Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 181 of 365

My wife likes to make dream boards and there were several on the wall in the garage, which had previously been her art room. I was looking for something to photograph tonight and thought about the zoom with shutter open technique, I'm sure there's a more formal name but that works for me.

How does the technique work? I set my shutter speed to 4 seconds (after checking the amount of light I'd need) and using my 70-300mm lens I zoomed into the area I wanted to make the focus, in this case the word reality, and set the manual focus at that point. Using my cable release and with my other hand on the lens zoom I pressed the shutter release and waited a second. After the second, which was a fast one thousand one, I started to zoom back out, which created the zoom trails.

I think you all may see some more of these over the next few days. I really want to explore this technique.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 180 of 365

Jason over at Canon Blogger posted about light painting the other day and it inspired me to play a little with a strand of white Christmas lights. I tied a purple ribbon around some of the lights for some other color than white. May look for some cheap multi-color blinking lights in the future to use for this. I was twirling the lights to get this shot.

Speaking of Jason and Canon Blogger, he has another great contest he just posted about this evening. So this is fresh off the presses. The contest is to win a copy of the OnOne Plugin Suite 4.5 and the theme is Numbers. Get the specific here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 179 of 365

Picked a large maple leaf the other day and finally got around to using it. Wanted to work with lighting from below again to see if I could get a good shot of the the veins and ribs.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 178 of 365

My beautiful and wonderful wife, Jen, was outside blowing bubbles this afternoon so I thought I take a few photos.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 177 of 365

We were sitting on the couch watching some tv and my wife looked out the window and exclaimed that we have a turkey on our roof. We had a wild turkey for whatever reason walking around on our roof. We see them all the time roaming around but never one on our roof. Figured it was a photo worthy experience. Unfortunately the sky was our typical overcast so not much to shoot against.

Thanks for the all feedback on yesterdays photo. It really helped...I knew it was probably blown out but being told so and composition feedback was much appreciated.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 176 of 365

Was about to clean some strawberries and had this shot pop into my head. I wasn't going to go so high key but I just couldn't get the background pure white using my lights so had to pull out the flash. So...please tell me what you think. Too bright? The bowl of strawberries too out of focus? Was going for the front strawberries being the focus.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 175 of 365

Originally was going to do another high key shot but it wasn't working as I wanted so went with lighting from below. Used a dry leaf with nice veins and patterns and put a bright light about 6 inches below it. Used the reverse lens technique to get in close. A little more blurry than I was going for but I found a way to bring out some details on items that are semi-transparent for future ideas.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 174 of 365

I wanted to try the high key technique again tonight but with something not already plain white. The statue of Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles, my wife got from her family for her recent Zero Balancing certification, served as my model. It's base white but has lots of blue paint for the shadow lines and jewelry. Instead of a full shot I played around with closeups . The photo below is an inverted version. I was playing around and wondered what it would look like inverted and liked the look.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 173 of 365

Thought I'd try my hand at a high key photo. I got the left cup a little brighter than the right but for the first try I kind of like it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 172 of 365

I've been meaning to post a list of fellow 365 project participates and other photography blogs I follow for a while now but just never got around to it. Today I will finally get around to it. Since finally get around to setting up Google Reader so I can follow blogs it has been so much easier.

Here is my list of photography blogs I check often (most are 365 projects but there are other sites here worth checking as well). The list is made up of those of you nice enough to visit me and leave a comment and I followed back or from people I've met on Twitter. I think I've listed everyone...you all provide me with valuable feedback and inspiration and I enjoy following along with your projects as well so thank you :)

365 Photos in 2009 by Julie
A Creek in the Back by Karen
A Walk Through Durham Township by Kathleen Connally
Andy C - Project 365 by Andy
Annoyingly Boring? by PG
Bingdella 365 by J.
Borrowing the Light by Julie
Cel's Project 365 by Celina
Craig's Random Ramblings by Craig
Danudins 2009 - 365 Challenge by Ron
Digital Detours by Becky
Fort Ephemera by Michael
Hope and Feathers by bberburb
Ilan Bresler Photography
Jo's Blog by Jo
Joricel Photography by Joey
K Jordan Images by Karen
My Photo Hobby by Izabela
Nancypics by Nancy
Nikon Princess by Credd
Pete's Blog by Peter
Pic A Day by Linda
Quotidian Photography by Jessica
Ron Durbin Photography
Seeded Earth by Bo
SLF Photography by Sharon
Stephen Ip Photography
Will King Photography
The Windy Pixel

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 170 of 365

I've been struggling of late with the idea that my photos are simple. I shouldn't struggle with this idea because I follow the K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple...Stupid!) formula pretty much for everything so simple is really part of my overall makeup in life. I guess what has gotten me stuck on this is because I do want to do "big" shoots and try and do complicated stuff but I can't seem to figure out how to do this. Maybe I'm just messing with myself here. I imagine that my "simple" work may be difficult for others to pull off so maybe I should just embrace my artistic vision for what it is and just let everything else come to me in time.

