Category Archives: Photo Friday

Photo Friday 15: Water

Photo Friday: Water

Last week was fire so this week has to be water.  Again inspired by Robert Grant and this YouTube video, I set off to create my version of photographing water.  I call this one Elphaba: The Floating Green Martini.  Elphabab is the lead character in the play “Wicked” where flying and being green are two attributes of this character.

Elphaba: The Floating Green Martini |

You can see other water images in this gallery.

Technical Details

Equipment

  • Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
  • Lens: EF24-105 f4 IS USM
  • Tripod (Camera)
  • Shutter release
  • Tarp to protect the floor
  • Bucket to catch the water
  • Watering pot to pour water into the glass
  • Glass
  • Tripod to hold glass (see video)
  • Flood light to light backdrop (see video)

Exposure

  • Apreture: f/5
  • Focal Length: 105 mm
  • ISO:1000
  • Shutter Speed: 1/800

Technique

Same as video.  Modifications were that I wanted more of the glass in the image so I had the camera further back from the subject.  I also filled the glass with green water then did another round of shooting using a watering pot filled with blue water. Using the shutter release I would hold the shutter release in one hand and the the watering pot in the other hand.  Pressed on the shutter release as I started the pour.

Post Processing

Here is the original image prior to editing.  As you can see the glass was not actually flying and needed some Wizard of Oz magic.  Or at lease some Photoshop.

(c) R. DeRobertis

(c) R. DeRobertis

1) Lightroom.

  • Adjusted white balance,
  • increased exposure,
  • Reduced shadows and
  • Increased clarity.

2) Photoshop

  • Using the cloning tool, removed the bracket that held the glass to the tripod.

 

Location

My Basement.  (Sorry no GPS locations.)

Enjoy!

Photo Friday 14: Fire

Photo Friday: Fire

I’m back again with another Photo Friday installment, this time on photographing fire.  I was inspired when I saw this two-year old video on YouTube by Robert Grant and decided it was time to teach myself how to photograph fire without burning down the house.

This is really all about setup.  And it is all about safety.

What I used:

The messy fire setup

The messy fire setup

  • Cookie sheet.
  • A piece of glass that can fit in the cookie sheet.
  • A large bucket or metal can that the cookie sheet can be placed on.  ( I filled mine half way with water).
  • A room  with not too many flammable items  around.  Concrete floor.  Like a garage without gas cans and cars around.  (I used my basement and placed my setup on top of a large piece of sheet metal dampened by water.)
  • Buckets of water.
  • A water sprayer.
  • Ronsonol –  Lighter Fluid Refiller (Walmart).
  • Barbecue lighter.

The video talks about set up and exposure so I will not cover that here.  I found spraying water to the glass was a good way to add some safety and also guides the location of the flame.  Ignition of the lighter fluid does create a fire burst so first see what it looks like before trying to photograph anything.  I first tested ignition in the sink to see what ignition would be like before using the lighter in the middle of my basement.

About these images

I created a set of seven fire images that I call the Seven Cardinal Sins.  As I photographed and later post processed the fire, I could not help but see faces.  The same faces you might see sitting around a camp fires.  Given my Catholic background, I started to see the 7 Cardinal Sins.  I don’t know why I saw evil in fire, but I did and this gallery represents this concept.  You will notice that in one image (Lust) the flame is upside down and that is on purpose.

<< Clicking on each image to see larger >>

To see a larger version of each of these images and a couple of more fire images, in my gallery.

Composition

I kept the camera level to the flame.  This allowed a great composition and removed distractions.  Since we are exposing only for the fire, all the distractions: the cookie sheet, the ladder, the tarps, the buckets, do not end up in the final image.  It also enabled portraits of each flame which gives the fire this illusion of life.

Technical Details

Equipment

  • Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
  • Lens: EF24-105mm F/4L IS USM
  • Tripod
  • Cable release
  • Camera set at multiple exposure, high speed drive
  • And all that stuff I mentioned above…

Exposure

  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal Length: 55 mm
  • ISO: 1000
  • Shutter Speed: 1/640

Technique

After getting the set up in place as shown above, and after I ran enough test runs to get exposure straight, I turned down most, but not all of the ambient lights.  I then sprayed water around the perimeter of the glass that was on top of the cookie sheet and  sprayed lighter fluid onto the center of the glass.  With the cable release in one hand and the lighter in the other hand pressed both at the same time.  Captured multiple images.  Kept capturing until the fire was no longer interesting.

Post Processing

Very basic post processing.  Cropped, adjusted exposure, added clarity and saturated blue. (There is a bit of blue in the fire that I did not want to miss).

