Saturday, May 31, 2008

Downtown Calgary Shots

I went out for lunch on Thursday and took a few shots around downtown.

I used my 18-55 mm lens with a Hoya circular polarizer.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Curves video tutorial

I haven't looked at it yet, but hopefully this curves video tutorial will help me learn how to effectively use curves. Curves are similar to levels in that they help you control the contrast of your image, however they give you finer control over the results. I will return to offer a small review on this tutorial.

Monday, May 26, 2008

HDR - Redux

Well, here is another take with the unlocked version (i.e. no watermarks) . I can imagine taking a lot of shots with this method over the summer.

Sadly, my three shots were at 800 ISO so there was a lot of noise in the original. I processed some of it out but it would have been better to work with a "clean" original.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Playing with HDR

With the intent of entering a shot into the "Boat" challenge, I took some shots at Ghost Reservoir with HDR in mind. I didn't get home in time but I decided to try HDR out anyways. I currently only have the trial version of Photomatix which unfortunately leaves a lovely "Photomatix" watermark all over the output images but it does give you an idea what the output looks like.
The last two shots are the same except for the settings I used in Photomatix.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Study in Self-portaiture

This is one of about 40 shots I did of myself this morning. The lighting setup was simple. Flash though an umbrella set about 45 degrees to the right of my face. (Or that was the goal anyways). There was also a bit of ambient light from the basement window.
Processing was also simple.
In Capture One Pro:

  • Auto correct exposure
  • Auto white balance
  • Default sharpening (100)
  • Export to TIFF


  • Channel mixer adjustment layer to convert to B&W (60,30,10)
  • ResizeUSM (1.00, 100, 10)
  • Export to JPG

    I like the composition. Its hard to actually compose when you are trying to get seated in 10 seconds after hitting the shutter release.

    I really like the catchlights in the eyes. One of the articles I've read recommended the 45 degree angle for the lights to help create the catchlights and I am glad I tried it out. Too bad I hadn't shaved yet. Oh well. A portrait is supposed to capture the essence of the person. I typically don't shave often enough so this is an honest portrayal anyways.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Afghan Girl

There are certain photos that people just know and remember. The picture of the tanks in Tiananmen Square for instance is quite well known world wide. Steve McMurry's shot simply titled "The Afghan Girl" is one of the most famous shots to be seen on the cover of National Geographic. (Actually, according to them it is.)

From Wikipedia:
Sharbat Gula (Pashto: شربت ګله "flower-juice girl") (Sharbat is pronounced /ˈʃaɾ.bat/) (born ca. 1972) is an Afghan woman of Pashtun ethnicity. She was forced to leave her home in Afghanistan during the Soviet war for a refugee camp in Pakistan where she was photographed by journalist Steve McCurry. The image made her famous when it was featured on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic Magazine, at a time when she was approximately 13 years old. Gula was known throughout the world simply as the Afghan Girl until she was formally identified in early 2002.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Going Through the Viewfinder

Line up your shot. Make sure its composed perfectly. Now take another camera and take a picture of the view finder. That's the premise behind Through the Viewfinder (TtV) photography.

The thing about TtV that I love is that the pictures end up looking like nothing else I've seen. A little Holga mixed with a bit of Diana and a pinch of Lomo LCA with a little Lensbaby added for good measure. I get consistently remarkable lo-fi looking photographs from a combination of old school and high tech. Ghosting, grime, flip, trap, bubble - the medium has spawned a whole new set of words and phrases, too. It's so damn quirky, it's cool.

Sounds like something I'll have to try out

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Prince's Island Park and Bow River

So a quick entry before bedtime. More infrared. I returned to where I did one of my first IR shots, Prince's Island park and took a few shots during lunch today.

Men Crying

The male half of our species has been trained since birth not to cry even if someone someone is punching us in the junk while displaying a video of baby kittens drowning and Old Yeller dying.

When we do cry? It's powerful.

