David's Photo52 2011: Index Post 1: Weeks 44 to 46 belatedly added

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#41
Hiya David,

Wow that was quick, and well done that is spot on now (bar the sticker), but amazing how you have got it such to make it look like the hammer is having a major impact.

You should be well pleased with this image (maybe you could try clone out the sticker rather than doing another re-shoot).

Cheers

Dawn :)
 

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#43
Hiya David,

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!! :clap::clap::clap:

I can now rest knowing the sticker is gone :D, and wow what a good job you did at removing it too.

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#44
Hi David,
I just saw your first image of hard and thought Wow. Now having scrolled down and seen this one following the comments about the sparkler positioning and the sticker, I am in awe.
Wonderful creativity and perfectly executed too.(y)

Martin
 
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#45
:cool:

Absolutly Fantastic, great creativity, lighting and composition. Would be well proud of this pic.
 
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#47
Thanks for all the comments, I was really pleased with my Week 5 shot.

And now from the sublime to the ridiculous....
 
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#48
Cellary


Untitled by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A set up shot of my Week 5 shot.
Why:
Last week's shot was one of the best I have ever taken, but behind the simplicity of the image there was carnage as I drilled, hammered and sawed to set up the shot. I wanted to capture the chaos that went on behind the shot.
How:
The intention was to repeat the shoot but triggering my lighting set up and seeing the result on the live view screen of my camera. I couldn't get the flashes to trigger and the image on the LCD screen lacked any contrast or sense that it was the shot that had just been taken. So I turned on the lights, and then photoshopped last week's picture onto the screen.
Learnt:
It gave me the chance to play with layers and import an image into a cut out frame (here the LCD screen). I was already late submitting this week, so it was a case of damage limitation and getting a rough mock up done.
Improvement:
Where to start. As much as I felt I had achieved with last week's shot, I am disappointed in this.
Triggers. I need to get a much better handle on wireless triggering my flashes. I resorted to using them in slave mode with the pop up on my camera and that gave a horrible effect. In the end I didn't trigger the flashes at all and used the ambient light which is not good here.
Photoshop. At this resolution my failings are not apparent but I basically had to bodge a fix for the fact that having imported last week's shot into the LCD screen that I had deleted in the CS3 layer, I ended up with a horrible fringing effect. Judicious use of a dark brush blended the worst of that out but it was a bodge not a fix. I suspect I need to have used a feather when selecting the LCD screen and deleting it, or a different blend mode. I tried some empirical things but nothing was working. Time to move on, but I must take time in the future to learn from the experience.
Fisheye. It hasn't been my intention to do so, but I have used the fisheye in 3 of my 6 shots so far. It worked really well I felt in my Week 2 shot, but it wasn't the right lens here. To make the foreground interest of the LCD screen a feature of the shot it is too close to the lens whilst the clutter is too far away and so I haven't achieved the balance in this shot that I wanted to between the two elements.
 
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#49
Hi mate

Sorry not comented on your work for a few weeks... Hard is fantastic as others have said... you've put in a great effort and achieved a brilliant result... As a certain A team guy said " I love it when a plan comes together!"

Your clutter shot is a great follow up and really flows in with your hard theme... now you are real upping the bar... shooting images with a specific theme but then have them "flow" into the next weeks theme!
 
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#50
Strawberry Sable


Week 7 - Delicate by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A product photography shot of a strawberry ice cream sable, a pastry based dessert.
Why:
I had made this the week before and liked the delicate nature of the pastry layers and the delicate flavours of the home made strawberry ice cream. I did shoot at the time using natural light during Week 7 but was not happy to post up at the time and instead delayed until I got this and my Week 8 shots done first.
How:
I prepared the dessert, placed on a white place and photographed against a white infinity sweep. You can get a sense of my thinking in producing the final shot by looking at my step-by-step guide.
Lighting set up was as follows:
1. Olympus FL-36R (1/8 power) with Apollo Micro XL fitted to soften the light, 8" to the left and in front of the subject - lights both the subject and blows out the background;
2. YN460-II (1/32 power) with flip down diffuser set at 12" to camera right and behind to add a rim light and illuminate the parsley leafs; and
3. YN460 (1/32 power) with flip down diffuser and Lee 106 Primary Red filter fitted 16" right of subject and slightly in front to provide depth and texture.
Improvement:
Avoid melting. I should have got my lighting sorted first and then brought the plate in at the last minute to avoid photographing a melting, messy, unstructured goo. But on the plus side it forced me to shoot close which I might not have otherwise done.
Lighting. I am pleased with the result but I have a lot more to learn, especially in the use of small, hard light sources for food photography.
Shadows. A corollary to the lighting is the shadows which were pretty ugly under the plate (obviously not an issue in the final edit), which can be addressed by more practice.
Mint. If using greenery on a dessert, mint would be a far more appropriate choice than parsley but it was proving concept rather than a culinary suggestion.
 
