Saturday, May 30, 2009

Golden Ears Walk

Golden Ears 2

Probably my favorite pic from a walk Friday out to Golden Ears park. This is a panorama stitched together with PTGui, which really did an incredible job, considering of the 4 images the person and dog (our friend Jesse and her dog Cheech) were in motion. Obviously a bunch of photoshopping involved, mostly in the conversion to black and white, playing with saturation and clarity settings. I just remembered I had a "Ansel Adams B&W" action from one of my Photoshop books that I should throw against this one and see what happens.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Strobist "Newbie" Meetup

A couple of weeks ago a bunch of folks from the Vancouver Strobist group on Flickr got together to teach the newbies how to do strobist stuff, the art off off-camera lighting. The idea was to get a few experience folks as mentors, give them a small group of us green newbies, and teach what they could. The models model in exchange for pictures for the portfolios, which the photographers give them in exchange for models to create pictures for their portfolios. TFP is what it's called, Time For Pictures, Trade For Portfolio, etc.

Anyway, as one of the newbies, I had a great time and I just yesterday finally got around to processing a bunch of images, and after getting approval from the models, am ready to post a few here.

The first model we worked with was Jessti, with Glen (or Glenn?) as the mentor. His method was very exacting and precise, using a light meter, etc, and getting great results. I'll update with a pic from the session when the model gets back to me with approval to post them though.

Maggie 4

This is actually the second model we worked with, Maggie. To light her we set up a flash on tree in the background, a bare flash as key light hanging from a tree to her right, and shoot through umbrella to camera right (manned by a V.A.L.). This second setup was even a bit nicer as it was with Steve who lives not far from me and who does some awesome and funky shoots. The setup wasn't as extreme as some of his other portfolio, but it was a different way of doing things that was cool to see.

Cindy 2

This one is from the end of the shoot, when everyone retired to the grass there was one group still going, and I jumped in and got a few shots of Cindy. Lighting her there are flashes behind on left and right and homemade straw grid spot to camera right.

End result was a great day, meeting lots of new people, and learning a lot from the group. Well, that and a sunburnt head :) The only disadvantage with these types of strobist meetups is that there are so many people who want to learn this stuff that the setups are more done by committee in a way, and there's not a lot of one-on-one work with just you and the gear and playing around. Could also be that I was just too scared to start messing with things with 3 other guys waiting to take pictures and a model who is sitting there all made up and waiting :)

Hardware wise there were a couple of things that were a bit off for me. The K20D has a max sync speed of 180th (vs the 250th that the newer Nikons have) which meant that when things were set up and people figured out the right settings, I had to adjust things to compensate. Also even when I did my exposure settings seemed way different than everyone elses, not even just moving an f-stop or two to compensate for the 180 vs 250, but some completely different stuff. Though time alone with equipment might show that it was more me than the Pentax gear that had the problem.

The last thing was this again cemented my desire for a 70-200/2.8 equivelant portrait lens like the big boys have. The DA* 50-135/2.8 would be perfect for those long shots with shallow depth of field. The 16-45 I use most of the time gives the wrong perspective if it's used in anything but the most zoomed position (67mm equiv) and the 70-300 I have is a) slow and b) too zoomy a lot of the time (150mm equiv at the most un-zoomiest).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Intensifying the Ocean

Found this fantastic tutorial on Intensifying the Ocean, via Brent Pearson's excellent site. I only wish I was closer to Australia so I could take one of his seascape photography courses :) Of similar note is an eBook on Night Photography and Light Painting that I'm considering picking up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home Studio Conversion in Stop Motion

DIY Photography shows me once again why excuses like:

  • "I can't do studio photography, I don't have a studio"
  • "I don't have space to do a real studio"
  • "It would take a huge amount of time and money to create a place to do studio photography"
just don't fly. Ignoring of course the fact that James has lots of nice studio lights of course :)

The video is by James Burger and is funny, cute, neat, and inspiring, all in 108 seconds of stop motion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"The New K" Hits Tomorrow

Yup, tomorrow is the big day.... 1001 Noisy Cameras has a countdown blog, and I've seen lots of goodies posted here and there (mostly links from the dpreview Pentax forum), which indicate HD Video, a new sensor, new processing engine, and slightly smaller size than the K20D. I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow for Pentaxians. The places to watch would be the US Pentax site and the Japan Pentax site, though the countdown blog is live, so that's where I'll be watching.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

DHS Photography "License"

This is pretty funny, cool, and awesome, all at the same time. Matthew Williams has created two photographer license templates for presentation to the Department of Homeland Security and/or the San Francisco Municipal police (I think that's what Muni is for anyway). They are gorgeously designed and official looking (though I'm quite certain not actually accepted or recognized by any sort of official organization :) Still, fun looking to create your own and something to whip out next time you're being hassled by the man for taking pictures of docks, street signs, or (closer to home here in Vancouver) security cameras.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Capturing Rain

Had a heck of a downpour here tonight... Ran out with my DA 16-45/4 and captured a few shots. The new firmware did well with the shake reduction, but sadly my skills at capturing the impression of rain and the power of the wind and water coming down were lacking. The only couple of shots that were half decent (and not from an artistic point of view) are below.

Time to look up other images of rain and weather and see how other, better photographers do it :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Info (?) On the Newest Pentax FROM Pentax

Well, it's not much, and I'm not going to recap 1001 Noisy Cameras' multiple (and great) K7 news updates, but a reader in the forums noted that the Pentax Japan site was now a shadowed DSLR image. A translated page doesn't show much more, other than meeting places to watch the presentation on 5/21/2009.

I know there aren't many people watching this blog, but if the uber-camera all us Pentaxians are wanting (full frame, 10fps, no noise at ISO 6400, costs $20, etc), are you going to upgrade from your K20D/K200D/K2000D/K10D/etc? What'll be the killer feature that will get you to break out your checkbooks in this economy and get a new DSLR?

Update: Maybe it's just a time zone thing, but the US Pentax site has the "New K" date as 5/20/2009.