Friday, October 30, 2009

Assignment #4 - Analogous/Complimentary

I've got to admit: I didn't like this assignment when I started shooting it, or when I printed my last print. I thought it would be easier than it was, and I thought I could make it more interesting than I did. I do think I got some good images, but overall I think this assignment was a little forced on my behalf (I just hope that isn't reflected in my final product). The most I can say for it is that it's totally on time, despite the play and swine flu.

My favorite image, for sure. I love the lighting and the texture. Thanks for letting me crop it, Slade... I think usually I'm inclined to shoot warmer tones, but I really like these cool ones.

Not my fave, which is too bad. In my last assignment post I wrote about how I wanted "poetry, not prose". I wanted emotion behind my photography. I'm not sure I accomplished that. When I shot I didn't have the slightest idea how to do that (all I knew is that I wanted to), so I decided to start by photographing something that at least meant something to me, and maybe that emotion would somehow shine through. This is the ragged stuffed animal I've had since I was a baby, but I don't think any of the love or memories I stuffed into came through at all. Sigh.

I like the idea of this image. I like the green/red contrast.

Complimentary candle. I don't know how much I love this. I desperately need to get a tripod. I'm getting a little sick of having these huge apertures and super shallow depths of field. It's time for some variety.

I love this light. This was another one I attempted to find the emotion behind - it's my baby blanket. Success? Fail? Shrug.

Ah. I love this. I don't hate the narrow depth of field in this one at all. I love that tiny little strip of perfect focus that runs down the page. The orange/blue contrast is more subtle, but I like it that way.

Eh. It's alright. It's in focus and in real life this "lighthouse" is about an inch tall, so here's just a reminder of how much I love macrofocus. Sometimes it can be unnerving what my camera picks up when I don't even see it - like the litte crumbs all over the purple "sky".

This was the first image I shot for this assignment, so I'm suprised it's up here. But crazier things have happened. I love the reflection of the lightbulb in the water. It draws your eye to the middle of the image. And even though the green of the waterbottle isn't quite as green as I wanted it to be, I think it at least still fulfills this assignment.

So I didn't particularly like this assignment. But it did teach me about the color wheel, and that I definitely need a tripod. Furthermore, I was kind of able to experiment with the whole "putting emotion behind the image" deal. I don't count this assignment as a success, but at least I know what doesn't work. I think the very thing I struggled to capture is a lot easier to do with portraits (wow, I haven't shot a portrait in forever). There's emotion in them because people relate. That's why an image like Chandler's pears from assignment one told such a great story - we personify them and turn them into ourselves. It's easier to dig up our own emotion than have someone else's forced on us.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Assignment

While I'm sitting forlornly at home with the swine, I decided that, despite not having Lightroom, I would post my Halloween pictures, because I actually don't mind not being able to work on them as much as I would like to. 

I actually really liked this project. It was interesting, and fun to shoot. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the play ate my life, I wasn't able to shoot at night like I wanted to, which meant a lot of my images came out overexposed, and a lot of the time they were also blurry. However, I figured that it's pretty much a requirement for "ghosty" pictures to be blurry (kind of like Bigfoot pictures), so I'm kind of okay with not having that fabulous sharp focus in these. 

I could give or take this one. It's alright. I mostly put it up here because I feel like I owe it to Kristin after what happened about a second after I shot this. She collided with a rather hard, thorny, inconveniently placed plant. But despite this, she bravely allowed me to continue shooting her. Thanks dear. 

I like weird blur. I don't love that the whole picture - IMAGE! I meant image - is blurry, but I still like the random's kind of cool. 

I think this is the only one with good focus, and it's not overexposed (good things come from shooting in the shade). Also, I really love the colors in this. The black and white, the red and green, I like the contrast. 

I have a very nice sister. She lets me dress her up and then rolls around on the grass for me. Thank you Merzy. And again, I love the colors in this image. 
I think this might have worked better if Kristin hadn't been laughing when I shot this. But I still like this image. That tree is the greatest tree in existence. 

This is perhaps the only time in my life when I have actually been glad to overexpose. I think it gives this image a kind of alien vibe. And you don't get much creepier than not having a face. 

This one might be my favorite. I love and adore that tree to no end. And Kristin is very, very, creepy. She kind of gives off a little girl from the "Ring" vibe, which goes nicely with the Halloween theme. 

I like this one. Again, I have a nice sister. 

I can't decide: black and white or color? I love the red jacket in the other one, but I also like this. I think it makes you focus more on the image than on the colors in it. Not to mention the fact that I really miss shooting in black and white, which kind of surprises me. I guess you can do wonderful things with color, but my heart's in black and white. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Assignment #3 - Monochromatic

This assignment started out really hard, because I was trying to shoot big, monochromatic scenes (like the pink one up on the class blog). And that was frustrating, and time consuming, and unproductive. Then suddenly, in the eleventh hour, I had a kind of epiphany - if making this assignment about color was so difficult, why not make it about something else? And so I decided that "something else" would be texture.

