Two years of blogging

29 06 2011

Today it is exactly 2 years from my first post on this blog and I think that it is a good opportunity for sharing some statistics and small elaboration on those years with you.

First the statistics:

  • Posts
  • Visits
    • There was 11567 visits in those 2 years.
    • Number of visits has grown by 43% in the second year of my blogging.
    • Average number of visits in first year was 14 while 19 in second year.
    • The busiest day so far was April 11, 2011 with 70 visits.

While thinking about the posts and my progress in photography in those 2 years I think that I still take photos with the same intention – capturing details which we can see every day but which we don’t realize or which we simply overlook as common or not interesting.  I try to work with impressions. I want my photos to impress viewers for which purpose I work with colours, simple shapes and sometimes with processing which makes certain photo everything but common.

I heard that most of blogs won’t survive 13th month of life. It is true that previous year was demanding at me and I had a lot of other things than photography to focus on. Result was that  I haven’t had even thoughts for photography and I was glad if I was able to make a post per month, sometimes not even this. With this year approaching I got a new energy to my veins and I can say that I have been focusing on photography much more in past months than in any time in those past 2 years. Hopefully it does not have effect on quality of my late photos but I will leave this up to your decision.

When it comes to my source of inspiration, at first place it is nature itself. There is so many interesting subjects in so many forms that I’m really not afraid of running out of subjects and ideas for photos. At second place it is you, photographers with similar scope in photography. I am following photo blogs and photo sites such as flickr on daily basis which provides decent amount of excellent photos which inspires me in some ways. As time goes by some photographers have become silent and in such cases I always wonder what happened to them. We never know what awaits us.

When I was thinking about suitable photo for this post I came across following one which, as I think, sums up one side of my photography. It is a photo of Gerbera taken some months ago. I was interested by those bold colours. I don’t remember what was the source of the violet in the background I only know that it was some other flower.


~ I LOVE Colours ! ~
1/500 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

Looking at the visits, it really impresses me and I want to give a BIG “THANK YOU” to all of you who are visiting my site either accidentally, sporadically or continuously. You all help me in getting this blog further and you help me also with my photography either by giving constructive feedback or simply by your visits which creates a demand for another posts.

Thank you all and I am really looking forward writing similar post after another year.

Enjoy summer!

Technical information: photograph in this post was taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens with HOYA Close up +4 (dioptres) filter, in natural conditions.





Well thought out?

22 06 2011

As a response to my previous post my fellow photographer Tracy Milkay (her great photo blog here) wrote

“You can tell they [your photos] are so well thought out – from composition to finishing.”

This statement evoked following questions: “Can I?” “Are they?” “Really?” It brought me to thinking about whole process of photo creation more deeply and to wondering if the process is similar for other photographers, no matter how experienced.

So are my photos well thought out? Answer to this question isn’t so easy. The closest simple answer would be probably “to some extent”. I’ll try to describe the process of creating my photos and leave the answer to you. I’ll describe the process in 3 steps:

1) subject study – this is necessary and very important step before looking through camera viewfinder at the subject. Time needed for this study depends on time I can spend with the subject (minutes in case of time pressure or unknown environment on one side of axis, even weeks or months in case of flowers in our home or garden on the other side of axis) and frequency of using the same subject by me or other photographers while the latter variable is in direct proportion to the needed time. The more common the subject is for other photographers or even me the more time I will need for coming up with something original.

2) taking photo – this is usually quite straightforward process and it is basically consisting of looking for suitable composition and light and taking photo(s). If I had visualized the photo before taking camera in hands I start with this photo first and then continue as described in preceeding sentence. If I can’t come up with anything “decent” I play with other techniques such as panning and zooming. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but I must say that I end up with decent to great photo much much more often than with nothing. Frankly, I don’t remember when I deleted all photos from a photo session for the last time.

3) photo processing – I like realistic photos, meaning that I don’t like to adjust them too much during processing phase. It means that I usually don’t want to change what came from the camera too much. I turn my photos into paintings, I use textures, you may say. Yes, I do but really seldom. I turn my photos into black & white and give them colour tones sometimes but this is in cases when I either want to emphasize the shapes and colour isn’t so important or when colour is distracting. The conversion to black and white is not always intended from the beginning. Sometimes I take some photo with intention to have it in colour but then when looking at it on monitor I don’t like it in colour or it looks just ordinary so I try colour adjustments such as conversion to black and white and toning. This is the case of photo called Daisy trio from previous post.

Well, enough of theory, let’s show it on example:

~ Violet explosion ~
1/2 sec., f/16, ISO 100

~ Entrance ~
2.5 sec., f/22, ISO 100

My wife got this Dendrobium orchid for her birthday in March. I see orchids as very challenging subjects for taking photos of them and moreover I don’t like this Dendrobium sort much. We had the flower in our bedroom for maybe two months and then my wife moved it into our dining room and placed it so that the accompanying palm leaf was proped to the window. When sun lit it from behind one afternoon I liked the fresh green colour of the leaf and how the intense violet colour of the flower stood out against it.

The study period here was more than 2 months! I saw the flower every day and I asked myself how would I photograph it in original way very often. When I took the photo that I visualized in my head earlier (the left one) I thought that it might be good to take a macro shot of the flower and I really liked the details in central part. When I saw it on a monitor then I knew that the first photo (the left one) is quite ordinary but presenting both together as a diptych could work nicely. So here it is. And by the way the left photo was created from 2 photos, one at f/2.8 for background out of focus, second at f/16 for the blossom entirely in plane of focus. These 2 images were then taken into Photoshop as different layers (f/16 as background layer) and then I masked the blossom from f/2.8 version with f/16 one. This is technique which I use quite often when I can’t get desired DOF with a subject.

