September 2008

Why I love about Flickr (and social networks in general)

Obsession - Plate 2

Obsession - Plate 2

Ok, maybe love is a strong word. Perhaps enjoy, appreciate or really like would be more fitting. I crave feedback. Whether good, bad or ugly (no finger pointing), I like hearing what people think. Flickr is great for building a network of friends and other “like minded” people to share photos with each other and receive feedback. For the most part everyone leaves positive comments only, but if you invite critique, you can often get very helpful ideas to help improve your photos.

Of course not everyone is helpful, sometimes you will get the know-it-all geek that will point out your every fault as they see it, but really they are the minority. I have been very pleased with the interactions I get with fellow photogs.

Other social networks can also be helpful, from Twitter to FriendFeed to forums on various sites. You have to find ones that fit your personality type. Each group of people, especially when it comes to forums, can have their own distinct personality. Some I have tried out for awhile left me feeling on the outside of an inner circle or constantly feeling “not worthy” of participating at the level of those that make up the active core of a group. Not to worry, there are so man choices out there it is easy to move on to the next until you find a suitable home for your interactions.

Obsession - Original

Obsession - Original

Today’s image is a result of some simple yet helpful feedback on flickr. The original image I took had what I was looking for, so I quickly posted the image with almost no processing, happy to share what I had taken that day. Some helpful posters pointed out the framed picture in the background was a distraction, which I had overlooked because I was so excited at the overall scene. After “cloning” that out of the frame and making some color & contrast adjustments, my final portrait was much improved (and uploaded for the photo challenge).

Photo description:
I was able to slip in another quick shoot for the “environment” portrait theme this week. My buddy Lance owns an excellent motorcycle (and all powertoys) shop in American Fork, Utah. I thought it would be a great shot of hiim with some bikes in the background because this really is his passion. The shop is called Obsession Motoworx for a reason.

Lance is another of my patient and willing friends that answer my call to help out with my portrait challenge needs this month.

Strobist info: 2 580EXii’s on stands with Alzo softboxes fired with Pocket Wizards.

Day 27 (week 4 day 6) of the September Portrait Challenge. See the others in my set for this challenge and submitted in the challenge group.

Discovery

Discovery

Discovery

I had an amazing photo shoot tonight for my child portrait of the day. My co-worker’s daughter Lacy has Downs Syndrome, and she has one of the most energetic and contagious smiles. I knew when I started this challenge that I wanted to have a portrait of her as part of the “children” week.

I took over 75 photos in just a matter of minutes as she danced and explored around the field near my home. It was very hard, but I had to select just a couple to post, so I chose two from when she was discovering some of the small flowers in the field. Even though I wanted to capture her smile, and did in other frames, these two were my favorites.

I need your help deciding which of these two should be the “submission” for the day! Weigh in on your choice of this one or the next. Thanks!

Discovery 2

Discovery 2

Day 17 (week 3 day 3) of the September Portrait Challenge. See the others in my set for this challenge and submitted in the challenge group.

Canon 40D, 24-105L and 17-55
click images for larger sizes and more exposure details

Daddy’s Little Princess

Daddys Little Princess

Daddy's Little Princess

Starting off this week of “child” themed portraits, my goal is to capture kids in ways that express their personality. My baby girl is full of energy and always looking to smile and have fun. Just out of her evening shower she was happy and bouncing around (doing the “naked dance” that all parents are familiar with). We wrapped the towel around her and told her to smile for a picture. She’s a natural.

I am enjoying my continued participation in the PhotoChallenge.org September Portrait Challenge this month.  I missed a couple of days last week, but overall I am getting in my daily efforts.  This month is particularly challenging for me because it involves getting people for the shots.  This week should be an easier one for me as I have kids all around me, both in my home and neighborhood.  Getting more than “just” a shot of a kid though is my personal challenge to take this week a step further.

Natural lighting and only minimally adjusted in Lightroom. Love that 50mm 1.4 lens for natural light.

Canon 40D, 50mm 1.4, 1/400 at f/1.4 and 400 ISO
see it larger on flickr

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

In my couples themed shoot with my wife, we made a variety of images, including the last one I posted while goofing around. Today’s shot was from the same series, but I asked my wife to just lay her head on my shoulder. I was thinking of an end of the day hug after many hours of dealing with our crazy kids. When I started processing the shot, I liked this effect of overexposing me practically out of the shot, making a bit of a “Ghost” movie feel. I’m no Patrick Swayze, but I liked the feeling of how this turned out.

