posts tagged with the keyword ‘photos’

2011.08.16

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

The Doctor and I spent a few days at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Here’s a hand-held panorama I shot, as I didn’t bring the tripod or panohead with me on vacation, since I was traveling light.

You’ll notice another photographer in the center of the scene, who happens to be shooting with a long lens, on the beach, which is something that typically only a “Creepster Photographer” does. But hey, I don’t know that for sure…

If you want the large large large version, head on over to Flickr.

2011.07.14

Arduino Uno

Here’s a terrible photo of an Arduino Uno…

Diavolino

And here’s a terrible photo of a Diavolino…

Seeeduino

And here’s a terrible photo of a Seeeduino…

These are three terrible photos! I mean, they aren’t terrible terrible, but they’re not great. I could spend a few minutes with each one explaining what I don’t like about them.

We needed a good high resolution photo of an Arduino Uno for a project at the Milwaukee Makerspace, and I said I would quickly snap a photo and get it online, so I did.

I feel like 80% of the quality of these shots are due to the equipment. I used a Nikon D3x with a Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 lens. That’s a great combo. I also used our Elinchrom studio strobes, which are also very nice. I shot tethered to a 21″ Apple iMac, which showed the images on a large colorful screen as they were captured.

Honestly, with all of that stuff in place, anyone familiar with a DSLR and lighting could get a pretty decent shot.

When I use words like “terrible” and “decent” they are, of course, subjective. There’s a whole scale for applying those words. One photographer’s “terrible” is another photographer’s “awesome!”

Besides, these are more “technical” photos than “beautiful” photos. There’s not much style to them. But these also fall under the category of Product Photography, which is worth discussing…

Photography is an interesting thing, because there are so many different disciplines, and so many different subjects. I know some guys who only shoot beautiful women between the age of 18 and 25, outdoors, on sunny days. (Or so it seems.) Other people I know shoot landscapes and nothing but landscapes. Well, HDR landscapes actually. That’s all they do… and that’s all fine, but it’s not product photography.

None of the three photos above would be good examples of product photography, and I’ll explain why:

  1. The items are used.
    If you’re shooting a product, it should be brand new, fresh out of the box, never used. Used items are not the same as clean items. Do you know why? It’s because…

  2. The items are dirty.
    Once an item gets used, it gets dirty. It gets worn down. It gets fingerprints, and smudges, and dirt, and scrapes, and doesn’t look very nice. Yes, you can clean things, and we often joke about the fact that 75% of product photography involves cleaning things, while 15% involves taking pictures. The other 10%? That’s for cleaning it again.

There’s also a number of tricks when shooting products, as opposed to portraits, or landscapes, or beautiful women. Don’t get me wrong, each thing has its own tricks, but they are often different tricks. Actually, they mostly have to do with reflecting light, or blocking light, or basically controlling light, in different ways.

But if you aren’t shooting products for a client, but you are shooting things for your own purpose, like documenting projects, you might find it helpful to learn more about product photography.

And when I say learn, feel free to learn in your own way. If you can assist a product photographer, that would be good, but if you can’t, then study good photos, figure out what you like about them. Learn to control light. I’m not ashamed to say that some of the photos of things that I’ve taken that I really liked, I ended up shooting 30 different versions, all with slightly different lighting. That’s just how I do it. Take a shot, move a light. Take a shot, move a reflector. Take a shot, place a black board directly overhead instead of a white board. Take another shot. At some point after you think you have enough shots, stop. Review them later on a large colorful screen and pick the best one.

Trial and error is still an effective way of learning something… In fact, it may be the only way to learn something.

2011.06.30

Lookalikes

  1. Nicolas Cage
  2. Mark Mallman
  3. Ray Romano
  4. Bre Pettis
  5. Some guy named “Eric”

At various points in my life I’ve either been told I look like one of the guys listed above, or I’ve been mistaken for one of the guys listed above.

Sometimes I took it as an insult, and sometimes I took it as a compliment.

The photo of Bre was taken by David Neff. The rest I totally nicked from the Internet.

2011.03.03

Photo Challenge: Bakery

We finally did another Photo Challenge at Z2, and the theme was bakery.

Check out all the photos, because there’s some pretty cool ones in there… I mean, besides mine!

You might also notice that I’m blogging at VerveCast as well… You can see all of my posts if you’d like. I’ve recently written about Makerbot Industries, the resolution of the RED ONE, and Strip Tweeting

Of course you could just see the whole blog… There’s other good authors beside myself, and we’re publishing almost every day.

2010.10.19

Ringy Dinghy

This is a photo of the “Ringy Dinghy” taken at Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin…

I started with a single RAW image and created 3 different exposures by processing the NEF file in Photoshop. Once I had the 3 files, I loaded them into Luminance HDR (aka ‘qtpfsgui’) which combined them into an HDR image, and I then tonemapped the image.

This part won’t mean much to you unless you are familiar with qtpfsgui (aka ‘Luminance HDR’) but these are the tonemap settings for this particular image. (I tend to use Mantiuk the most.)

TMOSETTINGSVERSION=0.5
TMO=Mantiuk06
CONTRASTFACTOR=1.532
SATURATIONFACTOR=2
DETAILFACTOR=11.9
CONTRASTEQUALIZATION=NO
PREGAMMA=1

Once I created the tonemapped image, I saved that, and then combined it with the middle exposure shot in Photoshop, just slightly blending the layers. Then I saved that file as our final image.

This is pretty much the technique I described as HDR+ back in 2009, and the method I used for my Red Barn photo.

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