Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 212 of 365

Day 212 of 365
Originally uploaded by Rob Weiher

I accept that during a year long daily photo project you're just going to have those days where you can't get inspired and feel completely devoid of creativity. Tonight was one of those days. My wife handed me, what she calls the blank doll, and I identified with it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 211 of 365

Day 211 of 365, originally uploaded by Rob Weiher.

Really liked the colors on a feather so thought I do a little reverse lens macro on it. If I retook the shot I'd try to not have the focus be so apparent on the left side.

This is the second day of me trying the Flickr blog feature. I load the photo up to Flickr, which is what I've always been doing, and click the Blog This feature and it opens up a new window where I can type in my thoughts. Speeds up the process a bit but I still have to go in and reformat as it sets the photo to the far left and at a size larger than I want.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 210 of 365

Day 210 of 365, originally uploaded by Rob Weiher.

Not feeling very inspired today.

Only a few days left to enter the Learning Digital Photography podcasts "Numbers" contest to win a copy of the OnOne Plugin Suite 4.5. Get the specifics here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 209 of 365

More of the spinning pins but this time with some motion thrown in. Started with the pins as close to the 50mm lens as I could get them and with the shutter open and the pins spinning (via the power drill, which I can't believe took me so long to think of using) I moved the drill back and away from the lens. I got the effect I was shooting for.

Now that I have a way of making things spin I'll be doing some more experimenting I'm sure. Hopefully my experimenting isn't getting boring for those of you checking my site. I'm really heartened by the fact that I'm still coming up with ideas at this stage of the project. There have been days where I don't feel like taking a photo at all but still did, so these last couple of weeks where I'm excited to get out there and play have been nice.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 208 of 365

I hadn't taken apart the pin prop I used a couple of days ago and while sitting there trying to figure what to photograph tonight I had the hair brained idea of seeing what it would look like spinning. After a few failed attempts at spinning by hand I remembered the power drill. I attached the foam core the pins are stuck in to the power drill and let it start spinning. Below is the same shot but edited a little. I used the linear contrast curve to bring the colors out more and gave it a bit of a high pass sharpening.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 207 of 365

Decided to get outside today and stretch my legs a little since I find myself spending most of my photography time in the garage hunched over a table in the corner coming up with odd and abstract creations. I fully intended on doing some street photography but while walking to a spot I wanted to sit and just observe what was going on around me and take a few photos in the process I stopped to look at some flowers.

While looking at the flowers I noticed bees, lots of bees flying about landing on the flowers and collecting pollen. I've never had good success taking photos of bees or butterflies so thought I'd sit there for a bit and see what I could photograph. I thankfully brought my 70-300mm macro lens with me so put that on and waited for a bumblebee to land on the nearest flower. Instead a butterfly landed and started posing for me. I finally have my butterfly shot.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 206 of 365

Jessica of Quotidian Photography (check it out if you enjoy photo projects...she has a very nice one going on) ask me the following questions in yesterdays comments. I thought I'd answer her questions as part of today's post in case others had the same questions.
Why did you choose portrait, when landscape would have allowed us to see more pins? Also, the light is only on the front pins, and I would like to be able to see more of the pins in back. Did you light like that on purpose?
To be honest I choose portrait for yesterdays photo because I didn't like any of my landscape shots. I was having a hard time lighting the pins because I stuck them in a white poster board so the light was reflecting quite a bit of light. The back pins are actually a reflection off a piece of clear plexiglas I stood up behind the pins. I was shooting for a reflection to give it more depth but it ended up being too dark to really show this.

My lighting style, if you can call it that, tends to run dark, especially while working in my little space in the garage. This stems from my own personal preference, which is I enjoy darker images, and working with what I have. I recognize that this may not appeal to everyone but it's where I am with my learning.

Hope I answered your questions Jessica. Anyone who checks my site out...please feel free to ask questions like this. I tend to just shoot and not really think about what I'm doing, listening to music helps me just kind of run with it and play without over thinking, so I may not have a good answer but I'll try regardless.

Today's shot is much like yesterdays but I did shoot landscape. I played a little more with the reflection idea but while playing with different lights, this time a string of Christmas lights, I ended up liking the way the reflection of the lights looked with the pins in the foreground.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 204 of 365

I was fully prepared to just do more shots tonight of objects in different states of swirl but decided after taking a bunch (as you can see below) to play with reflection instead. I have been kicking around some ideas that include this piece of Plexiglas so went with one of the ideas tonight. We've all seen shots of water drops that are reflecting a flower or something else in the water drops. This is no different...I hadn't tried it so thought I'd get it out of my system.

Before doing the flower reflection shot I played around with string of beads with Om symbols on it. I wasn't really into it having done so many of these types of shots recently. I did like a few of them so thought I'd share one.

