Saturday, January 31, 2009

124/365 - Jim - A Mother's Kiss

( f/11 60mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is kiss. I originally wanted to have a photo of my son Jameson kissing Nolan on the head, but he was sick all day. This was the best photo of the group. Nolan kept crying when my wife held him out to give him a kiss. I used a flash with softbox to the left and behind to get the nice highlights around the left edges. I also had a flash with softbox to the right just in front of the camera as a main light.

Friday, January 30, 2009

123/365 - Jim - Nitecicles

( f/5 24mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is negative space. I wanted to make it look like the blackness of the night was icicles, but it didn't turn out that well. This isn't the best representation of negative space, so instead I enhanced the color of the icicles in Lightroom to give it the Steelers black & gold spirit. The Superbowl is coming soon. Go Steelers!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

122/365 - Jim - Dizzy

( f/3.5 10.5mm 1/3 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is distortion. I used my fisheye lens and pointed it at myself only about a foot away. Then I started to spin very fast. The flash was set to rear so It would capture my face with minimal blur, but leave the shutter open long enough to show all the motion in the background. I took quite a few shots, so I got pretty dizzy, which also makes me a little sick. Luckily my dinner stayed down. If anyone tries this, send me the photo!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

121/365 - Jim - Pollock Tree Limbs

( f/8 50mm 1/200 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is contrast. It just so happens to be Jackson Pollock's 97th birthday today. He died in 1956. I think my photo looks a lot like one of his paintings. We had a wintry mix from last night until now, which left the trees wrapped in ice. I took this photo out through my basement window. Contrast was added in Lightroom. I also made it black and white to make it more uniform and not give any specific focal points. Learn more about Jackson Pollock at

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

120/365 - Jim - Panasonic AG-HMC150

( f/8 50mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I have finally upgraded to HD video. This is the Panasonic AG-HMC150. It records to SDHC cards, so there is no tape to bother with. A big bonus to that is that it records to AVCHD, which my PS3 can play. I took a few little videos tonight and put the SD card into my PS3 and it played them without any issues and the quality was superb. This is going to be a lot of fun. I need to learn how to use it though and there isn't a whole lot of information online yet. I may have to start up yet another blog to document what I have learned...

The main reason I got this was to film my children as they grow up. I only have a couple short clips of myself turning 1 and almost walking. The quality is horrible, so it will be nice in 30 years to at least have videos that are the best quality of today. Who knows what TV will be like then...

Monday, January 26, 2009

119/365 - Courtney - Steeler Excitement

( f/2.8 7.9mm 1/40 sec ISO 100 Sony DSC-P200 )
This was taken by my sister-in-law Courtney. She prides herself in her ability to take blurry photos. In this picture is my father-in-law, Bill, at the AFC Championship game. Courtney tells me this was right after the Polamalu interception. Very understandable that the image would be blurry with all the jumping around and excitement. Go Steelers!

119/365 - Jim - Blur

( f/1.8 50mm 1/20 sec ISO 1600 Nikon D300 )
Theme is blurry. I used my 50mm f/1.8 lens at the highest aperture to ensure a lot of blur. The depth of field is so shallow that only the lens cap is in focus. I had my mother hold the lens cap with her arm extended out as far as she could. She complained at me saying she didn't want to be in the picture, but the extreme blur settled her down.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

118/365 - Jim - Monkey Boy

( f/11 29mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
When my son Jameson was a baby I took a similar photo of him against this mural that I painted. So I got requests to do the same with Nolan. I took one shot with just the mural. Then had my wife take the shot of me holding Nolan on my arm. I cropped him out and pasted him onto the clean photo and erased my arm. Then I filled in any missing pieces and added some shadow to the branch. With Nolan awake, it was hard to hold him in place. He wanted to wiggle off my arm. It's ok though because I hear babies bounce or there is a 5 second rule or something like that...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

117/365 - Jim - Argus Borders

( f/22 105mm 1/250 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is borders. I set up an old Argus Seventy-five camera and shot at the viewfinder. Since it is so old, there is all kinds of dust and crud on the glass. I cleaned off what I could reach, but it left the edges dirty and whatever was on the inside of the camera. This gives it an old photo look. If I wanted it to make it look even older, I could have warmed the image. I have been wanting to try this for a while and finally got the chance. There is a group on flickr called Through the Viewfinder that has a collection of photos like this.

