POTW: Streetsboro Park

March 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm

POTW: Streetsboro Park

It was Sunday afternoon and didn't have any pictures yet. Visited my parents like I do most Sundays and figured I'd go through the park. Was amazed a tree still had a lot of it's leaves so I trudged through ankle deep snow to get this. Tried a couple looking straight up the tree and they just didn't come out how I wanted. Kinda bland but maybe it would make a good texture if I did that kind of thing. For those somewhat familiar with north-eastern Ohio, Streetsboro is located south of Twinsburg and north of Kent.

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POTW: Westinghouse Factory

February 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm

POTW: Westinghouse Factory

Winter is still in full force but the sun decided to finally come out. Been meaning to go to the Westinghouse factory for a while now. Apparently I wasn't alone in this since while I was there I ran into a group of three other photographers. Also ran into a group that was just walking around, including a young boy maybe 10 or so. Kind of a dangerous place to be taking a child to but he seemed to be enjoying it. I was there by myself (yes, I'm that crazy) so I had plenty of time to try out some new techniques. I spent a good half hour trying to capture the water dripping from the roof firing a flash from the side and various other tricks and didn't get anything usable. Did have fun with a broken elevator (like I said, I'm crazy). Since it was completely dark I hooked up my flash to a remote trigger and set it in the corner of the elevator and got a couple interesting shots. Ultimately I had composition issues since neither image looked straight. I may revisit them later. Those pictures and everything else I took are visible in the gallery.

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POTW: Tower City

February 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm

POTW: Tower City

This week I went to tower city. Years ago I would go here with my parents maybe every other week it seemed. There was a Warner Brothers store and a Disney store. For the life of me I couldn't say what we bought all the time but we always bought something and then we could get the ticket validated so parking was free. Well the only thing left is the ticket validation if you purchase something. Warner Brothers and Disney are long gone. The water fountains weren't on but I figured it may have something to do with valentine's day and the mass wedding they were doing the following day. Also did a quick walk around public square you can see in the gallery here

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POTW: Document Camera for Cels

February 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm

POTW: Document Camera for Cels

While I was at Ohayocon last week I bought me a couple animation cels. I've been collecting them for a while and both of the cels I got matched two series I like and already have a few cels. Out of interest I decided instead of using a scanner for the cels (and because I still don't have it setup) I decided to try setting up a document camera. The premise is simple; suspend the camera directly above document and take a picture. It takes a little more work though. For example you can see below what a natural light shot would look like.

Ambient shot of animation cel

Reflections galore. Plus the light in this is a chandelier with incandescent lights on a dimmer. Even at full bright they're still warmer than a standard incandescent lightbulb. That's why even with the white balance set to incandescent it's still a little warmer than it should be. I could have tweaked it some but I'm just using this for an example.

Here is the final setup.

POTW #6 setup shot

If you click on the picture and go to the flickr page you can see the notes I made about what everything is. In short I have my Dolica tripod's center column inverted and tilted so I can aim the camera straight down. I could have skipped extending the one leg but I would have hit the chandelier. I then have two YN-460 flashes, one at each corner, at 1/32 power. (note: there are better models than this one, I'd go with one that has a rotary dial). They're triggered by some ebay wireless triggers. They have an optical slave but I didn't want any flash to come from the camera. I then switched the camera to manual, set iso to 100 to reduce noise, set shutter speed to 1/250s to remove any trace of ambient light, and adjusted aperture till I got the exposure right.

I'm not 100% happy with these pictures. The light isn't as uniform as I'd like. I probably should have flipped down the wide angle screens that are on the flashes to help distribute the light better. Also since the cel isn't completely flat you see some shadows on the side. The benefit of a setup like this is if you were someone that constantly took pictures of sketches, paintings, cels, etc. Once everything is setup you can take one picture after another. Setting everything up to only take a couple pictures isn't worth it and I'll eventually get my scanner setup to put these with the rest of my cel pictures.

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POTW: Ohayocon 2010

February 3, 2010 at 7:15 pm

POTW: Ohayocon 2010

I went to Ohayocon over the weekend which means I had plenty of pictures for this week so it was hard to make a choice. The above picture was from my first 1 on 1 photo shoot I've ever done. I've been taking pictures of people for years but it's typically one or two pictures and then I move on. I wasn't used to having a single subject for an extended amount of time but was probably one of the most educational things I've ever done. Some general observations from the photo shoot:

  • I'm very comfortable with the equipment. I knew this going in but it just kinda affirmed that I know all the details about my camera and even the new demb flip-it I just received a couple days before the convention. I quite literally never thought about how to set the camera settings; I just set them.
  • First photo shoot at an anime convention was an excellent idea. Another thing I realized before hand but not how much of a benefit it was. I was extremely nervous at first but we're both at an anime convention, so obviously we have something in common to talk about while walking around to locations. Which has also instilled some nervousness for if/when I do a photo shoot outside of a convention setting. Although that could just be solved at the pre-meeting while determining the goal of the photo shoot and such.
  • I really need a faster lens. Faster lens is a term used to describe camera lens that have a larger aperture which means they let in more light which allows me to take better natural light photos indoors. Due to the higher iso I used there's some noise at 100% zoom. I've been having my eye on the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L lens for quite a while now but not sure when I'll be able to afford it.
  • I rushed things. I expected it to be around a half hour and ended up being like 15 minutes, a lot of that walking around scouting locations. A lot of the negative observations really came to this.
  • I didn't "see" the images. For example the first area we did some photos was against a white wall. White wall plus white parasol don't go well together. This was immediately obvious when reviewing the pictures later but at the moment I just didn't think about it. At the above location first picture she didn't have the parasol behind her so it was dark brown hair against black which didn't look right. Could have solved that a couple ways but the parasol behind her just worked. Another thing that didn't jump out at me but I still found quickly was just the placement of things. For example there are a couple where the hair wasn't straight. Basically simple stuff I should have caught but didn't.
  • I completely didn't think about proper posing and such. Fortunately she was very natural behind the camera and was kinda in auto-pilot so I didn't have to do much direction aside from initial pose. I knew most of the "rules" I just completely didn't think about it during the shoot.

