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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Week 5: Black Light Fun

So this week's photo and blog is a personal and fun picture for me. 

I love working with black light but it can be tricky to work with  Again, the direction I was going to take changed as the week unfolded.  Mostly because this weekend has been about friends and church.  Ginger and I, on Saturday morning, went to some friend's of ours house for brunch Matt and Debbie.  Debbie is a fantastic cook.  And it was fun to catch up on our lives.  Of course we have followed each other on Facebook, but it is fun to get together and see how their kids have grown! 

As well, we finally, officially joined the church we have been going to for over 8 years.  We finished the membership class last week, and this week started the Community 101 class they have before church.  As well, Ginger started going to a group for those who suffer from mental illness.  And I started going to a group for loved one's of those with mental illness.  Funny really.  Ginger and I had been on a rest from ministry.  That rest began with Ginger stepping down to concentrate on her mental health, and me stepping down to take care of her.  So it is ironic that our foray back into ministry is beginning with groups where our hearts are, with those with mental illness and those that love them.

Not that I haven't had opportunities to get back into ministry.  But each time someone mentioned it there was either a check in my spirit or obstacles came in the way.  I knew that when God opened the door, I would know and it would be obvious the direction He wanted me to go.  This just feels right and natural.  And the values of the church we joined line up with how we believe.  There is a peace, and I have found that peace.

But it all comes back to the picture above.  I love Ginger.  She is my soul mate and the perfect match for me.  Isn't it interesting that God has guided us to a church who is acknowledging the fact that mental illness is real and is starting to help those who deal with it?  And not only is the experience of Ginger dealing with bipolar being used, but my experience in helping her with it is too.  It is also ironic that we have reconnected with a couple from our past and met a new couple in our Community 101 class that we have clicked with.
God is good.

Paul loves Ginger and I just happen to know that Ginger loves Paul.....


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Week 4: Water Drop Reflection on Glass

So this week decided to do a setup where I took pictures of water drops on glass, with a backdrop underneath, that reflects into the water drop.  I started on Saturday night, and through three sessions (Saturday night, early Sunday morning before church, and Sunday afternoon) to get the shots I did.  I took over 100 shots, and used over 15 backgrounds to get to the three final pictures.  I learned that clean glass is essential, and I learned more about Photoshop.  FYI, you have to flip the backgrounds upside down to get them upright in the drop.  But enough talking, here are some pictures:

 This was a background I almost didn't use, and used it at the last.  It ended up being one of my favorites.

 Another favorite.  I actually blurred the backgound on one of the final shots and Ginger liked this one better!

I loved this one because of the vibrant colors.  I played around with this one, including moving the backgound to white but it just wasn't as vibrant as with the background in. 

When I first began this Saturday, this is what I originally had:

The technique is pretty simple, in theory.  Spray a piece of glass with Rain-x so that the water will bead up.  But I wasn't getting exactly what I wanted.  And the glass was hard to keep clean.  As I slept last night I remembered doing this technique long ago and using a Q-tip to put the water on the glass.  It worked to perfection.  It was then a matter of getting lighting right (thank goodness for me light box!), getting the aperture right, and using manual focus.  Couldn't get the camera to auto focus so once again, out of the box, and use manual focus. 

This was a fun project!  See ya'll next week for the next weeks project!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week 3: Cross Polarization Photo Shoot

So for those of you following, this is week 3 of my 52 week photo challenge.  I decided this week to practice something called cross polarization.  I saw a picture of clear plastic utensils using this process and thought, I don't want to use utensils, but other types of plastic.

Quickly, cross polarization involves using a circular polarizer on your camera and then using a computer screen (or polarizing film) behind a piece of plastic to show stress spots in the plastic.  The cool thing is, looking through the camera, the white screen on the computer turns black as you turn the polarizer.  A picture of my setup:

So I took a trip Saturday to Hobby Lobby, specifically looking for some cool plastic to use.  I had already had some small glasses that lit up when water was put in them (found them, in all places, in an apartment I was working on).

So what happens with cross polarization?  Have a look below:

 Once again, I had a blast pulling my camera out, using my prime lenses and remote release.  Hope you enjoy the pictures!


