Shot of the Week – vol 8

Bricks with a bit of sky

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Looking up

This week’s shot was taken, as I just stepped out from work for a quick jaunt to Starbucks to feed my addiction.

It was a beautiful day with unseasonably warm temperatures about 60F (16C), which is a regular heat wave in New England in February.  Walking down the uneven sidewalk, my eye caught the reflection of the Sun in the puddle of water.  A little bit of adjustment in position, added some of the tree branch and resulted in what you see here.

The image is not re-cropped, as I shoot mostly square with my iPhone 6S; it’s an aspect ratio that forces my eye to observe things just a little different.

How often do you find yourself capturing serendipitous little scenes?

Friday’s Travel Photo – vol 2

Picturesque Scotland

A couple of year’s ago, my wife and I visited Scotland for an all too short 12 days.  It was a wonderful vacation that afforded us many great things to see and experience.  One of these locales is in the next couple of photos…

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Harbour Street, Plockton

As we were leaving the Isle of Skye toward Inverness, it was recommended that we take a detour to see Plockton.  This picturesque town, that looks to belong in a much more temperate zone than the highlands of Scotland.

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View of the harbor

Of course, it helped that the weather was absolutely perfect for the end of May, which gave us beautiful blue skies.

Plockton is very much a tourist attraction, because of its beauty and palm trees; it was used as the backdrop for the BBC Scotland series Hamish Macbeth, about a local police constable in the fictional town of Lochdubh.

As you can tell from these photos, the detour was well worth it.

Technical Details

Both of these shots were taken with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII and 24-105mm f/4L lens.  I used the in-camera HDR processing capability for each of these shots.  They were both taken at f/14 and 1/500 second at 400 ISO.

Hope you enjoy these images.

Friday’s Mystery Slide – vol 2

Don’t be koi about this challenge

As last Friday’s mystery slide got a very positive response, I figured that I’d post another one from quite a while ago.  This time, the slide didn’t have the answer marked on it, as it just said “#2”, but I think some smart readers can tell me a little about the following image:

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Where are we?

This image is another slide scan from the collection of slides that I received from my father-in-law.  Clearly, his father did a bit of traveling, as there are airplanes in the image.

This location has some interesting features, such as the fish pond and the pagoda and looks rather peaceful.

I am looking forward to what you can tell me about this location and its history.

Dogstar Thursday – vol. 5

It’s the Bean!

A lot of my dog photography has been of dogs in action and to this day, a lot of people still know me for this part of my work.  Portraits are a bit rarer in my oeuvre, so here’s one that I enjoy…

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Dora

The dog in this photo is our youngest Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dora aka Bean.  Her full name is White Raven “Salute of Innocence”, Dorothea Lange.  Dora is now almost 3 years old and has quite a sense of humor, which is not a bad thing in a cute dog.

She stays busy with duck and sheep herding and agility, which means that she has something on her schedule most every weekend.

It is not coincidental that this little love shares her name with my favorite photographer.  As I got to pick her registered name, “Salute of Innocence” was an easy choice, as it is one of Dorothea Lange’s most poignant images of Japanese American children saluting the flag during the pledge of allegiance.

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Salute of Innocence – Dorothea Lange

This image is from Dorothea Lange’s time photographing Japanese Americans in internment camps in 1942; a dark period in American history that we should ensure to never repeat.

Wednesday Wonderment – pt 5

The magic of the stones

Travel allows us to get to interesting places, which can provide us with a sense of wonder about nature, the universe or mankind…

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Lochbuie Stone Circle

This week’s Wednesday Wonderment mixes a little bit of all these elements.  This image comes from a trip to the Isle of Mull off the west coast of Scotland.  Mull is a wonderful place to vacation, where we spent a couple of great days.

In my research, I had found out about a beautiful walk that would lead us to a circle of stones known as the Lochbuie stones.  Originally, this stone circle was comprised of 9 stones, and, even though it is no longer complete, there is still palpable energy running through the lines created within this site.

