I've pretty much abandoned this here photoblog.
I decided to slide over to wordpress.com
for my photo-a-day
project. I tried it in 2007, and did pretty well. I ran out of steam, unfortunately, but at least, if you've been reading boozysmurf
at all, you know there was a viable medical reason for that lack of steam!
So, I MAY update here occasionally. But, the bulk of my photography-related stuff will be over at http://www.markramsden.wordpress.com
, and I have nearly-daily updates there.
So, lets chase some ghosts.
"Ghosts of Midway"
ISO 200, f/22, 15 seconds
38mm (18-70mm Nikon ED DX, D70s)
Nikon D70s, 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 DX
F/4.5, 1/50th sec, 70mm, ISO 320
Pushed up the exposure, contrast, and shadows, and I'm really happy with it.
Four shots of the same thing, the same scene.
One as shot. Plain as the day. One, de-saturated for black and white, with the contrast and shadows pushed up. Two HDR shots, at different levels, highlighting, I think, different things. The first shot
was what first attracted me, made me take the shot in the first place. I came up the stairs
, looked to the left
, and then looked straight in front of me. The shot, the first shot, that’s what I saw. I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped, and my eyes widened. It’s pretty much the shot that had defined the idea of Urban Exploration, as I had it in my head.
What I got was something else though. I knew the light was odd, right from the start, which was why I set up for an HDR shot. I took my standard RAW exposure (well, I took three or four, at different speeds and depths, but I knew that was going to happen, because the light was odd), and then I took my dozen shots at different shutters, from a tripod, to assemble into HDR later.
What I didn’t expect, even from the quick review I did on-site, was what I got. The light IS odd, and it’s done strange things to the image, which I don’t really understand. Well, I do, but the way in which they’ve happened is striking.
I planned right from the start that the broken window frame hanging down as my focal point, as, at least in my head, it dominated the image; it was the foreground, and it threw odd, off-angle lines through the whole image. And it does that. But it became… Not the focal point. Even with the broken green glass in it, with the angles that are askew, it doesn’t dominate the image in the way it did when I saw it.
What takes control is the brilliant, bright window (and it is a window, it’s not a patch of light coming from above, on the wall) with the perfectly aligned shapes and tiles in it. I don’t know if you could plan this shot better, I know I couldn’t. It’s perfect, dominant, aligned and positioned. And it was all done for me by chance. It becomes even more obvious in the Black and White
shot. Admittedly, I pushed up the contrast, and the shadows in post-production, but the dramatic differences were already there. It made sense, the second I saw the image on screen, to bring them out, and make them unavoidable.
There's a frightningly surreal balance to the shot too. I take some credit for that, but again; the view through that window, the block of light, makes it an incredible shot, rather than one that's simply interesting and documentary.
The HDR's.. for once, they don't bring anything to it, I don't think. In fact, they may even detract. I tried two different setups for the HDR shots, and neither of them really gave me what I wanted. One of them
leaves the shadows intact, and brightens all the basic colors. The green of the glass comes out in the framework, and the cracked whites in the glass are very sharp. The brick work through both sets of windows, the tile, the broken wood-framing, all become just properly visible. The very centre window, within the framing of the larger window, gives us a look outside at a brick section of a building next door. Despite the way it feels like a very two-dimensional image, there's a lot of strange depth to all of the shots, but this HDR/contrasty one, specifically.The final HDR
is simply too bright. it's almost a negative, but not quite. I'm still not sure about this one, something feels off about it, but it works too. I don't know if that's just that the subject is good, and well set, or... I don't know. Of the four, this is the one I like the least. It's too much, or too little. Either way, it's too something.
Any thoughts anyone has, much appreciated.
Sun, Nov. 26th, 2006, 06:06 pm
Definitely one of my best shots. Mild HDR to bring out the highlights.
Hallowe'en is a great time for photography, there's no way around it. The costumes are great, and people are acting just a little off-colour, which is also great. Facets of personality come out to play, and people are a little more comfortable in front of the camera.
