Photo of the Day

Today after work I did a little storm chasing. A nice little storm had just gone through our area, and I thought that I might be able to catch a lightening strike if I followed it a little east. I never did catch up with the storm. I did however end up in Buck Creek. They have a great little pizza place that I really enjoy. As I left with my pizza I realized that my picture was right in front of me. I put down the pizza and picked up the Canon. I didn’t get the picture that I set out to get, but I like the shot that I ended up getting.

Technical Data

This is a return to form for me. It has been a while since I set out to shoot for HDR purposes. I really did all of my adjustments in Photomatix. I didn’t think that I would use this anywhere else so I didn’t process this like I should have. I will save the processing for the really good shots.

Other News

Tomorrow is the Google+ Photowalk that I am holding on campus. We are meeting at the Neil Armstrong Statue at 11 in the morning. If you are near the area stop by. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is. Hope to see you there.

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Photo of the Day

When I came home tonight I noticed that one of the drawers in the living room had become very full during the day. I guessed who may have done this but you never know I guess. It was over 100 degrees outside today so I didn’t spend much time out there getting a picture. I kind of liked the challenge that this picture presented.

Technical Data

This picture gave me some trouble. The colors just never seemed to look right. Maybe it was the way that I captured them in the first place in the low light. I did have some fun with this in Lightroom though so any new information that I learned is well worth it.

The Meaning Behind the Title

A year ago today was a pretty good day for me. First of all I was in Chicago for a photography workshop that really opened my eyes to what I could do. I had kind of been doing the same thing over and over up until then, but I really have changed how I have shot since then. I was mainly a sports shooter, and now I rarely shoot sports. I have found that instead of waiting for a sporting event to shoot I can find something else close to me that I can access right away. The event was called Capturing True Emotion. It was put on by Val Westover and Stephanie Adriana. They put on these workshops all over the country so if you are not sure about anything on your camera, or even some basic shooting techniques I highly recommend it. Here is a link to there workshop portion of the website. What makes the workshop work so well is the fact that they spend the first half of it in a classroom teaching you about your camera. The second part then takes place outside using those techniques. They kind of take you around and use the environment to bring the lessons home. I really learned a lot that day, and this has become sort of a weird anniversary for me because of that. That is the day that started this ball rolling that led to the photo 365 project.

The Story Behind the Image

The main shot of this post was one that they are kind of known for. Val takes the camera of a participant, and asks everyone else to get theirs up close to get this paparazzi image. When I saw what was happening I placed myself near Val to get an image that I could use. I like how the shot looks. It captures the spirit of the day pretty well. This was taken at the end of the session when we were all trying things out. Many of the participants were asked to get their picture taken. I as a rule hate having mine taken so when I was picked because of the bright yellow shirt that I had one. So it kind of kills me to think that there are 50 pictures of me from that day. The informal session might have been the most informative of the day though as everyone was very relaxed.

Technical Data

Normally this section talks about the HDR process or how I have processed my shot in Lightroom or Photoshop. This was taken before any of that was even on my computer. It was taken with my old Canon Rebel with a 18-55mm lens on it. I like the simplicity of the shot along with the fact that nothing was done to it. I thought that since I now now a bit more on how to add other images to the post that I would add a couple more from the day below.

The Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier

I have always wanted to see one of Shakespeare’s works here at Navy Pier so I wanted a shot with part of the theater in it. This one took some time to compose as I wanted a boat moving through the frame. What a difference clouds would have made for this shot.

The Ferris wheel at Navy Pier

The next shot is the one that everyone wants at Navy Pier. As things stand now I could shoot this much closer with my wide angle lens, but back then I needed to be pretty far back. I like the image, but once again clouds would have made things much more interesting. Amazing how photography makes you wish for some clouds in the sky.

Juliet at Navy Pier

The final shot was an interesting one. We were tasked with taking a picture with the background out of focus. This was my first real shot trying to get bokeh in the background. I loved the composition, and apparently of lot of others did as a line had formed behind me as I was getting the shot. I like this one particularly because once again it has a part of the Shakespeare Theater in it. It also has one of the Navy Pier arches along with the iconic Ferris wheel.

The second reason that the day is special to me is that it was during a break at this workshop that I agreed to work at my present job. At that time it was only for one week, but obviously things have changed quite a bit. Hard to believe that a year ago things changed so dramatically for me. Both changes were welcome though, and directly led to this website forming.

Photo of the Day

Tonight I was yet again trying to think of a shot. It was 92 degrees so trekking a long distance after work did not seem like much fun. A cloudless sky was also a bit boring. We went out on the deck, and opened up a new toy to play with. It was a bottle of bubbles with a few implements to use with it. I don’t know who was more excited the three year old or myself. After watching (and playing) for a while I ran into the house. How could this not be my picture of the day? I was sitting on the ground trying to get some shots aiming up, but the dog kept licking me and getting in the way. I then moved up onto the deck box to put some distance between the dog and I. That ended up being a great decision as this picture would not have happened had I stayed on the ground. In the camera I was just trying to capture a bubble as it floated through the air. As I looked at the image on the LCD screen I was pleased to see the outline of the house. It wasn’t until post production that I noticed the colors on the bubble along with the house and a setting sun! Needless to say I was very pleased with my shot. If you have read this blog for very long you will know that liking a shot is not something that happens often.

