This shot is from my morning outing downtown a couple of weeks ago. I don't know what it was that made me stop for this shot, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. I like how the window in the reflection frames the model's eye, and how it almost looks like she's holding up the building. But beyond the individual elements, there's something compelling about it, but I can't quite put my finger on what. You might think that this diminishes the value of the shot, since not even I know what's good about it, but I find that these little accidental moments are one of the best parts of photography, especially since it invites me to investigate the ideas I stumble across in future work.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens, in manual exposure mode. Aperture f/5.6, shutter 1/50 sec, ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: levels to darken shadows and brighten highlights.
Thoughts for improvement: I don't really know what I could improve about this particular shot, but I think that in general what I can take away from it is an opportunity to further study what in it works for me and how I can use that in the future.
I didn't get a chance to get out and shoot this weekend, so this week we're taking another trip through the archives.
I took this photo in August at the San Diego DSLR club's group shoot in Belmont Park. It's not an ideal technical image, what with the lens flare ghosts from pointing the camera straight into the streetlamps. I keep coming back to it, though, because I think it represents a turning point in my approach to photography--this was the first time I ever approached a stranger and asked if I could take his picture.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX lens, in aperture-priority exposure mode. Aperture f/1.8, shutter 1/40 sec (+0 EV), ISO 1600. No post-processing.
Thoughts for improvement: As I mentioned, the ghosting is a little awkward. I should probably also have toned down the lights in post a bit.
All I can say is, dang, Juliette is a lucky woman.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX lens, and Nikon SB-400 flash (bounced off the ceiling). Manual exposure mode, TTL flash mode (-2 EV). Aperture f/1.8, shutter 1/40, ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: WB adjustment; +1 exposure; curves for contrast; slight overall desaturation; further desaturated reds and yellows; retouched a sit on the side of my nose.
Thoughts for improvement: I've never been able to decide whether or not I like the fact that the auto-focus picked my glasses instead of my eyes in this one. But, honestly, the main thing I wish with this photo is that I had done something about my nose hair beforehand.
I'm all out of new pictures for the week (actually, I ran out on Tuesday), so it's back to the archives. This one is from the trip we took to Legoland back in October. This house is part of a Duplo-themed toddler playground near the back of the park. It has stairs up one side and a slide coming down the other, and I think it may have been Jason's favorite part of Legoland. Which made me extra glad that our tickets were free.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX lens, in manual exposure mode. Aperture f/4, shutter 1/500 sec, ISO 400. Post-processing in Aperture 3: brought up midtones slightly with curves; burned over everything except Jason, himself.
Thoughts for improvement: I could probably stand to crop out a bit of the bottom.
Will Be Back
I took this photo at 9:08 on a Sunday morning. I came back at 9:13, but they weren't back yet.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens, in manual exposure mode. Aperture f/1.4, shutter 1/1000 sec, ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: levels to brighten highlights and midtones, darken shadows.
Thoughts for improvement: Nothing comes to mind. Other than, you know, taking a picture of something more interesting.
If there's one thing that we San Diegans are good at, it's following directions.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens, in aperture priority exposure mode (matrix metering). Aperture f/1.4, shutter 1/200 sec (+0 EV), ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: cropped to 4x5; curves for contrast.
Thoughts for improvement: Probably should have taken this one at f/8 for deeper depth of field.
Ocean Beach Sunset
Each of the past two weekends I've taken a couple of hours to myself to wander around and take pictures. One of the nice things about this activity--other than the photographs, of course--is that I'm getting to know the city a lot better. Most of the places I've gone for pictures I've driven through before, but to really get a feel for an area, there's nothing quite like being out there on your own two feet.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G DX lens, in aperture-priority exposure mode (matrix metering). Aperture f/8, shutter 1/400 sec (+0 EV), ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: straightened and cropped; several curves and layers adjustments brushed in over the sea, sky, and foreground; cloned out a dust spot.
Thoughts for improvement: I like the effect that the sun flare gives on the left side, but it makes the photo feel a little unbalanced, since the left and right sides don't match. Possibly I should have taken a lower angle and panned left more, though the sun was already low enough that I probably couldn't have gotten gone much further left without shooting directly into the light. Also, if I'd waited twenty minutes or so, the sky might have been a little more colorful.
"Everyday" is an adjective. "Every day" is a noun phrase. This doesn't really speak to the subject of the photo, but I feel like corporate copywriters should know the difference.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens, in manual exposure mode. Aperture f/4, shutter 1/500 sec, ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: cropped; curves to bring up exposure; levels for contrast.
Thoughts for improvement: The truck kind of wrecks the composition, so I wish that weren't there. I also wish I had been closer, so that I wouldn't have had to crop so much out--it's left me with a fairly low-res image.
Can I Come In?
I stood and watched this dog for about five minutes and it barely moved a muscle, it was so intent on what was going on inside that building. That, right there, is love.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens, in manual exposure mode. Aperture f/1.4, shutter 1/800 sec, ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: straightened; cropped to 4x5; max recovery adjustment; minor curves adjustment for contrast; levels to brighten midtones; burned over the car windshield and background building.
Thoughts for improvement: I like this image a lot, but I'm not sure how well it works without an explanation. Ideally, a photograph should be able to speak on its own.
This dog was out with its owners for a Sunday breakfast at a likely-overpriced restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter. It was a nice, sunny morning, the mood at the table was convivial, and the streets around the little enclosed eating area weren't too crowded yet. I can think of no reason that this dog should look so sad. Unless maybe it didn't want to be sitting next to a bag of what appears to be its own poo. Though, I don't know--I mean, certainly I wouldn't enjoy that. As far as I can tell, though, my own dog rather likes his poo, so who knows?
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens, in manual exposure mode. Aperture f/1.4, shutter 1/800 sec, ISO 200. Post-processing in Aperture 3: minor straightening, but otherwise this is straight out of the camera.
Thoughts for improvement: I like the depth of field here for separating the dog and fence from the background, but the quality of the bokeh isn't great, which is an artifact of the lens. I also think that this would have been better just a little bit to one side or the other, to either completely include or completely exclude the fencepost along the left edge.