50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument to Photography

There is a lot going on in my backyard this week.  Some robins have built a nest so I am busy photographing their efforts.  It looks a bit ridiculous but here is what the set up looks like:

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

I’ll call it my monument to photography.  Yes, those are the “good” dining room chairs.  It’s a temporary monument, I set it up, take my photos then take it down.  Here is a photo I got this morning:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

At this point there are two eggs in the nest.  I’ll be experimenting with different camera angles over the next few weeks in the hope of getting some good photos.  This photo was cropped and sharpened, here is what the original shot looked like:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

I am so excited that the robins are back and building here. If you are interested in seeing where this project led last year, you can click here.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Building Blocks of a Project

If you have stopped by my blog lately you know that I am working on a new Photoshop project.  I recently wrote about a tree bloom that I am hoping to include in the project.  The instructions for the project are to pick a master painting and recreate it in some way.  A way to express yourself using another person’s art as the jumping off point. It’s a pretty broad assignment.  The painting I have picked is Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses by Georgia O’Keeffe.  I picked Georgia O’Keeffe because I admire her work.  I picked this particular painting because I have actually seen it in person.

My hope for this project is for my work to be a tribute but not an identical copy.  I will be using a cow’s skull though.  I borrowed one and took some photographs.  The rest of this post is about the shooting and editing of the skull.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

Because the tree bloom that I shot a few days before was shot in natural light, I also shot this using natural light and at about the same time of day.  The first thing I did with this unedited photo was to get rid of the cloth seam.  I used content aware fill to do that and it worked nicely.  I then sharpened the image a bit.  Next,  I used the Oil Paint filter to create a painted look.  Here is a screen shot of the settings that I used:

These are the settings for the Oil Paint filter

These are the settings for the Oil Paint filter

And here is the final skull:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

The next step will be to add the tree bloom and then to consider adding a background element.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions about this project.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life on My Street

Spring is coming to my neighborhood, and I’m pretty excited about it.  The house across the street from ours has some lovely trees including this one:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

I am considering using this bloom in a Photoshop project I am working on.  It was an overcast day, so the light was OK even at 11:30am.  If you look at my shutter speed, you will see that it is really high.  That is because it was really windy!  I set the f-stop at f/5.6 because I was pretty sure that would capture the detail I needed.

If I do end up using this photo, I will actually take the bloom out of the photo and place it in another one.  So, after I was finished taking the photo, I put it in Photoshop.  I used the magic wand tool to select the bloom and then made a copy.  Then I opened a new document that had a transparent background, and pasted the bloom into it.  There is sits waiting for the rest of the project to come together.  The edited version looks like this:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/4000

You can see more clearly in this version the little insect that is visiting.  In my final project, this image would be scaled down, so you will not be able to see him.

Even though I am not sure if I will use this bloom, I was certain that I needed to take this photo.  The petals on this tree are pretty delicate and a few good rainstorms will knock them to the ground.  Rain is in the forecast for this week.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week was street life. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into what is going on on my street this week.

Cheers!

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Photography

Imposter Art Lover

Sure, I like art, I’ve even taken a few classes and been to a few museums.  But perhaps that is not enough.  It was suggested to me the other day when I couldn’t name a certain photographer by looking at just one photo, that I maybe wasn’t really cultured enough.  It was a comment made to make me feel smaller than the person who was leading the discussion, and it did work, temporarily.

Here’s the thing, art is pretty hard to define, so deciding who is cultured enough to understand it is hard as well.  After thinking about this exchange I decided that while maybe I do not have a broad or deep enough understanding of art, I will continue to enjoy it in my own way, because I feel it adds a lot to my life.

The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum recently relocated to St. Louis, so I went to check it out.  Their feature exhibit right now is called: Decisive Moments: 20th Century Street Photography. Street photography is not something I do all that much myself, but I do enjoy looking at photographers who do it well.

They also have many types of cameras on display.  Here is one that caught my eye:

ISO 800 9mm 0ev f/4.5 1/6

ISO 800 9mm 0ev f/4.5 1/6

ISO 400 9mm 0ev f/4.5 1/20

ISO 400 9mm 0ev f/4.5 1/20

This museum is modest in size but impressive in what it has to offer on display, so worth a visit for the art lover or imposter.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Editing, Photography

It’s a fad, but do you like it anyway?

If you look at food advertising, particularly in magazines, I’m guessing you’ve noticed that there are some similarities in what you see.  The current fad is for clean, simple images.  Usually they are simply lit.  Often they convey a sense of casual elegance, an invitation to linger.  I think this trend speaks to something that is pretty basic, the need for community, an opportunity to connect.  Our lives tend to be full and rushed, these ads speak to the desire to slow down and savor.  For my current Photoshop food project I am attempting to capture a bit of that.  My images went through a second round of critique and here are two that came out on top:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/125

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/125

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/50

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/50

If you missed the first round, or just want to look again, you can do so here.

So, they are a bit different from the first round. I simplified the composition, and took a lot of shots because I was working with natural light and wanted to have a lot to choose from.  What do you think of these images? Does one appeal to you more than the other? are there certain elements that you like or dislike?  Do you like this trend in food advertising?  I have to admit that I do.  The problem though with fads, is to still make your own work look original, that can be tricky…

I will be shooting again, and have a few ideas of my own, but I would like to hear what you have to say.

Cheers!

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Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

This Project is Complete, On to the Next One

The last time I wrote about my Pictorialism project in Photoshop class, I was trying to decide which prints to turn in.  I decided on six of them, and of those six, four were chosen to be put on display in the hallway at school.  Of those two, two of them are portraits of my children, so I won’t be posting them here. The two others, you have seen on this blog as they were being created, and here they are on the wall:

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

I first wrote about the bird here.  The version that you see above had an additional step before I printed that I had not written about in that post.  I added another layer in Photoshop. Basically I duplicated the file and changed the blending mode to multiply which made the print darker.  I thought this was necessary because the original print turned out to yellow in my opinion.

The tree I wrote about in a post where I showed a few different versions.  The blue version that is on the wall is also a darker version of what I had originally shown.  I decided I really wanted a deeper shade of blue and so I used a levels adjustment to make it darker, and I also darkened the edges of the photo.

So, this project is complete, come full circle, you might even say.  I’m started now on my next project which is food photography.  I’m sure I’ll be posting about it in the coming weeks.

I know it’s not a major exhibit, but it is always fun to see your work on display don’t you think?

Cheers!

 

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Photo Challenges, Photography

So What Does That Say About Me?

I spend a lot of time watching hockey.  Yesterday it was two live games.  One featuring my hockey child and one NHL game.  At the level my hockey child plays, there is no fighting.  The NHL is a different story, here is a shot from yesterday’s game:

ISO 500 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/100

ISO 500 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/100

I shot this photo using my point and shoot and then left it unedited, just a snapshot from a game.

I love watching hockey, and I don’t mind a good fight that works with the flow of the game.  I’m not a fan of fighting that breaks up the flow of the game.  How complicated of me. Allowing fighting in games is a hot topic of discussion among fans, and I have to say if they got rid of it in the NHL, I would still watch.

But what does it say about me that I think fighting can be a good part of the game? Something for me to think about as I write this post in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge, “Selfie”.

Have a thought about this post? feel free to leave a comment below, but no need to drop the gloves, this a “no fighting” blog.

Cheers!

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