Friday, October 28, 2011

Week 4: Macro

I was really looking forward to this week's theme. I like macro photography a lot and just recently got a macro lens. This theme also persuaded me to make a little light tent out of some cardboard and tissue paper that made lighting much easier. I also recently picked up a wireless transmitter and receiver that allows me to get my flash of the camera, which is essential. The best part was, only 20 bucks. On to the pictures.

As soon as I found out this week's theme was photography I knew that I wanted to take a picture of money. It fascinates me the amount of detail that can be printed with dashed lines. I shot this one with a very shallow depth of field so that just the eyes would be in focus.
Plant-life is always fun to photograph in macro. There's so much detail when you get up close. This one is of a small cactus we have in our house. I love how green and lush it can look while needing almost no water.
This is one of my favorites. The trickiest part of this shot is trying to line myself up in front of the camera, taking the picture, and then turning around the tripod to see if I got the shot right, then repeating another 20 times. Oh, and I also had my lightbox balancing on my shoulders to soften the light.
I came across this shot on accident. I was taking some pictures of Dilly on our office chair and noticed the detail of the chair's fabric in the picture. Holding my flash real low, I was able to get a nice contrasty shot.
Light bulbs also fascinate me quite a bit and we just happened to have a nice clear one sitting around.
This is of our cheese grater. I love the brushed metal look in this one. I also took some pictures of knife edges, but while cool how much detail you can see in the sharp edge of the knife, lacked anything beyond that.
Leaves are always good to photograph. So much detail.
This one was Amy's idea. She calls it "macro-roni". That's all I'll say.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Week 3: Breakfast

This week's theme allowed me to get a little more creative with technique, which was both rewarding and challenging. When you eat cereal for breakfast each morning, you can only take so many pictures of cereal. That forced me to think about breakfast a bit more and take the theme a bit less literal. Which is kind of the point.

I think this first one could be better. As a default I tend to shoot at the largest aperture possible, so that I don't have to worry about shutter speed and I get a nice depth of field. I'm finding with my macro lens sometimes that depth of field is too shallow. 
This photo was just good timing with the sunlight coming in through the window. The logo is originally a nice red, but seeing as this glass is very old, I liked the black and white feel of it.
This is the sort of thing that I would never think to take a picture of, if it weren't for this challenge. It's the shadow of our pantry rack thing, reflected on the refrigerator.
This was sort of an attempt at tilt-shift photography. Usually you buy a really expensive lens, or photoshop the effect, but you can do it really cheap by removing your lens from the camera and tilting it a bit. It tends to keep one spot in focus, instead of a whole plane. I want to try more of this, as it works much better when you're far away from large subjects. It's supposed to make the subjects look like miniature models. Not sure if that's really conveyed in this photo.
Gabe and Vu were in town, which meant actually cooking breakfast, yay. What good timing. I loved the little smoke bubble at the top of the picture.
Note to self, don't take pictures of natural peanut butter, it will look like poo.
I really like this one. I used a flash to light up the inside of the toaster oven. I then inverted the colors, so that the shadows from the grate look like little rays of light. It makes the toaster oven look as grand as I imagine it to be.

Week 2: Neighbors

I allowed myself a bit of artistic license with this theme, which I think is sometimes the goal of this sort of thing. Since the theme coincided with my trip to Boston, to see friends, I allowed myself to use them as my subjects.

I took this first one on the roof of my house. There was a nice bright moon and I wanted to see how that lit up the sky, and if I could still get some stars in the photo. I like how the moonlight makes it look like daytime with a long enough exposure. You may not be able to see it in the smaller image, but in the larger image you can see the stars. I figure, the stars are our neighbor, right. Again, artistic license. 
 The moon is the earth's neighbor, so that's why I took this photo. The moon is an interesting thing to photograph. You would think that since it's dark out you'd need a long shutter speed and a tripod, but you really don't There's enough light bouncing off from the sun that it's actually a pretty short shutter speed. This image is cropped a bit and I wish I had a longer zoom to be able to get in closer without the crop.
 This image just about sums up how Keith golfs. Intense, goofy, concentration.
 Mentally, physically, somethings just not right.
 This was of the building next to where I was staying in Boston. It was really cool to see the leaves gradually change in just the few days that we were there.
 This was one of my favorite pictures from my trip. I walked around O'Hare for 3 hours. I was a little wary to get my camera out and take pictures, but I knew I really wanted a moving shot on the walkway. I probably spent an hour on this walkway going back and forth, trying different things. It was fairly busy while I was there, so it was hard to get a photo without a bunch of people in it. I actually got this shot after going back later in the evening when it was a little less busy. I'm glad I did.
 This was my first actual attempt at a portrait for someone. I was really glad I did it and I learned a lot. I had everything all set up to use the light coming in from the window, but by the time we took the picture it was getting dark fast. I abandoned that hope and turned all the lights on in the room and used a flash. I'm really happy with how everything turned out. It was a really informal portrait and the whole thing probably took less than 5 minutes. With some more time and more control of the lights I think it could be even better.

Week 1: Color

This week was a fairly generic and easy theme, which made it both easy and difficult. It was really easy to look at something and say, hey, there's color, I'm going to take a picture of that. It was much more difficult to find something creative to do, because there was always something to take a picture of. I think it was nice for a first week them to help me get into the swing of things.

This was my first picture and I took it purely to get the first shot out of the way. I experimented with a couple of different angles, but I liked how the grey and the green contrasted and you get some nice shadowing on the texture of the bag. 

 I noticed this one when I was getting ready to leave in the morning. Amy had left a little bit of juice in a glass and the sun was shining through it nicely. I like the way the orange light converges in the shadow.
 This is our watering can outside. It's got some nice kind of rust coloring going on. I kind of phoned this one in.
 Saw this while walking to work. The leaves had started changing, but not all of them. This was the only group of red leaves in the surrounding trees.
 I tried to get a little creative with this one. This is Amy's swimsuit hanging on a hook. With the macro lens it gives a really shallow depth of field.
 When I found out that this week's theme was color, I knew that I wanted to take a picture of my shoes. I wanted to use natural light, so I put the shoe on the window sill, which also gave me a nice generic background. I took a lot of different angles, but I liked how this one put the toe of the shoe out of focus and drew you into the DPU monogram.
 Last one in the series. This was on my flight to Dallas. The sunrise outside the window of the place was pretty awesome and trying to capture that through a plane window was challenging.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

How I Hope to Not Suck as a Photographer

This blog is going to document my attempt to grow as a photographer. Right now I feel like I'm in a rut taking pictures of pretty things, and cats. I guess they're really one in the same. Really I'm just taking pictures of cats. This photo-a-day project will hopefully force me to take pictures every day and get me out of my comfort zone. I'm also hoping it forces me to get more creative and think about my photos more. I've decided on a project that uses weekly themes. This should give me a little bit of direction while also keeping things challenging. My goal is to post once a week with the photos from that week's theme and a little description of them all.

This blog is more for myself than anyone else, but feel free to keep checking in on my progress.