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  • Let. It. Begin.

    We'll start with one topic per week. If this is too fast, we can dial it back to once every two weeks. Please post suggestions for topics. I've got several in mind, but requests always help. I'll try to include some more complex things with the normal fare. Using a photo you already have made is acceptable...but it is preferred that you take a new one. I understand that time is an issue.

    Again, I don't care what kind of camera you have; use what is availible. Something with manual mode will be best, though. If you're going to process and retouch things, I prefer you do it in GIMP, photoshop, Lightroom, etc. Each posting of instagrammed photos will cause me to let Hronk die in arena. Think of the Hronks.

    With each photo, please answer the following questions. It's not required in any way, but it will be help you.

    - Why this subject? What were you trying to show?

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?

    First up: Portraits! In any sense of the word, too. People, animals, or something that uses a single subject.

    Make comments, talk, discuss, photoshop cats into the photos, etc!

    Lets go!
    Post edited by Valisa at 2012-10-23 20:49:35
  • Twilek

    Limited time, so I am going to use one of my favorites from Emerald City Comicon.

    - Why this subject? What were you trying to show?
    This girl was super nice and really owned her costume. I took a number of shots of her, but this one really captured her as her character, at least for me. Also, blue chick.

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?
    Natural light, because I hate washed out and flat faces. The shadows here are subtle, but a flash would have flattened out her face. Also, the lighting from the side gives the armor depth that would not have shown if I had used a flash.

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?
    I removed a few blemishes and adjusted the white balance. I always shoot raw, and my camera is a bit weird in how it decides colors. I also cropped the photo to get the framing of her to be the way I liked it, and to cut out distracting elements (this was taken in a VERY crowded room).

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?
    I like this shot for a few reasons. Mostly, I really liked the costume and the person wearing it was just totally committed to it. I am not sure if I actually take better pictures of people I relate to or who are friendly, but I am sure that I work harder to capture their awesome, and I enjoy the finished product more when I succeed. The main things I don't like about this shot are that the eyes are a little soft, and I wish I had spent a few minutes asking her to pose, instead of just letting her do her thing and hoping for the best, but I just wasn't quite ready for that at the time.
    Post edited by Emtu at 2012-10-22 23:32:24
  • -
    Because adding a cat to anything improves it.
    Post edited by hronk at 2012-10-23 01:50:13
  • Hronk, just post your cat close up so we can get this kitty duel underway!
  • Bugged my roommate from some portraits!




    - Why this subject? What were you trying to show?
    My roommate has a very expressive face and is well suited to portraits. The orb portrait was shot in an attempt to make a mysterious looking photo with interesting lighting. The hooded shot was an attempt to do something fashion-y. First time I've done anything like either of them.

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?
    The orb photo was lit solely by a USB powered orb held close to the face. The fashion-esque one was from an umbrella on the front left of the subject. Background lit up by another umbrella.

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?
    I made the orb photo monochrome. The original was a purple light, and I thought the black and white made it much more dramatic. I shot the hooded portrait on a white background, but I increased the whites in lightroom to further isolate the image. This was mostly because the campus printers are evil about white and blacks that are very close to being pure white/black, but not quite. I softened the face some via clarity decrease, too.

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?
    I like the lighting on the orb one. I don't like how the highlights are totally blown out on the light source, though. If I had to shoot it again, I would probably recompose the hooded portrait a bit. I want the focus on the eyes, but I'm not quite sure how I feel about the top of the hood being cut off.
    Post edited by Valisa at 2012-10-23 16:32:52
  • Portraits are a totally unfair subject to those of us who don't have any friends. :( If I get arrested for stalking, Val, I'm calling you from jail.

    It's going to take me a few days to find a "willing" subject.
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • Pets work. :) Or any animal you can make the subject of a photo!
  • or a self portrait!
  • Emtu said:

    or a self portrait!



