Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Be prepared for trips!

I got in Vermont on Sunday, thinking I had everything I needed. I had Camera, flash, 2 sets of batteries for the flash. (I didn't bring the charger, because I figured a week and 2 sets of batteries. I'm fine.) I was wrong. I got here, and tried to trigger my flash using the V2s. That didn't work. My flash wouldn't even test fire. I tried my other set of batteries, and it wouldn't charge. Where I am in vermont, I am 15 minutes from cell service and about 45 from a store that would sell batteries cheap. Luckily we went to a store today. Bought some Kodak Extramax batteries, Cost a bit more than i'd normaly pay for alkaline batts, but I don't want them to die.

The lesson, always bring the charger.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Moment it Clicks by Joe McNally

Joe McNally is an amazing photographer that works at National Geographic. Recently he wrote a book called The Moment it Clicks. The book was the top thing on my Christmas list, and I got it. I'm currently on vacation in vermont. On the 5 hour ride today I read the whole book. It was awesome. Over the next week I gotta re-read it and 'Pimp my McNally'

When I get back to my real computer (on my moms laptop now) I'll do a good write up. If you're not sure about buying it, heres an intro video on it.. If you don't think you'll like it, its not a photography how-to, its not a biography, its not boring. McNally writes how he talks, with a Brooklyn accent. (kinda)


Friday, December 26, 2008

Backing up Your photos

This is going be a quick guide on backing up those important photos. You invest a lot of money and time into your gear, and into your photos, why not invest a little money and a little time into keeping your photos safe? I don't really do as much as I should. I just have simple WD 250 USB external drive, and some DVD's.

The first thing I want to talk about is how often I back up. Every 3 months I do a quick copy to my External off all the new photos. (or if I shoot something important I'll back it up that day). Then every six months I'll copy all the new files onto my external., and burn everything to DVD's. After that I delete them off my computer, to free up space for the next six months. I am a bit of a worrier and I would hate to lose my photos, so it surprises me that that's all I do. I am in the process of helping my friend build a server (telling him how) and in exchange hes going to let me put a drive in it and use it. Offsite storage is very imporant. I am also planning on getting another external a much smaller one, one of the pocket hdds that I could keep in my bag. That wraps it up basically. Every six months I create a new light room catolog and delete the old one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 12

Enjoy You're self.

Everybody have a happy holiday season! (thats not really photo related but) Also take photos of people. remember the memories.

I don't think I'll be making posts as regularly until January. I am going to try to spend my holidays with my family, and working on new posts that you'll see in the coming month.

Here's what you can be expecting from me in the next few weeks:

on December 31st/January 1st i'll be writing a post about backing up you're photos. I do this about every 6 months, and then delete them all off my computer. So you'll see that soon.

Then during January I hope to do a four part series on using lightroom. (remote shooting into LR, Work flow management, Editing, Exporting)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 11

Learn a new Post Processing Skill.

Since it's winter time and all, I decided to learn how to add falling snow. The tutorial I learned from was done by IceFlow Studios over on youtube. Here's a link to the video tutorial. So I am not going to go through it step by step here, although I will give kind of an outline/check list of what you need to do.

  1. Open an image
  2. Select the sky (using color range or your method)
  3. adjustment layer (hue, saturation) lower sat and lightness
  4. new>adjustment layer> photo filter> cooling
  5. new layer fill black
  6. filter>noise>add noise (Gaussian; monochromatic)
  7. filter>blur>blur more
  8. edit>adjustments>levels set the shadows, midtones and highlights all really close by the right side where the curve flattens out
  9. Blend mode>screen
  10. Filter>blur>motion blur (-60*; 10px)
  11. duplicate snow layer
  12. rotate top snow layer 180*
  13. free transform>top layer new width and hieght 200%
  14. filter>pixelate>crystallize (cell size~15)
  15. filter>blur>motion blur
  16. lower opacity of front snow layer then lower the back layer to alittle less
  17. duplicate lower/back layer and duplicate
thats just the gist. Watch the video to see how well it really looks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 10

Today is going to be a short one, with just some xmas photos. Todays the last short one I hope, tomorrow is my last day of school!

First off, I photographed my Hard drive the other day. It's a WD 250GB usb external. Got it like last march, its been good to me. (mines a bit older than the one on newegg. This shot will tie along with a article you'll be able to read on January 1, 2009, About backing up your photos.

Let me explain the set up. (shot below) I first took one xmas striplight put it on a tripod handle so it was horizontal. above my subject. Also here I'll mention my backdrop, piece of $0.99 black poster board clamped to a light stand and curved onto a table. But back to the lights I took a second striplight and put it vertical cam left. Then to add a bit of right fill, I used a softbox.

Here are the results:

And here's another shot I took. This time I didn't use my xmas lights, went back to the vivitar. For this shot I have the vivitar cam left diffused through my circular diffuser at 1/4 power.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 9

Learn a new technique. Its not just photography hear. I took today to learn about screen printing.

Rather than Create photographs I created serigraphs. That link back there <- will take you to a wikipedia article, neat read, informative. But to better see what screen printing is,check out Bre Pettis's Make video on Weekend Projects: screen printing.

