Month: December 2013

Been Awhile…

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…and there are no new photos to show for it. I did, however, finally receive my Canon 5D! And I have been very excited that my 75-300mm and 50mm 1.4 Canon lenses work on the EF mount. I love the simplicity of the dials and buttons. I will admit that even with a battery grip, I still walk around with my camera off. So when I raise the viewfinder to my eye, I instinctively move my right thumb to switch on the camera to no avail. The Rebel’s body is very different from this professional grade setup. I haven’t had any great situations to shoot, nor the lens to experiment with the full body sensor, or a CF card reader. But I am getting around to those things! (I can’t change the weather, but I have been shooting random objects with the 50mm to get a good feel for my camera).

Because I am going abroad in less than two weeks, I wanted to save as much money as possible. I plan to shoot a lot while over there, but I don’t think the weather will immediately permit me to shoot landscapes at 17 or 18mm. So there’s no rush to get something wider than 50mm at the moment.

I need to swing by BestBuy (again) in the holiday hubbub to grab a CF card reader. Yuck.

In other news, I am cleaning up my usage of social media apps. By that I mean I am using a platform the way it was intended to be used. I have Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, a Facebook page, a self-hosted domain, and Flickr accounts–so many things to keep track of! So I will have my Instagram feed on the right side of my WordPress. Those will hopefully be images with little to no explanations or blurbs. That’s for my WordPress! It will be my travel log, journal, and resource for asking questions!

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Under the Bridge, Philly

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I really loved taking this shot. I had some variations on where I stood so that my angle was different. After a few weeks of playing around with perspective, I realized that I like this off-centered angle the most. The reason being that the depth of field is really increased when your eye can see how far back the bridge arches go. Straight on, the camera cannot capture the bridge legs/arches because they are behind each other.

I adjusted the contrast, shadows, and blacks to get the right amount of darkness I wanted. I also boosted my clarity up; especially in these urbex type of shots.

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Philadelphia Long Exposure

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I revisited this shot in my Lightroom collection. For some reason, I had the vibrancy jacked up really high. I undid that somewhat.

A cab drove in front the camera while I had the shutter open. I thought it added an interesting element to the shot. I think I might have had the shutter open for a stop too long. The Comcast Center and the building it to its right are out of focus…Oh well. This was the first time I shot a city at night. So I was learning as I went.

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Experimenting

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I wanted to see what two images of the same shot with different exposures would look like together. I wanted to use Photomatix’s exposure fusion setting to see if I could bring back an overexposed shot. I know that my highlights are awful. But I think it was worth posting what I did.

I don’t have an ND filter. It would helpful with the long exposures that I desperately want to take. So I just took a long exposure at .5sec. That blew out the highlights too much. So I heavy-handedly brought the highlights down. That’s why the sky has such a muted look.

This was all done really for the sake of what the water might look like.

Anyone have any recommendations for a solid, preferably cheap, ND filter?  I know that quality=price. But are there any out there that would go well with a Canon 17-40mm lens? 

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Using B+W with Snow

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I am still chugging along with my edits from yesterday’s spontaneous shoot. I probably have mentioned it before, but it’s worth restating it; I don’t usually shoot portraits. But the few times that I have, I really enjoyed the experience. One on one shoots are the best. Especially if I am comfortable with my model, it really ends up being a collaborative process rather than me dictating  about something I don’t understand fully.

Going through about 80 out of the 215 shots -we were on fire having only about an hour’s worth of daylight to work with- I am surprised so many came out alright. Obviously, there is more likely a solid 20 that are going to be used. But going through so many images, I have to say thank you Adobe Lightroom for virtual copies. I will go through spurts of about 3-4 images that are in need of roughly the same edits. But once I get to a different shot that needs a different edit, I start thinking of a different style.

Black and white is sometimes the first difference that comes to mind. Another one is boosting or lowering the clarity. Various elements that are in these shots come from different images I have seen on my Feedly or Flickr. More evident in the bottom shot; I thought that blowing out the snow would add to a softer look. I don’t typically drop the clarity slider in Lightroom, I usually just shoot to blur out the background if I want that effect. But I went ahead and did that anyway because it juxtaposed the model’s expression. In the series of photographs, I really like the bottom shot. Not sure why just yet, but it really stands out among the other images.

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When Snow Falls…

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You grab good looking people and shoot them in the snow! My good friend needed some shots for some things he’s looking into.

So we had some fun shooting around the sunset. It’s always easy to shoot photogenic people…

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Yea, I did some harsh edits. But I have almost 80 shots that are worth editing. So I have a lot of different styles I want to play with.

Back to the Blogging, Again

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Well, after a semester’s worth of blogging on a self-hosted domain to no avail, I am back to the grind of WordPress. Pumping out pictures, commenting, responding -the usual. There’s something to be said about getting into that rhythm. You either love it or hate it. I fall into the former category, obviously.

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Anyways, here’s one shot of many shots from my Thanksgiving break in Maine. This church is actually a basilica, the only one in the far North (I think after New York?) It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

I shot this with a Canon 18-55mm kit lens because I wanted the 18mm to do its job. I did some basic adjustments to highlights and shadows, but I was quite surprised that I got away with shooting this mid-afternoon. I mean, Maine really is far up north. It was getting dark earlier than down here in Philadelphia by a good 20-30 minutes. So I think that allowed for me to get a quasi-softer, evening light at an earlier hour.

I keep struggling with getting the angles straight. I think this is because I chose not to use Lightroom’s lens correction. Therefore, it was difficult choosing the correct plain that I wanted the image to be straightened in relationship to…so now that the image is on here, I admit it’s not straight…