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Self Portrait

I had fun this winter seeing what my beard would look like after not having one for many years.  My dear wife put up with the scratchiness for a while as it grew to what would be its full length.  You see, I got rid of it shortly after taking this image.

I downloaded the update to OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 7 a few days ago and used the Perfect B&W plugin to do the black and white conversion and to add a border to it.  They have a 30 day trial to their software if you want to try out some cool effects.

The lighting was a single light with no modifiers.  The black background was actually my unlit entryway.

 

 

 

A couple of years ago we were just leaving Victoria Harbor, BC, Canada on our way back to the US.  The wind was great, making the sailing superb.  A few miles from the harbor we came across another sailboat having as much fun as we were.  I did some major adjustments using NIK Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 software.  Here is the result after trying a few options:

Sailing in Juan de Fuca

A good friend of mine just picked up his new Stag Arms AR-15 rifle today.  It wasn’t but a few minutes later that he was out putting it through its paces.  He shot the rifle while I shot him with the  camera.  You can see one of the shell casings just after it ejected from the rifle.

Here is my favorite shot of the day, converted to B&W using NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 software.

 

Today is Fathers Day. I am fortunate to still have my father around to talk to. Not everyone is so blessed. I spent the afternoon with him and my mom and we shared in very nice conversation. It wasn’t too long into our chat that I asked if I could take a couple of portraits of him. He is normally on the camera end of portraits, but happily obliged my request.

The setup on this portrait was quite simple. There is a nice window on the south side of their house bringing in some soft light into the room. There was also a shadowed door that I could use as a backdrop. I had him sit on a piano stool in the middle of the room, positioned myself so that the dark door was right behind him and started shooting. I asked him to face different directions, to look away, to look at me, to be serious, and to not laugh (which usually gets the natural smile I’m looking for).

It was my intent to show his images in a high contrast black and white even before I took them, and it worked out as expected. Here is the first image.

Assuming that all the shooting was done for the day, I put the camera away and we moved into the kitchen for some Fathers Day desert. The lighting was too nice and I got the camera out once again. This time, dad was being illuminated by a single lightbulb lamp just above the table. That same shadowed door was behind him once again. I took a few shots, then asked him to try a few different hand positions, such as resting his chin on his hand. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so I asked dad to move it into a comfortable position which he did.  Then he looked down and the following image was captured.

Happy Fathers Day!

 

Here is an image of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC, taken obviously at night.

Next time you are visiting a city, head out at after the sun goes down and try your hand at capturing some very dynamic images.  I like this one best after converting it to black and white.

Don’t forget your tripod.

 

 

San Juan ReflectionThe image for today was taken on a very calm morning at Stewart Island in the San Juan Islands. Our sailing yacht was resting at anchor and the surface of the water in the harbor was like glass.

I converted this image to black and white and I liked the results.

Canon 20D, Canon 24-70 f2.8 L at 34mm, 1/125 at f5.6, ISO 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long JumpAs I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, quite a few of the images I capture are of athletes. This particular woman is performing in the long jump. Shooting with her coming directly at me gives an interesting perspective. I had the camera take a series of about 5 shots during her “flight” and subsequent “landing.” I liked this one the best due to her hair being in the action as well.

Lighting in this indoor track and field facility was not very good and I ended up with what is referred to as a “noisy” image. Digital cameras have sensors in them that collect light (photons) and convert them into numbers that the can be written to the memory card. The fewer photons that reach the sensor, the more sensitive you have to make the sensor to see them. Increasing sensitivity is accomplished by an adjustment on most cameras called ISO. The higher the ISO setting, then more sensitive your sensor is to photons, but the more noise you will see. If you have this setting available on your camera, turn up the ISO, don’t use your flash and shoot in somewhat dimly lit room.

Without being able to make the sensor more sensitive by increasing the ISO setting, I would have had to expose the sensor to more light by either making the aperture larger in the lens (lower f-stop number), or lengthening the time the shutter is exposed to the light. With sports, you must shoot with a quick enough shutter or the athlete will be blurred by their motion, sometimes leading to a cool effect.

Canon 20D, Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS at 80mm, 1/500 at f2.8, ISO 1600

Lines and ShadowsHere is another example how zooming in or cropping a photo can help with the composition. Again, this is another abstract (sorry for those non-lovers of abstract), but it is a fun one.Look at all the diagonal lines. Not only do the boards of this structure make some interesting lines, but the shadows of the boards do too. It make a much nicer black and white image too in my opinion.Next time you are shooting, try tilting the camera just a bit for some great diagonal lines and see what creative images you can make.Canon 20D, Canon 24-70 f2.8 L at 70mm, 1/30 at f8, ISO 100

AlyssaA very good friend of ours was kind enough to pose for a portrait with her guitar. I like how she has her arms around the guitar giving the viewer a sense of her love for the instrument.

In any portrait, it is very important to have very sharp focus on the eyes. The eyes in the portrait are where your eyes go when looking at the photograph. Keep the background simple and somewhat blurred to keep he focus where you want it to be.

Lighting was very simple in the setup. There is a window to the right and I had my assistant hold a white reflector to the left of the guitarist to fill in some of the intense shadows. I also used an on camera flash at a very low setting, not to fill the shadows, but to add a catch light to the eyes.

Canon 10D, Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS at 80mm, 1/10 at f8, ISO 400

Pieces of a DreamIf you ever make it to Baker City Oregon, about 10 miles to the east on Interstate 84, just south of the freeway you will spot an old homestead that my wife refers to as “Pieces of a Dream.”

At one time, I sure this place was bustling with the activity of the owners.  They were living out their dreams.  Now it is just withering away in the desert.  Each time we drive by there are a few more bricks off the chimney, more shingles off the roof, etc.

This was another photo taken on slide film and scanned in for digital use.  The original image was color and was converted to black and white using Photoshop.  I also did a left to right reversal (flip) of the original image.  Lead in lines, as I spoke of yesterday, generally work best if they lead you into the photo from the left side.  The fence is the lead in line in this image.

Keep on shooting!

Nikon 8008s, lens and exposure information unknown, Fujichrome Velvia slide film