Back on day 197 I posted a shot and asked if anyone could guess what it was. I got a couple of guesses and completely forgot to say or show was it was. It was a piece of art paper with white dots. For my shot I used back lighting so light was coming through the white dots and moved the paper with an open shutter. Sometimes I just focus in on a particular area and with my cable release in hand stand away from the camera and move my subject around while taking shots. I don't know what I'm getting until I check later.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 203 of 365

Wanted to try something a little different on the floating numbers from a couple of days ago. This time I used my zoom lens and did the open shutter zoom technique on them to get a different type of motion.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 202 of 365

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Today I discovered a nebula in my garage. Better than another mouse that's for sure.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 201 of 365

Some days you just gotta call it quits when the frustration level hits a certain point. I had this vision of photographing playing cards in motion but just couldn't get it to look how it was in my head. I initially tried flipping the cards with a long exposure and they were just a blur. Then I tried dropping them from above with a faster shutter speed but didn't the right look I was going for. I tried a few other things, none that worked. So I cheated.

If you look at the blue card to the far left, next to the joker, you'll see a piece of tape. This is holding a piece of transparent fishing line. I decided to tape fishing line to 5 cards and jump them around while taking shots at 1/125 second exposure and holding the shutter release down to take several successive shots, hoping to catch one I liked. This shot is about as close as I got. Of course if the tape and the slight shadow of the fishing line across the joker and king in the background I'd like it better.

I enjoy listening to podcasts. One I recently subscribed to is Lenswork, which is part of the Lenswork Magazine and the podcast is on photography and the creative process. The podcasts are short, most in the 2 to 5 minute range. If you don't listen to them all I would really suggest that everyone at least listen to the "If Only" posted on Thursday, July 16, 2009.

Here's a snippet...

Deciding what equipment to take with me overseas implies that some things will be left behind. I know that the implication is that I will set myself up for the "if only" game -- "If only I had that piece of equipment I could . . ." But, this is a trap of procrastination that is counterproductive for our creative process.

I think this short 4 minutes & 15 second podcast sums up what I finally figured out a while back. We, as in creative people, tend to get hung up on all the toys we can use to do our craft and forget the actual process of creating. Would I really like to have a professional quality lighting kit and the best lenses? Sure, but I believe I can take just as good a photo with my four $8 work lights from Home Depot, my almost 40 year old flash and my $86 50mm f/1.8 and $150 70-300 macro lens. It's a bit harder but doable. If I had the uber equipment would my creative process be as experimental? I'm afraid I'd get lazy and lose what I've gained by having to think outside the box.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 200 of 365

As of today I only have 165 more ideas I have to come up with for this project. Today was working on a concept I have for a photo contest I want to enter.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 199 of 365

Participated in the 2009 Scott Kelby's 2nd Annual World Wide Photo Walk today. Took this shot outside one of the oldest missions in CA. It was fun getting out with other photographers and walking around Monterey. I was introduced to a few places I hadn't found on my previous walks. It was fun seeing what others gravitated towards and found while looking through other peoples photos while enjoying a beer and lunch at a local brewery that while we all walked the same route there were many takes on the same subject.

I've posted some of my other shots from today on my Flickr. I took almost 200 photos and picked my favorite 17 photos from that. The photos posted on Flickr have had some minor corrections done to them, mostly sharpening, minor levels correcting, and spot removal on the long zoom shots. Want to see how dirty your sensor is...use your zoom lens.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 198 of 365

You know what's fun about experimenting? You just never know how something may look until you load it onto your computer and can see it large. In this case the appearance of electricity, which I'm pretty sure isn't really, just reflection off of something white. Between you and me...I'll just say it's electricity if asked :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 197 of 365

More abstract...or is it? I'll let you decide on what exactly it is I photographed tonight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 196 of 365

How about a flower pot full of artichokes? More playing around with lighting. Because of the shape of the pot the overhead light, which I wanted for the artichokes themselves, didn't cover the bottom part of the pot. I wanted the shape of the pot to be apparent, but not the focus, so used a piece of white poster board to bounce some light on the left side of the put, to pull in the shape a little and pot some light on the artichoke design.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 195 of 365

Decided to try something static tonight after several days of experimentation. The Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk is this Saturday so I wanted to make sure I can still take just a regular photo. Grabbed a wicker basket that I've been eying because of the nice patterns and worked with my new light setup.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 194 of 365

More playing with the hoop and yarn. This time I put on my 70-300mm telephoto macro lens and took this in the 200-300mm range using the open shutter zoom technique. I think I've tapped all the creativity I can muster out of that particular combination, unless of course I go out and buy different colored thread.

