Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bokeh and Water

Bokeh is easily achieved by holding the camera at angles to the
light that catch reflections from glass and water.
The Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin are a good place to practice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Example
Example

Bokeh Blades

I have an admission to make.

I cannot make sense of aperature and,
worse,
I haven't tried very hard to learn
the science behind it.

However, when it comes to making
Good Bokeh,
an understanding of how a lens works
is essential.

The number of blades needed for Bokeh is much discussed these days.

Some posters have no time for obsessing over
the "How Many Blades Make the Best Bokeh"
question, but I think, if you don't know anything
at all about lens technology, it would not be
the worst place to start.

I have taken to following light trails with my
camera, wherever I find them.
It's trial and error, but especially
when we go out in the car, some good effects
can be made by slanting the camera in ways that
pick up bubbles of light reflected from the car
windows, or from droplet of rainwater on the
windscreen.

The film makers and cinematographers are the best
guides.

I came home from seeing "In Bruges" with a whole new
series of ideas. Just a "caveat", BTW, if you are of
a "sensitive nature". This is a very well made and
superbly acted film, with some very frightening imagery.
Best keep your eyes shut, as I did, through many of
the more grotesque parts.
But the Bokeh is extraordinarily good, as many of
the bistro scenes include Christmas lights.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Got a Bit Distracted

I had intended to upload many photos of flowers over the past few weeks.
There is so much activity out of doors that any photographer would be
spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a theme.

However, I'm slowly going through photos taken in the past few years
and find so much of value there that it's just as well to focus on
them rather than keep making new images.

This Bracket Fungus is particularly interesting, I think,
especially for dendrologists and botanists.

Fungus photos can be pretty too...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Portrait Painting in Light

What makes for a Truly Great Portrait?

I have looked at so many portraits in the last two weeks that I am now asking myself this very important question.

I like faces in repose.

Perhaps really expert portrait photographers look for a little glint of inner magic?

I have been asked to remove one of my photos from Flickr.
The person whose portrait is now gracing my archives there does not like what they see.
I think it's a very lovely shot, and tells a lot about the character involved.

Will I remove it? If I get up enough energy... perhaps...

At the Irish Blog Awards 2008 I had a very interesting conversation with an academic
who studies social change, technology and why people behave the way they do.
One insight shared is that nowadays there is so much paranoia at conferences that some delegates wear badges which inform the onlooker:

NO PHOTOS ALLOWED

I hope never to reach this state of distrust of "the other" and of "the camera".

Personally I love having my photo taken and am a bit miffed to find that, as far as surfing the net since the Awards shows up, I was not in anybody's line of sight.

As the poem my Godmother used recite goes:

"I am not old, I am not plain, nor awkward in my gait..."

Better luck next year, I suppose...
Example

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Back Looking at Flowers Again

I have so many thoughts on portraiture and photography swimming round in
my head that I've gone back to my pool of Flower Photos, to try to get
some perspective.

Flowers (mostly) stay still. They do not have the chameleon nature
of the human face which makes great Portraiture such a very fine art.

I have a great fondness for the six years work with my Pentax MZ 50 which
set me on the path I now walk. It clutters up the little office and
makes me wonder about the best way to catalogue it all.

This is a start...

Grainy Hydrangea in Dull Corner at The Bottom of the Garden

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Skin Tones and Flash Settings

I often present portraits taken in artificial lighting as monochrome portraits.
It saves a lot of time trying to get skin tones exactly right.

However, I like this photo Exciting Times

It was taken as the Winners at the Blog Awards were
relaxing a bit. Somehow the warm reds suit the atmosphere of this
lively occasion.

Light Travels in Straight Lines...

and nowhere am I reminded of this so often as when I try
to take Night Shots.

A new lens will be needed in future, as the photos I took
at the Irish Blog Awards 2008, while varied and full of life,
could do with a bit more skill in the use of flash.

The ceiling was a mass of little spotlights which caused a sort
of metering off meltdown as I tried to play light off against dark.

Finally I resorted to playing around in the RAW controls
in my Canon software.

This I like:

Let the Dancing Begin, Different Crop