Way back on the 4th of July, I went out to appreciate the wildflowers:
Photographing fireworks isn’t considered serious photography. The main ingredient is luck. The rest is pretty simple: low ISO, bulb setting on the shutter, and tripod. In college, they told us it was one of those things we did in high school because we thought it was cool. Well, dumb or no, I still think it’s cool enough to attempt it once a year. After all, I’m going to the show anyway. Might as well try my hand at photographing it. Here’s the luck I had this year:
Next Time: Car Show
I’d planned it to be much more. A few days of vacation to take from work that month were supposed to be a long weekend for two parks and an architecture shoot. It rained until the last day. Fortunately, that last day was a great one. Sunny, not too hot, and enough rain to make falls that aren’t always there flow steady. Dad came with and managed to haul all his gear (he shoots 4X5 film) up and down long staircases and around waterfalls through steep and narrow trails.
In the morning, we only saw a few smaller falls.
My research on the park paid off for our afternoon hike. Two more out of the way canyons with three waterfalls total.
Also some lovely rock formations. One almost looks like a person emerging from a cave.
Camera or Necklaces
Overall, 2014 was a good year of photographic explorations and blogging. I did some archive posts because of other things I was involved with, and I didn’t finish my video essay (yet). However, I did have some memorable explorations: two new cities, a new park, and some foggy conditions. That and a new camera for higher resolution and video capabilities. I explored and learned a lot. Below are some highlights from 2014:
As usual, I plan to keep blogging every other week and spend a lot of time in nature – all four season are beautiful. I also want to get back into more table top (it’s a skill I need to work at and winter isn’t just beautiful, it’s cold!). Hopefully, I will finish the video, shoot macro, post more good cat photos, and have a few adventures. Only time will tell.
It’s cold outside, so I’ve turned my attention back to indoor photography. Mugs were a subject I’ve been thinking to shoot again, so I chose a couple and began dusting off my tabletop skills.
This is a recent mug I bought for my father after I knocked another mug out of the cupboard on top of his old one and cracked it badly on the rim. Incase you think me extra clumsy, I was not the only person in the household to make that blunder. Someone else did it to my mug. Anyway, I owed Dad a new mug. It is sturdy and manly and not made in China, so he is satisfied.
This is my mug. The very same one that was chipped just as I chipped my father’s former mug. I can’t fix it in real life, but I can Photoshop the chip. For this shot, I decided to leave the teabag in and use the base of an old lamp and a book for props. I am much more likely to blog or otherwise work on the computer while drinking tea than I would be to read a book, but the old book looks way better in a photo than my computer would.
Next Time: Christmas
I’ll be photographing decorations or some other Christmas related items in honor of the season.
Last year, I became addicted to making what they call nail polish gems. Basically, this is painting glass with nail polish. I made many necklaces, and a quite a few magnets. Fortunately, I was able to sell many of the necklaces at a craft fair last Fall. However, some remain, and I’ve decided another craft fair is not worth the expense or the time. So I’m going to sell them – eventually. I haven’t listed them yet, but I will post a link here when I do. Right now, I just have the photos done. Since I am selling, the only retouch I did on the necklaces was a few localized brightness adjustments. I did a little more retouch on the backgrounds (sweater fuzz, cat hair, evening things out, and so on). That’s my full disclosure for the sake of honest advertising. The idea was to photograph the necklaces against clothing like they might actually be worn.
*Edit* Now I finally have them for sale: https://www.etsy.com/shop/NecklaceArtAndCraft?ref=hdr_shop_menu
Admittedly, stock photography isn’t a main focus in my life right now. I’ve been pecking away at it for three years. Enthusiasm was higher earlier in the process. I don’t really like this kind of photography. It’s kind of fun now and then, but the main thing I sell seems to be plain old backgrounds (and one more popular photo of staples and paperclips).
So this year, I’m going to look into selling my photos as artwork. Yes, I know it will be slow going and I won’t make much from it, but I think it is worth a try.
Next Time: Necklaces or Spring Begins
I think fall was the last time I did something like this. After my last couple of posts, I just need to get used to shooting out in the woods again before the spring flowers come.
Ever feel like something is watching you?
I shot and split toned the above two thinking of them more like rock formations than broken off trees.
Next Time: More Nature or Archive
I need to work on my black on black, so for some silly reason, I started with a tough subject: patent leather shoes with fabric bows and gold ornaments. The basic strategy is to use black velvet for a background, get the subject as far from the background as possible, and set the subject on a smaller elevated surface so you can keep as much light as possible off the black velvet. Not always easy.
First, I tried a more side on view. I’m pretty happy with the lighting (though I did touch-up in Photoshop). The angle, however, was not the best.
I had a little more trouble lighting the 3/4 view, but overall, I like it better.
