Something To Think About

April 25th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

On Art.

There is something to be said about perspective. Books Jensen is a photographer and publisher with Lens Work Magazine. He also has a long running podcast called LensWork that I subscribe to every week.

Brooks brings a perspective to his audience through his own journeys in life and art, and they are very insightful and practical.

Early this month, Brooks Jensen wrote an entry on the friction between Thomas Kinkade and ‘The Art World’, and the popularity with his audience.

Compare the perspective to your own work after you read Brooks Jensen.

http://daily.lenswork.com/2012/04/thomas-kinkades-premise.html

Gray Cards

March 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

20120303-235205.jpgGray cards are an important tool in a photographers arsenal. They serve two purposes:

1. Exposure
2. White Balance

Ansel Adams helped develop the Zone System that consists of 10 stops of light from black to white. (You can google the Zone System for more information) Zone 5 is considered middle gray or 18% gray. Since cameras (as of yet) can only capture half the zones in an image, the photographer has to choose which zones that would give the best exposure.

Cameras and Light Meters (reflective) are programmed to meter a scene at 18% Gray, but not every scene or object has a gray to meter. The camera or light meter will try to give an approximate reading, but it can often be incorrect. The best choice in this scenario is to spot meter a gray card that is reflecting the light back at the camera or light meter.

20120304-001414.jpgHow do you use it? Let us use the image above as an example. I set a bowl against a dark background and had it sit under a 100 watt shop light using my iPhone camera. As you can see, my iPhone auto exposed the scene and blew out the bowl since the scene was mostly dark. The meters will lighten a dark scene and darken a light scene.

20120304-002221.jpgStart by placing the card in front of your subject. The light reflecting off the card will give a true reading of middle gray, and the photographer can choose the exposure needed.

20120304-002824.jpgI selected the X on the card, with my iPhone, because the focus requires contrasting elements to lock on to, and it was also one of the lightest parts of the card. A slr camera and light meter is different. The spot meter is aimed at the gray for a reading, and the photographer can focus on the X or remove the card and focus on the object.

20120304-003727.jpgRemove the card, and start taking pictures. You may need to adjust the card for better readings, but for the most part, your exposure should be correct.

As for the white balance, the gray card has also changed the color temperature to make the colors true. Tungsten, fluorescent, LED, sun, moon, and other types of light have their own color temperatures that can change the look of an image. White balance is different with each camera, so refer to your owners manual for more information.

Give the gray card a try, and you will be amazed at the differences that are made to you’re images.

Shadows And Light

March 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

20120303-105724.jpgShadows are a blessing and a curse in photography. A good photographer will use them to their advantage.

Camera – iPhone 3GS
Capture App – Native Camera

The Other Popular Page

February 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I have really been ragging lately on Instagram’s popular page and for good reason. It’s like being stuck in a school with a bunch of teenagers. No offense to teenagers, but there are better things to do than listen to your problems and or philosophy (sometimes there is no distinguishing of the two) or look at feeds of your face or underwear.

But, lately I have found inspiration from an alternative to the popular page. There are two options at the top of the News page labeled Following/You. The ‘You’ page shows all the likes and messages you have received, while the ‘Following’ shows the likes and messages that are sent from the people you follow.

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Following is the alternative popular page. Here is the method of my madness. The Popular Page give the user no control over what images populate the page. There is no criteria or delete measures, only ‘likes’. These ‘likes’ are given out recklessly by individuals because they want followers, and followers ‘likes’ are what propel you to the popular page.

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Here’s the pièce de résistance. The Following page is populated by photographers you have chosen to follow. They have images that are excellent, and in turn, they are following other great photographers also. The images they ‘like’ can help you find inspiring images and photographers without being contaminated by the nonsense on the popular page.

Go there and check it out. You will be amazed by the quality, and hopefully be inspired at the same time.

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The Photographers Best Friend

January 26th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

‘The Photographers Best Friend’ is a bold statement to make, but you may find some truth to it when this post is complete.

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What am I talking about? The gray card. In 1999, I took a photography class in college. It was an introductory to photography course that took us into the darkroom where we used film and developed out images. Besides the film and camera, we were required to purchase a set of gray cards, and believe me, they were not cheap.

There were two 8×10 and one 4×5 cards in the set, but over the years I have lost both 8×10 cards. The camera I used in the class was the AE-1 Program camera, and it had a decent light meter built into the camera. In order to get the correct exposure reading, you needed to fill the frame with the gray card, but today’s cameras have the spot metering option which I use primarily.

Lets look at a couple reasons of why you need a gray card. First, our cameras are programmed to meter a scene at 18% or middle gray, but not every scene is balanced enough, between the highlights and the shadows, to capture the correct exposure. Second, each and every scene has a light source that gives off a different color balance that can effect the lighting of the image.

The gray card is rated at 18% or middle gray, and our cameras have a reflective metering system. So, with the correct metering, we can establish the correct exposure for or subject or scene.

Here is how you use the gray card:

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Place the card in front of your subject or scene so the light reflects back towards your camera. Do you notice how the camera exposes the background and blows out the cards?

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Select the area of the gray card until the correct exposure is obtained. As you can see, the background darkens and the cards have been exposed correctly.

