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Old Aug 9, 2012, 12:43 AM   #1
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Default Week 22 of 52

Monday found me still very frustrated and not interested in looking for things to photograph. So I took a quick shot around the office Ė more rolls of paper standing up on the floor. What I found interesting was how the view changed as I slightly tilted the camera Ė it was like looking at something moving, not that the camera was moving (not captured in the picture though). Definitely an odd sensation, like looking through a flip-book of a cartoon. (K5, Viv. S1 105 macro)



On Tuesday I decided to visit the place that usually helps whenever I feel out of sorts Ė the botanical gardens. There wasnít much blooming, but I liked how this fern had the underside up. I used one of the new methods of gaining details and really liked how this came out. However, when I posted it to my project I noticed that the software reduced the pixels and it made it hard to see all the wonderful detail. So Iím posting it in a larger size than I normally post here, hoping that it doesnít become as muddled. (K5, Viv S1 105 macro)



I went back to the botanical gardens on Wednesday, this time taking the K100 and R72 filter. I didnít want to end my experimenting with IR on such a downer as I had left it last week. The only trouble with it was that I didnít feel like dragging my tripod along, so I just took the gorillapod. I found out that itís just not steady enough to deal with really long shutter speeds Ė almost all of the pictures showed some camera shake. I finally took this one using the 2 second mirror lock-up, which made a big difference. You can see that it was also a bit breezy Ė thereís motion blur in the leaves of the tree. This was the only one I took that came out at all Ė another day of frustration. (K100, 24 f2.8)



I can understand Ira enjoying going out with the DS, in many ways I enjoyed using the K100 (and always have). I find the K5 easier/lighter to use than the K20, though the weight isnít that much lighter, not like the K100. Also, Iíve found using the old 24 f2.8 lens (a K series lens) fun. I didnít use it at all when I was shooting film, had no idea how to deal with a wide angle so it is in like-new condition (which it is, in spite of the fact I bought it new in 1980). It works well with the R72 filter.

Thursday found me with no particular project/subject in mind, so I started to walk a bit aimlessly. Not far from my office building, I spotted two feathers Ė one from a crow (I would imagine) and one I donít know (do crows have white down type feathers?). Anyway, I took them over to a grassy spot for some pictures. I think this first one was at 1:1 or close to it. (K5, Viv S1 105 Macro)



This second one was the one I posted to the project. I had backed away from the feather a bit and thought it came out nicely. It was a bit breezy, and I was using the grass blades to keep the feathers (especially the white one) in place.



There was a third one that Iíll mention. I really like the texture of it and how it shows that the black feather isnít flat. If you are interested, itís here: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p487897818/e204fb80d .

Friday found me still at odds. I wasnít really interested in doing much of anything. I looked up from watching TV and noticed the wonderful evening light on the clock on a bookcase. So I took a couple of quick shots, then noticed that there was clutter next to it, in the frame. I went over and moved the papers and a book, but by then the light had already changed and wasnít as strong or as golden. But I took a couple of shots, rather grumbling for not noticing the clutter in the first place.

Iíve been learning all sorts of new things about photoshop since CS6 came out, and decided to practice some of them. First thing is a tip I picked up in the videos Iíve been watching at lynda.com Ė they suggested that if you were combining frames, to use the layer mask and then paint OUT what you want to keep. Then invert the layer mask, so everything else is blanked out and what you want to keep is left. All this time Iíve always tried to paint out what I donít want, and that can take quite a bit more time if the area is larger (which it usually is).

Another thing I didnít realize is that if you choose the auto selection under auto-align layers, the program will scale them so they match. In this case, I didnít use a tripod and since I had moved, I didnít take the two pictures from the same place and didnít frame them the same. The clock was a bit bigger in one of the pictures, but by using the auto align layers, they were perfectly aligned. That was step 1, quickly done.

Step 2 was the trick with the layer mask Ė I painted out the clock and cannon that I wanted to keep, then reversed the mask Ė instantly the papers and book were gone, leaving me with the lovely lit clock and cannon.

Step 3 - The next problem was that the later layer also had the best (slightly darker and less obvious) blind. However, I cut off the top tip of the clock, so the blind didnít go to the top of the frame. No problem with that either, use content-aware fill and let the program add the extra background. I did have to experiment a bit because when I first tried it, it also reproduced a smudged image of the clock top above the one I wanted to keep. I just did a bit of cloning on the back layer (where the blind I was keeping was located), to cover up the clock at the top, giving me enough blue blind to keep the content aware from picking up the clock. Second try, and I was happy.

Step 4 - Resize down, add a bit of sharpening with Topaz Labís Detail and I had my golden light/uncluttered bookcase.



