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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

044/365 - Jim - Fringe

( f/11 70mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is TV Show. This is the first of many hopefully. I want to take some logos from TV shows and reproduce them as a photo of my own. If you haven't watched the show Fringe, you should check it out. It is the latest show by J.J. Abrams and deals with fringe science such as telepathy, reanimation, etc. So far it has been really interesting. For this photo I cut an apple in half and poked it onto a boom connected to a light stand. I wrapped the boom with black foam because it is silver and would have reflected. Once I had the shot, I started on the post processing. I turned it blue, added the babies (click the image to see it close up), and finally added the yellow glowing things. This is what they show sometimes right before they go to commercial.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

043/365 - Jim - Green is the Winner

( f/11 52mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is tricolor. This was a tough theme for me. I could not think of anything really creative, so looking around the room I found this part of a race track that my sister got for my son as a birthday gift. Thanks to my guest entry for his creative photo. If you would like to be a guest photographer, pick a theme and take a photo on that day. Then send it to me at along with a name and description of your photo. Also, please let me know the theme you picked beforehand so I don't change it. If you don't find a theme you like, remember that every Sunday there is no theme. I would love to have a guest every week.

043/365 - Guest - What if?

( f/11 40mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )

Today I have a guest entry. My dad came to watch my son and took this picture for the theme tricolor. Here are his comments about the photo:

The theme of tricolor really had me thinking and that is always dangerous for me and for those around me. I thought briefly about an American Flag picture since this is Veterans Day but my mind wondered away from that spot and I started thinking ,"What if?" What if we could draw using a pen with the same three colors found in most color printers. I couldn't think of a better subject than Jameson so here is my representation of "What if?"

Monday, November 10, 2008

042/365 - Jim - I Love Cards

( f/4 70mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is letters. I saw this on Flickr one day and wanted to reproduce it. It is a very cool idea and I can't take credit for it. All I had to do in post processing was remove a tiny amount of red from the Queen and Ace to make them an O and V. Using the 7 and 3 as letters reminds me of my childhood and typing things on the calculator, then flipping it over and giggling.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

041/365 - Jim - Blue Smoke

( f/16 27mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I went to the Steeler game today and took my point and shoot camera. If you saw the game, you'll know why I was disgusted and didn't post any of those pictures. Instead, right before midnight I set up a candle and a flash. I lit the candle and blew it out then snapped some photos. To make the smoke blue, I changed the white balance to tungsten. The glass holder was desaturated to black and white in post processing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

040/365 - Jim - My Dad

( f/11 56mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is portrait. Today we had a birthday party for my son, and invited the family. My Dad wanted a portrait taken for his blog, so I told him I would change the theme today and post his photo. I used 2 flashes with softboxes and feathered them toward each other. A little post processing was necessary to remove old man hairs that were later removed by hand :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

039/365 - Jim - Lemon Wheel

( f/22 200mm 6 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is wheel. I almost changed the theme because I couldn't come up with any interesting ideas for a wheel. I started thinking about back lighting and then it hit me. A backlit lemon slice looks kind of like a wheel. I tried a few shots with a snooted flash but didn't like them very much. So I just used the model light in the flash as my back light. The background is Translum and I used one of those Glade plugin things that have 3 led lights on it and does a little light show. I stopped it on red and waved it around behind the Translum for the 6 second exposure. I cropped and tilted the image in post processing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

038/365 - Jim - Bokeh Rose

( f/2.8 200mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is bokeh. You might be asking yourself "What is bokeh?" Well, it is a word derived from a Japanese word (boke) and is a photographic term referring to the appearance of the out-of-focus areas. This is produced by adjusting the lens to the highest aperture, in this case f/2.8 which results in a very shallow depth of field. The background circles are actually Christmas lights that I hung on my Translum background and put the (fake) rose in front of it about 10 feet. Then the camera was about 8 or so feet from the rose. I pointed two flashes at the rose. One from below with a snoot attached and the other from above with a grid spot. No post processing adjustments were made to this image.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

037/365 - Jim - Happy Second Birthday Jameson

( f/2.8 200mm 1/13 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is candle. My son turned 2 years old today. I took a vacation day to spend time with him. We went to Giant Eagle and I got him some cupcakes to put candles in. His official party will be on Saturday so I wanted to let him blow candles out on his actual birthday. I put this cupcake on my roll of Translum and it is only lit by the candles. I took some photos with flashes, but they weren't as dramatic as this one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

036/365 - Jim - New Shoes

( f/10 10.5mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is new. These are my new shoes. You may look at this and say "hey, I only see one shoe." Well, they are actually both there. I put one on top of the other and used a tool in Lightroom called a Graduated Filter which added a black gradation over the bottom shoe and makes it look like a reflection. Pretty slick eh? I took this shot with my fisheye lens because I was originally trying to get some crazy fisheye look, but then this idea hit me and I was too lazy to change lenses.

Monday, November 3, 2008

035/365 - Jim - Rochester Cycle Poco

( f/8 200mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is old. My grandpa gave me a bunch of his camera collection a while back. For this theme I knew I wanted to find one of the oldest ones and photograph it. I sat down and researched this camera for a while. My best guess is that it is a Rochester 4x5 Cycle Poco from 1896. That makes it 112 years old. The label must have fallen off the front because I saw photos of similar cameras with a label. The photographic shutter was made by Bausch & Lomb Optical Company and patented on Jan 6, 1891. To take a photo using this camera, one had to load a glass negative plate into the back and then take the photo. I'm not real sure how they were able to determine what shutter speed and aperture to use. Photography has come a long way since then.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

034/365 - Jim - Golden Spiral

( f/2.8 200mm 1/640 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Since there isn't a theme today, I thought I would give a lesson. In photography there are some rules of composition. The most common method is the Rule of Thirds. This is where you divide the photo into thirds and end up with nine equal parts. Then you put the features of the subject at the intersecting points or on the lines. Another composition technique is the Golden Spiral. This photo is not an exact golden spiral, but is close enough to it. Flowers are a common subject for this technique. One other technique is Framing. This is where the main subject is surrounded by other elements of the photo. A common example is where foreground trees are used to box in the subject. These are called rules, but rules are meant to be broken and if you break the rules and end up with a nice picture, that is really all that counts.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

033/365 - Jim - Layered Texture

( f/9 75mm 1/320 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is texture. I read about a method of taking photos of textures and then overlaying them onto photos. So what I did was take a picture of the back side of a leather belt. Then did a multiple exposure of the texture along with this photo of the Mellon Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. This produced an old weathered looking photograph. I could have done this in a graphics program with layers and toned down the texture in the center which would have given it a better look probably, but you get the point. This is the first time I have tried this and I like the effect, so I'll probably try it again sometime.