Surrounded by Purple


Surrounded by Purple

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/29
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100

I know in the past I have said that in order to get a black background I have used LR and turned the exposure all the way down for the areas I wanted to be black, but for this shot I used a different approach. I used a flash. I made sure that the camera wasn’t picking up any ambient light from the background and also made sure to position the flower where no other objects would show up. The only thing I ‘edited’ out was the stem of the flower, otherwise the rest was from the use of the flash.

Inspiration with Water


A photo of a flower can be great when shot under the right light and composition. But add some water and you add another element to the photo, one that can create an even better scene. I think it is the drops of water than can bring the photo to life more than it was than just having something wet, but a lot of water might work as well as long as you have a vision you are trying to achieve.

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I didn’t get any shots of this flower from a christmas cactus without any water, but I did get many different shots with water drops. While shooting I decided to press the shutter as I was spraying the water on the flower to see what I could catch and here’s what I came up with.

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As you can see now there are not only water droplets on the flower itself, but also caught in mid-air around the flower both behind and in front of the focus point. Below I have included a gallery of some shots of a flower with and without water in different compositions so you can see the difference it can make. I like the shots without the water but I think the water does bring another element to the photo to make it look more interesting. What do you think? I also think this flower makes a nice photo in B&W. Will probably post one next week.

Monochrome Madness – Drop of Life


Drop of Life

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/20
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100

Whenever I find that I have a little bit of free time and some inspiration along with something to work with, I can’t help but work with my flash and camera to come up with something creative. I have found that a lot of photos I’ve been taking lately have been right in my dining room or kitchen. For this photo I used a water dropper to place a drop of water in order to give this photo something else to help it along. For other great monochrome photos don’t forget to visit Leanne Cole’s blog for Monochrome Madness this week!

Sitting on Ice


Sitting on Ice

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/16
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100

While out trying to get some winter shots as winter was pretty much gone, I came across a piece of ice that worked perfectly for an idea that I had. I decided to get out my flash and experiment with some acorns on the ice. My initial shots I took I didn’t have the acorns wet but I accidentally dropped one in the water and decided that look was better as the wet acorns worked better with the ice. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Overlapping


Overlapping

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/18
Shutter Speed: 1/6
ISO: 100

I know I missed last Thursday’s post but it was a busy week so was unable to prepare one. But this week I have another low key photo for you. Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

I would also like to say that winter has ended in my area which to me is a disappointment because it is my favorite season to photograph. There were some nice ice formations I wish I could have made it to but could not find the time. Now I just hope that next year will bring more and hopefully I’ll have some time. But in the mean time I’ll be working on my low key photography with more plants and flowers.

Layered


Layered

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/8
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 320

Keeping up to my low key photos on Thursdays I bring you this photo of some fungus. Fungus always brings us interesting details and I always love to photograph it.

We are now at day 4 of the Black-and-White 5 days photo challenge. Today I would like to invite Sarah over at Taking One Day At A Time. Sarah always produces great photos and I would like to see a few more B&W ones from her. I look forward to what you can show us Sarah!

The rules for the Black-and-White 5 days photo challenge are:
(1) Publish a black and white photo every day for 5 days
(2) Invite someone to participate each day

Decay


Decay

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/18
Shutter Speed: 1/6
ISO: 100

I should just start calling my Thursday posts Low Key Thursday. I wish I could but am running low on low key photos. I may have enough to last until spring when I can get more though so we’ll see how long I can hang out. Anyways, I thought this flower was interesting as the stamen looked a bit odd compared to the other flowers that were doing much better. I’m not sure if it was normal as the flower began to decay and die but think it helped with making an interesting photo. I really like this one and can’t really place why but it just draws me in. Possibly the crispness of the red flower or the mixture of yellow in with the red and purple? I’m not really sure but those me be parts of it I also think the blackness really helps too.

After the Rain


After the Rain

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/8
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 400

Decided to finish out the week with a low key photo. I love the amount of detail that I got out of this shot. I always like going out to photograph after it rains but don’t get the opportunity to do that too often.

Some of you may have noticed that the past couple of weeks I’ve just been posting 4 times a week: Monday – Thursday. The reason for this is because I’ve noticed that my Friday posts weren’t getting a lot of attention compared to the posts through the rest of the week. Because of this I decided to just to leave out the Friday posts for now and it does save me a little time taking off that day. Hope you all have a great weekend and see you on Monday!

External Flash with Landscape Subjects


I will be planning a post in the future with using an external flash for landscape photography once I am able to build up my photos for that. But for now I’d like to talk about using an external flash, or off camera flash, for taking photos of landscape subjects. Most landscape photographers that I know don’t have an external flash and rarely ever, or possibly never use their on camera flash. Why is that? Because landscape photos are mostly taken with natural light. The reason why a flash isn’t as useful in most cases is because the subjects are too far away for a flash to even be beneficial. But what about the close subjects or when doing macro shooting? That’s when a flash can be beneficial.

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I decided that before I go out and start using my flash in my landscape shots that I need to do some practicing to get a feel for how it works. So far in testing I have determined that I don’t really care for TTL so much which is basically a smart auto mode for those that don’t know. The flash will “talk” with the camera so the flash will know what power it needs to be at in order to get an accurate exposure. TTL stands for Talk Through the Lens which is basically taking all settings into account such as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO in order to determine what it needs to do. This is fine for most people but I want some mood in my photos to give them more of an artistic approach. The Above photo was taken with an orange color filter to try to get more of a sunset look to it. I do like the coloring but don’t think it looks quite like a sunset was happening.