I also notice that either my sensor or lens is a bit dirty as on the right side there are some spots.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 193 of 365

50mm, f/5.0, 4 second exposure

variable, f/8.0, 4 second exposure

As you can see I'm not quite through with the yarn. This time I took one of the embroidery hoops used in previous shots and strung the yarn in a spoke pattern. The top image was with my 50mm f/1.8 up as close to the hoop as possible. I focused to the center of the hoop and to get a bit of a different color I changed the white balance from tungsten, which I normally use with my work lights, to cloudy to get a bit of an orange cast. The bottom image was taken with my telephoto lens and I used the open shutter zoom technique as it was spinning.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 192 of 365

After playing with yarn the last couple of days I thought I'd branch ribbon. I raided the Christmas ribbon stash and tied them up to a small air pump we use to inflate out camping air mattress. The ribbon was a bit more textured and it shows in the photo. I was curious to see how it would I know.

Because my unedited version wasn't quite centered the one below is an edited version that has been cropped to be centered and also had a little filter and blend mode tweaks done. It was on the fly and since it's almost midnight and I need to get this posted not exactly what I wanted.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 191 of 365

I asked for some feedback yesterday regarding the direction I've been going with my photography. Got a few great comments and took them to heart. One problem I've been having is trying to get enough light on the subject while keeping the background dark. Too compensate I ended up going darker than I probably should. To help with this I made a snoot to use with one of my work lights. It worked wonders and provided a directional spotlight without bleeding light onto the background. This allowed me to bring the color out on the yarn. This is the same yarn I used last night and the photo turned out one color. Big difference I say...

50mm, f/1.8, 6 second exposure

50mm, f/3.2, 0.5 second exposure

This is the cheap PVC pipe light grid I built last weekend. I can hang my lights and props from it and has expanded my workspace quite a bit and has helped with lighting better.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 190 of 365

I like to watch design shows, be it cooking, clothing, interior, exterior, and just about anything else where someone is being creative. I think I like watching the process people go through while coming up with their creation. I was watching one of the many interior design shows the other day and they were shopping for artwork for the new living room. Something about these shows I've noticed...they pick art that always makes me go, "really? it's just white lines on a black background" or "it's just a rectangle canvas split in thirds with three different colors". So I was intrigued. Could I come up with photography that looks painterly?

This is 4 pieces of different colored and textured yarn that I twirled with a 6 sec open shutter. Lighting from a string of Christmas lights from below. One of the pieces of yarn was very feathery so it gave a paint brush like stroke of motion which was cool to see once I downloaded the shots. I'm almost tempted to drag my computer (in lieu of buying a laptop) out into the garage one of these days and shot tethered so I can see what I'm doing on the monitor. The little screen on the back of the camera just doesn't show you enough.

So...any thoughts? I know my style is kind of going in a severe direction from what I've noticed from others doing 365 projects.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 189 of 365

After playing with the embroidery hoops last night I thought I'd play with them again tonight. A while back I was playing with open shutter zoom, which is using a long shutter setting (this was 4 seconds) and zooming in and out while the shutter was open. Last time I did the technique it was on a flat surface so tonight I played with it with a spinning object.

As I mentioned at the halfway point I wanted to start incorporating in some Photoshop processed photos. This is the above photo with the following done to it. The background layer with the Dark Edges filter and another layer (copy of the background layer) using the Overlay blend mode. Wanted to see what I could maybe do with the basic shot if I want to try and incorporate it into some other design. Came up with something resembling a floating least to me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 188 of 365

My original idea for tonight was to photograph some temple bells my wife has and did as you can see above. After I took a couple of stationary shots I started playing with long exposure motion shots. I find myself pulled more towards developing my style around abstract so I'm going to run with it for now. I guess I'm drawn to it because it opens me up to just being able to play and see what I can do.

As mentioned I did some motion shots of the bells and they turned out fine but then I grabbed a couple of my wife's (she has lots of cool props for me to use) embroidery hoops and hung them so I could spin them independently. I did spins and swinging, and spinning while swinging. Here's an example of it swinging.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 187 of 365

No camping trip would be complete without the star trail photo. Being somewhere with zero light pollution is helpful. I didn't know what time it was when I shot these so was surprised to find that I took it at 12:15am on it is my Monday photo of the day.

If I hadn't been tired I would have let the shutter stay open longer, like 30 minutes, so I could have gotten a nice circular trail but I didn't. This was only a few minutes.