Friday, January 23, 2009

116/365 - Jim - Ping Pong

( f/13 48mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is sports. It isn't one of the most popular sports, but I love it. I grew up watching my dad play. Then I started to play a lot in high school and got pretty good. The only problem is that I never have anyone to play with. I'm going to have to wait until my boys are old enough and start the training. I can beat my dad now and hopefully one day they will be able to beat me. This is the same paddle that I took a close-up of back on day 99.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

115/365 - Jim - Winter Sunrise

( f/9 38mm 1/320 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Yesterday on my way to work I saw a really nice sunrise over this field, so this morning I went armed with my camera. I parked the car and ran across the road to get this shot. It was extremely cold, so I shot until I couldn't move my fingers anymore. Gloves really come in handy in times like that and I didn't bring any. On my way back to the car I noticed a huge snow covered field with very few trees against the horizon. I took some photos of that and also included some mailboxes that you can see if you click here. I really like this shot, maybe better than the sunrise, but the sunrise is what got me out in the cold, so I had to post it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

114/365 - Jim - Panasonic PV-GS400

( f/16 70mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I plan on selling my camcorder, so I figured I would take some photos of it for potential buyers. This is a Panasonic PV-GS400 which I got when it first came out for $1200. It got great reviews from places such as It records to miniDV tapes and can take 4 megapixel still images onto an SD card. There is even a built in pop-up flash. A friend of mine was attending the Pittsburgh Filmmakers school and they have these camcorders for the students to make films with. The reason I want to sell it is to upgrade to high def. If you have any interest, take a look at the camcorderinfo review and send me an email.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

113/365 - Jim - Framed On The Fly

( f/22 48mm 1/5 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is frame. I looked out my back door after work and noticed some really nice late day light on the trees. I had this idea for a while so I went to get the frame taken apart and get my camera. By the time I was able to take the photo, the sun had moved on and I lost the perfect light. I took the photo anyways, but know it could have been better. My wife held the frame while I took the shot. I used a rear flash to light the frame so the shutter was pretty slow and resulted in less than perfect sharpness. I made the inside of the frame black and white with Lightroom.

Monday, January 19, 2009

112/365 - Jim - Attitude Adjustment

( f/11 62mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is attitude. Paige here always seems to show some attitude when I take her picture. Usually at some point she will roll her eyes and put a scour on her face. This photo shoot was the only time she really didn't. I had to tell her to look mad at me and instead she looked sad. So my mother was fixing her hair and I noticed a "look" so I snapped a picture.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

111/365 - Tim - Cheerleading Competition

( f/3.5 18mm 1/100 sec ISO 800 Nikon D60 )
My uncle Tim is the guest blogger today. He asked me for some advice on photographing in a gymnasium. I told him about setting the white balance for the fluorescent lights and to shoot in Shutter priority. Also how to use the ISO if the pictures are too dark. He took my advice and got a quality shot. Here is some info he emailed me about the photo. Jessica is my cousin if you can't figure that out...

Thanks to the advise I received from a great photographer I know, the picture turned out great. I had no idea you could take such a nice photo inside a gymnasium without a flash. Jessica is the red head holding the girl up on the right. Jessica's team took third place in the competition. The Nikon D60 with the 18-200mm lens took first place.

111/365 - Jim - Here We Go Steelers

( f/11 24mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Today we show our Steeler spirit in preparation for the big game against Baltimore. Courtney will be at the game cheering for us all. I will be at home on that couch to he right staying warm, but I would love to be there. Go Steelers!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

110/365 - Jim - My Glass

( f/8 50mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is glass. Photographers refer to their lenses as glass. This is my collection of glass in order from left to right:
  • Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye - fun lens that can be used for great special effects and getting the whole picture
  • Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 - this is the best all around lens Nikon has available. If you can only have one lens, this should be it
  • Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 macro - if you want to take an extreme close-up, this is the lens to use
  • Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 - this is a pro lens that is very sharp and I use it a lot!
  • Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 - this pro lens is great for sports and wildlife. I can't wait to use this for sports when my kids start to play
  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (not shown because I shot this photo with it) - this very cheap (~$110) lens is great for portraits and getting very shallow depth of field. It is also very sharp. I recommend it highly if you have one of the higher end Nikon cameras. It will not auto focus on the Nikon D40, D40x, D60, and D90.