    Was planning that for a topic soon, but that works if nothing else!
  • Nice.
    Since I'm entirely unsure of my week and how much time I'll actually have I did a quick snap of a portrait of Ember with...no not my Cannon 5D mk II, not my Powershot pocket camera but...with my cellphone.

    Sunlit Nap

    I googled up some tips on pet portraits first and tried to follow some of them, so here we go:

    Why this subject: Handy, don't have to bug someone, trying to catch a natural picture, close to "at level" as opposed to "from above" that captures a bit of her personality.

    Where was the light source and why this lighting: The window behind the computer that is providing a slight blue LED glow behind her ear. All the articles on pet portraits suggested natural lighting. Flash was definitely out of the question as it tends to flatten the photo and make it glarey (espec with cell phone camera) and I was looking for something quick to capture. So convenience and the natural fill of natural light.

    If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?: Cropped the photo - wanted to be a bit more intimate and also had too much blank space to the left of the subject. If I had noticed it (and had skills in photoshop) I might have removed the blue hint from the LED from the computer. I also might have removed the leash.

    Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?: It is effective - it gives the cuddliness and a bit pensiveness of Ember. (She's also had quite the year.)

    I like the shadow below her muzzle and the "resting on the paw" pose and the light and shadow on the paw. And also the the collar peaking out shows her general fluffyness.

    I would like to have shot it so there was a bit more picture at the top as it seems cropped just a little to close to her head, but that's the top of the frame.

  • Emtu said:

    or a self portrait!

    I actually have a really nice portrait in mind, but I need permission to post it. If not, I'm sure I can come up with something over the weekend.
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • Belgera said:

    I actually have a really nice portrait in mind, but I need permission to post it. If not, I'm sure I can come up with something over the weekend.


    Keep in mind that so far all of the pictures have been of beings that were not wearing pants, so you probably should not break that trend.
  • Although I can assure you that at times Ember pants, but she doesn't wear them.
  • Emtu! I think the model's makeup and any retouching you did make the face really smooth and compelling to look at. The shoulders, head tentacle thing, and gun give us some lines to lead around the photo. The only suggestion I have is to ask Gabe Newell to move out of the backgound.

    Zurena! That's adorable. What breed is she again? Akita? The paw position is nice, giving us some lead up to the FASE! I'd reposition to get eyes, though. The eyes are the thing!

    Hronk! CAT!
    Post edited by Valisa at 2012-10-23 20:46:50


  • Emtu - Riley refused to sign off on his pantless shot, so I've settled for this one instead. We'll call it narrative portraiture.

    -Why this subject? What were you trying to show?
    Harp and I had been hiking with Riley in a local park near our house. I was totally in landscape mode so nothing about my camera settings was ideal. This photo was taken at the end of our walk just before we left. Riley does not like the camera and I only had a few seconds to focus and get a shot. I think I managed to capture a really nice moment between momma and baby.

    -Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?
    The photo was taken about 45 minutes before sunset with the subjects facing north-west. I had no flash available and couldn't really pose my subjects, so I had to make due with the light as it was. The late day sun provided warm light and nice shadows. Unfortunately, I think it ended up being a bit direct and some post processing was necessary to bring back highlight details.

    -If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?
    The photo was processed in Lightroom 4. I liked the warm light of the setting sun, but it was a bit too warm and unnatural. I changed the white balance to give the photo a more natural color. Because I had been shooting landscapes in relatively low light I was using a somewhat slow shutter speed. This caused the highlights in the impromptu portrait to get a bit blown out. To compensate I lowered the lights and highlights while raising the contrast and clarity a bit. I cropped the image slightly to get a little tighter framing and help move Harp and Riley a bit more off-center. Finally, I converted the image to monochrome. B&W really brings out the contrasting light in this image.

