Thursday, April 29, 2010

Twain's Warning (119 of 365)

Twain's Warning (119 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
Although it's probably not on the current "politically correct" list of reading material, I still love going back and getting lost in Huckleberry Finn from time-to-time. I always enjoyed Mark Twain's "Notice" at the beginning of the book (pictured above).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blue Cheese Burgers (118 of 365)

I see so many of my friends on Flickr taking wonderful pictures of the fine baking and cooking that they do. This is about the only "cooking" that I can pull off, so here it is. Grilling out is like Zen time for me. I'm not sure why I've only fired up the grill a few times so far this Spring, but after the Blue Cheese Burgers that we had tonight, I'm going to do it more often.

Believe it or not, I actually used an off-camera flash on this one. The grill and I were much too dark by the time that the camera exposed for the background, so I setup a bare flash, zoomed out and on 1/4 power, off just out of view near the right, bottom corner of the picture. I was a bit bored with the picture, so I messed with a bit in the computer.

Yellow Means "Go Faster" - Ferrari F430 (117 of 365)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rainy Day (114 of 365)

Rainy Day (114 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

Being stuck inside on a rainy day is no fun.

Sky (113 of 365)

Sky (113 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
This is kind of a lazy image. I was sitting on my deck last night and I took this when I was playing with my 24mm lens. I decided to play with it in the computer to see what I could do with the sky and clouds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flower Power (112 of 365)

Flower Power (112 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
Here is my Earth Week, "going green" shot. No politics, just a little bit of light, glass and nature.

I'll post the setup shot/details later on today. Basically, you have a SB-600 aimed at the back wall with a tight grid spot and two full green gels and another SB-600 with a grid spot (mostly to prevent spill on the background) aimed at the subject to give it some definition and sparkle. The beautiful orchid (one of my mother-in-law's orchids) was beamed into the lightbulb with a little machine called Photoshop.

Have a great Friday!

NOTE: I'm glad to say that I'm coming out of a funk that I've been in for a while. I thought that my Spring allergies were zapping my energy, motivation and creativity, but it turns out that my allegy medication, Claritin, was doing it. So, I'm back. I've ditched the Claritin and now I've got itchy eyes and a runny nose, but at least I've got my mind back!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boat Drinks (110 of 365)

Boat Drinks (110 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

I had these umbrellas left over from the "Sugar Free" shot. I was out of ideas tonight when I decided that they might make a fun picture. Everyone loves cocktail umbrellas, right?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Big Hat (107 of 365)

Big Hat (107 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
I was kind of desperate for a shot for Day 107. I had my family in town and kept busy having fun with them, so I didn't shoot anything specifically for Project 365. I looked through my memory card this morning for shots from Day 107 and found this shot of Ava wearing a big, adult sized sun hat. It was underexposed and noisy, so I decided that going for a vintage look was a good option since the noise wouldn't be that big of deal.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bubbles (106 of 365)

Bubbles (106 of 365)

Emily's Leaves

Emily's Leaves, originally uploaded by lighthack.
My niece, Emily, who is 15, is interested in photography. Yesterday, she went exploring with my camera and came back with this beautiful picture of some green leaves. I am so happy that the leave have finally filled all of the trees here in Georgia.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bad Hair Day (105 of 365)

Bad Hair Day (105 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
When we got home from daycare today, we took Ava's bow out of her hair and it looked like this, which I thought was kind of funny. I thought that the look on her face in this shot added to the moment nicely.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Gate (bonus)

The Gate, originally uploaded by lighthack.
I took this one at an old graveyard a few weekends ago. I had intended for it to be my 365 picture for that day, but another photo won out. This is part of an old iron gate that is part of the wall around one of the family plots in the graveyard.

Shopping Spree (104 of 365)

Shopping Spree (104 of 365, originally uploaded by lighthack.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Flower Power (103 of 365)

Yellow Tulips, Green Mist (103 of 365)
If at first you don't succeed...

As I mentioned yesterday, I wasn't satisfied with the look of my first tulip and mist picture. Here is my second attempt. I am much happier with the overall look of this one.

Setup Info: Basically the same setup as yesterday's shot, except I moved the camera back and I changed out the blue gels for a single green gel. For lighting, you have an SB-600 flash through a 24"x24" softbox camera left and high lighting the flower. For the background, you have empty space behind the flower to create a "black" environment. Then, I placed an SB-600 flash with a green gel on it on the floor pointed straight up. Standing on a ladder to camera right, I sprayed a mist of water into the air before the shot and then hit the remote, which lit the water mist with green light. I took a setup shot that I'll post this afternoon.

