Tag Archives: photos

August 2014 – if at first you don’t succeed

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There are too many details for me to share. I know the point of this whole monthly project was to document the process in its entirety but you will have to bear with me as I try to find a good work life hobby hobby hobby family balance.
Yes I too have found myself in the ranks of the over-committed and starting Wednesday get to add a return to university to my already intense schedule. If only I was studying film or something…

I digress – I wanted to take a couple of minutes and probably 2 or 3 posts to fill in the blanks since my last post. No I didn’t give up. I’m not really like that when it comes to things I think I should be good at.
I set out to take a picture with vivid colors involving fractals and I think the creative process is in full swing.

I realized after the last round that I needed a few things – and I probably should have spent more time trying to come up with a storyboard and exactly what I wanted to do with this picture, but over the past 2 days I thought about it and decided I would make a second attempt with more paint and with more mirrors.

I wanted to get reflections of reflections like in a Kaleidoscope and allow the fractal to be created in 2 dimensions.

I bought some crayola washable paints and 5 mirrors from the dollar store…and new batteries for my flash. Always always always have spare batteries for your flash.

Anyway. I played around with mirrors on top of mirrors and tealights and even had a pretty good setup with 5 mirrors and 10 tealights making this super cool pattern (what happened to the paint you ask – I was playing ok, just to see what I could do) and it seemed to work out with fractals in 3 dimensions, maybe not quite as much depth as I had originally hoped, but fractals none the less. Long story short a mirror fell down and spilled candles hot wax and flames all over my backdrop. Yes I am determined to burn down my house.

That aside I was really excited a decided to keep going rearranging a reconfiguring the mirrors and a single tea light.

The result is posted above. I like it.

There were still a few things I knew I needed to fix for the fractal picture.

So ultimately I moved mirrors angles and repositioned back drops and speedlights to get the real high key effect I was going for.

Here is what the setup looked like.

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Notice that I had to surround every angle in white sheets to allows for maximum light to reflect and wash out ever part of the image. I even had to cover my camera to prevent it from being a bold black blob in the picture.

The reverse angle might tell the story a bit better.
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You can see I am using a fairly simple 2 flash setup. The flash behind the mirrors is actually a bounce flash off of my thankfully white ceiling. The speedlight is diffused as wide as it will go with a white reflector to give as much of a soft wrapping light as possible to blow out as much of the white highlights as possible.

In my post processing post (coming up in about 5 minutes). You will see the difference the shallow angle can make in a setup with a mirror like this.

Please feel free to comment below.

June 2014 – down to the wire

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More time is ALWAYS a good thing – almost.

This month I made photography low on the priority list.

Today I planned, set up, shot, post processed and now published a picture that I consider well worthy of being called part of my “2014 photo project”

It probably wont win any awards for “best story” or most imaginative, but it is a testimony of how much creative power lives just under the surface.

My kids remind me of it constantly – the power of imagination – when you are willing to let go of the “rules” are engage an idea fully.

I hope these pictures are as much fun for you as they are for me.

If you have been following along on my monthly project July should prove to be a bit better on the “open spaces front” I still plan to include some of my ideas for wide open spaces, but I will have to save that for next month.

For now. Enjoy some bubbles with some even more fun lighting.

Thanks for looking and reading.

Feel free to share and comment!

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June 2014- it takes a little effort

So the concept isnt always easy to execute.  No matter how well planned it takes a bit of finesse toget things right.  Thats why there is gaff tape.  If you are a photographer and you don’t have gaffer’s tape (aka gaff or gaffing) GET SOME.  Duct tape is not the same. 

Okok enough about that.

I got some pretty preliminary test images.  I wasnt entirely happy with the flat images I got.  Too much light too much white background and not nearly enough contrast.

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Not a bad photo just not amazing.  The catchlights (which you cant really see above) are what I was looking for so with a few minor changes I was hoping for the best.

I reduced the diffusion, I increased the flash intensity, I removed the white backdrop and lowered my f stop to f8. 

This is what I got

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Not bad.  Entirely useable and much more dramatic but I noticed the catchlights looked better from above ( I was standing over the whole thing while shooting)  so I repositioned the camera.

This is an example of the result.

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On to post production. 

Wish me luck only 3 hours to go. 

