Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fussy (Bonus Pic)

I figured that I would post this one in order to move my corporate headshot down the blog a little bit. I took this shot when my daughter was a few weeks old. I've always liked it because it captured a moment that was very real, but also one that is not typically photographed. Luckily, we forget those crying newborn days very quickly and we remember all of the good times.

Corporate Headshot - Day 59 of 365

Corporate Headshot (59 of 365)

Today's picture is rather boring.  On Friday, I found out that I have to submit a headshot and bio for a meeting that I have coming up with the CEO of the parent company of the company that I work for (a multinational technology conglomerate).  I haven't had a headshot done in years, so I figured that this would be an opportunity to see if I could do my own headshot instead of going out to get one done (or, worse yet, having the company default to using my ID badge picture, which is really bad).  I haven't had a lot of practice doing people shots, so this was somewhat of a challenge for me -- it was definitely different than my "Rock & Roll" shot from the other night.

Because I'm new to doing portrait/headshot photography, I used the great info that I found over on Stefan Tell's photostream.  Stefan has generously provided some really great portrait/headshot setup info in his flickr photostream and in his blog.

In the end, I decided that, as a beginner at this, I should keep it simple.  I went for a one strobe (flash) setup.  I had an SB-600 placed camera left and high about 45 degrees in front of me, a reflector close in to me camera right (I used a reflective windshield cover taped to a mic stand).  I used another windshield cover to partially gobo the background to keep it from getting too dark (my room wasn't big enough to move far enough away from the background to get the color of gray that I wanted).  The background is just a white wall with the spill from the single strobe.  The strobe provided all of the light in the shot (without it on, the picture was pitch black).

It's not a masterpiece, but I'm happy with how it came out.  I think that it should do fine for its purpose.  I had fun doing it, but I missed the creativity element that I normally have fun with when I do my Project 365 shots.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Little Bit of Sunshine - Day 58 of 365

I bought a couple of these on my way home from work the other night because it has been so cold outside and these really looked like warm weather to me. Tonight I was pretty beat, so, instead of setting up an intricate shot, I figured that I would test my hand at capturing this beautiful Mum (thanks ND2945 for letting me know what kind of flower it is :.).

Strobist: 24"x24" Softbox with an SB-600 in it camera right and above the flower. Bare SB-600 on a green wall about 10' behind the flower. BTW, the flower's stem fit perfectly in the umbrella mount on my light stand, so it was really easy to maneuver/place.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rock & Roll - Day 57 of 365

When I was young, all I wanted to do was play guitar. From the minute that I got home from school until it was time to go to sleep, I was playing my guitar. As soon as I figured out the basics, I was playing in bands and having a great time with it. There are very few things in life that give you the rush that you get from standing in front of a crowd and playing loud, rock and roll music. Even though I've "grown up", my band days have past and I sit behind a desk all day, sometimes, when I close my eyes, this is still how I see myself.

Strobist Info: A single SB-600 on a stand at 1/2 power (it is pretty easy to figure that one out from looking at the shot). I was using an 85mm f/1.4 on my D90, so the camera was a ways back. The CLS system was out of range, so I broke out the RF-602s (they worked flawlessly). I used the same mister from last night to spray a mist of water in the air before I hit the remote (yes, it is still raining in my basement from last night's shot).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bokeh Frog - Day 56 of 365

Bokeh Frog (56 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
Bokeh Frog in the City. Well, actually, I was scrambling for something to shoot again tonight (that is getting to be a very familiar scene around my home) and I found this porcelain frog that my niece Summer made for us a few years ago. I've always liked it, so I decided to see what I could do with it. After trying a few things that didn't work out, I decided to do my whimsical take on a Dustin Diaz style 365 city scene (with a frog and no city). I didn't have a city (or Dustin's talent) to work with, so I went down to the basement, plugged in all the lights that I could find for a background and tweaked things until it kind of looked like the frog was hanging out in the city. He is sitting on a dark wood floor that the lights are reflecting off of. For a little city fog/rain, I used my trusty spray bottle to mist the air as I took the shot. In the end, I think it kind of looks like this frog is hanging out somewhere in a city (a little bit at least).

