Monday, May 31, 2010

Chalk (151 of 365)

Chalk (151 of 365)

I snapped this when we were out drawing on the driveway with chalk. I decided to go with this as my picture of the day because, even though they don't match perfectly, I really like the vibrant colors.

New Hat (150 of 365)


New Hat (150 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Off to the Mall (149 of 365)

Off to the Mall (149 of 365)

Ava work up from her nap yesterday and was all ready for a trip to the mall wearing her bird dress and bird barrette (I wish all of the bird barrette showed up in the picture; it's cute). I snapped some shots of her and really liked the way this one turned out (I like the "pose" and all of the lines). I put the word "pose" in quotations b/c Ava is still a bit young for posing (i.e., she won't sit still :.). When processing it, I went for a washed out, "high-key" look similar to what I've seen in a lot of clothing catalogs lately.

BTW, she had a great time at the mall. She's not much of a shopper, but she loves seeing all of the people.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sun (146 of 365)


Sun (146 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
Sorry for the lack of uploads the last few days, I've been busy with work.

Textures (145 of 365)


Textures (145 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Little Angel (144 of 365)

My Little Angel (144 of 365)

I promised myself that I wasn't going to do another Ava picture this week, but when I was looking through my memory card at my photos from today, this one jumped out at me and wouldn't let go. In my mind, this shot is why f/1.4 prime lenses are such a beautiful thing. I shot this with a Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 wide open and just love how the shallow DOF softens the non-focal areas and gives a glowing, angelic quality to the shot. I really love how this shot turned out.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dad & Ava (143 of 365)

Dad & Ava (143 of 365)

By popular request...here's a picture of me and Ava. Some of my wonderful contacts (all of you are wonderful) reminded me that I didn't have a single picture of me and Ava in my previous 142 pictures in my Project 365. Well here you go. I look kind of dorky, but that's ok...we were having fun. BTW, this is the face you get when you tell Ava to smile -- she's very enthusiastic about smiling lately. :.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Testing the New Sandbox (before the sand)

Testing the New Sandbox (before the sand)

I was putting together Ava's new sandbox and Ava decided that she wanted to try dancing in it for a little bit (so I decided that it was picture time). I thought it was really cute, but the background was distracting, so I worked with the photo to sharpen and color boost the focal area (Ava) and de-focus and de-saturate the non-focal areas. It's not perfect, but I kind of like how doing this gave a bit of a 3-D feel to the photo

The Aquarium (142 of 365)

The Aquarium (142 of 365)

We took a trip to the Georgia Aquarium today (in Atlanta). Ava loves fish (she's only seen small fish before) and it was so fun to watch her smile and get excited as she pointed at just about every fish that swam by. I purposely left my camera at home so I could enjoy the moment. But, the photographer side of me got the best of me for this one, so I couldn't resist taking out my iPhone for a few shots.

Raindrops (141 of 365)

Raindrops (141 of 365)

When I got home from work, it has just finished raining and I noticed that there were fresh raindrops on all of the flowers. So, I grabbed my camera and went hunting for a raindrop shot. This detail is from the center of one of the flowers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baby Einstein

Baby Einstein

I've got a million pictures on my hard drives that I haven't done anything with (mostly because the 365 keeps me looking forward for new shots every day). Tonight, I dove in and found this one of Ava and thought that it was cute, so I decided to spend a few minutes with it. I like her hair and upside-down sun glasses in this one.

For processing, basically, I just kept on sharpening and color boosting the photo, but every time I would do a layer mask and mask out her skin so it didn't look ugly/unnatural b/c of the processing (skin has a way of looking bad quickly when you process it too much).

Flowers & Light (139 of 365)

Flowers & Light (139 of 365)

With this shot, I was experimenting with trying to do something different with flowers. I had this bunch of wild roses that was past its prime. As I was throwing them away, I noticed the webs all over the branches, so I decided to go with a back light setup to light the webs and to create a little bit of flair. I don't love it, but at least it's a little bit different.

SB-600 through a 24"x24" softbox overhead and left of camera lighting the flowers, a reflector under the flowers, and an SB-600 with 2 blue gels behind the flowers aimed toward the camera.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bee and Flowers (138 of 365)


Bee and Flowers (138 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

This was a quick snapshot out in the garden that, once I looked at it on the monitor, I kind of liked, so I went with it. Since the shot is not all that interesting from a technical standpoint, I'll talk about how I did the framing.

I did this in photoshop, I'm not sure how to do it in other programs.
1) Finalize your picture, crop it for the entire scene and flatten it into one layer.
2) Duplicate that layer (ctrl+J) (shortcuts are for PC).
3) Select the duplicate layer and turn it to black and white (i.e., desaturate) (ctrl+alt+u).
4) Add a layer mask to the duplicate layer and select the layer mask.
5) Use the marquee tool to select a box for your "color subject" area.
6) Making sure that black is your background color in your palette, hit delete (this should delete the selected area from the b&w layer to allow the color area).
7) Select the color image layer.
8) Use the stroke command (edit->stroke) and set it to 15pixels, inside the selection area, and white. (this will draw the white part of the frame).
9) Hit ctrl+d to get rid of the marquee selection.
10) Select the b&w layer again and, using brightness/contrast, lower the brightness of the b&w area taste.

That's it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Flame of Forks (137 of 365)


Flame of Forks (137 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

I didn't have much inspiration tonight, so I decided to grab some forks, a dish and my flashes/gels to see what I could create. I took this and thought that it looked a little like a flame.

