Week 6 Submitted shot – Every Day I Die a Little

Bit of a gaffe this week, work’s been an absolute nightmare and have been busy with Pumpkins and stuff indoors (no photos either). Had some really grand ideas for this week and unfortunately ended up rushing this in the last 20 minutes to get something submitted for tonight !! – Quite happy with it as a conceptual test shot but I can tell it was rushed so kind of spoils it for me. Aldso, it isn’t quite what I was after – Wanted me looking in a mirror, with the reflection half edited (so the real me looke whole and the reflection looked rotten). Would have also liked to have experimented a bit more with this to try and make the skin look mouldy and rotten but again, time stole from me again. That said, I can always go back and have a tinker another day.

Week 6 Supernatural - I die a little every day

Turning into a bit of a self portrait 52 this end, hopefully have something obscure for next week…..

If anyone’s interested, had an off camera flash, close and low/ Blended me with a stock photo of a skull (one of which is added to the Amazon wish list along with a smoke machine) .

Added the skull as a new layer and used Transform to get it into place.
Then added a layer mask and painted with a black brush so the background showed through.

Tidied it all up a bit, and then ran a Draganizer action that I’ve had for ages and never seen any need to use.

Week 6 – Supernatural

So here we are at week 5 of 52. Instead of getting easier it’s getting more difficult to challenge the obvious and try to get something that’s both imaginative and challenging. Had so many big ideas for the theme of supernatural this week, none of which I’ll be able to fulfil for the simple lack of a large budget (or any budget at all for that matter), a team of make up artists to turn the entire family into a coven of Zombie Witches or any willing models. Aside from that it’s all good…..

Re-processed

Had a monster busy weekend so for the first time I’m without even a safe and simple shot, so scaling back on the ideas seems to lead me down a path I’d rather not tread for want of everyone else getting bored with it. I’ll have to see how it goes.

Week 5 – Who needs Focus – submitted shot.

Again, I found it difficult this week, there are again so many interpretations but I didn’t really want to go for the ‘safe’ approach. The first thing that sprang to mind was to try and get a photo of a sportsman, or student concentrating on the task in hand, focussed if you like. But the usual lack of models and having no time to actually get out and find something to shoot due to work commitments kind of scuppered that. Think it would have been an interesting take, and no-one in the group so far has hit it from that angle. So, leaving that interpretation aside and concentrating on the literal ‘focus’ I went for something a bit more obvious (though in the back of my head, a portrait of an old person reading would have worked much better).

This was a lot more difficult than it looks and whilst I’m quite happy with it, it never really quite came out how I wanted it to.
Ideally, the glasses would have been sharper as well as the text in focus because of the glasses – Could probably have achieved this post production by taking one with both text and glasses in focus and then adding a ‘fake’ blur, but wanted to try and do it in camera.
Think the problem was that my arms just aren’t long enough for the 50mm, Might try later with the 17-50 instead to see if it works better.

Week 5 - I need focus !!

One of the safety shots (the “just so I have something to submit shot”) was this one

SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY

Week 5 – “Who needs Focus”

Very broad theme this week _ Do I interpret this as a portrait of someone who needs to focus (Athlete, Brain Surgeon, Photo Retoucher) or as any image that works without any focussed elements in it (shadowy figure, smoky/misty room perhaps) – Got some ideas already but not having a smoke machine has ruled most of them out !!

Wish I’d done a 52 ages ago having fallen into a bit of a habit of either grabbing shots with little thought for much other than exposure, or not taking photos at all. It’s been a real education in the month since we started going back to basics and actually taking the time to sit and think about why you’re taking the photo in the first place. Not only have I re-discovered my enthusiasm I’ve found myself pushing myself out of that comfy place and actually re-applying everything I’ve learned and forgotten about.
Just over the past 4 weeks I’ve seen an improvement in my images as a whole, not just the ones I’m submitting here. It really helps that you guys (and girls) are there to offer an opinion on these shots, good or bad and I’m hoping I can keep the momentum building.

Better yet – I just discovered looking at my flickr stats, that both Week 3 (colours) and week 4 Computers) made it onto Flickr’s explore pages. Been using Flickr now since early 2009 and never had so much of a hint of interest in anything. Just taking part in this group has somehow catapulted my images into a much wider arena….. Got some high standards to maintain now.

Onwards and upwards – who needs focus?

Lights........