On a technical note, all of this processing was done in Lightroom 2 using the new brush feature for selective processing. I was curious how much I could do in LR that I might typically do in Photoshop when playing around with processing. I brought it in to Photoshop only for the final crop, selective sharpening and output.

Day 14 (week 2 day 7) of the September Portrait Challenge. See the others in my set for this challenge and submitted in the challenge group.

Canon 40D, 70-200L 2.8, 1/250 at f/3.2 and 100 ISO
see it larger on flickr

Stealing A Kiss

Stealing A Kiss

Stealing A Kiss

What do you do when you realize it is late into the evening already and you haven’t taken your photo challenge shot of the day? Grab your lights and ask your lovely wife to indulge you in taking some funny photos.

I guess we could have tried to take something serious, but why would we do that? 🙂

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, she’s a keeper!

Day 11 (week 2 day 4) of the September Portrait Challenge. See the others in my set for this challenge and submitted in the challenge group.

Canon 40D, 70-200L 2.8, 1/250 at f/3.2 and 100 ISO
see it larger on flickr

Still In Love

Still In Love

Still In Love

This is my brother and his wife. We were out at a time of day where the direct sun was so bright that keeping their eyes open just wasn’t happening. If I had the time to set things up, and an assistant or two, I would turned them around and used some reflected light. Instead we tried some with their eyes closed for a romantic kind of feel. Did it work?

Canon 40D, 24-105L, 1/1250 at f/4 and 100 ISO
see it larger on flickr

I’ll Watch Out For You

Ill Watch Out For You

I'll Watch Out For You

My niece and nephew helped me make this image by walking up and down a nearby field. We were there to take just some “couples” themed photos of their parents (which will likely appear on another day this week), but I ended up liking this photo of them best.

Though my original intent was to capture the image of them walking towards me, I preferred the emotion created of this look, with them walking away.  Though some may view this as “wrong” not to see the faces of the children, I tend to think this falls under that big subjective umbrella of opinion.

You can see two other versions of this photo I processed as well, the original full color view and one of a desaturated (some color left) look.   Here are thumbnails of those images on which you can click through to the larger sizes:

I'll Watch Out For You I'll Watch Out For You 2

I often find it difficult to decide which “look” is more fitting to an image.  My friend Rich Legg recently posted an article discussing this same dilemma, asking his readers to respond how they choose when to process and present an image in black and white versus the color one.  In the end, it is a very subjective thing that I end up making a gut reaction on, or, as in this case, I leave it up to other viewers to weigh in.

So, which version do you like best?

Canon 40D, 24-105L, 1/1600 at f/4 and 100 ISO
processed with Lightroom and Photoshop

Embarking on a New Life

Embarking on a New Life

Embarking on a New Life

Derek and Autumn shot a couples session with me last week in anticipation of this theme.  The reason we shot a few days early was that Autumn is ready to pop any day now!  They are such a happy couple anticipating their first born.  Thanks to both of them being so ready and willing to meet up with me and be my models.  Of course they get some free portraits, but I still feel I was the beneficiary because they made such great models.

I enjoy the aspect of the Photo Challenges in that it gets me out shooting more often with a theme and challenge to think creatively.  This is what I really like about photography – the ability to express myself creatively and how I have so much to learn.  There are much better photographers out there to always inspire me to get better.

Canon 40D, 50mm 1.4, 1/500 at f/2.8 and 400 ISO
see it larger on flickr

Old Timer

Old Timer

Old Timer

This shot was taken during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the renovation of the Scera Theater in Orem, Utah. I was there on assignment (via Kim Guanzon) to record event from the corporate sponsor, Xango.

The event coincided with the celebration of the theater’s 75 year anniversary, and this man has been directing plays at the outdoor “shell” for the last 25 years. He has been a major part in the continuation of the community theater in the area. He had warm thoughts to share and a great personality.

Day 4 of the September Portrait Challenge. See the others in my set for this challenge and submitted in the challenge group.

Canon 40D, 70-200L 2.8, 1/1600 at f/2.8 and 200 ISO
see it larger on flickr

Autumn

Autumn

Autumn

Can you see the happy look to in her eyes? There is something about a mother to be that just radiates love and joy.

I captured Autumn and her hubby today for the “couples” theme next week because she is due to have her baby any day now. While shooting though I snapped a “close up” theme for today.

Thanks Autumn and Derrick for be willing to pose for me.

Day 3 of the September Portrait Challenge. See the others in my set for this challenge and submitted in the challenge group.

Canon 40D, 50mm 1.4, 1/500 at f/2.8 and 400 ISO
see it larger on flickr