Word and Image

Posts tagged “Techincal Tips

Nice light

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I’ve got this plant that produced two flowers. Yes, I could count ‘em. The first fell off. It just broke off its stem and fell to the driveway below. The second survived to bloom more than two weeks. That’s nice. It sat a bit beneath another container. The stem was so long the blossom crowded against the container above. Got the picture? You could congratulate me for staging a spectacular image of this flower. Thank you in advance. However, it was a serendipitous shot. The shadow from the container above darkened the background while the low morning sun from the east provided the rim lighting. And, with everything else digital these days, I shot multiples of this flower. This was the shot that you see. In the days of “slides” I would have surely missed this one. As with everything else lately, I was redundant in order to capture the moment. I shoot till I’m satisfied except that sometimes I don’t know what I’ve got till I edit. It makes me an amateur. But sometimes even a blind squirrel gets a nut.

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0016

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Digital frame #0016. It’s an inauspicious start to digital photography. It’s not the very first image out of the camera. Number 0001 was discarded. Ha! And, number 0002 was blurred out of focus. I must have arrived home late after work to open and play with the new digital D70. It was a Tuesday after my office hours. One would not expect my family to be up on a weeknight school/work night.

It might be of interest how/when I began (photography). It started from a need to preserve family history? I was photographically naïve until 8th grade in West Virginia. I took Mom’s Argus C3 (the “Brick”) to Charleston and the Golden Horseshoe Award ceremony. I was dismal. Not an image came out. I had no lesson and no clue about exposure. A year later (1966, 9th grade) we moved to New York City and I got my first Kodak Instamatic 100. My first real SLR camera was an Exakta in 1970 (college freshman). I was now doing black and white. I loaded my own film from 100 ft bulk rolls. I developed my own film. After that the history of my serial documentation begins in 1975. That was the year I began to keep my slides. The collection began in storage boxes in the closet and progressed to custom made drawers. Along the way I became a furniture maker too. My frugality prevents me from upgrading infinitely. It’s all about value for your effort. In a way it’s good to lust for betterment (skill and equipment). I try to be critically aware of my failures.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana

I got a lot to remember.


Nellie & Horse

History? History – looking back. This was among my first efforts at Photoshop experimentation. There are experts who are light years beyond my expertise. I simply removed the bars of the fence. It’s not too good. But it is enough to fool the viewer (mostly). I’m lazy. These days I don’t do too much image manipulation. Mostly, what comes out of the camera is what I use and post. I have gotten a bit better at preprocessing my image. But, one must know what can be done. It’s part of the toolbox. It’s way better to point and shoot. My laziness comes from my dread of time spent processing in Photoshop. Lightroom? I will ‘develop’ as long as it takes for my attention to wane… not long at all. But then again… everyone has to edit and cull.


Nightime

How did I know this image would work? It was Paris and the Eiffel Tower at night. Night shots are devilishly hard. They are surprisingly easy. Lighting is tungsten (mostly). Film is balanced for daylight. Light bulbs throw off enough light that they mimic daylight levels of light. The lighting difference from foreground to background is tough to compensate and balance. It’s still slide film at this point. Digital can handle the situation much more easily. My archive? I was able to locate the original slide I posted before without too much pain. Gee! It’s good/lucky to be organized (somewhat). For most the eye/brain is fooled and compensates for daylight and tungsten differences. But the reality of print leaves a distinct discernible difference. Did any of this make sense? Someone I know keeps asking me this. And… I get it.


Lesson learned

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I know this now. But then? Detail. Zoom in more than you think you might. The image has more impact. I do this now. Then? Not so much. Here’s an example. I was more frugal. Film costs. Digital doesn’t. So, experiment. Get in close and go big. iPhone. Too many times the angle is bad and so is the image. I notice a lot of people shoot vertical with the iPhone. It’s because that’s the easiest way to hold it? I shoot 99% horizontal with digital these days. It’s because my computer screen is panoramic horizontal. Ha! All the blank (vertical) space on the side is boring. Back then? I would say that 30-50% of my images were vertical. You can make it work. I still shoot horizontal most of the time. But now? I put my main subject off center. It works. Change. Evolve.

