Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'm the "Capture the Weather" Weekly Winner!!!

Redcliffe Plantation Sunset 

A friend of mine asked me to submit my photo to our local ABC news affiliate, (WJBF channel 6) for their "Capture the Weather" contest. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot. After all, I've got nothing to lose. To my surprise, I received a letter from the ABC affiliate informing me that my photo was chosen as the Daily "Capture the Weather" WINNER!. I was awarded $10.00 to Einstein Bros Bagels!

A few days later, I find out that my photo was then entered into the weekly contest. It's now up against all of the other weeks daily winners. The photos are placed on WJBF's Facebook page and the public is asked to vote/"Like" the photos. After a weeks worth of votes my photo was "Liked" the most and chosen as the winner of the week! I will receive $25.00 to a local restaurant. Pretty exciting! I know a lot of you have some great shots too, and wanted to encourage you to submit them to your local contest or even national contest! After all, you've got nothing to lose...

Here is a link for anyone local (CSRA Area) that would like to submit a photo:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Practice makes perfect...

The Butler House at Sunset
Neighbors house in HDR @ Sunset.
This is an HDR shot that I've been playing with today. I'm not super happy with it, but it's just practice. I have to keep telling myself, not everything is going to be perfect. It's easy to lose sight of this, and become frustrated. Especially when things aren't turning out like you want them. You just have to keep working at it. This way of thinking fits several facets of life. Including, but not limited to photography. Keep shooting, keep processing, keep posting...and keep practicing. After all, "practice makes perfect!"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Portrait - Millie Grace Batte

First Portrait
First Portrait
Took this photo last weekend (2/18/12) on my Canon Rebel dSLR. I was practicing some portrait shots at Hopeland Gardens (located in Aiken, SC). The image was transferred to my iPhone (automatically via iCloud...thank you Apple). While watching TV with my wife, I was fooling around with it in Snapseed for iOS ($4.99). Pretty pleased the way it turned out. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Photo 101: The Lingo

The lingo...With getting your feet wet in photography, it's not long before new words and expressions start to fly. Here are a few to start off...

  • Aperture - An aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. A narrow aperture will result in sharp focus. A wide aperture will have a sharp focus on the subject, but blur the surroundings or background. 
  • f-number - The f-number (aka f-stop is the focal length divided by the "effective" aperture diameter. It's a dimensionless number that is a quantitative measure of lens speed.

Aperture and f-stops

  • Exposure - The Exposure is the total amount of light allowed to fall on the photographic medium (film or digital image sensor) during the process of taking a picture. This can be a short period of time for a darker image, or a longer period of time for a brighter image. High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos use multiple exposures to obtain the HDR image.

Under exposure = Dark Image (Top Left)
Normal exposure = "Normal" Image (Top Middle)
Over exposure = Bright Image (Top Right)
3 Exposures combined = The HDR Image (Bottom)

  • Shutter - a shutter is a device that allows light to pass for a determined period of time (aka Shutter Speed), for the purpose of exposing photographic film or digital image sensor to capture a permanent photo/image of a scene.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Capture the Weather Winner

I was just informed by our local ABC affiliate, News Channel 6 (WJBF), that I was selected as the daily winner of their "Capture the Weather" contest. Won a free sandwich from Einstein Bro Bagels! Pretty stoked!

Redcliffe Plantation Sunset
 (3 Exposure HDR)  RedCliffe Plantation in Aiken, SC. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

High Dynamic Range Photography

(Under Exposed) -2...-1...0...+1...+2 (Over Exposed)
High Dynamic Range - HDR
Quite often when people see my high dynamic range (HDR) photos they think it's a painting. When trying to explain it, many can get lost in the super technical definition along with the process behind it. I don't have time for super technical... as some of you don't. So, here is the watered down version!

An HDR photo is is basically a picture that has "high dynamic range" of luminance (light) between the lightest and darkest areas of an image (you can see into the shadows). A typical  HDR photo requires three or more different exposures. One exposure is under exposed (dark), one normal (typical photo), and one over exposed (too much light). These stages of photos are then combined and tone-mapped with software program e.g. Photomatix Pro (which I use). Once these images are combined and tone-mapped, you're left with the HDR image.

Redcliffe Plantation Tree
An HDR photo of an old tree on the grounds of a Southern Plantation 

Photo Ponie Project

Currently developing a new concept & a fresh new way for people to share their great photos with great odds of making a little extra money. It's still very much in the first stages but I'm excited to introduce what I'm calling "Photo Ponie"!

Be Great!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

SUPER EASY PSE 10 Watermark

Imagine someone making money off of something you created. This happens all the time with photos and art that simply gets stolen via copy and paste. Before you know it, you're flipping through a book and there is one of your photos with someone else's credit and cash in their pocket. To save face and prospective income... here is a SUPER EASY and SUPER QUICK method to watermark your work with Photoshop Elements 10.

Flickr Walk Weekend

Heavy Chevy
Heavy Chevy - HDR
Completed a Flickr Walk this weekend with some great folks. (A Flickr Walk is basically a group of folks who like photography and get together to take photos. They shoot photos and collaborate sharing tips, tricks, and techniques.) I was able to take several pictures. Mostly 3 exposure High Dynamic Range (HDR) shots. Now the fun of post processing and sharing what I hope will be some good shots and techniques that I've learned. Below are two of the photos I was able to take and above another one I was able to capture this weekend.

Redcliffe Plantation Sunset on the Grounds
The sun setting on the grounds of Redcliffe Plantation in Aiken, SC - HDR
Redcliffe Plantation Sunset
Redcliffe Plantation House with the sun setting.  Aiken, SC - HDR

Friday, February 3, 2012

Intro to Photo 101

My solution in high school, CliffsNotes... My solution in college, CliffsNotes...My solution now... CliffsNotes. By now, you can discern a theme. While you can't always get by this way, it is a great alternative to those who might be strapped for time. My recent post (pseudo CliffsNotes version) of The Rules of Thirds has since inspired me to keep providing "Cliff-Notes" versions of photography tips and tricks to my blog. Like several of you, I'm a busy too!  Time is a precious and is much better spent with family instead of reading a dissertation on how to take a better picture. That being said, I would like you to join me in an installment I'm calling "Photo 101".  I will be providing Quick, to the point, photography tips, tricks, and tools to make us all better. I will even try provide links to those of you who might want the dissertation version, but as for me... I want the meat and the potatoes, then I want to try out what I've learned.

Keep pointing, shooting, & processing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photo 101: The Rule of Thirds

What is the rule of thirds? Well, it's not really a "rule" but more a "rule of thumb" or guideline, the Rule of Thirds applies to the process of composing visual images that are considered optimally appealing to the eye of the viewer.

The guideline proposes that an image should be divided visually (either through the view finder or during post processing) into nine equal parts. The division in separated by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. It's thought that the important compositional elements  of the image should be placed along these lines or where they intersect.

It breaks down to an image split into thirds. These thirds are both vertical and horizontal. The idea is to put the subject of your photo 1/3 from any edge of the frame, and to line, say, a horizon 1/3 from the edge of the frame, too. Below is and example of the Rule of Thirds.

This photograph of a sunset taken in the Thousand Islands
region demonstrates the principles of the rule of thirds

As you can see, the horizon is on the bottom third of the photo. And the subject (tree) sits in the "crosshairs" of the bottom right thirds (Where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect at the bottom right of the photo).

Now...go out and rule the rule of thirds!