Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 151 of 365

Wanted to play with white on white today but didn't have a white egg. Was puttering around the garage and noticed the old golf clubs and bag my dad gave me years ago in hopes I'd take up the sport. Unfortunately for my dad I did not...found it more frustrating than relaxing. So with golf clubs surely there are white balls and tees and there were.

I don't have a true strobist kit so I try to improvise and make do with what little gear I have. I initially started with some work lights shining on the ball from both sides and another white illuminating the white background. The white background never really looked white so scratched that idea. Grabbed my old Vivitar flash and tried with that. Here's what I have to do to use the old flash. Since I don't have a setup to use it remotely and I didn't want it on top of my camera in the hot shoe I do the following. I turn off all the lights in the garage except one in the back with just enough light to see by. I set my shutter speed to 1 second, aperture to 22 and clicked the the one second I set off the flash. The flash does keep the white background white so that is nice but I discovered that all my shots that were really white showed just how dirty my sensor is, either that or I didn't clean the lens as well as I thought I did before shooting. Either way there were several spots and even a piece of lint showing.

With this particular shot I made a snoot out of cardboard so I could direct the light straight onto the ball and tee from the side. I like it more because because there weren't any signs of the spots and lint.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 150 of 365

Went for a short photo walk around Pacific Grove, CA today and found a little park off the beaten path. This pulley and bucket was the centerpiece of fountain in the middle of the park. Sat on the bench of enjoyed it for a bit and took some photos of some nearby flowers using the 2 lens reverse macro technique. Took a few colorful architecture photos as well.

I did a little post work to this one, such as some cropping work to remove some dull gray sky and to make it more appealing and some levels works to bring the colors out more. Let me know what you think. Is it too bright?

If you're interested in seeing the 2 lens reverse macro shots I took I'll link to my Flickr instead of taking up room here.

I also want to say thanks to Ilan Bresler for pushing me to change my blog name. Not so much because he didn't like it but because he felt I was more than qualified to be blogging. So thank you Ilan for all your support. Check out Ilan's work on his blog. He's quite the traveler and does fantastic street photos.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 149 of 365

I was getting ready to make dinner and realized I hadn't done a single food shot in the previous 148 days of my project...or at least I can't remember doing a food shot. So decided to grabbed my 70-300mm macro and tripod and see what I can come up with. The sun was nicely diffused coming through my south facing window so used all natural lighting for this. Didn't like any shots taken from further away so went in tight.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 148 of 365

If you've ever been curious to know what a dandelion on fire would look like well here it is from about 2 inches away. Hopefully I'll be inspired to try something different starting tomorrow. I find I'm repeating myself now, which I'm sure will happen in a 365 day period but I'm not ready to say I'm out of ideas. Just need to dig deeper...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 147 of 365

Just how many different ways can this guy shot a dandelion seed ball you are asking at this point I'm sure. Well the answer would be...until I run out of ideas or dandelions in my backyard. This was a two lens reverse macro against a blue background.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 146 of 365

Just playing around trying to get myself out of a funk. You might see some other, not quite sure how to describe, photos while I work through this.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 145 of 365

When my maternal grandfather passed away my grandmother gave me his stamp collection. There wasn't really much to the collection but what was there are old 1920's and 30's stamps from all around the world. I gave a bunch of the stamps to my wife to use with her decoupage projects. She used some of them on a few items I have on my desk at work and at home. I love the artwork used on the stamps years ago and enjoy looking through the stamp book on occasion. I didn't really have a shot in mind but this intersection of stamps caught my eye.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 144 of 365

Decided to do a Photo Walk trial run today in prep for July 18th. Grabbed the camera with one lens, my 50mm, and played the tourist. Since this place is just one big tourist trap it was pretty easy to blend in. Actually went through some old buildings turned into museums that in the 8 years I've lived here never visited. Practiced low light photography in those places and will eventually get around to posting a few on my Flickr. My goal today was to look for color contrasts and interesting architecture. Found plenty of brightly colored doors and window sills against white or colored stucco to shoot but found this lone lemon to be my best shot of the day, technique wise. There was a little bench I used to keep the camera steady and used mirror lockup and with no wind to speak of I was able to get a fairly sharp image.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 143 of 365

Something a little different from what I've been doing lately. Once I got going on the reverse macro I had a hard time looking at the larger picture and kept going in for the small details. So today I was sitting in my car waiting to go back to work and started looking at this tree next to me. I liked how the vines were climbing up the trunk and snapped a few shots with the camera horizontal. I switched to vertical and liked how the purple leaves offset the green vines.

