Football Freakshow

Fading Light

What do you get when you tell someone that has never played and rarely watches a game to come up with a football themed photo? Somewhere in the closet I have a Nerf football, but I didn’t think that would cut it for me, so I found a football and headed for a field on the West Side. I was toying with ideas all week and really figured that I’d have to be there to see which worked best by shooting them all (or at least as many as I could). The late afternoon sun had a warmth to it that I liked and the lower it sunk in the sky, the softer the light became. Working fast, I lay down on the field a few times to capture the ball on the grass from various angles and focal lengths. My favorite of those (the last in the gallery) wound up being taken at 200mm.

Once I went to capture my other ideas, I wound up mounting the camera upside down on the tripod to achieve the low viewpoint I wanted. I left an image flipped over for fun and to illustrate why I rotated the camera into portrait position for the later shots. Composition came first, then a few test shots with me in them, followed by me losing my shirt and glasses to come closer to the deranged scene I had in mind. I made sure nobody was passing on the nearby path, slipped on the gas mask, and captured the freakshow. Most of the edits were done in Lightroom with a few touches of Color Efex Pro to finish them off. Maybe I look angry because I’m losing my hair and can’t see shit without my glasses?


Crouching For Liftoff

Bright, midday sun is terribly bad and uninteresting light but sometimes it’s worth trying to get something worth looking at from it. It was a warm day at the beach near Red Rock Park in Lynn, MA. The tide was rolling in, kites were flying, and a guy on a mountain board flew past me and yelled “Get one of me in the air!” He proceeded to pull back on the kite and liftoff. I captured a few shots of him and other people tearing around the beach with a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed and pretty much concluded that they were crap. Months ago I saw some photos with white skies and high contrast, probably here, and I think they must have stuck with me because I arrived at something similar in Lightroom. By pushing the contrast, upping the whites, hightlights, and clarity, and then adjusting the blacks and shadows, I removed the drab colors and simplified the shots. The style may not be for everyone, but I think it makes the subjects pop. Now, if I’d been there at sunset with more than one lens I’d have a different story to tell with something much different to show.

Mount Cardigan

Mt Cardigan

I’ll admit trail running with a DSLR and zoom lens in a backpack with a half-gallon of water is stupid – mainly because there’s no reason to be carrying that much weight. However, it’s good practice of the ABC’s of photography, that is, Always Bring Camera. The truth is that more people regret not having a camera with them when they could use one than they do carrying one and not shooting anything. In this case, I dug it out twice, once to capture a family on top of the peak and again to capture the clouds and the rocky summit.

The kids ran around on the ledges while the parents sat and stared out at the world below. While the children were certainly more energetic, I found the image of the parents more intriguing. Unbeknownst to them, I worked the scene as described and illustrated very well in the video at the bottom of this post and changed angles, distance, and cropping to find something compelling. In the back of my mind, I was trying to find something that fit the theme of friendship and in the end wound up liking the subtle body language of this shot. It’s not something I’d call friendly though.

As I ran across the col to reach the Firescrew summit, I was searching for an interesting composition for the rocky peak behind me. Cardigan isn’t very tall but certain trails up its flanks are fierce and I knew I wanted something rough. I saw that I had a decent background and that the clouds in the sky would come out nicely. The mid-ground was getting better as more of the ridge came into view, and finally I found a cairn to work as a foreground. I changed angles, height, focal length, and distance until I found what I thought worked best and finished my run. I processed it through Silver Efex Pro to wind up with gritty black and white.

[youtube width=”617″ height=”349″ video_id=”FpHMuK7Htic”]

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Playing with Pyrex

Playing With Pyrex

I saw an idea not long ago that I thought I’d try – shooting oil and water. Out came the Pyrex baking dish as well as the tripod because I knew I’d be shooting with the macro lens. I filled the glass dish with water, grabbed some vegetable oil, and poured it in. I hooked up my shutter release cable, focused on the oil and bubbles, and set off with a butter knife to create chaos. The first few images suffered from a slow shutter speed, and then the clouds hid the sun, killing my available light. It was then that I grabbed a daylight balanced work light and shined it onto a red shirt beneath the dish (see the setup photos below). Even with the additional light, I turned up the ISO to get a motion free photo. I chose the red shirt as the backer simply because the theme of the week was the color red. Anything colorful would have worked. I’ll admit, I didn’t spend long with the setup and once I snapped a few that I liked, I processed them and called it a day. Nevertheless, the setup is extremely simple and the resulting images are interesting, so maybe I’ll return to the idea.

Planet Marshmallow

Inside the Dessert Cafe

As of yesterday morning, I have a collection of images hanging at Planet Marshmallow, a highly recommended cafe downtown Manchester on Hanover St. A huge thank you goes out to Heather for allowing me to hang them all. For the past couple of months I’ve been stressing over getting prints made, finding frames, and of course, the inevitable response (or lack thereof) of whatever I finally decided to hang.

I settled on sixteen photos that I hoped represented the best of my tastes and my style – a mix of portraits, panoramics, pets, and landscapes with vibrant colors or even black and white. Of those, six were odd sizes that required custom frames. The only photo that I never questioned hanging was that of the Manchester Skyline because of its consistently positive response. It was all of the other shots that had me worried. I know I shouldn’t publicize my doubts, but the question for me was “Who would want to look at these?” High dynamic range images are either loved or despised. Portraits, whether they’re of humans or pets, need to be amazing and tell a story to really be worth viewing and my twisted panoramas can be downright confusing. I felt better when everything was framed. As they sat on the floor, hidden behind the door, they looked big enough. Now that they’re hanging I think they all need to be twice as large.

After everything was hung, I pulled out the camera to capture the moment and a few details of the cafe. I liked the way the hanging glasses played with the light and I liked the texture of the light fixtures. The peanut butter cookies looked good as well. :)