Next Time: Archive or Black on Black
There are only two days left in 2013, but before we rush into the new year, I’m taking a moment to look back at what happened in the last twelve months. 2013 was a fairly stable year for me. In fact, it was probably the most stable year I’ve had in four years or more. A little boring, but stability is good in many ways. When it comes to photography and video, my two biggest accomplishments are reshooting all my commercial photography class projects, especially the pour shot (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/the-end-of-the-big-project-pour-shot/), and developing my After Effects skills (https://www.youtube.com/user/gelsn740/videos). Since I’m not completely happy with my black-on-black project, I’ll probably do more black-on-black next year. I also hope to further develop my YouTube channel. Unfortunately, 2014 will probably see more archive posts. I have some non-blog plans that may prohibit shooting and blogging for a few weeks in the spring or summer. Below are some of my photo highlights from 2013.
All the decorations went up the first of December, so its high time for some Christmas photos. I selected a diverse group of Christmas decorations and decided to light all of them with the string of LED Christmas lights I purchased this year, just to see how it would work out. I was going for more of a warm, soft look in all the photos, but I still wanted some light/dark contrast.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Next Time: New Year’s / Year in Review
My apologies for the late post. I was a little under the weather this weekend, and therefore got behind schedule a bit. Anyway, back on topic. A couple of weeks ago, I spent a nice Sunday afternoon exploring a new park not too far from home. It was a cloudy day, good for emphasizing color, but not much use for illuminating the fall foliage or keeping acceptable shutter speeds for the wind for that matter.
I couldn’t resist the shape of these bushes with the fringe of red leaves still clinging to the top. As far as the orientation, I went back and forth on that and decided that it’s sort of abstract, so it can be horizontal if I want it to be.
The form of this dead tree rising from the subtle fall foliage really drew me that day, but I hardly noticed it a week later in sunny “magic hour” conditions.
One of the unique features of this park is the many aspen trees on the trails.
There was an entire clearing of these bushes with almost nothing but red cones left on them.
I congratulate this park for having an overlook platform that actually looks out on a desirable view, rather than a mess of brush and trees right in front of the platform.
Despite my best attempts to stay wide for once rather than doing mostly close-up work, I couldn’t resist these two groups of fungi. They’re not what I typically see around here.
Next Time: Fall Scenic Part 2: Sun and the Rock
With fall upon us, I lament the lack of fall color this year. Maybe it’s because of the rain or the late warm temperatures we’ve had. However, a few trees did turn brilliant colors. Because of this select group, I decided to do a fall post similar to another post from several weeks ago (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/vegitation-on-white/ ).
One maple in the front yard always turns and deep red.
The ash trees and the oak have also turned for the fall. Most of the maples are still green.
Pumpkins: fall just wouldn’t be so much fun without them.
Oak leaves and acorn.
Next Time: Late Fall Scenic
Despite the rainy weather, I decided to take my camera outdoors for abstract shots. The light was soft, but dim, so the tripod was a must. Damp surfaces also have a different look about them, not to mention the rain drops adorning various surfaces.
Next Week: Archive or Lightening Rods
I decided to bring some plant life indoors and give it the studio on white treatment. One of my first ideas was to group this bunch of marigolds in a style reminiscent of an old picture at my grandma’s house.
Next, I moved on to these purple wildflowers that I often discard as weeds. Most of them grow in the property line by the corn field. I brought them inside for a clean background.
Lastly, I photographed this sprig of clover, a ubiquitous piece of vegetation in my area.
Next Time: Tools or Abstract
Since the macro lens was sitting all forlorn and abandoned in my camera case, I thought I should use it. Mid to late summer is a good time to photograph remaining small flower and maybe some insects. My subjects range from weeds to strawberry flowers. Since the subject is not still, outdoor macro shots like these can be more difficult than indoor or studio shots.
I didn’t make it to the fireworks this 4th of July, but I did check out the festivities at a nearby small town. This festival had a car show, which is one of my favorite events to photograph. Old cars have so much beauty, detail, and style.
Hood ornaments and other markings showing the make and model are always of interest. I was particularly taken with this bird.
This Pontiac symbol made for a nice symmetrical shot. It was also a great subject to play with split toning. I kept it close to the actual color of the car.
I also liked the shapes and colors on this 442.
Headlights and tail lights have a lot of character as well.
This time, I had a favorite car in the show: a Corvette Stingray in this beautiful blue color. What a car!
In a previous post, I mentioned I’d become obsessed with keys and was thinking of purchasing some old furniture or skeleton keys off eBay. It turns out I didn’t have to buy any. My mother and sister were going through some old things when they found these old furniture keys a relative had given my sister and I when we were young. Apparently, my mother decided we were too young for them and packed them away. Not anymore. Finding them made my day.
