Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Heh...just discovered that my birthday is the 272 day of the year. My old pair of brown John Fluevog shoes finally gave out a couple months ago so my wife got me a new pair of a different style for my b-day. I have a blue pair of this same style. Thought I'd try my hand at a product shot. Not sure if I like the lights in the background or not...looked better in my head.
A few other variations of the shoe shot.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
There are very few cheap events in the Monterey area so I try and take advantage of the cheap or in this case free ones when I can. This week is Cherry Jubilee, which is a vintage hot rod show at different venues around the area. Today it was in downtown Monterey so I walked around and took some photos. I'm not a car person really but I do enjoy looking at vintage hot rods. Put a fancy European mid life crisis car next to a vintage hot rod and I'll not even look at the European car.
While I enjoyed looking at the cars I didn't really enjoy the photography experience. It's frustrating in this type of venue, which was on a street and in a large parking lot. People milling around all over the place so you had to wait for people to move out of the way and because of the incredible shine on the cars it was hard not getting reflections that don't make for good photos. Some cars were in the shade while some were in direct sunlight. What I'd really like to do is one day photograph one of these cars in a controlled setting. Out of all the car photos I took today I chose this one because even with all the things going on in it, like the reflections and the bokeh background it gave me a "this could be in a magazine" kind of feeling. I could be wrong on that assessment but I do like to dream :)
Shot with my 50mm f/1.8 at 1/500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I was in a hurry to get my shot done tonight and thought I'd try a similar shot of one of my Twitter friends. Joey (link is to one of his shots that inspired me tonight) is a fantastic photographer and one may call him a bokeh master. This is my half ass attempt at replicating him.
What I need to do next time have a good backdrop. There was a black draped table in the background that has some light spillage from the Christmas lights and can be seen. It was kind of tight quarters so worked with the space I had. The only light on the cup was from the lights in the background and a reflector I used to shine some light onto the front of the cup to define it a little.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
For some reason the curly stem on this leaf was just begging for me to find a way to photograph it. I wanted it to be the focal point but still make it appear to be a part of a leaf, while still using the lighting from below to bring out the details technique I've been using the last couple of days.
Does the negative space work for the shot or against it?
Settings: 0.5 sec, f/11, ISO 100, lit from below
Monday, September 21, 2009
My wife had a special request for todays photo. This is a macro of an oak leaf she brought back from a trip she took with her sister to Vermont a few years ago. I'm finding that using back light really helps bring out the details in things like leaves.
Camera settings were 190mm, 1 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Sunday, September 20, 2009
We have pampas grass growing in various places on this old military base so stopped and cut a couple stalks down today on my way home from running some errands. I fully intended on doing my usual Sunday walk and take some outdoor shots but I found that my camera battery was almost dead when I got to my usual walking spot. Oops...
This shot is lit from the side. Shooting with the tungsten white balance produced boring colors I used the sun setting instead. My camera settings were 1/30 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I was going to use this grape leaf between two sheets of glass like I've been doing the past couple of days but the leaf doesn't like to lay flat. I was determined to figure out a way to back light the leaf and came up with the following. Grabbed two items with flat tops of equal height, set them apart about a foot and draped them in black fabric. Places a sheet of glass on top of the makeshift stand. Put a small office lamp, the kind with the flexible neck, underneath and pointed the light up. The light was about a foot below the glass . After taking some shots of just the top of the leaf I noticed the reflection and wondered how it would look. I think it looks spiffy.
