Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 2 of Planned 52

Week 2: My inspiration for this shot was Imogen Cunningham. She was a photographer born in 1883 and passed away in 1976. She was well known for her botanical photography, along with nudes and other work.

She was influential in photography, helping start Group f/64, along with Ansel Adams, and 5 other photographers. This was a group that was pushing a new style of photography with precisely exposed images of natural objects found in nature. It was in contrast to the Pictorialism style that had been popular, which tried to emulate paintings.

I based this shot off of some of her botanical work she did in the early 20s or so. In particular I was trying to replicate something like:

Doing this shot I realize how much there is to learn about something as simple as a leaf or flower. How the structure of the leaf is formed, each ridge, vein, and the shape of the blade. How the light catches each little ridge and casts tiny shadows.

Often we see a simple picture of a leaf, and think "that is an easy shot to take", but what we forget is often the artist went to painstaking detail, examining the subject from every angle and lighting condition before ending up with the shot that fit their vision.

I went out for 2 hours in the morning, and although I got a lot of good shots, none were what I was looking for. I went back for another hour in the afternoon to a different location, and still didn't find what I was looking for, but I felt this was closest. I could probably spend an entire week photographing the leaf before finding something I was happy with.

I now have a lot more respect for something as simple as a leaf.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recovering a Partly Shaded Landscape using Lightroom 2

I am posting a video blog today. In the following video I use Lightroom 2 in order to create the above landscape from a single RAW file. The main challenge with this image was the heavily shaded bottom portion of the image. This video addresses how to fix the differing white balances between the background in the sun and the foreground in the shade.

I used a technique known as Expose to the Right (ETTR) with UniWB to properly expose the original RAW file to get the most out of the highlights as I possibly could. The UniWB is basically just a setting where the camera balances the JPG to closely match what the sensor sees, so the histograms, at least the dark and bright points match what is in the RAW file. This allows the in camera histogram to be used to accurately expose the RAW to the right without accidentally clipping data. The normal JPG preview doesn't match the RAW data closely at all.

The main issue I had with this image was after boosting the exposure in the shade, the white balance of the shade is drastically different than that of the sun, so there is a color temperature difference between the two areas of the photograph. In the video I show how to correct for that.

My Flickr Photostream


Sunday, August 2, 2009


I have been working at getting my Amazon reviewer rank up over the last couple years, for no good reason other than a personal challenge. When I started, I had a couple reviews and was ranked at something like 40,000. I thought that was terrible, I can do better than that. So I wrote more reviews and tried to keep them insightful and on topic. After a while my ranking started to climb. I set a goal to be at 10,000, then 5,000, and now I am at 1,800 or so with a current goal to be under 1,000.

What I noticed recently was some link about "Vine" program and how I should join this to contribute reviews, etc, and get free products. I had seen this for a while on my page, but just thought it was an advertisement and never clicked on it. Well, I finally did last week and found I was being invited to sign up for a program where I can get pre-release books and other products for review with the promise to return reviews (good or bad) for the product.

I am not saying this to brag by any means, but I am actually shocked something beyond satisfaction from completing a personal goal came out of upping my Amazon reviewer ranking. I am excited as this will give me the opportunity to read books that I usually wouldn't read, and I love to write reviews.

Here is my first: The Well Let me know what you think, and be sure to vote if you think it was helpful or not. It is one of my first book reviews, so feel free to comment what I could do better.