Photo A Day

January 1, 2012 in Photo A Day, Photography

Go to the Photo-A-Day page  to see the album in its entirety. Helpful on mobile devices

SONY DSC

Picture 1 of 361

I’m taking a photo a day for the entire year of 2011. To make this daunting task a bit easier and a lot more fun, I and several other photographers are doing it together. To make PAD (photo a day) even better we added two types of challenges, Weekend Object Challenges and Week long Technical Challenges.  Object Challenges are when we pick an object i.e. “Shadows” or “Light Bulbs” and try to get as creative of a shot as we can. Technical Challenges are we shoot only in Black and White or use Depth of Field etc. for an entire week.

How I shot Sisyphus and a brief lesson on Depth of Field.

March 7, 2011 in Editorial, Photo A Day, Photography

Sisyphus
Sisyphus

I had people ask me how I did this shoot. I said to them that if I told them I would have to kill them. Since I’m tired of hiding all of the bodies, I figured it be easier to just tell everyone and be done with it.
First you need a good lens and camera with manual focus. I’m shooting with a Sony Alpha DLSR camera, which used to be Minolta; the lens I used for this shot is a Minolta 35-70 /4 with macro.

The idea behind this shot is what every kid knows, when you hold your fingers close to your eye and look at someone even a few feet a way you can squish their head.
Squish Your Head

Squish Your Head by CherieLeePhoto CherieLee.com

The key to getting this shot to work is a little technical and is called DOF (depth of field), don’t be scared, DOF refers to how much of the picture is in focus. A large depth of field has most of the picture in focus, while a shallow depth of field only has the main subject in focus.

Chinese Knight Shallow DOF

Bridge

Large DOF

The depth of field is controlled by the lens aperture, stay with me now, this is indicated by its f-number or f-stop. Smaller f-numbers mean shallower depths of field; larger f-numbers mean larger depths of field.
The f-number also tells the camera how much light is getting in, smaller f-numbers let in more light, higher f-numbers let in less light.
See, not too confusing, right?

This article is not meant to be an in-depth technical explanation of DOF. To learn more go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field

Let’s see this in action

First, this photo will give you an idea of what these objects look like side by side.

mannequin and twine

mannequin and twine

Here is my set up for this shot.

Set up

Set up

As you can see the objects are about two feet apart.
If I was using an f-number of 4.5 and manual focus, I can only get one object in focus at a time. If you focused to the middle distance of the two objects, both would be blurry.

So I changed to an f-number of f22. This will allow me to focus in between or in the middle distance of the two objects and both will be in focus as in the final piece.

 

Keep in mind the larger f-number means that less light will come into the camera and will make for a darker image then the lower f-number. So you need to compensate for this with either a brighter light source(s) or a longer shutter speed. Here is a diagram of my set up.

Light Source
I used three clamp-on reflector lamps with 100w bulbs directed at each object and one accent 60w flood light bulb in another clamp-on reflector lamp. BTW, you can buy these at a home improvement store or hardware store very cheap.   The accent light is to keep the back side of the mannequin and ball of twine from getting too dark and disappearing into the background.

Shutter Speed
If you don’t have enough light use a slower shutter speed (longer exposure time) but you’ll want to reduce blur so mount your camera to a tripod or any flat stable surface. If you’re still getting a dark image try increasing the ISO to a higher number like 400 or 800.

Experiment and have fun.

Weekend Object Challenge “Slinky”

March 4, 2011 in Photo A Day, Photography

Find me on Facebook

Fans of this site might recognize this shot I called “Spring Water” from my Photo A Day series dated 01-09-11.

SONY DSC

If you’re not familiar with what that is, I’m taking a photo a day for the entire year of 2011. To make this daunting task a bit easier and a lot more fun, I and several other photographers are doing it together. To make PAD (photo a day) even better we added two types of challenges, Weekend Object Challenges and Week long Technical Challenges.  Object Challenges are when we pick an object i.e. “Shadows” or “Light Bulbs” and try to get as creative of a shot as we can. Technical Challenges are we shoot only in Black and White or use Depth of Field etc. for an entire week.

This article is about the weekend challenge: Slinky.

Me and another photog, CherieLee.com had the same mini slinky so the challenge was to be as creative as we could with the same object. The above shot was my choice for the PAD entry. The shots below were my alternatives.

This one is called “Bottled Spring Water”

Spring Water Bottle

Spring Water Bottle

If you look carefully near the top of the bottle at the top most groove you can see where I sliced the bottle about half way around so I could “hinge” the top part and inset the Slinky in. I tied fishing line on the top part of the spring, pull up on the slinky to stretch it out a bit and used clear tape to attaché it to the top hinged part of the bottle. It’s hard to tell but the bottle is about half full of water.

As far as lighting goes I used an off camera wireless flash and I think you can tell from the shadow about where it was placed.

This is called “Spring Loaded”

Spring Loaded

Spring Loaded

Not too much explanation needed for this. Remote wireless flash was used in this shot as well.

I could give more details on these shots, that is if I could remember. This was the last shot of the day and that bottle of rum was full when I started and was definitely not anywhere near full when I finished. Yo ho ho and all of that matey.

Speaking of pirates, Scroll to the bottom of your Facebook page where it says in little blue letters “English (US),” Click on it. When the language box pops up, click on the arrow next to “English (US),” and select “English (Pirate),”  Shiver me timbers, it’s a hoot.

02-21-11Chinese Knight

February 21, 2011 in Photo A Day, Photography

PAD

Chinese Knight

02-21-11Chinese Knight