One of my favorite traditions is picking out a Lladro each December to present to my lovely wife on our wedding anniversary. One of the sculptures I presented to her a few years ago was known as A Mother’s Embrace. So with today being the day set aside to celebrate motherhood, I put the appropriate Lladro in front of my camera and grabbed a few shots.
Canon 60D | 100mm Macro Lens | Bulb: 156″ | f/22 | ISO 100 | RAW
When capturing the shot, I decided to go with a longer exposure – roughly 2.5 minutes. Since my lighting was simply the ambient light peaking its way into the basement through the window well, the longer shot allowed the image to be illuminated and give me the shadows I was hoping for.
While reviewing the photos in Photoshop, I desaturated the RAW photos to make the photo a black & white, but I didn’t like how it looked. While it made for a great contrast between the background and Lladro, it didn’t help distinguish features of the mother or baby. So I settled on adding a little more saturation to the photo, increasing the exposure and then adjusting some levels before settling on my final photo (as seen above).
Now, enough talking about the photo mechanics. The purpose of the photo is to celebrate moms, and specifically my wife – who I feel is the best mom to our three wonderful kids. We have great kids, which I know is a reflection of the great mom they have in their lives.
Had a blast with my family and some friends this weekend while iN St. George. Before making the trek north, we stopped at Snow Canyon State Park’s sand dunes to photograph some Lego stuff. Here’s one I wanted to share quickly tonight, but stay tuned for some other ones that I am really looking forward to sharing over the next few days.
Canon 60D | 100mm Macro Lens | 1/400 | f/5.0 | ISO 100 | RAW
I used a 100 mm macro lens so I could have a narrow depth of field to help highlight the Lego jeep. I had a few shots where I used a flash, but this one worked without a flash.
Both of my sons set up some of the photos I’m planning to share, so stay tuned to see their works of art that I was privileged to capture.
One week ago I put a photo challenge out to a photo group on Facebook as follows:
PHOTO CHALLENGE: You’ve just been contacted by a cookie company relocating to Utah. They’re looking for a freelance photographer to capture their cookies and plan to use the photos in all their advertisements. Capture a photo of any cookie(s) that you feel would convince them to hire you. Deadline is Sunday (3/10) at midnight. Happy shooting – and enjoy eating the samples.
In response to that challenge, I am submitting my own photo of a Pepperidge Farm cookie that was delicious. Trust me!
I guess if the photo makes you crave a cookie, I have taken a good photo. But not sure if this photo would convince the cookie company to hire me. I’ve got more practicing to do. Bring. It. On.
A few weeks ago I took a trip to Houston (sans kids) to visit my wife who’s been down there since December. On my way back home, I swung by a gift shop at the airport to grab a little something for my kids, since they were upset that I went to Houston and they didn’t (but at $900 a ticket, it just wasn’t feasible). I found Sheriff badges with my kids’ names on them. I figured they would enjoy the Texan flare of their gift.
When I got home, the kids, as predicted, really liked the star-shaped badges. It helped make them less upset with me, too.
The following week, I thought it would be fun to swing by Zurchers (our local party supply store) and grab some supplies to help “Cowboy’ify” and “Cowgirl-ify” who kids for a photo shoot. The idea was to capture a photo of my kids and share it with my wife. It was a little bit of a challenge to keep the kids from spilling the beans to my wife, but they kept their lips sealed throughout the whole process.
So honey, if you’re reading this – this photo is for you!
As for the photography side of things, it was fun to use my little photo studio to capture each kid separately, but assure the lighting was the same for each one. Then I used Photoshop to put the three hoodlums in the same photo. The backdrop got a little challenging, so I had to compile two different photos – one of the garage door and the other of a gravel road down the street. I was hoping that would make it look more western.
I was pretty pleased with the final outcome, and while the garage and kid photos were shot with my Canon 60D, the gravel road was shot with my iPhone during a walk with the kids earlier today.
So while I am happy to share the photography elements behind the photo, the purpose was to bring a smile to my wife’s face, knowing that the kids and me love her and hope she knows the Carlton Posse will be there for her and look forward to seeing her in person later this month.
There are many people or groups that throw photo challenges out there. I am the leader of one group and try to put out creative photo challenges that will push us to try something different or see something in a new light. The rules of this photo challenge take some explaining, so I figured a blog post about it would work best – then I will share the link with the CTE Salt Lake City Photography Meetup group. Others are welcome, of course, to take on the challenge, too.
This challenge is for Friday morning, March 1. Before you go to bed on Thursday night, place your camera (any camera) next to your alarm clock. When your alarm goes off, hit the snooze button. Your task is to take a photo of something before the snooze timeframe ends and your alarm sounds again. Depending on how you have it set, that will range from 3 to 10 minutes. Either way, act fast.
One additional rule – don’t set up your shot the night before. Maybe you’ll end up capturing the iron sitting on the ironing board. Maybe it’s the wicker hamper full of dirty clothes. Or even an electrical socket. Either way, capture something and try looking at it from a different view point. Be fast – the snooze won’t last all day!
If you’ve opted to take part in this photo challenge, share a link to your photo in the comments below, and provide a little description about it that will lead people into clicking on the link to see your photo. I look forward to seeing what people capture.
If Friday morning just isn’t an option for you, then take advantage of the challenge on a morning that will work for you. But remember, no prepping the shot – only setting the camera in the room so you don’t have to waste precious time grabbing your camera. Good luck.
~ signed, Carltonaut
I was trying to come up with a photo challenge for a photo group last Friday and it wasn’t coming very easy. After much thought, and with the idea of the looming President’s Day holiday, I thought it would be fun to go old school. Not quite back to film, because not everyone in the group would have a film camera.