SB-600 flash with a 1/8" grid spot and a blue gel shot against a white wall. Another SB-600 flash with two orange gels (both full CTOs) and another 1/8" grid spot shooting straight down on the forks/dish.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Through the Lens (136 of 365)

Through the Lens (136 of 365)

No photoshop manipulation on this one (other than crop, rotate, colors, etc.), just good old fashion trial and error. The trick is getting the front of the lens that I'm holding in focus AND getting the distance from the lens that I'm holding to my face to be in focus. I've seen a version of this one done before somewhere, so it's not the most original idea, but I wanted to see if I could pull it off.

BTW, the 50mm f/1.4 is my all-time favorite lens. I have more expensive lenses, but this one just gets the job done time and time again -- it is so flexible. If you are looking for a great way to spend some money, get yourself a nice f/1.4 or f/1.8 prime lens.

Strobist: SB-600 through a 24"x24" softbox lighting the lens that I'm holding and my hand and an SB-600 through a shoot-through umbrella lighting my face.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mema & Ava (135 of 365)

Mema & Ava (135 of 365)
This is Mema (my mom) and Ava having fun taking pictures with Ava's Elmo camera.

Pooh Pa & Ava (135 of 365-alt)

Pooh Pa & Ava (135 of 365-alt)

Pooh Pa (my dad) and Ava playing with Pooh Pa's cell phone.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Too Tired to Play (132 of 365)

Too Tired to Play (132 of 365)

After a long day, Ava decided that she was too tired to play anymore. After reading "Hop on Pop" (her favorite book), I asked her what she wanted to play or read next, she just got up, grabbed her Boppy, threw it in the middle of the floor and laid down for some rest.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Perspective (131 of 365)

Perspective (131 of 365)

Lately, I've been trying to push myself through a creative slump. For tonight's shot, I decided to shake things up a bit by changing the camera's perspective. To do this, I put the camera on the tripod on top of some cupboards about 13 or 14 feet high so the camera was looking down on me.

With the camera in this position, I wanted to go for "moody" lighting, so I setup a single flash with a tight grid spot to my right to focus the light entirely on my face and upper body and to control spill. I took this with the lights on, but at a shutter speed of 1/250 sec and a tighter aperture, only the light from the flash made its way into the shot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Price of Caffeine (130 of 365)

If that $5 was, instead, invested in a fund that returned 8.8% (the annualized return of the S&P from 1871-2009), it would grow to $972,140.61 by the time that the 20-year-old turned 65. So, is the coffee really worth it?

I ask myself this question all the time when I'm in line waiting to order my venti triple-shot vanilla non-fat latte. When I think about it, I start to think that the free coffee at work might be alright. I just wish that I was 20 again. At 37, my $5/day will only add up to a little over $212k. The magic of compounding interest is that time is your best friend and most of us don't have as much time as we want by the time that we realize this fact. I don't know why they don't teach kids about this stuff in public schools (they didn't in mine).

BTW, if the 20-year-old could get Warren Buffett to invest his/her money (at his 23% annualized return), that $5/day would turn into a little under a 100 million dollars by age 65 ($99,130,678.97). That really makes the free coffee sound good.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Oh! The Places You'll Go! (127 of 365)

"Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!" - Dr. Seuss

Today I saw Ava sitting on the stairs and holding her purse and I asked her if she was waiting for a bus. I didn't think she would understand me, but instantly she hopped to her feet to look out the window for the bus (or "ba" as she pronounced it). After a little bit, she sat back down on the stairs - this time to wait on that bus. As it turns out, when I found her, she was waiting on Ivan, our cat, to come back down the stairs (you can see him in the top right of this picture) because she's not allowed to climb the stairs by herself. She's growing up so fast. :.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gritty Music (126 of 365)


Gritty Music (126 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

This picture pulled me in all different directions. I was looking for something different, so I setup some lights for a high-key look, I put the camera on a tripod with the remote and then I tried a whole bunch of different things. Then, after taking a bunch of shots, I brought my memory card to the computer and ended up working on this one. After processing it several different ways, I ended up coming back to this one. Part of me hates how it looks, part of me kept on coming back to it. I'll let you decide if you like it or not.

Strobist Info: Two SB-600 flashes aimed at the back, white wall. The room was small with white walls and ceiling, so the light on the subject is purely from reflections off all of the walls coming from the background lights.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bird in a Cage (125 of 365)


Bird in a Cage (125 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

This is a little wind up bird in a cage that Ava received as a Christmas present.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Azalea Blooms (bonus)


Azalea Blooms, originally uploaded by lighthack.

I took this the other day. I really love those little "feelers" in the middle of the blooms.

Heart in Hand (124 of 365)


Heart in Hand (124 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shadow Box (123 of 365)


Shadow Box (123 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.

What's in the box? I'll leave that up to your imagination. I saw this sitting on the shelf and liked the wood and the lock, so I decided to play with it, some light, and some shadows.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Blues by the Water (121 of 365)

Blues by the Water (121 of 365)

Ah, a new day. I woke up this morning, went down to the water with one of my guitars, picked a few tunes and enjoyed the peacefulness (along with the birds, fish and frogs who were all playing their music too).

I want to say thank you to all of my great flickr friends for all of your comments and encouragement lately. I really appreciate it.

Frustration (120 of 365)


Frustration (120 of 365), originally uploaded by lighthack.
I've been kind of running out of steam lately. Tonight I searched and searched for something to take a picture of and came up empty. Finally, I took this out of frustration and processed it with that mood in mind. It's not a great photo by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it's a photo for the day. Here's to tomorrow -- at least I should have some time to get outside. I feel like I've exhausted my "around the house/basement" shots for now.