 


Graphic

You take pictures of cats? Same principle – sheep. Eyes, it’s in the eyes. Focus. I’m tying up loose ends here. I just readjusted my DSLR camera to focus as I would like it to be. And it was largely more successful. These days I am so used to the point and shoot cameras that I don’t look in the view finder as much. It’s not laziness. I’ve gotten used to holding the camera at the level of my subject. This means that instead of bending I simply hold the camera lower and press the shutter. In a pen, this means I can get closer to the sheep without climbing in. if you recall, everything is related. Only the subjects change. The technique crosses over. So, I have been asked, how many pictures of sheep do I need. I’ve got one already. It’s like why I go to the movies. I’ve seen one already?


Focus

It’s in the eyes. You focus on the eyes. That is the heart of the image. You knew that. Right? I’ve lately been having trouble with my trusty Nikon D610. Hey, it’s four years old now. I don’t even know what their latest greatest (new model) is. I no longer have camera envy. But, I do want good images. I’ve been having focus problems for a while Well, I dropped it to the sidewalk in 2016. It’s hasn’t been right since it came back from repair. User error! Me. I finally sat down with the manual again today. Yeah, yeah, I actually read the instructions again. Don’t laugh. Don’t tell. And I think I’ve figured it all out again. I wanted closest focus done automatically. I want to just compose and shoot. Unfortunately, I also want to place the main subject off-center in the image. This does not always comply with what the camera is doing. I’m go… and the camera is still deciding what to do. I get shots. But I would like a higher percentage of success. I read the manual, I made my adjustments, and now I’m holding my breath.

Speaking of instructions – did I tell you this one? We got Jules an Easy Bake Oven for her birthday – many many years (decades) ago. My brothers happily got to work and assembled it. There were two leftover screws (that went somewhere) when they were done. Not extra screws! I saw them toss the screws into the oven. Fine by me. We’d find out where the screws went later. It’s a guy thinking here. No! No! The wife/mother tossed the screws in the trash. I witnessed that too. Why didn’t I act? And we eventually found the place the screws were missing. And that oven rattled forever more till we threw the thing out. Let that be a lesson!? Read the manual?


Super Blood Blue Moon

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So, on the heels of my last post is the picture I missed. I slept through it. Hung over. It was the State of the Union address last night. A blue moon is the second full moon of the same month. A super moon is when the moon is closest to the earth. The blood moon is when you have a lunar eclipse. Damn! A trifecta. Missed it. Double D.

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The very next night… well I saw the full moon which is still blue and super. Yes, it doesn’t look blue. Duh! It’s just the terminology. I got off a shot. See the power lines. Not good but a shot, a place holder if you will. The darn camera does its own thing. I try to get what I want. Sometimes it gives me what it will. We bargain and I come away with shots. Some good some bad and some less bad.

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And thank you Ginny, she reminded me. Of course, Dave was in the air and saw it all, lucky kid. Me? I slept – fitfully/blissfully through it when it all happened the day before. Now I was in a shopping mall…


One A Day

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Not vitamins…

I try to take a picture every day. Yes, with a real camera. I pretty much follow my life this way. Lately, it’s rare for me not to pull out my camera wherever we are. Ah! Restaurants! Yup, I take pics of restaurants and the food. Goofy? Probably. Then again, I miss plenty too. I also get ribbed about taking pictures that my friends never see. (They don’t follow blogs, I guess)

We get really great sunrise sunset pictures in Delaware. The clouds change constantly. It’s spectacular most times when there are clouds in the sky. This morning is a case in point. Spectacular. One more? I can’t help myself. Yup, I took a few. Timing is everything. The peak sunrise color only lasts moments. Yes, you have to be up at that hour. Earlier in my life that would never be. I liked to sleep late into daylight. Not now. Hmmm, I don’t have a guilty conscience. Do I?


Starry night

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No, not Van Gogh. I just stuck my camera up and took a pic. Wow! The son of a gun (camera) actually got a picture of the stars. (Warning: If you have a small screen device or your screen is dirty, you ain’t gonna see nuthin.’ Sorry. What you should see? White dots and star trails… and clouds – upper right.) No tripod. Hand held. I was about as surprised as you might be. The darn thing shoots in the dark. Technology! Ain’t it great? The things that a CPU will do never ceases to amaze me. I’ve tried it a few more times, but with less success. Mostly, it’s been too cold lately…. Brrrr.

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Note to self: A picture with little white dots is hardly gonna blow any socks off. There are a few clouds along the margin. Mostly it’s ho-hum, yawn….Add a little color so the readers will stick with me. Note to self: I am not a nut…I am not…