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Now lets take away the color and look at this photo in B&W. A benefit to using a flash isn’t just being able to evenly illuminate a subject. As you can see the way I had the flash positioned it allowed me to create more of an artistic type photo without much effort. For this photo I was working in my dining room on the table and there were some relatively bright lights on right above my work area. But they did not interfere with my photo. I also used my macro lens to take the photo so I was able to get up close. I think by using a flash when out in the field it may help me to get the types of photos I’m looking for without needing to wait for the right lighting. This can be a huge help. I’ll still use a tripod because I love that for fine focusing, but for the lighting, I can now get virtually any look I want by just changing the power of the flash or re-position it. When it comes down to it, light is light.

But before you decide to just go out and buy a flash, you need to think if it could really benefit your work. While some of them are fairly cheap, the on I got is the Nikon Speedlight SB-700 and that set me back about $330. But I am trying to sell a lens I am no longer use to recoup the costs plus I’m also going to use this for a bit of portrait photography of my kids. So if it is worth the price to you, and you have the patience to learn how to use another piece of photography gear, then I then I think it may be well worth it.

Winter Harvest


Winter Harvest

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Focal Length: 20mm
Aperture: f/5
Shutter Speed: 1/40
ISO: 100

I have to say that I love this 20mm f/1.8 lens! I can get very close to the subject with it and it’s very sharp. Although WordPress does take away some of the sharpness which is a shame. At least on Flickr it looks better. I’m hoping to be able to get some winter shots next month. I’ll have two weeks off work that I hope to be able to get a few days to go out shooting.

Low Key in Landscape/Nature Photography


When thinking about Landscape Photography we think about an entire scene that is in nearly perfect exposure. When thinking about Nature Photography we think about the elements within a landscape scene that are in nearly perfect exposure. Now what if Week 3we pushed those boundaries and took something that is mostly used in portrait photography and apply those to landscape and nature photography. This is where we can start to create more photographic art and give a scene more mood for these types of photos. Low key photography is defined as having most of your scene within the shadows or dark areas on the histogram. Think of it as looking at the histogram, it will peak at the left and then gradually slope down as you move to the right, or the higher points in the histogram will be on the left side. This will create a photo where the majority of the frame is dark while a small portion is brighter.

What exactly can this do to create a better photo? I believe that by darkening the parts of the frame thatDSC_2183-2 are more distracting, this leaves the eyes to be drawn to the portion of the frame that you want to showcase. While photos like this may not do well in a normal photographic setting where they care more about proper exposure overall, in my opinion they do draw more attention and tend to make it up on the walls more often rather than just sitting in the archives on a computer or file cabinet. This is where landscape/nature photography can become more fine art photography. By doing this, it allows us to take something in its normal setting and apply creativity in a way to make it stand out where it would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

RestingWhen doing low key photography of any type, the most important thing to think about is how the light is hitting the subject. By creating shadows it helps create a more creative photo. It is when the subject is only partially lit that it can help you create more mood in the photo. I have only recently dipped into low key photography but have seen the benefits it gives. I’m hoping to continue learning more and will think more about how I take my shots in order to create more of a low key effect by how the light is positioned. We all know that light is one of the most important things in photography. It’s how you position that light that can help create the art you have in mind.

 

Resting


Resting

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 320

This was an interesting moth (Large Tolype) that I couldn’t pass up. There were three of them just sitting on a tarp. It had been raining all day and they didn’t move. I’m glad that they were kind enough to allow me to stick my macro lens in their faces while I shot away.

The Skeleton


Skeleton

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 320

As summer turns to autumn and autumn to winter, the leaves slowly change colors from green to a beautiful array of yellows, oranges, and reds to brown then slowly start to decay. We don’t think about a leaf having a skeleton but after seeing this one I would say that they do.

A New Beginning


A New Beginning

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Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/8
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 400

Trying to get this photo to look the way it does was very difficult. Usually to get this look I would need to export it out to Nik’s Silver Efex Pro but lately I’ve been learning how to work with LR’s Tone Curve sliders in order to get a higher contrast photo. In order to get the leaf to stand out more I ended up dropping the exposure in the background by quite a bit. In the original photo the background wasn’t much darker than the leaf itself. For those that are interested this is a leaf from a grape vine.

 

Side note: It seems like the prologue I posted yesterday for my story took a nice start. In a way the title to this post also applies to my blog a little as it is also a new beginning for for my blog. I’ve restructured the menu to make it easier to find things if you are looking for something specific. I’ve been wanting to go through and tidy up the Categories for all of my photos but have yet to do so. It’s more or less on my list of “things to do” that I’m not sure when I’ll get around to doing it. I’ve also decided that since I’m going to try and keep up with the story that I might as well update the title of my blog as well to allow it to expand past the photography. Just need to think of a name now. Wish I could change the URL but oh well. I don’t really like the idea of creating a new blog and porting things over either. I’ll just live with it I guess.

I’m trying to become more structured in my schedule where I can hopefully find time to process and post photos on a more regular basis. I’ve finally figured out a working schedule that I think I can make work without feeling too tired all the time. Because of that I think I can get back to doing more of what I like outside of work instead of thinking about wanting to sleep most of the time. For now, if I can keep up, I plan on posting the story one chapter at a time on the first Monday of each month. So the first chapter is scheduled for Monday, February 2nd. It’s taking all I have to not post it now but I have to pace myself so too much time doesn’t lapse between postings. I’m hoping to be able to keep up with it and then hopefully that will force me to finally finish it. Something that has always been at the back of my mind the past few years. If I am able to write enough to post every other week then I’ll transition over to that. Thanks to everyone who supports me in my photographic journey and now in my writing journey!