This is the smallest and most ornate of the keys. I think all the curves at the top look romantic, so I went with a love theme for this one. (As a side note, the keys is small enough and pretty enough that I’d like to buy some similar colored chain and make a necklace out of it.)
The modern squared off look on this key is in stark contrast to its well-worn and scratched finish. I went for a simple approach, but I did black and white with an old book as the background to accent the key’s age.
This is the most elegant of the three keys.
I wanted to make it look like it actually went with something, like jewelry box.
Next Time: Nature or Old Phone
Spring is slow in coming this year, but there are always some prospects out in the big wide world. If I don’t go out and find them, I promise you the phone is cool. It’s old as in has a dial, and a fancy shaped receiver.
The end is finally here! My pour shot is done, and it went a little better than I thought it would. Equipment was one of my biggest concerns going into this one, but shooting my flash through the scrim seemed to work pretty well. My furry four-legged assistant was watching me, but she can’t pour liquids, so thankfully, my mother agreed to help with this one. It took us a few tries to get the timing down, but the result was well worth any inconvenience or spilled red pop. Here are a couple different shots:
Next Time: Nature or Vintage Objects
I finally finished my mug shots this week (that’s photos of mugs, not criminals). Confession: I cheated. This is obviously a teacup, but it’s cute. I wanted to try a white on white sort of shot, and this tells me I had better give myself some time when I do it again in January.
This is my “puppy mug” from my childhood. It’s an English “beaker” as I’ve heard mugs called on the britcoms. Back in the day, my mom let my sister and I each pick out a secondhand mug as our own. I had a thing for spaniels at that time, so this was an easy choice. Digging into the mug’s national origin, I chose to accent it with an old Shakespeare book and some shortbread cookies. I had the strongest visualization for this shot.
Lastly, I wanted to do something with hot cocoa and a ’70s vibe. My mother kindly let me borrow this wonderful tall old mug she has. It went well with the cocoa and the tall spoon, but I confess the cookies were an afterthought. Your order at the cafe is ready.
I tried out a method for adding steam in Photoshop. It’s something I’ve been playing with recently. Let me know what you think.
Next Time: Thoughts on Christmas and Color
I’ve seen pink trees, overheard talk of blue trees, and strolled down aisle after aisle filled with ornaments of non-traditional colors. Yet I still prefer the traditional.
I was photographing dear Jenny the other day. She was in a good mood for it, but she decided to sit in very strong sun, causing some harsh shadows.
I decided to use a large piece of white poster board as a reflector. This did not work. Jenny hid behind the board.
So, I got a toy to lure her out. She came, but the board came with her.
Long story made short, I’ve decided to stick to photographing cats in softer light.
Next Time: Mugs (If they’re not done in two weeks, I have issues.)
Well, I was going to do some photos of random conglomerations of stuff (I thought they might be useful backgrounds for stock), however, I decided that was creatively lazy of me. I had a bunch of keys out for one shot, so I started arranging them and decided to do a post on keys. To be honest, I’ve been a bit obsessed with them lately. I’ve found emergency spares and odd keys from various corners of the house, purchased a key pendant to make a necklace, and wasted perfectly good time looking at old keys on e-bay. No, I’ve not bought any yet, but I keep thinking they’d be awesome for photography.
This one, I believe is a key for a small safe.
Here is a collection of very round keys. I have no idea what they are for, but I love the shape.
These are older automobile keys, one round for the door and one square for the ignition. This set was barely ever used. The keys were kept as spares in a spare key hiding place my family forgot about. We dug them up while organizing. I’m pretty sure they’re for Patricia VonOlsey, our old van that’s been rusting in peace at the junkyard for about a year now. Yep, completely useless.
Next Time: Nature
Hopefully, within the next two weeks, weather, time, and light will align in such a way that I can get out to the woods for a bit.
I did another abstract this week. As I’ve mentioned before, this is more of my fun creative exercise to get the juices flowing. It can often help get me out of a rut.
Next Time: Old Cars
Last fall, I went to a Cruise Night and photographed the cars (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/highlights-of-vintage-cars/). I had such a great time doing it that I’m planning on attending and photographing a local car show this week.
When my sister and I were little, we played with a toy called Marble Works. It was basically a bunch of curvy ramps and various other parts you built a structure with and watched your marbles twirl around in. Strange as it may seem, we could spend hours building these mazes and watching our marbles navigate them. Of course, this was only for normal sized marbles. The large “shooter” kind did not fit through the holes.
Recently, I dug my marbles out of hiding and put them in a glass jar on my dresser. Most of the ones I still have came from a booth at a historical reenactment. My favorite, however, I found in the dirt at my grandparent’s home. No one is sure how it got there.
Next Time: Nature or Old Camera
Yes, those are probably the two most common subjects on this blog. If I do an old camera, it will be a movie camera this time.