Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Cool Lookin' Rainbow.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reverse Tracking, and EXTREMELY difficult technique.

"Tracking" or sometimes called "Panning" is a photographic technique where you follow a moving subject with a slower shutter speed, so that the subject stays in focus while the background is blurred. It creates a sense of speed and motion. Like a sharply focused car with the road just a blur, or a cheetah in mid-sprint.

I've seen tracking used in a slight reverse as well, where maybe a subject stays still while a subway car pulls up, or while a hundred people walk around time square while a subject is standing still.

I'm not a big fan of posed shots myself, I like the character and sincerity that only candid shots can provide. As the followers of my other blog know, I have a tendency to capture the less fortunate people in society. There is often no glamour in my subjects, and I wanted to convey a sense of life speeding by these stagnant people. The only way to powerfully do this, is to motion blur the world in the background, while the person moves at a crawl.

I've never seen this technique done before, and it is INCREDIBLY difficult. What has to happen is you must shoot someone from a moving vehicle, keep them in focus, and track them precisely at the same movement of the car so as not to blur them. Another problem arises, as the car moves, it actually rotates around them, so you have to rotate the camera during the exposure as well. It creates an unparalleled motion blur that is one of a kind. I took dozens of these a few months ago, but only a few were decent enough, enjoy...

If you click the second to last one above, you will notice the center of rotation is actually about a yard away from the lady, kind of like she is standing on a vinyl record just outside of the center of it.

The last one is my favorite. Click on it to see it full size, and try not to get dizzy! Look at the grass and see how the rotation really came out well.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Curiousity, The Mentally ill, and the Underbelly of society.

First I want to thank every one who has followed and commented on this blog. It really means a lot to me and it helps me know more about what people may find interesting or lacking. I so much appreciate all your critique. I hope my photos let you think, and maybe stir up some emotion.

I've been wanting to explore this for a while. On my other blog, you may have seen a few of these pictures before but in a different light. I'm often faced with deciding whether to portray something as funny or poignant. Here I get the ability to show you what the real meanings behind some of these pictures can be.

From when I was an early teenager, I always was curious about hitch hikers, prostitutes, seedy motels, schizophrenic's, etc...

I've never been so curious as to want to BE one of these people or even associate with any of them, it just draws a curiousity, and to be honest, sometimes frightens me. I've learned now that many of these motels are often refuges for criminals, junkies, and the mentally ill. Here are some pictures I've taken of people that are mentally ill, or in some cases just plain SCARY.

I will slowly ramp up the creepiness as you work your way through the following pictures. I hope you enjoy what I've done with these images, I've tediously added various amounts of grain, vignetting, monochrome, and contrast or lack of.

Let's start off with something safe...

I still have a hard time figuring out if this photo is actually poignant or not. I took it in an area where I know there are a lot of homes that house druggies and mentally ill. I'm pretty sure these people are not all with it, and the look of the guy staring at me gives me a safe, but strange feeling.

Generally where you find motels like this, you are more likely to find some much less desirable people.

This shot of a run down motel makes me sad. You may have to click on it to view it full size, but you'll notice little kids stuff that i've left in color, as well as the bed. Subjecting children to a life of growing up in these places makes me very angry, but even more saddened.

Something is wrong with a person to do this. If you can't click on the picture and view it larger, there is a cardboard sign on the truck scribbled "BEAGLE PUPS FOR SALE." I saw this guy in the parking lot of a wal-mart and had to take the picture. Notice the disgusting look he has on his face, and the open caged door to what seems to be where the Beagle puppies are kept, cleverly disguised as a tool box. This made me revoltingly sick to see, and I called the police right away.

This man above constantly was spinning around in circles, amazingly not seeming to get dizzy. In any good sized city, I think it's common to see mentally ill people walking around aimlessly. As a serious matter, this isn't really funny although you will often see me poking fun on my other blog. I can pass it off as humor but in reality, there are some unstable people always lurking around.

I like this picture. Not because I like junkie hookers, but I just liked this shot the best out of maybe ten I took. I like how the car is speeding by, paying no attention to this stumbling veteran prostitute working her way down the street. There are a lot of more things going on in this image, but ill let you form your own opinions as usual.

Now here are some more frightening images. Only two of them, but definitely the most frightening people I've captured. I got nothing but bad feelings when I photographed these two people/things. Two people I don't really ever care to be near again.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Autumn is on it's way! Some nice waterfall pictures too.

I decided on this post I would share some of the photoshop methods I use to get the results. I use photoshop CS2.

This has very little post processing into it. It was very foggy and I knew that it was just about the exact look I wanted. The only thing I added was a curves adjustment layer, and in RGB channel just made a point in the center of the line and pulled it to the left to enhance the midtones a bit. I normally want contrasty images but this I needed to preserve its washy appearance.

This is an HDR image. I composited three exposures with EV values +2, 0, -2. I don't remember the aperture/shutter speed but most likely it was F9 1/160.

I tone mapped it using DPHDR, then brought it into photoshop and masked various parts of the trees into separate layers, giving each layer a different S curve on the RGB channel. I always use Neat Image noise reduction on my HDR skies, mostly luminance reduction.

I originally shot 5 different exposures on this, planning for an HDR composite. I really wanted to give the basin area a darker look than the sky, so I instead went with only using the -2 EV shot, and brought out the highlights using a duplicate layer shadow/highlight command at 100%. The colors were still pretty vivid, so I had to mute them changing the curve in the Green channel. The sky is so vivid mainly due to a polarising filter.

