Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Progress has been made

Today was a good day. It started a bit rough, but by the end of the day I was feeling pretty good. I tend to listen to photography podcasts while I work. Today I chose to listen to one about a photographer who purchased a Rebel XT (like mine) back in 2005 (Me too!). This photographer has no formal training (not much here either, only 1/3 of the way thru NYIP Pro Course) and little money at the time for extra gear (bingo). For all intensive purposes, it could have been me, with one big exception. These images popped. Lots of color, interesting subjects, fun to look at images. I was furious. I have been struggling, no pleading with my XT to give me some color, some life to my images. I want to do as much in camera work as I can so I do little post processing at a computer (where I will get sucked into the infinite possiblitites of post production tweaks). As of yet it has never happened for me. All I want are a few images where someone stops and utters the quiet, under the breath "ooooohhh". Just once I wish to stop someone in his or her tracks without prompting them for a compliment. This photographer has it, with the same camera I have been fighting with for years. Which of course means only one thing. Yup, it is me and not the camera. Now I am certain that the colors and 'pop' that I am looking for are in these images, I simply do not know how to coax them out of my camera. So I broke down and began the long and winding trek into post processing. Thanks to a different podcast, I had recently watched a brief tutorial about Nik's Color Effect software. So I pulled up a chair and tried it.

This is one of the few images I have taken where I was really excited to see it in print. Everything just works in my opinion. The man walking his dog is the subject of the photo, and everything else in the image supports this. The dirt road and leaves that line the left side lead you to the pair, the green trees lean in and frame them, and the sunshine at the end of the road draws your eye to them. However, Nik's software really made this image come to life. It boosted the foliage color and added brightness and warmth that simply was not there before. I do not know why I cannot get colors like this straight from the camera, but with great software like this I no longer care as much. I was able to complete post production on five images in under an hour.

So with that, Unit Two is complete. I has been sent away for critique and I move on to Unit Three. I look forward to opening up my assignment sheet to see what is next. So until next time, thanks for reading.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another trek to the beach

So I made another sunrise run down to the beach. I set my alarm properly this time so I had plenty of time to set up. Too much time actually. The whole reason I came down to the beach was to take photos of the moon. For some reason the crescent moon caught my eye, and if it had not I would have easily crawled back into bed.
As I stood on the boardwalk in the pitch dark waiting to see where the sun was going to rise, I decided to try some long exposure photography. The shot you see here is a 30 second exposure which is why the clouds and ocean waves are slightly blurry. It is kind of funny because I had no intention of doing a photo like this, but it ended up being the best of the bunch I took that morning.
I did very little post production on this, and I am not sure if I will. I bumped up the colors a bit to make it a bit more 'punchy', and I cropped out a ship from the left horizon. I have considered trying other techniques, but in all honesty I do not think I will like anything more than what you see here. The colors are warm and inviting, the setup is fine, and I can do little with the blurry clouds (and would not attempt do do anything with the ocean). Why fix something if it is not broken, right?

Well, one week down. Yes it was a day later than I expected, but Monday was a holiday so it does not count against me. I plan on finishing my last of three photos to submit to NYIP for Unit Two, nd with any luck I will post them here for your review as well.

As always, thank you for reading.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Yes, another Hiatus

Well, I went and did it again. I went and had another photography slump. I will be honest, I was about 2 days away from selling everything I had to upgrade to a new camera. I cannot say for certain why it is I want a new camera so bad. Yes, there are some things I simply cannot accomplish with my current camera. I cannot tether the Rebel XT to a computer running Windows 7. I wonder if the colors are better from a newer camera. All that aside, there is no reason I cannot use the camera I have to take awesome pictures and the only thing holding me back is me. So I woke myself up early Sunday morning and decided to act like a photographer and capture the best light of the day...Sunrise.

I love the colors from the rising sun, and I love how they reflected off the wet sand. I feel the posts add interest to the image. However, something is not right. The problem is I do not actually know what is wrong. I sat in front of my editing software and could not bring myself to do anything with this image. I could not crop it, I could not adjust colors, and I could not photoshop i in any way that I felt improved the image. I would never be bold enough to say it does not need anything, but whatever it is eludes me.

So now that I am back on the wagon again I vow to make a posting once a week, preferably on Monday. I will include what I feel is my best work from the week before. Hopefully I will show some improvement along the way.

Thanks for being patient, and as always...Thanks for reading.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Sudden fascination with Panorama

I was able to go off and shoot freely Sunday at a nearby plantation. I have been studying a few different photo books and became obsessed with making panorama shots from multiple images. The one below is about 20 images splices together in Photoshop:
I should spend a bit more time with the pre-processing of the image. It is essentially a 180 degree compilation so the exposures were different as I went from left to right. You can see the nice blue sky above the tree, but the sky is blown out over the plantation house (where the sun was in the sky). However, what you see above you is about 10 minutes of total processing, which is how long PS takes to work with 20 RAW images. I did nothing to them prior to sending them thru photomerge. But it is a blast and the results are not too bad.

Short post today, but thanks for reading.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last Minute Chance

Sometimes it just helps to be lucky instead of good. I was taking out the trash and noticed the cloud cover just after a rainstorm. Yeah, it was a moment I should have been prepared for, but some days are better than others. I grabbed my camera and ran to the pond across the street. I tried to keep in mind some things from my NYIP class. One, I need to add something to the foreground to give the image depth. Two, I wanted something to draw he viewer into the image. Three, I needed to make sure I had a small aperture in order to provide the greatest depth of field. It is not a Picasso, nor will I frame it and hang it on a wall, but I think I may submit this for my leading lines assignment in Unit Two.

Once again, thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Well, I went out and tried to shoot the moon as it passed closer to earth than it has since the mid 90's. More frustrating than anything else, since no matter what I did I simply could not get good exposure or composition. I wanted a shot of the moon reflecting off the pond but could not get anything without blowing out both the moon and the reflection.

I was able to save the photo below. It is OK, but rather boring. I would have liked to include some foreground objects to provide some type of compliment to the moon, but to do that I needed to zoom out and the moon became to small to provide interest. So I simply focused on the moon and took a few dozen shots until I thought I had something reasonable. Reasonable is what you see below.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another try with the water drops

So you more than likely have seen these images before. A zoomed in shot of a drop of water splashing into a tray of water with some awesome colors and great interactions. The image posted here is my most recent attempt, but it is not why I am posting today. Last night I received my new tripod and I wish to officially thank Ravelli APGL4 for making such an awesome tripod. It is sturdy, strong, tall, and came with a pistol grip ball head. The only reason i am upset is because I waited so long to grab one. I may have picked up the last one. Amazon sold out as of today, with no plans to restock. Sad. I set it up last night and it was rock solid. It is bulky but not heavy as stated in the reviews. I would not think twice about taking it with me on a routine day trip. I am 6'1" and had to lower the legs so I could look in the viewfinder, even when my camera was tilted 90 degrees. No more hunching for me!

Well, that is about it. I am taking my camera and new tripod out and start working NYIP Unit two!

Again, thanks for reading.