Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 59 of 365

The last day of February. This is officially the end of month two of my year long photo project. I've had some successes, some failures, but in all it's been fun and each day a learning experience.

Today I did a smorgasbord of things. I took some pictures of some flowers, some cherry blossoms, a surfer, a rock cairn on the beach, some Sand Pipers flying by, my boots taking in some rays and watching some surfers ride the waves and lastly a vintage Corvette. All in all a good picture taking kind of day. I still have more to post to my Flickr later tonight.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 58 of 365

I had a bowl of water, a candle, a large clear vase full of water, all to use in tonight's photo. Almost 90 photos taken and the one I go with is the very first photo I took...just to check the lighting. Sometimes the best course of action is to remember the KISS formula and go with that. For those of you not familiar with the KISS formula...Keep It Simple...Stupid!

I have the weekend off and the weather is good so the boots will venture out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 57 of 365

Decided to get my photo out of the way early today. While waiting for lunch to warm up in the microwave grabbed the camera and walked out into our backyard. Probably could have composed it better but was mostly trying to shield the plant from the wind so it wouldn't move around.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 56 of 365

I find myself really being drawn to objects on black and creative lighting. Creative for me is holding one of my cheap canister lights and shining it all over the place and at different angles looking for something that looks interesting. I do want to get some different color gels and some gobo's to play with eventually. I may stop at my last job, the University film department, and see if I can borrow a few things to play with.

I was interested to see how this would look in black and white and with a little extra processing so include those for any comments and feedback.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 55 of 365

The Hurdy Gurdy Man...not the Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan, or the more current version by the Butthole Surfers, but an actual guy playing a Hurdy Gurdy. After work I ventured down to the weekly Farmers Market and found this street performer.

This was my first attempt at taking a photo on the street. I don't know exactly why but I'm really self conscious about taking my camera out and taking photos in public. Public as in a street environment with other people. Walking around the old buildings by myself is no problem. It's not like other people aren't pulling small point and shoots out or their cell phone and taking snapshots. So for me today this was a small victory...I took my camera out and did my best to get a decent shot of this guy...being tall helps. I figure he wouldn't mind and left a dollar as thanks.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 54 of 365

Overexposure with direct light on a white surface and background. This was mostly a chance to try something new and see what I can do with it in post...if anything at all.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 53 of 365

Was at Costco today and while in the produce section saw a bag of baby bell peppers and thought they would make for a good still life. It's not a Edward Weston pepper photograph by any means but I like it regardless. Instead of using the lightbox I used natural light coming in from our south facing living room window. It's a dark rainy day so the light was pretty good. The light is coming from the left and I stood a white poster board to the right to reflect some light on that side. I couldn't get rid of the slight window reflection on the rim of the crystal bowl though.

I tried dropping peppers into the bowl as well to see if I could catch motion. I did a little post work to one and posted it to my Flickr.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 52 of 365

There's a story behind this beer glass. I served with the 1st Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Bayreuth, (then) West Germany back in the mid 80's. As most should know, Germany among many things is really good at making beer and our local beer was Maisel's (in German). Being 18 and away from home for the first time in my life I drank many a glass of Maisel's beer my two years there. For whatever reason I didn't keep a glass as a souvenir when I left but as luck would have it I would return to Germany in 1988 for a month long training exercise. We had some down time and a group of us went out on the town for a beer or two, or three. Even though we were nowhere near Bayreuth the pub we went to happen to serve Maisel's, which was surprising because just about every town has it's own brewery. I decided to keep a sourvenir this time. This glass survived traveling in a duffel bag from Germany back to Georgia, my 2 years in Georgia, travel from Georgia to Washington State, my 3 years there and another move from the Army to civilian life. Because I kept it as a keepsake I rarely used it to drink from, and I rarely drink, but one night I decided to use it for a new beer I picked up at the store. While sitting at the computer I got up and reached across the desk and barely hit the glass and it fell over and shattered. Doh!

Fast forward several years...a guy I served with over in Germany and I got in touch with each other and for whatever reason I told him about my glass. A couple months later I got the above glass in the mail. Patrick travels quite often to Germany and went out of his way to get me a new Maisel's glass while he was over there. This is the type of camaraderie the military fosters.

So tonight I raise my glass to all my fellow soldiers.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 51 of 365

More playing with lighting tonight. First worked with an orange but lighting it correctly proved more difficult than I thought so it was used as a study in color contrast instead. So mushrooms it was since I had already worked with an apple. Decided to play with lighting and reflections.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 50 of 365

I drive by this old brick building that I can't really figure out what purpose it may have served when this was still an Army base but it's intrigued me for years. Today I finally decided to pull over and check it out on my way back to work from lunch. What inspired me finally was flipping through The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing by Philippe L. Gross and S.I. Shapiro and saw a closeup photo of a broken window in black and white. You'd think the subject would be boring but it was, as the quote I have above by Irving Penn, effective. So with this new inspiration I pulled out the boots and walked up to the building, walked inside and found what to me was a perfect setting for what was in my head. This is straight out of the camera and only one thing I would like to change in post. There are a few little light glares off small pieces of glass in the shadow area and I could have just kicked out of the way if I had noticed them.

