Friday, February 17, 2012

Week 19: Growth

This week went a little better than last week. I still didn't get anything great, but I felt like I had a little bit more time to take some photos. During the weekend I sat and thought and came up with four ideas and that was much easier to shoot during the week. I still only got six photos this week, so hopefully I'll get seven next week.

I did a similar photo to this one a couple of weeks ago, but I figured the same effect would be good for this week. Beard growth is best seen when back-lit. I discovered something helpful this week, I can use a ladder as a light stand. It made it so much easier to clamp my light to it and then just move the ladder around. It's not ideal, and an actual light stand would be nice, but for now this works well.
This photo shows my growth as a photographer, or at least my attempt to grow. I saw a video this week on how to take better portraits by emphasizing jawline, it was amazing. I was dubious at first, but it really is an amazingly simple trick. You have your subject bring their forehead and jaw out to the camera. From the side it would look weird, but head-on you can't tell that they're sticking their head out. Below I have two examples. On the left I stood like I normally would if I was taking a picture, on the right I stuck my head out. My beard helps with jaw definition, in general, but the right photo still shows so much more definition. Definitely something I will do with portraits from now on. This technique can also be used from the side, you just have the subject stick the side of their head toward the camera. Here's a link to the video:
I haven't done a silly shot in a while, so this was my attempt. I liked the idea, but the execution was a little off. It's hard to make a composite image look real, especially when both subjects are you. This is what I imagine I would look like if I was actually seven feet tall.
This photo is an example of my growth in running. I took this right after running six miles. And while that is nowhere near the longest I've ever run, it's the longest I've run in this current plan. So I guess that's something.
I got pretty lucky with this shot. We've had these flowers start to grow up through some rocks in front of our house. I knew I was going to take a picture at some point, but then I got lucky and it started snowing. It stopped snowing, leaving just enough of the flower pushing out through the snow.
This one also didn't turn out great, and I've done other long exposures like this that were better. The kind of interesting thing about taking this shot is I actually had a flash trigger in my hand and stood in complete darkness. I left the shutter open and just pressed the trigger every time I got into position. A little different way of doing long exposures.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 18: Work

I was sick for a good part of this week, and the photos definitely suffered. I was having a really hard time finding inspiration and motivation. It didn't help that I was traveling for three days this week. I'm hoping to get on track for next week's theme.

I just got some new collar stays for my work shirts, I'm pretty excited about them. Only problem is that a lot of my shirts don't have the little pockets for them. Time to get creative with some cutting and sewing.
It's hard work to do heart rate training AND drink whiskey.
This was a couple of days after I got really sick. I slept until 12:45 in the afternoon then tried to get dressed and go to work. As you can probably guess from the photo, that did not happen. 
This is another photo from the 'animal eats everything under the hood of my car' series. While I was driving to Madison I got stuck in a rain storm, without wipers, and the storm wasn't moving. I didn't have wipers because the animal ate a 4-inch chunk out of the wiper motor harness. Fed up with waiting around for rain that would never end, I bought some cable, some butt connectors, and rewired the motor harness. This photo is my handiwork. 
We have a door at work where the wood grain has an awesome kind of screaming fire face. I tried to get the face to pop a bit more by using HDR and then adding more contrast with the B&W. 

Only five pictures this week since I was sidelined with the sickness. Hopefully I'll get back on track next week.

Week 17: Excitement

I'm still trying to get the hang of taking pictures while working. I think it's getting a little easier, but I still don't have the time to think creatively. I've started trying to think about the theme while I lay in bed and I'll make notes of ideas I have. That makes it much easier to execute during the week.

We keep the door to the washing machine open all the time to let it dry out, so every time I go into the laundry room I can see into it. Lately I've noticed how interesting it looks. I took a static shot of the inside, then started to spin it slowly while keeping the shutter open. Then I took a third shot, spinning it faster. I feel like it captures the excitement (or terror) of what it would be like to be inside the washer while it is spinning.
Excitement can mean different things to different people. To me, excitement means getting a shipment of ten brand new computers from Dell. 
We have these cat figurines that shows them in an excited pose. Instead of just taking a picture of the figurine, I put two of them inside the light umbrella and fired a flash at them to give me the silhouette.
This is kind of the opposite of exciting, rolling out my IT band with a foam roller. 
More of the same, icing my knee after a run. 
This genuinely was exciting, plotting the route from Manhattan to Madison for the weekend. 
Excitement of the not-so-fun variety. After getting part way from Manhattan to Madison I tried to turn the windshield wipers on, and they didn't work. After pulling off the highway I open the hood to discover an animal had chewed off a bunch of wires and plastic. It made for a very exciting rest of the drive. This is just a small sample of his handiwork.