Monday, May 23, 2011

Gratuitous Cat Photo

Been quite busy lately and had little time to post, but I've been snapping photos whenever possible. Just to keep things going, here's a cat photo.

But not just any cat photo! This is little Penny, the loaf cat of Woodridge, IL, from a fun perspective. I reiterate my previous statement - there's no better subject than a static one, and few animals are so photogenic and static.

Penny in Perspective
ISO 200  20mm  f/2.0  1/25 sec

Where's Waldo quiz - can you find find the second subject in this image? Hint - he's holding a camera. Unfortunately this jpeg makes this less impressive, but I'll email you the raw file if you really care that much.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Steel Man

Not the Man of Steel, mind you. Quite the opposite as this is the face of a veterans memorial statue from a very small park, which is basically the parking lot of a municipal storage building. You wouldn't even know it's there, but I drive by in on my way to work and I found it once when picking up some free mulch.

Without further ado, here's an photo I took this morning:

The Steel Man
ISO 200  20mm  f/2.2  1/500 sec
It was very overcast which helped some, as a bright day would have been all wrong and possibly forced me to use a smaller aperture. Still the bottom left required me to really burn back the overexposure. Next I cropped, changed to black and white and voila!

More interesting than the technical aspects are the emotive ones. The sculptor did fine work and all I can do is represent him or her well. The eyes especially. No point saying more - I hope you find it pleasing and just a little moving.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Once more into the breach!

That's about as absurd a title as I could come up with for "once again I got before 7:00 AM on a weekend and took some photos of flowers in my back yard." If I didn't amuse myself I'd probably cease to exist.

I really liked what I had the other day taking photos of back-lit daffodils, but I didn't take nearly as many as I wished. Here are a couple more takes on that idea. Exploring the theme, if you will.

ISO 200   20mm   f/5.6   1/1000 sec

ISO 200   20mm   f/2.5   1/2000 sec
 Both of these are the same flower and the sun is directly behind, which adds to the translucency. I particularly liked the triangles that are made when two petals overlap - it's not something you see unless there's a strong back light and it changes how you perceive the flower's shape.

Neither of these really did what I wanted, not that I could have clearly articulated what I was trying to do until I got back to the computer. Perhaps it was because I couldn't quite isolate the flower from the surroundings - other flowers, trees in the back, leaves. I have about 10 shots at different apertures and tried a bunch of crops, but I couldn't quite get this the way I wanted. Perhaps I should have found a way to block out everything else so that I could physically isolate the flower, but that seems like cheating. Surmountable problems? Sure - that's why I practice!

ISO 200   20mm   f/2.5   1/2000 sec
For those of you following along at home this is the same spot (maybe same flower) that I took the halo shot of a couple weeks ago. This time I made sure to obscure the sun completely behind the flower and I think it creates a neat image.

I did a fair amount of processing this photo, especially by desaturating the background colors and pumping up the yellow and orange. I tried this as black and white, and it's neat, but the color is just so nice that I like keeping it in this time. It's a give and take for aperture as I want enough to have detail on all of the flower, but I really want that bokeh in the background. Not perfect, but I like it.

I will officially put a few more items into my bag of tricks:
--Be mindful of aperture so that you get enough detail in a flower, but still have good isolation
--Pay attention to the background, especially things you can't crop out
--Sun behind a flower is really cool