June 30, 2009

Green and Yellow

Little doubt at what caught my attention about this scene—the colors. All the colors in the scene blend perfectly. We positioned the SB-800 on a softbox on the right side and the reflector low and on the right side. I wanted the light to be very even and soft.

I took a couple shots in portrait orientation, but the image looked too static. I then noticed the flower in the right corner. I thought that it would add an implied diagonal to the overall composition. Although the flower in the corner is small and faint, I believe it adds a lot to the overall composition.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 300mm f/4, shot at ISO 200, f/5.6 and 1/250th with a SB-800 on a softbox and triggered by Nikon CLS.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, clarity, change green hue and saturation, and added vignette.

Photoshop—ran nik Color Efex Pro tonal contrast filter on the butterfly and flower to add contrast to shadows, mid-tones and highlights.

June 29, 2009

Little Game Hunting in the Yard

This week’s photographs have been produced by CCGPPC (Chloe Cole Grandpa Photographic Production Crew). After my initial introduction to a big production crew with “Children at Play”, I decided to upgrade the crew by replacing JD with Chloe. The production crew divided their chores as follows: Chloe holding the reflector, Cole holding the SB800 with softbox and Grandpa behind the camera. The crew was fabulous! And, they really got into it.

Our first presentation is of a wasp on the red bulb of some type. Every year, the wasp swarm all over these plants and for some reason they are very passive while on the plants. I think that I have taken photos of them every year. Thanks to my production crew, we got a very nice, even soft light on our subject by placing the SB800 with the softbox on the left side and the reflector on the right side.

Everything was going well until a certain lady came out and started yelling at the cameraman about the wasp being too dangerous and to stop IMMEDIATELY! One member of our crew, a certain young lady, went over to the dark side, but the guys tried to argue our case. We lost. The authorities closed our production down. Censorship!

Great job production crew.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 105mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, f/22 and 1/90th with a SB-800 on a softbox and triggered by Nikon CLS.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, clarity and added vignette.

Photoshop—ran nik Color Efex Pro tonal contrast filter on the wasp to add contrast to highlights, mid-tones and shadows.

June 26, 2009

Doctor Watson

Just a few steps from where I photographed another a lady sat a man who looked like he had been time warped from the late 19th century. For some reason he reminded me of Doctor Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame.

I wanted my Doctor Watson to appear very dignified. I felt that the background should be slightly underexposed in order to bring him to the forefront of the photograph. I also thought that I should direct the viewers’ eyes to his face (eyes, nose, lips and beard), so I selected an aperture of f/4.8 to limit the overall depth of field primarily to those areas of the photograph.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 at 60mm, shot at ISO 200, f/8 and 1/30th of a second with flash set at rear sync.

Flash: Nikon SB-800 mounted on monopod with softbox attached, triggered by AlienBee CyberSync radio triggers, in manual mode at 1/16th power positioned to the camera’s right and slightly above his eyes.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast and added a slight vignette in printing.

Photoshop—cloned-out various small, distracting elements, used nik Color Efex Pro tonal contrast filter to add shadow, mid-tone and highlight contrast to her clothing.

June 25, 2009

Violinist with a Hat

The moment that I saw this young lady, I remembered her from the Texas Renaissance Festival. I tried to get an acceptable photograph of her, but came-up with nothing that I really liked.

Here, she was standing in the shadows with bright sun hitting the background. I had a choice: do I set my camera and flash to equalize the lighting in the two areas; or, do I set my camera and flash to make a proper exposure on her face and let the background effectively blow-out. I looked at the background and decided that there was nothing that I really wanted to feature so I decided to let the background blow out. I then selected f/4.8 for my aperture in order to achieve a nice blurred background.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 at 60mm, shot at ISO 200, f/4.8 and 1/60th of a second with flash set at rear sync.

Flash: Nikon SB-800 mounted on monopod with softbox attached, triggered by AlienBee CyberSync radio triggers, in manual mode at 1/4th power positioned so that she is looking straight at it.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast and added vibrance.

Photoshop—cloned-out small, distracting elements and minor blemishes and hair, used nik Color Efex Pro tonal contrast filter to add shadow, mid-tone and highlight contrast to her clothing and hair.

June 24, 2009

Polynesian Beauty

Last night I presented a body of work to the Bay Area Photo Club. It was photographs that I have taken at festivals. As I explained in my body of work write-up, this body of work grew-out of my thinking that you could produce near studio quality portraits with a minimum amount of equipment, i.e., on SB800 in a softbox. I have previously presented different photographs from these outings, but the ones I want to present now have not been show on my blog.

As this young lady approached us, there was no doubt in my mind that she would be a very striking subject for a portrait. My second thought was: don’t screw this up!

After we stopped her and asked her if we could take her photograph, I notice a large, shady tree covered with ivy not too far from us. I thought that the ivy would complement her crown very well, so we moved her in front of the tree.

