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Old Apr 22, 2012, 9:03 PM   #1
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Default Week 7 of 52

I'm still at it. This week I really struggled and didn't do anything interesting toward the end of the week.


I was still thinking about my old light table on Monday, wanting to play with a technique that Iíve done before, but this time not wanting to be limited to a small size. A trip to my local camera store didn't solve my limitation problems - they had a whole set of drawers with various gels in all sorts of colors and several neutral density types. But no polarizing gels. So I went home after work and used what I had. A close up:



Then, since I wanted to explain how I got the effect, I took a picture from further back, as an explanation of how I managed to get the rainbow effect. I didn't particularly expect much from this shot, but I really thought it was seriously cool, and this one is the one I posted to the project:



For those that arenít familiar with this: the bottom is the light table. On top of that is my 77 mm circular polarizer. On top of it is a clear plastic knife (you can see itís just a plastic knife on the sections that are not over the polarizer). What you canít see is that I have another polarizer on the lens Iím shooting with (in this case I was using a linear polarizer but another circular polarizer would work also. I just donít have a circular polarizer to fit the lens I was using). The way I understand how polarizers work is by only allowing light traveling in one direction to pass through. Here I have the polarizer on my lens set to only pass light that the first one blocks, making the first polarizer black. However, the clear plastic of the knife bends that polarized light and the result is this rainbow effect.

One of the problems Iím having with this project is time management. I donít normally take just one picture, so not only do I need the time to take the pictures, I also need time to process them. Setting up indoor experiments like the polarizer and Sundayís pillow case/glasses takes time (staging it all and then choosing the right lens etc.). That usually means a late night and not enough sleep.

Tuesday I didnít take any pictures while I was at work Ė nothing caught my interest and I was too tired to walk very far. Recently I had noted the lighting and the mountains as we drove home in the evenings. The moisture in the air was giving the mountains a layered look that I really liked.

Since I was starting to feel a bit panicky about coming up with a picture, I pulled off the freeway at Pyramid Lake, knowing I could manage a mountain shot from somewhere around there and that I could probably find somewhere to stop the car. The parking lot was blocked off (open 9-5 and it was close to 6) but I pulled off at the lot entrance and walked across the road. I couldnít quite decide what I wanted to show Ė the layered mountain terrain or the lake, which was wonderful (it helped that the usually brown grass was green because of the recent rains). This is a 3 frame (shot vertically) stitched panorama taken with the DA 35 Macro Ltd. Lens, stitched in CS6 beta (which works the same way as CS4 does). Thought it came out very well for 5 minutes of shooting.



Wednesday I took a walk at lunch time and tried some street scenes, something I find really difficult. I didnít particularly like any of them, but thought this one wasnít bad, I liked the bright back-lit umbrella. Taken with the A*300, Iíve been trying to shoot more with my manual lenses. Scottís comment about how pictures that I relate to are so much better Ė I donít like urban environments all that much, and it shows I guess. While I liked it enough to post it here, I didn't use it for my project.



When it looked like the continuing moisture might provide a decent sunset, I went down to the mailboxes to avoid overhead wires. I would rate this one as 5 out of 10, Iíve seen much better but most up here are cloudless and boring. In any case, I love sunrises and sunsets and so I posted this one to the project.



Thursday I went out with spheres/globes in mind, so I shot some flowers planted not far from my office building. This isnít the picture I posted for the challenge, in fact I re-edited it Friday because I didnít think the one I did Thursday night really worked (it had both the sphere and the unedited flower, too much going on).



The one I ended up posting to the project is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p487897818/e214c8951 , the next 5 shots are all spheres I did, including the original "take" on this one. My favorites (besides this one) are the first and last ones.

Friday I was at a loss for ideas. So I walked around a bit at lunch, looking for something that would catch my eye. Nothing really did but I saw the repeating shapes of this bench (taken with the SMC 24 f2.8 lens). I think this is an ďalmostĒ picture Ė I like the idea but havenít figured out how to photograph it right. It may not be possible to do it right.



And then I took several pictures of what I deal with most of the time. Still havenít found a good way of photographing all that paper that works either. What I thought was rather cool was the edges of the paper fanning out.



Saturday was spent mostly trying to get somewhat organized (long story) and have a quiet, non-traveling day. My yard is mostly ďnaturalĒ (in other words, ignored). Some previous owner in the distant past planted a couple of tulips in the front, and one comes up most years. This year most of the green stuff looks like it was lunch for something/someone. But thereís one flower blooming and I couldnít resist photographing it for Saturdayís photo.




