Tag Archives: new year

Dec 2014 – Only the beginning

I apologise for my lack of writing this past year.  I feel like my whole 2014 project was supposed to focus on a more cohesive process of photography and what I found was that most months I do not have time to properly engage every aspect.  Conceive of setting up testing reshooting post processing and publishing take a huge amount of time.  Most months I was luck if I even got one day to shoot post process and publish.  I have learned so much about photography my own process and how hard it is for me to carve out time to pursue this hobby. 

All that being said I feel as though I had arrived and while at the beginning of the year I had hoped I would have a collection of 12 really unique photos that I loved I quickly discovered not every shot or every experiment works.  Walking through that sometimes painful process has brought me here.  I can be much more selective about what I publish and much more excited about my own personal acheivements and not so concerned with reproducing photos I had seen dozens of times before. 

This truly is only the beginning. 

So how did I shoot the last photo of 2014?

I had an off camera light about 280 degrees facing directly across the frame to the subject.  I had the subject facing about 230 degrees.  I placed a lit sparkler about 1/3 into the frame. 

I played around with the fstop and iso and slowed the shutter to lengthen the exposure of the sparkler as well as the background lights. 

I ended up shooting iso 200 f8 and shutter around 1/30. 

This is what I got out of the camera.

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Its not bad.  I did crop the fingers of the sparkler holder out of the frame. 

I then used a technique to create a bit of a magical feel with a duplicate layer that I blurred to about 30 pixels and then blended with the layer option “screen”

You can see this created a very cool effect but softened the edges and overexposed some of the skin.

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Then I applied a layer mask to the skin and sparkler.
Adjusted the contrast and played with the curves and shadows to try and balance the light a bit better. 

I also adjusted the brightness of the eyes and added some highlights.  This is especially dramatic in the full resolution image but the scaled version here still shows some benefit to the process. 
Lastly I did some minor color correction and sharpening. 

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Happy New Year!

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Dec 2014 – all things new

In contemplating this months shot and this years final picture I have been looking back on the past year and forward to the new one.  I have regrets, hurt, losses and failures all piled into the memory of the past year but simultsneously see hope, life, laughter, joy, song, growth, and triumph woven through my memories.   Not all of what happened this past year has been overwhelmingly good.  My classes, my work, my parenting,  my photography, and my spiritual vitality have all been arenas of failure and disappointment.   In spite of that the year has been derinitively positive.  My kids, my pictures, my relationship with my wife and my church have all encouraged and built up my person in the midst of heartache and struggle. 

It is for these reasons that I look forward to a new year with hope and celebration.  I have for no rational reason a firm thought that next year will be better and I welcome the new year with expectancy.   I rejoice in the thought that a new year is opportunity for all things to be new.

Now how do you capture that hope that joy that excitement and celebration in a photo? 

My thought is to shoot a portrait (a photographic weakness of mine) of a child with some backlight and a sparkler creating a picture of joy with a clear party scene.  A little bit of fill light and perhaps a happy new year 2015 hat or banner to round it all out. 
With 2 days left I think I can do it.

In case I don’t have a chance before the clock strikes 12 where you live…Happy New Year!  Keep your chin up. 

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