Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Shadow Knows

Week 37

This week's topic was suggested by my daughter and while the subject matter was probably the last thing I would have chosen if left to my own it was more fun than just about anything else I've tried lately.  You have to break out of your shell every once in a while...

The camera and setting don't really matter so I'm not even going to get into that.  It is all about shape, light,  and some sort of emotion.

The book covers architectural shadow, urban settings, and objects.  I started with that but once I got started photographing my own shadown I couldn't stop.  I did lots of post - they've been darkened because I liked what it did to the mood.  The two shadows on the sidewalk were manipulated with the Topaz 4 Dark - Ghost filter.

Try it, all you need is the sun.... 

Idea based on Shadowplay, pages 114-115 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Vertical Egret

Week 36

Among my favorite birds are the cranes and egrets.  This is a great white egret in Hermann Park, Houston, Texas.  It is standing on a rock in the Japanese Garden and reminds me of Japanese scrolls I have seen with cranes painted on them.  Accordingly, I have cropped it in a long vertical manner which suits not only the bird but the inspiration.

The camera, is a Nikon D3 in aperture priority mode, f/3.2, ISO 800, and a -0.7 exposure bias that probably should have been a tad lower.  The negative bias was set to keep the feathers from burning out (always remember to check for this on a white bird).  I had it at ISO 800 because I'd been shooting another egret in shade a moment before and wanted to capture the bird in flight when it jumped up.  I could have had it lower here, but the D3 does pretty good at ISO 800.  The resulting shutter speed was 1/8000 second which was certainly fast enough to freeze action on a standing bird. The lens is the AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VRII ED at focal length 200mm.

In post I cropped, added "micro contrast" to the bird only in Topaz Adjust 4, then a vignette.  Adjust 4 is a great Photoshop plug-in and I find myself using it a lot.  Sharpening was applied to the bird and rock.

Idea based on Vertical Limit, pages 156-157 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Week 35

Megan and I have been doing some creative assignments where a topic is selected and we go out and shoot it.  This week I suggested 3 shots of one object from 3 different positions and this is what I came up with.

The subject is an ornamental windmill in the Eau Claire area of Calgary close to the river.  The sky was overcast and the windmill had a very graphic appearance.  I selected 3 views that taken together are somewhat symmetrical with me in front of, to the side, and behind the subject.

Graphic shots need to be simple - it is the shape that it is important.  Maybe these are a little busy due to the detail in the windmill.  In post processing I bumped the contrast way up and made it B&W as the shape is what matters.  There is still some texture and detail in it when you look closely which I like.

Camera is a Nikon D3 in aperture mode, f/8, ISO 200, 1/800 second or so.  The lens is my trusty AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm 1:2.8G ED.  The focal length is varying 40-50mm or so depending on where I was standing.

In post I distorted the middle frame to make it fit where I wanted.  I turned it into a triptych in vertical format just to be different.

Idea based on Go Graphic, pages 44-45 in the book 50 Photo Projects by Lee Frost.