the composition is a little plain. It was late and I was more interested in getting a picture in low light and seeing what would come of it with the candle lit. The plate, to me, is centered too much in the middle of the frame to be completely effective. I could have shot it from further up, with me standing on the chair or the plate on a lower surface. The kit lens (18-55) would have provided more flexibility to zoom in and block out more of the table. I could have also added a black cloth to make the cake more of a focal point.

 I stayed with the 50mm f/1.4 because its a better lens and gives a sharper image. The only post-processing aspect that I'm not happy with is the candle. Its too blown out for me. I could be wrong and it could be a good picture with it as is. I know the burn tool in PS CS5 can help, maybe, but I'll keep learning.

And here is the "B" side

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Photography Journey

Wow, so i just realized I did not blog the entire year of 2012. Kind of shows how and where my focus has been. I started 2012 trying to write short stories. I got 1 1/2 done. The completed story I like, but needs re-written. The half done story is just that, half done. Will I finish it? I would like to, but we will see. It just takes time and the will power to finish it. Its late but I felt I should get something down to get this ball rolling. If I go to bed without writing I will feel incomplete. I need to focus my photography and figure out what my focus for me will be. Will it be portraits? Landscapes? Candid? Cemeteries? Whatever the case is I want to find it out. The way I plan on accomplishing it is by taking my camera with me everyday and shooting. Shooting, something, anything, as long as I find something in my viewfinder I will feel accomplished. I started tonight with a quick and impromptu photo shoot of my leftover birthday cake. I took my new tripod and remote trigger and fired away. Nothing great. I like what I got and see what I missed. I hope tomorrow to blog about it and go from there. Here is the "B" side.
I'll take my 2 best and pick an "A" and "B" side and go from there. Maybe if I write down what I'm seeing and not seeing it'll help me. I plan to do this with each photo and see if I see themes, patterns or anything else that points to me as being my voice in photography. I turned 32 yesterday, lets start this journey now. M