“e-mail” – Week 4, Computer 52 Fun weeks………

The fun 52 Challenge isn’t so much fun, as a lesson in sheer bloody minded determination to produce a respectable image matching the theme each week that’s a little out of the box. As it turns out, the Flickr group that this belongs to are probably the most diverse bunch of people I’ve come across as not once so far in the 4 weeks, has anyone posted what I would have had as the ‘safe’ shot. It’s pretty inspiring, but I am beginning to wonder if we can all keep it up for another 48 weeks…….

It’s been really hectic this week with work and this weekend with life so had to take a flyer and decide whether to just submit the original concept shot or actually finish the idea that I had to start with. I went with the latter and although there’s room for improvement as always, that’s what keeps us all at it I guess. Otherwise quite happy with both the idea for this and how it turned out.

Emails - Week 4 Computer

Tutorial wise I’m not entirely sure what I did myself, but it did involce Photoshop’s quick select tool, a layer, a layer mask or two and some rubbing out. Then some adding back in again to fix the bits I messed up.

With regard to actually taking the photos, a very important lesson I (re) learned this week is that before every shoot you should always check your camera settings, particularly the white balance. In fact, it’s a good habit to get into to set your camera back to how you normally shoot before you put it away (eg Drive from self timer to single shot, white balance back to auto, manual focus back to auto and so on).

Anyhow – This is it for this week. Got a cracking idea for next week, but not sure if it will work as I don’t own a smoke machine………. yet.

Week 4 – Computers

And the 52 continues, not actually nailed a shot to submit yet, but have a few ideas and managed a couple of conceptual shots very quickly yesterday. to avoid the standard macro shot of the innards of an old PC I think I’ll need a couple of quick photoshop tutorials this week. Concept shots so far are as below with the actual submissions and selected best endeavours will be posted later this week.

Week 4 - Computer.....

This is NOT a finished shot, just a concept tester at the moment to see if my shocking Photoshop skills would be up to a bit of an excercise. This would be Very difficult to get right in camera. Like I said, it’s an idea, not finished and I know that you can see the joins and the blending is rubbish (that’ll be cos I’ve not finished it…..)

Conceptual #2 - Week 4

Week 3 – Colour

Week 3 - Colours

Week 3 has been a slightly disappointing one for me as I had this idea from the outset and haven’t quite pulled off what I had in mind. I mentioned before that whilst this is a fun challenge, my personal aim was to try to push myself outside my comfort zone each week both creatively or technically. so far it’s all turned out OK, but with the shots this week I’m just not happy with what I got compared to what I had in mind. I don’t think it was down to the technical side of things as much as it may have been with my technique. Perhaps I rushed it a little. Perhaps I didn’t prepare properly. I do know that some of the shots were ‘missed’ because of the time it was taking for my flash units to recycle.

The idea was to have a tank of water with different coloured food dye dropped in at the same time. I’m not an octopus and didn’t have a helper to hand so I couldn’t do this. I did notice though that once dropped, the dispersal was fairly slow, so I could have got a few colours in one after the other and still got the shots I wanted (i.e interesting patterns in different colours). That said, I seem to have missed the ‘best’ patterns because my flashes were taking a long time to re-cycle. Not something that’s usually a problem as I tend to have them at lower power than i did for today’s shoot.

I’ve included some shots of the set-up this week if anyone wants to try to have a go themselves at a later date. Should have been fairly straightforward.

Flashed were aligned next to the vase aimed at a white background (both on about half power to assure an even spread with enough light to completely overexpose the background.
Camera was on the tripod, pre focussed about half wat through the vase (I dipped a straw in and focussed on that).
Shutter speed was 1/200 on some and 1/250 on others – That’s the maximum synch speed I get – So exposure was controlled by aperture.

It wasn’t a total fail as I learned a couple of things (about my patience) and how to perhaps improve for another shoot another day.

1) Preparation – Always make sure that all of your batteries are charged before starting
2) Position of lights – These should have been slightly behind the vase I think. This would have made the reflections easier to deal with on the curved vase.
3) Props – A square tank would have been better than a curved vase, reflection and imperfections are much easier to manage if the glass is square on to the camera
4) Props – eye droppers would have worked much better than manually tipping the colouring into the water. I never had any
5) Helpers – Always handy
6) Keep going till you get the shot you want. Whilst there was no real time pressure to end the shoot I stopped before I got the shot I wanted. Should have just kept plugging away till I was happy.

Week 3 - Colours

So, that’s week 3. Would appreciate any constructive crit from you guys as well.

Week 3 - Colours

Let the week 4 planning commence.