Sunday, June 28, 2009

Circle Theme

Week 2

This is probably going to be harder than I thought.... I had a couple of ideas this week that I pursued and this was the best I could do. The reason I think it is going to be hard is that each week I'll have less and less to choose from.

I chose a theme (circles) and then went out to shoot it. The photographs were all taken today down on Stephen Avenue in Calgary. I went for black and white again this week because it is artsy and just seemed right. Lighting was all natural, late morning light.

I've used this concept before, see for example this grouping of flowers in Brisbane by clicking here.

The camera was a D3 hand held mostly in aperture preferred mode and wide open, 70-300 mm VR Nikkor lens at various focal lengths, ASA 200 or 400 set to get acceptable shutter speed. I was stuck with Elements 5.0 on my baby laptop to crop each circle to a square format, increase the contrast, and convert to black and white.

Idea based on Shoot a Theme, pages 118-119 in the book 50 Photo Projects, by Lee Frost

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Start a Photo Blog

Week 1

Today I was in Borders and noticed a book that I had not seen before and ended up buying - 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost. I like his work and here is a link to his web site:

When I saw the title, I immediately had the idea for a project a week for a year (Mr. Frost needs to add 2 more projects when he updates the book) . There are a lot of people doing 365 photo projects where they take a shot a day for a year. I don't think this would work well for me. Firstly, I don't think I could get a good shot every day and I am looking to improve my quality. Secondly, I might be in a hurry just to get a shot and be adverse to trying something new because it might not turn out. Having a week to develop an idea gives time to try something new and perhaps maintain or improve the quality.

The rules for my one year project are:

1) the photo and project is to be taken between Monday and Sunday of the week (I'll give myself a little leeway on when I publish it though), 2) one of the projects in the book must be used as the starting point for the idea of the photo but it need not be exact, 3) the projects do not have to be in the same order as the book, 4) within 52 weeks I have to use all 50 of the ideas, 5) I'll come up with new ideas of my own for the remaining two weeks, and 6) I'll explain the idea and the technical background of the photo in the blog post as appropriate to document the learning experience.

The project for week 1 came from page 122 of the book and is simple: Start a Photo Blog, and that is what I have just done.

The picture for the week is an exercise in lighting and making a high quality head shot. Other than I started a blog with it, it isn't based on ideas from the book. The color version looked OK but black and white seemed better suited to a classical musician. Lighting information and technical data as follows:

SB600 main light camera right about 3 feet away and just above head high in a very small soft box @ half power

SB600 fill light light from camera left in feathered shoot through umbrella w/ half cover to prevent background spill @ qtr power about 5 feet away.

SB600 with blue gel on background @ half power. Background wall about 4 feet back.

SB800 on camera acting as controller only. All SB600s under manual control.
Nikon D3 105 mm f8 @ 1/60
Converted to black and white in photoshop with black and white adjustment layer and applied a light sepia tone. The sepia was masked out from his eyes and the shirt (jaundice and a stained shirt - not good).

Idea based on Start a Photo Blog, pages 122-123 in the book 50 Photo Projects, by Lee Frost