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Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 14 - struggles

Singing is hard.  I guess it's easier to tell when something is really terribly sung than when a picture isn't very good, which perhaps hides how hard photography is.

This shot was close range; Nikon D3100, 35mm, f/1.8, ISO1600, 1/30; slightly cropped and converted to sepia in Aperture.

Day 13 - Piedmont Park and playing with HDR

Here I played around with HDR some.  It's essentially faked HDR, which is faked photography, but who really cares?  It's all about the image.  Now, the problem with the image is the loss of fidelity.  I used a pretty cheap HDR program, and I got the exposures by using Aperture's 'quick fix' settings to increase the exposure one stop, exported that image, then increased the exposure two stops, exported that image, then decreased the exposure one stop from the original, then exported that image.  Then I took those four images (the original, +1, +2 and -1 exposures) and used HDR studio, a cheap program for macs to create the final image.  All this processing in the JPEG format led to some noticeable degradation of the image.  But overall, I was pretty happy with the final image and the colors that came out.

Day 12 - Architecture

I really want to get into architectural photography.  However, I really haven't had the time to scope out buildings where I'd have access to a lot of good shots.  However, I was relatively happy with this shot.  I just kind of snapped it off while walking back to work from starbucks.  It's the front of the building I work in, The Biltmore Hotel.  It's obviously not actually a hotel any longer, but has some upscale apartments and office space.  It's got a very classical/colonial vibe to the architecture.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 11 - color splash

So, this technique gets overused a lot.  I especially can't stand when someone actually uses it to take attention away from the subject.  Like a picture of a kid, where some random color on his shirt is highlighted.

Here I used it because I liked the framing in this picture, but Brice's color is more or less the same as the color of the background, making him not stand out as much.  So, I put the background and the foreground in black and white, but left him colored.  I'd rather have him against a nice, natural contrasting background, but with what I had to work with, I think this really saved the picture.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 10 - New 35 mm prime lens!

f1.8 is an amazing thing.  Love the bokeh (oh damn, dropping photography jargon on ya, bokeh simply means blurry background).  Love the sharpness.  So far I'm loving this lens.  It's also encouraging me to play around a lot more with aperture priority mode on the camera to control depth of field.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 9 - messing with fake out of focus

So, I didn't get to take a lot of photos today, but I did get a good one of my dog.  Problem was, with the lens I had on, the depth of field was too great, so the sort of tacky neighbors yard ruined to the picture somewhat.  My 35mm f1.8 lens was on the way, or the shot would have been nearly perfect.

So, I used fake blur.  Yeah, it's sort of noticeable, but I think the shot's better because of it, it's better than having the neighbor's house distract.  Not my finest moment, and it definitely won't make any future 'portfolio' I'd put out.

Other than the fake blur, the shot was cropped, but not otherwise altered.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 8 - Missed My Dog

While I went to visit my parents for the weekend, my older dog stayed home with his mom.  I missed him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 7 - Small Acoustic Gig

A friend of mine, Will McCranie, came down from NYC for the weekends and played an intimate acoustic show, complete with two acoustic guitars and an upright bass.

I'm slowly learning how to properly utilize a flash.  In most cases, I hate the artificial 'feel' the flash gives most photos, but in dark settings you need it if you want a really sharp image.  Good post-processing software can really help with this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 6 - Bread

My aunt wanted me to take some pictures of her homemade bread.  A little too centered for me to love it, but it was a practical picture as opposed to a 'artsy' 'follow the rules' type photograph.  And there wasn't a good object near by to use as a balance for the rule of thirds.

Day 5 - Blues and Rock

Went to see my uncle's band play at the Hotel Aiken.  Then to Metro in downtown Augusta to see some friends play.  Here are what I thought were my best from each (click on the pictures for an enlarged view):

Jim Marshall has always been one of my heroes.  So I guess that makes my default way of thinking about shooting live music in black and white.  The thing people may not realize about shooting live music is that while the music may be extremely dynamic,  if you just steadily shot, 95% of the pictures would be indiscernable from one another.  I think the variance in the music makes us think that visually more is going on than actually is.  But really, there's only so much you can do while playing an instrument without it seeming kitschy.  So, you have to get sort of 'creative' with angles and lighting and so on if you're going to make the pictures interesting.

