Imagecraft Bootcamp – Introspective

Mitch asks us to attempt to run our own Introspective Gallery on photos posted this last 12 months. This both daunting and frustrating, I have posted so many photos, but my favourite is always the one I just took.

So here is my gallery, the very first is my latest artistic shot – Angel, I spent several hours in the studio experimenting with lighting and minimal props. I love the moody, dramatic low key lighting. The rest of the shots I found in my media library, I picked the images that spoke to me, and still do. One thing I have noticed over the last twelve months is my sense of the dramatic. There is colour but I still tend to favour a more dramatic light; especially with people and animals. Perhaps my style is starting to emerge?

til next time, happy new year for 2016, travel safe and happy snapping

-Julz

Imagecraft Bootcamp – Christmas Lights

This week Mitch brought us images of what Christmas looks like in his area. I did a post on the local street lights, but if you really want to see some pretty lights head into the city. No time this year, but here are a few from last year.

Here is wishing you all a very Merry Christmas,

-Julz

Photo101Rehab Imagecraft Bootcamp – Developing Vision

This week in Photo101Rehab Imagecraft Bootcamp we are looking at  Developing Vision. But what is Vision? Mitch simplifies it down the two different variations, but alas I still have no real answer for either. I hear it and read it, but I am still sort of frustrated. Let me explain.

I have only been a serious, obsessed amatuer photographer for about a year (got my first DSLR in November 2014). I have no real vision for myself as yet, I am experimenting with so many different forms, from various ‘Scapes (land, sea, city), to light painting, night shoots (astro), portraits, artistic, street. I love it all! I used to just take photos and see what I got, 100’s of photos. I still do that to an extent. I trust my eye and my gut. Moth often asks me, what are you shooting? That is the $64.00 question isn’t it? “What ARE you shooting?” Sometimes I honestly do not know………..I know that sounds bad, doesn’t it?

When it comes to my portrait shoots it is very different, I have them pre planned in advance, on paper and in my head, I do run throughs and set ups, prior to the shoot to see how they look from my head to the PC. I am frequently like that with my paintings as well, I start with a basic line drawing on paper and slowly flesh it out, eventually I transfer that to my ‘canvas’ and finish as I ‘saw’ it in my mind.

Astro photography, is sort of pre planned, but you still just get what you get, Light Painting to some degree is the same, as long you have your settings right and you are pointed in the right direction you will achieve something, you frequently have no idea exactly WHAT you will achieve. But you most likely get something pretty cool, maybe that’s because I am still an amatuer?

When it comes to ‘Scapes, it’s a little different, I can see something with my eyes, my gut tells me it’s what I want, I shoot, sometimes I don’t even look at the image I just took, I just know. Am I having a vision without knowing I have a vision? Perhaps my vision is abstract? Some people go by mathematical and scientific principles, I go by feel. Look at the photos below, the old truck and the cherub I knew I wanted to photograph them that way, did I have a vision for the final image: No, It evolved on my canvas.  The Sunset? Well I felt that there was something there, was dissapointed with what I got, until Mitch taught us shadow recovery and then WOW……I was right I did capture something beautiful.

This next image I did have a vision for, but it took many months. I have driven past this site probably 20 times in the last 12 months and every time I say to myself I must stop, but I never do, too rushed, no camera, too dark, too bright, too lazy. But I KNEW I wanted this shot. Eventually on a cold brisk Winters day, dark looming clouds with sunshine still peaking through, I finally stopped and took my shot, alas too dark (all the shots I took were), but again Mitch’s teaching to the rescue and I got this!

Now the below photos were another vision, I shot back in April pre dawn and KNEW I wanted to come back and shoot at Sunset, I had a few ND Filter issues on the top ones, but I knew what I was looking for.

So what is my vision………….I honestly have no idea, is this good or bad? I have an instinct, and I trust it, I go with my gut, does it make for good photography? I am not sure………..I often fail, but sometimes I net spectacular results (well I think so).  In the end………..I am having a lot of fun and isn’t THAT what matters?

Sorry folks this has been a bit of a long one, I didn’t take any specific photos for it, but I hope I have used images that conveyed my message clearly. Perhaps someone out there can explain to me WHAT MY VISION IS? Or is it that I just have not found it yet?

Til next time, happy snapping……….