Focus (bonus pic)

Focus, originally uploaded by lighthack.
I took this of my cat, Ivan, last summer. It is a good example of what a 50mm f/1.4 lens can do to create a shallow depth-of-field (DOF). Basically, when you open the lens aperture all of the way up to f/1.4 (meaning that it allows the light in through it's largest "hole" size), the field of focus (depth of field) becomes very shallow -- as you get away from the field of focus, everything becomes blurry quickly. Portrait photographers use these lenses often to bring attention to the focal area of the picture (like the eyes in this photo).

Fast-Forward - Day 55 of 365

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road. - Stewart Brand

I saw this tape sitting around in a drawer and I laughed a little bit because I realized that I disposed of the last of my tape players a few months ago when I moved. My how things change. I can remember when I had hundreds of tapes (and records).

This was a pretty straight-forward shot - an SB-600 through a 24" softbox camera left and high (you can see its reflection in the top of the iPod). Another SB-600 bounced off a white wall behind the scene. I had originally set up a bunch of iPods around the tape, but I ended up cropping them all out because the original shot wasn't very interesting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shopping Practice - Day 54 of 365

Shopping Practice (54 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
Ava has been practicing her shopping skills lately. She is nearly ready to tackle the malls, but she is a bit frustrated that Jimmy Choo doesn't make shoes her size. Oh well, sometimes life's just not fair.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tranquility - Day 53 of 365

Tranquility (53 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
After many, many photos involving hot reds, intense whites and black blacks, I was looking for a little calmness today. Maybe it reflects my mood, but all day I was thinking about taking a picture involving some greens -- not intense greens, but calm greens. I figured that I couldn't just take a picture of a green wall with a flash on it, so I decided to rescue the Baby's Breath from the now dead dozen red roses from Valentine's day. Tonight, Baby's Breath -- the long time backup singer -- was going to take its place front and center (well a little off center) and be the star of the show.

A single bare SB-600 on the back wall (which is a dark, ugly green, but looks alright when blown out a bit) and another SB-600 through a softbox directly above the flowers. Both on manual and fired via CLS from the popup.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dancing Water - Day 52 of 365

I wasn't all that inspired tonight (translation -- Ava, my sweet, but teething, 15 month old daughter wore me out today), so I decided to set up a water shot and let luck make something for me.  For a shot of color, I set up a glass dish with red water in it and then I used a ziplock bag with a hole in it to release yellow water drops into the red water.  Here is one of the results.  With these, you never quite know what you're going to get until you look through the 50 or so shots that you end up taking.  I also went for a high key,white background on this one to bring out the colors.  I shot two SB-600's against the back wall (white) to make the wall white and to light the water.

She Loves Me Not - Day 51 of 365

She Loves Me Not (51 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
This is the same rose that I used in Baby's Breath Bokeh (45 of 365) ( ). It is amazing how quickly these things die.

For the shot, I used a single Nikon SB-600 with a 1/8" grid spot camera left and close in fired via the D90's pop-up flash using the Nikon CLS system.

Blue - Day 50 of 365

Blue (50 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
Technically, this isn't a great picture. I was sitting on my deck messing with my camera and this guy popped out of the brush and took off. In my opinion, Blue Herons are about the most beautiful and graceful birds around. They are really, really impressive creatures. I didn't have the right lens on and I didn't have the camera ready, but this is the Blue Heron that hangs out back behind my house. Maybe I'll be able to photograph him properly one of these days.

Red - Day 49 of 365

Red (49 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
Sorry that I haven't uploaded anything in a few days. I've been taking pictures, but I decided to take myself off "the grid" for a bit. I'll upload the pictures now.

