Friday, January 23, 2015

Keeping It 'Abstract Expressionist' With the iPhone

As I go about my daily routine I keep a look out for photo opportunities that feature interesting details and that have an abstract quality.  If they're a success I add them to my 'Industrial Abstract' collection.  I've spent time photographing rusty steel, parts of old trains, mining equipment, scrap metal, abandoned electric motors, iron filings, broken glass, battle scarred armament, even the bottom of a submarine.

The American Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) produced many paintings that had this sort of feel; loads of dripping paint applied to canvas with gusto.  You can read about the tormented artist at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Pollock.

And what is the subject you ask?  It's the bottom of a well used aluminium row boat.  Image capture made with the iPhone 5.  Minor contrast adjustments made with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Friday, January 16, 2015

It's All in the Details, Baby!

Whilst out walking the dogs before Christmas I came across a basketball sized wasp nest laying in the snow.  It's easy to spot these in the winter when the trees are void of leaves.  Someone probably knocked it down with a snow ball or perhaps a stick.  Fair game in winter - quite a different matter to attack a nest in summer.

I took several photos with the regular iPhone camera and some with the Hipstamatic app.  This is my favourite, taken with the Hipstamatic.  Levels and Curves adjustments made in Photoshop CS6.

It was a good thing I got to this nest when I did; when we came along the same trail 24 hours later the nest was still there but in pieces having been stomped on and kicked along the trail.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Next Blog Post 2015 January 16

Watch for next blog post 2015 January 16.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What Makes a Good Portrait?

There is more to creating a portrait than people think.  Knowing the purpose behind the portrait is paramount; a business portrait is intended for a different purpose than a fashion photo or lifestyle photo for instance.  Then there is the matter of location, lighting choices, hair, make-up etc.

This portrait was taken as part of a series of photos of the staff in a professional office.  The photos were taken in their office which was rather constrained and it meant that portable lighting had to be used.  I used my Canon 1Dx with the 24-70 lens to give me a little more flexibility in framing the photo.  There was one Canon 580EX flash with umbrella modifier used as the main light with another identical flash placed camera left to provide a little hair detail and to highlight the wall behind the subject a touch.  Both flashes were triggered via Pocket Wizard transmitters.

I converted the image to black and white in Adobe Lightroom; very little extra editing was required.  I'm quite pleased with the outcome; it's a nice balance of a proper professional/business portrait that is just slightly playful at the same time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Jim Dobie Photography Next Blog Post

Watch for my next blog post on Friday January 09.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Architectural Heritage Photography - on Film

Recently a client asked me to make a photographic record of a building that, if all goes according to plan, will soon be re-purposed.  The hitch was that the government agency with influence on the project required that the photos be in black and white and on film.  And the photos were needed in a hurry.  I have a film camera but it is not well suited to this kind of work so I had to scramble.  I was able to source a Canon 650 film camera onto which my Canon lenses could be attached - most importantly my perspective control tilt/shift lenses.  The agent who sold me the camera was able to provide the film required as well so within 24 hours I was all set to go.

It was a little nerve wracking using a camera for the first time on a paying assignment, particularly when the client is along to direct things.  In the end the camera performed flawlessly.  These images are the scans made from the film negative with virtually no adjustment at all - you can see a little of the negative edge along the left side of each photo.

In the digital world files contain 'meta-data' that includes the date the photo was taken, the ISO settings, shutter speed and aperture plus some other stuff.  With film you get none of that; the negative would tell you the film particulars but as for the rest of the info who knows - unless you went to the trouble of writing it all down.  I didn't.  I can tell you that the photos were made on Kodak 100 T-MAX film with the Canon 650 SLR (constructed circa 1987)  fitted with a Canon 24mm TSE lens.  The 'long view' shots were taken at f/14 at around 1/20 sec and the straight on shot was taken at f/8 and about 1/100 sec.

The building featured here is the Charles Camsell Hospital in north central Edmonton.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Jim Dobie Photography Next Blog Post

Watch for my next Blog Post on Friday January 02.