I thought that the photograph to show her classical facial features. I wanted the left side to be properly exposed with a definite fall-off in the exposure on the right side. I positioned VAL Steve to my left and above her and directed the light so it would fall softly on her face. The placement of the light and the camera perspectives help ensure that the photograph is all about her.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 120mm, shot at ISO 200, f/4.8 and 1/125th with flash set at rear sync.

Flash: Nikon SB-800 mounted on monopod with softbox attached, triggered by AlienBee CyberSync radio triggers, in manual mode at 1/16th power positioned at left at about two feet away from her and above her.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added vibrance, adjusted saturation and hue of green and added slight vignette to photo before printing.

Photoshop—cloned-out small, distracting elements and minor skin blemishes and hairs, used nik Color Efex Pro tonal contrast filter to add shadow, mid-tone and highlight contrast to her eyes and hair.

June 23, 2009

Meet Cameron Julio Patrick or at Least His Foot


On Saturday morning, Janice and I welcomed the newest member of our family—Cameron Julio Patrick. I am always amazed at how small babies are when they are first born. Everyone told me that he has really big hands and feet, so here is the first post of one of those really big feet. The hand playing with his food is Chloe’s—his four- year-old sister. After looking at this photograph for a while, I was back to my original thought—babies are so small!

Enjoy.


June 22, 2009

Shake It!

After a hard day at the ole doggie swimming pool, you need to shake it all off and head to the house.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D700, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, 200mm, f/5.6 and 1/4,000th of a seconds.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast.

June 19, 2009

A Fine Belly Flop

I have never seen a dog be able to consistently produce the splash that this guy was able to do. This shot is all about the splash and his drive through the water. Because of his great performance, this guy earned the nickname "Big Splash."

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D700, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, 200mm, f/5.6 and 1/4,000th of a seconds.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast.

June 18, 2009

A Little Dog Action






A certain young lady and I ended up in one of our usual haunts last week. There was a lot of action, so that’s the theme of the next few shots. These shots are all about action—in case you could not tell, I tried to turn my D700 into a movie camera. With performances like this, this dog earned the nickname "Splash."

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D700, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, 200mm, f/5.6 and 1/4,000th of a seconds.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast.


June 17, 2009

Abstract Forms #5

Today’s image is a three shot multiple exposure image of a man walking along a fountain. I wanted this photo to be all about the forms of the building and the man walking.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, 70mm, f/5.6 and 1/30th of a seconds.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast.

June 16, 2009

Abstract Forms #4


Today’s image is a three shot multiple exposure image of the reflection of a lady behind a chained-link fence. I moved the camera position slightly between each exposure.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, 200mm, f/4.8 and 1/60th of a second.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, increased saturation of red, orange and yellow.

June 15, 2009

Abstracted Forms #3

Today’s image is three multiple exposures shot of a couple at various zoom levels while the lady turned her away from me. 

Enjoy.

Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, three shots at varying zoom levels, f/22 and 1.5 seconds.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, increased saturation of red, orange and yellow.

June 12, 2009

Abstracted Forms #2


Today’s image is three multiple exposures:  a couple setting on the bench, a bush of yellow flowers and two yellow flowers with their stem. 

Enjoy.

Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, three shots at varying zoom levels, f/22 and 1.5 seconds.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, increased saturation of yellow, red, and green.

June 11, 2009

Abstracted Forms #1

Over the next four or five days I am sure I will get a few comments like: “Have you lost your mind”, “I just don’t get what you are doing”, and “I think it is time that you take-up kite flying”.   I know a lot of people will not like the shots that I will be posting.  That’s OK with me.  These shots are all about trying new things. I have been trying various techniques over the past few months, but really have not had too much success with them until the past few times our.  These photos are about colors and movement.

All the effects have been achieved totally in camera.  I have not used Photoshop to combine photographs.  All post processing of the images have been done only in Lightroom (or essentially, Camera RAW).

I have used slow shutter speeds, zooming while shutter is open and multiple exposures on same image to make these abstracts.  Again, I wanted this to be all about trying new things to achieve movement and show colors in different ways.

Today’s shot is of a couple setting on a bench in Herman Park, which was taken while zooming my lens at a very slow shutter speed.

Enjoy.

Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, shot at ISO 200, zoomed during shutter opening from 70mm to 145mm, f/22 and 1.5 seconds.

Post Processing in Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, increased saturation of orange, green, blue and aqua.

June 10, 2009

Brazos Bend State Park #11

I was disappointed with two things in my visit to Brazos Bend State Park—no good alligator photos and not really that many wildflowers. I really expected a lot more wildflowers, but saw very few.

I ran across these Yellow Prairie Coneflowers as I was leaving the park. I find Coneflowers to have a great shape to photograph, even though I sometimes have trouble controlling their bright yellow color. They were definitely past their prime, but I really liked the overall arrangement. I wanted the image to be a high-key photo with limited depth-of-field—I only wanted a few of the closest flowers to be in focus.

