Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Kittens (lighting from the side)

Nikon 810, 105mm (28-105), 1/60, f/4.5, ISO 2500

This summer we fostered a set of six kittens, taking care of them until they could get spots at the Lawrence Humane Society. The day before they left us for the next step on their journey, we let them run around loose in the bedroom for awhile. I set up a pair of small continuous lights rather than use a strobe (thinking the flashing might spook them). Because the lights were near the same height as the kittens, the result was classic side lighting.

Side-lighting can produce different effects based on the positioning of the light and the subject. The photo above is a classic side light (with the source itself in the frame). On the other hand, in the photo below the subject is lit from the front by both lights. It isn’t quite the same as an overhead source, but it isn’t as dramatic as the first photo.

Nikon 810, 105mm (28-105), 1/100, f/4.5, ISO 6400

Nor is it as dramatic as a side light from behind. This little guy was constantly on the go, and the combination of back light, body posture and motion blur captured his personality well.

Nikon 810, 98mm (28-105), 1/100, f/4.5, ISO 6400

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Best of the 365 Blog – June 2018

This “best of” is going to be shorter than usual. Early in June I decided to suspend the 365 project for a little while. I had some other things going on in my life and just generally needed a break.

Nikon 810, 500mm (150-500), 1/200, f/6.3, ISO 400

In this photo you can see one of the “I need some time off” factors. Two of the outdoor cats had kittens, and we decided to rescue them rather than have a handful of cats become a growing colony. This the first time that I saw them out of their hiding place long enough for me to go grab a camera.

Nikon 810, 8mm, 1/80, f/13, ISO 2000

My friend Ken likes to go to the Combat Air Museum in Topeka as a palette cleanser at the end of every school year. I tagged along this time so I could use the 810 to redo some of the pictures I’d taken there in the past with equipment with lower dynamic ranges.

Nikon 3000, 55mm (18-55), 1/125, f/5.6, ISO 110

Seizing the kittens proved to be more complicated than we first expected. They managed to get in under the deck steps where we couldn’t reach them. Knowing that their moms would move them if we didn’t get them all at once, I used a crowbar to pry up some of the boards so we could get at them. Everyone was successfully rescued.

Nikon 810, 28mm (28-105), 1/125, f/13, ISO 100

For one of the last photos I took before taking a break, I went to the Kansas City Kansas Public Library’s food truck day. Which turned out to be one food truck. Still, it provided some good photo ops.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fireworks 2018

Nikon 810, 28mm (28-105), 2 sec., f/4.5, ISO 100

This year I thought I’d try something new for Fourth of July photos. A Petapixel article described a technique that produced puffy, flower-like images. My results differed, but I’m nonetheless pleased with what I got.

The trick was to set the shutter for long exposure (I went with a second or two), start with the lens completely out of focus and then snap to clear focus while the shutter was still open. The result is an image that’s partially in focus and partially out. It ended up creating an illusion of depth of field, which altered the perceived size of the subject (kinda like the tilt shift technique).

Our eyes work in ways quite similar to our camera lenses. So we're used to a more or less infinite depth of field for subjects at a distance but a narrower field for things that are close to our faces. That's why the part-in-part-out focus of the fireworks photo creates the illusion that it's a smaller object closer up.

Nikon 810, 28mm (28-105), 2 sec., f/4.5, ISO 100

I also brought the wrong tripod (going with the heavy one for stability but forgetting that it can be kind of a pain to point up at any angle greater than 60 degrees or so). So several of my sky burst photos were hand held, producing another interesting effect even when I wasn’t changing the focus mid-shot.

Nikon 810, 28mm (28-105), 2 sec., f/4.5, ISO 100