I decided to leave it in color because I felt it was close enough to black and white anyway because of the way the light is shining through the really dirty glass and the natural light coming through the broken parts of the window.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 49 of 365

For those of you that enjoy the boots I promise they will return soon. With the weather and being sick all of last week I haven't felt like being outside much...mostly just to and from work and class.

I've been wanting to explore still life a little more and figured a single apple would be a good start. I wanted to work with just one light and black background to get the feel I was shooting for. After I got started I thought maybe a little water would add something to the shot. I took almost 100 photos and have several ones I like this was the one I felt had the best lighting and didn't need any post work done. I will be posting other shots I liked and did a little post work to to my Flickr account if you would like to see them.

I like to listen to my Zune while working with my camera and it was fitting that I had a podcast from 7 Photography Questions interviewing Jo Whaley, a fine arts still life photographer. She had some great tips and I'm finding this podcast to be really informative. Each podcast is with a different professional photographer and they are asked 7 questions that were submitted by listeners of the show and they also talk about examples of their work that you can look at online in the show notes. I think the best informational podcast out there for photography. The other big ones like TWIP, Camera Dojo and the like are great as well but 7 Questions is solely about that photographer giving you insight into what they do and tips for that particular type of photography they are experts at. It's different each podcast...not weeks on end of wedding photography.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 48 of 365

I was in a rush...didn't take a photo all day because of rain but was walking to class and saw some earlier rain running off a corner of a building. Figured it was a good opportunity to capture motion.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 47 of 365

It was a fairly rainy and miserable day today but did get to enjoy seeing this rainbow at the end of the day.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 46 of 365

My wife, Jen, is the creative one in the family and enjoys making cards. Today's photo is of a small insert that is part of a much larger Valentines card she made me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 45 of 365

Very large, like Jurassic Park sized fern fiddleheads. I'm 6'3 and the foreground one was at eye level.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 44 of 365

I had a meeting first thing this morning so went straight there from home. I was the first one there and was sitting there looking around the room and pulled out my camera and decided to see if I could find things to photograph. It was kind of dark so I had to increase my ISO from 100 to 400 and was able to lean on a table or the wall if I needed to. While the setting is pretty boring I was able to find some nice lines and patterns to photograph.

Here's my photo of the day

I didn't want to fill up my blog with all the other photos I took so put them together. Click for a larger version.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 43 of 365

I wanted to bring the boots out today but didn't get much time to find a good setup. I noticed a small patch of wild flowers growing across the street from my office in a big open field so after work ran over there with the boots to see what I could do with them. There weren't as many as I thought but then again I was looking at them from 150 yards or so away. I think the last week of having a cold and feeling a little blah is creeping into my photography...I can really only describe the following as blah. I couldn't decide which was less so, so posted a color and b&w version. I was envisioning b&w when I took the shot so have allowed myself that much manipulation in Photoshop.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 42 of 365

I wasn't able to get a boots photo today and since I had a night class I figured I'd just do something the lightbox again tonight. On the way home the moon was peaking through the clouds and looked really cool...unfortunately by the time we got home and I got my camera and tripod setup I wasn't able to get a very good shot. I kind of like this one because of the colors and the wispy clouds...but the noise bothers me. I didn't have the in camera noise reduction on and probably should have.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 41 of 365

Day 40 was a closeup of this lantern. This was a 20 second exposure and while the shutter was open I flashed an off camera flash diffused with some cloth for a little fill light. I've been sick the last four days but feel better tonight so expect to head back to work tomorrow and will have boots in mind for tomorrows photo.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 40 of 365

ISO 100, f/5, 1/4 sec

Can't seem to shake this cold so stayed home again today. Decided to play with candle light today. My wife enjoys doing decoupage and we have several very nice things around the house she's done over the years. This is a macro of part of a storm lantern cover lit from below by a small candle.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 39 of 365

ISO 100, f/5, 190mm, 1/6 sec, -1 EV

Uninspired mostly due to a second day of having a cold. Abalone shell on crumpled up black fabric so the shell sits up at an angle instead of flat. Shot at a slight angle to get more of the curve. Now that I look at it I think a bit less DoF would have been better so the back has a little more definition.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 38 of 365