The walk over took us along the shore and then in-land through some marshy land toward the stones.  Notable was that there was a second site of power along the route, which I didn’t find indicated anywhere, but could feel with surprising strength.  Scotland is replete with locations that radiate power from a variety of sources, which enhances the experience of the landscape and great people to an amazing level.

The photo shows the Lochbuie Stone Circle with Ben Buie in the distance; the weather was not what one expects from Scotland at all times.

Technical Details

I took this image with a Canon EOS 5D MkIII with a 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Shutter speed was at 1/125 second at f/18 at 400 ISO.

TTT – Creating composite images – pt 1

Revealing the magic…

In this past Sunday’s Shot of the Week blog post, I floated the idea of putting together a post or two on the technical elements that go into creating an image along the lines of ‘Searching for Answers‘.

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Searching for Answers

Visualization

The first step in the process should focus on visualizing the image that you are trying to create.

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The Library

When I walked into this mansion’s classically adorned library, it was rather brightly lit through the magnificent windows off to the left in this image.  After taking a look around there were a couple of items that stood out to me about this scene:

  • Red curtains
  • Old books
  • Classic woodwork

This gave me a couple of mental and visual cues to start the process of putting together a storyline for the image.

A Story for the Image

As this type of image is all about telling a story, it is critical to start with the story.  Having a library full of books, the first thing that came to my mind was that the books might contain answers to questions that may have troubled someone in their life.  What if they never had access to these books during their lifetime?  Could they come to visit the library as an ethereal presence, so that they could search for answers to those questions?

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A Base Image

As you can tell, the imagination quickly adds some details to put context together for the shoot.  A quick check of the available wardrobe confirmed that we had a flowing red dress available, so that the color red could be used as a thematic cue.

Planning the Shoot

When creating a composite image, the most important thing is to have a plan.  Ideally, you shoot all the components for the image at the same time, so that lighting is consistent, which will make the final image much more believable.

At the very least, create a mental checklist that ensures all the bases are covered to put the final image together in post processing, particularly when shooting a square composition.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

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Positioning
  • Make sure that you shoot extra width and height for the image; other than the obvious reason, you may decide later to adjust the exact positioning of your subject
  • Make sure that you have a complete base image for the entire scene (you can see the central portion of the base image above)
  • Give yourself options by playing with some of the elements in the shot, such as the curtains or books, even when you’re not sure you will need them; you might end up throwing some shots away, or end up using one of them in a way you just didn’t expect.

Equipment Notes

Although there are many ways that good shots can be achieved, here are a couple of equipment notes that will make the process a little easier:

  • Always have your camera on a tripod; if you have a tripod that allows for smooth rotation that is ideal for aligning for additional width to your shot.
  • A fixed focal length, prime lens is ideal, but a zoom lens is workable.
  • A remote trigger for your camera makes your shoot a lot easier (see ‘Positioning’ image)
  • Use manual settings on your camera, including manual focus.

Shooting the Key Element(s)

The most important element of this image is the ethereal presence floating in front of the bookshelves, in search of answers in the many volumes stored there.  The next image gives away some of the magic, as you see the model, Steph, standing on a ladder rather than being suspended through unseen forces of levitation.

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Ethereal Presence

Keen observers will also note that that is my thumb holding her dress in a more floating position.  Even keener observers might see that her head position doesn’t match that of the image at the beginning of this post; you are correct, as I used her upper body from one of the other images.

Next week, we’ll go over the details and the process of editing in your favorite image manipulation program, which is not quite as difficult, as you might think.  I’ll leave you with some of the other shots that went into creating the resultant image, as a bit of a behind the scenes view.

I hope you enjoyed this brief introduction.

WPC – Seasons (Autumn)

Autumnal beauty peeks through

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Steeped in Color

Autumn is the season of beauty in New England, as color abounds across the landscape and cool days provide a reprieve from the Summer heat.  Skies bring restorative rains, as the final bit of growth occurs in the fields that are readying for harvest time.

The Yoga Tree is not one for garish displays, as she prefers the subtle muted tones that she is beginning to display here.  Over the following weeks, she will shed her remaining leaves and retreat into the inner strength that servers her well for the upcoming season of Winter.

Hope you enjoy this final image in the set of seasons.

In response to Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Seasons