This is one of the valentine's day roses. After looking around, I decided that I like how the red pops off of a white background better than a black background, so I decided to do a "high key rose".

This has a Nikon SB-600 shooting against a white wall background at 1/2 power to blow out the background and another SB-600 through a softbox hitting it from above. I used the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 on this one.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Romeo & Juliet Revisited - Day 48 of 365

Romeo & Juliet Revisited (48 of 365)

On day 24, I did Romeo & Juliet using my daughter Ava's toy house set that she got for Christmas ( ). Tonight, as I was trying to think of my picture, I was listening to the song Romeo & Juliet by Dire Straits and I decided that I would take on the same project from a different perspective. The song, by the way, is just about perfect. It starts off with Mark Knopfler playing an awesome riff on a vintage National Style O guitar (very similar to this one: ) and then it goes into some of the best lyrics that I have heard. Needless to say, I love the song.

For this picture, I put the whole set up on a makeshift table so I could re-create the scene with a low perspective (almost Romeo's perspective). I had to lay on the floor to get the shot from this perspective. I used a gridded SB-600 flash camera left and high pointing down at Romeo and I used another SB-600 flash (with a grid and tape over it to tone it down) camera right pointing up at Juliet's face. For the room light I used (guess) an actual room lamp. I used a desk lamp aimed into the back of the room so the light actually looked like interior light. For the stars, which were essential given the quote that I used from the song, I used Christmas lights in the background and went for a bokeh effect.

My wanting bokeh presented somewhat of a problem because, in order to get the bokeh that I wanted, I needed to use a fairly short depth of field (f/5.6on my 50mm lens), which would have rendered either Romeo or Juliet out of focus. To solve this problem, I actually took two pictures, one focused on Romeo and one focused on Juliet. Then, when I got them to the computer, I layered the two together and brought the in-focus Juliet through to the Romeo layer. So, in the end, they both appear in focus (it's true, check out the big version). It would have been impossible to take the picture this way with just one shot.

Another trick that I used was to make a duplicate of the Romeo layer using a tungsten white balance, which gave a blueish tone to everything. I used this as an additional layer. You see this blue tinted layer mostly on the house -- I used the neutral balance layers for Romeo, Juliet and the interior lights. In my opinion, this gave the overall scene kind of a "moon lit" feel and it made the parts from the neutral white balance layers feel warmer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Light - Day 47 of 365

I spent most of my free time tonight fabricating a bracket to mount my flashes to a softbox that I bought on clearance from Adorama Camera for $25 (link to details here: LINK). By the time I finished and mounted the softbox, I didn't have much time left, so I decided to test out the softbox to see if it worked alright. I snapped this picture quickly and decided to go ahead and use it as today's shot. I've never used one of these before, so I'm going to have to do some experimenting in order to get it right (hence the title).

I had the softbox with an SB-600 flash in it camera right and high (I'm looking at it). I had another SB-600 flash camera left and high with a grid on it that was pointed at the back/right side of my head.

Something that I learned about doing self portraits that I will share. Normally, it is a real pain to get the camera's autofocus to focus on your eyes (the normal focal point for portraits). I tried a few shots with the autofocus and it kept focusing everywhere except my eyes. So, I tied a string to the camera's tripod right under the lens, stretched it to where I wanted to stand and tied a knot in it to mark that length. Then, I put a light stand where the knot in my string was. I went back to the camera, focused on the stand at my eye level (I set the top of the stand at eye level, which was where I measured the location with the knot), After that, I put the camera on manual focus so it wouldn't refocus and went back to the spot where I had to stand. The get my head placement exact, I stretched the string out, positioned myself so my eye was at the knot in the string, dropped the string and then took the shot. After all of that (it really wasn't much, it just took a long time to write about it), the picture was in focus. You can also close the aperture some on the camera (which gives you a larger depth-of-field) in order to help out with focusing self-portraits.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fine Art - Day 46 of 365

Fine Art (46 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
I had a tough day today. The one highlight was stopping at the Porsche dealer this morning to have something repaired. I took this picture while I was waiting. As I was roaming amongst the 911's, Caymans, and Panamara's, I was looking at the lines on the beautiful cars and thinking to myself that this is as close as I have gotten to going to a museum of fine art in a long time. That's pretty sad. I really need to take a day off one of these days and spend some time in a nice museum.

