Archive for May 2009
School is winding down, and there are just three days left with kids there. Sadly, my favorite administrator and boss for nine years is moving to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he’ll be the head of a lower school there. His administrative assistant, and my good friend, wracked her brains to come up with a personalized last gift from the teachers and staff. She settled on the idea of a joint cookbook, created by all of us. As one of the building photographers, I created the cover for the cookbook, complete with two teachers who posed magnificently for the honor. Do you think I need a model release? Just kidding. This has all kinds of Nik filters added to further frumpify them. I think I’m pleased.
Overnight, my two grandkids Lily and Vivi visited while their mom did a tune up Triathlon before the Coeur D’Alene Ironman next month. Getting them to pose for me is nearly impossible, since cooperation with each other rarely works in my studio. I have to have a gimmick. Last summer it was designing cereal boxes. Yesterday, it was entertaining Roo, my friendly cockatiel. Homer, the African Gray, is far too risky, and he bites me whenever possible. So, Roo obliged except for the times when she flew out of the shot, causing much consternation and many giggles. Here are a few of my favorites, and you can see about 40 shots at holdstill.net > Galleries> Lily and Vivi and Birdie Roo.
When I have 15 minutes of my own time, after cleaning out drawers filled with lipstick from 12 years ago (it goes rancid, did you know that???) I like to play with favorite old shots and try new things. I am uploading a shot of my all time favorite place, Brunnen, Switzerland, and a shot from the balcony of our hotel room at dusk. The lake is gorgeous, the mountains surrounding it magnificent, and it’s about half an hour from Lucerne. I tried the single image HDR tonemapping, a favorite thing to do with shots that are kind of flat, then noise reducer, and ultimately, my old favorite, BuZZ. I like what happens to the plastic chairs when they are buzzed: they lose their ugliness somewhat. Aren’t plastic outside chairs an abomination?
Obviously, I need for school to end. June 3rd can’t get here soon enough, when I will briefly have a life again, and may be able to take some new shots, both in Idaho at the Ironman, and in Kent, England, at the wedding of our favorite former dogsitter. Bring on summer, and Happy Memorial Day to everyone!
Last week a friend showed me a photo of a field of poppies she was going to submit to a contest. She wanted some advice about whether or not to crop. I just HAD to know where she had found such beautiful flowers locally. Cropped or not, it didn’t matter. Fortunately, the owner of the poppy farm was a person I used to know, and I begged her to let me come. She was incredibly gracious, and the next morning, armed with both a wide angle lens and two macro lenses (105mm and 200mm Nikons)I was there until the sun got too high in the sky. I tried to think of all the ways I could photograph them: shallow DOF, at f/22 and in between. I learned a lot about focus, and how arbitrary it can be: should I focus on the petals, on the center, or something else? I had to fight a light breeze, something we’ve had a lot of this spring in NC, which has severely curtailed my shooting.
I am curious about how you, my photography friends, would photograph that beautiful field of flowers. Just where do you choose to focus, and what kind of settings work best for you? My 105mm lens seems friendly and forgiving. The 200mm lens continues to challenge me. Do you have to fight to get intense color or do you back off? I keep thinking of Brenda Tharp talking about reds and how they “puddle,” which I think means lose their definition and clarity.
The name of this blog is High Saturation. Just how high is too high? By the way, the cropped poppies at the top of this blog, taken that day, were pink, not red, and I had to resist intensifying the color to red. Can we maintain things the way they actually looked when we shot them, or do we need to beef up the color? My previous blog worried about HDR and just what is too much. I see saturation in the same way. Do you?