After that shooting was SO much better. My photographs were a lot more interesting (and easier to take). I started getting in closer and paying more attention to lighting, because it was so dark by the time I finally got home, and focus, so I could really show the textures I was photographing. And lo and behold (I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I'll use it anyway) I was able to get some really good, sharp, well lit images, and it didn't take years, and it wasn't overly painful. Which reminds me of what Slade said way back when we were shooting numbers: our assignments are as easy or as hard as you make them. But I don't think that because I made the shooting process easier means that my photos look cheap or boring.


At first I was really unhappy with this, because this carpet is actually white. I didn't set my white balance with this assignment because I only learned it yesterday, so the yellow light of my lamp made this really yellow too, which I thought was gross. But this kind of grew on me. I like the yellow, and I love the focus. You can see every single weird strand sticking out all over the place (because, turns out, you can't vacuum this carpet) and I love it.

To shoot this one I took the screen out of my window, leaned out sideways, and put my camera up against the outside wall of our house. Even though I shot it vertically, I turned it into a landscape and I like it this way a lot more. I love the shallow depth a field (which seems to be a trend throughout this assignment).

Not my favorite, but I still like the lighting and the focus. Yay jeans.

I think might be my favorite. I love the light, the composition, the detail. One thing I was worried about with shooting monochromatic images is that they would be boring, but I don't think this is boring.

Not my favorite. This is part of the first group I shot. It looks kind of dark and ominous, which can be really cool, but I prefer images with really good lighting and sharp focus. I feel like I threw away the top half of this photograph too, and I hate having a whole lot of nothing in an image (unless I feel like it serves some kind of purpose, which I guess makes that nothing something, so...yes, I hate nothing).

Another one I don't love. It's not completely tack sharp in focus like I wanted it to be, but that's what I get for not shooting with a tripod.

This is one of those images that I don't really like, but it seems like other people do. I'm worried this one is a bit redundant - I took a lot of clothing detail shots. Then again, I do like the focus in this one. It reminds me of that first picture. where you can see every little strand. 

Another one I shot towards the beginning of my assignment. I think that with shooting clouds it's insanely easy to end up with really cliche, boring images. But I actually like this one. I like the lighter streak in the top half and how it gets darker in that lower corner. I don't think it's particularly interesting, but I don't think it puts you to sleep either. 

Yay shawls. Not my favorite detail shot, but I needed one more image for my blog. I might reshoot this one. I'm not completely in love with the lighting. And I think I may want a deeper depth of field, because even though a super shallow one worked well in some of my other images, I don't think that's quite as much the case in this one. Also, I didn't white balance when I shot this one either, so the color "feels" wrong to me. 

Love this one. Props to Natalie, whose idea I kinda sorta stole. This was one of the first I shot when I started focusing on texture, and I like it. I love the detail. Plastic is fun to shoot - it seems to reflect light in cool ways. 

So overall, I'm very happy with this assignment. But now that I think I've gotten focus and lighting down pretty well, I want to focus more on "telling a story". I want photography that's more than just technically sound and interesting. I want emotion behind all of that. I want poems, not prose.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Irving Penn

I would go into the details of Irving Penn's life, but I don't really think anyone would read them. And honestly, I don't find posts that begin with "Irving Penn was born June 16, 1917, and grew to be a great American photographer known for his portraiture and fashion photography" particularly interesting. So I'm just going to jump into his actual photography. That's a lot more fun.

An article I just read said, "Everything Penn photographed, from his commercial work to his personal projects, had a unique beauty that was both fragile and forceful." And I completely agree with that. I think the images below are elegant and fashionable, but aren't "pretty" in a Disney princess way. They're brave and bold. One thing I particularly love about Irving Penn's photographs is that he isn't afraid of his pure black and pure white. He doesn't needlessly throw away information, but he plays with the two extremes and the resulting effect is stunning.

Love this one. It's my favorite of the three. I love the pure blacks and whites in contrast with each other, and I like that he's centered his subject. It isn't boring, I think the image is all the more powerful for it.

Again with the bold contrast. And I like the symmetry in this one. It isn't a perfect reflection of itself. But at first you almost think it ist Penn was really careful about his subject's placement.

I think this should be part of the new Waterford uniform code. And again, I love the bold darks and whites. Striking image. It's powerful and fabulous. Love it. 

Assignment #2 1/2 - Before and After

This is my "before". It is kind of gross and dark.

This is my "after". I adjusted the exposure, so it is not longer too dark. Yay! I like the detail and the focus in the image a lot. I actually also like the colors in this picture. They're simple, but nice.

This is another random image from assignment 1. It was way too dark before, but I adjusted it and I actually really like it now. I like the different values in the paper - it's not all just flat and white.