Another hummingbird on one of my parents' feeders. I thought it was interesting how the little bird's entire profile fit inside the profile of the clothesline pole. The pole is maybe an inch in diameter to give you an idea of how small the bird is.
I think that to get better photographs of them, that I might need to set up the camera and flash closer to the feeder. Then I would have to trigger them remotely. That way the birds wouldn't be spooked by the nearby humans. I've seen other photographers do similar things. Or I could set-up a blind like a hunter would. That would get very hot in the summer though.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It is going to be slow on the blog this week. An old friend of mine passed away last week. Plus, there are several other little things going on. My son is visiting my parents, which meant I had to drive him down there the other day. We will pick him up in a few more days. However, while I was at my parents I did manage to get a couple of shots of their hummingbirds. They are difficult little buggers to photograph; fast, skittish and small. The fact that the neighbors were all mowing their lawns and wacking their weeds when the birds liked to come to the feeders didn't help. I will have to keep trying to get better photographs of these little beauties.
Friday, June 19, 2009
The essentials of music: a instrument (a dulcimer in this case), sheet music, bottle of over-the-counter pain relieve, and a tip jar. This is another shot from the monthly jam session at Barnett Park. I liked how the items seemed to say something about being a musician in general or an artist in particular.
Speaking of being an artist ... I mentioned I was working on something and that I might have some news soon. Well, here it is in long story form.
Last week I took some prints to L&L Framing, a local framing shop and gallery a couple of blocks from my house. The owner seemed to like the prints that I brought in, particularly the way the metallic paper I had selected brought out the colors and gave the images an almost 3D effect. We talked for a bit and somehow I mentioned that I had been shooting for a couple of years and was trying to figure out how to make some money with my photography. He asked if I had considered putting any prints on consignment at a gallery. I said that I didn't really know how to do that, and he responded, "Talk to me." So we talked about it for a bit. I told him that I would bring a sampling of photographs for him to look over when I came to pick up the prints I was getting framed.
This week I have been organizing my images into a portfolio collection in Lightroom and then further narrowed those down to a selection for him to look through. This also meant that I had to figure out how to get prints off of my printer that looked like they did on the screen as well as all of the organizing that I had been putting off. All of which was good to do anyway for long term purposes. It also meant that I had to figure out print sizes, pricing, etc. All very new things to me.
Today I went to pick up the framed prints and show him the photographs I had selected. After waiting for him to finish with a painter that was getting some work framed, I showed him the book of photographs. He looked at them. Liked several of them. And we talked some more as did my ever personable son. In the end he has ordered 8x12 inch prints on the metallic paper of three photographs to start with to see how things go. A small order, but my first gallery order! I'm quite happy about it.
This means more things to do and learn. It has to start somewhere doesn't it?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
This cone was protecting us from something, but I'm not exactly sure what.
I've been working on a photography related project which is why things are a bit sparse this week. If it works out, I hope to have news soonish. If not, then back to the old routine.
Keep shooting. Read more!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Black & White
I took a few photographs at the Hub City Jams on Sunday. Not as many as I would have liked, but still had a good time. They get together once a month at Barnett Park in downtown Spartanburg. I liked how the light reflected off of the keys of this keyboard. It sort of turned it into a natural black & white image. I just gave it a small push all of the way to black & white via Lightroom 2. I had also used a long telephoto zoom to get in close and compress the perspective.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I took my son out to his school playground one afternoon last week. He took one of his balls and kicked it around the soccer field until a few guys came out and took the field over for a private practice session. Still, I was able to use his as a model to practice some action shots. He had fun, but we didn't stay out long due to the heat. It was HOT that day. Afterwards, I treated him to some ice cream.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
My favorite shot from the Greenville Scottish Games is this one of the head-ornament of a classic Jaguar roadster. I love how the light plays on the curves of the hood and how it reflects off of the ornament and grill. Like the MG Dreams photograph, I used the Sigma 10-20mm ultrawide lens. I did crop it down slightly to minimize the sun's reflection in the lower left corner. I also desaturated all of the colors except for red, orange and yellow. This removed the green and blue reflections from the hood, but kept the colors from the badge on the grill. I also like how there is just a slight bit of color from the badge reflected in the ornament.
Sometimes the best way to present the essence of something it to isolate at distinctive portion of it. My wider shots of this car did not have anywhere near the same impact as this photograph does.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I thought we were getting close the the first anniversary of my starting this blog. So, I went back through the old posts and noticed that I started May 20, 2008. In other words, I missed the birthday. Guess I might need to do something special for it next year if I remember to put it on my calendar.
More after the jump.
Today's image is again from the Greenville Scottish Games. In particular, it is from the British Auto Show which was part of it this year. The cars were lined up along the tree-lined drive that leads to the Furman Athletic areas including the football stadium. There were a lot of beautiful cars there. This MG roadster was one of those that caught my eye. I took it using my ultrawide angle lens. Since I knew I was going to be shooting automobiles in tight situations, I thought that using the ultrawide lens would help to get more of the cars. It did, but it also got a lot of bystanders which turned most of my photographs into snapshots. However, a couple of them did work out. I like how the lens exaggerated the perspective in this image. For reference I was only about 2 to 3 feet away from the bumper. I held the camera down low and pointed it upward slightly. The focal length was 10mm (15mm in full 35mm frame equivalent). This caused the perspective to distort a bit, exaggerating some of the car's curves.