-Julz

Photorehab101 Imagecraft Bootcamp – My First Image

First Photos-5This week in Imagecraft Bootcamp, Mitch ask us to show, explore and reminisce about our early forays into photography. This is cool for some and I have already enjoyed reading other’s tales, however mine will be a little different. Sure we had a camera growing up, it was mostly my Mum who took the photos, I don’t really ever remember getting on the other side until I was much older. The first photos I remember taking were of my pets (My cat Tammy to the left is the earliest photo I actually remember taking), sometimes of friends……….it wasn’t til I was in my late teens that I really took any interest, I took Media at school and this covered photography, mostly B&W………there are some photos somewhere, but I am not sure where. I even saved up and bought a second hand Olympus SLR (I still have it). Photography was horribly expensive and I did not have much available money back then, I didn’t have access to a dark room once I left school; so it kind of slid out of existence. In my early twenties I was young and more into partying and I rarely took any photos, I would go on a binge every now and then on holidays, but that was about it.

Even when my kids were born, sure we took photos on a cheap crappy instant camera, my SLR gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere. I was taken with the tiny world on instant cameras, even had a polaroid at one stage. I took photos, got them developed, sighed at how blah they really were and shoved them in a box in the cupboard……….I didn’t even really put any in albums! If I wanted nice photos of the kids, I took them to a photographer! (Oh the irony)

Then the digital age began, I bought a digital camera………….took a few snaps, nothing overly exciting, got another camera and took a few more snaps on holidays and what have you, used a camera at work for various product shots, again nothing really exciting.The camera was just something you used to take a few holiday snaps, it was not an art form (Boy was I wrong).

Jump ahead to October 2014 (yes that recent), and for various reasons I wont bother to go into I started to write this blog. I started to connect with other bloggers, as you do and started seeing some amazing photos, I mean really seeing for the first time. It sparked my creativity, my imagination, I spent hours looking at some truly gob smacking imagery on the net. I started talking to these people and asking how they did it……….I was not immune to Photoshop, I used it with my job…………..but not like this. I then made the decision that I wanted to do this, I wanted to learn Photography, I mean really learn it.

So in November 2014 I bought my First Digital SLR camera, a Nikon D5300 and a kit lens. It stayed on Auto for awhile. I then joined some Photography groups and started to learn. I was obsessed when I took my first really good photos, and then learned how to process them properly. Then I started Photo101 and Blogging 101, and met more people learned more about photography, shot ALL THE TIME, then people started asking me to take their photo. I realised I was actually pretty good with portraits, so I started do more and more, eventually I started asking for money; just to cover costs more than anything. I set up a studio in the garage, bought and made rigging, lights, backdrops, props. Then people started asking me for newborn shots, kids, and I started doing Photoshop fantasy shots, combining my photography talent and my photoshop skills.

Jump ahead a few months and I meet yet more people who have taught me so much, about technique, composition, long exposures, astrophotography, light painting. I am trying it all. My passion and drive piqued something in my husband and now he is almost as obsessed as I am (although he does not like portraits), so we now spend our weekends travelling all over our local area, taking photos, meeting people, making friends. It is a whole new aspect of our life; we have never had so much fun!

So my journey in what I classify as real photography is barely 1 year old, but it has been one hell of a year, now the camera is a natural extension to myself, I feel naked, untethered, unnatural without it. Wow I have rambled on, haven’t I? I will leave you now with a gallery of some pics from the last few weeks.

-Julz

Imagecraft Bootcamp – Making Lemonade

It seems I am running a little behind on this week’s challenge (so unlike me, I know), so this week Mitch is asking us to make lemonade for Imagecraft Bootcamp. I don’t have any ‘film’ photos which I can use, but I have plenty of   “whiskeytangoFOXTROT HAPPENED???  GAHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh.” moments.

Original Image

Original Image

OK so not exactly over exposed film but still a WTF? I took some photos of this lovely couple (at a wedding I was working); so interesting to meet, talk to and explore their ink! I got home and this was the best one??????????? Oh dear! Not good, but I have tried to recover, maybe Mitch could do a better job, maybe it’s a hopeless cause?

Recovery B&W

Recovery B&W

Lemonade-84

Recovery V1

Still very grainy and her face has lost the depth and detail. The B&W is still grainy, but that’s OK, but there is still too much shadow on her face. Shame as I really like the photo, just not all the shadows.

We have spent the last few weeks on recovery, which I guess is fitting, as oft times that’s all we seem to be doing is fixing less than stellar images. I would however, really like to see some more on various other features in Lightroom as well.

Til next time………..happy snapping (and recovering)…….

-Julz

Imagecraft Bootcamp – Creepy (Warning!)

This week for Mitch’s Bootcamp he decided to go with a Halloween Motive, here is my version…………….my Halloween this year has been pre occupied with Zombies, they have currently taken over Melbourne. Literally just running some filters, gradient and radial filters, as well as adjusting the colours.

Original

Original

So……………..is it creepy enough?