I snapped this pic with my iPhone. No flashes, but the dealer does a nice job of lighting the cars with spotlights.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Baby's Breath Bokeh - Day 45 of 365

Baby's Breath Bokeh (45 of 365)

I know, I said that I wasn't going to do it (take a picture of roses on Valentine's day). Oh well, I saw the roses sitting on the mantle and I couldn't resist trying out my new lens on one of them. I decided to jazz it up a bit with some bokeh in the background, which I figured could play the part of the "baby's breath" that normally comes in a rose bouquet.

To take the shot, I used my D90 with the Nikkor 105mm F/2.8 AF lens. I hung a bunch of Christmas lights about 3 or 4 feel behind the flower. Then, I used one SB-600 (gridded) above and right of camera and another one (gridded) and low and left of camera (both set so they would hit the flower, but not affect the background). On the camera, once I got the rose exposed they way that I wanted it (using flash power and aperture adjustments), I slowed down the shutter speed until I got the lights in the background the way that I wanted them.

Overall, I was going for kind of a romantic look/feel where the rose might be sitting on a dinner table somewhere and the lights in the background could be candle light.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Need a Life - Day 44 of 365

Need a Life (44 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
I decided to do more of a whimsical shot tonight. I had some snow shots from this morning and I had some roses that I could have done a macro with, but I'm sure that just about everybody on flickr is going to be uploading snow and roses today and tomorrow. So I went with something completely different (not that there's anything wrong with snow and/or roses). This is a Ms. Pac-Man cocktail table arcade that I built from an old computer and a bunch of ebay parts a few years ago. When I was a kid, I was wild about arcade games and I always dreamed of having my own arcade game when I grew up (like Silver Spoons). Although I don't play this one all that much anymore, every now and then, it's fun to order a pizza, break out the beer and 80's music and play some video games (it can do Galaga, Centipede, and all the other classics too).

For the lighting, I shot a gridded SB-600 (gelled with an orange gel) at my face/body from the end of the machine nearest the camera and I shot another SB-600 through an umbrella from overhead (I would have bounced it off the ceiling, but the ceiling is wood). Also, I left the shutter open long enough to pick up some ambient light and to pick up the graphics from the game (the most important part). As you can see from the graphics, it's about to be game over for me.

Another Shot of Ava from Day 43

Day 43 Alt. Shot, originally uploaded by lighthack.
Here's another pic of Ava that I took yesterday. I didn't go with this one as my shot for the day because she looks kind of sad, but I liked the overall look of the shot, so I figured that I would upload it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Soft Light - Day 43 of 365

Soft Light (43 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
I stayed home with Ava today and I took a couple shots of her while she was playing. I like how this one turned out. She was funny this morning. After she woke up, we sat down in her chair so she could drink her milk. She looked up at me with a big smile on her face and said "Hi mama". Oh well, she'll get "dada" figured out one of these days. It's the thought that counts.

It was a cloudy/snowy day today, so the light coming in the window behind her was very soft. I used a tiny bit of the camera's pop-up flash for fill.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Say Ahhh - Day 42 of 365

Say Ahhh (42 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

This is a picture of the same grocery store orchid that has showed up in several of my 365 shots in the past ( Need a Bigger Frame, Orchids in the Sky, and Full Bloom). Tonight a I got in a used macro lens that I ordered from a guy in Japan (Nikon 105mm 2.8 AF Micro), so I thought that I should get right into it and figure out how to use it. Obviously (hopefully), this is a shot right down the "mouth" of one of the orchid blooms. I think it looks kind of like a mouth with a tongue and a throat.

