Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Multiplicity Self-Portrait - a MPG meetup


Sunday we met at the small and quaint Booth Memorial Park in Stratford. It's a great little park off the beaten track a stone's throw from the famed Sikorsky factory. The purpose of the meet up was to take a series of images that would later be assembled into a single image to create multiple clones of ourselves.

As with most of our meet ups, we went from serious photographer mode into a silly, joke cracking, carefree and fun time.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Portrait post processing


I recently did a demonstration with Mid-CT Meetup Photography Group in conjunction with Russ Tokars. The premise was to show how two individuals handle the post processing of the same image. They asked their members to submit some photos they wanted to see processed then Russ and I would process them and explain our methods and the reasons for making those choices. Russ used Photoshop while I used Lightroom. The demonstration was a big success.

Final processed image
In this article I have selected one of the images that was supplied to us in order to give a step by step demonstration of how I tackled this particular image. I want to thank Mark Wright for the generous use of his image for this example. I also want to stress that this demonstration is my approach to this particular image and is not the only way to approach the problems presented. I also want to explain that although I will be talking about processing this image with Lightroom 3, the techniques can easily be done with similar tools in other editing programs. Finally, the finished look is not necessarily the best or only way to process this image. Feel free to experiment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What is "Dynamic Range"


HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and you most likely have seen many examples of this type of photography. There are may fantastic examples used in every outlet of photography, from commercial advertising to fine art prints. The there are the not-so-fantastic examples where the colors seem to clash and the image looks horribly over processed.

But what is Dynamic Range and how do we recognize it when we survey a scene? Hopefully this article will give you a little insight into what HDR is and how both our eyes and our camera interpret it.

Finding a photo critique group on Flickr.com


Last night I did a presentation with Russ Tokars on post processing images. Russ tackled Photoshop while I used Lightroom. During the presentation a member made a good mention about how Flickr.com is a great way to have access to the works of many photographers. It allows you to browse through for inspiration and ideas on not only composition but on post processing as well. During that conversation I mentioned that Flickr also has many photo critiquing forum groups where a member can post an image and the Flickr community offers constructive criticism. I was asked to post some of the groups but (as you will see) there are way too many to list. Instead I will offer some suggestions on how to find one that fits your needs.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

5 little photo details to keep in mind


Ask any successful professional ____ (insert occupation here) what elevates them from their competitors and they'll all tell you something similar; attention to details.

Bring this into the world of photography and we can find many lessons to learn. Now I know what most of you are saying; "But, I'm not looking to be a professional photographer." While that may be true the simple fact is this - you are here because you want to take your photography to the next level, whatever that level is. If that's the case, then the above statement still applies and you can learn from the simple lessons. Here are five to keep in mind.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Understanding exposure - exposure triangle


In our previous posts we talked about how an exposure value (Ev) is calculated using several numerical values; they are aperture value (Av), shutter speed (Tv) and ISO based on a predetermined luminance value (Lv). We also discussed stops and how cumulatively they combine to create a properly exposed image.

The article also introduced the concept of an exposure value table and how we can calculate corresponding shutter speed and aperture combinations from it. But how do these combinations relate to each other? That is where understanding the exposure triangle can be of benefit.

The illustration at right gives a hint on how interconnected these elements are to each other and what aspect of photography each element influences. So let's take a closer look at our exposure triangle.

Keeping your equipment cool in a hot car


You've heard all the horror stories of expensive equipment getting ruined because it melted in a hot vehicle. It's easy to do. You forget you have that $600 lens sitting in a bag behind the seat. Three hours later in a 120  degree car and that lens is warped beyond repair.

Here's a nice simple trick you can use. Purchase a medium sized ice chest from your local department store and use it to store your sensitive equipment in. While designed to keep the cold in the nice side effect is that it helps keep the heat out.

Two or three ice packs on the bottom with a towel folded over will help keep the interior of the chest cool, even in the hottest of days. The other nice thing is that it keeps your equipment out of sight in a more inconspicuous place of hiding. Less chance to temp a thief.

For you film guys, this trick should be familiar. It was used to keep film safe and cool on those hot outings.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Social websites and your photos


Social internet sites like MySpace, Facebook and a photographer's own favorite, Flickr are a must-use tool for the modern business plan. It doesn't matter what business you are in, networking is still networking. Social sites actually make networking easier and gives access to more contacts simply by the inherent structure of sites like Facebook. But what are the rules about intellectual property such as photographs and what can you do to protect yourself?

This is where you need to understand the rules and how they interact with your goals. You also need to understand the small print of the social site's privacy policies and terms of use.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Understanding exposure - stops


Another term that posses problems for beginners is the word stop. It is used in just about every aspect of photography.

APERTURE: "I'm overexposed. I need to close up a stop."
ISO: "My light dropped a full stop during the time I was shooting the sunset. I compensated by bumping up my ISO a stop."
SHUTTER SPEED: "The difference between freezing and blurring the action was only a few stops." 
EQUIPMENT PHYSICS: "You will loose about a stop when you add an extension tube on your lens."
STUDIO LIGHTING: "Your main light needs to be two stops brighter than your fill light."

But what is a stop, and why does it apply to so much? We'll get into that but first you should realize that it has taken photography technology a long time to get here although the principle is as old as photography.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Understanding exposure - a precursor



One of the hardest concepts to understand in photography is exposure. Partly because it is an abstract concept rather than an apparently obvious and tangible action and partly because there are so many elements involved. One other problem that is seldom addressed is the fact that terms are thrown around with complete abandon. It's not just the novice photographer to blame for this, pros do it too.

In this article I will introduce you to the following acronyms and their meanings; Ev (exposure value), Lv (luminance value), Av (aperture value) and Tv (time value). Some of you may be familiar with the more common A and S for aperture and time (shutter) respectively.

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