Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Waterdrop, Two Versions

This past spring I had several blooms on a calla lily plant and every morning for a few days this waterdrop would appear only on this one lily.  I couldn't decide between the wider crop in color with the leaves as a background, or the black and white version that I cropped a little closer and darkened the background to remove the I have posted them both.
Nikon D200 with 60mm macro lens at f3.2 and 1/650th, ISO 250

Thursday, October 29, 2009


After one of our recent rainstorms, I found this large waterdrop balancing on a leaf of the succulent.  I combined 3 images to get the waterdrop sharp but left the plant unfocused to keep the viewer's attention on the droplet.  I am not happy with whatever is being reflected in the droplet, the brick wall of our house I think and maybe another section of the succulent, and next time I will move the plant somewhere for a better reflection.  I have wanted to try one of those waterdrop images with a flower reflected in the drop, but I have no idea how that is done.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't You Just Love These Guys?

They always make me smile.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kelly with a Texture Layer

Nikon D200, 24-70mm at f6.3 and 1/50th
Post processing:  increased exposure, the recovery slider and blacks in ACR.  In CS3 I ran a Creamsickle action by Kubota that smoothes the skin and adds a punch of color but I masked some of it off her face, hair, shirt and the brick edge to retain detail there, then added a texture layer but masked it off completely from Kelly. Sharpened with the highpass filter in softlight.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Good Shadows and Bad Shadows

I think the shadows on Kelly in this image are not the most flattering and I did some selective lightening and darkening on her face in CS3 to try to even the patches out, but I do like the effect of the shadow of her profile on the bricks.  Larry had set the lights to hit her when she was turned the other direction and the camera position was on the far left but she had the idea to turn around and strike this may have been after she broke the ladder...
Nikon D200, 24-70mm 2.8 at f7.1 and 1/125th, ISO 200.  Two flash, one from camera left and one from the right...I am not sure why you cannot see any shadow from the flash on the right, maybe it was only set for fill but you can see both catchlights in her eyes when zoomed in.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Black and White

Nikon D200, 24- 70mm 2.8 at f5.6 and 1/30th.  Natural light
You can see a (blurry) speedlight  that was being used by Steve and Larry attached to the railings in the top right of this image.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I am not the best panner (is that a word?) by far, but I really like action images with a blurred background because it helps to set the subject apart so I gave it a try from a side view as Kelly rode by.   I think my shutter speed was around 1/30th of a second here which blurred the walls just enough but still left the bricks recognizable. I think I had to change lenses to my wide angle zoom, a 24 -70 mm 2.8. I am positive only natural light was used, no flash for sure....I think.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Versions of Kelly

While Larry and Steve immediately set to work placing strobes and figuring out lighting patterns, Shirley and I liked the natural light that was hitting Kelly in this alley behind Yaga's.  I thought this shot was taken in ambient light only but I can see some catchlights in her eyes when zoomed in closer, so I am not sure if that is only from reflected light or if a flash actually fired....sorry about not having all the information, it got a little confusing with one pretty model and four avid photographers. 
I have not had internet access on my main computer all week so thought I would use a flash drive and my laptop to post some images but I forgot to look up my exposure settings.  I was using my 50mm 1.8 and probably around f5.6 to get the brick in focus too, but will have to check that and post it later.
update:  No, I had already switched from my 50mm to the 24-70 and this was shot at 6.3 and 1/50th, ISO 200.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Still Breaking Rules

I think the stems that are left after an Agapanthus blooms are really interesting.  They have a sculptural quality that I like but have not been able to capture as well as I want, so this time I tried the Lensbaby and hoped the blur and distortion of the stems along the edges would add to the image...I also thought the bright green spot of sunlight was a good way to frame this one but I wasn't completely blown away by the result, plus the "not impressed" feedback from my judge at home and finally the so-so test print all made me decide to leave this one in the computer.  No texturing was added, although I had framed all my shots on the left side of the frame so to make this centered I had to add a small amount of canvas on the left and there is cloning done there.  The same rules were broken here as yesterday's post ---- not using the Rule of Thirds and not having the subject focused throughout.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Breaking Photographic Rules

This was my submission for our October assignment of breaking some photographic rules.  Since so many macro images get comments from our judges about having a shallow depth of field, (the photographer did not get the whole flower in focus from front to back) I decided to use my Lensbaby and a closeup filter that would for sure create a shallow depth of field as well as distortion around the edges.  I like the effect that lens gave to the leaves on the sides and fact, I would have liked even more distortion.  Then I chose to center my subject instead of using the Rule of Thirds and placing it on a point of interest.  After processing it in CS3 for some rich color, I used the Full Moon action from Kubota to make it high contrast black and white. (no rule broken there)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Squeaky Clean

