Photography

A Flower for My Friend

by Tobias on December 9, 2011

A Flower for My Friend

A Flower for My Friend

This tree thinks it’s spring,

With bright purple flowers,

Knows not of this thing,

We tend to call hours.

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My Aperture Session: Ferns

by Tobias on September 6, 2011

My Aperture Session: FernsA screenshot of my Aperture “fern” session. Full res. uploaded so you can see the details.

I have been using Aperture (currently version 3.x) for a while to organize and do post production for my photographs trying to minimize the time I spend in Photoshop. This post doesn’t go into some of the Aperture jargon, so please pardon me if you are not privy to Aperture slang.

I have 504 photographs that I took of the small ferns (less than a foot high) that started sprouting just outside my apartment in Seattle back in May. After many hours of sorting the images, this is what I’ve ended up with:

79 stacks of images with the best pulled to the front of each stack. Only the first two thumbnails are images I have actually done any post production on. (As noted in my previous post, one stack, for example, is a set of 127 photos.)

I have it sorted by rating, so my current picks are at the top decending down to pictures I might not even use.

My next steps are to actually give more accurate star ratings, choose which images are the créme (and which are shit), then edit those images to polish them for publishing.

All this for ferns. Then again, I can’t help myself; I just love the shapes, textures and colors that fresh ferns have.

 

If you are curious to learn more about how I am using Aperture, let me know and I might take the time to go into detail. Cheers!

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Unfurling Fern

by Tobias on September 6, 2011

Unfurling FernISO 400, ƒ/14, 1/40s

After 127 shots of this fern “branch”, I finally captured what I was looking for.

I was working with a breaze which made it exceptionally difficult to get a clear macro shot of this small fern. The reason is that I was working within a very close range with a 60mm macro lens. (I took the picture 4 months ago, but based on my memory the lens was probably ~4inches away from the subject.)

This means that the depth of field is so exceptionally shallow that you have to hop the ƒ stops up just to get the bend of the tiny leaves in focus. As you can tell in this photo, I had to go up to ƒ/14. In turn, this means that I had to make up for it in either shutter speed and/or ISO. Since I don’t want to have anything higher than 400 as my ISO, I kept taking shots at exposure rates that would make even the tiniest of gusts of wind blur the furn. Thus, I took 127 shots hoping that at one of those instants the wind didn’t gust the fern.

I think that this one optimized the depth of field, kept the noise to a minimum, and still allowed me to get a nice crisp focus.

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Delving into HDR

by Tobias on August 22, 2011

HDR: Eastlake Docks in Seattle
(The above is a composite of 8 images with exposure times in the 5min and above range.)

HDR is one of those buzz words in Photoland that usually invokes a set of viewer expectations and a bit of mystique. In a nutshell, the photographer is “merely” taking the same photo multiple times, and at various settings, such that they can get the over exposed and under-exposed elements properly exposed in a single image. The basic example is a bright sky; You want the bright sky to show the great cloud formations, but you don’t want to alienate, say, the trees in the foreground. (Poor trees!)

HDR: Sunrise in Suburbia V1
(This image is one I am using as a learning piece and is not meant to be a token of great composition.)

Here are the specifics for each photograph used in this composite: Composite of 4 images. All images captured at ISO 100, focal length 48mm, ƒ/5.6

Shutter speeds:
1/250
1/640
1/1600
1/4000

I have started using HDR because I take a lot of nighttime photographs. This means that if I am doing a very long exposure and there just so happens to be, for example, a street light in frame, then that street light is going to end up extremely bright compared to the rest of my image. This is where HDR comes to the rescue.

How do you magically make an HDR image?
[click to continue…]

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I am working on a book of my Bioflash images. I am using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 point’n’shoot camera in a method it was not intended.

More details to come, but in the meantime check out a few previews:

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Picture accidentally taken while phone was in my shirt pocket. Their expression & the hand says it all.

Yesterday I was walking around the Rivertown Revival festival with my iPhone in my shirt pocket. I didnt realize that Hipstamatic was running and that my body was accidentally hitting the shutter button.

I think their expression and the hand reaching over to catch their jaw says it all.

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(Click to see my Flickr set of test images used to write this article.)

The much loved photo app for the iPhone, Hipstamatic, is one of the first apps I booted up when I got the new iPhone 4. Sadly, I ran into some problems right away. What should be black & white pictures come out with odd blue swaths (like in this extreme example) in the darker areas. The other problem seems more serious: The first few times I took pictures it froze just as the shutter went off.  I took some time to look into both of these problems.

Hipstamatic tests on the iPhone 4

The new camera on the new phone is impressive.  Most of us have read the tech specs, but in use the 5 megapixel camera really goes all out for a phone. Impressive low light response, nearly instantaneous click & shoot, the ability to click on the screen where you want to be focused, HD video, and a built in flash.

I would love to be able to choose, in the application itself, what resolution I want to take the next picture.  I have frequently wanted to just get a quick snap shot, but then wanted to take a picture that I could use as a high resolution piece of artwork.  The resolution and processing is there, I just think they have to take the opportunity to use it.

It turns out that this built in flash is what causes Hipstamatic to crash.

Here is what is going on…

[click to continue…]

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Red Peppers

Artwork Anywhere

by Tobias on June 7, 2010

L'Enfant Station: Washington DC Metro
A picture I took with my iPhone (unedited) of L’Enfant Station (Washington DC Metro)

With the right kind of eyes, you can almost always find artwork surrounding you.

The artwork of photography is knowing when the happenstance of beauty is upon you so you can put your eye in the right place at the right time, taking scissors to reality and grabbing a moment.

I posted the image of L’Enfant Plaza I took at the DC Metro stop for multiple reasons.  For one, I took it with my iPhone’s camera.  It wasn’t taken with an exceptional camera. I really wish I had a DSLR at the time, but I was still able to take a picture that I still find to encapsulate the beauty I saw at that moment.  Is it a bit noisy? Sure thing! In the end what matters is that I have an image I’m still proud of, encapsulates a moment, and I find beauty in. The artwork of photography is knowing when the happenstance of beauty is upon you so you can put your eye in the right place at the right time, taking scissors to reality and grabbing a moment.

Do your best to look at the world around you through alien eyes; pretend that everything around you is new and you may see something that should become a photograph.

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Night Garden

In the middle of the night I brought my point’n’shoot out into the garden and took some pictures. I purposely left the flash on and used it to my advantage.  For example, I put the lens into the nose of a flower and let the flash’s light come in through the petals.

There seemed to be a fair amount of garden spiders out mostly hanging around the porch light so they can snag some yummy moths.  There is conveniently a bamboo “bush” right under it making droplets of dew for the morning to come.

[More pictures…]

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