Wednesday, December 31, 2008

093/365 - Jim - Shot in the Dark

( f/11 70mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Being New Year's Eve I thought I would take a photo of a drink. The recipe to this drink is pretty simple. You take 2 parts of hydrogen and 1 part oxygen. The white top is produced by turning the knob on my sink which is labeled H. The bubbles go away and you are left with a warm shot of pure water. So here is to you and a happy new year! Yuk, I had to chase it with cold water...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

092/365 - Jim - Callender Talent

( f/5 38mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
As Jameson watched his nightly show before bed, he put a second pacifier into the handle of the one in his mouth. This is the kind of dumb thing I would think to do :) When I put him in bed we put 3 of them together so I could take a picture. He loves to have as many pacifiers on hand as possible when he goes to bed. Maybe I should invent a pacifier dispenser that works like the Dixie cup one. If you are wondering what Callender Talent is, it is kind of like stupid human tricks but maybe not as impressive.

Monday, December 29, 2008

091/365 - Jim - Hess Toy Trucks

( f/18 27mm 5 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
This is one of the toys that my son Jameson got from his Aunt Courtney. The truck lights up and makes lots of sounds and I just discovered the bed lifts by hydraulics at the push of a button. The front loader also lights up and has forward and reverse. It runs on the carpet and Jameson gets so excited when it is about to run into him or someone else. For this photo I used the modeling lights from my Alienbee flashes as the fill light with a rear curtain flash at the end. This allowed for the 5 second exposure so you can see the lights on the vehicles.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

090/365 - Jim - Nolan Sepia

( f/8 38mm 1/8 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
This is the other furry fabric I got for Christmas. It is white and sheds pretty bad right now. I should probably run a sweeper over it and hope it doesn't go bald. For this shot I used available light from a large window. I thought I would get enough light to shoot at f/8, but I was only able to get a 1/8 sec shutter speed. This is a good recipe for blur, but Nolan didn't move much for this shot and I was able to get a somewhat clean photo. I raised my ISO up to 640 after this and got a better shutter speed, but Nolan stopped cooperating and was flailing about. If you are getting sick of Nolan, I plan on staring up the themes again on the 1st and I'll be looking for more guest bloggers!

090/365 - Jameson - Hotel

( No EXIF Available vtech® Camera)
Jameson is my guest blogger today. He got a vtech camera for Christmas from my sister. He has a tendency to turn on the camera and take shots straight down because he is just looking in the LCD for something. This was taken in his room of a play road mat on his floor. Not bad for a 2 year old and a lousy camera :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

089/365 - Jim - Furry Fabric

( f/8 35mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I got this furry material for Christmas from my mother. I almost bought it the other day, but my mother was with me and said "Why don't you hold off" so lucky for her, I did. Under the material is a bean bag which is great for posing babies. Nolan wasn't really up for this, so I didn't take off that bulky shirt like I wanted to do. All the other shots are mostly of him crying or being fussy. I used 3 flashes for this photo. Two of them had softboxes and one was behind to the side with a grid on it. I probably would have tried to adjust the flash levels a little better because I think this shot looks a little washed out, but I will wait for a happier baby...

Friday, December 26, 2008

088/365 - Jim - Bow Head

( f/5 56mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I got a Gary Fong Lightsphere for Christmas. I used it on top of my Nikon SB-800 flash to take this photo. It does the job and softens the shadows. Hopefully it will be a nice addition to my equipment. I took a similar photo of my son Jameson with a bow on his head in the exact same outfit. My wife asked if I was going to get one of Nolan, so I did.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

087/365 - Jim - Christmas Morning

( f/3.5 24mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
All he wanted was trains. He got them. A lot of them. 32 in all. We put them all together and counted up 52 cars. It was amazing how many of them he knew by name! I know one little boy that had a good Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

086/365 - Jim - My cookies are gone

( f/8 70mm 1 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
We have been telling Jameson all day that tonight was when Santa is coming to bring presents. Here is proof for him. I plopped this Santa in front of the tree and tried various f stops to see what kind of bokeh I could get from the Christmas tree lights. I liked the f/2.8 bokeh much better than the f/8, but the Santa was not in focus as much as I liked so I went with f/8. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

085/365 - Jim - Sliding Motion

( f/3.5 32mm 1/13 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
It can be difficult to portray motion and still have a decent photo. To create this effect I set my flash to rear curtain. This allows the shutter to be open longer and expose more for the ambient light, then at the very end of the exposure it will flash. That final flash will somewhat freeze the action. In this case you can see the blur behind Jameson and then his face is still somewhat crisp from the flash. I don't do this very often, so this was just some trial and error. Jameson loves playing at the mall playground, but his time was cut short when a kid puked and we got out of there in a hurry.