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#51
The Eye of the Storm


Untitled by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Director of a local amateur theatre production centred in amongst the chaos of the last minute rehearsal.
Why:
I was shooting a series of publicity shots for Ashcan Theatre's latest production entitled Mixed Doubles. I had tried this type of long exposure shot on the platform of Victoria Station on my way to work earlier in the week, but hadn't got my tripod with me and it just wasn't happening, and then Irealised I had this shoot coming up and I thought I could fit this in at the end of the rehearsal.
How:
I set up my camera on a tripod low down and set it for a long exposure, asking the Director to stand still whilst the cast wandered around him. I then applied a fairly heavy dose of PP to emphasise the central figure.
Improvement:
Flash. Most importantly this shot should have been taken as a long exposure with the Director lit using flash to give a nice sharp picture. Standing still for 3 seconds results in a lot of motion blur.
Artifical lighting. A corollary to the lack of flash is I had to have the room lit with the ugly fluorescent lights as otherwise the exposure was nearer 15 secs and then the motion blur of the standing Director destroyed the image. And with such a longer exposure all detail in the light is lost.
Composition. I was rushed for time as I was the only thing standing between the actors and the pub - I like the low positioning but I was battling the lights and with a wider lens I could have brough the Director further forward into the 'centre' of the shot.
 
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#52
I've got the Power(ball)


Week 9 - Finish by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
Just a regular Finish Powerball.
Why:
After Week 7's shot I wanted to try a different style of lighting. By shooting this as a macro shot I wanted to have a very tight light, and so I slapped on one of my DIY Grids (made out of coroplast) onto my FL-36R held on by a DIY velcro strap.
How:
Shot at a narrow aperture to compensate for the thin DOF you get with a 50-200mm lens with EX-25 extension tube added. I then remote fired the camera whilst holding the flash above and slightly in front of the Powerball. I then kept making small adjustments until I got a shot I was happy with the light fall off and the exposure. Adjustments to flash power were all done manually as well.
Improvement:
Shadows. I'm a little unhappy with the shadows underneath. This is the consequence of a one light setup but I think this would have been difficult to address even with multiple flashes without getting light spill that would negate the tight spot above.
 
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#53
Hi David, well done on catching up. I really like your delicate photograph, looks quite yummy, lighting looks good, Onto your chaos photo, I like the movement you have captured there, including the 1 person standing still emphasizes the chaos. And for week 9, great take on the theme, and I think you have done an excellent job indeed, detail, focus and dof are spot on, I think the shadow works well with it, almost looks like its floating. (y)
 
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#55
Thanks for the comments. I think the shadow on the PowerBall was a happy accident, as I agree it gives it the effect of floating which I've come to really like.
 

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#56
Hiya David,

Seems like I have some catching up to do here, sorry I have missed your last posts:

Week 7: looks like quite a delicacy and well done to you for making this including making your own ice cream. I like the composition and the addition of the green to break the pink/red colours. I'm just not sure about the bold red border which is quite over-powering ... perhaps if it was a thinker border it would benefit the photo.

Week 8: Great photo for the theme and agree with previous comment about the person standing in the middle with all the motion of chaos around. Well executed.

Week 9: Another great take on the theme and agree the shadow makes it look like it is floating. Good control and use of lighting.

