Monday, February 28, 2011

Anything but a Face challenge

 I love the girls' shadows here...especially Kez's pigtails.
It was 50 degrees out, but we all wanted to play on the beach, so we were barefoot with jackets on.  :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A little bit of HOPE

  I got to take a couple pictures of Little Hope-y, just a few days before she leaves for Papua New Guinea.  She was really fun to get photos of, she is a natural in front of the camera.  She has so much ahead of her in the days and weeks ahead, may she spread a little sunshine and hope as she travels across the world!!  :-)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Learning from the Bear

Well, I am staying at my Grandpa's right now and I am really missing getting chances to photograph AND I am away from my editing programs, so I am going a little crazy!!  It's not that bad, I's given me a chance to read through my manual and I got some photography books out of the library, so at least my journey continues even though I am not getting to shoot as much as I'd like.  
So, I grabbed this old, ratty bear...who is kind of cute in a face-only-a-mother-could-love kind of way and forced him to be my model.  Now that my nieces are gone I have to find other victims subjects to experiment with.  So....I learned from the bear!

 These are all shot at different apertures.  Notice how the background "appears" as the f stops change.  Much more light is allowed in at an open aperture of 1.8.  Silhouette pictures occur as you let less light in and slow the shutter speeds.  The middle picture has a mid-range aperture, but a slower shutter speed than the picture on the right, so the bear shows up darker.

These two pictures are shot with the same settings, but I changed the White Balance from Auto (which was a little too cool, and gave a blue look to everything).  I could have adjusted the color on the auto in my settings, but instead I switched the WB to direct sunlight and it gave us a much warmer, natural look.

 On the left, we see two common errors- the top picture is a profile shot in which only one eye can be seen, thus making the nose look disproportionate.  Sometimes this is the look going for, but I have read that you should try not to have the nose protruding like this.
Secondly, the bottom left picture, the bear is too close to the window and the sunlight is shining directly on only one side of the face. Again, this lighting can be used for effect, but for portraits it is best to have even lighting across the whole face.  
The pictures on the right are good examples of using natural light from a window.  Notice the "catch lights" in the bear's eyes showing "life" (well, you know what I mean...if he was real it would show light.)  Both of the bear's eyes are in view which make it a more pleasing angle.

 Rules are made to be broken- in this case maybe it is better that we only see half the bear's face! :-)

Bye, Bear.  
Thanks for letting me take you from your mundane life of sitting in front of the cabinet 
to subject you to criticism. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

"It impressed us all"

It was over 2 months ago now that our church family lost a servant, a friend, a giver, and the Parfitt family lost their Dad, husband, and hero. I just watched channel 13 news replay the story, and do a follow-up of how the family is doing, telling the story of their continuing faith.
God is still using this story- I don't think it is very likely for an accident that happened more than 2 months ago to get over a 3 minute story on the 5 o'clock news. They have been announcing the story over the weekend- it was a big deal to them to give an update.  People haven't forgotten.  That is so amazing that God is still using their testimony and Mr Parfitt's act of kindness that resulted in him giving the ultimate sacrifice.
The story ended with the news anchors stating that the family's faith impressed one of the reporters and "it impressed us all." So true...
When I went to share the news clip on Buzz, it popped up with a thumbnail of a picture. A picture I took.  The one I found the morning Mr. Parfitt when home to heaven. He was singing for the last time with his co-workers that used to sing outside of Harris. I may never take another picture that ends up on the news again- chances are I won't.  I know for a fact the day that I took this picture that I was distracted, I had a lot on my mind. I am actually surprised I even had my camera out that day. I know that when I snapped that picture I never checked my camera's settings. I didn't make sure I had composed the picture well. I didn't spend an hour post-processing the image in Photoshop...and yet there it is on the news, because it captured a memory.  One we will never get back. Many memories, actually. The location of that picture, the purpose of the get-together, the people gathered, the reason I was distracted....everything has changed.  We will never get the place, or the people, or those memories back.  That's hard to deal with. Life can be very hard to deal with some times. When all you have is a picture....the only representation of what was or what could have been. That's when you need faith.  Faith like the Parfitts- the kind that sees beyond our own plan to the Master's plan.  It continues to impress us all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Open Your Heart

Theme for this week's project was: Open Your Heart. 
The title itself could be interpreted a few ways, and it was illustrated 1,000s of different ways over at the Flickr group.  Some posted pictures of things you could open your heart to- like Winter.  I prefer to NOT open my heart to Winter, especially after a sneak peek into Spring-like temperatures today, I feel much more partial to  opening up to warmth, sun, and flip-flops! 

My mind immediately went to an actual "open heart" that fits perfectly with the holiday this week.