Enough of that...

I do like how todays photo turned out. I yanked a couple of long pieces of tall grass from outside my garage door (I need to take the weedeater to them eventually but thankfully I hadn't yet) to play with this evening. I wanted to play with angles more than anything. I find myself taking lots of shots either straight on with the "model" straight up or from the side going across the frame. This one the grass stem is in the background the the tips are bending back towards me. I liked this especially for the way the background turned out. The stems almost looks like an x-ray and because of the angle appear far larger than they really are.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 169 of 365

Went to my first ever Tweetup this evening. These are all (except for a few) people from the Monterey area that are on Twitter, a social networking platform. It was nice meeting people with some similar interests. This was towards the end of the evening and a few people had already left. Only 2 people were locals...the rest of us are transplants to the area, which is telling because locals seem to be less likely to do this sort of thing. At least from my experience...Monterey is just really odd.

I didn't intend on using the group photo as my daily but as I was looking at it I realized a few things. It was getting dark so there wasn't a lot of natural sunlight left in the cafe we were at and the interior lights were fairly low. I upped my ISO to 400 but left my aperture at 1.8 and shutter speed at 1/80 sec. Because of the f/1.8 a few people aren't quite in focus and I knew this from other occasions and didn't remember. Unless I upped my ISO even further I don't think I could have gotten a much higher f/stop so it was in better focus.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 168 of 365

Drove up to East Palo Alto (168 miles round trip) for a special trip to IKEA to buy Jen a chair for her art/study room on her birthday. Took the camera with me into the store and took a few photos but liked this one best. I think the arrow is telling me that the chocolate will go straight to my ass if eaten. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 167 of 365

I didn't have any ideas for today's photo so decided to dig through some storage bins in the garage. Came across my old Boy Scout uniform and several patches, badges and books. I think I quit about the time I hit high school and got more involved in sports and girls. As you can see I have a hard time getting rid of memories.

What I'm wanting to really do is multiple item still life. I think I've got the single item thing down so now it's time to try and figure out how to light several items. This will be a challenge mostly due to gear but I'll see what I can do. I'll tap into my adapt and overcome skills I learned in the Army.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 166 of 365

How about some purple...with some more purple thrown in for good measure. I could almost get rid of the bougainvillea and just take a photo of the background, which is a purple metallic table cloth thingy someone gave my wife, which is now in my background library as of tonight.

Tonight I wanted to practice lighting the subject separate from the background. I had one light on the background and one on the flowers coming from the side with a bounce on the right. Lighting could be better but I learned something from the experience and will experiment more another day.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 164 of 365

Just an old picnic table out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but chaparral and tall grass.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 163 of 365

With my office being moved earlier this week and me being a bit tired from all the packing, coordinating the move, unpacking and organizing I'm a bit tired.

Outside the new building my office is in is this rather large bush with large white and yellow flowers on it. The petals are white and the center is yellow. The white petals look like crumpled paper and are really cool looking. I had hoped to get some photos of the flowers and grabbed one as I was leaving work tonight. Didn't really like any of the photos I took of it so went with the ol' waterdrop standby. I guess when all else fails just sprinkle water on your subject...

I think I will try again with one of these flowers but use my regular macro lens instead of the 2 lens reverse macro technique.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 162 of 365

Another 2 lens reverse macro shot. I have no clue how I got these results. It may be a bit too dark but my wife and I both went "hmm" when we saw it while looking through the photos I took tonight to pick my photo of the day.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 161 of 365

Sometimes not doing yard work as often as I probably should provides me some material to shoot. This is a tall stalk of some kind of grass. I grabbed one and brought it inside to work with in a control atmosphere instead of fighting the wind. I took plenty of 2 lens reverse macro shots but ended up using this, which was shot with my 50mm. I shot against a black background and bounced my old flash from below. I put a piece of white foam board underneath and pointed the flash down towards it from the right side. I had a homemade snoot on the flash so the light went where I wanted instead of just flooding the whole area with light. I think it worked pretty well.

I'm also posting a few post processed versions. Now that I'm almost half way through this project I think I'd like to occasionally include processed versions along with my unprocessed versions.

This first processed version is straight black & white. While it is pretty much the same as the regular version, the removal of the small amount of color gives it a different feel.