    -Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?
    The shot wasn't planned at all and I didn't have any time to properly compose the image or even change shutter speeds. Hence all the editing. However, I do think it's effective. Especially as a narrative photo. I could have cropped the image really tight, like a 5x7, but I think the path and the fence are integral parts of the photo. First, they provide some balance to the bright subjects on the left. Second, they add to the story of the photo; a path out of shadow into light. Unfortunately, they also lead your eyes away from the subject. With time to compose I would have moved to the left so that Harp and Riley would have been right in line with the main path and the fence and dirt trail would have intersected with them. That would have added contrast and created leading lines. I also wish I had a lens with a nasty wide aperture to completely blow out backgrounds, but I haven't yet started on my bank robbing career.

    Let me know what you think!
    Post edited by Belgera at 2012-10-29 12:07:55
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.

  • Very story telling and excellent shot which to me
    looks nicer in black and white than color.

    Aperture looks also just right with nice amount of
    details in the foreground and blurred background.

    ^.~)
    Sofina (hunter) | Antaras (rogue) | Sarshia (druid) | Mefius (death knight)
  • 55239_543931122291115_950718972_o

    - Why this subject? What were you trying to show? My daughter, outside late afternoon on a beautiful day. We took lots of photos this afternoon (gotta love digital photography, shoot lots, keep what works), and I offered to shoot her some new shots for Facebook, etc. as a fun way to spend some time together. (shot this two days before the topic posted, so technically it's not composed for this thread)

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting? Natural light. We have an open field to the west with a hill line a few hundred feet away, it can make for some very dramatic lighting late in the day with low angle sunlight.

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do? Nope, no editing skillz. Shop is too costly and last time I tried Gimp 8 or 10 years ago it was too complex for me.

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it? We both liked it as a profile shot, she's well lit, the blurred background shows the fall foliage and complements her skin tone, hair, and dress. The pose has just a hint of a smile, but it's a smile that touches her eyes. I'm not convinced about the earing though -- it adds a point of interest perhaps but is a bit large and distracting. Maybe if I knew gimp I could try to edit it out lol.

    - Gear -- 8 year old Canon EOS 620 DSLR. I used to mess about with aperture and shutter settings myself, but have gotten lazy. For this one I turned the dial to the "Portrait" mode which deliberately optimizes for a short depth of field.

    p.s. no trend breaker regarding the pants thing, not me
  • Nice first round of photos. I'll stop in tomorrow and leave some comments. If anyone who has posted has time I'd love some critique of my pic. What would you have done differently? What could I have done better. I had only a few seconds to grab the shot, but I'm sure there are things I could have improved on.
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.


  • Let's try it with feeling/sizing. Just link the flickr img url, instead of their crappy html. I'm throwing in the cat Val loves so much he nearly married it!


    Post edited by hronk at 2012-10-25 06:20:44
  • Ok...you'll have to explain to the idiot how you did that, because if I paste the URL it just posts it as a link.
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • Click the little picture icon in the toolbar top right above the text edit area when you post.
  • Doh! Never even looked at that junk.
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • Belgera - Love the action in the photo. I think the black and white is a good choice vs color, too (Though I haven't seen it in color!). The road curving away in the background adds a nice leading element. I'd compose with the eyes a bit lower in the frame, though. There's some composition guideline about keeping the eyes at a certain space ratio from the edges of the frame that I try to usually stay around. They get a bit squashed otherwise.

    Jurace - I agree on the earring, and I (if I had the presence of mind) would have not used it in the shot or framed it differently so it was not so much of the focus. I think it's a good profile shot, though. The highlights on her face might be worth toning down in GIMP if you can get it running, but I do like the lighting. The sun falls nicely onto the hair. Are those grape vines in the background?
  • Hronk -

    DUEL


    Srsly, stupidly good cat eyes on yours.
  • My cat sits in the tree and looks down on your cats with disdain...
  • My dog ignores your cats:
    Untitled
  • A photo of one of my pups to share.

    Kira

    Oh I realized I needed to add the questions:

    - Why this subject? What were you trying to show?
    I just like puppies :). Mostly trying to show her in her more natural state of seeming to be casually walking through the yard. But in reality she is always hunting.