Great Article about Motion Shots

Implying Motion
by Bryan Peterson

When the camera remains stationary – usually on a firm support such as a tripod – and there are moving subjects, the photographer has the opportunity to imply motion. The resulting image will show the moving subject as a blur, while stationary objects are recorded in sharp detail. Waterfalls, streams, crashing surf, and rush hour traffic are but a few of the more obvious subjects that provide motion-filled opportunities. Choosing the right shutter speed for these motion-filled situations is oftentimes trial and error for many shooters but it doesn't have to be.
There are certainly some general guidelines to follow for implying motion, and if nothing else, these guidelines can provide a good starting point for many of the motion-filled situations that abound. The movement of water, whether it be a waterfall, a stream or crashing surf can be easily conveyed at shutter speeds ranging from a 1/4 second to 1 second while moving traffic is usually best conveyed at the longer exposure times of 4 or 8 seconds.
Waterfalls are perhaps the most sought after motion-filled shot by the amateur photographer. They certainly were for me in my early days and even today, when I come upon one of them, I certainly don't hesitate in immediately using an exposure to imply the waterfall's motion. Silver Falls State Park in Oregon continues to be one of my favorite locations for waterfall shooting and the two best seasons are late spring or fall. In this particular image there are actually two things going on and both are working in my favor. From a low viewpoint, I have mounted my camera and Nikkor 12-24mm lens on my Bogen 190CX PRO4 tripod to take advantage of the foreground interest of autumn colored leaves and of course the flowing water. This means that in addition to using the smallest aperture of f/22, I will also be pre-setting my focus to three feet to get the maximum depth of field. Interestingly enough, at the aperture of f/22, I am now assured of recording the slowest possible exposure with the ISO of 200, which my camera is set to.
Additionally, I chose this day to come to the park since it was heavy overcast with periods of light rain and this of course means it was a 'dark' day in the woods which further supported my need and desire to shoot some slow exposures. And finally, as a big believer in using a polarizing filter on overcast/rainy days, (the polarizer will reduce if not eliminate the dull grey glare off of the surface of the water and surrounding fauna), the two stops of light reduction will also 'force' a much slower shutter speed. With my B/W 77MM polarizer in place, and with the dark overcast sky overhead, I soon discovered that at f/22 a correct exposure was indicated at 1 second. The resulting 'long' exposure accounts for the cotton candy like water you see here and the use of an aperture of f/22, (story-telling) accounts for the front to back sharpness. (Nikon D300, ISO 200)
Highway Traffic
It has and will always be my goal to present motion-filled opportunities in the most motion-filled way. Traffic on the highways follow a simple rule; the longer the exposure time, the greater the motion is conveyed. In our first example, and again, with camera mounted on tripod, Photo #1 was shot at f/4 for 1/2 second, while photo #2 was shot at f/16 for 8 seconds. Clearly, the longer exposure of 8 seconds results in a much more dynamic composition. Both of these exposures were made with my NIkon D-2X and Nikkor 200-400mm zoom at the focal length of 400mm, mounted on tripod with my ISO set to 100 and my WB set to Cloudy.
No doubt about it; motion filled subjects are fun to shoot! Heck I love the subject of motion so much that I wrote book about it, Understanding Shutter Speed and it was last year, in my Singapore workshop where I got an idea to add some "man-made motion" to a simple portrait. We'll go from a pleasing, yet static background, to one that is filled with motion in as little as a 1/50 second! Check out the video link below!
All my best,
Bryan F. Peterson/Founder
PPSOP Video Tip

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beautiful Amanda

 Had a great time celebrating Amanda's birthday at Applebees!!
She is so pretty!!  
Happy Birthday, Amanda!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photo Shoot of Keren

We had a long wait at Applebees the other night, so I used it as an opportunity for a little photo shoot. 
Keren was having fun helping me make up poses, so we got some great ones!
Some new things I have in these pictures:
I tried so hard to get bokeh with my last camera, but could not get it because the lens wasn't capable of it.
If you see in the windows...I have bokeh!
Also, I have been working with layer masks in Photoshop Elements, so I have been experimenting with layers and clipping masks.  The Story Board above was pretty easy, and a lot of fun!

She is SO cute!!  You can't get much more perfect!! <3

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cell Phone Photo Contest

Hey there's a fun photo contest going on at another blogger's site:
Enter by 02/17
It is a fun contest because it only allows you to enter pics you took on your cell phone. Which wouldn't even be an option for me if I hadn't just been stranded with no camera for a few weeks!!

So if you have a great shot on your phone, send it in!  If not, I hope you will check back in to vote for one that I submitted!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Love in A Box

<3 It's Here!!!! And I LOVE IT!! <3
It is all I was hoping for, probably especially after I read the manual!

 I have never been able to get a background like this.  My last camera did not have a small enough aperture.
This I shot with my 50mm prime lens.  


 My Jill-E bag finally has a camera to hold!!
 My cutie pie reading a book at our after-school kids club.

 Got to try out my high ISO capability- these are all shot last night with no flash. 
I have never been able to do that, either.
 Crystal Clear at 4000 ISO!!!!! 
Yes, that is 4000!!!