Monthly Archives: February 2012

Some you win, some you loose

Blog_20090221_1I received the results from a juried exhibition on Friday. Much to my disappointment none of my images were selected. The same was true in the fall for another juried exhibition. It can get discouraging. But as in the past I reviewed the images selected by the juror and tried to learn something for the future. 

After looking at the images that were selected, I can see that I was a bit off the mark in the images I submitted for the targeted theme, “In Your Dreams”. I should have submitted some other images that might have done better.

I did do some quick review of the juror’s work before hand but I didn’t really study as I should. Here is a pointer to the selected images – PhotoPlace (In Your Dreams). They are quite good. Take the time  to look and them and evaluate the overall style of the images selected.

Blog image – this is one I probably should have submitted. It would have been a better match than most of those I did. This image is an B&W HDR image shot at Pittock Mansion with a radial blur blended into the edges using Photoshop. The ghost (me) was blended in using layers as well.

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunset on Fire

Last night there was a spectacular sunset. I had just arrived home and I noticed the beginning of some nice color and texture in the sky. Deciding to grab a couple texture or abstract shots I got out my camera with a 100-300mm zoom and turned on the VR (vibration reduction). The slide show above is a set of images taken progressively as the light show continued. I would have liked to have been by a lake or some other great setting, but I made do with what I could shoot through an open upstairs window. Yes, the colors were that dazzling and the light rays were all there. There was also virga adding to the show.

 This was a series of the magic moments I wrote about in a previous blog entry.

Posted in Light

Still Life Light Painting – How To


I have continued to explore and experiment with new techniques during the winter months. Light painting has become somewhat popular with landscape images and is used by s0me commercial photographers for product lighting. Light painting involves taking long exposure images while the photographer (and/or assistants) use flashes or flashlights to "paint" the landscape or still life arrangements. I have included a couple of samples from my experimentation in this blog. As you can see, very dramatic and what appears to be complicated light setups can be created this way. I happen to have a collection of old cameras and the associated gear so I have been using that for my subject matter.

I learned this technique from Dave Black who is a master of lighting (I highly recommend you take a look at this work – very nice). I have outlined the basic steps below. It is hard to describe all the nuances without showing the technique on a video.

  1. Setup your still life arrangement in a very dark room.  (Test if your room is dark enough. Take a 30sec exposure at f8. If it comes out completely black, you are good.)
  2. Setup your camera on a tripod and frame your composition.
  3. Setup the camera for a 20-30sec exposure (at least as a start) and turn on noise reduction in your camera. Set the f-stop based on your desired depth of field.
  4. You will want a couple of flashlights- a penlight and a larger flashlight (LED ones work well). Make a black plastic snoot (tube made from black tape or such) so the bulb is not visible from the side. Your flashlight is likely get in the frame and you don’t want to see it.
  5. Turn off the lights and use a flashlight  to paint on your still life. Always keep your flashlight moving. Use the penlight to highlight where you want to draw the viewer’s eye. Use the larger flashlight briefly if needed to "dust" the setup with light, keeping it moving.
  6. This will be an incremental process and it will likely take lots of trial and error. Start by just painting a small area at first to see how much light is needed.  View the results, adjust the light as needed and add another area. Personally, I count as I paint each area and try to follow the same basic sequence to get some repeatability.
This technique requires some patience, but it can be fun as you let your creative juices flow to come up with very unique lighting.
Posted in Composition, How To, Light, Photographers