This was a pretty simple setup. I just set the camera on a tripod, put it in remote CLS mode and held the SB-600 right over the end of the lens.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Leaf - Day 41 of 365

Winter Leaf (41 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
I pulled in my garage tonight when I came home from work and I noticed this guy on the garage floor. It has been cold and windy lately and this leaf reminded me that summer is a long way off. I knew that I was tired today and that I didn't want to stay up late thinking of a shot, so, while eating dinner and tucking Ava into bed, I was trying to think of a good way to capture this leaf.

In the end, I decided to fill a non-stick pan up with water (I must be on a water kick lately), float the leaf and bounce light off the back splash in the kitchen, which has nice natural tones to it. I decided to float the leaf in water because I like how the surface tension between the leaf and the water reflects light.

I used a Nikon SB-600 fired via the CLS remote from my D90. I had my trusty 50mm f/1.4 on the camera for the shot. I had the camera and the flash in manual mode. After I found the angle that I liked, I tweaked the aperture and the flash power until I liked the way that it looked.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jumping Water - Day 40 of 365

Jumping Water (40 of 365)

This was my second attempt at photographing water drops. This time, I filled a glass dish all the way to the top with water and tried to get as low to the water as possible with the camera so I could capture a sense of height on the splash of the drop. I liked this one because the flash reflected just right and created a flare on the drop. I added a rainbow gradient filter for a little pizazz.

I used my D90 with a Sigma 70-300mm zoom lens this time. I put a SB-600 flash (fired via CLS) to camera left right near the dish and I left space in the background for the light to fall off to create the black background. I'm still not completely happy with the way that these are coming out, but I like this one better than the last (especially the light flare part of it). I think that I need to get a macro lens to do a better job of this.

By the way, I hope you like the new blow layout.  Since it is all about the pictures, I went to this format because it allows bigger pictures.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Honey Bee - Day 39 of 365

Honey Bee (39 of 365)

Ever listen to a song over and over again and get it stuck in your head? Tonight I had Barry Louis Polisar's "All I Want Is You" stuck in my head, so I decided to see if I could use it as inspiration for my picture. I went with the first line of the song ("If I was a flower growing wild and free, all I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee.") as the scene that I was trying to recreate. I didn't have any real flowers (except my orchid that has been in too many pictures) or honey bees, so I went with a fake flower and my daughter's favorite bee stuffed animal (we're not sure that it is a bee, but she is, so it is a bee).

I wanted to show motion the "old school" way (without using photoshop), so I decided to try out my camera's "rear curtain sync" mode. In this mode, the lens stays open for a time and then the flashes fire right before the lens closes. This way, the open lens captures some of the light from the motion, then, at the end of the sequence, the flashes fire and imprint the end of the scene (this all happens in a portion of a second). To set this up, I used an SB-600 with a grid camera left and other SB-600 with a grid camera right and high (the grids did a nice job of keeping my light from spilling every where). In order to capture the motion, I placed a desk lamp facing upwards directly below the flower and the bee. I just tossed the bee toward the flower and hit the camera's remote a couple of times until I got one that I liked (I got lucky, it only took about 5 or 6 tries). For the black background, I just left about 15 feet behind the whole setup and made sure that my flashes didn't spill onto it. The flashes were fired with the D90's popup flash set to "--". Everything (flashes and camera) was in manual mode. You can get the specifics in the EXIF data if you want it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Big Smile - Day 38 of 365

Big Smile (38 of 365)

Ava was full of smiles when Nanny and Papa came over today and gave Ava a toy set that included bees. She loves bees lately. If something has to do with bees, she loves it. She loves flying her bee toys around and buzzing and then saying "ouch" and pretending that she's getting stung.

This is just a run-of-the-mill shot out of the camera with the on-camera flash providing light (along with the sun working as a hair light). I couldn't resist going with it because I loved Ava's smile and how proud her papa looks.

Note: Using pictures for your computer backround.

