Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Part 3 of first Digital Photo Assignment

These are the last few images for the first assignment. The objective was to shoot outdoors at night with a 1600 ISO. I hate 1600 ISO.

Sorry the posts have been short. Classes have been keeping me pretty busy already.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Black and White Band Photos

I decided to experiment a little with desaturating images today. I chose the images of this band because they were new images and band photos are often edited to be more dramatic.

The first image I just desaturated and added a slight posterize effect to the image. I also turned up the contrast a little and darkened the image. I think it really brings out the image nicely.

The next image I desaturated and posterized to a much greater degree. You can not get a great view unless you click on the image to see a larger version. It wiped out the background much better and gave a very dramatic look to the image. The strong contrast really brings the face out nicely.

I pushed the posterization even further with this image but edited out the guitar to not be affected. It really brings the guitar to the foreground. I think that it might have been better if the guitar was still colored but it works well.

I only desaturated this image. I choose to select the band members to not be desaturated to make them much more dominant. I do not think I am happy with the result. I think a triptych of this image with each member independently being the only part with saturation might be interesting but right now they all stand out. This would be fine but they take up to much of the image which diminishes the effect.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photos of Jordan DePaul and the Reputations

The band I photographed at Vexfest and focused on for my second Vexfest post performed at YSU yesterday. I swung by and caught part of the set, which was amazing as before, and got some images. I am really liking the concert photography but I find that often it is people standing in the same spot not really moving to much and feels repetitive to shoot a lot of images. But I still enjoyed myself. I have been using a telephoto lens to shoot because I don't want to get in anyones way so I am standing back further. It is blocking me from shooting a lot of interesting angles which would provide me with a larger variety in my images. My fear of people is also giving me problems with moving in because I don't want to upset anyone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Third Weekly Assignment

Well the Digital Photography School website is down for maintenance at this time. I do know that the next assignment is sleep which sort of makes me regret my last weeks assignment. I already have a new idea though and now I just need to get it in motion to do. I will update this post with the link to the assignment after the website comes back online.



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More photos from Vexfest

I wanted to upload some more images I shot at Vexfest. No discussion about them today though. Beginning of school has me a little frazzled and need to focus on it for a few days. Here are the images though.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Digital Photography Class

I am starting my digital photography class at Youngstown State University today. I am hoping to learn a lot in this class. I need a lot more work on my techniques and especially in Photoshop. I will be posting about my assignments as I work on them. Hope this is a good semester.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Vexfest part 2

This is a continuation of yesterdays post. The last band I photographed was called Jordan Depaul and the Reputations. I photographed this band a lot. I was feeling more comfortable photographing by this point and I really got into the music and wanted to stay and keep photographing. The whole group had so much emotion that I had a lot of images that worked well. The biggest problem I had was shooting around the poles which ruined quite a few shots and the sun was going down behind the band a slight amount giving a little back lighting. 

I was very happy with this shot. I had tried to nail this shot several times throughout the set with out luck and the last one I tried I finally got it. I think it might have been improved by have the drummer included but he was further back and it might have unbalance the image. I did have to crop this image though so I did not nail it perfectly. I had also gotten another photographer on the left side of the image shooting toward me. I think the line works very well and leads you through the image nicely.

The lead singer was full of emotion while singing. I thought these two images were the best composed though. The first image has a great depth of field leaving only the singer as an important subject. The second image also has a good depth of field but not as good. I think the second image is great because of the tilt to the image. it really gives you a feeling of looking up at the singer.

The bass player was not as emotional while performing. He reminded me of Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, he may not be screaming and making faces but you can see in his face that he loves what he is doing. I think these images work well because they show that. He is focused on playing and it shows that he is enjoying himself.

This guitarist was all over the place. He was moving and having fun and I had fun trying to get interesting shots of him as he moved around. He was very animated. I think if I had a tripod with me or even a monopod I might have been able to get a few great action shots of him playing. The biggest problem I had with photographing him was he was very close to a pole which kept getting in the way. 

