swing

Blue
Dress
Floating By.

Swing
Swing

We were so sick of being trapped by the heat we ended up going to the park around 8pm or so. I played a little (actually a lot) with motion blur. The second shot of many turned out better than the rest.

favorite movie

When the OTP guys first assigned “favorite movie” I was at a complete loss, partly because I was thinking about Spirited Away which i think is my favorite movie. But on Thursday night I had sudden flash of inspiration. Partly because one of the hosts dislikes the movie, but also because I really do love Bladerunner. And somehow the connection between that movie, video culture, the ipad, and a baby playing with it all kind of made “sense” to me.

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Due to the low light, I had to push my camera to ISO 3200 which was really, really noisy, so I ended up going black and white. I liked the up close and amorphous nature of the baby’s body in the dark, so I selected this photo. But it was a really difficult choice since I really liked her pose just sitting there stretched out.

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There was a scarf in the background I had neglected to take out of the “shooting zone” and it was super distracting BW but I really like the pose so here is a good example of what I was getting out of the camera.

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And of course here is my geek cred shot.

Sharpness is nice, but not that important.

Since I got back into the hobby, I decided to take baby photos I had previously posted on Facebook and repost them here. While doing this exercise, I also took a chance to review and tweak the photos. The funny thing is that almost all those photos are blurry. They looked ok when I posted them on Facebook, but now that I’m looking at them on my big monitor in Photoshop…Wow they are soft!

Along with being a first time parent I was also in the middle of a remodel and changing jobs. I was so shell shocked I wasn’t even really using my DSLR then. And that’s a 10 year old D40. So I wasn’t rocking any sophisticated gear. These are “pure” baby photos – taken indoors on an ipad.

Of course, I’d prefer that these photos be sharp. But I’d trade my sharp photos of other subjects for these killer blurry moments. And that really does hit the heart of the matter, photographs are the result of many tradeoffs. I traded the chance for a better low light SLR for the financial secuirty of extra savings. I traded the better lens and larger sensor of my D40 for the convenience of an ipad. I traded high ISOs and noise for a better shutter speed. And often I traded a sharp photo taken at the same time for a more soft photo that better caught the moment. As I’ve been reading about photography these past couple months, its become clear to me that everything is a trade. You really don’t get anything for free.

Father’s Day Street Photography

With my recent return into photography, I’ve started listening to a lot of podcasts. Aside from the On Taking Pictures podcast that I gush about all the time, the other one that has caught my attention is Street Focus by Valerie Jardin on the TWiP network.

I really enjoyed her enthusiasm for this genre so this past Father’s Day we went out to the Bellagio to check out the conservatory and the water show and I snuck in some shots of strangers. I suspect this is about as ideal a condition for trying something like this out the first time. After all, the place was crawling with other tourists with cameras and I also had a wife and daughter for cover.

I have to say it was exhilarating. The search for a great photograph was primal, it was a hunt with my fear of strangers to spice up the adrenaline. I prefer to take candids with my daughter so I am already familiar with the shooting style and techniques that I like to use. But it is a totally different mindset shooting strangers, so supposing that I decide to develop the courage, I wouldn’t be surprised if this became the primary non-family aspect of my photography hobby. We’ll see where I take this.

I think in the future I will be a bit more circumspect with the photos I will post from such a session, but what the hell this is a first time so here’s six to check out.

Bellagio Conservatory
In retrospect I think this was the weakest of the photos, even though I am including it here because this is what I posted on the Street Focus google+ community. It captures a cute moment with the couple taking the selfie, but it sits in a middle distance from the lens and the energy seems dissipated. That said, it did capture the moment and the mood of the day, and it was compelling enough this morning for me to pick this image for upload.

Dancing Waters
Talking about shooting fish in a barrel. Like in the Conservatory, it was really non-awkward to photograph strangers photographing something else. I’m certain the idea of people experiencing stuff mediated by a piece of electronics is an overplayed trope, but this is all new to me and having the subject totally engrossed on something else really made me more comfortable shooting them.

Chocolate Fountain
What I’m realizing in my own shooting is that I tend to like the photos I get when I am up close and personal to the subject. In this case, what kept it from being a great shot is the softness of the woman in the foreground. I may have to break down and go to the HI iso setting on my photo. I think I would have happily traded some noise for that extra stop and DOF.

Subway
This was upclose and personal only be happenstance. I was actually shooting the two young Subway employees having a conversation, but the timing was just perfect with the woman throwing me a glance just as the two men were giving each other some sort of hand shake. To be honest this might be the strongest stranger photo that I took.

Entrance
And then on the opposite end of up close, there is the photo of the person within the environment. I had a nice shot of a man sitting on the couch, but it had a blurry vase of flowers in the foreground so the composition didn’t pan out. However this one worked out really nicely with my wife’s red shirt contrasted against the grey black background.

Elevator
And finally there is no way I would have had the cajones to capture this photo with strangers. This elevator from the Monte Carlo to the Tram is in some back outdoors area and I would have scared the bejesus out of any stranger in such a situation. But of course I’m not a stranger to my daughter so she threw me a nice glance.

Happy Father’s Day!

daily routine

I’ve been working on some older OTP assignments along with the current ones, and this one was “daily routine”. I’ve been trying to limit myself to only one upload per assignment, so this was the one I chose to upload to the google+ site.

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Up

However since a lot of my photos are all about daily routines, I actually had four others that I liked a bit, this hair washing one being the one I almost uploaded instead of Up.

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Hair

These next three are all nice shots and moments, but I don’t think were as strong as the first two.

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Diaper
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Door
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Cleaning

This last one was not really “daily” routine. Well it was for a couple days when we were dealing with an ant infestation and my mother-in-law was cleaning the window where they were coming in every morning…but fortunately the ants are now gone.

windshield

This week’s assignment for On Taking Pictures was windshield.

Russell and Jones

I’ve decided to start submitting only one image per assignment on the google+ community, but I’ll throw any outtakes on here.

KJ Kitchen

As I’ve been working my way through the OTP podcast archives, it seems that a lot of the Photographers of the Week are admired for being willing to let things get blown out / drop all the way into black. Because my commute heads East in the mornings to work and West back to home, this week’s assignment became an exercise in playing with sun blowouts while stopped at a redlight. I’m pretty this shot is a direct result of those studies.

Garage

weather

When I first heard the assignment on Wednesday morning, I was like “hmm, Tuesday had the dramatic clouds and the weather forecast is hot and sunny for the rest of the week.”

Hassett Street

But it turned out I just wasn’t looking carefully enough. The best thing that happened was that I realized how fucking beautiful the Vegas strip can be during dusk, with the skyscrapers reflecting the setting sun during my commute home on I-15. Unfortunately, 65mph is not particularly conducive safe shooting.

What was safe however is going super slow shutter speeds in the back yard. It was dusk so I had to pull out the tripod and on a couple different nights I shot some long exposures.

Yellow Window

When the sky shots seemed a little barren, I decided to insert something into it…well myself. I didn’t take a ton of these, but I got really lucky with this one. We live near an airport, so several shots include trails of airplanes, but the luck came in how everything ended up right, the focus, my location on the photo, the fact I chose to stare into the camera for once….I guess sometimes you just need to show up for something cool to happen, because I really don’t think intentionality had much to do with this final outcome, but I’ll take it.

Self Portrait, Getting Lucky.

horizon

From episode 160, the assignment was Horizon

Visually I actually kind of prefer the black and white version because it is so visually striking, but I think the color photo both captures the “horizon” of the assignment and is much more mundane, which is was the point of the shot.

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150601-d40-6401 color