I would be flattered if you want to use a picture for your background on your computer. To get a hi-res version, just click on the picture you like (it will take you to my flickr site) and then click on the "all sizes" button at the top of the picture. From here, you can download a large version of the picture. I upload most of the pictures optimized for a 1920x1280 HD screen.

If your screen resolution is smaller than 1920x1080, you can still fix them to fit on your screen once you download them. On vista and Win7, you can just choose to have them "fit" your screen as you select them for your background (right click on your desktop, go to the select background image screen and choose fit). On XP, you can resize the picture by right clicking on the picture file and choosing edit. This will load the picture in Paint, which is already installed on XP. In paint, you can use the Stretch/Skew function to resize the picture (choose smaller percentages for both width and height until you get one that fits your screen). You can check the resolution of the picture by clicking on Attributes. Then, save the file as a .bmp file in your My Pictures folder.

If you follow the directions here, the picture that you saved in My Pictures will show up in the list of backgrounds for you to choose. If you sized the picture correctly, you should choose "Center" positioning. You can also change the background color to compliment the picture.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Legos - Day 37 of 365

Legos (37of 365)

I had another shot setup today and I worked on it some earlier in the day while Ava took her nap. But, during dinner she figured out how to stick her lego man on the lego car base and, every time she did it she was as proud as could be. I had my camera nearby and decided to see if I could capture the moment. Once I saw this shot, I decided that my other shot could wait for another time. Real life trumps staged shots every time.

For this one, I decided to just go with available light, which was just the lamp light above the breakfast room table. I had my 50mm lens on the camera, so I put the camera in aperture priority, set it down to f/2.0 and set the ISO up to 800 (I hate to do that because it causes noise, but sometimes you have to in order to get your shutter fast enough to avoid blur). All in all, I like how it turned out. I love how you can see how focused she is on playing with the legos.

Wow, I just realized that, with today's shot, I'm more than 10% of the way into my 365.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Need a Bigger Frame - Day 36 of 365

Need a Bigger Frame (36 of 365)

So here's tonight's masterpiece. Just kidding. I saw someone do a picture something like this a while back and I figured that I'd try my hand at it (by the way, this looks better viewed on a white background - you can click on the picture to see). I started with a standard "high key" shot of my grocery store orchid and then I went into photoshop to try to figure out how the heck I can get the flower to pop out of the frame. Here's what I came up with.

For the photo, I used my D90 with a 50mm 1.4D lens with two flashes (set to optical slave) pointed at the back wall (for the pure white background). Then I had an SB-600 fired through an umbrella camera left and a little bit up and another camera right in the same position. The SB-600's were fired via CLS, which made it easy to adjust their power. I had to aim the background flashes' optical sensors away from the pop-up on the camera because the CLS signal was setting them off at first (which made them shoot too early). Once I turned them away, the CLS fired flashes triggered the background flashes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Splash - Day 35 of 365

Splash (35 of 365)

Tonight, after watching TV for a while and procrastinating, I decided that I would try taking a water drop shot. It can't be that hard, right? Well, it shouldn't be, but I managed to get water everywhere (which probably isn't good around electronics) and, on top of that, my battery ran out of juice while I was tweaking things. So, I recharged the battery and decided that I would go with this shot. It is a water drop splashing back up out of the water. Originally, it was close to black and white, but I put a green filter on it just for fun (well, actually, it was pretty boring on it's own, so I decided to splash in some color (no pun intended)).

I used two SB-600 flashes fired via CLS. One against the white wall behind my setup and one at the water to give it some sparkle. I used my 50mm lens, which was a mistake. I was going to switch over to my zoom lens (I don't have a true macro), but I ran out of juice. I'll have to revisit this concept in the future to see if I can get it perfect. Oh yeah, I'm also going to use a black pan next time to cut unwanted reflections a bit.

If you want to learn how this is done, you can watch this video on

Purple and Yellow Orchid - Bonus Pic.

