Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stained glass

Nikon D7000, 50mm, 1/60, f/4, ISO 1250, edited and cropped

I’m a great fan of stained glass windows, and I enjoy photographing them when I get the chance. However, I’ve frequently found the angles challenging. Naturally what I’d like in a photo is a straight-on view of the window. But they’re frequently some distance above eye level. I haven’t yet mastered the art of levitation, and I don’t tend to carry a ladder with me (especially not into museums or churches). So I’m usually stuck with awkward distortions.

Photoshop once again to the rescue. The lens correction filter allows for at least some correction of distortions such as a bad camera angle. Thus a photo such as the original shot (below) can be adjusted to look more like what I’m after (above).

Nikon D7000, 50mm, 1/60, f/4, ISO 1250

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Eight things we love about photography – Silence

Now the “eight things we love” list gets personal. I have to admit that I’m a strongly visual person. I don’t hate music or conversation or any other kind of pleasant sound. But I do note an excess of noise in the world around me, from the neighbor’s leaf blower (which he uses for all purposes from leaves to snow to just generally amusing himself) to bad music escaping from nearby cars to the general love people seem to have for screaming and yelling.

Thus I treasure the silence of photographs. But I also treasure their ability to create a sense of sound without actually making any noise, taking advantage of the strong, implicit connection of our senses of sight and hearing.

I took the photo at the top of this post years and years ago. I have no memory of what the violin actually sounded like. But from the visual clues (the loose hairs on the bow, the musician’s eerie costume) I can imagine what the tune must have been like. As can you, even though you weren’t there.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The stadium in winter

Nikon D7000, 18mm (18-55), 1/60, f/10, ISO 250, adjusted

There’s nothing like cloudy winter light to grab what little color might be found in your shot and leech it right out. Add a brisk wind and you’ve got some exposure challenges.

I started this shot by concentrating on the proper exposure for the people. The detail and colors of the clothes are accurate. But the rest of the scene looks highly washed out. What to do?

Photoshop to the rescue. By using the magnetic lasso and doing some correction in quick mask mode, I was able to generate a layer mask to keep my subjects safe from the edits I needed to do on the rest of the photo. After that, a simple level adjustment brought out the color a bit, making the scene look more natural.

Here’s what it looked like to start:

Nikon D7000, 18mm (18-55), 1/60, f/10, ISO 250

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Kaw

Nikon D7000, 44mm (18-55), 1/60, f/6.3, ISO 100, adjusted and cropped

More evidence that it’s never the shot you think it’s going to be. Around 300 times a year I drive the  road that follows the Kansas River for a brief stretch. And in all that time I’ve meant to stop, get out of my car, climb the nearby hills and shoot a panorama of the valley.

Yesterday’s snow storm (and consequent school cancellation) provided me with a great opportunity. Out I went and up I went. If nothing else, it was a good chance to field test my new camera sling and lightweight tripod (both of which performed admirably, especially the sling).

However, I’ve gotta say that I was somewhat underwhelmed by the pan:

Nikon D7000, 44mm (18-55), 1/60, f/5.3, ISO 100, adjusted and edited (panorama)

It’s not terrible. But the trees blocked more of the view than I’d anticipated. I could also have done without the light pole.

On the other hand, while I was there I noticed an illegal trash dump just down the hill from where I parked. The most striking visual was the field of discarded tires (above). But an abandoned chair also caught my eye.

Nikon D7000, 36mm (18-55), 1/60, f/8, ISO 100, adjusted

As did a splash of color painted onto a trio of trees.

Nikon D7000, 18mm (18-55), 1/60, f/10, ISO 100, adjusted

Finally, this entry wouldn’t be complete without a quick note of thanks to my Jeep, which allowed me to venture fearlessly out into Snowpocalypse 2014.

Nikon D7000, 44mm (18-55), 1/60, f/6.3, ISO 100, adjusted and cropped