Thursday, October 4, 2012


Less than a week left, and I'll be off for some time. I'm not sure if I would be able to post in this blog when I'm away, but I'll see to that. The place I'm staying in is provided with Wi-Fi service, but with the schedules I'm having for myself there, I might be even too busy to sleep! I don't know...

Still Life
I've been skipping a lot of the group's activities because I wanted more time for myself, and because such activities are usually followed with a huge number of images that I need to sort out and filter out (and, of course, process). With my taking off time getting closer, this is not possible to be done right now.

Canon EF 50mm USM, f/8,
100-1sec, ISO 100
However, I didn't cut myself off completely. There is a contest among the group members that extends till October 20th (by which time I would be out of the country already). The contest is for Still Life images, and I've decided to work on it a little bit, majorly on some simple ideas. Just needed to submit the images and forget about the results of the contest. One of the ideas is to pack all my photography books into a stack, over some smooth table and use my speedlites to light the scene. After many trials (with gel filters, snoot, and honeycomb grid) I've made a version somehow close to what I was aiming for, Photography. It is not exactly as I wanted it or as I had it in my mind. I wanted a lighter yellow streak almost mimicking the real light coming from the sun through the window. Also, I wanted some dust particles in the air to reflect the antiquity (despite the books being relatively modern and new!). I have to satisfy myself with this image for now and might use this experience in something else in the future.

Hygienic Circles
Canon EF-S 18-55mm @33mm, f/8, 250-1sec, ISO 400.

My other idea for Still Life (and actually done first) was a snap from the top for a collection of circular objects. My idea was to bring one form of geometry into the scene and make it dominate - however, framing a circular object in a rectangular scene proved really difficult. I didn't know how to arrange the objects, beside shooting exactly at -90o degrees. In the beginning I was planning to use my relatively-new lens, the Canon EF 50mm, but that was challenging as I would have to raise the camera with the lateral arm to a level higher than my head. For this reason, I had to change to 18-55mm lens.
Using 2 speedlites here with a reflector and a honeycomb, I did change a lot of settings and positions till I've arrived at this result. Probably should have used some coloring gels to give more warmth on the scene, as the white balance setting proved problematic when changed.

As I've mentioned before, in last week's post, I've set out a challenge for myself: getting out and taking pictures with camera and lens alone; no tripod, no other lenses but the 50mm. The challenge was carried over 3 days, and as expected, most of the images I could think of were around my work place. Well, except of one which was taken as I was waiting for my sister near the garage...

In View
Canon EF 50mm USM, f/1.4, 1600-1sec, ISO 100.

Frankly, there is no philosophy or purpose, and I believe I'm not supposed to dig any philosophy when you go out strolling like that with a camera and one lens wherever you go; it is a bit like street photography, but without waiting for events or watching out for people. Simply, training your eyes to see things you deem interesting. In In View for example, I like the reflection (yes, I'm in love with side mirrors) and how the handicapped parking lot sign resembled a dot. I took several shots from this angle with little adjustments left and right - and I believe it fits the golden spiral unintentionally!

Light Tick
Canon EF 50mm USM, f/1.4, 200-1sec, ISO 100.

Now back to work where most of my shots took place. As stated above, I didn't care much about a message to get it through the images, but merely what really attracted my eyes. Like Light Tick, it can be an example for minimalism (a trend that I've been after lately), and some people really liked it despite its simplicity. What does it mean, and how it conveys a message, please be my guest and add your own philosophy to it. All what I know here is that my mind and imagination were on a roll!

Lost in Space
Canon EF 50mm USM, f/2.8, 50-1sec, ISO 100.

Another plug point in my office room at work was down close to the ground level, so I've decided that day I might have nothing better to shoot. As I was preparing and getting lower to shoot, I've realized that my eyes were playing a trick on me and I almost lost sense of orientation here, and that inspired me to do Lost in Space, which is just another minimalistic approach.
I have to admit here though that I've used the cloning tool in Photoshop to eliminate the hard lines of the corner and show the plug point as floating in space. Again, some people said it's genuine; well, Thank you all!

The Last Dangling
Canon EF 50mm USM, f/1.4, 1250-1sec, ISO 100.

And let's face it, floral arts are not mine and I don't like stepping there. But, there are moments when you just want to have fun with f/1.4 lens! This is exactly what I did here. I had to crop the image a bit to adjust the framing, but all in all, it doesn't attract me personally, even though some people liked it, and probably some of them were surprised for shooting such an image; not quite my style!

Ziegel und Linien
Canon EF 50mm USM, f/16, 20-1sec,
ISO 100.
Now, there is one corner in the wall, in the outside of my work place, which was subject for many shots before, and even a vertical panorama. I would love to make a proper vertical panorama instead of the handheld one done before (with lot of broken lines). Here, however, all I had to do is just increase the f-number to encompass a greater depth from the start (bottom) to the end (top) and aim upward.
It didn't occur to me that I can increase the ISO to fasten the shutter further, but it did well at 20-1sec without a handshake! Balancing my fat body in that pose proved to be an extreme job to do!

Stripes Spangled Door
Canon EF 50mm USM, f/1.4, 800-1sec,
ISO 100.
The bomb was that, in a period of one week only, I've got two of my images into Flickr's Explore feature! Meaning they are featured as something interesting. Not sure how did that happen, but in both cases, the image went into Explore directly the next day after uploading them. The first was Stripes Spangled Door, then followed by Ziegel und Linien the other day. Despite the simplicity (or so I thought) of Stripes Spangled Door when I shot it, it proved to be one of the difficult (and surprising) shots that I've ever done. Unlike Ziegel und Linien which comprises, mainly, diagonals, Stripes Spangled Door is mainly composed of straight lines; horizontal and vertical. I did my best to shoot face to face (and the door was a bit raised up from the ground), and when everything did look fine, my computer and Photoshop had another say. The image was out of perspective and I've spent some hard time fixing it, and even DxO did not do much to help me out. I had to resort to some old tricks of skewing and stretching and manual perspective fixing. On the left side of Stripes Spangled Door I've kept some tiny stripes so as not to dock the the vertical lines on the side as, as I see it, typically done.

Now, this is my last post before taking off. I will try to post when I'm abroad, but I'm not quite sure if the time will allow me to do that. That will be one big city, and I'm not fond of cities, but I just need to finish this to see what's next. Beside the worrying about my tools and camera before the travel, there are matters that I've postponed till after the travel; matters of projects, business plans if possible, and on the top of them all, matters of the heart...

See you after some time...

My bro goofing around. Guess he never heard of a barber?
Canon EF 50mm USM, f/1.4, 30-1sec, ISO 200.

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