March, 2013

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Going international!


Well, at least for this photo.  I’ve been looking forward to a long exposure to pop out of the app and it has arrived!

Just a few years ago, I learned how to light paint and simply haven’t done enough of it.  Have you done any light painting?  Do you know what it is?  Let’s take a second and discuss briefly.

Ok, so all photographs are light painting if you want to be critical.  You simply won’t have a photography (Graphing of photons), if you don’t have light.  Now that we have that out-of-the-way, let’s talk about our version of light painting.

The best way to start is with a clean, black canvas of an exposure.  The best place to start is somewhere that is already dark, but believe it or not, you really don’t have to have pitch-black, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face darkness, as your camera setting will knock down a ton of light very easily.

So given that the exposure assignment for the day was f16, 30 full seconds, and an ISO of 400, it was a perfect day to practice light painting.  The subject was landscape, so I cheated a bit and used my Eiffel Tower I picked up years ago during a visit to Paris.  I plead that it was part of a landscape.  (Ok, lame, but what do you do?  I hopes to head out to the lake with some lights and see what I can do, but that will have to be later.)

Ok, so I have my tower in my dimly lit studio and fire off an exposure; completely black.  No surprise there.  But, I know I’m ready to paint.

I set my camera for the Rule of Thirds composition, auto focused on the tower, switched to manual focus (Or the camera gets really pissed trying to focus later!), and released the shutter.


I started off my painting with a full flashlight and a little penlight.  I used the flash light to blast the scene for a few seconds and then turned it off.  I changed over to the penlight to focus on details before going for some squiggle ribbon flair.  I kind of liked the first one exposure, so I could have said, “Done.”  I’ve found with these assignments, it’s fun to push a little further and see what else you can do.


Well, unfortunately the next few sucked honestly.  The flare squiggle were annoying at best, so I went for clean and simple.  I found that I liked the highlights I was getting around the base of the tower; they reminded me of the ground lights around the real tower, so I kept working with it.  After about 6 attempts, I found this exposure and decided it was good for this assignment.


It was nice to light paint again, it’s been a while and I certainly need to do it more.  There is just something about that non-directional look that’s interesting.




The First Assignment!

!st assignment

1st assignment

So what landscape photo would you create utilizing the rule of thirds if you had an exposure setting of f7.1, 1/2000th, and 1600 ISO?

This was the first, app produced exposure assignment created by the 365 Photo King app and here is a little bit on how I arrived at a completed assignment.

First, I think this app feeds my primal need to hunt something, as that is the approach I took to complete the assignment.  Sure, I could have took a moment and thought about the settings and how each component of the exposure triangle relates to brightness or darkness, such as:

With an aperture of f7.1, that’s pretty middle of the scale when it comes to how much the leaves will open for light, so it’s fairly neutral.  Then there is a rather fast shutter speed which will certain knock down the intensity of light by limiting sensor exposure. But!  Then there is the very sensitive ISO of 1600, so the light for this exposure will need to be a little suppressed or simply be a less intense light source.

Back to the hunt!  This opportunity to get the shot came in late afternoon, so just at the beginning of the golden hour.  I took a shot at the trees and sky and could see that the sky light wasn’t too bad, but the trees had no definition.

Checking to see how bright it would be.

Checking to see how bright it would be.


I then took a photo of my fence and ground area and found that the open shade areas were still showing plenty of detail, giving an opportunity to get a nice shot of something now that I knew my light.

First photo to see what I was up against.

First photo to see what I was up against.

Ok, so now a subject?  My backyard is hideous, it’s a rental and you may know how that is.  Well, trying to be creative with my Thirds, I tried a weed, tried using a tree for some bonus framing, but it just wasn’t working.


I noticed an abandoned flower pot and started to get some creativity juices flowing.  I liked the lines of the fence and the counterpoint of the circular pot, but didn’t like the mono-tonality of the overall image.  With just a few steps to my right, I found an area where the fence was creating a nice repetitive and textured background.  More importantly, I began to pay attention to the shadow of the tree above me making a little opening in the scene to enhance the pot.  I took the shot.


But wait, ok, I’ve got the shot, but it still looks kind of drab.  At this point the sun has set a bit more, but my light is still fine.  In fact, the light is shining very nicely on the pot and remembering that the brightest point in a photo attracts the subjects eye; I moved to my right just a bit more and found that I could incorporate the weed, the fence, the shadow pattern, and the lit pot for a better image.  Now, I had the shot.

Texture, Patterns, Bright Subject, and Framing.

Texture, Patterns, Bright Subject, and Framing.

All of this took about 10 to 15 minutes at the most really helped me stretch my creativity. Sure, I’m not going to sell the image for mega-bucks, but the next time I’m in the golden hour, I know that this exposure works nicely, I’ll have my eyes out for texture and shadow patterns that my human subject would look very nice in.

I look forward to hearing about your image hunts as time goes by and seeing what you create!



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