Day 186 of 365

We're back from our over night camping trip down at Big Sur. Weather was wonderful and camping amongst the giant Redwoods is pretty cool. Not far from our campground there is Pfeiffer beach which has some cool rock formations with these chutes carved through them. I've seen sunset photos of these and they are pretty nice but we were there mid day so just took photos of the water coming through the chute. The gates close at 9pm so summer time isn't a good time for sunset photos there anyway since the sun doesn't go completely down until after that time. I'm thinking a good time to visit would be a nice clear day in the winter, which we get plenty of.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 185 of 365

No fireworks, just a lantern with a battery powered candle on a white surface and black background. Fireworks are banned where we live and I blew enough stuff up in my younger days to satisfy my destructive urges.

I will be offline tomorrow for a short camping trip. We are headed down the coast to Big Sur for an overnight stay. In the 8 years we've lived here in the Monterey area we have only gone down to Big Sur a handful of times and never camped. I plan on taking plenty of photos tomorrow and Monday so will post both Day 186 and 187 on Monday.

Hope everyone in the U.S. had a safe and happy Independence Day celebration today.

Thanks once again for everyone who stops by my little project and special thanks go out to you all who are so kind to post comments and give feedback when I ask for it. It truly is helpful.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 184 of 365

I figured since I started this project featuring my old combat boots that I'd start off the 2nd half with them. I threw in my dog tags and my patrol cap I wore while a member of the Recon Platoon, 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry at Fort Lewis, WA in the early 1990's before it was deactivated.

I'm posting really late today mostly because I had a vision earlier in the day for a lighting rig that I could hang from the ceiling made entirely of PVC pipe. While out this afternoon I stopped at Home Depot and bought the pieces I needed (total cost $13) and spend most of the evening figuring out how to hang it from the ceiling. Putting it together was easy, about 2 minutes, figuring out how to hang it from the dry wall ceiling in the garage was the hard part. I'll take some photos of it tomorrow and explain more about what I used.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 183 of 365

So today I mark the halfway point of my 365 Project. When I started on January 1 I didn't really know where I was going with this project. I just knew that I had to do something to get myself shooting again. Not only shooting again but to actually learn how to use my camera. Things were just not clicking into place for me in the little over a year I had the camera. I found out the reason was mostly due to not taking enough photos. I'd go out expecting to learn something by only taking a handful of photos and being really selective of what I was shooting. Sure, being selective is probably prudent somewhere down the road but when you're trying to learn something like photography I really think you need to take as many photos as possible and do try everything, regardless if it works or not. As I mentioned way back at the beginning, I had a professional artist tell my I needed to get out and sketch with my camera. I took that to heart :)

What have I learned over the last 182.5 days? I've learned my camera for one. I can work my buttons without taking my eye from the viewfinder. I understand the relationship between aperture and shutter speed. I don't have a bunch of different lenses so I've learned to make do with my 50mm f/1.8 and my 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Macro. I don't have a strobist kit so use cheap work lights from Home Depot and an almost 40 year old Vivitar flash that has one setting, full power. I've learned how to make do with minimal equipment and I can only think this has helped me become adaptive and flexible in my style. I do hope to purchase a basic strobist kit here soon, which will be one flash, flash stand, an umbrella and remote so I can do some off camera flash work.

Have I discovered what technique or style I'm best at? Well I can tell you that I really need more work with portrait, actually I just need to do them as I've kind of held myself back from that one style. I also find that landscape and wildlife isn't up my alley. I love looking at landscape photography and some of my favorite photographers are landscape photographers. I just don't have the eye for it. That and I'm too lazy to get up really early so I can catch the golden hour in the morning and don't feel like spending time in the evening for the evening golden hour. I guess I find myself drawn the most to macro and recently abstract. Macro appeals to my highly developed attention to detail honed from my years in the Army as a Cavalry Scout and just having an innate ability for it. Small details speak to me in a sense I guess so I think I need to see about developing my photography style around that.

Tonights photo was to be more playing around with the open shutter zoom technique. Instead I found myself playing with rotation. I taped a plastic cup to the back of the piece of paper and stood off to the side and rotated the paper while the shutter was open. I've included three photos tonight. The original I pieced together as my prop, the rotated version and what you will see more of in the second half, a photoshopped version. The edited version was three layers. The original, a black and white of the original and the top layer the color version again. The top layer was set to hard light so it brought so of the color back in but blended in with the black and white. It gives it a completely different feel.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 182 of 365

I'm going to mark tomorrow as my halfway point of my 365 Project. I want to write down what I learned and what I need to work on over the next 182 days. I'm also tossing around the idea of posting my unretouched photo but to also post an edited version and put down what it was I did to the photo. At least for ones that need work.

I forgot to mention what this photo is. This is, like yesterday, an open shutter zoom shot. The subject was a small, about 8 inches tall, paper dress mannequin. It is covered with newsprint and that is what the texture is in the photo. I zoomed out and held on the entire piece for a second and then zoomed in to get the superimposed image of a small portion.