With that in mind, this isn't the usual collection of hallowe'en costumes. That's freely available over in my 'other' journal, boozysmurf
. Feel free to go take a look
, because they're really quite good.
Hoever, this here, is about a collaboration with darsanofparvati
. Now, she and I, we differ on some things, she favours tightly focused lighting, ambient, rather than flash, where I, while I like these things, also know that a well placed flash, or flashes, can really make a difference on the shot, and really create some interesting lighting effects.
This one is about her costume though, her concept, so, we did it her way.
The idea was to bring across the real idea of the costume. The concept was Little Red Ridinghood
, but if she'd just cut her way from inside the wolf, after being consumed. She wore a latex wolf's mask, which she fixed up with fur and blood and paint, she wore it on her head, as a trophy. Her skin was atrophied with make-up, and blood smeared, well, everything.
Not your normal Lil' Red, that's for sure.
However, it worked really well. And the upside of things is that darsanofparvati
really likes to set these shots up. So before the party, we took a chunk of time to do some portraiture of her costume. Very low light, and a MagLite
as the only real, direct, light. Now, contrary to what darsanofparvati
says, I don't have any problem with this technique, in fact, I quite like it, but I also don't want to be limited by it. What you get, in make-up, is this:
On top of all that, we were really playing with negative space. Because of the nature of the maglight, to get proper exposure within the circle of light, it very much meant that the rest of the shot was dark. This can go very well, or very badly. In all of these shots, it's about positioning the visible area properly; framing it with the darkness, with the negative space. Some of the shots, we cropped a lot of negative space out. Some of them, however, we left alone, and seeing the results online now, I'm glad we did.
The first one's the winner for me. The second, over-coloured (all though that was the agreement me and darsanofparvati
came to), and doesn't have the feeling, the vibe that the first one does. The first one is all about negative space. It flows into the portrait without dominating it, and I love how she's part of the darkness. It fits the mood and the costume.
Now, these are a little different. There's slightly more ambient light (there actually isn't, I just set the camera to allow more light) and we end up with a very different effect.
One of the things I noticed doing these shots is the level of comfort I'm reaching with 'ordering' my subject around. Although I still give a preamble to orders like "Get on your knees", because, well, I don't want to get hit.
Of these two, I love the angle on the 2nd. It's also an aberation within the set, as it technically shows the whole body, but it illustrates my point about giving direction. This was one of the shots I really wanted to get, something more than just
the face (much as the face tells a story all of its own.
This final one is my favorite though. This one gets all the elements that I thought the costume was trying to provoke, hits all the emotions and sends out that mean, dark, sultry, bloody vibe that I think really was the point of this costume, and shoot. A small amount of post-production was involved in all of them, and me and darsanofparvati
collaborated for hours on it, up to and including violence in our disagreement of what did and didn't work. However, this one, we agreed upon right away, and It works. The blackness of the space balances the brighter colours in the face and eyes, the yellows in the mask, etc. I think it's fantastic, and more importantly, it's EXACTLY how I pictured it when I pressed the shutter, and that is a huge accomplishment for me.
ISO 500 , 1/40 sec,
f/4.5 , EV +0/6
D70s w/18-70mm DX f/3.5-5.6
Arguably, it's nearly a professional shot, I think. I likes it though. Negative space. It's all about the negative space.
Tue, Oct. 10th, 2006, 10:19 pm
And, if you're gonna do portraits, eventually, you gotta shoot your mom. ;)
ISO 400, 1/8 second
f/5.5 EV +/-0
Nikon D70s w/50mm f/1.8
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006, 10:11 pm
At the Market
ISO 200, 1/400 sec
F/13, EV +/-0
Thu, Sep. 28th, 2006, 08:46 pm
Nikon D70s w/50mm f/1.8
ISO 800, f/1.8
1/13th second, -2/3EV