Photo Inspiration

A Few from the Zoo

I went to the zoo for an afternoon last week with a friend and managed to snap off a few “keepers” despite the oppressive heat. It was actually hotter outside than it was in the usually super-humid indoor exhibits…

Groucho re-incarnate!

Groucho re-incarnate!

King of the Castle

King of the Castle

Crooked Stare

Crooked Stare

...My eye on you...

…My eye on you…

Staredown

Staredown

Mime-frog

Mime-frog

Prehistoric

Lizard’s head, Frog’s body

Smooth Criminal

Smooth Criminal

Fun Pregnancy Announcement Photos

Here’s a little story (with some photos to follow, because, well, this is a photography blog ;)… For 15 years, my wife and I have tried to have kids. Early on, we did all sorts of fertility treatments, but the result was always the same. Negative. And with no explanation. We were simply part of a small percentage that Dr’s were baffled by. After some time, we reluctantly accepted that it wasn’t going to happen, but didn’t take any “precautions” either. Figuring that if it was going to happen, it would happen. Years went by without a single hint of conception and our attention slowly shifted towards the benefits of living as DINKS (Dual Income, No KidS). Renovation plans, Vacation plans, toys for the big kids… Planning for a future that mainly revolved around the two of us.

By now, I’m pretty sure you can see where this story is headed… While we were busy racing towards our forties, and the idea of becoming parents all but a distant, diminishing thought, the universe was busy making sure that we were still (and always) on our toes…

It happened! Shit just got realer than real!

Now, having to keep this news quiet for a couple months was one of the toughest parts, so we decided to focus our attention on coming up with creative, customized photos for our families to announce this shocking news. Below are those photos…

Because this WAS our plan for future vacations...

Because this WAS our plan for future vacations…

Because two doors just ain't gonna cut it anymore...

Because two doors just ain’t gonna cut it anymore…

Because the Grand-dog was as close as our parents thought they would get...

Because the Grand-dog was as close as our parents thought they would get…

Because Saturday nights have always been about the bleu, blanc et rouge...

Because Saturday nights have always been about the bleu, blanc et rouge…

 

A Different Perspective…

…Is the simplest way to better pictures. Plain and simple.

Most images are taken from eye level (booooring). It is what we see on a daily basis. So I ask you this: When was the last time you saw someone crawling around on the ground and, when you inquired (quite concernedly, I would assume) as to what they were doing, they simply replied “I just wanted to see what it looked like from down here.” NEVER! So be that person. Look at the world in ways most people can’t or don’t. Just make sure you have a camera in your hand so you don’t look too crazy.

Spring has sprung-3

Although better than a typical angle, this shot has been done time and time again.

Spring has sprung-2

Instead, get down and shoot up to the

Spring Has Sprung

subject to create something different

Killing time @ Brickworks

I was on my way home from a meeting downtown earlier this week and traffic was horrible, so I decided to head to the Evergreen Brickworks to kill some time, take some pics and to see what all the hype was about. It’s a pretty neat place with lots of little details to shoot. Here are a few pics from a quiet weekday afternoon…

Follow Me…

Orange Crush

Hidden Entrance

Blue Bird

Contents Unknown…

Facial Apeel

Ten Ton View

Tuna Anyone?

Staggering

Mylo Xyloto

Serpentine Seating

Over Time

Dripping on a narrow depth of field

Tagging Panes

Locked Cross

Angularity

The Turning Wheel

Land Shark

Ventilated

Show some Motion!

One thing that new(er) photographers think is out of reach for them is taking pictures of moving subjects. What they don’t realize is that the end result doesn’t necessarily have to be totally sharp or in focus. Playing around with slower shutter speeds not only teaches you how your camera works, but it can create some of the most exciting and interesting results for novices.

Take the example below. To show motion like this, it is simply a matter of choosing a slower shutter speed (recipe after the pic)…

Show some motion!

To add interest/contrast to this pic, I placed the tree in the foreground so I would have something sharp in my frame to offset the blurriness of the moving train.

Recipe for this shot:

  • Shutter Priority mode (S or Tv)
  • Dial in a shutter speed of 1/8 of a second or slower
  • Use a low (100-400) ISO value to retain detail
  • Stabilize your camera (a tripod is preferred, but anything that will prevent camera movement can be used)
  • Turn on your camera’s 2 second timer to avoid unintended camera movement when you press the shutter button down

Get out and try this, it’s easy and fun. It doesn’t have to be dark out, but try to avoid experimenting with this in bright sunlight, as it can result in overexposed images.

Feel free to leave some feedback below if you try this…

M-M-M-Macro

For those of you who have attended one (or more) of my classes through Henry’s School of Imaging (www.schoolofimaging.ca), there was likely at least one point where I deviated from the curriculum and went on a tangent about how much I love Macro photography and Macro lenses. In addition to being able to focus at very close range (sometimes within an inch of your subject, whereas a standard lens often requires you to be about a foot away), Macro lenses are also widely heralded for their unparalleled sharpness and fantastic Bokeh (the out of focus area in the picture below).

Nice sharpness and Bokeh produced by a 100mm Macro lens...

The primary reason I gravitate towards close-up macro photography is simply because it can produce something that we can’t see with the human eye. For example, if you bring an object to within an inch of your eye, you won’t be able to focus on it. However, with a Macro lens you can, and depending on the lens, it is often magnified even further.

It looks like a hidden level on Qbert, but it's a close-up of a reflector on my Jeep...

When I’m feeling photographically uninspired, I will oftentimes throw on my Macro lens and explore what would normally be mundane, everyday subjects, discovering abstract shapes, lines, textures and patterns (see above and below).

Door Knocker close up... Even things we see every day are more interesting with a Macro lens.

One thing you have to be aware of when shooting with a macro lens is that you often need a tripod for the best results. Because you are in such close proximity to your subject, camera movement becomes more of an issue when hand holding. Think of this in the same terms as shooting a small subject at a distance with a telephoto lens. Even the slightest movement of your hands will result in a blurry image.

Macro also tends to show imperfections in your subject, so be aware of dirt, etc.

New Year = New Inspiration

During the last quarter of 2011, I hit my first real creative wall with my photography. Nothing seemed to inspire and I felt like I was simply going through the motions and taking pictures, as opposed to making them. During the Christmas holidays (I had nearly a month off), I set out in search of inspiration. I looked at hundreds of Flickr Photostreams, other photog’s websites, sites that offer inspirational ideas like: go see a movie! None of these pursuits led to any kind of revelation. Then I stumbled across this simple little “Photo Inspirations” script: http://viljo.marrandi.ee/inspiration.html. It randomly generates a scenario [subject / lens / time of day] to go photograph. It is such a simple concept, but I suppose therein lies the beauty of it.

I’m not sure to what extent I’ll be using it on this blog. It could become a daily/weekly thing, or perhaps just as filler when I have nothing better to say… Regardless, here is an example of a random scenario and the resulting photo…

Your new photo task is to shoot “light and shade” with “wide angle” at “sunset”

Light & Shade / Wide Angle / Sunset

Light & Shade / Wide Angle / Sunset