Week 22: Smoke Art Photography | 2018 Project 52

We had a long weekend in The States and I blew through it without even trying for a smoking photo. So leave it to me, Last-Minute-Maude, to do all my research, setup and ALL THE WORK until last night after dinner. And… it didn’t go well.

The struggle bus was stopped at our house for an hour and I could do nothing by curse my camera and myself. The settings were “right” and I thought I had figured out a work around without having remote triggers for my flash. I was wrong. SO WRONG. I tried a bunch of different shit and just got pissed because none of it worked. Black screens for days. But then I remembered that if you leave the shutter open longer and a flash goes off, it still freezes the subject.

All that steam for nothing, guys. Put a fork in me. I’m done.

smoke art photography

Settings: f/5.6, 1 sec, 50mm, ISO 100
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF50mm f/1.2L USM

Now that I know what to do, this is pretty cool! I would change my set up a bit… probably use my zoom lens or move a prime closer to my backdrop (which was a piece of black poster board. And I’d experiment with the flash more. I saw that some people used a snoot on the lens and did 1/2 power – I did none of those things.

I finally got some decent shots by slowing my shutter speed down to one full second. And the firing the flash while the shutter was open. Because I didn’t have a trigger, I couldn’t get my camera (which I had on remote) and the flash to fire at the exact same time. Even though it looked like it did, it did not. Boo.

This one was my favorite. All the curls of smoke, some strong white lines, some wispy ones too, and the smoke actually photographed blue. I enhanced the image a bit – increased the contrast and whites, also played with the clarity and vibrance – but not a ton of change. I played with some of the others that I didn’t like as much, changing the color temps, but the original look of this one made me stop.


Week 23: Leading Lines
due 06.06.18

Entering a new month, let’s come back to some basics and work on our composition with one of the most simple things that can really change a photograph: LINES. Over the next couple weeks we’ll try different kinds of lines, but this week we’re starting with leading lines. If you played along last year, you’re familiar with this trick, but remember: practice makes us better photographers.

Leading lines are not only one of my favorite compositions, but really effective and easy to incorporate into your photography. They allow you to guide the viewer’s eyes through your image to the subject, but can be as simple or complicated as you want. Lines can be found, created, natural or man-made, and sometimes just moving around your subject and trying different lines can make your image stronger. Remember you are guiding the viewer’s eye, so consider where your line begins and ends, and how you frame the entire story.

I’ve linked up some resources that I’ve shared before, but can be helpful when we’re stumped.

How to Use Leading Lines for Better Compositions
Jim Zuckerman on Composition of Leading Lines
How to Use Leading Lines to Create More Powerful iPhone Photos

Last week’s photo: Spring #2018P52

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2018P52 so that we can find your work and share some hearts!
Have questions about 2018 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the 2018P52 Flickr group description. Join us any time with any camera!

Week 21: Spring | 2018 Project 52

This past week I had a few ideas pop into my head. I tried photographing my flowers that have started to bloom… but I wasn’t feeling it. I tried to photograph the rain we’ve had this week… but it was lacking something too. And then on Monday night I got an idea. I texted a couple of lady friends at work and the scouted Tuesday morning for a couple more models to bring my idea to life.

And then we had a mini photo shoot at lunch. I love mini photo shoots.

It’s a little different, but I knew I had my picture the moment I saw it in my view finder.

spring sandals

Settings: f/5.6, 1/500 sec, 35mm, ISO 1250
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF35mm f/1.4L USM

When the seasons change, you swap your closet. Sweaters go to the back or on the really high shelves. Boots get boxed up again and placed under the bed until autumn. Knit dresses are on the “what to wear list” and sandals help you debut freshly painted toes. Spring is my favorite season. True story.

And sandals. This is totally spring to me. Because I myself look forward to wearing them again and love the freedom of not wearing socks every darn day again.

I knew that I wanted to play with the rule of odds and have three or five models; I really liked the way five pairs of feet fit into the frame versus only three. And the ladies have different styles of shoes on, different colors (although black jeans are apparently a hit at work) and I asked them to position their feet at different heights to add a little depth to the image since I was shooting from above.