Let me give you an example using a model car on my couch.

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As we saw with the first image, the background has blown out the subject because it is dark, but as you will see below, we can correct the exposure with the gray card.

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The background has darkened, and it will not distract you from the subject. After you have locked down the correct exposure, you can capture a series of images without having to meter with a gray card every time, but if you make any adjustments, it would be smart to re-meter the scene.

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Here is a last thought on this subject. Without the gray card, you can select an area the would be considered 18% gray, and you would be able to capture a great image. I will select the pavement when I’m shooting cars or the grass for landscapes. Depending on the conditions I will usually need to make corrections in post.

Try this out for yourself, and you will be amazed on how your images will improve.

Tired Eyes

December 31st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

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I captured this image of my daughter when she was close to going to bed. She was sitting on my wife’s lap, and she was not real excited about daddy taking pictures of her. But, I was really happy with the results.

After I downloaded the image onto my iPhone, I imported it into Snapseed and applied the Grunge effect. My intent is to upload the image to Instagram, but I did not want black borders. Squaready is an app that allows you to choose a background, so I chose white.

I highly recommend Snapseed, Squaready, and especially Instagram. You can find me on Instagram by typing my name, or you can follow me at http://copygr.am/josephferreira

A Taste Of Brattonsville

November 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

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Night Flash

October 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

We went camping this weekend on our friends property, and we had a blast. The evening started with everyone showing up, setting up, and eating dinner.

I was asked to bring my camera, and this gave me a good opportunity to play with my flash. My camera (canon 30d) is terrible in low light conditions, but it is otherwise a great camera. I brought two cheap flash units, two tripods, and a radio trigger. I ended up using only one flash, but they had a slave mode in case I used both.

Another thing I tried was makeshift defusers. The flash units are adjustable by moving them back and forth, so I took some bubble wrap and taped them to the units.

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This is an image of my wife and son sitting in front of the fire. The flash unit is on a tripod about 20-25 feet to the left. I think it turned out alright, and I definitely need more practice.

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One day I want to use another flash unit. But, in the mean time. One will do.

Pro HDR iPhone App

September 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

My review for today is Pro HDR. There are a varying array of opinion when it comes to HDR among photographers, but for the most part, HDR is quickly becoming a tool that a lot of photographers are using.

I have been using Pro HDR for a while, and it was my go to app when I wanted to pull detail out of an image.

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When you open the app, there will be a few options to choose from. Below you, at the top is grid on/off and the HDR Auto feature. The app allows you to create an image just after you have opened it.

At the bottom is a zoom slider, hide (removes grid and HDR Auto), and settings. The camera icon starts the HDR process the same as tapping the screen, and the settings gives you options to turn on/off different features or choose the format of your images.

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Let’s select the HDR Auto. As you can see below more options will appear. Included will be Manual, Off, and Library. I hardly ever use manual. I recommend trying it and using a tripod for stabilization. If your images do not line up, ghosting will appear in the image. Ghosting is the same as placing two transparencies on top of each other. You can see both images at the same time. People or moving objects will appear as if they had faded into or out of the image.

Off gives you an option to capture an image (as if you were in camera mode) without going through the HDR process.

The last option is the one I use the most. I will select images from my Library that I have already chosen for to be processed. Another application, called Dynamic Light, is what I use for creating those images, but that will be another blog entry.

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Loading photo library…

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Once the library is open, you can select your first image. It will prompt you to select the darkest, but you can try the lightest first for a different result also.

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Select the second image…

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As you can see below, the two images were not drastically different from each other. That is alright. Experiment with different images to find the perfect blend. HDR is subject to the photographers design. It can be drastic or subtle.

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After it has blended the two images, multiple sliders will appear. You can fine tune the image to your liking. Do not worry about making a mistake because you can always start the process over.

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Finally, after you find the right settings, hit save.

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My next review will be on the Dynamic Light App. If you want to see my images, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram is @josephferreira and Twitter is @ferreirajoseph.

FRONTview IPhone App

September 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I have decided to start reviewing a few of the apps that are on or have been on my iPhone. The first in this series is FRONTview.

FRONTview is a great tool for correcting keystoning in a photo. Keystoning occurs when a tall object is photographed from below or from the left or right sides. This is typical of architectural images.

Large format view-cameras were used to correct keystoning by shifting and tilting the view elements, or the photographer had to elevate himself high enough to prevent it. Now we can do it digitally.

Below is an image I will use demonstrate how to correct keystoning. As you can see, the left side of the building is elevated higher and lower than the right.

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Open the application. There are two option for selecting an image. You can select an image that was previously created or capture one on demand. I will usually use one that I had already taken.

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The image will appear in the app after you have selected it. Four corners of an editing field will be used to select your altered image. The key is to find straight lines in the image. I used the windows, roofline, and sidewalk as a guide.

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Finally is the Aspect Ratio. As you attempt to cancel out the keystone effect, the image will either be stretched, compressed, or both.

Adjust the image, so that it closely resembles reality. Save the image and edit it for a final product.

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This concludes the tutorial. Download the app and play with it. The next app I will review will be ProHDR.

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