Monday, November 30, 2009

Artistic Filters

I have never been big on filters that take one's photography and make a ersatz art work. But I like to play and recently I downloaded Paint.NET. It had an ink sketch artistic filter. When I played with it the result reminded me of the work of the late London artist Clark McDougall. McDougall died of a brain tumour at the age of 59 back in December of 1980.

McDougall did a number of paintings in which objects in the scene were outlined in black paint. A painting from this period hung on the wall at The London Free Press when I worked there.

The filter created an image that reminded me so much of McDougall's work that I went ahead and applied the filter. McDougall did it better.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Computer Died, Blog Stalled, Back Thursday!

I'll be back - Thursday. I have a new computer. Yeah!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When shooting food, tell an action-packed story

This may not look like a photo blog, but it is. The first picture, the biscotti being dipped in coffee, shows what we can do with biscotti. It is a tight shot, cleanly lit by soft but directional window light and tries to follow a lot of rules.

Notice that the finger nail on the thumb is clean and trimmed short. It is not only your model's hair you want neat and trimmed for a shoot. (The hand model is me. I shot this with one hand holding the biscotti and the other holding the camera.)

Note the focus. The image is very nicely focused on the biscotti. You can actually see the texture of the biscuit. Also note the background, the table cloth is from Menton, Provence, where France butts up against Italy. And the coffee cup is the kind found in bistros everywhere. When shooting food pictures, do not forget to give some thought to your props.

It is too bad a little more of the handle does not show. This is a strike against this picture. An important detail is missing. If the handle had appeared in the upper right, it would have made a great diagonal leading the eye into the picture and played nicely against the diagonal of the biscotti. This is why pros often used to shoot Polaroids before breaking down a set.

Now, give a quick check on how these biscotti images were used to illustrate a post on making biscotti. Note how, at the end of the post when I am talking about how many biscuits this recipe makes, I show you a mess of biscotti running right out of sight. Art can break up a page but it is best if it fits neatly with the words. These two, words and pictures, should be partners and not acquaintances.

Note: all images shot with an old Canon SD10 Digital ELPH and not more than a minute was spend shooting. Why waste time taking pictures when there's fresh coffee and biscotti to be enjoyed?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Work with the camera you have . . .

When you take pictures, work with the camera you have. In other words, if you have a wide angle lens and nothing more, do not try to shoot as if you had a telephoto. A wide angle will include foreground that the telephoto wouldn't. So include the foreground and make it look as if that's the way you always saw the picture.

Until I retired, I was a telephoto kinda guy. I had a long a torrid love affair with a 200mm f/1.8. Ah, the stuff that lens and I did together. We were a team. But that was then and this is now.

Now, I have a small, almost seven-year-old, point and shoot and I am learning how to take pictures all over again. It has a fixed lens; it's a 28mm and, to a pro, it's slow at f/2.8. But, we are learning to work together. I think we make a good team. Try cuddling up to your camera. Work with it and not against it. I'm sure you'll find it rewarding. Cheers, Rockinon (Ken)