Monday, December 22, 2008

084/365 - Jim - Gas Smile

( f/3.5 105mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
My wife told me to hurry with the camera because Nolan was smiling. Of course it was because he was gassy, but we'll take any kind of smile we can get. By the time I got upstairs, he was done with the big smiles. This was all I could get. I had plans of getting Nolan into the studio again, but it just didn't work out. Maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

083/365 - Jim - Finger Candle

( f/16 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I gave Nolan a break today and just took a photo of my finger on fire. Actually I just put a lighter directly behind my finger and lit it before the photo.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

082/365 - Jim - Cry Baby

( f/11 70mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Instead of explaining this photo, I'll just tell a little story. As I held Nolan today in front of me with one hand behind his neck and the other on his bum, he gave me a look that I was not familiar with. Just as I figured it out, a quick blast of vibration was felt in the hand that was not on his neck. My suspicion was quickly confirmed. He made a poo poo in my hand. Thankfully he was diapered or I would have a real mess on my hands...

Friday, December 19, 2008

081/365 - Jim - Announcing

( f/11 29mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I finally got Nolan into my studio. I used two flashes at each side with softboxes. Then using Lightroom, I desaturated all the color in the photo except for the red hat. A slight vignette was also added. I exported it to a JPEG and used Picasa 3 to add the text. And there you have it, a quick announcement.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

080/365 - Jim - Foot Ornament

( f/13 105mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I am still sick and not taking much time for photos. Here I took an ornament off the tree and put it on Nolan's foot. I wrapped green felt around his leg while my wife held him. My SB-800 flash was on a tripod with a shoot through umbrella. I only snapped a few pictures and this was the most in focus. I would have rather used one of the landscape ones, but they were not as crisp.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

079/365 - Jim - Swing

( f/3.5 70mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
The morning after Nolan was born I woke up with cold/flu type symptoms. What great timing... Anyway I didn't feel up to taking lots of photos, but I did get this one while he was in his swing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

078/365 - Jim - Blue Hat

( f/4.5 45mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
When my first son Jameson was born I took a photo of him with my old Canon Powershot 710 IS. It has a feature that will allow you to select a color and only that color comes through. All of the family loved it and called it the "blue hat picture." We took Jameson's old hat to the hospital today and I took a blue hat picture of Nolan, but this time I did the effect in Lightroom by desaturating everything but the blue.

Monday, December 15, 2008

077/365 - Jim - Nolan

( f/5 105mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Here is my new son that was born today at 10:27am. He is 8lbs 8oz and 21 inches long. His name is Nolan James. You'll probably see a lot of him over the next several days.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

076/365 - Jim - Do you see what I see?

( f/11 10.5mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Yes, followers, there is a message. Go ahead and see if you can find it. It isn't very difficult. I probably should have mixed it up so it was more difficult and made it into a little game, but maybe next time. I used my fisheye lens on a tripod with the arm extended straight over top of the board. Then I cropped the image square and adjusted the colors just a little bit. If you are bored, you can comment with a list of words you can find within a minute :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

075/365 - Jim - Matching Stripes

( f/11 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is stripes. For this photo I used two sided scrapbooking tape and cut it into little pieces. Then I placed the matches on them as perfectly as I could. I placed a flash off to the side about 10 feet away to get the well defined shadows. Here is a tip: the closer the flash, the more diffused the shadows are. Then I raised my camera up on the tripod almost to the ceiling and got up on a ladder to take the photo. My wife volunteered to put on a striped shirt and let me photograph her, but then I took too long and she took back her offer. I'm glad she did. That would have been a boring shot probably.

Friday, December 12, 2008

074/365 - Jim - Do you know what this is?

