Monthly Archives: December 2009

Your images in your home?

I once had a photography instructor ask me if I hung my own images in my own home? At that point I had a few hanging in my office for evaluation and maybe a couple smaller ones in table top frames, but no really nice ones on the walls? How about you? At first this might seem a bit egotistical, but there is more to it. It makes you ask yourself, is this image one I would really hang on my wall? This can be a invaluable question when editing down a set of images.

Another benefit is that you get to really contemplate and examine the images over a long period of time. Do they stand up after months of scrutiny? Do you still like them? What could you do better (if anything)? I personally find that too many images don’t make it out of their electronic form and on to paper. Creating large prints lets you see your images in a whole new way – it is exciting, refreshing and ofter very encouraging.

Why do I bring this up? I just finished printing, matting and framing two new prints to hang in our home. Color and subject matter were of primary concern in their selection. The room has a European flavor with warm gold paint on the walls. These prints join a growing number of my prints hanging on our walls.

Posted in Uncategorized

First Snow

The first snow has finally come. I didn’t wait for it to finish but got right out there and starting shooting while it was coming down – it is suppose to melt overnight. I used a rain jacket to minimize the snow getting on the camera, gloves with the finger tips cut off and a polarizer to shield the lens. In addition, I generally had to shoot at a down angle to keep the snow off the lens. I didn’t get a lot of great shots, but it was fun anyway. I was also limited to 30min due to an previous appointment. The blog image is my favorite. It best captures the magic of that first snow. One last note, as with most of my work, I shot the images near my home.

Posted in Uncategorized

Merry HDR Christmas to All

On this Christmas Eve I thought I would share a couple more HDR images I have shot to capture the season. I have been seeking out scenes or objects I associate with Christmas:
a nicely decorated window,

a town center Christmas tree,

a well lit outdoor shopping center.

Happy holidays to all!

Posted in Uncategorized

HDR Christmas Indoors

In addition to shooting Christmas lights outside in HDR, I have been shooting some HDR images inside the house taking advantage of all the wonderful Christmas vignettes my wife creates. I expect these images will be used for Christmas cards in future years. I have included a couple samples here in the blog. As usual they have not only been processed in Photomatrix, but they have gone through Photoshop adjustments plus some Nik Soft filters.

Posted in Uncategorized

From Emotion to Compositional Element

I have been laid up with a cold the past few days. This always gives me time to think and maybe read (when my eyes aren’t watering up). Many times I go back to books focused on composition. One thing I have noticed is that almost all the photography books I have on composition talk about compositional elements and then the emotional impact they may have on the viewer. For example, a book will have a section/chapter on lines (or shape, light, color, etc). The author typically goes on to say something like vertical lines create a positive uplifting response where horizontal lines create a more subdued or calming response. What if we reverse this and ask “What if I want to convey the feeling or sense of love, what should I do with respect to the compositional elements?”.

I thought I might try to list all the basic human emotions and overtime answer the above question for each. However, deciding what the basic list of emotions is not straight forward. Depending on the theorist, there are 2 (happy/sad) to 11 basic human emotions with many, many more secondary and tertiary emotions.

Here are my thoughts on some elements the photographer might use to communicate the feeling of love:

  1. Get in close to the subject – creating a sense of intimacy. Distance tends toward loneliness, remoteness, etc.
  2. Compression – a telephoto vs a wide angle would better convey a sense of closeness vs. distance and separation.
  3. Warm colors vs cool – red might be very passionate where yellow might be more just warmth. Blue and green (ocean and grass) tend toward a feeling of calm and coolness.
  4. Soft focus or light – accentuate the warm glow one may feel when in love. Sharp detail may feel harsh.
  5. Lines – the type of lines to used to communicate love may depend on the particular aspect of love – say the excitement of new love (straight or diagonal) or the steadiness of long standing love (curved or horizontal lines)

Those are just my initial thoughts. What comes to mind compositionally when you think of “love”?

Blog image: I find it hard to think about communicating love outside of human interaction. This image of mother and child says it all to me. Examining this image, it makes use of all of the above items.: tight intimate shot, closeness – 200mm lens, warm sepia tones and soft light. As for lines, there are strong diagonal lines giving this image an uplifting feeling.

Posted in Uncategorized

Final Autumn Tapestries

This is just a quick post of the final images that have gone into my Autumn Tapestries. Just click on the blog image to be taken to the full body of work on my web site. Feel free to comment (each image is named).

Posted in Uncategorized

HDR at Fort Columbia

I have been keeping busy with the many activities of the holiday season including getting ready for a busy weekend of Christmas and birthday parties. That is probably the case for many of you. As a result, I haven’t been out shooting new images so thought I would share this HDR image taken under one of the gun sites at Fort Columbia in Washington. This is one of those great places for HDR as you can tell. It was very dark in general with bright areas of light wherever there was a door or window. Both of the blog images were processed for a more surrealistic perspective. The second image was also shot with the sun behind the tower and with a wide angle lens to add to the surrealism.

Posted in Uncategorized

An HDR Christmas

HDR (High Dynamic Range photography) can make for some wonderful Christmas images. It lets you capture more of that magic light and and detail. I have included a couple images here for inspiration. I have gone with double processing in Photomatix to get that illustrative look (or also known as grunge look). This is the case for the first two images. As with all my HDR images, some additional processing is needed using Photoshop and some NikSoft (ColorEfx Pro) tools. In these images, some contrast was added, dodging or burning used to highlight some features and finally some color correction to get the look I wanted.

The Christmas tree lot image is a traditional multiple exposure HDR shot that has been double processed through Photomatix and with similar post processing in Photoshop, etc.

Just another way to capture some of the Christmas magic in your images.
What are some cool techniques you have found for capturing the magic of Christmas?
Posted in Uncategorized

Christmas Lights

The door on fall closed and the winter Christmas season door opened. Christmas lights have started to appear all around and they present another photographic opportunity. Some of the same techniques I have applied to nature work can be readily applied to Christmas lights and result in unique images. I have included two examples here. The first is a 9 multi-exposure shot (slight shift between each shot) of a nicely lit up house. With the multiple exposures the number of lights is multiplied and their impact enhanced. With many high end Nikon cameras you can do this in-camera. If you are a Canon owner or don’t has this mode check out the free Photoshop script at Outback Photo (bottom of page under free scripts). It will . Tony Sweet has a video on using this as well – video.
For the second image I did a slow swipe (1/2 sec) moving top to bottom. It produces yet another look. Note you will probably have to up your ISO to get the right shutter speeds and aperture (f16 for this image).
There will likely be more ideas to come. Have fun!!!
Posted in Uncategorized

A door closes

Well fall is pretty much out of here and there is very little in the way of leaves on any trees (but a few hang on). At this same time I am wrapping up my work on a Portfolio Development class with William Neill. It has been good and forced me to really focus on shooting for specific themes. Focusing on a theme forces you to think hard about ways to vary and add depth your portfolio:

  1. Different lighting.
  2. Different perspectives or lenses.
  3. Different ways of expanding the theme outside of your initial thinking.
  4. Variation of colors.
  5. Variation of the subject overtime.

While varying all of these there still needs to be a consistent style and vision behind the portfolio – not always easy.

I have included with this blog three more images I have added to my tapestry theme. Believe me at times I couldn’t think of any more ways to expand it, but I made myself go out and see what I could find. Sometimes I had to shoot and reshoot the same subject multiple times to get something the fit my vision of the theme. Other times I had to work on the post-processing to get the image I envisioned (the oak leaf image for example). Now and then a new creative perspective would result (like the closing door image at the start of blog).

Posted in Uncategorized