Technical Data

This is another good example of how Lightroom has changed my photography a bit. I changed things up a bit and added a second photo today. I thought that I would show the picture as it came out of the camera. When you are capturing bubbles in the wind you have to be quick and crop later. I only had my kit lens (18-135mm) on anyway so getting close was not working. I liked how this popped when I saw it in Lightroom so I decided that out of the three pictures that I chose this one would be the one that I worked on. I hit the develop button and decided to see what I could do. I always relied on HDR to help make my images pop a bit. This one I thought I could get to do that without Photomatix. I increased the clarity a bit to mimic HDR a bit. I also lowered the exposure a bit. I raised the vibrance slider to give the colors on the bubble a bit more pop. Of course the biggest change as you can see was the crop. I actually did that first in order to see what my adjustments would look like on the final image. In all I think that I improved the image a bit.

Other News

One hundred days away from completing this challenge. I usually call it a project, but it really is a daunting challenge. Now that this site gets a good amount of views it makes it even more challenging to find something that people may think is interesting everyday. It is a challenge, but at the end of the day I think that it is making me better. Tomorrow morning I have a post scheduled that talks about a special anniversary for me. I have already written the piece so I can tell you right now that I like the pictures on it as well. That will be two posts in a row! What is going on here?

Photo of the Day

After another long day at work today I came home not knowing exactly what kind of photo I would take today. As I was pulling into the garage I noticed a couple of bees flying around the flowers out front. I realized that my opportunity for success was doubled by this fact. Little did I know that both of them would end up in this shot. Obviously the first bee in flying off of the flower in focus. The second bee is in the second flower that became the bokeh of the shot. This is not my most inspired work, but I am tired and not feeling very inspired today. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up with a beautiful scenic landscape ahead of me.

Technical Data

This is another shot that was just edited a bit in Lightroom. I still sometimes put the subject in the dead center of the frame. I do that more when I am rushed. For this shot it was a point and shoot, and the flower ended up dead center. My crop just made the flower more into what the rule of thirds police would accept. I also upped the clarity a bit as well as the contrast. The only other change seemed minor, but made a huge difference. I turned the yellow down a bit. The grass seemed too electric so I walked the fine line in turning that down as well as keeping the bee the yellow that we all expect. For a quick job today this is not too shabby.

Photo of the Day

Today was an action packed day. I had a long day at work followed by an action packed night. At this writing I am ready for bed for sure. This picture was taken at the local chain store on he way out. They have a horse named Sandy that you can ride for a penny. I knew that my options to get a photo in would be limited so I pulled out my iPhone to get this picture. It may not be the best of this project, but it was something that I would have missed early on.

Technical Data

As I said earlier this shot was taken with my iPhone. I tried a couple of apps to see what they did, but I liked the way that Camera+ treated my picture the best. Camera+ is probably the most used camera app on my phone. I adjusted the clarity a little in the app, and then cropped from a portrait to a landscape orientation. I would love to get out and shoot more beautiful landscapes, but time is not always on my side.

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Photo of the Day

Today I went out to the 40th Fiddler’s Gathering at the battleground when I got off of work. I knew that the festival was dying down but I thought that I could get a couple of good pictures. I saw some groups playing outside of the fenced in area, and decided to give them a try. I quickly made a friend who wanted to show me a little about the guitar. When I said that I used to play, but gave it up years ago he gave me all the reason that I need to start playing again. I asked if I could get some pictures of him playing, and he agreed. When I was pulled back he seemed a little nervous so I focused on the hands. When it was all said and done I had a shot I really liked. I included a shot of him playing below to give a little credit to this kind soul. I wish that I could have stayed longer, but I went home to relax a little. I will have to make it a point to go back next year as it seems to be a great event.
I think that days like this really help me as a photographer. I do not like my picture being taken so I assume that nobody likes it. Getting right in there photographing strangers is not that hard once you get started. I just have to get started. Today was a fun experience though.

Technical Data

Yet again not much was done to either picture. I stayed in Lightroom making exposure, contrast, and clarity adjustments. I kind of like the fact that I have pulled back from HDR a little. I ink that it was a crutch that I was using instead of trying to get better in camera. That said expect an all out in your face HDR tomorrow. That is usually how it goes.

Photo of the Day

Yesterday was a very busy day for a weekend day. I worked in the morning followed by a trip to Indy for a dinner at night. Took a couple of pictures with my iPhone at dinner but I wasn’t sure if they turned out in the low light. I wanted a shot that I knew would work as a safety. As it turns out I rather liked the safety and it became the photo of the day. This small observatory just down the road absolutely fascinates me. I have a shot in mind down the road, and this was a small test to see if it would work. With the cloudy sky you can’t see the stars here, but I ink that they would add to this shot.

Technical Data

The technical data section has been lacking a little lately. I just tweaked this a bit in Lightroom to get the light just where I wanted it. I love how the program helps me get the photo a bit closer to where I thought it should have been. As I learn more about it the praise will probably continue. I took three shots in order to put them together in an HDR image, but after playing with this one I didn’t feel that it was necessary. This is just a thirty second exposure with minor changes to the exposure and a little added clarity.

Photo Bonus

Last night I walked the Purdue campus at the blue hour to get some pictures. I liked my pictures from during the week, but the light was not right. I had a lot of good subjects, but the fountain with its light was the star I felt. I liked that the clock tower was in the background even if it was a bit overexposed. I realized that I have some great weather to get some sots of this beautiful campus. I should take advantage of my surroundings a bit more. From this picture sprang an idea for another clear night that I might try later. For now enjoy one of the main attractions of the Purdue campus.

Technical Data

This is a different kind of HDR shot. A couple of days ago I teased another trick that I learned from watching some videos by Matt Kloskowski. I sent my RAW files from Lightroom right into Photomatix and processed them like I normally would do. Instead of tonemapping though I saved the file, and took it back into Lightroom. From there I controlled how the image was processed. I liked the exercise and may try it again when I know Lightroom a bit better.

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