-Julz

Imagecraft Bootcamp – Save the Throw-Away

Another week, another Imagecraft Bootcamp, this week it’s Save the Throw-away. Mitch encourages us to find that horrible throw away rubbish image (another one, well I have plenty of those – good thing I don’t actually throw them away) and using the lessons from the last few weeks see if we can fix it. If not Mitch has bravely offered to step in and help.

Here’s the challenge: find a throw-away image of your own, and go through the post-processing steps I’ve been teaching you over the past several weeks.

I am one of those people who like to try and fix everything themselves, often I get frustrated and give up, sometimes I need to walk away from an image and come back to it later. Sometimes I just walk away from an image…………..so that is what I went looking for, something I gave up on and now perhaps I am ready to tackle again with a new set of skills.

Original Image SOOC

Original Image SOOC

Lightroom Auto Correct

Lightroom Auto Correct

Final edit - 1 hour Lightroom

Final edit – 1 hour Lightroom

Still not 100% happy, not sure if it was worth the effort even, however when ever we play we learn, right? I’m sure if I brought it into PS I could recover more, but that’s not the point is it? I think the blues are still a little too saturated? Light on the left and dark on the right?

p.s. I never knew about the UV throwing off reflections, but I had been warned early on ONLY to buy glass, double coated, non reflective UV Protectors, so I guess I have been lucky. Mind you I have gotten to the stage where I do not use them all the time.

Til next time, happy snapping……….

-Julz

Imagecraft Bootcamp – Shooting from the Dark Side

After my initial disappointment of not becoming a Sith Warrior (hehehe I’m a Sci-Fi fan too), I continued reading this week’s assignment, Shooting on the Dark Side, I quickly realised this is something I instinctively do; apparently I’m a little strange! (Nothing new there, right?)

Original

Original

Colour Version

Colour Version

B&W Version

B&W Version

Now, how cool is all that detail? Granted it is not glaring bright sunshine, but the light coming from those clouds and the deep shadows of the old shed serve the purpose here.

OK So no real bright extreme light either, but you aren’t supposed to shoot from a really dark room into bright light are you? I still find you can retain more of the image and get a sense of depth and interest by recovering some, but not all of the shadows.

Still want more light? OK Well how about this, actually used a different method, but the same end result.

DSC_4422

Original Image

Original Image

Thanks Mitch (this week is very enlightening – sorry!), perhaps I am a Sith Warrior, “follow to the dark side you will, no?”

Til next time, happy snapping…..

-Julz

Imagecraft Bootcamp – Keystoning

This this week in Imagecraft Bootcamp we’re covering keystoning, also known as the tombstone effect or keystone effect,

The keystone effect, also known as the tombstone effect, is caused by attempting to project an image onto a surface at an angle, as with a projector not quite centered onto the screen it is projecting on. It is a distortion of the image dimensions, such as making a square look like a trapezoid, the shape of an architectural keystone, hence the name of the feature. In the typical case of a projector sitting on a table, and looking upwards to the screen, the image is larger at the top than on the bottom. Some areas of the screen may not be focused correctly as the projector lens is focused at the average distance only.

-Wikipedia

Werribee Park Mansion

This is the final image, still a little wonky, but If I straighten the top part of the building I loose the horizon line and the bottom of the building. For the most part, I am happy with this image now.

First I used the Lens Correction as Mitch suggested, I tried, Auto, Vertical, Horizontal and Full, but I honestly I didn’t like what it did with any option, so I turned it off.

V3

I tend to use the Lens Profile tab (same area) and I have set up all my lenses in this……it tends to calibrate better. I then went to Manual and tweaked a little further. I do not think I will get it much better than this.

Werribee Park Mansion

Final Edit

V2I then went to the Crop & Straighten tool and tweaked the image until I was mostly happy; Horizon line straight and the bottom of the building where it meets the ground is most straight vertically as well.

I then adjusted the exposure, tweaked a few things as well and voila……there you have it.

Werribee Park Mansion

Original SOOC

OK So not a huge amount of difference, but it’s a start 🙂  I perhaps need to work with the manual setting and fiddle a bit more

-Julz

Imagecraft Bootcamp – Shadow Recovery

This week on Imagecraft Bootcamp we look at Shadow Recovery. The shadow recovery I guess I already knew – sort of, but delving deeper into the dodging and burning, yes this is something I needed to learn more about.

SOOC - Nikon D7100, 18-55mm kit Lens; ISO 100, F/10, 1/50 sec

SOOC – Nikon D7100, 18-55mm kit Lens; ISO 100, F/10, 1/50 sec

Auto Tone

Auto Tone

Final Shot

Final Shot

I have just recently discovered the radial filter button in Lightroom and I love it……this image is brilliant, from what it started out as to what it is now….I am happy with that. I have been doing it with brushes all this time, the radial filter is so much quicker, but I can still use the brushes for smaller touch ups!

-Julz