Friday, January 16, 2009

109/365 - Jim - Ice Crystals

( f/22 105mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is ice. It was below 0 degrees today and ice crystals formed on my windows. I thought it looked pretty cool so I started photographing it. For some reason I didn't get any shots that were tack sharp. This was the closest I got and the left side is a bit blurred. Probably because I was not pointing the camera straight at the glass. I enhanced the colors and tone curve to give it more detail.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

108/365 - Jim - Reading Room

( f/11 35mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is comical. We have been working on Jameson using the potty, but haven't had any luck yet. I asked him if he had to go and he said yes, so I took him back and he just sits there with his pants on. I had an idea to give him a paper and see if he would pose for a shot and he actually did it. Since he can't read yet I gave him the comics and he quickly noticed Snoopy, which is what he is pointing out to me in this photo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

107/365 - Sherri - Wall Flower

( f/2.7 6mm 1/64 sec ISO 80 Kodak Easyshare C813 )
My guest blogger today is my sister. She sent me the picture, but didn't really give me a good description, so I'll just paste part of the email.

Here is plant. I tried taking pictures of a bamboo plant which is my favorite...but didn't go well. My camera sucks. 8. something pixels. Oh, well, it was fun. This was off my wall in the hall way. I used my lamp in my living room that has an umbrella type outside around it to try to make it look good....ha.

107/365 - Jim - Cool Plant

( f/18 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is plant. This is one of the very few plants that I have in my house. I don't know what it is called. One of my friends died several years back and this plant was from his funeral. So every time I see it, it reminds me of him. This thing gets neglected at times, but I think it will last forever. I love how it is so bright and looks as cool as a flower. If you know what it is called, let me know.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

106/365 - Jim - Prismacolor

( f/36 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is pencil. After high school I had a decision to make. I could go to an art school or a computer school. There were two paths I could go by, but in the long run I chose computers. I know there's still time to change the road I'm on and it makes me wonder... While in high school I liked using these pencils to draw with. I very rarely do any drawing anymore. I wish I had time for it, but with two kids there is no chance. If you read this and it sounded a little familiar to you, I used some Stairway to Heaven lyrics. Just for fun because I'm sure my descriptions are boring.

Monday, January 12, 2009

105/365 - Jim - Shadow

( f/11 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is hand print. For this photo I stood behind my Translum background with a flash behind me. I originally wanted to just get my hand in the shot, but found this one interesting. It could be a scary movie poster as creepy as it looks. You could probably really scare someone by printing this out and taping it to a window. I also did some shadow puppets, so maybe I'll make that a theme someday.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

104/365 - Jim - My New Car

( f/22 105mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
OK, so it's just a Matchbox car... I put it on a piece of reflective black paper and used a single flash with a softbox. Then I applied a preset to it in Lightroom. This is such a tiny car and I liked how real it looked, so I sat it aside to photograph. While trying to think of something to take a picture of today, I remembered I had this waiting.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

103/365 - Jim - Severe Winter Warning

( f/14 70mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I went against the theme today because we got a large amount of snow overnight. I'd say we have at least 8" so far and it is supposed to keep snowing all day. Taking snow pictures is not easy. Without a flash the snowflakes just blur and produce an image that looks like it is very low contrast. For this shot I used my Alienbee B1600 at full power pointed out my back door. Then shot all the way zoomed in at my shed at a higher f stop to get a larger focus area for the snow flakes. The flash pretty much froze the flakes and you are able to see what it really looked like.

