SPICE to inspire me....

Next Week's DPS Assignment is SPICE, left open to interpretation. I am coming up with a few ideas, mostly on the literal side, but figured I would look around the web for some SPICE photos to help inspire me for this project. Sorry about the quality on some of the images, they are from flickr and had to be saved as a thumbnail- for all the glorious detail click on the link below the image....

"Spice It Up" by Rebecca Tabor Armstrong
I really love the simple, clean composition in this photo as well as the staggered line created by the spoons. The spilt pieces add a nice realistic and slightly chaotic effect, which balances out the cleanness very well.

"magical spice" by These Days in French Life
I like that this photo focuses on the texture of the spice, leaving the pile on the table a blur, but the edge of the pot in sharp focus. The color is also spectacular. 

"Spice" by asylum_princess
I am in love with this photo! The sharp geometric lines in the pepper create a nice contrast for the green organically twisted pepper. I feel like this should be in a magazine with a headline that reads "Pepper is the new black..." lol. The color is also spectacular!

"Spice Love" by khadija-GinRazaPho
I really enjoyed the colors in this photo as well as the creative use of the spices to make a fun shape. What a wonderful close crop, also- I am having issues with the close crop myself! :)

Let's Brainstorm! 
1) Tilted spice jars with rows of spice on a reflective surface
2) Partial sexy body shot- has to be family friendly- going with the more abstract spice
3) the word 'Spice' written with different spices
4) Hot Sauce designs, maybe with a few peppers and/or seeds- hot sauce lines/splatters with bottles behind, with a low depth of field (ie- blurry bottles)
5) Live spice- twigs, leaves, etc. either in a designed shape or in preparation for a meal

DPS Assignment: Fences

I finished up my DPS Weekly assignment early this week, due in part to the subject matter: FENCES. I had taken a picture of a neat colorful, rusty metal fence near work about half a year ago and immediately thought of that image for this assignment. However, the image I took did not fall into the two week window in which the entries have to be taken. So I set out to re-create the same image, only better of course! I took a few snaps of fences around Arcata on Sat. also but ended up entering the rusty one near work as I enjoyed the colors and textures created by the decaying metal.

Assignment Forum page with my entry:

The old Fence image taken in December 2009

No EXIF info available for this photo

Photos Taken for Assignment, but not used:
EXIF: Speed 1/13 ; F22 ; ISO 200 ; Focal Length 105mm ; EV +0.7
First Photo taken for this assignment, fence at work, nothing awe-inspiring about this one...

EXIF: Speed 1/50 ; F25 ; ISO 200 ; Focal Length 92mm ; EV +0.7
Fence in Arcata- I really liked the curly branch/vines coming off this fence but could have gotten a better pic if I had been more patient... yes, that thing I am working on....

EXIF: Speed 1/60 ; F4.5 ; ISO 500 ; Focal Length 30mm
Fence Peephole at the Shop in Arcata- looking through to our landlords backyard... I liked the texture of the fence but there weren't any blooming flowers on the other side of the hole, so I had nothing to frame in the opening... :(

EXIF: Speed 1/13 ; F22 ; ISO 200 ; Focal Length 18mm ; EV +0.3
Fence by Los Bagels in Arcata- I really liked the lavender jutting out of the opening in this fence, but this is nothing spectacular....

EXIF: Speed 1/50 ; F/25 ; ISO 200 ; Focal Length 92mm ; EV +2/3

Next week's Assignment: SPICE

Location: Corner of G & 6th in Eureka, CA
Date/Time: 5/21/10
Subject(s): Fences

DPS Assignment: Still Life

Whooh! Man I have had one looong weekend! Nevertheless, I managed to meet this week's goals of getting the shop open for Arts! Arcata (another post for another time!)  &  got a few wonderful still life photos. In fact, I have more still life photos than I thought I would have and can't choose which one to enter in the DPS contest this week!

