Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sometimes You Just Want to Have Fun

This image started out life as a photograph. We were on a road trip and on the way back from Tennessee. Now, Tennessee to Connecticut is a fairly straight shot, but we wound up driving through West Virginia. Sometimes we don't exactly travel the most direct route. The trips are more fun that way and avoiding the highways lets one get a glimpse of this great country. As we drove north on some byway (this was before the GPS attachment for the camera) we spotted an old gas station with an old car sitting out front. Had to stop, had to get a couple snaps of the joint. As you might guess, it was pretty dark under the canopy of the station. Look closely and you'll see one of my speedlites on top of the gas pump. It bounced enough light around to get a decent exposure.

The image is obviously "highly" processed. Things you can't see would be the removal of the tow bar at the front of the car, the replacement of the hand printed "out of order" signs on the pumps and a fellow walking into the scene from the left. Once all that was done, making it into the "cartoon" style was fairly easy. Corey Barker, over at Planet Photoshop has an excellent tutorial on how to do the cartoon effect. Check it out over there. The added title is a nod to West Virginia and the Sunday funny papers.
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Sometimes Things Fall in Your Lap

Occasionally you stumble on things that have the elements to make a good image. Sometimes you have to pay some money to be in a place to do the stumbling, but it's a stumble anyway. Such is the case of this shoot. We were at a festival called Schemitzun in eastern Connecticut a few years ago, wandering around taking in the activities and looking for shots. Native Americans gather to celebrate their rich and colorful heritage in full regalia.

We wandered into a large tent where different tribes would demonstrate their traditional dances. We took a couple of shots but, due to the cluttered background, there wasn't anything special. We started walking back out through the entrance tunnel and came across the fellow pictured here. After getting a little background (bad pun) information (he's from the Nez Pierce tribe) I asked if I could take his picture. He said "sure" and grabbed his young son. I'd guess he figured this wouldn't be a shot I'd be interested in. I bent down to "kid level" and snapped the shutter. Light was coming in through the entrance tunnel, the background was the canvas of the tent and the expression on the child's face was priceless.

We wandered around the grounds for another couple of hours (in 90+ degree heat) and were just about to leave when we came across the buffalo skull. It was part of one of the vendor's display. It looked interesting, so I shot it. Had no idea where I'd use it, but knew it could be a component of some shot.

Back at the gallery I knew I wanted to get rid of the blank canvas of the tent and put something symbolic in. The end result was to keep the canvas and layer in the skull. The skull was masked and the opacity lowered. The result was then masked again to reveal the man and his son.

If anyone recognizes this fellow, let me know. I'd like to offer him a copy of the image.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Making Friends Look More Like They'd Like

Some friends were out shooting last night and one took time out to sit for a single shot. It was just about dusk, so light was low. We were on the main thoroughfare through town, playing at a little hardscape park. There's a few benches, some apple tress in blossom, lights that look like they would have had been gas lit back in the 1800's. The lighting comes from a Nikon SB 600 shooting into a 30" x 40" softbox with a rig for the speedlite. Nikon's CLS was used to fire the speedlite. A gold reflector is camera left to fill in the shadow side of the face.

To increase the dramatic effect Photoshop was used to bring out details that might have been lost, such as the pants leg and the jacket sleeves. The upper right background was toned down to wrap the subject more closely. More picky adjustments were made to the face. Using the Liquify Tool in PS the face was thinned just a bit and the eyes pumped up one click using the bloat section of Liquify. Because of the character in the face's ruggedness very little was done to remove texture and lines.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pictures Tell Lies.

Every picture can be taken and can be "made". Here's an example of a picture that's been "made". "Just About Closing Time" started out as a picture taken at 12:48 in the afternoon. It was transformed into the night shot in Adobe Photoshop CS4. It's become a stylized image rather than a straight photography. This is the type of thing we'll be discussing at The Kayview Gallery. We'll talk about things done at the gallery and take a look at images that have been sent in to the gallery. Everyone is invited to take part in the experience. Welcome, this "train" is about to leave the station.

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