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» 2009 » April

Archive for April, 2009

Daily Photo – Leslie at the Wall

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.

Leslie adjusts her shirt in the late afternoon light.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I don’t have a particular preference for the type processing in this shot.  It’s more about the use of negative space than anything else.  But I found it interesting how the blank area transitions from “wall” to “empty space” as you go from the color to the high contrast black and white version (it’s particularly hard to see a surface in the black and white one, except immediately around Leslie).
  • The subject here is a small part of the frame, making the shot mostly about the relationship of the subject to the space.  By cropping out the legs, the brain fills in the gaps not just for how much further Leslie extends below the bottom, but by association how much further the wall extends in all directions.  We end up imagining the wall is much larger than the segment we see here, creating the illusion of size without having to show it literally.

Color:

Bleach Bypass:

Black and White:

Original:

April 30 2009 | Photography | 1 Comment »

Daily Photo – The AVP in Black and White (Casey Jennings Pass)

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.

Casey Jennings passes the ball at the 2008 Dallas AVP Tournament, part of my series on professional beach volleyball.  The rest of the series, so far, can be found on my flickr account.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/5000
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  100
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Last year I started experimenting with super shallow depth-of-field for sports.  Shooting wide open isn’t exactly uncommon in sports photos, where a premium is placed on capturing the action.  But most sports are shot with fast zooms and telephotos, most of which cap out at f/2.8.  So I tried using shorter focal length primes at f/2 or wider.  The results have been mixed:  when cropped in close or when the subject is moving parallel to the lens, you get great separation from the rest of the scene;  in other conditions there’s an odd miniaturization effect not unlike what you see with a tilt shift lens.
  • I’m ok with not seeing Jenning’s face in this shot.  We’ve got Fuerbringer’s face, and even if he’s out of focus it makes more sense since he’s on the receiving end of this action.  His posture should be open and facing the ball, and by extension, facing us.  With Jenning’s back to us, facing the same we are (as the viewer), he’s drawing us into the scene as if we were the one’s passing the ball.  And since he’s the one in focus, it’s where our eye is drawn to first (the fact the ball is there too also helps).
  • This shot could have worked the other way around, with Fuerbringer in focus instead.  Rather than being about the pass, it would have been more broadly about court movement:  i.e. the relative position of Fuerbringer as he moves past the comparatively static Jennings.

Original:

April 29 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Sarah in Hat

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.

Sarah poses for a head shot.

Exposure

  • Shutter: 1/250
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
  • Lighting:  3 Zeus heads, one a a large softbox low camera right;  another in a beauty dish high camera right;  last one in a strip box camera left.

Composition and Processing

  • The hat was too tall in this shot, so while I planned to crop closer anyway, I ended up going in very tight to minimize the impact.
  • Little things can make a pretty big impact on how the face looks.  Compare this shot to the earlier one I took of Sarah, where her face is rounder and softer.  Adding the hat and bringing the hair in tighter to the face created much more angular lines and a harder look.  Both shots have a certain intensity in the eyes, but the emotions conveyed are completely different.
  • A minor aside about Canon’s 50mm L lens:  it definitely has a back focus problem.   This shot’s at f/5.6, but if you look closely the brim of the hat is soft.  I’m doubtful this was user error, given that all my studio shots of Sarah had this problem.  There’s a well documented history of back focus problems with this particular lens, so I’m not entirely surprised.  I’m just disappointed that it’s still an issue given how long this lens has been around and the absence of this problem on so many other L lenses.

Original:

April 28 2009 | Photography | 5 Comments »