My first round of still life's were taken at the shop right before we opened for business for the first time EVER! The cheese platter was so yummy & composed so well it was begging to be photographed:

EXIF: Shutter Speed 1/40 ; F4.8 ; ISO 800 ; Focal Length 32mm; no flash

Our hella expensive hangers (around $12 each!) were so clean & perfectly arranged that I had to snap a shot or two of them:

EXIF: Shutter Speed 1/10 ; F4.5 ; ISO 1600 ; Focal Length: 30mm ; no flash

My second round- the real thing- was taken at home. We took the dog out to Sequioia Park for a walk after work where I grabbed a few ferns, cut some Calla Lilies out of my flowerbed, poured up the wine, and plated the yummy Humboldt Fog cheese. I wanted to set the scene telling a story about relaxation, peace and a nice quiet, luxurious night in with your loved one...

I lit the candle to do double duty- in some shots I used it more romantically as a prop and in other shots I used it more as lighting, keeping it off camera. I have a white shaded adjustable lamp behind the sofa which provided light in a few shots but was turned off for others. I forgot my tripod - left it at the shop!- so I didn't really get to use any low shutter speeds.

EXIF: Shutter Speed 1/30  F3.8 ; Focal Length 20mm

This image is of the Humboldt Fog cheese- The higher ISO I think makes the flowers look almost dreamy. The stripes on the sofa add to the classy subject matter and theme, the candle is a great center feature of the image. What I don't like is the corner glass of wine in the left, as well as cutting off the calla lily bottom.. but maybe the cutoff crop adds more interest & makes the image tighter? 

EXIF: Shutter Speed 0.4 ; F5.6 ; Focal Length 36mm

This image was taken with the candlelight only... It came out way to dark for my liking, but I think I captured the candle itself pretty well...

EXIF: Shutter Speed 1/6 ; F4.5 ; Focal Length 30mm

And this last one I think is the winner.... The light looks very crisp and clean (I used the candle off camera as well as the adjustable lamp.) The focus is mainly on the flowers with the wine and cheese somewhat blurred as part of the background. The light captured the edges of the flower on the left perfectly, accentuating the still blooming and opening flower... I also liked the shadows left by the ferns on the right flower. All in all I think this image tells the story I wanted to portray, has some clean lighting with a few interesting features, and looks to me like an advertisement I would see in a magazine...

Still Life was a really hard assignment for me to pull off.  I spent around an hour setting up and shooting- then setting up again and adjusting the light, then moving something a few inches, testing that ever important patience! This assignment taught me alot about lighting- what works and what doesn't and not to be afraid to experiment. I took around 100 images, and the three posted were the only ones I felt were decent. In the end with a little pre-planning and thought I am happy to say that I have successfully taken my first still-life photo shoot! Man, what an experience- can't wait until next weeks assignment- FENCES!

Location: My house
Date/Time: 5/16/10 @ 9pm
Subject(s): Still Life, DPS assignment
Notes: images have not been edited

Flowers After the Rain...

It was raining lightly most of the day today... It was so grey and boring looking outside- totally uninspiring photo weather! But my ride was a few minutes late picking me up so I figured I would give this raining weather situation a try thinking I could maybe get some decent raindrop photos... I took a total of 5 pictures:

This is a in-camera square crop of a much larger image... I liked the raindrops on the roses and the green and purple in the background.

Closeup of pretty purple flower- was trying to make the background flowers blend out to look less busy... Looks alot like this pic was taken in a field and not in a flowerbed outside a Dr's office! :)

I liked the bright yellow and green at the bottom of this image contrasted with the dark green throughout with the other purple flowers... 

Location: Eureka, CA
Date/Time: 5/17/10 @ 5pm
Subject(s): Flowers, nature, raindrops
Notes: no editing on images....

DPS Weekly Assignment: Still Life

I have decided to start participating in Digital Photography School's Weekly Assignment series. My goal is to participate in at least two a month- I have been so busy with the store opening that four seems to be pushin it! I figured this would be a great way to expand my skills and would give me situations and topics that I would not normally even think about... 