ISO 100, 190mm, f/11, 1/15 sec

Had grand plans to get out and shot outside today. It's been raining the last couple of days so was expecting to get out and get a little wet and dirty but woke up with a sore throat and runny nose. Apparently it's time for my yearly two day cold so didn't get out. Grabbed a bunch of dried leaves my wife has in a basket in the living room and worked on my studio lighting in the lightbox.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 37 of 365

Today was a dreary day so I thought I'd try using the camera monochrome picture style for effect. Unknown to me Adobe Camera Raw doesn't acknowledge the Canon picture style information in the metadata so I had to recreate in Adobe Camera Raw. Kind of deflated me and while it would be nice to use the picture styles I'll probably not do so reason too if I just have to recreate it in Photoshop.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 36 of 365

The boots were hungry this morning so we headed to the Dining Facility only to find it all boarded up. Oh how we miss the fine dining to be had at the typical Army mess hall.

I had a couple campus police officers approach me this morning while I was taking my photos. I had been expecting this to happen eventually but I knew I didn't have any problems and they were going to just make sure I wasn't up to no good. We have a problem with people stealing copper and other metals from the old buildings so they just wanted to make sure I wasn't a thief. Since I work on campus I introduced myself and showed my employee ID when they asked. Very friendly and in the course of the conversation mentioned to just let them know if I go into the buildings. Wait what? I can enter the buildings? Sure...just stop by and sign a liability release and tell us when and what buildings you want to enter and you'll be all set. Sweet...the boots may just be exploring some old barracks here in the very near future. They want to demolish all the old Army buildings soon so being able to document some of the artwork on the walls will be cool. Now I just need to figure out what do to with lighting. The outer rooms will have light from outside but the hallways and inner rooms will be pretty dark. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 35 of 365

I spent some time in the garage tonight after class playing with lighting. I used the same flowers I took my photo of the other day but wanted to work with a single flower and only a portion of that. I took several photos and really had a hard time picking just one so tonight is a bonus night. I'd go into great detail about how I got the lighting the way I did if I remembered exactly. I hand held a small canister light and moved it around the flower trying to just highlight certain areas of the petals and pressing my shutter release. I was surprised with the completely dark background on the three seen here. I believe I was holding the light straight down on the flower and with my exposure compensation set at -2 with a relatively fast shutter release I achieved this. I guess I need to document this better so I remember how I did it. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 34 of 365 - Getting my geek on

I was chatting with a few people on Twitter earlier and my level of geekiness was tested (in jest) so to help show just how much of a geek I am I give you just one of many miniatures I painted when I played Dungeons & Dragons. I spent about an hour this evening digging everything out and deciding what to use. Because I had a hard time I think my next couple of days of photos will be playing with lighting and photographing some of my old miniatures. I would spend hours painting these things and still have several unpainted or in various stages of completion. I miss playing and haven't played since moving from Seattle about 8 years ago. Hard to find a good group of people who are washed, have jobs and don't live in their parents basement.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 33 of 365

Today is the first day of the semester for me. I'm taking a Photoshop class that is more about using it for painting and creation instead of manipulating photographs, which I'm fairly component at. I'm also taking American Sign Language with my wife. We both are in school and need to fulfill out language requirements and we've both been interested in ASL. I think taking ASL is coming at the right time for me. I've really been pushing myself to become more creative and I think learning something that requires my hands and that part of the brain will help my process. Now that I'm starting my second month of this project I'm going to see about getting a little more creative. Why take a picture of the whole flower when just part may look good, or maybe shooting at an angle that seems unusual, I may even get some knee pads and spend an entire shoot just crawling around on the ground. Part of my process is to figure out just what my photography "calling" is. Most people have one area they specialize in, not that I feel I need to specialize, but I think I'd like to figure out if there's a particular area that interests me the most. Just like with my massage practice...I give a kickass swedish style massage but my real enjoyment comes from working with athletes and others with specific injuries.

Enough of my's my, "oh my it's already 10pm and I haven't taken my daily photo yet" photo. Flowers I bought my wife at the farmers market yesterday in my lightbox playing around with different lighting. I was going to just shoot a couple and ended up with 41...not that most are any good since I was playing with lighting and how long to hold the shutter open.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 32 of 365

I took almost 100 photos today and had a hard time finding one I liked. I'm not even really sure I like this one but it's in focus, unlike a bunch of others I took, and it is what I intended. I wanted to frame the crane but I'm not sure if I should have tried to get the foreground foliage to be in focus instead of out of focus. I also really wanted to get that dang duck out of the shot it seems every time I pressed the shutter release it decided to dive underwater leaving it butt sticking up. It looks like it tilted a little as well...not sure if it's just the shadow creating the effect or not. I need to focus a little more on horizon lines...I get caught up on the subject and forget to make sure I'm looking at it level. So what do you think? Would the shot be better with in focus foreground or is the subject strong enough to pull it off as is?