Friday, April 29, 2011

camera button friday: its more about form

Henri Cartier-Bresson stated in the video from last week that form and geometry are the most important parts of a photo.  I don’t think this to be the most important part for me but I would love to learn to see like him.  I have asked several of my math friends about the golden ration that Henri talked about and have come to the conclusion that most anything, if it has any geometry to it, can fit into the golden ration somehow, but really I learned that the so-called “rule of thirds” probably derived from this golden ratio thinking.  Henri talked about the Golden ratio as 1.61803, for my purposes, this is roughly 3/2.  Below is a graphical representation of the golden ratio (you can find many online by searching.) Many naturally forming geometries in nature look very similar to this spiral and/or have relationships to size that follow this math. 

The point is not to over think this, but to mull over it so that it is easier to recognize (and tame?) when I am out making photos.  I do not want to think I have arrived here, but this is something I am thinking about: how can the elements in the frame draw the eye, look pleasing and tell a story?  What should I include, what should I not, how should my perspective influence this, how does my choice of lens or light help? 

Basically, how can I take all that I currently know about photography, and apply it to say something?

The images attached to this post are examples of how I feel I have thought a little different about my photos or of how the subject dictated a certain composition and aligning of the elements in the frame.  They do not mean to be examples of the “golden ratio” but may be accidentally.  Mainly, they are images that were made my thinking a little more, or moving my perspective a bit to get what I wanted.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

video shoot: dr calder

A week or so ago, I traveled down to Illinois for a quick InterVarsity Alumni profile. Actually, this was a story that Sarah found, researched and conducted an interview for but I could not pass up as a potential video. I think this is the first time that Sarah and I have actually worked on the same project (it was kinda neat.)

Sarah’s article and my accompanying video can be found here:

Even though photography was down about 3rd on my priorities that day, I still had a little fun following the Doctor around and creating some images with a still camera as Mike and Luke gathered video.

Monday, April 25, 2011

artsy egg dyeing

Dyeing eggs when I was growing up usually meant dunking the entire egg (or sometimes half if we were adventurous) into a vinegar color concoction. This was probably because of my patience and messiness as a kid. But now that we are adults, Sarah makes it into an art project involving paint, cutout patterns, glue, and blown eggs. We invited some of our friends (and their kids) over for an art day that got a little out of hand, especially when Grete and her sister, Sheralynn came over. Both, whom are artists.

Photographically, I was going for the details (obviously) but I focused a little more on form and context instead of just the egg itself.  I also wanted a ‘finished product shot’ so the last 2 photos were posed: I took the eggs over in front of a big window, placed then on some left over white foam-core, and I used an on-camera flash bounced into the ceiling as a very slight fill to the window light.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

camera button friday: all the other buttons

OK, I have done a couple posts on the topic of 'camera buttons.'  But now that I have gone through a couple I don't really feel like there is anything special about the rest.  The modern digital SLR is full of options.  The more advanced your camera the more options you have.  These options are mostly just toys and preferences and do not affect your image...well, unless you or the camera is doing something wrong.  I would say that most of these are personal preference and can change from one good photographer to another.

Therefore I will not even go into them, and 'Camera Button Friday' will focus more (or at least mostly) on the photograph, than the gear from now on.

I hope you are not disappointed in the simplicity.  Really, camera manufacturers are making our menu systems like big grocery stores, giving us so many options we no longer know what we want or what is good.  Most of these options I do not use, the ones I do use are not ever changed once I decide on them.

But I can't just leave you with nothing...

Your homework for the next 'Camera Button Friday' is to watch this video:

(But hey, I may be overlooking something; if you have a question, or something you want to cover, let me know)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

breakfast - lazy janes

Over the weekend, Sarah and I went to Lazy Jane's, our favorite breakfast place.  I guess the word is getting out, there was a long wait about an hour earlier than it normally is.  But the my Chorizo Scramble is still just as good.  Nothing really amazing about the photos, but it is sometimes interesting how many times I go back to photos of every day life to remember what I did or to tell a story.

Monday, April 18, 2011

glass blowing

Every spring, InterVarsity's National Service Center (our headquarters) puts on an Art Festival and Institute where we all get to show off our artistic abilities and, more importantly, learn from one another in workshops.  Sarah and I attended one on glass blowing last week.  It was a little disappointing that we were not using the big ovens that burn real fire or something that you see in the movies but it was a lot of fun to start small.  One globe even got so big that it was paper thin and started I had to take a more 'artsy' photo of it at the end.

[Tech: For the last photo - I placed the glass on something black so that there would be enough contrast to see it, exposed the ambient  to zero and used a flash, held by my assistant right behind the glass just out of the frame, to back light everything to make it glow.]

PS Not sure why no guys went, with all the 1,000 degree torches around and exploding glass, I feel like it was silly for me to be the only one.

Friday, April 15, 2011

camera button friday: the button i wish i had

On Nikon and Canon cameras, there are two scroll wheels that a photographer uses to control exposure: the shutter and the aperture scroll wheels. But now that our cameras have great ISO performance, ISO has become the third variable in exposure. (Here comes the rant, are you ready?) I want a third wheel for my ISO control. I have a dedicated button on my camera but I can’t quickly change it like I can my shutter or aperture. Before you Canon guys let me know that your ISO button is up on the right side and easy to get to I will tell you….yes it is, but not as easy as I would like.

So, can I get another scroll wheel? Or at least a button that I can grab easy (like that custom 'Fn' buttons already on the front of my camera) so that I can press and hold them while a scroll with one of the wheels to change ISO?

[end of rant]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

spring storms

As a storm came through last week, so I grabbed my camera and just a long lens as I jumped in the car to see what would happen at sunset.  It was exhilarating watching the clouds play...even if I was freezing because I didn't bring gloves or a warm enough jacket.  Silly Matt.  The cold drove me back just a little to soon, the sunset just exploded with color as I got to the parking lot, luckily I had an ok vantage point.