When I was first processing it, I didn't like the final result. However, just as I was getting into bed that night, I had the idea of inverting the vignette to white instead of the usual black. The next morning I tried that out and liked how it added a dreamy kind of feel to the image ... kind of like a guy daydreaming during his mid-life crisis. ;-)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I've been out to the Furman University Stadium area a few times now for various events. This statue of the university's mascot, shown above, is located in the main entrance to the stadium. I had tried to get a photograph of it, but never got one that I liked. The skies were frequently gray, or blown-out to pure white. There are lots of trees, lights and other distractions around it. Plus, it is a common meeting area thus there are usually lots of people around it.
This year the sky was just right with enough sunlight to illuminate the statue's details, yet enough clouds to give some interest in the sky. I was finally able to frame it without most of the junk around it. Although, I did have to clone out a couple of small items on the edges. Still, I'm glad that I finally got a shot of it that I like.
Monday, June 8, 2009
We went to the Greenville Scottish Games this past weekend. It was hot, but there were enough clouds and breeze to keep it from being to stifling. I don't know if I just wasn't in the mood for photography that day or what, but I didn't take as many photographs as I usually do and only came away with about nine or ten that I liked enough to process. Still, we had fun so I guess that is the most important thing.
More after the jump.
The two events that we had the most fun with this year were the sheep dog competition and the classic British car show. It is amazing to watch those sheep dogs herding the sheep. The dogs really seem to enjoy herding them as much as the spectators enjoy watching them.
There were dozens of beautiful classic cars at the auto show. They were parked along the tree-lined drive toward the Furman University stadium. It was a great place for them. The trees gave quite a lot of shade from the sun to keep people comfortable while they admired the cars. And boy were there cars. Old Rolls-Royces, MGs, a Triumph Roadster with a rumble seat (I think that was my son's favorite), Sunbeams, classic Jaguars, and new Lotus sports cars. There was even a DeLorian. I don't recall any Aston-Martins though. I saw some older Mini Coopers side-by-side with some of the new models. The new models look positively gigantic next to the classic ones.
My son did also enjoy the children's area. There were free bounce castles and he got his face painted.
That's it for today.
Friday, June 5, 2009
The New 9-year Old
A portrait of my son celebrating his birthday at the restaurant. I used my flash, but it was mounted to the camera. However, I lowered the power so that it wouldn't look like a flash photo, and used slow/rear curtain synch with a slower shutter speed to get some of the background to burn it. This allows you to set a slower shutter speed on the camera than normal, thus allowing some of the light from the background to register on the sensor/film. Otherwise, the background will be a black void with no detail and the photograph will "look" like a flash photograph. The exposure was 1/25 at f/5.3. My son is relatively sharp at this slow speed for a couple of reasons. One is that I used a stabilized lens which lets me handhold the camera at slower shutter speeds. Two is that he is primarily being let by the flash who's durations is much quicker than the shutter.
It looks like it will be a good weekend, and we have some plans that should make for a good photo outing.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Continuing from yesterday's post, here is another photograph taken while my son played in the arcade. I'm sure many parents will recognize this pizza. It is the main dish served at this popular children-theme restaurant. As I mentioned yesterday, I started taking photographs of what was around the table to fight the boredom of my son off having a good time by himself. It was his day and I didn't want to hover over him nagging him about stuff. Thought it was best to just let him be a kid. So, I took the opportunity to play around with off-camera flash and still-life arrangement. Not the best thing ever photographed, admittedly, but it served it's purpose. It gave me a little bit more experience with a part of photography that I find to be my weakest. You can't get better without practicing after all.
And here is the rest of it.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
My son had his 9th birthday this past weekend. For his dinner he picked a popular children's place with games and other kid's stuff. While he was playing I was a bit bored since I had forgotten to take something to read. However, I did have my camera and flash with me and decided to play around with whatever I could find. I didn't even need to leave the table. There were a couple of pieces of pizza remaining, plus my son would periodically drop off his tickets when they got to be too much for him to carry around. More after the jump.
The shot above is some of those tickets that I arranged on the table after he had dropped off another batch of them. I used my flash unit, but held it off to the side with the idea of "raking" the light across the top of the tickets. The thought I had at the time was that it should give me some interesting play between highlights and deep shadows. I think it worked out for the most part. I exaggerated the colored type and graphics in post processing to break-up the gray tones of the tickets themselves.
Just remember next time you find yourself a bit bored somewhere. So long as you have a camera, there will always be something to photograph. Even if it doesn't result in a work of art, it will give you some good practice with the camera and at jump starting your creativity. For example, the shot above gave me some practice arranging objects for composition as well as practice using an off-camera flash. Plus, it is just fun to try something off the wall sometimes.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Scott Kelby's Second Annual Worldwide Photowalk is being held July 18, 2009. For more details go over to the Worldwide Photowalk website. There doesn't appear to be one near me yet, but that doesn't really matter this year. We have plans for that weekend and I won't be able to participate. I did go to it last year in Greenville and had a lot of fun. My shots from then are over in my gallery site here. The photograph above is one from last year's photowalk.
It looks like there are a lot more cities this year. While there is the chance to win some prizes, the best part is meeting other people with the same interest in photography. Check it out and attend one near you if you can. It is a great way to meet people, explore your hometown, and learn a bit more about photography.
If you enjoy the experience then start up a photowalk group of your own. Jeff Revell's PhotoWalkPro Blog can give you some tip and pointers on how to do just that.
That's it for today.