Archive for March, 2012

Before and After — KDH Dance Company

The Before and After 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.

An older shot from a 2010 KDH Dance Company rehearsal.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • With both knees bent curled in this way, all lines lead to the dancer’s head.  Really, everything looks wound up around the center, and all those limbs conveniently lead outward to the corners too.  The image probably would have been better without the mirrored reflection, which is a little distracting and pulls to the right.  I centered the subject anyway and operated on the assumption the viewer would separate the reflection in their head and in a sense not consider it part of the shot.  But it would have been better without it.
  • I left the very faint bar in the mirror showing at the top to balance out the overall darker bottom of the image.  While the subject is well grounded here and white space above would have been acceptable, it felt too empty at the top and heavy at the bottom without it.

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March 31 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Fixing A Total Loss

The Before and After 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.

Stephanie poses in an accidentally over-exposed photo.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 640
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I’m usually pretty good at just guessing the exposure settings I need for a shot, but every now and then I go ridiculously wide of the mark.  I kind of liked the pose in this photo though, so I thought it would be worth seeing how far I could take it in post.
  • Once I’d brought the exposure down as far as I could in Lightroom, I had to acknowledge there was information missing from parts of the arms and face that simply wasn’t there.  The key then was to make sure the stuff that was in range was actually pushed up further relative to the blown out spots so they’d look less blown out by comparison.
  • I sometimes like this sort of crop with lots of negative space, but it has a secondary purpose here.  As above, having a lot of the image blown out to white de-emphasizes the blown out skin areas, making them tolerable.

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March 30 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After – Tyra at Rest

The Before and After 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.

Tyra Turner waits to serve at the 2009 Houston AVP tournament.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/2000
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I like the grit in this shot, further enhanced by the somewhat contrasty bleach bypass filter in Nik Color Efx.  Turner may be calm and patient in this photo, but she’s clearly been playing hard:  you’ve got sweat and sand everywhere, the sponsor tattoo is smudged, and even the kinesio tape suggests injury or some other wear and tear.
  • Profile serve shots are great at f/2.0.  A lot of other actions on the court you risk losing part of the player out of focus.  That’s sometimes ok, but can be a bit weird if they’re moving (since the movement doesn’t visually match with the nature of the softness in the image).  But a profile shot of the serve, even if in motion, is always directly parallel to the camera.  At the distance you need to shoot with this lens, that keeps the subject in focus while really isolating them from the background.

March 29 2012 | Photography | No Comments »