I have to give Larry the credit for helping me receive a Gold award for this image last night.  I loved so many shots I got of this happy little girl but thought this was one that had a sharpness and noise issue and would not print well.  He told me the baby's expression and the moment would override any lack of sharpness in her eyes and  any noise (which often is less noticeable in prints than the computer screen) and he also advised me to make the image black and white and to crop in a little to make the baby the main subject. Those changes improved the image a lot and I think improved my score over what I may have gotten without changes.  I still like it in color too but the black and white has a more timeless quality.  After a couple of years now of shooting digital and printing my own images, I still have so much to learn.  I find it especially difficult to judge my own shots, either I think they aren't good enough or they really appeal to me and not so much to others.  So thanks Larry!

Monday, October 12, 2009


This is not an image I would submit for judging, there are many things wrong with it, but I like the moment in time it captures --- something nostalgic about a big sister and little brother playing in the yard. The little boy loves to be spun until his eyes twitch right and left when they stop, it is pretty funny to see! I tried the Polariod treatment to convey more of a feeling of a memory.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

At the Park

This is an image I shot for the Children at Play assignment back in the spring.  This little guy was very happy and energetic. I think he was the first toddler I attempted to photograph and he kept me moving to try to capture his fun as he climbed all over the play equipment.  It was a high overcast day which really helped to avoid harsh shadows, because we did not start until about 9 am.  I had talked to his grandmother beforehand and asked her to dress him in something with solid colors and she really came through with a navy shirt and jeans that coordinated so well with the colors of the play equipment. I thought about submitting this shot for the assignment but was not sure if the "at play" idea was that apparent.  He really was sliding down the slide and every time he would drag one hand behind him this way, which I thought was really cute. Most of the time I shot with my 50mm lens but had switched to the 70 - 200mm here, at f2.8.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


It IS October, not that long until Halloween, but I was not looking out for this orange, yellow and black spider when I went over to lean against the fence and shoot a flowering vine.  It was too windy then so I went back later to the same spot...I hope she built her web during the time I was gone...She is pretty big, probably almost as big as my hand from top to bottom.  I know nothing about spiders, so leave a comment if you can tell me the name of this one.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Leaf Curl

The sun was hitting this curl in a Philodendron leaf, I did not add any light to it. The f3.2 setting made the grass in the background green and brown blurs and I deliberately shot with a wide aperture to catch just the edge of the curl in focus.
Nikon D200 with 60mm macro lens at f3.2
Post processing: Increased the recovery slider, blacks, clarity and vibrance in ACR.  In CS3, duplicated the background layer in Multiply at 60% opacity, selectively sharpened the curl only, added a clipping mask frame by Jessica Sprague which also included the texture.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Before and After --- New Textures

These tiny white flowers bloom inside of the bracts on my bougainvillea.  I was not too impressed with my close-up images, I only took single exposures and didn't have any that were in a series focused at different depths so did not have any to layer and decided to try some new textures I got from Flora Bella.  I don't think it improved the image too much but I am looking forward to trying them on images in the future.
Plus, there seems to be some artifacts in the jpgs around the white flowers that are not in my psd, so not sure where that is coming from as I did not sharpen them at all.
Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens with close-up filter
Post processing:  Increased blacks and exposure slightly in ACR. In CS3 I duplicated the background layer, removed a few spots and darkened an area at the bottom to match the areas at the top, ran PunchDrunk by Kubota at 50% opacity, added a texture from Flora Bella and changed the blend mode to Soft Light, duplicated that layer and changed the blend mode to Multiply, added a different texture layer from Flora Bella and reduced the opacity to 25%, merged all and changed to Soft Light mode at 50%.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mini Mushroom

Another tiny mushroom that appeared in one of my flower pots, again one I have not seen before. It was about 3 inches tall and had a golden hue which was not due to shooting in the golden hour, it was the natural color in the texture.  3 separate images blended in CS3.

Nikon D200, 60mm macro lens with +2 closeup filter

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's a Big World Out There

Something about this shot appeals to me, maybe like 'here is a little man setting out on his own to who-knows-where'.  I tried a number of times to get a good composition of Little J walking back and forth over this bridge, some with his grandma in the background but the angle of the sun caused the railings to leave very hard and dark shadows across him. In this image I removed one across the center of his back but the others were mostly across his face as he walked toward me.  This bridge is actually just out in the middle of some grass and does not go across water at all.  At any time other than straight up noon I guess it would leave the shadows except on a cloudy day.