Not really photo shoot specific but just a general observation; convention centers are horrible for color correction. I set the white balance to florescent and gelled the flash with a green filter to color correct the flash to florescent as well. Problem is I typically set the power level of the flash low so there's just a little fill light. The end result was the flash gave a greenish cast to people. I dumped the gel after the first day but it took a while to get the images from the first day usable. Also taking at least 2 pictures of each group worked out really well. Lets me choose when one may have someone walking in the background or something else that detracts from the subject. By far I spent the most time post processing this images than I ever had before. On one image the color balance was really off took quite a while to get good enough. Moments after posting it on the forums though I saw a comment complimenting me about the picture, that made it worth it to me.

I set out with a goal of having over 100 pictures and handing out all 100 of the business cards I had made. In reality I had around 30 images and handed out maybe 15 cards. A lot of the times I saw someone I wanted to take a picture but I didn't want to hold back foot traffic for it. I did do the first of what I hope to be many more photo shoots and still had a good weekend. Not sure of the next convention I'm going to. Possibly anime punch but can't say for certain.

Rest of pictures can be found in photo gallery

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POTW: Cleveland Coast Guard

January 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm

POTW: Cleveland Coast Guard

It's winter so it was another dreary week for taking pictures. Originally went out to take pictures at nearby Edgewater Park when I figured I'd see if I can get to the coast guard station. Much to my surprise it's open to the public right up to the building. Took a lot more work to get inside and it was pretty run down. Had a nice view from the top although I'm sure it would have been better if it wasn't winter.

This coming weekend I'm going to Ohayocon and I plan on taking a ton of pictures and even try a couple photo sessions for the first time so I'll have something other than grey outdoor shots next week.

Rest of pictures can be found in photo gallery.

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POTW: Does That Include Ice Fishing?

January 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm
POTW: Does that include ice fishing?

I got a half day off from work and with lake erie being frozen over I'd try and get some pictures of the frozen lake. Ran into a couple issues. First I turned up the exposure compensation to +1 to make the snow white. While it looked ok on the histogram when I went over them on the computer a lot of them were too bright. Had to manually tone down a lot of them. Another thing I completely forgot about was the highlight tone priority option my camera has. It's pretty much designed for situations just like this to bring out the detail in white areas. So if I could do it again I'd enable that highlight tone priority and not go overboard on the exposure compensation.

Rest of pictures can be found in photo gallery

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POTW: Mice Always Outsmart the Cat

January 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm

POTW: Mice Always Outsmart the Cat

Only week 2 and I already have a picture of my cat. Thought of this one when I had to get my cable box replaced and I put him in his carrier so he wouldn't bolt for the door. He was in there giving me pretty much the same look as he is in picture.

I had several ideas for lighting this. Wanted to somehow light the inside of the carrier. Unfortunately my subject wouldn't let me constantly readjust things so I just turned on the halogen lamp I have in the corner of room and went with that.

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POTW: Cleveland Cold Storage

January 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm

POTW: Cleveland Cold Storage

This first week was a short one. Fortunately I finally had a chance to go through the cleveland cold storage building. The goal of going there was to get a good picture of cleveland skyline and weather just wasn't permitting. Plus it was about 20° before you factored in the wind chill. This was one of my favorite images even if it's a common picture from abandoned buildings since there are allways a lot of hallways and they're allways messy.

All the pictures can be found in my photo gallery

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My Photography Project for the Year

January 4, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I decided in early December I wanted to do some kind of photography project. There's several different types. For example a picture a day (called 365 projects), 50 pictures using a 50mm lens), 1 picture a week (called 52 weeks)projects), etc. Subject matter can be set as well. There are 365 projects where it's specifically a self portrait. Some where you take some little charm and take a picture that includes it. The possibilities are pretty much up to the photographer to set.

I went with a fairly open project. At least one picture a week (could be up to 3 if I did a lot of things). The weeks are from Monday to Sunday. The picture taken the previous week will be posted sometime in the following week. For example since the new year started on Friday I have a picture from this weekend ready. There's no other restrictions as far as subject matter. Reason I chose this over a picture a day is because I know if I took a picture a day it would be really uninteresting for people. 50% would be of my cat, 25% would be of some random place in my house, 20% would be of some random place at work, and 5% would actually be worthwhile. With a picture a week I hope to just focus on the good 5%. I need to figure out where I'm going to post it. I'm currently thinking of posting it on flickr although I'm not a big fan of them. A lot of people will just assume it's free for them to use even if the picture is "© all rights reserved". The advantage to flickr is the community and possibility of getting feedback. Heck, all the links above point to flickr groups. I'll definitely host it in my photo gallery as well. Also with only a picture a week I may post it to this blog as well. I'll work on getting a photography only feed going so if you just want to follow my photography stuff you can.

Check back soon for more information and the first picture. Even better just subscribe to the feed using your favorite rss reader (I use google reader) and then it will check for you.

Posted in Photography. |