Instead, the challenge was to share a black and white photograph, and capture it with your camera in manual mode. I invite anyone to take on the challenge and share their finished product. But in the meantime, here is my capture to share for the challenge.
Canon 60D | 50mm lens | 1/250 | f/22 | ISO 100 | Canon Speedlite 430EX II
Check out some of the other takes on this photo via Flickr.
The biggest challenge in capturing this photo was to keep the light glare off of the glass bulb. It took me a while to get it just right (which is why I was glad I had a digital camera – I would have never known about the glare until I paid to develop the film and I would have had to start again). The final setup was to to hook my Speedlite up to the extender cord and hold it by hand behind the light bulb to illuminate the background – but eliminate the reflections.
If I admit that I got this idea off of Pinterest, does that mean I lose my “Man Card”? But as a dad, I couldn’t resist the opportunity of capturing my young daughter in my wife’s wedding dress, with the idea of displaying it at her wedding when she turns 30 (Hey, a dad can hope, right?)
After rummaging through our closet to dig out my wife’s gorgeous wedding dress, I maneuvered my 6-year-old daughter into the dress. Obviously it was a little big for her, and the gown has a lot of fluff in the skirt, so I didn’t want my daughter to get lost in the poofyness.
She was a good sport, though she kept complaining about the dress being pretty itchy. I tried a couple of cutesie ones, then tried my hand at a few artistic ones. Here is my favorite photo from the whole shoot.
Canon 60D | 18-135mm lens | 1/60 | f/4.0 | ISO 200 | Canon Speedlite 430 EXII
You are welcome to check out the Bridezilla shot I captured, or some of the other ones from the shoot.
As for lighting for this shoot, I turned out all the lights in the house, allowing the daylight in from the windows to serve as the natural light. I used a Flashmate LED video light from GiSTEQ placed behind my daughter to serve as a fill light, the the Canon Speedlight 430 EXII mounted to the camera to provide the front lighting source. I am still a novice when it comes to figuring out lighting, but I learn by playing.
I invite others to try this same concept, and since you’ve seen it on a blog and not on Pinterest, you hopefully won’t lose your Man Card like I just did.
You know what they say about the green ones? Well, without getting into that in this blog post, I’ll leave it at that and share the photo of some deliciously green M&Ms… (yummy)! Oh….and camera settings, too.
Canon 60D | 50mm lens | 1/25 | f/1.8 | ISO 400 | Flashmate F-198 LED Light | RAW
I was excited to try out my new LED light in a photo tonight, so I gave some M&Ms a go since the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge was green. I should have bought the holiday M&Ms because then it would have been simple to sort out the green ones. Instead, I bought a large Costco-sized bag and then spent 20 minutes sorting out the green ones.
I piled the M&Ms on a black cloth and set my new LED light, pointing it to the ceiling so I didn’t have too much of a glare on the candy itself. I shot in RAW so I could make some adjustments afterward. After taking two dozen shots from different angles, using different exposures, apertures and light intensities, I settled on the last shot I shared above.
I look forward to shooting many more photos with my new LED light. One I am really looking forward to is one of my six-year-old daughter in my wife’s wedding dress. I’m hoping to get that this weekend. Any pointers on how to make that a shot to remember?
Moments after learning about this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, I was in my car heading to a meeting in downtown Salt Lake City. As usual, I had my camera bag in the back seat, so once my meeting concluded, I took a short walk around Temple Square, shooting things that were green.
My initial idea was to get a great shot of a traffic light sporting some green, but I saw so many other cool shots of green, that I ended up with more than just traffic lights.
During my quick excursion, I had my 55-200mm lens hooked up so I could get close enough to objects without standing in the middle of the road. I put my camera on AV (aperture priority) so I could have better say in the depth of field.
For a couple of the shots, I tried bracketing a series of three photos so I could merge them together using Photomatix and capture a better dynamic range. Of the four photos above, can you guess which two are HDR? The traffic light, along with the white snow melting in patches to reveal the green grass below.
For the traffic light photo, I converted the three bracketed photos to a single HDR photo, converted it to Black and White using photo shop, then imported the photo in color and used that to make the green light green. I felt that offered more contrast to help the green light pop out a little better.
Green lent itself to so many options, and I still have another idea up my sleeve, which I will probably photograph later today and share tomorrow. Stay tuned for that one.
The title almost says it all. This is my 100th blog post since starting my blog earlier this year. To honor that milestone, I took 100 pennies and composed the following photo.
Canon 60D | 18-135mm Lens | 0″4 | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | Tripod
I wish I could say that I had a lot of the steel pennies made in 1943 because of copper shortage in World War II, but that is not the case. I ripped some aluminum foil into small strips and wrapped the pennies in order to make the 100 standout from among the copper-colored pennies.
I took a bazillion photos of the coins, trying to get something that looked interesting. I tried using my 50 mm lens to take some that had a low depth of field, but a depth of field just didn’t seem to make sense for the photo. I tried some shots from directly above the coins. I tried a tight shot and a wide shot. I tried a few different angles. I tried the camera in manual mode and triggering an off-camera flash.
With all the shots I took, this is the one that I feel turned about the best. I adjusted the levels in Photoshop to try and help bring out the 100, without trying to discolor the other copper coins.
One element that I wish I could have gotten to work was lighting the edges of the silver coins using an external flash, which made it look like those coins were backlit. It was a neat effect, but it didn’t come out bright enough to have it work on a large, off-camera screen. But the concept was pretty cool.
Thanks to everyone who’s read my blog, commented on the photos, or even shared a track-back to the blog. It’s been fun, and I hope I can keep the posts coming and share my attempts to try new techniques, styles or effects with my camera.