Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canada in the style of Norman Rockwell

Week 34

This week's picture is full of cliches of Canada - Hockey, the grand hotel at Lake Louise, and of course winter.  The idea is to pick a theme that instantly tells you where the shot was taken.  This one kind of seems a bit like Norman Rockwell to me it is so old fashioned.

They are playing out on open ice which you really don't see much any more.  I don't really know hockey, but in this format there are only 3 people per team on the ice at any one time.  The goal is unguarded.  The Chiefs were playing the Slapsticks and they were killing them.

The camera is a Nikon D3 in aperture priority at f/8, ISO 200, which results in a shutter speed of 1/640.  I might should have set ISO to 400 to get shutter speed over 1/1000 but it is still pretty sharp.  The lens is the AF-S Nikkor 24-70 1:2.8G ED.  I find I use this lens more than any other.  It was a cloudy day and thus not too contrasty to get both the sky, ice, and people fairly well exposed.

Post consisted of adding micro contrast with the Topaz Adjust 3 plug-in to PhotoShop, adjusting red saturation to make the jerseys pop, lighten the faces, and a gradient to the sky with soft light to give the clouds more drama.  It is cropped of course in a horizontal pano format.

Idea based on It's in the Detail, pages 54-5 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fishy Business

Week 33

The Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle is a great place to take a photo and I couldn't pass it by this last weekend. Food markets and fish in general are photogenic I think. They are probably my favorite place to take candid pictures of people.

The picture was taken in natural light (a mix of tungsten, fluorescent, and I don't know what) with a Nikon D3 and an AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D lens. This is Nikon's cheapest lens but a good one. It is fast and sharp. I carry it always because it is so light weight. The camera ISO is set at 400, aperture is f/4 and shutter speed is 1/60 seconds.

I cropped the photo in post and did some work with the clone stamp tool on the sign in the top right to get rid of some bad glare. The Topaz Adjust 3 plug-in was used to get the HDR like effect.

Idea based on Food for Thought, pages 40-41 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Three Horses

Week 32

These three horses were walking in the snow near Rocky Mountain House, a historic trading post in Alberta. Things in threes look natural and appealing. Three is lucky in most cultures and I've always considered it my lucky number (I have a 3 in my name, there are three brothers, and it just seems things come in threes).

We normally think of, and present, a photo as a single entity. But things occur over time and in different locations. Often a story works better with more than one picture. And artists have done pictures in threes (or triptychs) for a very long time. Early altar paintings in churches were often done in triptchs. I've even used them before myself, like in this fireworks display taken on the Buddha's Birthday in Brisbane.

This triptych actually started as one photograph. It was cloudy and snowing when I took the picture. The sun is behind me but because of the clouds the light is soft and kind of flat. The camera is a Nikon D3 in aperture preferred mode set at f/8 with an exposure bias of +1 stop which gets the snow white (I bracketed the shot) and the camera chose 1/80 second. ISO is 200 - I might should have had it at 400 to get that extra sharpness but it isn't bad. The lens is an AF-S Nikkor 70-300 1:4.5-5.6 zoomed to 140mm. The key here is to expose a bit more here than what the meter says in order to get the snow right.

To make a triptych I divided the shot up into 3 layers, each one with a horse. I then resized the 3 layers a little smaller and moved them on the background to where I wanted them. I used layer effects to drop a shadow on the background and make them appear to float on it. Then I rendered some cloud effects on the background and darkened it so the layers with horses would pop a little more.

Idea based on Three of a Kind, pages 134-135 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Banff Snails

Week 31

This is one of the stranger posts I'll probably make on this site. The swirling masses, green and white, are algae in a sulfurous hot spring. The eyes and nose are rocks. The little pimples are the endangered Banff snail, who lives only in these springs.

One of the sections of the book is about sands on the beach. We don't have any seashores in Alberta, but we do have sulfurous hot springs with algae in them so that is what I shot. Sand moved by water and wind has abstract patterns, textures, shadows, and subtle color. So does algae. And the rare snails add extra interest.

The camera is a D3, ISO 200, in aperture preferred mode. The camera chose a shutter speed of 1/80 second. The lens is my new AF-S Nikkor 70-200 1:2.8GII ED at 200mm to zoom as close as I could from the rail I was behind. I hand held and steadied the camera on the rail.

Post was a crop and some saturation boost.

Idea from Sands of Time, pages 106-107 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.