Sunday, November 14, 2010

You Spin Me Round Round

Let's all give a round of applause to Jay'me and her efforts to soldier on in the absence of a camera (sorry iphone users - it's not really a camera in my eyes). Were it I, I'd probably have a brand new credit card bill and a camera worth drooling over. It's fortunate not everyone is as impulsive as I. So Jay'me , well done! You did a great job capturing a photo despite your limitations! I'm proud to call you a co-conspirator.

Moving on, what I noticed immediately with Jay'me's post were the arcs. There are at least 3 circles implied and I would probably say there are actually 5. I don't think it was Jay'me's intent but it was a study in circles. Because of that I immediately thought of marbles (maybe it's because I've lost mine!). My son has a gallon bag of hundreds of marbles. I had a great time trying different things...with one exception. My tripod is dead. It will be buried alongside Jay'me's corpse of a camera and I will move on after sharing a few kind words for my 3-legged friend. I will miss her. And my mourning started tonight.

I really needed to brace my camera and because of the death in my camera family, I had to get a little resourceful. So I stacked 7 bean bags atop a box of business cards and a DVD case and nestled my camera among it all. Meanwhile, I piled up 3 more bean bags on top of an overturned Tupperware container so the lens would rest on something. Then, after selecting the marble, I placed it on a sheet of white paper and used my sons new "Buzz Lightyear" flashlight to provide harsh side-lighting. Firing off 3 bracketed shots I set about editing. Here is the result:

Canon 30D
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Mode Aperture Priority
Shutter Speed 1/4, 1", and 2.5"
Aperture f/14.0
ISO 100
Buzz Lightyear Flashlight

It's worth mentioning that I always shoot in RAW. Actually, I always shoot in RAW+sJPEG. What this means is that my camera simultaneously records the image in RAW format and small JPEG format. The purpose is to give me a file size that's easy to preview (sJPEG) and the loss-less format to actually edit and use (RAW). Additionally, it means more time in front of the computer, something I feel is reality in this day and age.

Photographers of old spent loads of time in the darkroom. Today's photographers are often faced with similar demands. In the case of this photo, I had to combine 3 images using Photomatix, process the results, save as a 16-bit TIFF, then proceed to edit the TIFF in Digital Photo Professional (my editor of choice currently), and finally save as a JPEG for the final edit and post. The entire process took about 10 minutes, which I feel is reasonable. But one can imagine the demands of editing wedding photos! Work flow is important!

So I've managed to completely wander away from this post but darn it, it's what I'm feeling right now!

I did my best to capture the circles given me by this marble. It was more challenging than I thought it would be (when is it ever easier!). I shot with HDR in mind because of something I read recently. The poster mentioned that in addition to dealing with dynamic range, HDR can really bring out detail in a setting that you might not normally think of as "perfect for HDR." In this case, I'm not sure I achieved better detail. What I certainly did after much trial and error is better saturation on the blue halo. I couldn't duplicate it with a single exposure. I tried several techniques and just couldn't do it. So once again, HDR was what I needed.

Okay, I've had enough for tonight. I think tomorrow we're inline for a guest photographer. WooHoo!!! We love our guests (no its not because we get out of posting!). It's such fun seeing the work of other people.

I'll leave you with a joke that I'm thinking of as I ramble aimlessly through this post. Here ya go:

How many AD/HD kids does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Wanna ride bikes?



  1. Oh I love it! I want to try out HDR so bad.

  2. Well, Scott, you've done it. You've finally lost your marbles. heehee...

    I love (as in obsessed with) the nicks on the marble. It screams childhood fun. I can hear the laughter and taunts. I can feel the rush of the pavement as the marble rolls over it. The details make the photo and HDR made it possible.
    Did you photo any colored marbles? Just curious on how those turned out (even non processed).
    Great job Scott. Can't wait to see Amanda's follow up.

  3. Thanks Scott,
    Before reading I instantly knew the tie in to my Photo was composition. And again, "Black and White in full color" it's a really cool Deja vu from a few posts ago.
    I absolutely love simplicity. Studying shadows and light and a simple clear sphere can be captivating!
    LOVE it - AGAIN!

  4. What a great shot Scott! I really like the the marble's shadow and the way you captured it. Also, the fact that there is no point of reference as to size in this photo. We all know it's a marble because you told us, but without that info you can let your mind wander as to what it is you're looking at. Bravo!
    P.S. Love the bit of comedy!

  5. Thanks guys. As always, I love reading the comments. Scott, I knew you'd love the joke, even though I'm sure I've already told you that one. Amanda, can't wait to see what you post! Jay'me, you're the best - always keen to pick up on the connection quickly! B, I did try some colorful marbles. Some were too opaque but others were great. I plan on revisiting marbles once I get a new tripod. Keep the comments coming everyone!