Nov 112011

Hey! How did eight days go by without me posting a photo? It seems like it was just a couple of days ago. Well, to make up for it, I’m going to post 3. I actually shot these a few days back but just now got around to processing them.

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I saw this tree from the road the day before as I was coming home from taking Katy to school. That was the same morning I went and shot at the railroad crossing that I mentioned in the last post. Fortunately, the day I shot this was another beautiful, still morning and there were actually some interesting clouds in the sky. I had to walk to the back of a very large field to get close to this tree. I started out with a wider shot, but when reviewing them in Lightroom, I felt that the wide shots minimized the impact of the tree too much. This is actually an HDR image though it probably could have been done in one shot if the middle exposure had been about a half stop brighter. I used several of Topaz’s products both to reduce noise in the sky and to make the tree pop. I also brightened the tree a little because I remember thinking it was almost glowing with the morning sun hitting it at such a low angle and the file coming out of Photomatix was a little flat.

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After shooting various compositions of the whole tree, I moved in to do some macro work on the dew covered leaves. The one on top is Katy’s favorite and the one below is my favorite. Neither of us can really say why we picked the one we did. It’s an art thing, I guess.

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 Posted by at 12:50 am
Jun 062011

Some weeds are apparently rather photogenic. I found the flower below on the side of the road near an underpass in the Old City section of Knoxville a few weeks back. I had dropped Lisa and Mary off at Barley’s for an end of year celebration for the 4th year vet school students and decided to wander around with my camera. For various reasons, I never really spent much time looking at the shots I got that day and only came back to that folder when looking for photos to show on the last night of my creative photography class (which was earlier tonight).

This shot was literally the last of MANY shots I took. I had to take a lot because I was experimenting with my ring flash and because it was actually somewhat windy that evening so I was trying to shoot a moving target between gusts of wind. I didn’t really have to do much post processing on this one. I punched up the contrast and clarity. I raised the black level a little and added some sharpening and I believe that’s it.

 Posted by at 9:35 pm
May 242011

My creative photography class had a field trip to the UT Arboretum on Saturday. Our first stop of the day was at a large planting of flowers. Truth be told, I’m getting a little tired of flower photos. Still, I came up with what I thought was a decent shot.

What’s more interesting to me about this photo is how I processed it at home. I tried to do as much as I could using Photoshop rather than doing things in Lightroom. I played around with adjustment layers, layer masks, and blending modes. It was a good learning experience.

For the second half of our field trip, we split into teams of two and took turns looking for something that caught our eye and describing to our partner what we liked about it and the decisions we were making about how to shoot it. Then after capturing a few frames, our partner would offer input from a different perspective. It was a fun exercise and I enjoyed getting to know my classmate Ben.

This pond was near our starting point and both Ben and I were interested in shooting reflections. He went first and when it was my turn, I decided to make the reflections secondary to all the ripples the various fish and bugs were making on the surface of the water. I had to go to manual focus because the camera was wanting to focus on the reflection of the trees from the other side of the pond and not the surface of the water. I took a lot of shots but I like this one because it has two distinct ripples meeting in the middle.

We have two weeks until our next and final class. My homework is to get a shot of someone working. Hmmm….

 Posted by at 8:44 pm
Apr 282011

Mother’s Day is fast approaching so I decided to come up with an image that I can have printed and give as a gift. I’ve had some success with shooting flowers so I decided I’d work with that but try something a little different. One of the most difficult parts of the whole thing was finding some roses in decent condition. I finally did find some, however, and then came home and turned the dining room into a temporary studio. Here’s the first shot.

I hung my roll of black felt from the top of the dining room windows and unrolled it enough to drape across the dining room table. Then I took a large piece of glass out of the entertainment center and set it on top of the felt for a reflection. I also used an eye dropper to strategically place a large puddle in front of my main subject, a yellow rose. That actually worked out fairly well in most of the shots I took, but in the shot above, I moved my flash (with my brand new soft box attached) from roughly 45 degrees camera right to just slightly camera left which seems to have eliminated most of the reflection. In the end, I chose this shot because I prefer the lighting on the rose so much more than the shots with the strong reflection.

Now for the next shot.

For this shot, I used all 3 of my extension tubes and my brand new Orbis Ring Flash. I used my 70-200 lens and started out with my smallest extension tube, took a few shots, added the medium extension tube, took a few shots, then finally added the large one before I felt like I was as close as I wanted to be. I lost count of how many shots I took before I finally felt like I had the right parts in focus combined with a good exposure.

I’d really like to get some feedback on which of these two shots should be used for Mother’s Day. Either leave a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter. If you do leave a comment here, please make sure you say who you are unless it’s really obvious by your WordPress account name. I get my share of spambots trying to get through and I’d hate to delete a real comment because I thought it was a bot.

Mar 222011

In honor of a very special friend turning the big Four-Oh today, I set out with my camera to capture an image just for her. Dawn, just let me know what size print you want and I’ll get it to you. I thought it would be cool for you to have a picture of something beautiful that existed on the day you reached this milestone in life.

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Now for the “behind the scenes” info. Getting this image very nearly turned into a race against time as I had a bit of difficulty getting done with work as early as I wanted to. I was also struggling against a persistent stiff breeze. I walked around the UT Gardens for quite a while becoming quite discouraged before I finally found a bed of tulips. After taking a few test shots, I was pleased to find that on ISO 400, I could shot at f8 with a high enough shutter speed to hand hold. (I was worried about the amount of light available as it was quite overcast and the sun was getting low in the sky.) That made it so much easier to work my way closer and closer to my chosen flower while adjusting the zoom and changing angles for different backgrounds.

This shot is one of nearly two identical shots. This is actually the second one I processed and the major difference is that I changed the white balance. Although shot on the Cloudy white balance setting in the camera, I changed the balance to Fluorescent on this one. I immediately liked how it turned what was a boring grey sky in the background to a fairly deep blue. Adding the vignetting to darken the edges added what I consider a dream-like feel to the photograph. It also brought out some of the purplish-blue hues in the tulip and I did some very subtle hue adjustments to accentuate that as well. I spent some time flipping back and forth between the two versions of the image (Cloudy vs. Fluorescent) and called in both Mary and Katy for their opinion. I had already decided I preferred this version but I was happy that they independently agreed.