The other guitarist was also very animated. He was smiling a lot and made a great subject. He was the hardest to photograph because the poles blocked me from shooting across the stage and equipment boxes made it hard to get a good view from the side he was on. I am happy with both images. The composition in the top image works great and the bottom image just needs that pole cropped out to improve greatly.

The drummer was almost as hard to shoot because of the equipment on stage was blocking a lot and the other members were moving in front of him often. I managed to get a few shots around the members and I shot a lot from the sides of the stage. I wish I would have caught the second image a split second earlier to catch the drumstick though. The microphone also takes a lot away from the image. The first image i though would be horrible when I took it because I couldn't shoot over the speaker enough but I think it worked better that way. It is far enough out of focus that it is barely recognizable but provides a good weight and framing to the image.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photos of Vexfest

I decided that another aspect of photography I wanted to try was concert photography. Luckily Youngstown has a yearly music festival called Vexfest. It was a free show with varying bands and since the festival is not too large, at least during the day, I was able to get pretty close to the stage without many problems.
The first band I photographed was called AGP. This was a band that moved around a lot so I had trouble getting a lot of shots because of poles. Both outdoor stages had lots of poles along the front that were always in the way. I think due to the more rock oriented music the crowd was pushed in tighter for the band so I wasn't able to get as close as I would have liked. Both images I like the cropping. They are close enough to cut everything else out but far enough away to not feel crowded. I definitely feel I captured some of the emotion of the music in these images. The first image would be a lot better if that darn pole was not there and the second image could be cropped a little better to eliminate the speaker stack on the right side of the image.

The second band I photographed was a Hip-hop group called DaKreek. I did not take as many images of these group because I am not a fan of hip-hop. I do know that my photography does not involve listening but it was really hot and I did not come adequately prepared with water so I took the chance to rest during their show. They were very energetic about their music and very into the crowd. I felt that this image captured the interaction they were trying to achieve with the crowd.

The third band I photographed was called Cease to Exist. They were another hard rock band that moved around a lot. I am very happy with the first image. The microphone stands give a nice frame to the image and the emotion is shown in the guitarists face. The second image I am mostly satisfied with. I would be happier if I had the guitarists eyes in the image. It works well but his face being turned about 30 degrees toward me I think would have made the image.

Tomorrow I will continue with the coverage with the final band I photographed.

Perishability in a photograph is important in a picture.  If a photograph looks perishable we say, "Gee, I'm glad I have that moment."  ~John Loengard, "Pictures Under Discussion"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Final Product Photography (for now)

I finally have achieved a desirable result of the glass jar. I am very happy with the result not. It has good color, and the light reflections have been nearly reduced to nothing. I managed to keep the edges of the product clear finally which took a lot of work and a lot of balancing. It took a lot of time to reach this point but I am glad I finally got the image right. I learned a lot about light while working on this. It required a lot of experimenting which I think is much better than reading that if you do something you get this result. I know how and why I got each result. I know I could use more work but I need to keep my mind open and varied with subjects. I will continue to develop the techniques over time.

No photographer is as good as the simplest camera.  ~Edward Steichen

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Second Weekly Assignment

This week I will be doing Dreams. A lot of leeway with this assignment so I will have to think a lot about what I am going to do. Hopefully I will have an amazing shot up on next Wednesday.

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.  ~Ansel Adams

My First Weekly Assignment Results

This is the follow up to My First Assignment, I decided to continue with the product photography and do a sample of a food photography for the shoot. I have not tried photographing food before so it was a new experience. I think the white background actually take away from the image. I should have used a plate and maybe a dinner setting to get a better background. The tomato looks mostly appealing. I think I need to spend a lot more time getting a perfect cut on the tomato. The jagged edge really takes away from the image. Tomato's are a food I think of when I think fresh. 
I had another idea I was not able to do which was to have someone hold juice in their mouth and bite a fruit so the juice would all rush out and down their chin. The shot would be a close-up of the lower face so it would look like the juice was squirting from the fruit.

