Monday, March 28, 2011

An Island Left Behind

Greetings all!  This blog post is just a quick reminder about the gallery showing at Dharma Studios on Saturday, May 7th.  The photographs that will be on display are from my recent trip to Cotorro, Cuba.  The work primarily consists of photos taken in the rural areas seldom seen by outsiders individuals outside of Cuba itself.  It shows an island that has not seen much change since the revolution of 1959.  If you find yourself in the area of the Coral Gables on Saturday May 7th please top by Dharma Studios and take a look.  Never fear, there will be additional reminders between now and then.  If you would like to help with the preparation for the event see the “Help an Art Exhibit:  Get Exposure” tab at the top of this page for more details.  Above all else, I would like to see you there.  Thanks again for reading.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The High Key Effect

The high key effect is a modern style of shooting and I am sure that it came out of necessity. You achieve this effect when you have a good amount of the highlights blown out while still maintaining decent exposure on your subject. This happens most often when your subject is between you and the sun. The other aspect of the high key is the lens flare that you get which gives the photo a washed out look. Here of late this effect has become very popular among professional photographers. Partly, I am sure be cause it has become very popular with their clients. Personally I find it fun to shoot. I am not really sure why since I usually hate blown out highlights.

This effect can be used when you might otherwise have a distracting background that you must deal with. If you blow the highlights out enough you eliminate the problem. So, how do you get this High Key Effect? How do you eliminate it if you decide that you do not desire the effect?

Obtaining the Effect
First, you place your subject between you and a light source (or very close). Then, you open up by about 2 to 3 stops depending on how bright the light source. If you have your blinkies turned on then the camera will be flashing at you on the review of the image. You need to make sure that you check your main subject to ensure that no highlights are lost. If you get a lens flare then great! When it is time to process these images backing off the saturation of color is a good effect.

Overcoming the Effect
The first suggestion is to simply move to where you have a shaded or dark background. Also you want to ensure that the light from the light source is not in hitting the lens directly. This method will eliminate lens flare and the High Key Effect. The second way to eliminate the effect is to use a flash to overpower the main light source (usually the sun). You still need to make sure that there is no direct light contact with the lens to reduce lens flare. Then, you need to take a meter reading of the ambient light and stop down one to two stops. At this point you can add a flash to hit and properly expose the subject. Your background will be slightly underexposed but your subject will be correct. This has an additional benefit of separating your subject.

This effect isn’t for anyone but if you are out shooting give it a try… You and/or your clients might like it!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Don't Forget the Camera!!!

It always seems to happen this way.  I get bummed because I am not feeling any inspiration.  Then, it dawns on me that it is so difficult to take a photograph without a camera.  Today my wife and I had to run to Key Largo and I decided to throw the camera in the car just in case.  While at one of the locations I saw this simple piece of rope wrapped around a cleat.  I thought it had great black and white potential.  I snapped just a few shots and came out with some good images.  This one is my favorite for a few reasons.  The contrasting light and grungy look really played to the black and white idea.  The main focus of the image (cleat and wrapped rope) are in the first nodal point of the rule of thirds.  The rope guard fell in the 3rd nodal point for the rule.  One of the coolest aspects I didn't notice until I got to processing was the triangles.  Look how many there are in this photo!  I would like to say that is was all part of my photographic vision but alas it was a great bonus.  At the time of capture all I really noticed was the deep black in the upper right and the white in the upper left.  All and all this image took me about 30 seconds to capture!  If I had left my camera at home it would have been another missed opportunity.  Moral of the story?  You can't get any better if you don't practice.  A camera left at home is a photograph un-taken.  Thanks for reading!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Audio Blog about my Blog....

This is just a quick blog about what I have been doing lately and why I have not produced as many blogs in March.  More to come for sure.  Enjoy! 

If you are seeing this on Facebook then you can't view the video.  You can go directly to YouTube to see it though.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taking Care of Your Equipment

You bought all this equipment and now that you have used it a few times you think it is time to clean it all up. Well, you're probably correct in that assumption. Unless it is a particularly harsh environment (sandy or salty) I clean mine about every two battery charges. It only take a few minutes to do a basic cleaning and this is so vital to the longevity of the equipment that you should do it often. Camera sensor cleaning I will cover in a follow up post. 

What you need for basic cleaning:
1. The camera, lenses, and flashes you want to clean
2. Microfiber cloth
3. Lens brush
4. Lens solution
5. Lens cloth

How you use it all:
1. Take the microfiber cloth and VERY LIGHTLY dampen it. Then, wipe down the outside of all the equipment (no lens element cleaning with this) making sure to hit the areas where your hands rest the most. This means you are now done with the outside of the camera, lens, and flashes.
2. Take the lens brush and brush both ends of the glass and the mount on the camera. When cleaning the lens mount on the camera hold it upside so that the dust/dirt you clean off doesn't fall into the camera body.
3. Take the lens cloth and put a drop of solution on the cloth and rub the lens elements in a circular motion. You don’t have to be extremely gentle but do be careful because any particles that were not brushed off can scratch the elements.
4. Repeat this for the side of the lens that mounts to the camera.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Help an Art Exhibit: Get Exposure

Most of you know that last year I was invited to exhibit work at Dharma Studios in Coconut Grove (thanks Angeline!).  While at the exhibit my wife discussed with Dharma the fact that I had a trip planned to Cuba.  Well, most of you also know that in January 2011 I took that trip.  I think I managed to come back with some good images of the rural areas in and around Cotorro. 

Dharma Studios took a look at my images and asked if I would come show at their studio again on May 7th.  It should be obvious that I said YES!  I asked if Angeline could join me for the show since we had such a great time at the last show.  They of course said YES!. 

One thing we didn't realize last time around is the cost involved in setting up this art showing.  There was the printing of the images, mounting/framing/hanging, tables, posters, food (cheese/refreshments)... etc...  In the end I was surprised just how much money I had put into the exhibit. 

I try to be as honest as I can all the time and what this boils down to is....  You guessed it...  We, want your money!  However, there are different levels of rewards you will receive for the help that you provide.  Click the "Help and Art Exhibit:  Get Exposure button below to find out more details.  You can start by gifting as little as 8 dollars.  Angeline and I will put a link to your website on the four sites we use.  This will help us for sure and will drive traffic to your site! 

Of course if you just want to give us money and you don't have a site to promote that is okay too.  ;-)

With all this being said and in all seriousness if you can't support us with money then please support us with your presence on May 7th.  We would love to have you there and to talk about our respective arts.  If you know any business and/or people that might be interested then please, PLEASE provide them with a link to this blog post.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Converting to Black and White

This is a video tutorial on converting color images to B&W.  In this tutorial we start in Lightroom then move into Silver FX Pro by Nik Software.  We end the tutorial in Photoshop CS5.  Let me know what you think and as always if you have any questions leave a comment or send me an e-mail.