I pushed the high-key aspect of the flowers by putting a light vignette in Lightroom.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D700, Nikon 300mm f/4 with a 1.7x Nikon Teleconverter and polarizing filter attached, shot at ISO 200, f/8 and 1/350th of a second on a tripod.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, reduced clarity and added a light vignette to edges.

June 9, 2009

Brazos Bend State Park #10

After I photographed the two Black Bellied Whistling Ducks, a single one landed on a perch a few feet away. Again, better being lucky rather than being good. I had everything set, and just waited until the duck turned his head around.

Again, I liked the earth-tone colors throughout the image. I wanted the duck to be tack sharp so I selected an f/11. I knew that even at f/11, the background would be virtually out-of-focus.

Enjoy.

Camera settings: Nikon D700, Nikon 300mm f/4 with a 1.7x Nikon Teleconverter and polarizing filter attached, shot at ISO 200, f/11 and 1/125th of a second on a tripod.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, clarity and added vignette.

Photoshop—ran nik Color Efex Pro tonal contrast filter on the duck and stump to add contrast to shadows, mid-tones and highlights and added boarder with onOne PhotoFrame.

June 8, 2009

Children at Play

The other night at one of our photo club meetings, one of our members asked me why I no longer submitted any photographs in our monthly assignment.  I told him that I was just interested in doing other things right now.  He then asked me, “Do you ever shoot photos for the assignments and just not submit them?”  I had to admit that I have done a few of the assignments just for fun, but have never really “finished” any of them to the point that the photo is ready to be printed or seen by anyone other than yours truly.  He then indicated that he would like to see some of them them.

I decided that over the next few months, I might share with everyone what I might have submitted as an assignment.  So, today, we interrupt our normal presentation of Brazos Bend State Park to bring you this month’s assignment:  Children at Play.  This is the monthly assignment for June.  Everyone will present their photographs on Tuesday evening.  

I find this subject to be one of the richest assignments that we have had at our club.  You cannot drive down too many streets without seeing children playing—baseball, romping in a sprinkler, diving in a pool, etc.

Today’s photo could have been taken when I was a small boy.  Kids and tire swings are enduring.  I think almost everyone has swung on a tire swing—and if they have not, they sure wished that they had.   This old tire swing in our back yard is one of our grand children’s favorite toys, so it seemed very natural for my “children at play photo” to include it.  While my grandchildren were taking turns in the swing, I decided that this would be a really good "children at play" photo.

This is not my normal “one-man-band” shot.  I had a whole production crew for this one:  granddaughter Chloe playing our child having fun, grandson Cole being my VAL (Voice Activated Light) holding the Nikon SB-800 and following his sister’s movements in the swing while asking “When is it my turn?” and Grandma acting as our power source for the swing.  I never thought that my photograph would ever lead to such a giant production!

I wanted the photo to show the saturated greens in the trees and have somewhat “dreamy look.”  I set my exposure to be -1.5EV and my flash to be +0.5 EV.  I ran Kubato’s Deep Forrest A3 filter on the background because I have found that it adds a richness to the greens and browns in a scene and also seems to add that slightly out-of-focus dream look that I wanted.  

I probably should have changed Chloe into a dress that was more complementary to the greens and browns of the background and also removed her shoes (those white shoes do grab your eye), but I really did not think about it at the time.  The photo still needs some work, but I am not really sure what I would do next.  Any suggestions?

Enjoy.

Camera settings:  Nikon D700, with Nikon 28-70 f/2.8 with polarizing filter attached, shot at ISO 800, f/6.7 and 1/180th with a compensation adjustment of -1.5 EV and a Nikon SB-800 to the camera left with a flash compensation of +0.5 EV to the left of the camera.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast and adjusted hue and saturation of various colors.

Photoshop—applied Kubato’s Deep Forrest A3 filter to the background, sharpened the subject and the tire, and added a vignette by painting black at 4% opacity on a layer in soft light mode.

June 5, 2009

Brazos Bend State Park #9--REVISED!

This morning, I was working on some portraits that I took yesterday, and for some reason, I decided to look at my blog.  Now, as I have stated before, I normally do not read the comments that have been posed on my photographs until the weekend--I feel this is a substitute for a leisure read of the Sunday paper.  I know that this infuriates some of the people who comment on my work, but that's just the way I do things.   Sorry.

Well, both Wayne and DHaass had the same comment on today's photo of a dragonfly, i.e., the curved branch below the dragonfly was very distracting and took your attention off the main subject.    I respect both of their opinions, even if I do not always agree with them (for everyone's information, I only agree with one person's opinion a 100% of the time--Janice D. Patrick's!)

As all of you know, I like things simple.  So, I studied the photograph for a while and decided that they were absolutely right.   I know present my new and improved version of the dragonfly for only an additional . . .

Enjoy.