This is nice example of a photo(s) that was thought out even though not completely visualized during study process.

That’s it. I would like to know if your process of taking and creating image is similar or different and if different then where it differes and how. I’m really looking forward to your response.

Have a nice end of the week!

Technical information: all photographs in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens, in natural conditions.

P.S. I know why I was so reluctant with taking photo of this orchid. There was so much specks and dust threads on petals that merging those 2 exposures together and cloning out all the dust took me almost 2 hours!





Daisies

19 06 2011

I love blooming meadows in this season especially those of Alpine type glowing with yellows, pinks, violets, reds and whites. Our meadows were once fields for growing crops or pastures for cattle. Almost noone is growing own crop or breeding own cattle nowadays. It’s not economically efficient. So the past fields and pastures turned into meadows in past 20 years. Unfortunatelly such a meadows are not home for wide variety of meadow flowers. The most common ones are dandelions and common daisies (Bellis Perennis) which are simply everywehere. Less spread are oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum Vulgare), blue and white campanulas, poppies and cornflowers.

Common daisies, in our country called sevenbeauties, are very often photographed and I wanted to try it this year also. It’s beautiful how they turn their heads towards the sun as sunflowers and how their petals are bright white the first day of bloom and turning to pink at tips every other day.


~ Sevenbeauty ~

1/1600 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

This photo is also first in my new series called simply “From meadows and fields” in which I would like to present various flowers blooming in our country on meadows and fields.

I see much more oxeye daisies everywhere this year comparing it to previous years and that’s good because they are beautiful flowers keeping their heads high in tall meadow grass. With not lawned meadows it’s quite tough to find pleasing composition with them though as they are often hidden deeply in grass so if you want to take photos of them you need to garden some unwanted stalls almost always. I really like oxeye daises and thus I had to photograph them this year also.


~ Daisy trio ~
1/1600 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I wanted more blossoms in frame and I was happy to separate these three. The colour version isn’t much pleasing though so I used a toning which results in much more pleasing image. Hope you like it.

This is all for today. One of next posts will be about poppies.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Technical information: all photographs in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens, in natural conditions.





Intentional camera movement a.k.a. panning

12 06 2011

“In photography, panning refers to the horizontal movement or rotation of a still or video camera, or the scanning of a subject horizontally on video or a display device.” – Wikipedia

Panning  or basically any camera movement during exposure is one of techniques to which comes almost every photographer who gained some experience and wants to try “something different”. It produces varying results, some excellent, worth of hanging on wall, some not as good. A set up producing usually very good results is vertical panning in wood, I wrote about it in my post Pan in wood. As a flower photographer I tried this technique also with flowers and got very nice result shared in post Creativity..unlocked!

Simple panning, meaning vertical or horizontal movement is the most simple way with which probably everyone starts. After trying this you can continue with rotation, zoom, combination of movement and zoom… whatever you want. Bad thing about this technique is that results are often hardly predictable. It happens to me that I do the movements which resulted in good photos in past but they suddenly do not work. Is it a subject or is it only me? In such cases I usually try other movements such as already mentioned rotation. I think that following photo is nice example.


1/6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

On this shot I captured part of our meadow which blooms heavily every year. Unfortunatelly, I don’t know the name of the yellow flower (it’s not Dandelion or Ranunculus) but I know that those pink/violet spots are cloverleaf blossoms. In case of this technique (rotation) I get one decent photo on maybe 10-20. Sometimes it’s really hard to get desired composition when you need to move your camera so quickly.

When rotation technique fails, try whatever else. This past weekend I was trying to take some photos of our blooming lobelia pot but I wasn’t able to find decent composition with so many small blossoms so I tried panning. After several tries I came up with a photo which appeals to me.

1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

If I remember correctly, the movement which lead to this was crazy wobbling with camera from left to right so it’s absolutely impossible to repeat that movement again. I must say that I really like those bright lines and colours. It reminds me refractions of sunlight on water surface.

If you want to try something new, something original, something that results in interesting photos or if you just like what you see here, grab your camera and give it a try. If you will be patient, you will definitely get something very interesting even after your first tries.

I wish you a lot of fresh energy into the starting week!

Technical information: all photographs in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens, in natural conditions.





Common weed

4 06 2011

I think that we all see dandelions as common weed which is not always easy to get rid of. On the other hand we all usually enjoy view on a meadow glowing with golden colour of thousands and thousands dandelions.

Last year I took some detailed photos of a dandelion which you can find in this post. Also this year I have decided to take some dandelion photos but this time I wanted to try shooting seed heads.

1/160 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

I used “Aged photo” preset in Lightroom 3.4 and did only couple of additional tweaks.

1/400 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

You can see a lot of dandelion photos nowadays on flickr and other photo related sites so I wanted to create something unseen and I think that I achieved it with this photo. At least I never saw anything similar. I used Lightroom’s “Creamtone”preset and did additional adjustments. I think it could look really nice on a big format.

I saw uncountable amount of dandelion photos with water dropplets so I wanted to try to have some mine, of course.

1/500 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

This was taken one foggy morning after the fog has dissappeared and after sun had some time to dry everything soaked due to fog. I visualized this with strong contrast and still soft. I hope that I made it. Whole processing was done in Lightroom without using any preset this time.

I originally thought that I will use the same processing for all these photos making nice triptych but it did not work. Each photo asked for different processing and I think it’s much better this way. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting and enjoy summer!

Technical information: all photographies in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, in natural conditions, indoors.