My wife and I came across this row of colored houses while out for a walk the other day, and I stopped by the next morning to take a picture. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped due to a couple of reasons. First, it was early in the morning and I don’t like the shadows being cast on the houses by each other. It kind of adds an interesting spatial element to the photo, but I think it’s a bit distracting. Also, the sky is way too cloudy which lends a somewhat dreary and dismal mood to the picture, which is not what I was going for at all. I did some retouching on this in Photoshop, but didn’t want to go as far as actually removing the cloudy sky and adding a nice blue one instead (and then the pond wouldn’t look right either). I plan on going back and re-taking this photo in the coming weeks, but I think it’s worth posting here on Weekly Fifty for what I learned from it, not because it’s a particularly noteworthy picture.
So we were at home doing some cleaning about a week and a half ago when my wife pointed out a rather long snake making its way across the street and into our front yard. She, much like Indiana Jones, is not a big fan of snakes, and asked me to go out and kindly remove the creature. A request which I was more than happy to fulfill, since it gave me the chance to hearken back to my medieval forebears of knights in shining armor who rode gallantly into the face of danger to protect their homeland. Only instead of gauntlets I donned a pair of work gloves, and in the place of a lance I instead wielded a push broom and my DSLR camera. Same difference though, right?
Anyway, I followed this snake around for about 10 minutes, coaxing him away from our house with the broom while snapping pictures with the camera. I didn’t know if it was a poisonous snake or not (found out later that this species, Elaphe obsoleta or “Rat Snake,” was not), and since I was using my 50mm lens I had to get uncomfortably close in order to get any good pictures. The stick in the foreground upon which this snake’s head is resting was actually thrown by me in order to encourage the slithering reptile to leave, but instead it was used as a photography prop–a decision which I can’t say was entirely disappointing.
Eventually the snake did head on town the block, but it was not really due to me and my broom. Rather, a mockingbird decided that a snake in the yard was unacceptable, and flew down to help me out. It put on quite a show, dancing and flaring its wings while also pecking at its tail, and apparently the snake decided he had better just move on. And so did I, back into the house to help my wife finish reading books to our son.
Saw this nail sticking out from a fence while walking around the other day. He was all like “What’s up fence? I’m a nail. Yeah, I’m sticking out. What are you gonna do about it?” I think f/4 was a bit too wide, as you don’t get a sense of context relating to the rest of the fence due to the shallow depth of field, but otherwise I’m happy with this shot.
My wife and I came across these two fellas during a trip to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. It was a tad tricky to get pictures of them with a 50mm lens (well, 75mm if you take the crop sensor on my D200 into account) but thankfully they obliged our curiosity by creeping close enough for a photograph or two.
We got a new bike for our department at work, so Ryan decided to take it out for a spin. I figured it would be a good opportunity to try a few panning shots, and of the roughly 20 that we took I was only happy with this one (though another one was decent, but just a tad too blurry for my taste). Ryan was kind enough to oblige my curiosity and bike in circles around the student union plaza while I fiddled with my camera. This was on a clear day at roughly 3pm, so a neutral density filter would have been really handy but thankfully f/16 (as slow as my 50mm lens goes) was able to handle the job decently well.
I’m not sure exactly what type of tree this is, but it’s outside my building at work and the Arbor Day website tells me it’s a Dogwood. I took this picture about 9am when the sun was still relatively low on the horizon, creating more interesting shadows than at high noon. I liked the clear blue sky in the background too, which is harder to capture later in the day unless you’ve got an ND filter handy. Also, I didn’t do a single edit to this picture–not even a simple crop. Generally I like to touch up my photos (my tool of choice right now is Aperture) and it’s not that this photo is perfect by any means, but I was just pleased with how it turned out to begin with so I didn’t see the need to process it afterwards.
I took this photo for a contest at Oklahoma State University, with the theme of “Capturing Student Life.” Not sure if it will win or not, but even if it doesn’t I am fairly please with the results. This dude was kind enough to let me take his picture while doing a kickflip on his board, but was quick to apologize for what was apparently the poor execution of his maneuver. I thanked him and assured him that it was far, far better than anything I could hope to do on a skateboard.
When I went to submit the photo for the contest, I was told that doing tricks on campus is illegal. Thankfully nobody told this dude :)
I walk past this statue on the way to my building at work, and finally stopped to take a picture when it was all nice and lit up from the right side. This was more of an exercise in Photoshop than photography, but I’m fairly happy with how it turned out so I thought I’d share it nonetheless. This also demonstrates the value of shooting in RAW, and for the sake of comparison you can view a small JPG version of the original image here. The statue is somewhat overexposed on the original, but since a ton of data is still available to work with on overexposed RAW images, this wasn’t really a problem (DPS explains this phenomenon in their article about exposing to the right). Basically, for the final image I isolated various parts of the image using different layers, and applied some correcting to each one in order to get the final picture the way I wanted it. I also fixed up a few blemishes in the bricks, using Photoshop’s ever-so-useful Clone Stamp tool. If I were to do the same alterations from a JPG source image, it would be impossible to get the same amount of detail in the final image, which is RAW can be so useful. For example, in the original image the knee portion of the statue is nearly white. If I had shot this in JPG, all I could do would be to make the knee look a little less bright. But since it was a RAW image, there was a ton of data collected by the camera that I was able to pull out in Photoshop.