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Week Two Challenge: Leaves on a Light Box

Okay, I know I have some people with some shocked faces right now.  You are not seeing things, I am blogging only one week after my last blog.  Shocking.  Didn't take me 3 months.  I'm telling you, the photography bug bit me rather hard.
So for this week's challenge, I had one thing in mind for the week and ended up going another route.  So this week's photo's (yes, more than one this week), are of leaves. I used a couple of techniques, all with the light box in some particular way.  At one point, and I should of taken a picture, I had my tripod on two stools and a table.  It was pretty comical, the things you will do for the shot.  These particular shots also allowed me to learn some more new tricks in Photoshop, including changing colors.  Here are the photos:

 These are the original shots, with minimal correction in Adobe Camera Raw.  I was doing my best to get everything right in camera.  Then the shot below I was playing with the Replace Color function in Photoshop.

This was a lot of fun to do!  I also learned a few tricks, and I am learning more and more about lighting!  Not sure what next weeks project will be, but I have a few ideas!

Happy Photography!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Year, A New Challenge

Week One:  Self Portrait with a twist. 

A brand new year!  I have started something called a 52 week challenge.  A photo a week.  I got the bug to do some kind of challenge in the past couple of weeks and began my research.  I came across a few, settling on one whose starting picture was that of a self portrait.  Of course, I decided I might tweak their list a little bit, making part of it my own.  Yeah, an artist with a little bit of that individualistic spirit.  So I began writing on my dry erase board my ideas and a list of items I need to pull them off.  Here, have a look:

Yep, I decided to write it in fluorescent markers.  Blame my individualistic flair.  Plus, I do most of my photography at night and I have my studio decked out in led blue fairy lights.  Which makes things glow nicely.  What I found was that I had a lot of ideas that involved still photography.  Luckily I had been working on a DIY (Do It Yourself) project...

Of course, in the past few weeks I have decided to build a light box as well.  It started out as a PVC cube.  I ended up building it into a rectangle.  I found that with just the cube, if I took pictures with a black background that I wasn't getting it completely black in the pictures.  So by putting distance between the object and the background I could get completely black.  It took some research to discover this.  I then bought a wooden box (a cake box believe it or not from World Market), bought a LED strip light (from Amazon) to put inside of it that has a remote control that I could change the color on, that I could put underneath the PVC light box with squares cut out.  I did this so I could light an object up and get rid of shadows cast by my lights on the side and from above.  I put a lot of research into this project but it has already paid for itself in happiness.  Here are a few pictures:

 For the white background.  The sheet (cut to size and no sew seams ironed on) is to diffuse the light.

 For the black background.  Black felt covers the back side of the rectangle.

 Covers off  to see the insides, and the board cut so the wooden box can go underneath.

Here is the light box that goes underneath.  I actually went to a Glass/Mirror company and had a piece of glass cut to fit the box.  5 minutes and I had custom glass!

I very well could have bought a light box from Amazon.  Yet none of them combined everything that I wanted, and, well, building is in my genes.  And I spent the same amount of money and built exactly what I wanted.  Bonus, it can all collapse and be ported to another spot.  Portability was important as well. 

So now I have a list of ideas on my dry erase board, a list from the internet, and a year to do a photo a week.  My plan is to do the planning and gather supplies during the week and then take the picture on the weekend.  I am looking forward to seeing what I can come up with!  Of course, this year Canon is updating their stable of full frame cameras, so I am waiting for those to come out before I buy my new camera.

I have learned a few things about myself.  I love using prime lens (instead of zoom lenses).  I love building the DIY projects for photography.  I've learned what I want in a camera now, my next one will have those things that will elevate my level.  But most of all, I've learned how much I love photography.  It is the process I love, the creativity.  Not every shot has to be award winning as long as it tells as story.  Like the first picture above.  I saw this type of picture on the internet and had to recreate it.  The hardest part, getting the lighting right for the two pictures involved into combining one.

I thank God for this gift that has allowed me to find my voice.  Here is to, hopefully, at least 51 more posts this year, hopefully more!