( f/22 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is macro guess. This is a game where I take an extreme close up photo and you guess what it is. Post a comment if you think you know what it is. When or if someone gets it right, I will post it in the comments. If I get a good response, I will do this more often. Good luck!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

073/365 - Jim - Traits Lightroom Preset

( f/11 105mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is Lightroom effect. I actually took this photo last night, but it was a perfect representation of what I wanted to do for this theme. I used the effect called COL Traits nb 3 from Presets Heaven. It pretty much turns the photo into a high key shot. I have been wanting to use this effect for a while, but never had the right photo. This was perfect because the bathtub is light enough to turn it mostly white. It kills me to not use a photo taken today, but at least I did take some photos today. None of which were as good as this, so I chose to twist the rules.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

072/365 - Jim - Zipper

( f/14 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is zipper. If you look close enough, this looks like an Old Navy fleece ad. I work from home a few days a week and my office is in my basement which is about 10 degrees cooler than upstairs, so I wear fleece a lot. The vignette was not added in post processing. It was actually done with a snoot. I held the tripod with an Alienbee B400 snooted flash over top of the fleece and remote shutter release in the other hand. I tried to make sure the flash reflected off the zipper handle to turn it white because of it being a black zipper, it wouldn't have shown up very well otherwise.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

071/365 - Jim - Watercolor

( f/14 105mm 1/200 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is food coloring. I have seen this before from other photographers and wanted to give it a try. I figured I would use red and green to keep in the Christmas spirit. The lighting was setup the same as my tea photo. I filled the glass with water to the top and dropped the food coloring in. It is that simple. I added the vignette and adjusted the colors and clarity in Lightroom.

Monday, December 8, 2008

070/365 - Jim - Santa Smoke

( f/14 24mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is smoke. I set up the black backdrop and used one flash with a grid spot on it. Then I blew out the candle and started shooting. I got this shot that looks to me like a skull with teeth somewhat well defined. Then I started manipulating the image by adding another eye, changing colors, and shaping the hat. This would be cool as the smoke coming out of a chimney on a house decorated for Christmas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

069/365 - Jim - Synchronized Sitting

( f/5 18mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
No theme today. I quickly took a picture of my son today because I had to get ready for the Steeler game against Dallas. The Steelers ended up winning with a surprise interception return for a touchdown at the end of the game. Jameson was a little afraid of Santa so I had to sit the reindeer beside him :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

068/365 - Jim - Six Geese A Laying

( f/3.5 18mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is Six Geese A Laying. This theme was just a joke when I wrote it on the calendar. I never imagined I would actually be able to use it. My wife scheduled us to go to Kraynak's today to view their 300 foot Christmas display. To my surprise I saw a sign saying Two Turtle Doves and Three French Hens, so I got excited. I would have never guessed I could fulfil this theme, but here it is...

Friday, December 5, 2008

067/365 - Jim - Ornament

( f/18 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is ornament. I pulled this off the tree and put it on green paper. Then used a flash with a softbox set at 45 degrees down toward the snowman from the left. This is also a little bell.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

066/365 - Jim - Drop of Color

( f/22 105mm 10 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is macro. I just got the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 lens the other day. It is one of the best macro lenses Nikon offers. Can you guess what this is? I put a drop of water onto a DVD and put it on my pool table with the lights on. There are about 20 light bulbs, which caused a lot of refraction both off of the DVD and in the water droplet. I can't wait to use this lens in the summer on bugs.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

065/365 - Jim - So Nasty

( f/3 105mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is nasty. I have an adverse foot fetish. I can't stand to see them or even worse be touched by them. I don't really know what it is, but maybe it is from my childhood when my parents would have me rub their feet. These are my wife's feet. She tried telling me the reason for the band-aids and got as far as saying her toe curves in and the nail is cutting into the other toe and I was ready to puke... You might be asking yourself how I was able to take this photo. Well, it's all mind over matter. If you don't mind feet, take a look at that grout. Yuck.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

064/365 - Jim - Rope Stocks

( f/29 105mm 1/160 sec ISO 800 Nikon D300 )
Theme is rope. I just put a rope down and took a photo of it. A flash was also used to get the shadow. I thought it looked like a line chart. My ISO was set to 800 and I didn't realize it until I saw how noisy my photos were. It always pays to check your settings before shooting. That is a lesson I have learned several times... If only I could remember I learned it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