I've been really bad about posting my camera settings but for today they were 1/50 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 and to bring out the colors more I used the sunlight white balance setting.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Same setup as yesterday but with eucalyptus leaves. To bring out the colors I used the sunlight white balance setting instead of the tungsten white balance setting which would be correct for the lighting used. As with yesterday I don't have the ideal setup as there are scratches and lint on the glass used to sandwich the leaves but these would be easy to remove in post.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Not sure what kind of dried leaf this is...maybe some kind of birch? We have various dried leaves around the house and I've been wanting to figure out a way to photograph them with light coming from behind. Today I brainstormed the idea of putting the leaf between two pieces of glass, in this case a piece of glass and a piece of plexiglas, and light from an angle so it's not straight on light. The two pieces of glass weren't the best, scratched up and couldn't get entirely dust free. I put the leaf between the two pieces and taped it together and then stood them straight up so I could shoot straight into the leaf. The light was above and slightly behind about 3 feet up from the leaf. The background was about 2 or so feet behind the setup. Other than the scratches and dust that you can see in the photo I think it came close to how I wanted it to look. I'll continue to play with this but want to get two regular pieces of glass, maybe about 8x10 and wear clean cotton gloves when handling as to not scratch and smudge the glass.
Below is a cleaned up version. I removed the dust specks and scratches that I could find on the glass. Did a slight levels adjustment and a high pass sharpen to bring out the wrinkles and serrated edge more.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Playing with lighting and texture again this evening. Was having some difficulty getting it to look how I was wanting it to so I've again done a little post work much like yesterdays. One thing that just dawned on me was I didn't see how the flower would look with a different white balance setting. I bet if I had changed it from fluorescent light to sunlight the red would have been more vibrant. I did this with the sweet potatoes the other day.
While I strive to try and do everything in camera sometimes I enjoy seeing what I can do with an image in Photoshop. I think this may be only the third or fourth time I've included an edited version of my photo of the day. If you're interested in seeing me do more examples of how I would do post on certain images that may need it please let me know.
Here's my edited version of todays photo.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Was looking around for something to work with this evening and found some chard in the refrigerator. The stem and veins got me to thinking about shooting it like I did the sweet potatoes yesterday.
Using my 70-300mm macro lens, which I used yesterday as well, I put the black fabric on the floor and my tripod fully extended above it. Thankfully the tripod extends out to almost 7 feet so I had to stand on a chair to look through the viewfinder. I took several shots at different shutter speeds and aperture to try and get the best highlight and shadow details. This my shot of the day is the best shot but I wanted to see if I could make it more like I was envisioning.
This next shot is a composition of two shots.
My photo of the day is the base and another much darker version seen below was layered over to help bring in some detail.
Using Photoshop I had my photo of the day as the background image. I pulled the darker image over so it was layer 1. I used the overlay blend mode with layer 1 and then did two separate level adjustments. The first (3rd layer) was to lighten a little and the second (4th layer) was to darken. I did it this way because I used a mask on the 4th layer. With the mask I inverted it (ctrl+backspace) and painted back in some of the dark at a low opacity. Below is a screenshot of my layers panel.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I bought a copy of a magazine that caught my attention the other day. It was a special edition of the magazine, Color. The entire edition was nothing but photos that people had submitted for a portfolio contest. I really liked it for the diversity of different styles.
One particular photographer, Bob Francis, really caught my eye because he was doing stuff that I had attempted early on but went away from. Time to play with the style again. So...tonight I give you sweet potatoes against black background with lighting for texture and shadow.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I find that I keep going to the same place for my photo walks. Because of this laziness, lazy in the sense that I'm sure there are other places to walk around but this place is the most convenient, I've made it a point to look differently at my surroundings each time. Today was kind of a smorgasbord of shots but the next time I think I'll focus solely on textures.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I believe this will be my last attempt at trying to find new and interesting way of using blacklight. I'm tapped...
A tip if you decide too try and use blacklighting in the future. See those spots all over the photo. Those are pieces of lint on the piece of black velvet fabric I used as my backdrop. Can't see them in regular light but they sure do show under black light. I decided too just incorporate into the shot, which isn't much but like I said...I'm tapped.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Ever wonder what garbanzo beans look like before shelled. We never really thought about it even though we buy dried beans all the time for making homemade hummus. We happen to get some unshelled beans in our CSA (community supported agriculture) box this week. They taste like green peas and are good right out of the shell.
