What Does This Smell Like?

What Does This Smell Like?, originally uploaded by paggre.

What else is there to say about this. He loves to collect flowers for Mommy. So I asked him to let me take a picture of Mommy's flowers. And this is what he did. Great stuff.

Please critique if you have time.


I Already Posed For 2 Pictures

I Already Posed For 2 Pictures, originally uploaded by paggre.

This is the look I get a lot of times. At least he will pose at all because in the past he would run like the wind every time I brought out the camera.

This is using my new shoot-thru umbrella. Not much to add here other than balancing the key light from the umbrella with the rim lighting from the sun. I am liking the soft shadows. The umbrella is literally just out of the frame to the left.


If I Could Just Get This Apart

If I Could Just Get This Apart, originally uploaded by paggre.

Getting a chance to play with my Christmas shoot-thru umbrella. A 43" I think. Very nice. I have had trouble distinguishing between the shoot-thru and my silver reflective one. The shadows may be a bit softer since you can put the umbrella right next to the subject. Thereby, making a larger apparent size of the light source. Ha, something I learned on the Strobist. Larger apparent size of the light source the softer the transition area becomes.

The other very nice thing is that even though the shoot-thru is less efficient at transmitting light, you still get a higher aperture for a given power setting since you can get the source closer to the subject. So here I have f7.1 @ 1/4 power. With the silver umbrella, I only get f5.6 at the same power.

Nice pose here. He is trying to get an alien apart from Ben10 that he got for Christmas. So we are both playing with Christmas toys.


Christas Morning HONL Grid Spot

Christas Morning, originally uploaded by paggre.

I love this shot. I know there is a box in the lower right corner. I didn't think it was trivial to remove it in Gimp because of the gradient falloff from the new grid that I got for Christmas. So anyway, it doesn't bother me much. He is holding up his loot from his stockings and he likes to wear my hearing protection from the garage. Don't have an explanation for that.

Oh yeah, the new grid. I had been working on making a DIY straw grid but I ran into some troubles. First, the strobist DIY kit didn't have enough straws to finish a grid for the 285HV. The head is bigger than anything Canon or Nikon is making. So then I figured I could just go buy some more black straws. Nope. Wal-Mart, Michael's, Party Outlet, Bed Bath and Beyond, NOPE. No black straws anywhere. We went to Olive Garden one time. They had them but you can only jack so many straws at a time. Anyway I have two partially constructed straw grids.

So I asked for the HONL speed strap and a 1/4" grid spot for Christmas. They are very nice. Good construction and now I've thrown away my DIY's. You can see the nice circle on this shot from the grid. I have it mounted on my Canon 540EZ @ 1/16th power.

If you have ideas on how to approach removing that box, I would love to hear them.


Christmas Morning.

So here are a couple shots from Christmas morning at our house. I totally stole (borrowed) this idea from http://strobist.com. What a great tip. I used my 3 flashes to light the entire room so that no matter where you run with your presents, you can't hide from decent light. So I had my Vivitar 285HV, Canon 540EZ, and Sunpak 411 all at 1/2 power. We have a "great room" that is a long rectangle with vaulted ceilings. I placed them in a triangle formation and bounced them all off the ceiling.

Like David Hobby says on his post, the light isn't all that interesting, but in my opinion it does a great job of capturing an event like this. You know that everyone will be in this room but you don't know exactly where and NO one will care about posing.

Give it a try for the next birthday party or something.

Be blessed.

My Girls

My Girls, originally uploaded by paggre.

I know this is a re-post, but this is my most popular photo so far on flickr. I suppose it made most interesting at some point during the day that I uploaded it. I do not even know what that means. So how does a photo become interesting? Who decides? Anyway I think it is a great photo of my best favorite girls.

I took this using the natural light from a big window that is almost always perfect for portraits. It opens under the covered back porch so it is blocked from direct sunlight except for about 1/2 hour just after sunrise. I have been doing a lot of flash photography lately and it was nice to put on the 50mm 1.8 and just shoot away with natural light.

It has to be the eyes. I did some gaussian blurring on a few layers but left the eyes very sharp. So thanks all you flickerites. They are beautiful aren't they?