063/365 - Jim - Christmas Photo Example

( f/2.8 70mm 1/5 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I did not adhere to the theme today because I wanted to try something. A friend from work tried to take some photos of his kids in front of their Christmas tree. He said they all turned out crappy and asked for advice. I recommended him setting the aperture to f/2.8 and use a flash set in rear curtain. Looking at his EXIF information, his camera automatically was set to f/2.8, but his flash did not fire. I also was thinking that the kids should be about 5 or so feet away from the tree so that the depth of field would only be on the kids and the tree lights would have a nice bokeh. That is just a personal preference and I tried it in this shot. The only thing I did not do was use a flash. Since the lights in the room are a different temperature than the flash and I didn't want to go find a gel, I just didn't use it. I tried once or twice and the background was just too yellow. Using the available light I was only able to get my shutter to 1/5 sec. So Jameson had to be very still or any movement would cause blur. Luckily he is entranced while watching TV. I plan on trying some more things and using a better flash to see what I can come up with. A little research will probably help too.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

062/365 - Jim - My Spin on Christmas

( f/18 10.5mm 16 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I have a Christmas tree with a spinning base. For this shot I used my fisheye lens and sent the tree spinning. The shutter was open for 16 seconds to get this wild effect. Now I must decorate it...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

061/365 - Jim - Lit Path Home

( f/18 24mm 47 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is automobile. I didn't take anything while it was daylight, and I didn't want to do another studio shot. So I had Carol drive down the road and back home. I put my camera on a tripod and set it to Manual mode. The shutter was set to bulb and I held in the cable release as she drove toward me. I would like to someday take a photo from a tall building down onto a busy street and get several streaks of light. I just haven't found the right building...

Friday, November 28, 2008

060/365 - Jim - Pop goes the turkey

( f/5 70mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is turkey. We had a Thanksgiving dinner with my parents today. It was quite the feast. This is the pop-up timer that most turkeys come with. When the tip of the timer reaches 185 degrees, it melts a glob of metal similar to solder and releases the plastic red stick. Then a spring pops it out. Pretty interesting little gadget if you are easily amused.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

059/365 - Jim - Pilgrim

( f/3.5 62mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is Thanksgiving. We recorded the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special and have let Jameson watch it the last couple days. Here he is watching it with a pilgrim hat that I quickly made and put on him. He didn't like having it on, so it was very difficult to get this shot. I wasn't real happy with the shot, so I did a lot of post processing on it. I had my wife holding my SB-800 flash inside a softbox and I triggered it using the Nikon Creative Lighting System. I only took five photos and this was the best of them. I can't wait until he starts to listen to me :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

058/365 - Jim - Arizona Diet Green Tea

( f/11 70mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is beverage. This is Arizona Diet Green Tea with Ginseng and also my favorite beverage. My wife keeps me stocked with gallons and gallons. There must be something addictive in it because I drink a lot of it. For this photo I put the glass in front of my Translum backdrop. Behind that was a studio flash with a large softbox. The Translum allows light to pass through it which prevented any light spots or bright reflections on the glass. Nice and clean... Then I used a remote as I poured the tea. My camera was set to continuous low, so it allowed me to keep the shutter release pressed and snap several shots per second. I looked through them and chose this one because it didn't have the bubbles that the others did with more tea in the glass.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

057/365 - Jim - Canon 500D Close-up Lens

( f/18 150mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is toy. This toy is my Canon 500D Close-up lens. I have used it with several photos on this blog. It goes on my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and I am able to get very close to the subject and zoom way in. I started out trying to take this photo myself, but it was so much trial and error that I finally asked my wife to help. She isn't the best with cameras and her patience level drops by the minute, but she agreed to help. I will just say this, one of us has not quite mastered our left from right...

Monday, November 24, 2008

056/365 - Jim - Big Boy Bed

( f/4 50mm 1/6 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is fabric. This is my son's new bed. My wife picked out the bedding. I wasn't sure of it at first because of it being a quilt look, but it grew on me. I used my 50mm lens, which is my cheapest lens at around $110, and put the camera on a tripod. I have daylight balanced lights in his room, but they don't put out enough light to hand hold the camera. My son loves his new big boy bed and hasn't looked back at his crib at all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

055/365 - Jim - My Two Sons

( f/11 40mm 1/200 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
My wife has wanted me to take a pregnancy picture, but she never really said let's go now and take one. Since there wasn't a theme she suggested we finally get one. I gave her a few options and we chose to have Jameson kiss her belly. It wasn't easy to get him to do it, but he finally did and I was lucky to get the shot. I applied a dreamy soft look to the photo with Lightroom. These type moments always look better with this kind of effect.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