Saturday and Sunday were our local areaís festival, complete with small midway. I spent Saturday evening looking for opportunities to take some motion-type photos, or anything else that seemed likely. I liked how this one came out, though Iím still not sure about the white balance. There were both fluorescent lights as well as various colored incandescent lights, making it difficult for the camera. Iím not all that great with getting it right in post processing, either. (K5, DA*200)



I did mange to get a couple of motion type pictures. Looks like a really scary ride, doesnít it? (K5, FA77 Ltd)



Only thing is that I had to really work at this picture, using a slower shutter speed than I could really hand-hold (1/13 sec) Ė thereís a bit of camera shake. But I loved the picture in spite of that because it captured what I was after Ė it appears that the rider was having a thrilling ride.

This picture is better as far as camera shake, and still portrays some speed. But it seemed too in-between for my tastes (1/60 sec)



On the other hand, this next picture gives you the correct idea of just how tame a ride it really was. No other words are necessary (1/640 sec)



Being a mountain community, itís only fitting that one of the competitions would be a log sawing competition. Hereís the littlest competitor (K5, FA 77 Ltd)



Thatís the picture I posted to the project. There are lots of things wrong with it (too busy a background, too much OOF foreground but at least they are in shadow, background too light, people cut off, Iím sure thereís more) but the subject was just too cute and I couldnít get any other angle.

A second shot of the competition Ė I liked the girlís concentration. There are fewer things wrong with this one, but I liked the subject of the first one better. Iíve run out of room for pictures, you can see it here: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/p487897818/e2ed3af1d (K5, DA*200).

Last picture, Iím posting this one instead of the girlís concentration, because I really liked the texture that I brought out with one of the processing methods Iíve been playing with. (K5, DA*200)



The week ended with me still feeling frustrated and stressed out, feeling like I just donít have enough time to devote to this and stay sane. I still feel that way, but I am also still taking pictures, just havenít quite gotten around to quitting yet.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 1:49 PM   #2
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You are really developing a fine photographic eye. This is your best series yet with some excellent and diverse pictures.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 6:48 PM   #3
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Great work..
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 7:19 PM   #4
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Despite what you describe as being frustrated with not finding things to photograph, you have a really varied collection of interesting images and being week 22 it certainly speaks to your perseverance.

The paper rolls remind me of photographs I've seen of the rings of Saturn. The shot of the children playing in the midway is a great example of isolating the subject with depth of field/focus. The first one in the roller coaster set really conveys the idea of motion.

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Old Aug 9, 2012, 11:04 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the words of encouragement. Looking back at this group, it is more varied than the week before, though with fewer different subjects. I've always been long on things that grow and natural things, probably always will be. But it's easy to make them seem very different, by changing lenses, distances etc.

I also think that the DA*200 is an incredible lens, it's one I just "understand" and can relate to for some reason. While it's not the lens I use the most, it's probably my favorite at the moment. It seems to get overlooked by many, which is too bad. It's so easy to use for shots like the boy on the water gun, which I really like.

I just wish I could spend more time doing this, because I just know I can do better than I have been. Looks like I will skip today, another day missed this week (I posted the motion picture for this past Monday, another skipped day).
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Old Aug 10, 2012, 10:11 AM   #6
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Fantastic range of shots again, 1st, 7th and 12th are my fav's.

Thanks for the pic's and info.

Simon
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Old Aug 11, 2012, 12:40 AM   #7
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Thanks, Simon. The last one was interesting, it was somewhat of a rescued shot. The original has the saw pretty dark (though not clipped) and the background almost blown out, certainly lighter than it should have been. There wasn't much detail in the saw visible on first glance. I was delighted to be able to recover as much detail as I did, as well as darkening the too-light background, the balance is much better here. While I really liked it, I wondered if others would think it a bit silly or something. I just thought the saw really interesting in and of itself.
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Old Aug 12, 2012, 4:31 PM   #8
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Quite the variation of some very nice images. You seem to be improving with doing this project.

I certainly wouldn't quit at this point. You've come so far. Keep up the good work.

Patty
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Old Aug 12, 2012, 8:38 PM   #9
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Another fascinating and diverse set. Excellent detail of the fern spore-cases. Very interesting results with the IR and the tree (I agree about the 24mm - have an old M24-35 that is great for landscapes and such). Very nice feather detail (I don't think that crows have white down feathers... must be two different birds represented here). Amazing results of some complex PP on the sunny shelf. And great series of action photos from the festival too. Especially great use of DOF and wonderful expression on the child with the water gun...
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Old Aug 12, 2012, 11:47 PM   #10
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Thanks, Patty and mole. I wonder if the white feather might be from a sea gull, they are also common birds around my office. In any case, it wasn't as difficult to get detail in both feathers as I had expected - the crow's feather is very reflective.

That old Vivitar has certainly been a wonderfully sharp lens, it probably is the lens I use the most. I have never regretted buying mine.
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