A Day At The Zoo

A Day At The Zoo, originally uploaded by paggre.

I thought this would make a nice shot with the furry monkey being backlit. I took the picture. When I looked at the LCD, I thought, humm. Not exactly what I thought. Didn't think it looked like much on the small screen. So not until I opened it up on the computer was I satisfied with it.


Latest Family Photos

Here are a few shots from my most recent family photo session. Very happy with these. I took these photos in their home. That worked out well because everyone is relaxed. It is very frustrating when you have to get everyone ready, in the car, and off to the portrait studio. You get there and they are always running late. By the time it is your turn, everyone has been ready to leave for a long time. So you say "Smile! So we can get out of here!".

The idea was some family photos for Christmas. But we went with the flow. Dad wanted a photo with his dog who is getting up in years. The girls wanted individual portraits to use on MySpace etc. So we took a bunch of shots.

Lighting is definitely a challenge in this impromptu situation. Especially when you are not a pro. Thanks to the Strobist for what I do know. I took some against a dining room wall that had a neutral color. Took some with the Christmas tree in the background. We also took some out on the dock over the river. But I personally liked these with the black background the best. We were able to position everyone with their backs to the living room so that I could work above ambient and acheive the black background. We tried using a hallway but my umbrella was lighting that.

So for all of these shots I had my umbrella for the key light and handheld my cheapo autoshade for the fill light. I borrowed one of the non-subjects to hold the Canon 540EZ for the accent light in all but the picture with Mom and Dad. I didn't make a conscience to do that. In fact, I didn't even think to use the accent light until the girls wanted their individual portraits. But I think it worked well. The accent light adds a bit of an edge. The photo is a bit more formal without it.

So anyway let me know what you think if you time.

Be blessed.


Sitting By The Sea

Sitting By The Sea, originally uploaded by paggre.

It was a great sky so I thought I could get a good sunrise photo. But I have not found a good subject for the foreground. So as I was floundering around taking photos of a sky and ocean, I noticed this guy. I took the photo in color but it didn't really add anything so I de-saturated it. I burned in on his shirt to add some detail.


More Family Portraits

More Family Portraits, originally uploaded by paggre.

Christmas family portrait for our friends. I have a 285HV into a silver umbrella, camera left @ 1/2 power. For fill, a silver autoshade @ camera right. A bare 540EZ gelled red for some background fill to the right of the Christmas tree. That spot is actually our front door. We covered it with a dark green comforter to give some place to shoot the flash.

I think this came out well. If I had another chance I would have dragged the shutter to let those Christmas tree lights burn in just a little more. Maybe opened the framing a little. But overall good I think. Everyone is looking.

What do you think?


My Girls

My Girls, originally uploaded by paggre.

I love this shot. Natural light with a fast lens. I really enjoy flash photography. But it is so nice to not have to set up an umbrella and flash and just take some photos. This is ISO400 1/80s @ f1.8.

I am still in search of the "tired" face. So check back regularly to see if I get it. Tried last night. She had been doing it non-stop for like 10 minutes. So I got my lighting bag out of the car, set up, and she didn't do it once. I didn't miss her do it. She just stopped doing it.


Fall Road

Fall Road, originally uploaded by paggre.

This is a shot that I took in Maryland on a hike one evening. To me it was just so so out of the camera. So I tweaked it in the gimp. Adjusted the levels, slightly sharpened, added the vignette. Now I like it. What do you think?


Fall In Florida

Fall In Florida, originally uploaded by paggre.

Yes this is as good as it get for fall colors in Florida. A few oak leaves and some leaves from our sickly lemon tree (it may actually be a lime tree, we aren't sure because we have only harvested 1 fruit from it since we have lived here).

Oh yeah, photography. So I saw this vignette example in Popular Photography I think. Maybe it was Outdoor Photographer. Not sure. Wow I am really helpful huh? I don't really have Photoshop. I downloaded the 30 day trial. So I am trying to do as much as I can for the limited amount of time. I also downloaded Lightroom's trial as well. I like it all so far. Honestly though, short of adjustment layers, I can do almost everything in Gimp. I know that Photoshop does non-destructive editing but I haven't seen a problem using Gimp. So maybe one of you can point out to me what I do not understand about this.