Well done :clap:

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#57
Steal from the poor, give to the rich


Week 10 - Trio by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A triptych depicting two of the most despised groups in modern society... The Hoodie and The Banker. Hey, I'm a solicitor so I don't rank any better in a lot of people's eyes.
Why:
In light of the recent news about Bob Diamond's recent multi-million pound bonus I wanted to shoot a triptych that depicts the idea of the reverse-Robin Hood... robbing the poor to feed the rich.
In the triptych:
Shot 1 - is a detail from the Animal Hoodie;
Shot 2 - is a self portrait with amalgamation of the Hoodie and the Banker; and
Shot 3 - is a detail from the Shirt and Cufflinks of the Banker.
How:
If you click on the image and go to the flickr page all the lighting details for each shot are on there. I then took my 3 images and using CS3 and a free triptych frame I downloaded from PhotoRadar I composed the final image. There is also a short guide on the PhotoRadar website as to how to achieve this in Photoshop or Elements using layers. It's not the first time I have done this, but I was glad of the opportunity to practice my CS3 skills as I use CS3 rarely.
Improvement:
Shot 1. The detail lacks enough interest to make this element of the triptych pop, in particular the embroidered animal branding is hard to read.
Shot 2. Overall I'm very happy with the lighting here but I would have liked to include a fourth light as a rim light to provide better separation from the background.
Shot 3. Reasonably happy with the lighting but think this also lacks enough drama to stand as a shot in its own right.
Triptych. A nice opportunity to play in CS3, but think the triptych lacks sufficient balance to work overall. The central image is very strong, and it needed the other two images to match it dramatically in describing the narrative of the trio.
Hoodie. The narrative of the shot would have worked better with one of the infamous 'chavvy' brands of hoodie.
 
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#59
Not quite sure about the borders though , keep going back to have another look , maybe they're growing on me !
Thanks Lynne for stopping by and commenting.

I'm not usually a fan of such 'gimmicky' framing but the 52 is a reason to try new things, and I think on this occasion it just about works given the subject... it is a little bit anarchic and so a 'perfect' frame may not be suitable.
 
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#61
Hiya David, only just found your 52 thread and have to say that im glad i did, some excellent creative shots in the collection. Particularly like the 'heard' shot, very well executed and very creatively thought out.

Cant wait to see your interpretation of the next theme :)
 
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#63
Thanks for all the kind comments.

It's amazing how a couple of good weeks can really push you on... I was really pleased with the Week 5 Hard Hearted shot, then things seemed to go wayward in terms of the execution or completing the shots within time, but what a great feeling to be ahead of the game for a change rather than playing catch-up.

It's also interesting when shooting to such a diverse range of briefs what you produce. I think it helps you to understand your natural palette (mine is generally dark tones and low key), and bring out your strengths and weaknesses (I'm not sharing that here).

By the end of the year I hope to be shooting the same quality, or hopefully better, but to do so in half the time. I'm a natural procrastinator so maybe if I can become a faster shooter here it will help me to develop a more 'fit for purpose' attitude in other areas of life.

Only 42 to go!! :eek:
 
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#65
Hi, David, just when I think I've seen and commented on everyone's 52 another one appears.

I have to give you 10/10 for your dedication to learning.

I won't comment of your photographs individually (lots of ironing to do...:puke:), but stand outs for me are:

#2, great angle and perspective; nice and sharp with good distance and dof.

#4, has to be my favourite for a number of reasons: great idea for the open and, again, I really like the angle, clarity, colours and the sky.

Great 52 and I'll be watching for future ideas!

Cheers.
 
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#66
Hiya David,

I have to say .... I really like your trio. Love the thought process and the combination of styles to compliment same.

Also like how you have included yourself in the photo wearing a combination of both the clothing items.

I actually like the border you have chosen and the white separation between shots works well here.

Well done, and I look forward to seeing the coming weeks of your project because I always enjoy reading your accompanying commentary.

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#67
nice shot again David (y) It's the ideas and composition that helps make a good image and you certainly have that well done (y)
 
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#68
Who has The Knowledge?


