WPC – Half-Light

Coming out of the water…

Another episode of Half-Light, the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge . This one is a little more ethereal or even spectral, with a nod to this day in one religion.

Spectral Apparition

Marcellus to Horatio and Bernardo after seeing the ghost:

Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow’d and so gracious is the time.

— Hamlet Act I, Scene I
William Shakespeare

In response to WordPress Daily Post – Weekly Photo Challenge – Half-Light

Cheap Sunglasses

Flying through space…

One of the areas of photography that I enjoy is product photography.  One of the reasons is that there is always the challenge of making the product you’re shooting look even better than it is.

As part of building my portfolio, I set myself some challenges along those lines, one of which I present to you here.

Beam me up, Scotty!

My goal with this shoot was to make these $4 sunglasses look like an expensive pair.  When you look at advertising of high-end sunglasses with those high-end lens coatings, you always get this warm glow from the lenses; of course, silver mirror-lenses get a completely different treatment.

When shooting reflective surfaces, the photographer’s first worry is to control what is reflected in the surface, as you want to control what is visible in the image.  In this case, I allowed the one softbox to reflect, but managed to keep everything else in my studio out of the reflections.

The second tricky part in capturing image is the black.  One might think that black is pretty straightforward; if you try to create a black background in camera while lighting your subject, any light spillage results in losing that perfect black.  Of course, it can be fixed in post-processing, but it never has that same look that you get from shooting it properly.  Judicious utilization of gobos (go between objects), can ensure that no light spills on your precious background.

Note that I added a little bit of light toward the end of the temples, so that they don’t disappear and to add a bit of visual interest.

How much post-processing was done?  Very little, as I only had to remove the very thin, non-reflective thread that supported the temples and a smidgen of sharpening.

Oh, and of course, you want to know how much did these sunglasses cost:  about $4 at Wal-Mart.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of a product shot.


Full Disclosure Sunday

Do you hear snowbells?

Last week was a bit of a slump on posting, as I started the week on the road to attend New Hire Orientation at headquarters of the company I just joined; it took me most of the week to get my energy, and some of my inspiration, back, as I had spent the prior three weeks working my tail off to  get everything finished and my previous job and exhausted myself.

So now it’s time to revitalize and look toward the beauty that will soon return..

Snowbells Popping Up!

These cute little snowbells  comes from the same day of shooting as yesterday’s post Spring Into Saturday at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.  Whereas yesterday’s post was taken indoors, the temperatures on that March day were pretty comfortable, so I checked what might be growing outside (in northern Massachusetts it’s usually not much).

This is where I found these pretty snowbells that had just popped up within the previous couple of days.  Getting down low, they provide a nice little grouping.

I think that I might go find some more of these beauties on this fine Easter Sunday.

Technical Details

Shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II using an EF 24-105mm f/4 L lens at 98mm.   Exposure settings were 1/200 second at f/9 and 400 ISO.  As the focal distance was rather short, the depth of field becomes nice and shallow for this image.

Spring into Saturday

Softly through the tulips

Even thoguh the Spring season has made its entry by virtue of the Sun passing the vernal equinox, New England has not seen very Spring-like weather; overcast skies, occasional snow and temperatures only coming a little above freezing have made this week feel more like a continuation of Winter.

Time to off-set the mood with something more reminiscent of what we’re hoping for…

Tulips in Soft Light

These tulips were indoors at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, which is a 10-minute drive from my house.  A wonderful place to go recharge, when the weather hasn’t allowed for nature to catch up with the beauty you are hoping to see.

When I took this photo 5 years ago, the weather was much like it is today, so I took a trip to Tower Hill.  The displays were breathtaking, as usual, with indoor growth providing stunning color and even the occasional outdoor display showing signs of revival.

Hope you enjoy!

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II using a Lensbaby 50mm Soft Optic.  Exposure was at 1/100 second at f/5.6 at 400 ISO.  The Lensbaby Soft Optic has a center hole surrounded by many smaller holes, which produce the effect seen in this image.

WPC – Half-Light (reprise)

Rage against the dying of the light!

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge gave us the prompt: Half-Light.  The intent is to share a photo that is inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story…or, alternatively, the actual half-light, or both, as here.

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Birth of the Sun

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

— Dylan Thomas (1937)


WPC – Half-Light

Fear to tread…

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge gave us the prompt: Half-Light.  The intent is to share a photo that is inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story…

20140627-SW-2014-06-27 07.42.22-1
The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost (1916)


Friday Travel Photo – vol 6

Port city and much more

This week, I am giving you a glimpse of a couple of locations in Rotterdam, the city of my birth.

Centraal Station

This photo shows the new Centraal Station, the main train station for the city of Rotterdam.  The old train station was built in 1957, and no longer met the needs of a major regional transportation hub.  A project team called Team CS, comprising Benthem Crouwel ArchitectsMVSA Architects and landscape firm West 8, was tasked with redeveloping the existing station.

This modern structure was reopened in 2014 and handles trains and subway on multiple levels, as well as the ground transport provided by streetcars.  It’s a striking structure in a thoroughly modern city.


The Markthal is a dual-use structure, in that it serves as a permanent food market and apartment complex.  The windows in the ceiling belong to the apartments, and their hallways that comprise the outside of the building.


Market stand

This market stand is typical of what you’ll see on Dutch markets, which provide great variety of high quality.

If your travels take you to Rotterdam, I recommend you take a walk through the downtown area and check out these and many other great sights!