Friday, July 30, 2010

A Mistake but I Like It

This shot was taken when I was getting my flash settings worked out and is probably one that should be deleted, but I like it.  The darkness of the parents with the light only hitting the baby seems to me to be an accurate representation of how focused they are on their precious new miracle.  I love the gesture of the mother's hand too.  So while it is not the standard well-lit family portrait, to me it speaks volumes more.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brand New Little One

 Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens at f3.2, ISO 200, flash

I have not had the opportunity to do many portraits lately, or to photograph babies, so my skills are a little rusty.  I learn something every time, it is just a matter of remembering and incorporating it at the next shoot.  I know this new family is glad to have some images of their precious little guy, but I know I need to use a larger light source the next time and I would vary the angle of the light more.  I used my SB800 in the small soft box on the left with a  V card  on the right and that combination did work for this particular shot but not as well when mom and dad were in the frame too.  Baby J never really went to sleep (he is just resting here!) so we were not able to move him around for different poses.    Look at the hair on that baby!  It is a beautiful dark reddish brown and he will need a haircut soon.  Or maybe not, baby curls are pretty difficult to cut off now that I think back.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Oil and Water

While I was working with cooking oil, this photographer has done some very interesting and disturbing portraits that reflect her feelings about the BP oil disaster in the gulf ---- 
We all have oil on our hands.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What I Didn't Submit

 Nikon D700 with 60mm macro lens at f4.8 and 1/180th, ISO 200

For our July assignment of Opposites I thought I would try something more abstract than literal.  I set up a pyrex dish of water suspended on four glasses in the shade but at the edge of where the sun was hitting the pavement directly.  I placed two pieces of fabric in complimentary colors (opposites on the color wheel) under the glass dish and set up my tripod to suspend the camera with a macro lens attached directly over the dish.  Then I poured in some cooking oil and watched for some interesting patterns and shapes.  I had a lot of trouble composing what I wanted while the camera was on the tripod and also had difficulty keeping the area in focus so I removed the camera and hand held it. But still it was hard to keep the focus so I missed a lot of great combinations.  I was using a large aperture because I did not want the texture of the fabric to be visible since it was only a few inches below the dish and while that seems to have contributed to a feeling of depth (the water was only maybe 1/2 inch deep) with some bubbles more in focus than others, maybe that was what made it hard to retain focus between shots.  It was actually pretty addicting to shoot the constantly moving interaction of the oil and water but frustrating too in that it was hard to control and keep what I was trying to shoot from changing.  One of the issues was the concrete has a slope so I was not dealing with a level surface.  If I attempt this again I will try a different location and also a dish without the PYREX label right smack in the center of my compositions. I thought the 2 images in today's post presented several possible examples of opposites --- big and little, inside and outside, orange and blue, maybe even oil and water could be considered sort of opposing substances.  In any case, I decided to save the ink after all and chose not to submit any of these images for judging....who knew there would only be 2 submissions?!  I can't remember that happening before in the 4 years or so I have been a club member.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Just Like Laurie

Just yesterday I watched a webinar by Laurie Excell who is a fantastic (Nikon) landscape and nature photographer as she demonstrated how she uses some of the OnOne software for editing images.  I was surprised when she used Focal Point to get rid of some of the depth of field in one of her dahlia shots.  She selected the center and blurred the petals as if she had shot with an f2.8 aperture instead of the f5.6 she had used. When shooting flower closeups I often take multiple shots of the same composition with different areas in focus to blend them for MORE depth of field and here she was editing her flower for LESS depth.  I have plenty of that kind of shots too, so here is one of mine that did not need special software to edit it with.  Who knew.  Now if I only had her D3 camera and 600mm lens I am sure I could get the same grizzly bear images she does too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vinca in Black and White

After editing yesterday's color version, I converted the flower to black and white in Silver Efex.  I kept the neutral settings the image opened with and added 36% structure to bring out more of the texture on the petals.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


 Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens with +4 Hoya closeup filter

I was drawn to the shape of this flower, it reminds me of a pinwheel, and to the overlapping petals.  Originally I pictured a black and white conversion, but then decided I also like the color, especially the touches of yellow. I added a couple of textures, (one a linen texture) and both I converted to black and white before layering so the color would not affect the background. 

Monday, July 5, 2010


I think this is a moth rather than a butterfly, because it has a fat body and feathery antennae.  It is large, with about a 4 or 5 inch wing span. The closest I could find is called an Emperor Gum Moth but since they are native to Australia that can't be right.  I don't remember ever seeing one before and this one was dying as I photographed it...and she does look a little battered...