Not sure it qualifies as one of my better photos but I have to keep reminding myself that I can't expect every photo I take to be good. I think I read or heard in a podcast that most pros believe 1 in 100 will be good and like 1 in 1000 may be great. I think this is why it is so important to just take photos...lots of them. When I first got the camera I'd just take a few photos and wonder why none of them were any good. When I started my 365 Project I decided to just snap away. I take several shots at different angles and different camera settings. Because it's hard to tell how exactly the photo will turn out by just looking at the little screen on the back of the camera I take no chances. Still doesn't mean I get good shots every time though :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 142 of 365

Digging around in the garage trying to get inspired for todays photo and came across my old Fort Knox piggy bank. It was locked but thankfully the combination was scribbled onto a piece of tape on the bottom. Opened it up to find a bunch of old photos of me. I was such a cute towheaded kid. This Fort Knox didn't hold a jackpot of gold but it does hold some old memories.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 141 of 365

Okay I lied...another 2 lens reverse macro shot tonight. You know how much fun it is trying to light a lighter without burning your thumb (I'm not a smoker so not well versed in using them) as well as keeping the lens at both a safe distance and in focus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 140 of 365

The Gerbera daisies had one last photo shoot left in them. Misted them down with some water and played around with the reverse macro again this evening. Tomorrow I think I'll unfocus a little and do something different. I think I have lots more to learn so don't want to spend all my time doing will always be here :)

I want to highlight one of my daily blog reads tonight. I talked it up a while back when he interviewed me but I'll do so again tonight because not only is he a valuable member of our community but he puts a lot into providing us photographers with information via his website and podcast. Recently he announced a photography contest with a prize provided by Adobe. The prize is a copy of Lightroom 2. Check out the Canon Blogger website for more information about the contest and where to submit your entry. I believe the only rule is the photo be processed in Lightroom, which you can download as a 30 day free trial from Adobe. I plan on entering but I've not found a photo I feel is good enough to win...that will be my goal the next week or so :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 139 of 365

Yeah I know...another reverse lens shot. I'm not done exploring yet and this is just me figuring out my limits of the technique.

I was inspired by some great help and feedback from pic_chic over on Flickr. It has been really great to have so many wonderful people along on my photography journey. I never expected to be where I am right now with it.

Some of you may not be National Association of Photoshop Professional members so may not know about this but on July 18 it is Scott Kelby's 2nd Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. I wasn't able to do it last year but have already signed up for the Paso Robles, CA walk. Check it's free and you get to meet up with other local photographers, have a walk, take some pictures, sit down and have lunch or dinner and see what each other did. There are even prizes to be had :)

Look here to see if there is one near you -

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 138 of 365

I've pretty much only experimented with flowers and the snail shell while using the two lens reverse macro technique. While the depth of field is incredibly narrow it wasn't so apparent until I took this shot of a word in a dictionary. As you can see there is a very narrow band of focus. What I've discovered is it doesn't really matter what angle you are holding your camera while using this technique. Want the band of focus a certain way...tilt your camera until you get it. There is no horizon line to worry about.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 137 of 365

While out hiking yesterday I found an intact and empty snail shell and decided to bring it home to shoot. I washed it and oiled it up with some olive oil for some extra shine and to deepen the colors. I initially shot with just one work light shining from the left but I didn't like how it looked so I grabbed a string of Christmas lights sitting on a table in the garage and surrounded the shell with lights. I guess that would be a very cheap version of a macro ring light. This particular shot also has one of the lights sitting in the hole of the shell so it has a bit of an interior glow.

On a different note. Has anyone had any experience with selling their photos online? Has anyone used SmugMug as their marketplace?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 136 of 365

Went for a hike this afternoon and took over 200 photos using the 2 lens reverse macro technique. I pretty much took a photo of everything I could get up close and personal with. Flowers, grass, weeds, bark, dirt, snail shell, bugs, you name it...I probably took a photo of it. What I think I like most about this technique is it's ability to look past what is visible to the eye and get into something more. Some of the things I took photos of would be considered ugly or completely overlooked if you were just taking normal nature photos. I don't particularly prescribe to the woowoo stuff...even as a massage therapist I tend to be very structural and don't dabble in the "energy body" stuff. I think I may be a bit opposite in my photography.