Photographer Sam Taylor-Wood took on the task of photographing some of Hollywood's toughest men crying and her results, in my opinion, are amazing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Johnston's Canyon - Banff National Park

I had a lot of fun shooting out at Johnston's Canyon in Banff National Park. I did a few long exposures (about 1 second) of the Lower falls. I used a 4 X neutral density filter and a small aperture. Here is one sample. The light kept changing and this was one of my favorites.

I took a few infrared shots. I don't believe I've seen mountains shot with IR before and I love the results. These are pretty much the way they came out of the camera.

I've never seen a marmot before but as far as I can tell (and with some google help) I believe this is one.
And Mount Rundle? I would have absolutely loved to shoot an IR exposure of it but I was running out of time. I was content to stop, roll down the window, shoot and carry on home. Next time the filter goes on, the tripod comes out and I do 'er up infrared style. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Holga pics are in! set anyways. The set I took into London Drugs still hasn't arrived yet. Unfortunately, the lab that The Camera Store uses doesn't do film anymore either. So I had to take my latest roll to London Drugs again. I'll either have to get an account with Technicare or learn how to develop my film myself. are the first batch. Technically they are a little off. Otherwise they are kinda cool to look at:

So a couple of notes on these. I used 120 mm FUJI RVP ISO 50 (Velvia). Its actually slide film so it tends to saturate colors a fair bit (Velvia is especially known for this). Being ISO 50 its not especially fast so the couple I took during a snow storm are a bit dark. I could have asked that they be push processed to 100 but oh well. I actually kind of like the effect.
The Holga allows you to shoot 16 or 12 exposures per roll. The one thing to note is that you have switch it on the camera (which I did) and insert the appropriate mask (which I didn't). That's why the pictures have the unusual borders on them.
You can see that one of the shots I did a double exposure. That one was accidental. I had two that were deliberate that were far overexposed to be anything useful. The vignetting effect wasn't as strong as I thought it would be but I imagine with the right mask it would be more apparent.

Getting slammed on DP Challenge

So this shot is getting absolutely hammered on DP Challenge. The challenge is called:
Make an image to fit a three-word title where the three words begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet.
Thje reason its not doing well? My title: "Psst! Hey buddy! XYZ!" Had I called it simply XYZ I wouldn't be getting the horde of DNMC (does not meet challenge votes). Looking through this challenge I now realize its really dumb. I could have called Utterly Viable Window and it would have met the challenge. Essentially, people took any old shot and then gave it a title. In other words its a free study ...for the photographic aspect but if your title is "wrong" then its DNMC. Really stupid in my opinon. Perhaps because I feel dumb about my mistake...
Oh well.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Soft Focus

I purchased my soft focus filter this morning and it came with a free muffin. Some might argue that I bought a muffin and it came wrapped in a soft focus filter but that's just semantics. It didn't have a means to attach to my camera so I located a rubber band which came with a spoon when I got my yogurt...don't ask me why the spoon had an elastic band on it. I didn't ask when I got a soft focus filter with my muffin.

Here is an example of a shot taken with my Muffin© Soft Filter

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Penrose Impossible Triangle

Well, this is my first attempt at a Penrose triangle. I'm not overly impressed with my self however I do have some tips for next time.

  • Depth of field needs to be greater so that the entire thing is in sharp focus
  • The lighting needs to be consistent. Where certain faces join the light needs to be the same
  • Constructing it out of stiffer material would eliminate the need to tape
  • The dotted lines should be left on the outside as they help define edges

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The babies are here!

I was out shooting at lunchtime yesterday and after taking a few shots of a pair of mallars and a pair of geese I got to wondering if the babies had hatched yet. I went to Eau Clair and sure enough there were a bunch of them out and about. Some one else was out shooting them and told me that they had hatched a couple of days ago. They are soooo cute!
This one was my favorite and I absolutely had to make a print of it. There was another shot of this guy and he had such a cute pose but I didn't have enough depth of field to get his beak in good focus.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Penrose Impossible Triangle

Just a quick note. One of the upcoming challenges is called Triangle Composition. I had a quick look at Google Images for "Triangle" and found a site that shows you how to build a Penrose Impossible Triangle. It creates a really cool optical illusion which Escher actually used. (picture from there as well)