So I made a few today, with no equipment, and no experience, just some silky fabric, some foam board, some acrylic paint and contact paper. This isn't about my screen printing how to, that'll be sometime in February. To see what I made today check out my 'Serigraph' set on flickr. The results, are rubbish, but its 100% proof of concept, and I didn't lose more than 1sq foot of foam board (Not gunna use my paints for anything else) and the fabric I took from my mom :).

Get out and learn something new!


one of my better results ( I did 4) They're all of a riendeer stencle.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 8

Yesterday in my photos you saw a tripod with xmas lights on it. Thats my treepod.

I had a whole bunch of colored lights, and that extra ($5.00 garage sale lenmar tripod lying around) i figured, put the lights on it. Maybe you others will do the same?

Day 7

Today is all about printing your photos (for use as gifts, or modify the stuff slightly, and make them to sell)

First thing, you need a frame. I have a box in my attic, so I got out four frames for 8x10's (which will have 5x7's) and 4 fraes for 5x7's (which will have 4x6's). I cleaned the glass. here where I get a bit ocd, and you don't need to do this.

First, I mixed a glass cleaner (its a LCD screen cleaner gel and 70% isopropyl{rubbing alcohol}) then I put a bit on each side, and wipe with tissue paper (not tissues!). And wear gloves while you do this!! ALso, have some tissue paper ready, and when you're done, wrap them up, put the aside for now.

Now figure out how big you mat needs to be, and cut a few (for all your frames). If you have a mat board cutter, and a mat, use that otherwise use like hard-stock paper. Now figure out the center, and cut a window for you photo (about 1cm smaller than the print size on all sides)

Now that you have mats, and glass and frames. Print your photos out, highest quality, make sure they're edited, etc. Once they're out, hang them up to dry for a bit. Handle the ink-jet paper, before and after with gloves or tissue paper. Always avoid setting it print side down on the table (put out wax paper first)

Now put your photo in the mat, center it, and using masking tape, attach the TOP of the photo. Don't tape all around, remember it will shrink/grow a bit with the weather.

heres a quick, nice touch: take some wax paper as big as the glass, and put it in first. So that you put wax, glass, photo, back. Then when the person recieves it, they can take the wax off, and you wont touch the glass. Just like a new frame!

So now, put in your glass, photo back etc. Don't forget before you do that, sign and date the photo!(on the back)

Wrap it up!

From framed, to fully wrapped. See the wax on the glass.

A hint at whats in store tomorrow!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 6

Go stock up on wrapping paper, flip it over, and you have like a 10yd by like 30 inch seamless white paper!

Sorry I didn't have time for more, busy today

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 5 - 360* Photos

Read about it a while back, on DIYP, you take a Silver round ornament, and mount it infront of your lens, so you can take 360ish panos. Check out the original article: here

Day 4 - Shoot you're Tree

Or what ever holiday stuff you want. I just decided to use our new Xmas Light diy things to shoot mine.
I put my strip light vertically on my lightstand cam right aimed at the tree, and I also had the softbox in the back.

My X-mas Tree. Post processing: Adjusted curves, levels, and added a vignette.

Heres the set up for that shot:

I also just took a few photos of ornaments. For this shot I just had a softbox cam right (I just held it there)

Xmas tree ornament

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 3

Day 3! We have another Xmas Light idea. Saw it over on DIY photography a while back. It's a Xmas light Ringlight Made by Matt Monroe.
I'd say he did an awesome job. Over 300 lights on that.

I tried to make one a while back, wasn't quite bright enough. Hopefully, After xmas there'll be some Battery operated white lights at the dollar store, and I can buy enough to make a good one of these huh?

12 DIYP's day 2!

its day 2 already! So today, I am doing more with xmas lights. today, we are making a small softbox.

You need a tissue box, some white xmas lights, tape, glue, foil, something flexible and translucent.

First, cut your box so it doesnt have a top (where the tissues come out) cut that all away. Now Line that with foil (tape it, glue it, how ever you want.) Cut a hole in the back or side, for your plug to go out. Now, toss the lights in, if you wanted to be more particular you could tape them down neatly, so they spread the light better. I didn't. Now tape that translucent plastic over the front, if its kinda a frostly clear, you can leave it or put diffusion over it (tissue paper) if its clear clear, put some tissue paper over it.

Now, for the shots here, I used the softbox camera left, and I used the striplight you hopefully made yesterday above the subjects in a horizontal position.

Milk and Ginger Bread Cookies!

Milk and Cookies, but for this photo I introduced a background light in the form of my 5500*K Daylight Desklamp.

The set up, with the softbox visible in the bottom left.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12 DIYP's of Christmas Day1

Hey everyone! it's been a while since I have made a post, and with it being the holidays, I figured I'd make 12 diy projects for christmas (all relating to, or using x-mas time stuff). I am of course, going to be writing a few in advance, and posting one each day. If Anyone has any ideas, please email me (jakeoc19 At Twcny dot rr dot com). I may run out, and that would stink.

Day 1:
A few of my projects are going to use X-mas lights, and today, I made a strip light kinda.

First, you need a wrapping paper tube. (just the cardboard) although you could use anything like it (ie: pvc) Next take your white xmas lights, and tape them on. Now you're done. I added 3 velcro straps to mine. So I could mount it on a lighstand.

mounted vertically on the lighstand.

Sample of vertical

mounted horizontal

mounted horizontal sample

Click through the 12 DIYP's of X-MAS for more shots. Check back each day for a new one