This next version is negative or inverted. I think I should have made it black and white first and then inverted. I think I would have liked it better that way and didn't realize it until I had already posted it to Flickr and started working on this post.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 160 of 365

Back to the 2 lens reverse macro technique. I found these little flowers in our front yard and picked a few for this shot. Shot against a red background to see how it looks. I'm trying to introduce a little more color into the project. I find myself shooting against black all the time and while I like what I've done it kind of makes me feel like a dark and dreary person and that's not how I want to come across.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 159 of 365

Bought a yard of red fabric from one of the local craft stores over the weekend. Thought I'd play around a little with color and lighting. No direct light on this. I bounced my work lights off of a couple pieces of white poster board to soften it. Had a piece of clear acetate under the yarn for the reflection.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 158 of 365

Our favorite coffee hangout, Acme Coffee in Seaside CA, sponsored a small flea market today so we went to see what kind of treasures we could find. Because I feel uncomfortable taking photos of people that I don't know I decided to try shooting from the hip. With a Blackrapid strap it is pretty easy to do. I just held the camera as straight as I could and pressed the shutter release randomly as I was walking around the market. The above is one of the random shots that I liked the best. Mostly because it actually has some composition and I liked the shadows.

It was nice getting out and doing something random instead of sitting in my garage late at night stressing over my photo of the day. This should be fun right? :)

Thanks everyone for the comments and encouragement they are very much appreciated.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day 157 of 365

So I've been at this project for a little over 5 months and have had a few points where I felt like I was tapped creatively and was just doing the same thing over and over. Well I entered another low point and in an attempt to push through it I'm just doing whatever wacky thing enters into my head.

Doing the same thing over and over isn't a bad thing. Repetition is good as it reinforces the skill and makes it second nature. I guess I'm looking at it more as this 365 straight days of photography as a way for me to discover what photography style is my favorite and to form my own style.

So far I've tried landscape and found it uninspiring. Not uninspiring to look at...some of my favorite photography is of landscapes. I just didn't feel inspired to do it myself. I've done flowers to death and I'm sure will continue to do them but will continue to find new ways to photograph them. Reverse macro has been fun but I wonder if there's other techniques I haven't discovered yet? I haven't really done portrait and I find it a bit overwhelming. I've read the websites and the books and there all these things you should do and things you shouldn't do, equipment and lighting needs, multiple lights, single light, natural light, strobe this, strobe that, soft boxes...argh...just so much more than I really want to deal with. I live by the following mantra...Keep It Simple...Stupid! (or KISS). When someone comes up with a simple way to do portraits let me know.

Enough of my ranting...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 156 of 365

I've been thinking of doing some projects where I take macro shots of different distinctive parts of an object and see how it would look as a triptych or larger collage. Tonight I played around a little with that with tools. I've only posted one shot though as I don't have time to put anything larger together.

I also played around focus. I asked myself if the subject always has to be in focus? The results were mixed but I think it's something to explore.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 155 of 365

Want to take more photos of food while in prep phase or cooked but presented nicely. This isn't the greatest for a couple different reasons. We had just come from grocery shopping and were hungry and still needed to put it in the oven to cook and the natural sunlight was almost gone so I was in a hurry. Because of the failing light I had to shoot at f/1.8 or start bumping up my ISO, which I try not to do. So it's a little more out of focus than I would have liked. I would have also cleaned up the stray pieces of cheese off the pizza stone and table. Oh...and centered it better in the frame.

The pizza however tasted mighty good.

(edit - This is the greatest... changed to This isn't the greatest. Forgot the n't last night while typing)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 154 of 365

Last day of classes and finals tonight so I'm a bit tired and not feeling very inspired. This is a 2 lens reverse macro of lettuce. Like I said...not very inspired :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day 153 of 365

I wasn't expecting this kind of color display when I grabbed a bottle of bubbles and was playing around. I originally wanted to try and just have my mouth showing blowing through the wand with bubbles but found that a bit difficult to setup. So I tried to just have bubbles but the wand and my fingers were in the shot. I gave up but after downloading to my computer I think I like the wand and just a bit of my fingers in the shot. It lets you know what it is...without them the bubbles may just look like light swirls.

I shot this against a black background, which was about 2 feet behind where I was sitting. I had one work light near the back wall to the right of the photo shining into the area the bubbles would be and another work light directly to the left shining straight across towards me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 152 of 365

My wife pointed out a rather large spider web in our backyard today while home for lunch. When I got home from work I grabbed a water bottle and my camera with the 2 lens reverse macro setup and tried to get some decent water drop on spider web photos. A couple issues...wind is not your friend with this technique and spiders give me the willies so was on the look out for what I could only imagine was a large spider coming to get me for soaking it's web. This shot was the best of the bunch I took. I think I may try it again but with my regular macro lens and a tripod. The brown background is from my backyard fence that is 10 or so feet behind where I was shooting.

I would also like to welcome any new visitors that found me via Photoblogs.org. Appreciate you taking the time to check out my 365 Project. For my regular visitors and friends with photo blogs. Check out the site and think about registering, I did so today.