Location

My basement.  (Sorry no GPS locations this time).

Enjoy!

Photo Friday 12: Storytelling

Photo Friday: Storytelling

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to the pdn PhotoPlus expo.  It is always great to see what is going on in the industry.  Because I am not feeling completely well, I spent some time sitting around the Canon booth listening to the explorers of light present.  I’m glad I did this. The last presenter of the day, Seth Resnick did an excellent job talking about “Creating Dynamic Images”.  He broke down the creative process into pieces.  One item he mentioned is that photographs needs a naked horse.  Meaning, it needs something different, something that completes the story.  To me I translate this into storytelling. Great images tell a story. It may be told through the subject, composition, colors,  light or other elements available to the photographer.

You can see Seth Resnick’s photography on his website.

Today’s Photo Friday is an image captured in Porto, Portugal in 2011.

Old World View

Click on this image to view larger.

I think this image tells a great story.  It shows everyday, old world living in this beautiful city overlooking the Douro River. The woman sitting along the walkway is shelling peas just outside here apartment.

You can see so much going on but the dynamics of the triangle drives your eye to the important elements of the image.  Without her in this picture, the story would be lost and all you would be seeing is an empty alley.

To see more of my images from Porto follow this link.
Composition

This HDR image was created to bring out the wide range of light from the brightly lit building to the very dark wall.  It also helped bring out the beautiful colors of the city.

This image has lots of triangles.  From the path that narrows your eye towards the woman, to the shadows along the city in the background to the shadow on the walkway.  These triangles gives the eye places to land on and look at.

Colors are also important.  The red bird and red door also attracts the eye and keeps the viewer moving through the story.  I think all these aspects helps the viewer see the story and interpret it in their way.

Technical Details

Equipment

  • Camera: Canon 7D
  • Lens: EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Exposure

  • Apreture: f/f10
  • Focal Length: 20 mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/800, 1/320,  1/125

Technique

This was a street photography, photographic moment.  I did not ask for permission since I am not comfortable (which is a big flaw of mine).  I had walked past the subject and continued on up the path away from the river.  I then turned around and captured three bracked images varying the shutter speed as noted above.

Post Processing

Conversion to HDR.  Used Nik HDR Efex Pro.  A natural setting with saturated colors.

In Lightroom:

1) Used the paintbrush to brighten the dress of the woman.
2) Very minor cropping to center the woman.

Below is are the original 3 images that created the final HDR.

Location


View Larger Map

Enjoy!

Photo Friday 11: Fall

Photo Friday: Fall

Photo Friday is back at least for a few weeks hopefully for a lot longer.

It seems to be a very frantic time for photographers in the Fall.  True it is a beautiful yet short  time span to photograph such great subjects.  But it seems us photographers start to go crazy to capture new images this time of the year.  Because of illness I thought I would miss the season but God granted me a chance to create a number of images this Fall.  You can see them here.

Today’s Photo Friday is an image captured at Stoddard Park in Holliston, MA.

Fall Colors |
Composition

Moving very close to the subject can bring out a lot in an image.  I was photographing a tree showing full autumn colors and slowly moved closer and closer until I was basically standing inside the tree.  I saw this one branch that I wanted to isolate from the rest of the tree.  This gives the viewer of beholding a portion of a tree that appears to be inside the woods.

The original image was in portrait format that I cropped into landscape to move even closer into the branches.  Shot at f/ 4.0 this lowered the depth of field to show only key parts of the branches.

Because I was basically inside the tree the blue skys above were diffused by the interior leaves.  This softened the light and made the image less “contrasty”.

Technical Details

Equipment

  • Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
  • Lens: EF24-105 f4 IS USM

Exposure

  • Apreture: f/4.022
  • Focal Length: 82 mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/400

Technique

Worked the subject from multiple angles and distances from the tree until I found the proper placement.

Post Processing

In Lightroom:

1) Cropped the image horizontally
2) Increased Clarity 21% to sharpen, add contrast.
3) Added Post-Crop Vignetting.
4) Using the paintbrush, increased the exposure to each leaf that is visible the foreground by 1.62.

Below is the original image and image prior to increasing the exposure to each leaf.

Location


View Larger Map

Enjoy!

Pausing the Photo Friday project

I had planned to do 52 of these photo Friday posts.  (One a week for a year).  Well there is a saying: “Man Plans and God Laughs).

I’ve run into a physical snag that is making it difficult for me to create these posts.  I have treatment pending and when I return, I’ll take back the goal of creating 52 of these posts.  Thanks for following.

Rob