It’s different. But I really like it. And I really like when I can think of an idea and bring it to life… with a little help from my friends. ;)


Week 22: Smoke Art Photography
due 05.30.18

This is completely new to me, but y’all said you want more photo technique prompts… so let’s start the experiments (and failures on my part) and explore smoke art photography.

Does it look cool? Absolutely. Can you do a million different things with smoke? Sure can. Is it best to capture in camera or edit in post? Yep. Does it matter the kind of smoke you use? Nope. Incense, cigarettes, smoke bombs, dried ice… I don’t care what your source is. Just please make sure that you’re safe and in a well ventilated area.

I’m going to have to do more research myself, but I got us started with a few resources linked up below. What I do know (that I learned from a photog friend that does commercial work told me) is that 1) incense can be a great prop to create fun smoke swirls, 2) stop down your aperture and keep that ISO low, and 3) light is really important – it’s recommended to use your flash.

So let’s do this – get those wheels turning, find your smoke source(s), explore props or models, spend time in Photoshop… push yourself or hell, just wing it. But either way, let’s blow some smoke this week. (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see what’s shared next week!)

What is Smoke Art Photography?
An Introduction to Smoke Photography
Smoke Art Photography – An Introduction
Smoke Art Photography Tutorial (YouTube)
Smoke Art Photography Inspiration (Pinterest)

Last week’s photo: Connection #2018P52

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2018P52 so that we can find your work and share some hearts!
Have questions about 2018 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the 2018P52 Flickr group description. Join us any time with any camera!

Week 20: Connection | 2018 Project 52

I had an idea of what I wanted to capture this week. That is SUCH a good feeling.

My niece, Emily, is graduating high school in a couple of weeks and they had some family and friends over to celebrate her latest milestone. Emily is a photographer herself and has taken so many great pictures of events at school this last year for the yearbook. So my plan came together when she texted me Friday night and asked if I was bringing my camera. “Uh, yes!”

She had some friends over and let them know we were taking some pictures. So we find a nice open shade in the alley behind their house and got close and…

friends

Settings: f/4.0, 1/800 sec, 50mm, ISO 320
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF50mm f/1.2L USM

People, relationships, long-term friendships, short-term work mates… this is what I think of when I hear “connection.” And seeing my niece (she’s the one in glasses, by the way) with her closest friends from high school… it’s hard not to think about my own friends from high school. And even think about what each of these kids will do in the fall and how they’ll decide to stay connected with each other, make new connections along the way… how they’ll continue to learn who they are and how they’ve shaped each other thus far.

I get sentimental thinking about this stuff. I don’t mean to. And I know that these folks are not me. But I can look back and see how much I’ve changed over the years, even with my three favorite gals from high school right beside me. I hope them all the best and that they remain close… continue to cheer each other, offer support when they need, visit each other, share burgers and shakes when they’re back at home over the holidays, and continue to have laughs while they talk long distance.


Week 21: Spring
due 05.23.18

Keeping up with our seasons for the year, we’re going to photograph spring this week! We’ve already captured winter in January, but here in the northern hemisphere, things are blooming, grass is getting greener, and specific to Louisville the trees are in pollen overdrive. (Allergies are no fun, my friends.) And sadly, this week it feels more like summer than spring… but just because Mother Nature isn’t playing along doesn’t mean we skip a season.

Feel free to photograph spring any way you like. Explore outside or stay indoors. Consider events or get-togethers you do with family and friends this time of year. If you want to find some beautiful flowers, photograph them in different ways and experiment with macro photography. Maybe you want to showcase the not-so-perfect parts of the new season by capturing allergies at their best. Whatever ideas you cook up, we’re excited to see them!

Last week’s photo: Zoom Blur #2018P52

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2018P52 so that we can find your work and share some hearts!
Have questions about 2018 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the 2018P52 Flickr group description. Join us any time with any camera!

Week 19: Zoom Blur | 2018 Project 52

Guys. I planned. I played. I had so much fun with my camera this week!