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?
    Natural sunlight, i like how the sun was shining through the tree canopy.

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?
    No editing.

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?
    Ummm... I like how the light shines in through the trees. It really captured the feeling of fall that day.
    Post edited by Jexii at 2012-10-27 02:40:48

    Jexii | Mexiico | Jezaal
  • Cissy in her Chair

    This is my hound, Cissy, relaxing in her favorite chair.

    Why?
    Because she's cute!

    Lighting?
    Natural light from the windows behind the chair and to the left of the photographer.

    Editing?
    No.

    Effective?
    I like this shot, and often show it when someone wants to see my dogs.
  • Tucker, who likes to ride in the car

    Why? Because he's a funny dog!

    Lighting? Natural light

    Editing? Maybe cropped. not processed otherwise.

    Effective? It's cute and funny, but it's not art.
  • You all should comment on the photos so people can receive feedback. Constructive criticism is best! This week's topic is landscapes. If you can't get out of the city, a cityscape is acceptable.
  • I'll try and put some critique on the above photos (and find a landscape for this week :) )

    On Emtu's photo - I really like the picture. I like how the depth of focus has her clearly in focus and the crowds behind her out of focus drawing your eyes to what is important. I also think the cropping is good - it removed the crowd but it also brings you in close to the subject giving it a more intimate feel.

    More (hopefully) later but I've got to head to bed. :)
  • Pray for Rain

    - Why this subject?
    The tree has great character. After the long summer in California the land around it is dead and dry. It looked like the tree might be praying for rain.

    - What lighting did you use?
    Just the natural light from the evening sun.

    - If you edited the photo, why?
    Edited in Lightroom. Cropped slightly, and desaturated. The image was just OK originally. In color it's about 100 shades of brown. It just didn't pop or really stand out. And yeah, I really like B&W.

    - Is it an effective shot?
    It is an effective shot. It's emotive, has character and is composed fairly well. It could be cropped a bit tighter to bring the tree a bit more left of center, but I wanted to keep as much of the path in the corner as possible.
    Post edited by Belgera at 2012-10-31 03:07:33
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.


  • l2computa, Bel!
  • So, I go to Flickr, log in, click on my image and copy the resulting url - http://www.flickr.com/photos/belgera76/8134053472/ - into the dialog box for the pic link. When done I get this:
    broken stuffs

    What URL am I supposed to be using?
    Post edited by Belgera at 2012-10-29 11:15:20
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • The URL of the image itself. In this case it looks like this:

    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8332/8134053472_2114e6df1a_b.jpg
  • Got it. Thanks. Fixed my images above.
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • Sorry, I've been a bit busy!

    Please comment on other people's photos if you're going to be posting here.

    Landscapes, woo! Belg! I think that's a pretty well edited shot as far as the tones and desaturation goes. I like the curvature of it, though I wish someone could go and cut out that middle branch in the arc of it. I might have moved to the right to get rid of that road section (or edited it out, muahaha), but the flatness of the arcing branches may have been lost. Good shot.


  • - Why this subject? What were you trying to show?
    I like shooting long exposure night shots when given the chance. The moon over the beach and ocean were giving some neat effects. I just kept playing with exposure until this happened. I wanted to show a smooth coastal photo via long exposure on the motion of the waves.

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?
    Moonlight. Didn't have much of a choice in the matter!

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?
    I don't think I edited this at all. This is one from summer of 2011. I was snowed in this week!

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?
    I like it. The people standing there were the big kicker for me. I saw them walking outside...but they stopped and held fairly still (given the distance). I think it makes the photo.

    - Gear - Rebel t2i, 18-55mm at 18mm. 560 sec exposure, f/8, ISO 100
  • Thanks Val. Yeah, the path was a bit of a bother and I probably should have tried a bit harder to compose the shot without it.

    I like the moonset shot Val. Night shots and long exposures can get you some crazy effects. Good clean lines as well. Personally, if you had told me that the photo was a normal shot taken during sunset on an overcast day I'd say it was ok. Not poorly composed, just not very moving. The fact that it was taken at night is what makes it.