Using channel mixer, I set to monochrome and pushed the reds up highest, greens negative and blues slightly postive, making sure to retain a 100% mix so as not to oversaturate anything. Then a quick adjustment layer in curves with a slight S curve. (quick tip, drag the mouse over the areas you want accentuated, and see where the range is on the curve. Then steepen only that section of the curve. If you need more drastic change within a certain area, I always mask off the section and apply curves directly to it alone.

This one was really time consuming. A lot of curves work and masks. every color you see here was masked off and worked on with curves. I added an overall light green color cast but kept good contrast range within the tree shadows and the leaves.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sad Animals and some more infrared

There is a farm in northern new york that for $7 you can go in and see what is going on. I saw this sheep above and he was struggling to get up, making very upsetting, straining sounds, so I told a farm person about it and she said that they can't get up themselves. So I kept an eye out and right when I left I see the farm people loading it onto a little trailer and take it away. I asked the farm person again later and she said that the sheep was old and probably was nearing "that time".

I'm not a fan of farm animals much, but I love animals in general and It really upset me that the poor sheep was left there for people to gaze at (mostly children), with half his coat shaved off and making awfully sad sounds trying to get up.

I just though this goat looked really sad. I would be too though if I was stuck on a farm waiting to be killed or whatever they do with them.


I'm not sure I should have reduced the sky to pitch black, I might have liked it to be more gray, but I thought I would share this one anyways, I really liked the way the house sat behind the trees. I took this on cayuga lake (one of the finger lakes in new york).

The above two are the same image, the last one is just a close up of the tree. I kinda liked how this one turned out, the lighting was just right to get the leaves to show very green (which is ideal for infrared).

I hope you liked the pics, let me know if you enjoyed them too.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Some infrared experiments and an INCREDIBLE final picture.

If you didn't catch the earlier post, I told you I was experimenting with infrared photography. I'm getting better at it. Infrared looks similar to normal black and white except the greens and reds turn white, while the whites and blues turn dark. It gives a pretty surreal image, but most of the difficulty is finding the right lighting conditions and composure.

This one below is a lomo style image of a few broken down old trucks I came across while making a wrong turn. I'm not a fan of trucks or anything but I thought this would make a good nostalgic kind of picture.

Ready for my final image? Maybe it's not terribly incredible to you but it is VERY moving for me. I have a fascination with things that are left behind to fade. Old stores that bankrupt owners had left sparsely furnished, old abandoned houses with furniture still visible through the windows, etc...

It always makes me wonder of who took care of these places, there must have been a happy family there at one time. How long has it been? What happened? Where are they now? All these questions run through my head. I've been thinking for a while that I wanted to get a good image of an old childrens swing set left abandoned and today I came across exactly what I was looking for. I hope that you too enjoy this picture, I spent painstaking time making it look the way I see it in my head. Let me know if you like this picture, if it moves you, and if you like the others of course too. Click on it to see it properly.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Amazing Union Station

Today I made a trip to the Train station in my hometown of Utica NY.

The station was built with the Italianate style. Inside is a restaurant and a barber shop, one of the few barber shops in a train station today. The 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) waiting room's 47-foot (14 m) high vaulted ceiling is supported by 34 marble columns. The station's blueprints called for the importing of columns that originally adorned Grand Central Station in New York City. Eight large benches are heated with steam pipes and vents. -From Wikipidia.

The locomotive above I attempted to simulate "lomography". In the 80's, there was this really cheap camera called a Lomo that when you cross processed the slide film as 35mm, it would give these really nostalgic, unique colors. It works best on still objects rather than landscapes, so I thought I'd give it a try here on this train, hope you like it, I may do more of it in the future.

Here is the inside of Utica's incredible train station. These marble columns are one piece, and the ceiling goes almost 50 feet high! Everything is just covered in marble, it is absolutely incredible. It's cool too when you see the old time barbershop that still runs, although it was too dark to photo clearly. The picture above I converted to black and white, but I tried introducing a little bit of color back in and it gave it such a nice white appearance, I decided to leave it.

This is an HDR shot (above). I kept the nice gold colorcast because even though it all is actually white, It does look gold when you are in there from the lights.

I was a little upset I couldn't get this shot of the ceiling looking down as sharp as I wanted, but it still looked cool so I kept it :)

Below are two shots of some hallways that go out to the trains, one below and one above. The second is an HDR.

I hope you enjoyed these, and I hope you appreciated the time I put into getting the colors where I hoped they would work best.


Owl, Red Panda, Loser, Infrared and some flowers.

This is an HDR I actually took through the windshield, I was surprised I was able to get it clear enough even though it had just rained. Le Barons always make me laugh, and it even more when it's raining and some idiot is driving in a convertible.

I took this picture of some kind of owl that a handler had at the zoo. I caught him at the right moment giving me a hilarious stare. I took a lot of time getting the colors to pop and maximizing the contrast. Some of his body is less sharp then I wanted, but I think it came out o.k. I love owls they are my favortie bird!

This little red panda was pretty funny and it took me a long time to actually get him to look at me. His head may seem really bright, but that's actually how it was.

I'm not a big fan of taking pictures of flowers, but I couldn't resist this patch of them because they were so bright. Of course not as bright as I corrected them here, but I thought it came out pretty cool. Don't ask me what kind they are, I have no clue!

I am trying to work with infrared style black and white. Infrared photography involves modifying a camera to pick up infrared light and filter out most visible light. This makes greens turn white, and blues to turn dark. It looks very surreal when done right, but I'm still new at it.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

HDR images of Utica NY



Driving through the country recently, I came a cross a small farm with some horses. Actually, they had a million flies all over their faces but I cloned them all out.


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