As Olga noticed, I did go with a "mirror" effect mirroring the image horizontally. It looked fine without doing this, but doing the mirror effect, with it's symmetry, really finished off the image for me. Other than the mirror, this is close to being straight out of the camera -- the lights really did the work on this one.

One of my favorite details in this image is the refraction of the light through the bottom "bulb" portion of the vase.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yellow Tulip, Blue Mist (102 of 365)

This one didn't come out as cool as I had hoped. I had this tulip that I wanted to photograph, but I was kind of tired of black and bokeh backgrounds (and it was night, so outside would have come out black). So, I got an idea to do a "mist" background. So, you basically have a tulip lit with a softbox and then you have a flash on the ground with a blue gel on it, pointed up and me spraying water mist into the air before the shot so the blue light lit up the mist. I thought it was a really cool idea, but I think I need to work on my execution.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Come Sit With Me a While My Friend (100 of 365)

I got up early on day 100 and went for a walk around the grounds of a local historical plantation (now a museum). It wasn't open for the day yet, but I didn't see any reason that I couldn't wander around the grounds and relax. I found this bench and decided to sit and relax a bit. As I was sitting there, I thought about it being day 100 in my Project 365 and I thought about all of the friends and acquaintances that I've made and how much I've enjoyed getting to know each of you a little bit. It would be fun to sit down with each of you for a little while, have a conversation and get to know you better. I thought that this bench would be a great place for such a conversation.

I had originally posted my bee picture as my day 100 picture. I changed my mind and decided that this one was more fitting.

I really like the detail in the foreground with the wood, bricks, and moss. I really love the flowers and trees in the background and how the 50mm lens at f/1.4 turned them into what almost looks like a painting (Monet maybe?).

Have a great day. Happy Day 100 to you fellow Project 365'ers who started on January 1st like me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Return of the Bumble Bee (bonus)

My friend the bumble bee was back hovering around the deck again. For details on how I approach this shots, check out this guy's last portrait:

Have a great weekend everyone. Wow, day 100 already.

Smile (99 of 365)

Smile (99 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
With a pretty smile like this, I couldn't resist using this as my shot for the day. Also, getting a quick shot of Ava like this gave me a chance to get to be early.

Friday, April 9, 2010

... I think I overpaid the model. (98 of 365)

I decided that I want to work a bit on more subtle lighting (i.e., instead of just blasting away with the softbox, I want to be more directional and selective). So, this is attempt one at subtlety with a portrait. I looked around for a volunteer, but Ava was sleeping and Jodi wasn't home, so I had to play the roles of photographer and model. Looking at the results, I kind of like the lighting, but I think I overpaid the model. The word's still out on the photographer.

Setup Info: (1) SB-600 flash camera right and low (around waist level and 45 degrees in front of me). This flash was focused tight and had a 1/8" grid spot on it (to keep the beam tight and prevent too much spill). It was aimed at my face as the main light. (2) SB-600 flash camera left and high. This flash was focused tight, high and just out of the frame. It was slightly behind me. Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Micro lens on the D700.

Happy Friday everyone!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jasmine & the Orchids (97 of 365)

Jasmine & the Orchids (97 of 365)

My wife bought these Orchids over Easter weekend and I figured that I would try to get a shot of them before they died. So, I set up a shot with a single flower and started shooting. After a few minutes, I turned around and noticed that Jasmine was helping by smelling and eating the flowers. So, I spun myself and one of my lights around and snapped a couple pictures of Jasmine and the rest of the flowers. When I went to review my pictures when I was done shooting, this one was more fun than the setup flower shot that I worked on, so Jasmine won out.

Kerplow!! (96 of 365)

Kerplow!! (96 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
I was all out of creativity for the night, so I decided to setup a water drop scene and let gravity/physics handle the creativity side of things. So, here's a little splash of water, light and color for you all. It's not my favorite picture in the world, but at least we were provided with a little bit of bokeh, a couple "light bursts", a sense of motion, and color (albeit artificial).

Setup: Instead of your typical water dropping into water, you are looking at water dropping on to a non-stick pan turned upside-down. I did this so I could focus in and capture the full height of the splash. Also because water dripping on to a hard surface (as opposed to water) creates these "crown" shaped splashes. The water around the splash was kind of a bonus effect from the water building up on the top of the pan as the drops came down.