Week 11 - Knowledge by morganthecat, on Flickr

What:
A series of Black Cabs queued up outside Victoria Station, London.
Why:
I quickly hit on the idea when this week's theme came out of The Knowledge, the famous test that all licensed London taxi drivers need to pass before they can drive a Black Cab.
How:
I shot a hand held 3 shot HDR +/-0.7 eV using my very portable dslr combination of an E-520 and 25mm pancake lens. I combined in Photomatix using Enhanced B&W. I took the HDR output and the underexposed of the 3 original colour shots (as background) and using layers in CS3 aligned the two images and then erased the B&W layer to reveal the yellow taxi lights underneath.
This was an opportunity to produce a selective colour image and improve my Photoshop skills around using layers, magic wand and feathering.
Improvement:
Composition. Using the pancake prime lens severely limited me, but I knew that the final image would not be the native Olympus 4:3 format but would be more letterbox. I should have taken more time to pre-visualise the final shot, in particular to place the closest taxi light on a 1/3 and to step back so that the cab at the head of the queue would have more picture to 'drive into'. As it is it looks too cramped. I have also missed the opportunity for a stronger leading line going from the line of the cab's bonnet into the bottom right hand corner which would have improved the composition.
Photoshop technique. At this size there is no issue but as you enlarge the image you can see that I could have made a better job of the selection that I deleted to reveal the light. I need to learn more about the best techniques for masking/deleting etc
Taxi driver. It is the cab driver not the Black Cab itself which is associated with The Knowledge. I should have had the guts to get up close and just ask a suitably crabby or interesting looking character if I could take their portrait sat in their cab.
 
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#69
Hi David

Love your shot for Knowledge (y) The processing works beautifully making the cabs really shine the the lights really glow :clap:
And you did get a cabbie in view ! Maybe a portrait could work better but the london cab is so distinctive I think most people make the connection with the "knowledge"

Really great capture :clap:


ps,
That was the image I had in my mind for my similar shot but alas , living in Rotherham there was a distinct lack of Black London Cabs :LOL: so I had to settle for the Northern version of white ones ! & my procesing skills are'nt a patch on yours:crying:
 
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#70
ps,
That was the image I had in my mind for my similar shot but alas , living in Rotherham there was a distinct lack of Black London Cabs :LOL: so I had to settle for the Northern version of white ones !
I imagine the cabbies of Rotherham are much friendlier and accommodating... especially so after you said you were kicking around for 1/2 hour, they sound a friendly enough bunch.
 
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#71
Another Taxi shot!
I should have known I wouldn't be on my own.

I managed to try Kings Cross and Waterloo station in between meetings, neither offered the image I was looking for which was the drivers gathered around their cabs. I also failed in the nerves department and chickened out asking to take a picture through a window.

Not sure why, but I'm nervous of doing street photography.

I like your shot and the crop, but I think it needs a slight rotation to straighten some of the verticals.
 
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#73
I like your shot and the crop, but I think it needs a slight rotation to straighten some of the verticals.
Choosing a pillarbox crop really accentuates the shot such that either the verticals or the horizontals must straight, and I decided that the top of the photo was better framed with the horizontals. Below is the rotated crop:


Week 11 - Knowledge (rotated) by morganthecat, on Flickr

and after some further consideration I prefer the rotated shot.
 
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#75
I had noticed you'd aligned the horizontal on the building, but IMO, the horizontals can be out depending on the angle of the shot, but central verticals should probably be vertical.
For me, the vertical in the left hand third would be the target.
The E-520 and 25mm pancake is an extremely portable combination but it does suffer from some pincushion distortion. This is easily rectified and I probably should have not been so lazy before embarking on the PP. I guess architectural shots really show that up. I'll bear that in mind in future.
 

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#76
Hiya David,

Great shot for 'knowledge' and I like the b&w conversion with selective colouring.

Prefer the 2nd image with the rotation.

Only minor nit pick for me is the bright light on the right of the photo.

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#78

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#79
Hiya David,

Wow what a difference the frame makes in the 're-frame'. Now the subject is the focus instead of the frame. Well done :clap:

Cheers

Dawn :)
 
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#80
The new border is a big improvement. It's a great shot with excellent lighting - the detail is wonderful. Very nice DOF.

I also like your "knowledge" - very effective and subtle use of selective colour.

Cheers, Patrick
 
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