June 2014- the unexpected

Wether it is gear failure bad weather or clients who cancel last minute photographers deal with a ton of unexpected circumstances.  So what do you do when life presents an unfair mix of negativity?  What every other success person in the world does.  Persevere. 
Now, im no protographer, (yes i did spell it like that on purpose) I dont depend on my photographs to pay my mortgage or feed my family but I do take it quite seriously.  So when this week presented one of the wettest weeks on record in the canadian prairies I got pretty down.  Drab grey clouds dont produce the kind of prairie skies that make an open panorama engaging and uplifting.  I thought of all the ways I could make it work but travelling is not recommended due to flooding and the fields would be nearly impossible to traverse in order to get the shot.  Please dont hear me say a good shot isn’t worth it and likely if I was making a living of this I would have been out 2 or 3 times trying to get a good picture.
All that to say my June image is not going according to plan so I have decided to adapt.  To be flexible to try and attain what I think is a crazy goal. 

Plan setup shoot post process and publish an image in 9 hours the whole time capturing and posting the process all while balancing thr demands on 3 kids. 
I make no promises but I think this is going to be fun…

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May 2014 – a wedding

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Well, it didn’t kill me. Although at several points I was certain I was going to die. Trying to be inconspicuous and still get up close and personal with a wedding ceremony is a task best saved for a solid 180mm lense. I brought a 50mm…
Lesson learned.
Fortunately for me I wasn’t “THE” photographer.
I actually had a lot of fun once I got into it. I found myself inspired even.

I know that the idea of my blog was to share the whole brutal process of selecting a frame and talking about post processing, but life has been far to demanding lately for that. My apologies.

I will leave you with this.
When you take a good photograph post processing becomes easy. I cropped I converted to B and W and I added a bit of vignette.
Done.

I am happy with it.

I am also happy not to shoot a wedding again…

May 2014 – The wedding shoot

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Trust me when I say this.  I am extremely hesitant to do any portrait photography, and I don’t think I have the experience or the proper lighting gear to shoot a good wedding.
That being said my mom’s cousin asked me to shoot her wedding in addition to the photographer they highered.  I said yes to that since I won’t be the professional photog. 
This takes all the pressure off and allows me to gain some experience shooting a wedding.  Should be fun and gives me an opportunity to complete my 2014 photo project may photo. 

I’ll set it up for you later but for now I have to get back to the wedding I’m currently at.  The above photo was taken today and since I was in the wedding party I had to leave my fancy camera at home.   It was shot and edited on my samsung smartphone. 

April 2014 – On location NYC

I have not settled on this as the final post processed image, but this is what I am going for. This is a true HDR merged with photoshops Merge to HDR pro. I am relatively happy with the tone mapping, but the color appears a touch too yellow for me taste. It also seems to matter a lot what mood im in. I am going to attempt to get the same dynamic range with a photo exposure stack using the layers blending options in photoshop.

I won’t call this the final product, but you get the idea. I am relatively happy with the composition and this shot works well for both large prints and square format prints.

Let me know what you think.

Since I am feeling lazy today you don’t get the step by step. If you want it – comment in the comments section below and I will follow up with a post on the full process involved.

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I have also included an exposure stack of the image I had original chosen when I was exploring NYC looking for a location.
I think it turned out kinda cool, but it is missing a story, some sort of hook to connect me with that time and place.

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Finally I have included one of the shots from sunset over new york. What a cool moment.

I will almost certainly make a print of this for my own purposes. The top of the rock observatory prevents commercial photography so unlike my other prints this one will not be for sale.
If you are desperate to get your hands on it for some reason we can work something out.

sunset nyc

April 2014 – New York Post processing

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I have included some low res test shots right out of camera for you to see.

The sunrise in central park requires a dynamic range I simply could not get with a single shot.

I like the composition of the tower with the rock and trees in the foreground less at sunrise then I did the previous night and the sun rose much further north than I had expected so the light cast hard shadows in places that I was hoping would be highlighted.

As a result the one shot this month that I will concentrate on is the trees backlit by the sun.

I also go some great shots from the rooftop observatory which we planned very much to be there for sunset and were greeted with almost perfect conditions, so this project has payed huge dividends already for me.

Careful planning and setup is key to getting it right in camera, and I will only need to do some exposure blending and sharpening to get the final products I am looking for for these pictures.

It is nice not to have to rely on software to get a good image. I’ll say that a different way. Get it right in camera and let the software do softwarelike stuff (ie. Panorama stitching – dust removal etc.)

Hope you enjoy these sample images.

I hope to post the final product this week.
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