    Interesting - if you crop the moon out of the picture the ocean appears to be a perfect wall running along the edge of a field. Two people standing at the last retaining wall before the flat edge of the earth.
    Post edited by Belgera at 2012-11-02 18:15:32
    But I need tacos! I need them or I will explode. That happens to me sometimes.
  • Hronk

    - Why this subject? What were you trying to show?

    Because he was there and because he is Hronk. I was trying to show his beauty.

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?

    Natural light in a bar.

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?

    Not edited. Because he is naturally beautiful.

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?

    It is strong because it shows his true nature.

    First up: Portraits! In any sense of the word, too. People, animals, or something that uses a single subject.

    Make comments, talk, discuss, photoshop cats into the photos, etc!
  • Sorry, I missed the portraits, but had to post it. /wave
  • I can't stop laughing/swooning.
  • jonkichi said:


    Natural light in a bar.



    Natural Manhattan streetlight, actually. Was outside a bar, drunkard.
  • Proof that no matter what he says, deep down Hronk is too kind to destroy us.
  • I love the dogs, Doc and Jex! Jexii, your dog looks like it's stoned out of it's mind. I think we should introduce it to [10] Guy (http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/211/993/35epej.jpg).

    Doc, the beagle (or is it?) pic is awesome. The angle is pretty ballin' and the dogs are adorable.
  • Cissy is a Redrock Hound, part English Foxhound and part Walker Hound. Kind of like 3 Beagles. Tucker is what happens when one of Cissy's sisters goes out for a wild night. W think his other half must be some kind of retriever because he's such a happy goof-ball.

    ;-)
  • Here's another...

    The Red Barn

    This is on my drive home from Silicon Valley, a well-known spot along Highway 84 above La Honda. I came around the curve and was just stunned by the light. Other than stitching the photos together, I didn't process this shot. Didn't even have a red filter on the lens.

    d.
  • Beautiful! I love the curve of the fence about the barn and the light through the clouds.
  • IMG_0276


    - Why this subject? What were you trying to show?
    I was taking a walk through a nearby park and taking some pictures. I like looking at things at different angles and playing with perspectives. The park has a huge boat anchor (Admiral Arleigh A Burke Park) and I tried taking some shots through the anchor.

    I was trying to show I suppose how our perspective can be changed by the window we look at the world through. That and having a sentence ending with a preposition.

    - Where was your light source? Why use this type of lighting?
    Afternoon sun. It was when we were going for a walk. It was a bit cloudy towards the mountains and a bit less so towards the east.

    - If you edited the photo, why? What did you do?
    Adjust the rotation. The initial rotation was too severe, but having some rotation was important for the effect (also straightening it entirely would lose too much of the anchor.) Original angle is here:
    https://secure.flickr.com/photos/goldiekatsu/5732699868/in/set-72157631885588294/

    - Is it an effective shot? What is strong or weak about it?
    I like the odd angle and the shadow on the anchor. However, I'd get rid of the bench/find a better angle if I had thought a bit more about it.
    I also like the contrast between the normal meadow/pond scene and the thick paint on the anchor.
    Lastly I like how it is well lit and yet very clearly cloudy - the sunny/cloudy thing is very Boulder.

    - Gear -
    Canon PowerShot SD940 IS.
    I got to lug the very heavy Manfroto tripod for Sheleg and just brought my little point and shoot.
  • jonkichi said:

    Sorry, I missed the portraits, but had to post it. /wave



    Joi - where is the photo of me and Hronk? I think we were fighting over WOW playing cards or something in the Hotel lobby during Blizzcon week.
    There exist only three respectable beings: the priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, and to create. -Charles Baudelaire
  • Sorry, I'm late! Do a still life or product style photo. Either arrange a display in order to shoot it, or find some scene that is aesthetically pleasing.

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