Monday, September 8, 2008
This assignment was very open-ended. I could shoot anything I wanted in any way I wanted, as long as I centered things. At first, I thought architecture would provide good subjects, but as I mentioned in my previous post, my first set didn't turn out well. This is the one surviving photo from that set, after significant editing.
If you every get a great idea for a photo that involves creating shadows and lining things up in a complicated way, I have some advice: Don't. Setting up and shooting this photo took way too much time and effort. Unless you have a dedicated studio with the right equipment (and preferably an assistant), studio work is very difficult. It would have been way easier to fake this with the GIMP, and it probably would have looked better. I know the horizontal edge is not at the half-way point, but I tried it that way and it looked dumb. The mental line between the peach (that's a peach, by the way) and its shadow is at the center, so quit your whining.
I took the next five photos yesterday evening at Big Spring Park. The birds are really tame and not at all shy, so they made better subjects than a lot of people I know. The third photo doesn't follow my rule of halves as well as I would like, but the geese were lined up like that for only an instant. I used my clipping-correction method on the fourth picture to remove a cyan tinge from the sky.
As always, comments are appreciated.
For example, last week I shot some photos downtown. I felt great about them as I was shooting, but once I got them back and uploaded them to my PC, I realized they were boring and actually bad. They looked like they were taken by someone who needed to learn the rule of thirds rather than by someone who had moved beyond it. Only one of them made my final set for the assignment (which I will post shortly) and then only after extensive work in the GIMP.
All of this is to say I am thinking about getting rid of the rounds. I don't think we need to do away with due dates, but if we don't have rounds, one person's delays don't affect other participants. It will make things more complicated once we have more than two people actively participating and we rotate whom is assigning whom, but I think we can keep up with it.
Here's how I see this working. Once someone posts a set of photos, his next assigner gives him his next assignment within a day or two with a due date about two weeks from the assignment date. The time period for the assignment can vary depending on the complexity and the photographer's schedule. This will require the assigner to check Google Reader regularly so that the photographer doesn't spend a week with nothing to shoot. The assigner should also be thinking of assignments ahead of time, so that he can post one quickly. The photographer should make every effort to meet the due date, but if he cannot, it will not throw off the whole system.
I like the way rounds keep things orderly and provide labels for grouping, but I think the flexibility afforded us by doing away with them is more valuable. What does everyone (photographers and readers alike) think of this idea?
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Even if the rules don't like being broken, I'm confident they'll enjoy being acknowledged. Being hated is better than being ignored
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Due date: 25 October 2008 (Feel free to post as you go, but I would love to see them as a set as well.)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Stephen assigns Nathan.
Nathan assigns Stephen.
In light of Daniel's continued preoccupation with wedding-related activities, I am leaving him out of this round. He may need to be on a modified schedule during his trip as well. He will likely receive both trip-long assignments and shorter (possibly location-specific) assignments.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
As I was thinking about clipping, I realized there is an easy way to fix the hue of the sky in the GIMP (or Photoshop). To try it out, I used the following picture. I took this in bright sun on a Texas flight line in the early afternoon. I used fill flash to deal with the harsh shadows. This is the original, which was was not overexposed or clipped.
So why would someone use a correctly-exposed photo to illustrate a way of correcting clipping? So he would know the right answer. To do this on a photo that was originally overexposed, you can use all the same steps, you just have to play with a couple of things until they look right. To clip the colors, I moved the top point of the value curve in the curves tool from (255,255) to (191,255). Using the levels tool should give the same result. This provides the overexposed, clipped image.
I can now correct the overexposure by moving the top point of the value curve in the curves tool from (255,255) to (255,191). This step is optional, and if this was a real overexposed photo, you would have to figure out how far down to adjust it. Here it helps make the final result look more like the original. You can see that the hue of the sky is greener than it was in the original.
This is the real trick to this fix. I created a new transparent layer and used the brush tool to fill the sky with a color of the right hue (210). Only the hue matters. In a real situation, you would have to figure out what hue the sky should be, but an average of the bluest section of the sky should be close. If all of the sky is noticeably clipped, just pick a blue you like. You can color over the clouds because hue does not affect white or gray.
Next I changed the mode of the new layer from Normal to Hue. This makes everything below that layer have the hue of that layer. Clever, huh? The result does differ from the original in some important ways. The detail in the clouds is gone, and now they look flat. There is no way of fixing that, unless you want to paint them by hand. The sky looks a little different, but at least it now looks fairly natural.
It is better not to overexpose your photos, but if you do, this might help you deal with a cyan sky. Maybe next time Nathan will think twice before he asks a question about one of my pet peeves.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Let me know what you think.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
That's all for this round. Bring on the comments!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
- Post photos of water that is difficult for the viewer to place (e.g., I will have to search and think before I realize I'm looking at a water hose. )
- Photograph with the goal of capturing a wide range in values in the water element itself.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
New assignments should be given as new posts with the title "Assignment for [Name]: [Assignment Title]" and the labels Assignment, [Name], and Round[#]. The body of the post should contain the instructions for the assignment and the due date. Assignments should be made no later than Thursdays, and due dates should be on Tuesdays. Assignments may consist of just about anything. They may specify a subject, a technique, a theme, a mood, a style, or some combination of these. They may set a minimum number of photographs to shoot or a maximum (or minimum) shooting time.
Completed assignments should be posted as "Photographs by [Name]: [Assignment Title]" and the labels Photographs, [Name], and Round[#]. The body of the post should contain reasonably-sized photographs linked to higher-resolution versions and any comments the photographer has about the assignment or the photographs.
Evaluations and other responses should be posted in the comments section of the appropriate post. As much as possible, evaluations should be positive and encouraging. The assigner should comment no later than Thursday, and others should try to meet this deadline as well. Evaluations may contain questions for the photographer, and the photographer is free to respond to any comment.
The use of an Atom web feed reader (such as Google Reader) will help participants keep up with assignments, photographs, and evaluations.