Here are a few others I took, instead of sending you to my Flickr, I'll post here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 135 of 365

I find myself getting more and more intrigued with the 2 lens reverse macro technique. Got home from work and grabbed my camera with my 50mm 1.8 and 50mm 2.0 (in reverse) and stepped outside into my backyard. Found that even weeds, like this Hawksbeard seed clock, similar to a dandelion but has several stems from one root, can give some wonderful photo opportunities. I think what I really enjoy about this technique is it's a photograph, straight from the camera, but it's got some painterly qualities and almost alien in nature. People spend time in Photoshop trying to get this effect...

I had a hard time choosing which one to post here tonight so check my Flickr over the weekend if you'd like to see more of these.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 134 of 365

I came home for lunch and experimented with my 18-55mm f/4-5.6 lens as the base lens with my 50mm f/1.8 has the reversed lens. The photos came out looking like I took them with a microscope...not as if I was that close but rather the aperture on the 17-55mm was so small the photos were mostly black with a small round hole in the center. I was less than thrilled with those results. Later in the day I was sitting at work and remembered I have a bunch of lenses from my old Pentax film camera and my Dad's old Minolta film camera and gear. I dug them out when I got home from work and found that I have a 50mm f/2.0 lens.

The above shot, as well 3 more I took and posted on my Flickr, we shot with my 50mm f/1.8 attached to the camera and my old 50mm f/2.0 reversed. Because so much light was able to get in I was able to shot handheld with just a couple of shop lamps directed at the flowers. This one was shot with a shutter speed of 1/60 second and ISO 100.

If you would like to see some really nice reverse lens macro work check out Julie Mcleod's 365 Photos in 2009 blog. Julie decided to try it out after seeing me do it. I would say her first time was pretty successful :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 133 of 365

A flower broke off the orchid plant we got on Sunday so I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice reverse lens macro on it. I think there is some potential for some good abstracts but it's a bear to get a good focus. A millimeter could be all the adjustment you need between in focus and out of focus...a millimeter adjustment is quite the challenge.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 132 of 365

Wasn't able to get outside today to do some work with natural lighting so this evening I grabbed the Gerbera daisies and decided to work with them again before they wilt away. After doing some regular shots and feeling like these types of flowers just need to be shot out in the sunlight...dark room and unnatural light just made them seem depressing. Since I still needed to come up with something I was happy with I decided to play with reverse lens macro technique again.

Last time I held my 18-55mm lens against my 50mm 1.8 and found that a bit difficult with trying to get the right distance between lens and subject so it is in focus. If you've never done with focus by increasing or decreasing the distance between your subject and the end of the lens. Bit difficult if you're holding the lens together. So tonight I grabbed some scotch tape since I figured it wouldn't leave residue like packing tape would. I taped my reversed 50mm onto my 70-300mm lens. I left the 70-300 at 70mm instead of switching to the 200-300mm macro range and may try that eventually. Not sure what to expect with a 200mm and reversed 50mm setup...may be so abstract you can't tell what it is you're looking at. At least with this shot you can tell it's part of a flower.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 131 of 365

At the graduation ceremony yesterday they gave away a bunch of orchids to anyone would could take them home, which meant locals as most everyone else flew in from around the country. My wife loves purple so was able to get one of the purple orchids. Today at lunch I decided to take a few photos of it against our copper color walls with natural light from a south facing window.

I liked this one out of the 20 or so shots I took the best. I enjoy the three stages of bloom. Unopened at the bottom, just opened in the middle background leading up to a mature bloom. I may try this shot again when I have more time because I think it would benefit from a little more of the full bloom in the frame. Not sure why I cropped it where I did. When I do some post work to it down the road I will most likely give the purple a bit of a color boost so they stand out more.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 130 of 365

My wife (on the left) obtained her Zero Balancing certification today and this was at the graduation. The person on the right was her mentor. This was an exercise in low light photography without flash...used my 50mm 1.8 with ISO 1000 and 1/320 second shutter speed.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day 129 of 365

Took so many photos today so it was hard picking which one to post. I choose this one because of its minimalist qualities. I did post a few other photos of full kites on my Flickr if you'd like to see. I shot with a circular polarizer which helped with the blue sky.