054/365 - Jim - Sundae

( f/2.8 48mm 1/15 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is ice. Since there aren't any icicles hanging on the house yet and I didn't want to take a picture of ice cubes, I chose to photograph one of my favorite things. This is also one of the main reasons that I am overweight. After my wife has the baby, she says we are going on a "plan" and I'm pretty sure it does not involve ice cream. Goodbye my friend :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

053/365 - Jim - Try this angle

( f/2.8 70mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is triangle. As I sat in front of the TV and tried to think of a photo, I saw this shape box toy. Jameson was happy to play and I made it a little game for him to get him to hold the block a little longer. I would say "Ready... Set... GO" and he would drop it in. I put my camera on remote flash and had my wife hold the flash off to the side. I desaturated all the colors except for red in post processing using Lightroom.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

052/365 - Jim - Combination Square

( f/11 130mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is square. Sure I could have just took a picture of something in a square shape, but this mixes it up a little. I used a clamp to hold up the square and applied a preset in Lightroom to make it look old. Very simple...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

051/365 - Jim - Engagement Ring

( f/18 95mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is circle. This is the engagement ring that I gave my wife over 5 years ago. Zooming in on jewelry that is 5 years old isn't pretty. You are able to see all the scratches and imperfections, which makes me cringe because I know how much I spent on it. Oh well, it can probably be cleaned an buffed to look as good as new.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

050/365 - Jim - Playstation 3

( f/11 116mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is controller. The original thought was that I would take a photo of my PS3 controller and Matt would take one of his Xbox 360. Well Matt doesn't take pictures anymore so I win :) A bunch of guys I work with all have Xbox, so we butted heads for a while. Then Blu-ray won the HD media battle and now I have some converted friends. I'm still working on Matt, but he will see the light soon enough. For this photo I had a flash behind with a softbox and one directly over the controller. I held the controller up with a couple "C" batteries directly behind where they would not be visible.

Monday, November 17, 2008

049/365 - Jim - Phishing Lure

( f/11 48mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is security again. I came up with a new idea for the security poster contest. Phishing is where someone scams you into giving them your information. An example is when you get an email that asks you to verify your information such as credit card numbers or whatever information they want to steal from you. For this photo I strung pointed a flash at my Translum background to blow it out (make it completely white). Then another flash beside the lure. You may recognize that the rod is an Ugly Stik because of the clear tip that they put on most of their rods. The line was almost invisible, so I added darker lines with Paint Shop Pro.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

048/365 - Jim - Snowman

( f/3.5 86mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Today was the first real snow of the year. I went out on the deck and made this little snowman for my son to look at. I have been taking a lot of inside pictures lately because of the weather, so it is nice to take a photo of the outdoors. Actually I took this from inside with the door open, but it is still outside :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

047/365 - Jim - Works on cows, not hackers

( f/11 70mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is security. The Data Security group at work is having a poster contest. They want a photo and a slogan to raise security awareness. I fashioned this barbed wire out of an old hanger. It was not easy to do, which is why I only made one. I didn't have enough time to grind down the ends and make them sharp, so I hope you recognized what it was without reading this. I have a few other ideas for posters and hope one of them will win. There are some nice prizes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

046/365 - Jim - Peek-a-boo

( f/11 70mm 1/250 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is family member. This was an attempt to get 2 year old pictures of my son. I did not take any test shots beforehand and therefore did not get the results I wanted. My lights were not set up in the right way and the power was also set wrong. You can see an odd shadow on his left cheek that was probably produced by the backlight that was too far away from the background. I should have used that flash as a hair light instead because you can see how dark the top of his head is. These are lessons I must learn and grow from it. I might try again on Monday, so expect a theme change if I do. Hopefully it will work out much better.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

045/365 - Jim - Bread Knife

( f/11 180mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is kitchen utensil. This is one of my Henckels knives. I stood it upright with at cardboard backdrop and used my 70-200mm lens with the Canon 500D close-up. Only one flash was used with a softbox. I positioned it so it would reflect off of the knife and into the camera to give it a light silver look. To spruce it up I added the logo. I think it looks like a full page magazine ad.