Monday, January 12, 2015

Of Fog and Macros

Still on my journey with the Macro lens. I'm shooting every day, even if I post nothing worthwhile. 
This morning, we had ice rain. This afternoon, heavy fog. I deliberately amped up the ISO in this shot to increase the noise so that it might add to the fog effect. I would have tried this shot with my 17-35mm and come away disappointed, I think, so in a way trying landscape work with a prime went rather well.
Oh and tomorrow? More ice scheduled. Go figure.

Monday, January 5, 2015

More Macro Work

Okay, so I goofed. I meant to bring my camera to work this morning, and with all the other stuff I had to bring, I forgot. But rather than skipping out, I shot one more Macro event for your viewing pleasure. The following image is intentionally overexposed. Continuing with the single light setup I cranked up the power to 100%, set my aperture to 11, ISO to 100, and a custom white balance of 3000k for a light blue tint. Then ensuring the framing is correct, I poured apple juice into the glass, and used a remote trigger to freeze the action with 1/250th of a second for the shutter speed.
The idea is hardly unique, but without a helper, I had to shoot at this angle. What I'd like to do, which requires two people, is angle the glass at about 30 degrees to really get the water splash curve up and over the glass. Then get down on the level of the glass, parallel with the lip, and shoot.
When I get a helper for this shot, I'll give it a swing. Until then, enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Macro and Light Work

So, getting a headstart on staying on top of my goal of shooting daily, I pulled out a set of cheap wine glasses and I used only one light, trying to give them depth and direction. The first shot was converted to Black and White (which made almost no difference, but I'm throwing that out there) and the second one was shot with a blue filter over the single light, which was set at 45 degrees to the subject matter. I set my Aperture to 11, ISO 100, Shutter speed for the Black and White was  3 seconds, and on the blue one, 1/250th of a second (I tripped the flash.)
With a single light, you can create dynamic lighting, and while the subject here is rather simplistic, I want to explore this option more with a person, I think that could create some great images.

A Month of Macros, Catching Up

Okay, so the "severe fog warning" was a bust. I was up in time for it, there just wasn't any. What we did have was rain, which effects thereof can be interesting to shoot, but given I wasn't feeling all that swift this morning, I decided against. What I did do instead, was work with some more controlled lighting, and my ever growing collection of ties.
While my job allows casual dress, and indeed almost demands it, my last job was three piece suit and tie affair, and so I have a large collection of ties. Arranging them to be interesting, however, much much more challenging that I was expecting, and in the end, I don't think I pulled it off. The settings were the same as the miniature work from the other day, with the exception of different colour background. In any case, I'll let you be the judge. Tomorrow is the start of a full work week, and I will be shooting some detail from the city.

New Project: One Lens a Month

Every photographer, at one point in time in their life, collects too many lenses. I get it, we all love new gear, whether it's the online steal we couldn't pass up, or the hidden gem found at a thrift store, we accumulate gear like it's going out of style.
The trick with all of this gear, is using it. Sometimes it gets used once or twice and set back in the closet, forgotten, other times, it becomes our go-to lens. In this series, I want to use only one lens for the entire month. In this case, for January, I'm going to use my Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Dedicated Macro.
I've mentioned the lens on this journal before, and the issues with working with Macro lenses, but as a quick recap, they have very narrow Depths of Field, and do not tolerate sloppy handling. I'm going to try to post a picture a day show with my macro lens. The astute of you will notice it's already the 3rd of January. Yeah so I'm a little late on this. So here's two shots to get things going. 
This Sea Creature was a local hobby store close-out, I think I paid 2$ for it. I wasn't sure what to paint it, so I went with underwater type scheme. I'm not a fast painter, nor an especially good one, so it took me some months to get it to this state. 
The background was an ordinary 12"x12" scrapbook sheet, taped to my desk, two strobe lights, at half power, at 45 degree angles from the figure, and my Nikon D2x. F/10 and 1/250th of a second for the shutter speed. No other adjustments, pre- or post-, were made. In other words, straight from the camera.

This Minotaur is a work in progress so forgive the sloppy painting. All the settings listed above, were duplicated here. The figure is from a company called "Reaper Minis" and this is from their "Bones" line. They are truly affordable (he was 3$) and nicely detailed, but made of some of the most infuriating material I have ever seen disgrace a miniature. It's a weird mixture of recycled plastic and...well..rubber as near as I can tell. As such, any paint has issues sticking to the material and either becomes tacky and never dries right, or glosses up and pools, sliding right off the surface. Scrubbing them (I bought more) with soap and water (or Simple Green) made little, if any, difference. Even primer had issues, but in the end, I found a very good primer that is airbrush-ready (I'm using my airbrush on a red dragon.)
In any event, I chose the Macro lens because it's both a great Macro lens, and a fantastic (if a few stops slower) 50mm normal, or prime, lens. So while I am re-acquainting myself with Macro work, I can always use it as a normal lens. I just heard on the radio it's supposed to be foggy tomorrow morning. If I can get my carcass out of bed in time to catch it, that will be the next set of images.
Stay tuned!