I took these at the Marina International Festival of the Winds. This was the first year I've attended the festival and figure it will be the last. Not much to see and it was mostly out of control kids running around with kites so you're having to duck and weave as kite strings come your way. Lots of wind...not many cool kites. It looked fun for the kids and there were lots of families so that's good.

Earlier in the day I walked around Carmel-by-the-Sea looking for the Weston photography gallery and ended up finding another photography gallery I had looked for a while back and could never find. It had moved from the location I had the address for but happened on it today. This place is the Photography West Gallery and there I saw some photos that aren't camera photos by Carol Henry. Talk about some beautiful flower photos.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 128 of 365

I think I've exhausted how I can see these Gerbera daisies creatively so tomorrow I'll try something else. Thought I'd go with a different angle today instead of straight on or at a slight angle like the last couple of days and the ones I posted to my Flickr.

I think it's time to do my periodic thank you to all of you that take the time to check out my photos and especially to you that leave me comments. They truly do keep me energized and as I noted a while back...I trying to reciprocate by finally setting up my Google Reader. If you have a photo blog you want me to check out please e-mail me (see my profile) or leave a comment and I'll come check it out. It's always nice to see what others are doing and to be able to get some inspiration. I don't know how many times I've looked at a photo someone else has done and say to myself I never would have thought of shooting that or at that angle. The photography community truly is full of amazingly creative and helpful people.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 127 of 365

Grabbed the Gerbera Daisies again but almost waited too long as I just caught the last bit of sunlight before the sun went down behind some trees. Photographing these flowers outside really makes me wonder why I've spent so much time in the garage at night working with artificial light. These are just so bright and cheery.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 126 of 365

Bought some Gerbera Daisies today for my wife. This was taken outside with the sun to my back and a dark fence well in the background.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 125 of 365

Decided to crawl around my backyard with my macro lens to see if I can spot anything small worth photographing. I spotted this little dandelion seed hanging onto this stem for dear life. I think if I decided to crawl around again I need to get some elbow pads...they are a bit scratched up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 124 of 365

As I was leaving to head to work this morning I noticed the ground had the perfect kind of mist on it. I didn't have my macro lens with me so this was with my 50mm 1.8. Thinking about it I think I like it better pulled back at 50mm instead of going in with the 200-300mm macro which would have only shown a small part of the scene.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day 123 of 365

I was out exploring today and found an area that appears to have been scorched by a fire in the last couple of years. The burned trees or bushes, not quite sure, may make for use in a Photoshop abstract composition sometime in the future. I figure when I can't find things that would look good framed on a wall somewhere I can find things to use as textures or as a part of something else creative.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 122 of 365

My inspiration for this was by pic_chiq who has been very helpful and gives great feedback on Flickr. She does a lot of reverse lens shots so tonight I tried my hand at it. Reverse lens you ask...well I did it the hard way which is to have one lens attached to my camera and turn another lens around and hold it for dear life against the end of the attached lens. No autofocus so moving the camera back and forth trying to get the subject in focus is the only way. I was literally less than an inch from the paper snowflake so this is extreme macro. The above photo is one of the end pieces you can see in the photo below.

There are easier ways to do this. You can get a reverse lens mount so you can attach your lens directly to the camera backwards. You can also get a focus rail, which aren't cheap, so you can move the camera back and forth on the tripod instead of moving the object or tripod, to get the correct focus. Here's a site with a little more info.

I think the next time I try this it will be with flowers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 121 of 365

A rainy day here on the California central coast so thought I'd revisit macro raindrops. Because it was so rainy I decided I better cover my camera. I haven't tried working with a plastic bag cover before so it was a bit awkward but mostly in the manual focusing department. Because I was working with my 70-300mm macro lens at 300mm which has a f/stop of 5.6 minimum I upped my ISO to 400. This gave me around 1/200 to 1/300 of a second shutter speed which I was hoping would give me enough time to get a steady shot. This shot is a little more out of focus than I was hoping for the thankfully the in focus part has the best raindrops so I will call this shot a happy accident.

I think it is to rain the entire weekend so I may explore this some more but somewhere with more interesting material than my backyard.