Photo Project 365

This is a photo blog focused on but not limited to study of composition and tonal relations in photographs.

It is a continuation my Project 365 from 2010 a moderately successful attempt to make and publish one photography each day for one year.

The Project lost it's steam somewhere half along the way and this place became a depository of my more satisfying photos.

Click photos to enlarge.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

D 6


Od Dark Light Back

Od Dark Light Back

It's birthday party time. My niece had her first birthday anniversary and it wouldn't be fair of me not to honor it here.
Happy birthday Weronika!

Equipment

Olympus E-510 with Helios 44-4, no flash. Light in the restaurant was nice, soft and coming from at least dozen light bulbs in a few chandeliers. It wasn't very bright so I stayed around f 1:2,8 and at ISO 800.

What I learned

Even with a bright lens wide open and high ISO it still leaves me with exposures of 1/30 sec to 1/60 sec. A bit too long for a party with kids. I also did some shots with my in-law's Nikkon with external lamp pointed 90deg. up and this is what gets the photos nice.
Helios lens is fast and sharp but manages very poorly agains a light source, which was an issue in a room with low chandaliers. Some photos are useless due to a loss of contrast. My next lens must deal with this situation better.
Extremely shallow DOF can counter the flattening effect of longer focal lengths as the second photo shows. The girl was held on the man's arms but he looks quite distanced.

D 5


Od Dark Light Back


Od Dark Light Back

I must admit that I am stunned by the quality and color of light im my girlfiend's parents' living room. Whether in daylight coming through the curtain covered windows or the nightlights it always feels like in a wooden hut lit by a fireplace or in painter's studio. I am trying to make the best use of it every time I'm there (or rather "here").

Equipment

Olympus E-510 with ZD1442 lens. This room has it all - main light from the window on the right, warm fill light from the shiny wallpaper from behind (in the picture on the sofa) and from the left.

What I learned

The same effect can be achieved in wood covered rooms with small window(s) on one wall. Probably it is the curtains that are responsible for making this well lit room so intimate and soft as opposed to most others where I took photos.

Unable to upload

Sorry!

It was a busy day and I just came to the computer but I recalled that the camera battery stayed in the room where my son is sleeping. I will not risk waking him up to put a photo on this blog.

So for now take my word for it - I did some photos today and I will put load them up tomorrow.

But to fill the post with something here goes one of the photos I grew to like after editing it in Picasa.

Od JesieĊ„ 2009

It was crooked and unfocused but with some histogram and white balance changes it really came up nice.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

D 4


Od Dark Light Back

Just a candid shot from early Christmas Eve party with my family. It caught my eye because it just looks kinda like a Nativity painting.
The accidental but dramatic poses of my grandmother pointing her finger and my father, leaning back like in Leonardo's "Pieta", together with my sister holding the baby keep making me smile as a mock reference to classical paintings.
At the party I was experimenting with a DIY business card diffuser/deflector for pop up flash to document this short family meeting.

Equipment

E-510 with ZD1442 and a card stuck in front of pop up flash. I saw this idea on the web and I got to like it for it's simplicity.

What I learned

Small rooms and cluttered walls make for a poor photo backgrounds. I guess that thinking ahead what will happen next and where to be with a camera to catch a good photo is one thing and trying to talk people into helping you in this would help a lot. The photographer and his camera are and should be a part of the photographed scene, so it is more than okay to ask everyone to stand or face those directions which will help you get nice photos.
The card party bouncer for pop up works fine as long as I keep the camera in landscape position. When I turn it over for a portrait orientation the light does not look much like an external flash pointed sideways at the wall. It makes ugly shadows on the background just like pop up flash without it.
As to the presented photograph itself I think that I would do much better if I shortened exposure time by at least half. This should leave the people well lit and put the background in a deeper shadow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

D 3


Od Dark Light Back


Now you may ask: 'So what am I looking at?'. It is the same X-mas tree as before and the same golden hue done with split toning. But this is actually the result of my attempt to make a portrait in connection to the Empress tarot card.
I admit. It is not really near the intended look and it is technically inferior.

Equipment

I was fighting to change my living room into a makeshift studio and to change the lamps I had to studio lights. It was my first try to do so and I think the last for a while. E-510 on tripod a with ZD1442 lens set to a standard focal length (around 50mm after taking 2x crop into account). Light was delivered by halogen lamps with DIY refractors and aluminum tape mirror to direct it onto the scene. My beloved model was a bit tired at the end of the day, refused to put on anything more bothersome than this bathrobe and told me that I had 3 minutes to make my photos.

What I learned

I don't know anything about studio lights. There is a lot to be learned about it. How to make a curtain light on the background and get rid of that ugly shadow of the tree?
I also need to get at least one external flash and a studio screen for the background (although I would love to see some interesting texture behind a model).
But most of all, I absolutely need to have a cooperation from the model instead of just a consent (or even less as today). I'm not really counting on enthusiasm every time but if I plan for a shooting session and the model - a model - seems not in the mood, I'd better change lens and make some fun macro photos.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

D 2


Od Dark Light Back

This year I have a real problem with X-mas trees. I already decorated two this week and I frankly wasn't satisfied with none. So this is my shoot at tweaking the reality into something more up to holiday dream.

Equipment

All made again with E-510 with Helios 44-4 on (sorry for my mistake - already fixed - about lens used in last post). Oly isn't exactly the most pleasing with high ISO but the two smallest photos were made with ISO 1600. RAW files edited in Lightroom and than brought together in Gimp.

What I learned

I found that Lightroom can really get the ugliness away from heavily noised photo when I convert to monochrome and then give it a high contrast. The photos get to look dirty but quite to my tastes.
The Split Toning was something I barely used until very recently. This time it worked for me whether I changed monochrome or color (but quite desaturated) photo.

Monday, December 21, 2009

D 1

Od Dark Light Back

This is the view outside my window at 7:45 a.m. First sunlight barely illuminating the smoke from a central heating plant. This was a lucky day. Winds usually push this smoke completely sideways and today it was heading right for me.

Equipment
 
Taken with Helios 44-4 - a good old Russian 58mm lens - on my Olympus E-510. That was 126mm with 4/3 System crop factor of 2x. And the quality suffered from taking it hand-held.

What I learned?

In less than perfect light conditions even supporting that fast lens is not enough to get a sharp photo even with higher ISO and Shake Reduction.

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