Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Myth About Depth of Field

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Have you ever spoken to a fellow shooter about Depth of Field (DoF)?  Have you ever been told you must have expensive, "fast glass" (a lens with a large maximum aperture - like F2.8 or F1.4) to get shallow DoF?  Well, it all depends on what you're shooting and what your subject is.  If you were to shoot someone's portrait using almost any lens and had enough empty space between the subject and the background you could shoot closed down to the minimum aperture (F 16 or F22) and get an acceptably out of focus background.  (It might have to be miles away and your subject at the minimum focusing distance of the lens, but you could do it.)  Take a look at today's image.  Before reading on, take a shot (guess) at what aperture might have been used.  Once you've made up your mind, hit the "Read More".
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More On Easy Ways To Get Better Images

The subject of today's image was at the same Renaissance Faire as the person in my last post.  If you check them both out there's something you may notice that makes them similar.  There's not a whole lot to look at other than the subject.  That's today's key to getting better "starting points" to having a successful image.  There's a fairly prolific photographer/writer out in the wild by the name of Rick Sammon.  I've seen him speak a couple times and have come to the conclusion that Rick's biggest fan is --- Rick.  There is, however, one phrase he uses that goes along with the way I've shot most of my career.  His saying is "the name of the game is fill the frame".  He's not the first guy (or the last) to espouse that philosophy.  There's a guy out on YouTube who goes by the handle Fro Knows Foto.  According to him, he doesn't crop.  Says he shoots the frame he wants in the camera.  Cropping is apparently against some bizarre cult rule he's set up for himself.  My guess would be that he must not frame and hang a whole lot of prints.  It almost impossible to find frames that fit the standard format of a camera's sensor.  Today's image is 100% of what the camera saw when I clicked the shutter.  To find out way that's both a good thing and a bad thing, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, June 22, 2015

An Easy Way To Get Better Images.

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There's an old axiom on how to get better pictures.  It's "stand in front of more interesting things".  You've got to admit, today's subject is "interesting".  We were at a small, local Renaissance Faire on Saturday with some friends.  Places like a Ren Faire or Pirates Den or Indian Powwow  or Steam Punk Festival are always great stops for getting "character" shots.  Just stand there and let the parade waltz on by.  We had all manner of people walking past.  A guy with big under turned bull horns.  A woman with a cross between medieval and steam punk as a costume.  A woman with the top of her back fully tattooed.  When she turned around she was a very pretty woman (not the woman in today's image).  A fellow with a large bulbous head he had "painted" (I'm sure it was some sort of theatrical makeup) white and then scribed it with veins.  Again, an interesting character.  A couple in full medieval dress renewing their wedding vows.  Priests, orks, fairies, warriors, princes, and kings (lots of kings - might be an ego thing).  There were somewhere between twenty and fifty characters I'd like to bring back to the studio and do some real portraits.  But, on the right day you can get some reasonable faces to work with.  To find the "trick" of getting better shots, hit the "Read More".
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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mixing Media In Photoshop


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In the art world "mixed media" typically means two or more different (usually wildly different) sorts of "stuff" is used.  An example might be oil paint and yarn (I've actually seen that one.)  I was playing around yesterday and sort of came up with an Adobe Photoshop (PS) version of what mixed media might look like.  Today's image is what resulted.  I was just messing with the image, not intending to do anything with it or probably not even saving the final result.  Once I was done playing I kind of liked what I saw and committed it to memory (the hard disk sort of memory).  Somewhere in the middle of playing I decided I didn't like what the sky started looking like, so I switched it out.  I tend to do that type of thing on more occasions than you might think.  There's just something about an unnatural sky that bugs me.  So, if I'm experimenting with HDR or a plugin like in today's image I'll drop out the sky and replace it with some version of the original.  To get to today's image was about twenty minutes.  If I were to redo it (for a video post) I could probably cut that down to about five minutes.  (I know, basically, what I did and can probably replicate it fairly easily.)  It'll undoubtedly take me longer to write about it than to do it.  If you'd like to find out what I did, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, June 1, 2015

Don't Be Afraid Of The Blinkies

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Today's image is another shot from the little tour we did of the New York Botanical Gardens the last week.  Every photographer should pay attention to their highlights when shooting.  I say "pay attention" because, just like instructions from a GPS, it's only a suggestion.  A lot of people ask me, when we're on a photo walk I'm leading, about shooting modes.  Should I shoot in Aperture Preferred, Shutter Preferred, Program, Auto or one of the "scene" modes a camera might have.  My thought or counsel is that it really doesn't matter as long as the person is making the decisions.  A friend told me, on one of the walks, that she's only shot in Manual for the past couple of years.  It's not like her camera consists of a shoebox with a digital back attached.  She uses top of the line Canon equipment.  I asked her why she'd pay for an expense "computer" (modern cameras are single purpose computers to which you can attach lenses) and use it as though it was an abacus.  To get my take on using a camera and my thoughts on exposure, hit the "Read More".
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Friday, May 29, 2015

Using A Luminosity Blend Mode in Photoshop

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I've been posting about Luminosity Masks quite a bit lately. If you were to flip back through the last half dozen (or so) posts you'd find I've been harping on them.  Today's image goes about it from a different angle.  We were invited to attend a horse jumping show just over the state line in New York this past weekend.  I thought today's image was kind of interesting because it shows the horse with all four feet off the ground.  Years ago there was a ground breaking, very early movie showing a horse in full stride.  For the first time (when the movie was slowed down) it proved that a horse's hoofs were indeed all off the ground at the same time.  It's a fairly famous clip and a Google search should bring it up quickly.  Just thought it was interesting.  To find out about using a Luminosity Blend mode in Adobe Photoshop (PS), hit the "Read More".

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Monday, May 25, 2015

How To Bite The Hand That Feeds You

This is a blog about photography, Adobe Photoshop (PS) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  And a place to rant every once in a while.  Occasionally I mention that I'm retired from (what I like to tell people when/if they ask) "a little west coast startup called Intel".  (Well, it was at one point.  1969 to be specific.)  One of my general interests has always been the history of the microprocessor and the computer.  I was flipping around the smart TV the other day and found a content supplier I'd never heard of before.  (I say "content provider" because it was closer to Hulu or Netflix than ABC or NBC.)  It had a documentary about Apple Computer from the beginning to the iPad.  The date of the show was about 2009.  They interviewed a cadre of folks who were "there" through the good times and the bad.  One of the people used extensively was Guy Kawasaki.  An Apple evangelist back in the day and cofounder of Alltop.com.  You may be reading this blog through Alltop.  Don't get me wrong, I love Apple, all their computers and devices, but their fanboys (and Kawasaki was the chief fanboy) do get history a little skewed from time to time.  At one point Kawasaki was talking about Apple "firsts".  He had a pretty good list going and I agreed with most.  The one that pulled me up short was saying Apple popularized the USB port.  Ya wanna know the "real story"?  Hit the "Read More"
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