I grew up with my aunt and uncle and I bought him the guitar he's playing in the above picture, so it has sentimental value for me anyway.  But I like the sort of reverse silhouette (no idea if that's a real term) this picture has going on.

I like the Egnater Amps advertisement vibe this picture gives off.  My long time best friend Michael is on the left of the picture with his R9 Gibson Les Paul.

Friday, October 21, 2011

10/21 Day 4 Photos of the Day - Rust

So, taking some photographs around my parents house I realized that all of the things I found interesting to photograph where rusted.  I guess I find rust inherently interesting.  Knowing that at one time it was a shiny metal object and now it has decayed to something, though perhaps less useful, is more interesting to me.  

Both pictures were taken with my Nikon D3100 with the 18-55 mm kit lens and a UV filter.  I did some very mild light adjustments in Aperture.  I don't like doing too much post production on my pictures, but I am kind of feeling my way through Aperture. 

I found the lock particularly interesting.  I'm not sure exactly what I think it symbolizes, but I found the idea of a device that was buried in the ground, still locked, but slowly being unlocked not with a key, but with time.  

My nephew Blake actually dug it up in my parents back yard.  

This well pump is actually in my parents side yard and no longer works.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Somewhat new direction for this blog

So, after being extremely busy for the last couple of months, I decided that I need to start blogging again. However, I just haven't been able to listen to enough music to really have a whole lot to say about anything new. I like the new Wilco and Ryan Adams albums, though I'm not head over heels crazy about either of them either. They're very good, very solid albums. But neither would come close to my top 200 albums of all-time type list.

I've been getting into photography recently. By recently I mean within the last couple of days. It's always been something I've been really interested in. I've always wanted to express myself with art. However, I can't draw particularly well, and I'm not really into abstract art enough for that not to be an issue. I'm not talented enough to make music that I really love, though from time to time I might write part of a song I sort of like. However, the great thing about photography is that it's almost a pure art of the mind. Other than having a somewhat steady hand, you needn't have physical abilities to create your art. You just need to have a clear vision of what you want, learn principles and how the aspects of photography work together and have good enough gear. Whereas I don't think I could ever be a truly great guitarist due to mediocre left and right hand coordination, and I could never remotely become a great painter, I think it's at least theoretically possible, no matter how unlikely, that I could create photographs that I'm really, really happy with.

So, that's going to become a part of this blog. I will also, from time to time, discuss music that has really grabbed me. And philosophical things, and musings. Basically this blog is just going to be me. My thoughts and my art, such as it is. Though I'll probably still just post my sports thoughts on another blog. One thing I want to do is post one photo every day for a year. I actually started this a couple of days ago, but just now decided to do this in blog format. This will allow me to share a daily sort of experience with everybody, but also to track my progress in my 'art'.

 So, here are what I thought the best photographs I took from the last 3 days (all images can be clicked for a larger version):

Day 1:

This was taken with an iPhone 4S in HDR mode. It was taken from several feet away and then cropped for the zoom. You can see a little bit of noise in the extreme white and extreme black. But in a very low light situation and cropped heavily, i think the image quality is outstanding for a camera phone. I like the picture a lot, because it's my baby girl Emmie, but I was pretty happy with the composition of it as well. She's a wild dog, but is actually quite docile early in the mornings, as she likes to watch the sun rise out of the window. I liked the way the light from outside came in to illuminate her eyes.

 Day 2:

This was taken in pretty low light with a Nikon D3100 with the 18-55mm kit lens on a mini tripod, I gave it a two second delay, because with the length of the exposure I didn't want any shake from pressing the shutter button. I love the Gran Habano Corojo #5 cigar box (the cigar is also one, if not my absolute, favorites). I really like the warmth that a low light, long exposure photo gives some time.

 Day 3:

This was me playing around with my macro filter. It was shot in overcast lighting with a D3100, 18-55mm kit lins, with a macro filter. The macro filter actually was half of a wide angle lens add-on that I got for $10 on amazon. Pretty great deal. It's not perfect, but it's a good way to figure out how interested I am in macro (that is extreme close up) photography. I like the way it almost seems like the fly has a personality here. Like he's asking me "why the hell are you intruding upon my existence here?"