Monthly Archives: April 2010

Light Painting: My Favorites

Hi all,

As promised, below are my favorites from the light painting shoot I did the other night. I hope you like them!

P.s. There are a couple different crops and variations on my Flickr page…so make sure you check those out too

Light Painting #8

Light Painting #13

Light Painting #14

Light Painting #15

Light Painting #16

Light Painting #17

Light Painting

Hi all,

As promised yesterday, below are just a few of the results from my first light painting experience. The setup is EASY! All you need is a dark room (I used the garage), a flashlight, and a rope.

Setup
To support my camera, I used my Joby Gorillapod for DSLRs with the ball head and it worked great. I had my mini Maglite flashlight dangling from the ceiling about 6′ from the ground and my 5D was positioned on the ground looking up at the flashlight. I kept the lights on in the garage and focused the camera on the light so I would be focusing in the general area of the light.

Camera Settings
I tried a bunch of different lenses but I think the best results came from my 17-40L. ISO was set at 100 the entire time to reduce noise in the black areas. I kept the aperture around f8-f10 but my shutter speed varied from 5″ to 20″. If you are just swinging the light around, the longer shutter speeds work better (15″-20″). If you are going to twist up the rope and let it spin like a top, you are better off with shorter shutter speeds (5″-10″).

Two big important settings that most people forget when shooting night or long exposures are mirror lockup and a timed delay. These GREATLY reduce any blurring that could occur from camera shake. If you don’t know how to set your camera for mirror lockup, check your manual…it’s usually under a custom function setting. Another not so vital setting but I like using is switching my dedicated exposure lock button to a dedicated focus button. This allows you to focus and meter at two different places but it also allows you to focus then fire the shutter at a later time. If you focus and fire the shutter with the shutter button when trying this, you may end up having your lens search around for something to focus on which defeats the purpose of you “pre-focusing”. If you want to keep your shutter button as the focus, exposure, and shutter trigger, then I suggest using manual focusing for this type of project.

Results

Below are a few of the images from this experiment. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results.

Be sure to check back tomorrow as I will post my favorites from this shoot.

Light Painting #2

Light Painting #3

Light Painting #5

Light Painting #7

Something Different Tomorrow

Hi all,

I actually had some free time last night so I headed down to the garage to do something I’ve wanted to try for a while…light painting! I ended up getting some pretty cool results…I’ll have them up for you either later tonight or tomorrow morning. I’ll also include a little “how to” for those of you that are interested. Be sure to check in tomorrow!

If you’re asking yourself “What is he talking about?”, check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_painting

iPhone Shot of the Day – Billiards

I played some pool over the weekend and I found something out about myself…I suck at pool. At least I got a few good Hipstamatic shots on the iPhone 🙂

Farm Fence

I’ve only been out to shoot a few times this month which has really bummed me out. I try to shoot something everyday, either with my iPhone or DSLR, but photography doesn’t always fit into my schedule. The frustrating thing is I’ve found that photography is just like sports or anything else that takes some inkling of skill…you need to do it as much as possible to see any progress. I need to get back into gear here and move photography up the list of priorities a few notches.

Anyway, a few weekends ago I took a ride through Lincoln, MA and randomly found this rundown farm which I through would make a good subject. The light was pretty harsh and I wasn’t too happy about that but you have to work with what you’re given. Because the light was harsh, most of the colors were getting washed out so I was thinking black and white or sepia from the get go. When I see a scene that I like I try to get whatever the first thing was that captured my eye into the frame; in this case it was the fence. I enjoy shooting old, rundown things…not sure why. I think I like the clash of nature taking back or influencing something that is man-made. OK, back to the photo. Since this is the first photo that I’m really breaking down, I’m not sure of the best way to do this so I think I’m going to experiment and try a list. Here we go…

  • Why sepia? I went with sepia for several reasons. The first is like I said in the paragraph above, the colors were getting really washed out so I thought B&W or sepia right away. The second reason I went with sepia is because it gives the picture that old, rustic feeling.
  • Why landscape? I framed this as landscape instead of portrait for two reasons, the first being I wanted to capture as much of the fence as possible and the second being landscape aids in drawing the eye from left to right along the natural path of the fence.
  • Why that focus point? I chose this post as the focus point for several reasons:
  1. It’s on the left 1/3rd of the frame
  2. It helps draw the eye from left to right
  3. This part of the fence had the most detail and character (separation of planks, nail holes, missing paint, rot, etc.)
  4. I thought the dead brush surrounding this post really added to the overall feeling shot

I can’t think of anything else to add for this shot. If you have any other questions or think I should change anything, please let me know. I feel like writing out my process helps me and I hope it does the same for you.

Farm Fence

What Were You Thinking?

One thing that I’ve always wondered when looking at other people’s photography is “What were they thinking?” I don’t mean what were you thinking in a bad way…I REALLY want to know what the photographer was thinking when they took that shot. What was the photographer’s vision BEFORE they took the shot? Where they intending on capturing X, Y, and Z? If it’s black and white, did they always plan on converting the shot to black and white? Was this a spur of the moment shot or were they sitting there for hours waiting for the perfect moment? These are the types of questions that run through my head when I see a photograph that catches my eye.

Sooo, from now on I’m going to provide as much info as I can on the shots that I post on this blog. Hopefully this well help anyone that is just starting out or anyone that is curious about a particular shot. And, as always, feel free to comment or post a question.

EDIT

So after doing this for one picture, I’m not sure this is the best idea to do for EVERY photo I post. I think breaking down each photo takes away from what each person may precevie on their own from my photographs…and that’s bad. One of the great things about photography is a photo could mean something different to every and by ME tell YOU why I took the shot and basically why I like the photograph may take away from some other emotion or thought that would have occoured organically when you first took in and processed the image. Wow, that was deep…I was on a roll there. Anyway, let me know what you think about this because I’d like to know your thoughts on the subject.

Flickr Update – Fallout Shelter

Instead of taking new pics, I’ve been focusing on editing and getting creative with pictures I’ve already taken. This shot was taken a few months ago while testing out a Canon 5D in Salem, MA. I was pretty much just snapping away to see what this full frame camera could do…I really wasn’t planning on getting any keepers but I actually ended up with a few. Some of them have already been posted (Old Boat House, Back Alley Tech, Espresso Machine, etc.) but I have a few more that I will be posting along with other shots I have taken over the past year or so.

Fallout Shelter