Friday, January 9, 2009

102/365 - Jim - Train Addict

( f/11 48mm 1.3 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is train. My son loves Thomas and Friends. Lots of friends! Here are some of his collection. I lined them up and used the modeling light from two flashes. I also compensated the exposure at +1.0 to make it a little brighter. I think he has around 50 trains and will probably get some more if he uses the potty :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

101/365 - Jim - Forgotten Data

( f/14 42mm 2 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is hard drive. I had this old hard drive laying around and wanted to bust it open because I thought it could be a cool photo. I have no idea what is on this drive and it doesn't have enough capacity to be used now, so it will go into the trash. The drive is just sitting on my Translum background and I used the ambient light from my basement. Then I made it black and white in Lightroom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

100/365 - Jim - U-neek Blox

( f/11 38mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I made it to 100. Woohoo! Theme is unique. I wanted some guest bloggers, but it looks like I didn't get any. I had something in mind when I did the last unique photo, but I couldn't remember, so I sat down and got this thought. My son and I were playing with these blocks earlier today. I stack them and he knocks them down. To line these up I just put a block in between each one and tried to be as exact as I could. I bounced a flash off the ceiling to get the soft shadows. I should have shot at a lower aperture, maybe f/18, because the bottom block isn't very sharp.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

099/365 - Jim - What is it?

( f/32 105mm ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is macro guess. I started having fun with this and took several pictures that I would like people to guess, so I made a little collage of them. For the top 2 photos I just used the 105mm macro lens and put the subject as close as I could. For the bottom 2 photos, I put my 50mm lens in front of my 105mm lens with the faces toward each other. This is a macro trick and can get you incredibly close! So make your guesses in the comments and I will let you know if any of them are correct.

Monday, January 5, 2009

098/365 - Jim - Oh Brother

( f/11 42mm 1/125 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is brothers. We bribed Jameson with a lollipop so he would sit nicely. It worked for the most part. He sat there and smiled a few times and we got some really nice photos. Nolan didn't like it at times, but I was able to get a few nice shots of him too. I used the Translum background with two strobes with softboxes and one strobe behind the background. I wish I had diffused the flash in the background a little better. I probably should have pointed the flash straight down and bounced it off a large white card. That would have produced a smoother fade. Lesson learned for next time.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

097/365 - Jim - Oscar Mayer

( f/5 55mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
I like the look of photos with hardwood floors. I found myself thinking about it today, so I went into Jameson's room to see if I had enough space to take a photo. Turns out I only have a small spot and there is a window just above, so the wall is even limited. I took a few test shots and then got Jameson to play beside the wall. That was more difficult than expected. The book is there because I told him to sit on it, thinking that would get him in the right spot. Turns out I was wrong. This was the best I could do. He hunkered down and launched the Oscar Mayer wiener car at me.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

096/365 - Jim - Polaroid Infinity

( f/6.3 70mm 1/160 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is Polaroid. This is an old Time-Zero OneStep Polaroid Land Camera that my grandfather gave me. I don't have any film for it and I believe they will be stopping production of film soon. I used a feature in Picasa 3 to turn my photo into a Polaroid look and then used that in Paint Shop Pro to make it look like it is coming out of the camera. My wife was kind enough to go out onto the cold deck so I could have a nice background. The sun was lighting the background nicely and the house blocked the sun from Carol, so I used my SB-800 flash with the Lightsphere as a fill and to prevent the background from being too bright.

Friday, January 2, 2009

095/365 - Jim - Studio Flashes

( f/5 22mm 1/60 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is photography equipment. When I refer to my studio flashes, these are what I'm talking about. They are Alienbee strobes and I have all three that they offer. The B400, B800, and the B1600 are named for their effective watts. I have used one or more of these flashes for most of the photos on this blog, so they have been well worth the money. I also have several light modifiers. In the background, even though it's hard to see properly, is a large softbox (32" x 40") and I have two of these. They are extremely useful for producing the soft shadows. On the bottom left is a honeycomb grid spot. This allows me to produce spots of light behind the subject or can be used as a hair light for portraits. On the right side is a snoot which limits the output light to a small circle. I have used it for background spots and vignetting. The little unit in the center is a remote. All the flashes have a phone cord connection which goes into this LG4X remote unit. Then I can set the power of each flash from a central place. Hopefully one day I will be able to get something wireless. I see that RadioPopper is working on something that can control the Alienbee flashes without wires. That would be nice.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

094/365 - Jim - One of these things is not like the other things

( f/8 105mm 1/200 sec ISO 200 Nikon D300 )
Theme is one. Does anyone remember the Cookie Monster game? This is a common photography style when portraying something different or unique. I will make "unique" a theme and see if anyone wants to post their unique photo. Just follow the instructions on the right side under Guest Fotos Welcome.