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» 2009 » May

Archive for May, 2009

Daily Photo – Zion in Light

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.

Zion poses in front of the setting sun.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/400
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Zion’s face isn’t nearly as narrow as it is in this shot.  A couple things are going on to create that illusion:  first, the downward tilted head and slightly open mouth are extending the chin away from the face, letting more of it appear in front of a further distant background instead of the face (the distant background being the neck, which is darker and, at f/1.4, out of focus).  Second, blowing out the background is thinning the edges of the face (even the ears and earrings are all but gone).
  • I expected to blow out the shirt when I took this shot, although I left myself some room in the exposure in case I changed my mind.  Nevertheless, my goal in using the white shirt was to create an interesting framing element:  instead of having the shoulders and upper body in the shot, I wanted just the neckline.  In addition to the asymmetrical shape (in contrast to the head), it creates a nice narrow line leading up to the face.

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May 21 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Erica, Roxy and Shari in Window

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.

Another promo shot for the KDH Dance Company in Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I expanded the windows both horizontally and vertically to change the relationship of the dancers to the space.  They no longer appear wedged into the frame and instead look like they’re delicately balancing in a much larger and higher structure.  As I’ve done in similar shots, I removed the walls.  By having the window frames run off the edge of the image it gives the illusion that the windows are much larger than they actually are.
  • I used PTLens to correct barrel distortion from the lens.  Any time I’ve got straight lines in the shot, even the slightest warping is going to be noticeable, particularly if they’re intended to be aligned with the edges of the image frame.  In this case I also needed them to be perfectly straight so I could use parts of them to extend the window frame higher and wider than the original.

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May 20 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Breeanna in Green

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.

Breeanna poses in front of some trees on the hike and bike trail in Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/1000
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The original’s dark, even for me.  There was a pretty strong breeze blowing, so I wanted to shoot at 1/500 or better (I erred on the high side just to be safe).  I certainly had a little room to move the ISO to 400, but I hate what even the smallest amount of noise does to hair (and I’ve yet to find a decent piece of software that cleans up noise in hair properly).  At lower ISO settings (200 or less), I prefer to shoot a little dark and boost it in software later (which will show some noise due to lack of detail in the shadows), rather than use the higher ISO.
  • The composition for this shot was based entirely on the background.  I spotted the dense foliage and dark colors while we were working on a different shot;  I figured if I shot it fairly wide, the distant background would go completely soft and abstract, almost like something painted.  Breeanna was carefully positioned so none of the branches would pass through her head — even this blurry they’d still be noticeable.
  • I processed Breenna’s skin a little warmer — more yellow — because of the green and yellow background tones in the image.  It’s an outdoor shot too, and based on what she’s wearing, it’s clearly not cold out.  In this instance, warmer tones suggest, literally, a warmer environment.

Original:

May 19 2009 | Photography | No Comments »