As I was snapping away, I noticed a small visitor was also enjoying the flower. I donít know what it is, Iím pretty sure itís not a bee though.



Today (Sunday) was a very frustrating day all the way around. A good portion of the day was spent shooting focus charts because it seems like Iím missing focus far too often to be explained by ďoperator head-space and timingĒ (a favorite term by some Army mechanics I once knew). The charts were inconclusive (some looked back-focused, some front focused and both were taken with the same camera/lens mounted on a tripod and none of the distances had changed). Part of the day was spent frantically looking for my FA 77 Ltd Ė I thought I had lost it last weekend. I did find it in the end (thank heavens!). There were several other things that didnít go right, too long of a story.

After adjusting the DA 35 macro, I managed to take this picture. The focus looks good and I was reasonably happy with the picture. So this is it for today.



I hope that next week is better than this past one. All I wanted to do is go back to bed and pull the covers over my head so I didn't have to face the world. I was so fed up that I was ready to list all of my photo equipment for sale and give it all up completely. But I wonít just yet. By the way, the above picture is a paperweight in case anyone is wondering about it. The building is traced in 3D, if you look down on it you see the roof, the sides show the various walls of the building and how it's not a big box, but rather it has a number of different shapes. It's rather cool, this is the first time I've managed to get a picture that gives you an idea of what it's really like.
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Old Apr 22, 2012, 11:09 PM   #2
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I love that first one, you could have used it for a song title ( I' am allways chasing rainbows) JUDY GARLAND
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 9:05 PM   #3
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WOW, Harriet, what are you talking about?

The first one with the polarizer's is great and the shot of the Globe is wonderful. Then there is the bench with its amazing detail and the paper, with its contrast between black and white which really works for me!

Tom
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Old Apr 23, 2012, 11:32 PM   #4
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Funny how I was more impressed by the second of the two double polarizer shots than I was of the close-up of the crossed knives, but both of you think the first one is so good.

Thanks, Tom, for the compliment about the sphere. It's actually completely done in Photoshop, a very simple process. The original picture is just a white rose picture. Here's how I originally processed it - I didn't care for how it came out, the more I looked at it the more I realized that the sphere itself stood better by itself.



The picture I ended up posting to the project is this one:



I thought it also came out very nicely and the colors are very eye catching.

So the bench isn't a complete failure? I didn't get much of a reaction to it. I've always loved the weathered wood texture, and thought the repeated armrest shape was interesting. I used the SMC 24mm f2.8 lens by the way. I only used it about 2 or 3 times when I was shooting film, found it way too wide and at the time I was clueless how to use it effectively. I now find it fun to shoot every so often, it's not so extreme when using it on a digital camera.

I can't tell you how many pictures I've taken of rolls of paper. This is the only one I've come close to keeping. While I liked how I cut all of the rolls off and concentrated on the fanning pages, I figured maybe that wasn't the way to go for it. I'm about ready to concede that rolls of paper are just not that interesting, no matter what I do.

I'm feeling more positive today - took a couple of pictures I really liked. And they were of my home surroundings, from a place I've photographed many times. I just did things a bit differently this time and they were interesting, instead of the normal run-of-the-mill boring pictures I've taken a hundred times before. So life is looking up.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 6:48 AM   #5
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Nice series Harriet, and I do like the wood bench shot. I really like that wood grain texture look.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 7:15 AM   #6
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As I said before, the shots you posted are very nice! You have come a long way from the time when you had no idea how to use Photoshop or to compose a photograph.

Tom
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 8:00 AM   #7
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mtgal. Don't ever think you are boring or taking up too much space with this project. I am finding your photographic journey facinating.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 9:42 AM   #8
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Tom, I still don't think that composition is my strong suit, but I think I'm getting better at it. I have gotten good at photoshop, it's such a fun program to play with. I'll be sorry when my CS6 beta goes away and I have to go back to CS4, there's several features I've become to depend on. It looks like it will be several months before I'll have enough in the budget to afford CS6, even at the academic prices.

Paul - thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm having a great time but do wonder if some are going to be bored. One of the goals I had in mind when I started it was to try to expand my photo techniques and try new things. Much of what I've been posting is rather out of the norm for this board, I wasn't sure much of it would appeal to anyone else.

Mike - Textures and shapes interest me. I once read an article about making a brush in Photoshop based on a texture shot, so I've spent a bit of time looking for things to add to a minor texture library I've made. Love Lightroom's keywording ability.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 9:45 AM   #9
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There is no norm for the board. We make up the norm as we go along. Good shooting.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 7:25 PM   #10
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Your amazing experiment continues well! Indeed some very interesting textures, patterns and colors in each of these...
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