Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Exercise 3. Get Inspired

The photograph that inspires me the most in FP PandAOS (though they are all inspiring) is the shot on Page 18. Wow!! I have been trying to do that since I got the book, and have not been successful. Maybe I just haven't found the right subjects, but it sure looks easier than it is! It really has a wonderful impressionistic feel while being soudly grounded in "regular" photography.

Yesterday, I thought I had something, and I shot this, but it doesn't come close. Of course, as part of my bikeride, I only had my P&S with me. Maybe I'll go back tonight and try again with my SLR. Here it try 1 anyway. Suggestions?

Exercise 2, Part 2. My Backyard (Done Right)

Well I both hated and loved this exercise. I learned that I like taking pictures--even bad ones. It's just enjoyable time for me. I did get some more insights into seeing "minutia" while I'm there. But other than the joy of using F/1.8 to get a nice blur, I had trouble finding good shots in that area of my backyard (even though I am sure that was one of the better areas of my backyard for pics). Here's 10 of them (as you know, we changed the exercise to 10.

Exercise 2, Part 2. My Backyard

I went to do Exercise 2, Part 2. I took my steps into the backyard, and walked right into the fence. So I just took my 7 paces radius from the fence and used only half the circle.

But worse, when I got to this area, the first thing I noticed was this little frog.

He had all my attention, of course. In the time I had, I proceeded to take all the pics of him! But worse, after some shots with my 50mm lens, I knew I needed to seize the opportunity and get closer! So I grabbed my extension tube, and shot some more, and then started shooting stuff in site with the extension tube in place.

Thus, I failed the exercise. I will need to go back to my yard and redo the exercise!

I did however, in FP style did try to "see" the frog differently, experimenting with different angles and DOFs. And my experience also reinforced something important about working with insects and animals (second time). Take your time, and don't immediately jump in and start taking closeups, talk to them softly (animals anyway), approach slowly and low (but block there escape path if you can). This guy stayed with me for a while and I was able to try lots of things even if they were a bit outside the rules of the experiment.

Exercise 2. Parts 1 and 2 Described.

Exercise 2.

Part 1: Have someone (other than yourself) choose three seemingly unrelated items/objects for you to photograph together. Don't expect masterpieces, expect a struggle. Minimum requirement: 20 pictures.

Part 2: Pick up your camera, a 35-50mm lens, and your tripod, and go to the front (or back) door of your home. Take 19 steps. Mark the spot. Take seven more steps from that point. The seven steps from your original 19 mark the radius of a circle, in which you should shoot at least 20 images. You should feel desperation during the exercise. You will only start to make visual break throughs when you have run out of the obvious picture possibilities.

Breaking Rule #2 (redo). Keep the center of interest in sharp focus

I was out today on my bike ride and I decided to try to break this rule again. We have all found this one difficult. I decided to try something EXTREME. I wanted to take advantage of the rich summer colors here and to use that as the center of interest of my photo, thus eliminating the need to keep ANYTHING in focus! I was'nt too sure how it would come out, and it was with my little S1 rather than my SLR (which I don't take on bike rides).

Please let me know what you think of these. I like them, but I know most people HATE out of focus pictures! These are straight from the camera, except for a simple resize to 800x600:

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Breaking Rule #7. Make sure you are standing still, in a firm tripod like stance when shooting! and Rule #6. Always look through the viewfinder,

I have been experimenting with shooting from my bike. This actually breaks an additional rule (#9) since I am not only moving while shooting this, I am not looking through the viewfinder or at the LCD (otherwise, I could CRASH!):

Breaking Rule #5. Keep the camera level (watch those horizons)

I held this one back as it was part of a series I have been considering for "time capsule" (but I didn't enter). I have really enjoyed tilting the camera, and I now see that there's some good uses for this technique! So I plan to add it to my bag of tricks.

(Note: this is just a quick convert from RAW with a crop--sorry, I didn't spend any time processing this example)

Breaking Rule #4: Use the rule of thirds in composition

I break this rule whenever I see fit--but lately, I've been more conservative.

Of course, it's pretty easy to find a subject where breaking the rule is natural for centering:

(Shot taken this past weekend at the NYS Museum).

But it's harder in some cases to decide when you have sufficient justfication to ignore the rule. I just go by whether or not the scene appears balanced and well composed, e.g., there are other rules of composition in play, like fill the frame, geometric balance, etc.

(This shot is from "Frog and Toad", a play by the Young Actors Guild I went to this past weekend.)