While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.  ~Dorothea Lange

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Macro Flowers

I decided to do a post today of some close up flowers shots that I have done. I love photographing flowers. A macro flower is a very stereotypical and overdone shot that most photographers do not want anything to do with because it has been done before. But I love flower shots and I like being able to make them my own. This post is not really a shoot as much as a selection of flower shots from the last month. I often will shoot macro flower shots while I am doing other stuff. I go outside and photograph my dog and I take a couple images of my garden. I love seeing how the light will work with the flower, will it come through, or will I end up with a shadowed area. And even more so is will I be happy with it. This post will not be going into details about each image like other posts. It is just a post to show some of my work.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fourth product photography attempt

My fourth attempt has still left me very unhappy. It is getting better slowly but still not quite right. The second image is where I attempted to Photoshop the background out. It is not clean enough and makes it look really bad. I still need to start using a black reflector to illuminate the edges better. I am not sure why but the glass appears foggy. The actual item does not look that way so I must be causing it somehow. Time to get some help from other photographers. If anyone has opinions or ideas leave a post in the comment section.

It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional.  ~Robert Brault,www.robertbrault.com

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Third Product photography attempt

My third attempt at Product photography was a step backward. I tried shooting glass. It was not as good as I would have liked. The glass reflects light so I have to watch out for glare. I worked by using lights on the sides that shone pointing slightly forward which helped a lot. I still have a lot to learn and will be putting some strong effort into figuring this out.

I am not sure how I feel about this image. I think the glass is shown off quite well but my background is far to dark. I used the same lights as with my second attempt but did not get the same brightness. The light position may have affected this since I had the lights pointed at the background in the second attempt and at the foreground here.

Both of these images still have the lighting problem. I had read a lot of product photography is best done as a 45 degree angle. In the case of these candles I found a nearly level angle was best. I realized after working on these photos for a few minutes though that since I was shooting with a short lens up close I managed to get my own reflection on them. I was so worried about avoiding light that I didn't pay attention to myself. This will be corrected in the next shoot. The lights did not leave any overly strong glares though. I polarizing filter would probably knock out the rest but I do not have one for this camera.

This image had the same problems as the image before. I can barely see my own reflection in the glass and it make me unhappy with it.

A few problems I have solutions to attempt to correct. I am going to try using a third light that will be aim above the candle at the background to light the background up. My other option is Photoshop. I experimented with Photoshop a little bit but my skill with Photoshop is not as good as it should be and it took a lot of time to do and I need to keep working on it. Not a reasonable option. The largest problem was that using the magic wand to select the background is the fastest option to begin with. Because of the glass, the wand selected half the product as well making it mostly useless. It is still possible to do but to time consuming for my skill level. Hopefully when the background is light up I will be able to select it better if necessary. Setting a black object behind the product, but out of sight of the camera might reflect the black to the edges and give me a better border. Only time will tell.

I never question what to do, it tells me what to do.  The photographs make themselves with my help.  ~Ruth Bernhard 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Photoshop facial touch up

I decided to spend sometime playing with Photoshop today. I spent a few hours trying to improve a snapshot of myself. I purposely took a bad image just to see what I could do. I read a blog about touch up faces at This Site. It was very informative and well written. I am impressed with my results.

This is the original image. When shooting the image I did not correct for white balance at all and when opening the file I just used the as shot settings in the camera raw. It is a pretty awful snapshot.

The first thing I did was White balance and color correction. I used the Camera Raw settings for tungsten and hit the auto button. Soon I will work on mastering manually doing that but for now it is to daunting to me. The white balance helped a lot. It is already much better.
The next thing I did was experiement with the photoshop CS5 feature called puppet warp. I have never used it and didn't really know what I was doing but managed to stumble on a happy change. I slightly rotated the whole image while moving my right arm close to my body making me appear thinner. I had to use the clone stamp tool though to fill the corners back in. I also used the spot healing brush to correct a few blemishes on my face.

The next step was to make my skin appear better. I used the guide from the blog I listed back at the top. I will not go into the steps because it is his guide and can be viewed at his blog. But my skin does look much better.

This is the final image next to the original. It is a very large improvement. It is even more apparent when viewed at a large view. A lot of things could be done to improve this still but this is a good start. I may continue to use this image to keep practicing and making changes.

You don't take a photograph, you make it.  ~Ansel Adams