Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another... Ortonized

For this image and the previous the gaussian blur layer had a pixel radius of 20 - it's just a random number which left some general detail in the image, and could definitely be played with. I saved this technique as an action and can see myself using it quite a bit. Leaving in the layers allows me to go back and fiddle with settings to tweak it after the fact, which is something that I've failed to do with most of my previous images, unfortunately.

The Orton Technique apparently what I was trying for in my previous post "Flower and Pot". Didn't know it had a name, and I've come across some great links on digital versions of this technique. There's a great link here for starters. The photographer, Michael Orton, has a website here. Very cool. For this image i just modified the technique described in the first link to add a more pronounced color to the image, then gave it a ragged edge. For more info just google (or click the link) "Orton technique".

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Better Half

Amaryllis blossom, Version 2.0

Another amaryllis - my wife seems rather fond of them. I noticed this one blooming today and it had some great colors, which i promptly downplayed a bit. Two layers - one gaussian blur, the other with monochromatic noise to simulate grain. I used manual focus to selectively note the red rims around the petals but it's lost a bit with the treatment I gave the overall image. I have a couple more shots of this bloom that I'll play with and post shortly.

"Memory Lane"

This shot was modified with an action called "Memory Lane - Low Resolution" which I obtained from the ActionCentral website. There are two versions, the other (unsurprisingly) being "High Resolution". I like the lo-res version better - it has more punch than the other, and produces a very nice high-key image. I had to sharpen the image a little after applying the action as it wasn't quite in focus, but I liked the composition so much that I wasn't going to let the image go so easily.

Not sure...

If I like the B&W or low-saturation color version better. Right now I'm leaning toward the low-sat version. The original shot has lots of punch and color but it's not really what I'm looking for. I used a layer with gaussian blur to soften the image - in the color version the blur layer is B&W which has the effect of slightly desaturating the colors as well as softening the image.

Monday, January 01, 2007

(A belated) Merry Christmas!

Just because I can!

She likes chocolate. She likes cake. Chocolate fondue with cake? 'Nuff said. Yes, this will be shown at her wedding - father's prerogative!

Favorites from the Christmas Bowling Expedition

Considering the low, poor quality light in the bowling alley and the fact that I absolutely detest on-camera flash, I shot these at ISO 3200 (or HI 1.0 as Nikon calls it) and in B&W to diminish the tendency of high-ISO digital to produce ugly noise. My Nikon tends to get grainy and VERY soft at 3200 but I don't mind it with the right material, and since there's no other way to really get the shot, it's fine by me. And yes, some of the are blurry... but that's part of the charm!

Amaryllis blossom

"Studio shot" blossoms... I added two layers to each image; on layer one I added noise and lightened the curves. Layer two added copious gaussian blur with a reduced opacity to let the "grain" show through. Just quick and easy treatments but I like the effect.

Two more...

My "poor-man's studio" consists of two Olympus camera flashes mounted with adaptors on stands and bounced into umbrellas. It's powerful enough to do head and torso shots; I tape or tack up a cloth background (in this case, white fabric taped to a large window) and with a flash meter purchased on eBay for $35 and a basket of fresh AA batteries I'm ready to go. The down side to this method is not having a modelling lamp to figure out where the shadows will fall, so it takes some trial and error. Usually I just set the two flash/umbrella assemblies at opposing 45 degree angles to get a smooth, easy high-key approach. One of these days when I scrape up some money I look forward to buying a couple of proper studio strobes, as this is a lot of fun!

A new favorite

My favorite shot from a small poor-man's studio set-up session my wife and I were messing with the other day. My youngest daughter is a holy terror, but how can you not love this face?