I chalk it up to the fact that I took a few days off work last week for Derby festivities and had some time to reset myself. I even left the office on Monday to try out a different setting, but I ended up going with my original idea.

zoom blurSettings: f/–, — sec, –mm, ISO 100
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

My subject is BORING. But I really like how the zoom blur turned out and that was our technique this week. So I went with the photo that best showed the technique even if it isn’t cool.

I have a very shaky grip on my camera. Most of images were SUPER blurry because I couldn’t hold the camera steady with my right hand while I moved the zoom lens with my left… but in this image it worked out. I think looking down helped me hold my elbows closer to my body. But I like how the colors from the flowers and the white from the quilt move together like a streaky cloud.

Zoom blur isn’t my favorite technique – but if you can master intentional camera movement, you can make some really awesome art.


Week 20: Connection
due 05.16.18

A relationship. An action that links us together. A placing of items. An arrangement. An opportunity. A connection, an association, can happen between people, things (visible and invisible), and/or ideas, in a number of infinite ways.

What do you think of when you hear the word “connection?” Do you think of hands holding or wires plugged into walls? Let’s explore this theme this week and write down some connections that come to mind and then experiment photographing them. No idea is a bad idea, but how can you approach your subject and photograph it to tell a story or meaning, to encourage the viewer to see something different?

Don’t care how you photograph the theme, but definitely dig into your ideas. Get close, get macro, step back, change your POV, drop you DOF, use a new technique… don’t just snap a photo this week, but show us how your mind works.

Last week’s photo: Fill the Frame #2018P52

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2018P52 so that we can find your work and share some hearts!
Have questions about 2018 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the 2018P52 Flickr group description. Join us any time with any camera!

Week 18: Fill the Frame | 2018 Project 52

I actually got out of the house to take pictures over the weekend. I wasn’t gone long, and I didn’t go far, but I was out in the woods, enjoying the crisp spring weather we had over the weekend and all the sunshine. It was marvelous. So marvelous that I told myself “I’m going to do this again – no need to choose a photo yet.”

Lies. All lies. It is Derby Week in Kentucky and I have plans and time off work and… I should have just picked a photo on Sunday. Instead I’m writing my weekly blog the morning that I usually already have it live. But… I made it.

fill the frame

Settings: f/3.2, 1/125 sec, 70mm, ISO 200
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8

The wooded trail in our neighborhood brings an endless amount of inspiration with pictures. I knew that I really wanted capture color this week, but not everything has bloomed, so I turned to my old friend moss – I really love how moss takes over the rocks and looks like soft beds in the middle of the woods. I just couldn’t find the moss I was looking for. But the trees…

This was my favorite. I like the texture and how the contrast in the image brings it out more. The little pieces of moss that soften the hard look of the bark and offer a little bit of color. And I stopped up a bit – I usually leave my camera at f/4.0 for documentary purposes, but going up to f/3.2 offers a bit more DOF in the image, softening on the sides of the filled frame.


Week 19: Zoom Blur
due 05.09.18

We’re back in the photography technique saddle this week and focusing on zoom blur. This approach allows you to create the sense of motion in your image without moving yourself or your camera.

You will need a zoom lens to practice this technique – and a steady hand. Your speed setting will be slower than normal, so that you can create the desired “burst” effect, but fast enough that your subject will not be out of focus if you shake at all. It might take a few tries, so definitely practice your settings and how to brace your camera so that it’s less likely to jiggle. (I like to hold my elbows and arms close to my body or place my elbows on a surface, just for stability.) Once you find your settings – and your subject – snap the photo with your right hand while rotating the zoom on your lens in or out.

The thing I like about this technique is that it teaches us a lot about who we are as photographers. We’ll have to slow down a bit and learn what works now in this light/setting. We’ll have to be still but also have quick movements to move our zoom. And we’ll have to keep trying – don’t give up or get frustrated, just keep shooting. You may not have what you deem a perfect photo, but you’re probably going to wow someone else.

How to Take Photos with Zoom Blur Effect
How to Take Stunning Zoom Burst Photos
Zoom Blur Effect in Camera

Last week’s photo: Earth Day #2018P52

If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2018P52 so that we can find your work and share some hearts!
Have questions about 2018 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the 2018P52 Flickr group description. Join us any time with any camera!