Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Creative Poppy

I decided to head out towards Lake Elsinore, in search of poppies. Needless to say, it was a very disappointing result. There were only a few good patches of poppies. I hiked up the hills to try and find more, but all that did was rip apart one of my boots.

Oh well! Can't always hit the jackpot. Right? Well, it had been some time since I have put my Lensbaby Composer to use. For this shot, I used one of my creative aperture discs.  Lensbaby has a package of 10 blank discs, which you can cut out shapes in the disc, to give some very interesting results. Yes! It is an artistic effect, but I really like it for flower shots. I mean, how many of the same flower shots has one seen. Don't you think it's time for a different approach? I certainly do. I thought this came out well.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Who Needs Professional Lighting?

I recently met up with a local fashion model after work to go over some ideas for a photoshoot. While going over some ideas, I couldn't help but notice the incredible fill light bouncing off all the downtown San Diego buildings. It was everywhere. So after our discussion, I took a few quick shots of her. This is what she wore to work. I wanted to take advantage of this lighting, while I had a model with me, looking absolutely stunning.

I am a big time lover of backlight. I also was using the light bouncing off the buildings like I would use a fill-light reflector. That was great. I didn't need to have an assistant with me, holding a reflector and I was able to snap off some quick shots.

As I was taking shots of her, I saw the San Diego Trolley pull into the One America Plaza station. Instantly, I knew the train would make a great backdrop. The red and black of the train complimented her red sweater and black purse and skirt. The red just pulls you into the image, as the other colors are basically hardly in existence here.

Who needs professional lighting? Right? Well, in this instance, the photo gods were very kind.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Colorguard Fun

Colorguard is a pageantry art, which many times is performed, with a serious manner to it. So what's wrong with having fun in pageantry? Well, this colorguard certainly does not have any problems with having fun. Their show is all about it and it was quite entertaining to watch and photograph.

This was one of my better "peak action" shots of the weekend. I tried a few new custom function settings (recommended) by Canon for these type of conditions (low light, low contrast, fast action, etc...). I found out that these settings had a side effect, which was they seemed to slow down the auto focus or tracking. I am not sure how. But it seemed to always be a hair behind and many "peak action" shots weren't crisp enough. Therefore, back to my settings I have been using for years.

What I really like about this shot is how the flags are suspended in air and they are in sync. Of course, I like how the performers are staggered. I also really like how the balloons form a triangle. Lastly, of course, I love the contrast of colors here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Iconic Revelation

So here is a shot that sort of breaks a rule of photography. One of the things that photographers try not to do is to place a tower, tree, etc straight in the middle of the shot. Why? Well, it tends to split the image into two halves. But, why did I break this rule? Well, I hope you can see why and agree when you see this photo.

This is a photo actually taking on the banks of the Merced River, in Yosemite Valley, facing Yosemite Falls. I was strolling along this river this morning, because I was chasing the fog and seeing what things it would reveal and hide. Layers of fog can always make the usual scene appear much different. Definitely adds an element of mood to the photo. So while it may be yet another photo of the iconic Yosemite Falls, there is more to it than just the falls. In fact, the focus is on the fog and clouds.

If I had composed this shot, basically framing the Yosemite Falls still, but with the middle tree now on the left side of the frame, I feel it would have really hurt the impact that the fog gives the shot. In my opinion, the tree in the middle actually makes you look at both sides and to me, the fog then grabs the viewer and guides you behind the trees on the right and reveals itself much more on the left. You can see how the fog is traveling. For this shot, you can see how the fog layer has revealed the iconic Yosemite Falls.

After you have spent a few days in Yosemite, and you get to see the fog a few times, you learn and understand where the fog starts and how it rolls in and also out in the morning. That is when you can really anticipate great photo opportunities and capture the usual scenes in the not so normally viewed context.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How It's Spun

Another Saturday and another full day of shooting winterguard. Again, winterguard is all about the colorguard and it is done indoors.

Once again, one of my favorite images of this past weekend was a rifle shot. This time, this performer was spinning the rifle, which creates a nice visual effect, when viewed from up in the stands.

When I shoot winterguard, this is a type of shot I love to capture. I call it the hand-eye coordination shot. You can really see the concentration while she spins this rifle.

When I compose colorguard photos, I tend to shoot most of them at an angle. I do this for a few reasons. One of them is that the depth-of-field is razor thin and if you shoot straight on them, there is a good chance the camera's auto focus will lock onto the bright white object in front. If that happens, the face will be slightly out of focus. By shooting at an angle, the rifle and performer are almost in the same focus plane. Thus, even if the auto focus locks onto the rifle, the performer should be well enough into acceptable focus.

Another reason why I shoot at an angle is that it fills up the frame better. It also reduces limbs from being chopped off at bad spots and it also makes the shot more 3D-ish and more dynamic. By dynamic, I am referring to motion and not dynamic range.

Lastly, I decided to use a different method of noise reduction. I left the contrast noise in tact and only concentrated on the color noise. The color noise is what bothers me. The grain type of noise doesn't. I have come to the conclusion that no matter how great the noise removal software is, it will noticeable soften your image and you will also lose that subtle detail and make your image look a little plastic. That is why I only remove color noise from now on.

About Me

San Diego, California, United States
Thanks for checking out my photography blog. I am a photographer from America's finest city, San Diego, California. This blog is just a regular update of what I am photographing or what catches my fancy, when I am out and about with my camera. So subscribe and stay up-to-date with my latest photographic adventures.


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