Purple and Yellow Orchid

This is another one from my mother-in-law's collection that I photographed last weekend (on Day 30). I'm not sure what the name of this orchid is, but I thought that the colors were pretty amazing. After zooming into the picture on my big screen, I realized that some dust on the bloom showed up when the light from the flash skimmed across the bloom. Oh well, I still thought that it was a pretty cool looking flower. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Slide - Day 34 of 365

Slide (34 of 365)

This is a picture of me playing slide guitar (one of my favorite things to do). Nothing too fancy. I just set my camera up on a tripod, put the flash directly in front of me, and then fired everything via remote. I figured that I had better take a break from the flowers and knick knacks for a bit, so I went back to a guitar shot. The guitar that I'm playing is a 1934 National Style N resonator guitar.

Knick Knacks - Day 33 of 365

Knick Knacks (33 of 365)

Remember how I said that I hated knick knacks? Well, I have to say that they do come in handy when you're doing a Project 365, you're having a busy evening, and you can't stand the thought of taking a picture of computer "innerds" or something similarly meaningless two nights in a row. Well, knick knacks might be similarly meaningless, but at least this one had some personality to it. You might recognize the setting for this -- it is the same granite counter top that I used for Childproof (day 5). This time, I "shook it up" by using an SB-600 flash, handheld in my left hand, in order to make it pop a little bit. It was a little bit of a challenge to keep from lighting the counter top along with the birds, but it just took a little bit of moving the flash around. Nothing too fancy. I really need to get outside with my camera one of these days.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Upgrade Night - Day 32 of 365

Upgrade Night (32 of 365)

Instead of taking pictures tonight, I spent my time after everyone went to bed tonight putting a new motherboard, CPU and hard drive in my main computer -- it was time. For you fellow geeks out there, I installed an ASRock A785GXH/128M motherboard, an AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz Processor and a Hitachi 1TB Hard Drive. In addition to replacing the hardware, I went ahead and reinstalled Win7 from scratch (along with everything else). So, I was out-of-commission for a little bit tonight. I snapped this quickly as I was doing the upgrade. I can already tell that I'm going to have to replace the stock CPU fan-- it's too loud.

Have you ever built your own computer? It's pretty easy (if you do your research) and it is a good way to get exactly what you want. Also, when it starts getting old, you only have to upgrade a few of the components in order to bump up to the latest and greatest. If you're a PC person, you should look into it and try it sometime. If you're a mac person, you'll just have to shell out the cash to have Steve Jobs build it for you (just kidding, macs are great, but I'm to cheap to shell out the money for them). :.)

This morning, I took what should have been a cool picture of frost on the hedges by my driveway. I saw it as I was backing out and thought that it looked really cool. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone and the picture came out too blurry to even bother with. The camera in the iPhone is terrible. It's an awesome phone, but the camera is really bad.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Red Tiger - Bonus Pic.

Red Tiger (30.1 of 365)

This is a "Red Tiger " Abutilon (i.e., flowering maple). I decided that this nice bloom deserved a spot in my 365 although I already submitted the Flame Thower Orchid as my day 30 shot. This is another stunner from my mother-in-law's plant collection. While I was photographing her flowers, I just couldn't pass up this plant. It is a really cool plant, it grows like a tree (it is about 6 feel high) and it has these beautiful blooms all over. She said that she fell in love with this plant when she saw one at the Biltmore House Arboreum in North Carolina a few years ago.

Like my other day 30 picture (the Flame Thrower), this one was taken with my Nikon D90 with a 50mm 1.4d lens. I had to pack light because Ava's toys, high chair, etc. took up most of the car, so I only had the camera and one SB-600 flash. For this shot, the camera was hand held and the SB-600 was fired remotely via the camera's CLS system. The flash was bare and about 12 inches from the bloom, camera left. I didn't use anything to diffuse the flash, which actually turned out nice because the bloom shows that it has a little sheen to it.