I intentionally set this up with the water appearing white/clear and the black background knowing that I wanted to add the color after the shot. I did this by allowing space in the background for the light to fall off into black and by aiming an SB-600 flash, bare, at the water drops from the left side, just to the right of the drippng water.

Here's the setup shot:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Delicate (95 of 365)

Delicate (95 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
This is a Bird of Paradise that my mother-in-law brought for me to photograph when she came this weekend. It is from her amazing plant collection. I really like how this picture came out because I like that the light is enough to bring out the amazing colors and shape of the flower, but it is still subtle enough to leave some shadow areas.

Lighting: SB-600 through a 24"x24" softbox camera left and just about above the flower. A silver reflector directly under the flower. The lightbox was the main source of light, but the reflector lit the underbelly of the flower enough to define its shape against the black background (this is my favorite part of the photo - the reflector really brought it all together).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Dress (bonus)

Easter Dress, originally uploaded by lighthack.

I had to post at least one shot of Ava in her Easter dress. :.)

Hunting Easter Eggs (94 of 365)

I didn't get a chance to setup anything formal tonight, so today's shot is more of a snapshot than a planned out picture. This is Ava and Papa hunting Easter Eggs this morning. You can tell from the look on Ava's face that she means business and will not rest until every egg is found and in her basket.

Summer (93 of 365)

Summer (93 of 365)

And now for something completely different... This is my 15-year-old niece, Summer. She is in town for Easter and mentioned that she didn't like the professional headshots that she recently had taken and wondered if I wouldn't mind taking some pictures for her. This is one of the non-posed, "in-between" shots where I caught her laughing and fixing her hair.

This "session" was my first time trying to balace sun and off camera flash. It's also my first time trying to take non-snapshot pictures of someone other than me or my 16-month-old daughter Ava.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Keys (92 of 365)

Keys (92 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

Where do you keep your keys? We bought this key rack when we were in Hawaii on our honeymoon years ago. It has followed us from house-to-house ever since.

Just simple lighting on this -- an SB-600 in my hand aimed at the ceiling for a nice even light source.

Tired (91 of 365)

Tired (91 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

This has seemed like a really long week. Here you have the same daffodil as pictured in Midnight Daffodil (82 of 365), but it has grown a bit tired and old. Christmas lights in the background providing the jumbo bokeh.

Enjoy your weekend!

Setup: SB-600 through a 24"x24" Lightbox camera right and high. white Christmas lights (one of the nets for hanging lights on bushes) in the background for the bokeh. The flash power determined the brightness of the flower and the shutter speed determined the brightness of the bokeh. I adjusted both to taste.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chasing Bees (90 of 365)

Chasing Bees (90 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

Ava and I spent a bunch of time watching bees buzz around the deck today (she still loves everything bees). When she took her nap, I got out the camera and went out to see if I could catch one buzzing around. This is what I ended up with. The pattern in the background is the built-in bench on our deck. I thought that it made for a kind of cool background shape. If my neighbors saw me trying to get this shot, they probably would have thought that I had lost my mind.

Here is how I approached this shot:

First, I made the decision that I wanted to completely freeze the bee in flight (as opposed to showing some wing motion), so I knew that I wanted a very fast shutter speed. With this in mind, I put the camera in Shutter Priority Mode (S Mode) and bumped up the shutter to 1/2500 sec. Also, I put the camera in Auto ISO mode. These choices ensured that my shutter snapped at 1/2500 of a second and they left it up to the camera to chose the aperture and ISO that allowed a correct exposure at 1/2500.

Second, I put the lens (Nikkor 105mm f/2.8) in manual focus mode. I knew that autofocus would probably just focus on the wrong elements and hunt all over the place. This forced me to get in tune with manually focusing the shot as the bee flew around.

Third, I snapped many shots.

In my view, setting things as I referenced above and snapping several shots put me in the best position to get lucky with a shot. After all, you only need one of them to come out. And, digital pictures are cheap to take and delete. Also, the bee helped out. This kind of bee tends to fly around in the same general area for a while at a time. This allowed me to experiment and try several times.

I've seen better bee shots on flickr and elsewhere, but I was happy to get this one and I had fun doing it. Oh yeah, the composition with the bench and the bee being pretty close to center of the bench legs was just a lucky break that I chose to exploit with the crop (and a slight rotate).