Photo Stories

Macro

I love candids and the journalistic style of photography. When you are out on a photo walk making pictures you sometimes just get what you get. If there's not much happening, then you don't get much. But if you are lucky you can capture some great images. I also love capturing my boys' true emotions while playing, eating, or doing just about anything.

That is the essence of street photography, but photography is also art as the image above suggests, and much of photography is staged. Some examples of staged photographs are wedding ceremonies, studio portraits, landscapes, telling kids to look at the camera and say, "cheese", flowers like the one above, and many other things to name a few. 

The dahlia above was taken with my Lumix GX8 using an 'antique' Nikkor 50mm f/2 manual lens attached to a tripod sitting on the kitchen table. The lens is attached to the camera with a Nikon to micro 4:3 adapter using a Fotodiox reverse ring.

When you turn a lens around it magnifies whatever it's pointed at, and becomes a macro lens. Buying a reverse ring for a few dollars is way cheaper than buying a macro lens, and I can get really close macro images when using it.

Micro 4:3 cameras increase the macro, too. The sensor is half the size of a full frame sensor creating a 2x crop factor, which makes this 50mm lens a 100mm getting me right down into the center of the flower.

The off center framing is what makes this photo. I offset the flower just enough that it draws your eye into the center of it. The outside of the flower has enough bokeh placing the focal point right where you would expect it. If everything were in focus your eye wouldn't be drawn to the center of the flower, and it would take you second to figure it out.

And that right there is the rub. Most photographs on the Internet have a few second lifespan. People just click through quickly looking at them and moving on, so you want to quickly draw the viewer's eye to the subject with proper framing hoping that they stay just a little longer to enjoy your picture.

The below image is how I setup this photograph. My wife recently had a birthday - Happy Birthday! - which is the reason for the flowers. I used the tripod to avoid movement and to aid with focussing. When "zoomed" in this close the slightest movement bounces the subject all over, and it's enough to make you dizzy. 

I set the ISO to the camera's lowest native setting of 200. The aperture was set to f/8, and the shutter was set at 1/10 of a second to give the proper exposure. I snapped the shutter using the timer to avoid motion blur from physically pushing the button. 

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do. 

Silhouette

I wake up every morning... so far, and one of the first things I do is make coffee. One morning while grinding the beans I looked up and the photograph above is what I saw.  I noticed Jake sitting there in the dark and thought, "This would make a great silhouette." My camera was a step away, and when I grabbed it I metered the exposure for the bathroom light then took a shot. When I looked at the back of the camera the bathroom seemed a bit over exposed, so I made another adjustment slightly underexposing for the bathroom and fired off a second shot, which is the photograph you see above. 

This picture was taken shortly after 5am. Jake stands guard at the bathroom door whenever someone is in there. But when the door is shut he lays down in front of it waiting for whoever is in there to come out.

This photo works for a few reasons. First, it is a silhouette. No need to say more about that. They just work. Second, it tells the story of a loyal dog alert and waiting. His reflection on the floor adds depth, and the floor has subtle leading lines.

Below, Jake is waiting again in his typical fashion when the door is closed. I really like the picture. but it doesn't work as well as the one above. The trashcan is a little distracting. I would have loved to remove it, but I knew if I did he would have sat up, and maybe walked away. So much for guarding the bathroom.

I snapped the shot anyway because I wanted a picture of the big lump lying on the floor. It's also good practice for when he does this again and the trashcan is not there. He is a loyal pup.

Bug

I was out this morning getting my oil changed on my VW. It is a modern Jetta TDI unlike this late 60's or early 70's VW Beetle. While waiting for a ride from coworker to one of our favorite lunch spots in town I thought to make a photograph.

I stood up from the chair I was sitting in and walked around the corner of the service center. There, I  spotted an intact and mostly clean Beetle. I adjusted the settings on my camera by shooting slightly to the right of the light meter then fired off a frame. I Checked a few things, made some minor adjustments, then created this image with the next shot. 

What works in this picture is the framing with the "eye" of the Beetle looking back at the camera. I like how this photograph is cut nearly in half, and how it shows only a part of a highly recognizable car. 

What doesn't work is the background on the other half of the frame. There's not much I could have done about it other than to create as much bokeh as possible. And that is the reason I shot it at f/1.7.

Shooting at that f/# with a larger sensor camera would create greater background blur. Whereas, on my GX8 (micro 4:3 sensor) you have to shoot wide open with a fast lens to separate the background from the subject. 

Don't get me wrong. I love shooting with micro 4:3 cameras. They are small and light, and the lenses are tiny. They are sharp, and the cameras are mostly easy to use, but they do come with some compromises. 

Whereas, shooting with a full frame camera has it's own compromises, namely the size and weight of the camera and lenses. They are HUGE compared with a micro 4:3. But comparing different camera types is not the intent of this post.

Rather, the point is to demonstrate that a good picture can be captured just about any where while doing pretty much nothing. You just have to look around and see. Now go and make great photographs.