I also got my first professionally printed photograph in the mail today. I decided to try Mpix as they are the primary printer for Zenfolio, which will my store front as soon as I get all my photos I want to try and sell uploaded. Below is a photo of what I had printed. It is a 9x12 metallic mounted on a single weight mat board. I wanted to see how it looked on metallic paper as the photo is mostly black and white but with a hint of color from the toned down colorful pin heads. I know Mpix has a great reputation but I was still impressed with how easy it was to setup an account and go through the ordering process. The packaging was very nicely done as well. The photo was in an paper sleeve with a piece of tissue paper between the photo front and thin card stock. This was shrink wrapped onto another piece of cardboard so there was little chance of bending or other damage unless the package was completely mistreated. Here is the photo I had printed and below is a photo of the photo.
Click on photo for a better look.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I started out wanting to try my hand of photographing water drop splashes after seeing a cool photo of one earlier today. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you really need a good off camera flash to do this correctly. I tried to improvise with several lights and just couldn't get my shutter speed fast enough to get a good crisp shot.
While looking through all my attempts I ended up liking this shot of the water with a slight ripple on it and reflections of the light and of course the black light, which was below the glass bowl I had full of water.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Same basic setup as yesterday but this time filled the plastic cups with water and there is a sheet of clear plexiglas between the light and the bottom of the cups. Wanted to have water in them to help make the cups appear more solid and to help with reflections and the plexiglass is there to make a stable flat surface.
The black light may come in handy on occasion but there a few issues. It tends to create hot spots because I only have it an inch or so below the cups. The other thing is just how many things can I photograph with a blueish glow :)
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Went out for a walk this evening down near the Fisherman's Wharf. Didn't find a lot that inspired me but these two rowboats caught my eye. I cut off the lower parts while composing because of unsightly clutter.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
My wife made herself a purse today. The fabric is a Hoffman print, strap is recycled linen and the fastener is a vintage button.
I took some photos of the bag hanging on a dress mannequin but then decided to see how it would look if I stuffed it with some paper to fill it out some and display it with overhead lighting.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Trying different things out to see how they look. This is a couple strings of different colored yarn overlapped and shot out of focus. Need to play around more with how to light these better. Yesterdays was easier to light as the yarn was in a hoop so could the hoop around to get the best lighting. Today the yarn is just laying on a table on black fabric so lit from above only. The photo seems overly pixelated as well...not sure why as the histogram levels weren't that bad. It may be due to the focus I'm guessing.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Criss crossed yarn in a hoop that I had used a while back for some motion patterns. This time I didn't use motion but held it close to the lens and turned the focus ring so it was completely out of focus. Didn't expect the nice geometric shapes.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
When all else fails I always have smoke to photograph. I'm trying to see if I can control it a little better, probably a lost cause but I'm going to try anyway. Having it come out of a bottle instead of just from the incense sticking out of a jar of sand does offer a bit more control. It tends to come out funneled in a stream a bit better and start straight up as opposed to all over the place when out in the open.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I came across an article Scott Bourne of Photofocus wrote today, titled A Few Thoughts on Photographic Styles, that really came at a good time for me. Since the beginning of this 365 project I've been trying to identify just what style I was interested in and had the most fun doing. I enjoy looking at landscape photos but don't particularly enjoy taking them. I don't have a particular interest in portrait so rarely do them. Sports...meh. Food I want to do more of. Still life is interesting but I have yet to push my boundaries on it. I'd like to play more with building more elaborate still life setups instead of just doing one or two items. Macro and abstract, or the combination of the two has been really calling to me. The one thing that has held me back the most on exploring it fully is the sense that I'm alone in my fascination of this style. I can understand why...I know people love flowers and other common things so something not easily explained away can be ignored.
The article I linked to has informed me that I need to explore, or shoot for the moon (too tie in my boring moon shot) and not worry if other people get my work or even enjoy it. I need to be true to me and my artistic vision. Until I allow myself this freedom I'm never going to fully evolve into the photographer I want to be.
I would encourage all of you to read the article written by Scott Bourne if you don't already visit Photofocus. I'd encourage reading it everyday as Scott and another great photographer and teacher, Rick Sammon, are a real asset to our community. If you listen to podcasts I'd also recommend the Photofocus podcast, which you can find links to on the site.