Archive for March, 2009

Daily Photo – Janus and Dagny

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Janus turns to look at Dagny (well, I told him to turn and look at her).

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • This capture is a combination of intentional pose and natural candid.  Dagny (the blurry one, if that’s not obvious) had just finished shooting Stephanie.  Janus and I had been talking while we waited on them, but I had quietly oriented myself so that I had Janus in the foreground and Dagny in the distance.  As soon as Stephanie stepped away from the scene, I told Janus to look at Dagny.  She heard me and looked up in surprise;  I snapped the shutter.  We tried this a couple more times where everyone knew what I was about to do, but none looked as good as when both subjects were unaware of my intent.
  • I’ve talked a few times about connecting sharp foreground subjects with soft background ones.  People are great pattern recognition machines:  all it takes is a rough shape to suggest a subject’s mood or activity.  You can barely make out Dagny here at all, and certainly no facial features.  But her body language suggests she’s caught up in something nearer to her focus (you can see that in the position of the shoulders and bend of the arms), while her head is turned outward from that.  Not a natural pose, but one we can instantly recognize.  I got some assistance from the wind on this, dragging the dress against her body to help define it’s shape.

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March 26 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Find The Photographer

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Can you figure out where I shot this from, given the reflection in the window?

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I really wanted to use the strong reflection in the window as a background, but was concerned about catching myself in the photo.  I run into this problem sometimes with modern dance — the mirrors in the rehearsal studio more or less reflect the entire room.  In those cases I usually shoot slightly off center so that, if I am in the shot, I’m usually clear of the subjects and can be easily removed in Photoshop.  For this image I shot straight on, twisting my body to align my feet toe to toe in an effort to become thinner.  I also crouched slightly so my shoulders and head were below Laura’s shoulders.  Laura’s open jacket helps too, although not all the shots in this series were like that.  As you can see from the original, I didn’t actually have to remove anything in post (well, nothing related to my reflection that is).
  • The lines of the window frame line up nicely with the lines of the buildings in the distance.  But the more interesting lines to me, the ones that really give it depth, are the bricks.  They extend in the direction of the horizon and appear to be an extension of the ones in front of Laura.  That, combined with the angles of her jacket, drive your attention to the top of the frame and Laura’s face.

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March 25 2009 | Photography | 1 Comment »

Daily Photo – Anthony Medel Jump Serve (The AVP in Black and White)

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Here’s another shot in my series on professional beach volleyball.  I’m sorting them into four sets:  “The AVP in Black and White”, “The AVP at Night” and “The AVP in Color” (two sets for that last one).  Those can be found on my flickr account, although I may find a way to arrange them here on the blog at some point.

The shots themselves are from the 2007 and 2008 Dallas AVP tour stops, along with the 2007 Las Vegas AVP God and Goddess of the Beach tournament. I’m planning to attend and hopefully shoot at the 2009 Houston AVP tournament in mid-May.

This shot:  Anthony Medel jump serves in front of the AVP logo at the 2008 Dall AVP Tournament.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/2500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (at 140mm)

Composition and Processing

  • It took about 50 attempts to get this shot.  Why?  Because I wanted to line up the server so that the AVP logo (also a jump serve) could be seen juxtaposed in the background.  I would have preferred a different angle for the sun, but was happy just to get the shot.
  • I processed this to black and white, mostly because I couldn’t find a happy medium between the yellow ball logo and the color of Medel’s skin.  They always seemed to be in conflict with each other.  That’s not an argument for black and white (which is a crutch one shouldn’t rely on for dealing with problematic lighting), but it is a case for limiting how much time you spend on an image.  At a certain point you just have to ask: “is this photo strong enough to justify additional time, or should I move on to the 5000 other images awaiting my attention?”  At which point you pull out the toolbox of tricks you already know and do something simple.

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March 24 2009 | Photography and Volleyball | No Comments »