The first assignment I am participating  in is STILL LIFE. Below is the description posted at Digital Photography School's Forums for this weeks assignment (May 5-19) STILL LIFE:

"This week: 'Still Life'. Still life photography is generally a small grouping of inanimate subjects. A classic in art, a Still Life gives you a lot of creative control over your subject. You have time to set it up in a pleasing composition and plan for lighting, two very important aspects of this type of photography. Learning to create a good still life can be useful by many different types of photographers. Wedding, stock, and food stylists all rely on the ability to compose this type of shot." - Saralonde

-next assignment: Fences- 

Photos entered that inspire me to take on such a daunting task:

Fork 'n Spoon- Explore  by pascalbovet

Still Life  by BrittneyLove

~Still in Love with a Classic~  by bubbly b {Nouvelle Vie ♥ Photography}

Long Exposure- Golden Gate Bridge

I have been browsing my new favorite blog (Digital Photography School) and seen alot about long or bulb exposures for night images. The long exposure makes the image more dynamic & brings out alot of light & captures things that I possibly hadn't even seen, I have horrible night vision! I had never really tried taking night images before so I figured that long exposure would be the one thing I was going to try out this past weekend, since I was going to be in the city.

I stopped at the Vista Point just north of the Golden Gate around midnight, setup my tripod on top of the railing, set the shutter speed to bulb, and used my remote shutter trigger to start and end the exposure (this should have avoided any possible shaking or bumps and made the image really clear and sharp). I took around 8 photos but some were not even in focus, a downside to using the remote for the first time for long exposures).

I will have to shoot more Long Exposures. I was ecstatic with these two shots:

13 SEC. EXPOSURE- a little too bright for my liking however the detail in the stars is gorgeous!

10 SEC. EXPOSURE-  I think this one was my favorite. The clouds look gorgeous, the city lights are reflecting nicely of the water, and the bridge lights have a nice orb-ish look...

Location: San Francisco, CA
Date/Time: 5/10/10 midnight
Subject(s): Golden Gate Bridge, City
Notes: NO PROCESSING OR EDITING on these images

Los Angeles

I just got back from a roadtrip to LA last weekend. I was really excited about being able to photograph in the big city. Most of what I take pics of are landscapes and things so I was pumped to try out city shooting! First thing I realized- City Shooting means ALOT of patience & luck (waiting for cars to clear the intersection, waiting for ppl to clear out, and MOSTLY having the camera ready to shoot at a seconds notice.) Patience is not my strong point, so it was good to have to take a minute and wait sometimes.

 Most of the images below were taken with little to no preparation (I changed my lenses maybe 4 times while I was there!), with the Nikon on Auto, Program, or No Flash Auto. 

This is the main entrance to Venice Beach- This brown gull dropped down into the puddle and apparently the white gull wasn't givin up his chillin spot! If I hadn't had my camera ready to go I would have missed this shot trying to get my camera ready....

Venice Beach Grafitti- I had to wait a while for this area to clear out as they were shooting a MTV show a few feet to the left of this object....

Pretty Flowers at Venice Beach- This shot was actually made tinkering with the Aperture setting, I wanted the closest flower nice and sharp and bright, with the others a little blurry...

Venice Beach Lifeguard Stand at Night- I really enjoyed this photo because I do not take alot of night photos and the lights pouring out the shops lightens up the darkness and adds alot of interest to what would have been a flat boring background...

Santa Monica Lifeguard Stands- This picture isn't the best- I wanted a picture of a row of the differently colored stands but there were a ton of people out and this image isn't really what I wanted. I will need to try that one again on the next LA trip!

Antique Santa Monica Pier- Picture taken with Polarizing Filter, then applied Color Boost and Antique effects in I-Photo. I like this photo alot, even though it has an old antique look it still has alot of color and sharp definition of the pier. I especially like the yellow hue on the water to the left reflecting off the yellow rides on the pier.

Ethan @ Santa Monica Pier- I like this portrait. Even though the background is fairly busy I think it is balanced out by the highly defined water and open sky at the top.

You talkin to me?- Seal at Santa Monica Pier, I had to wait a LONG time for this guy to look up at me.. workin on that patience!

Grauman's Chinese Theatre-  Side perspective of the door and plaque. I like this image alot.

HOLLYWOOD- view from the mall by the Chinese Theatre- it was pretty hazy out but not too bad for the first time try! I had to break out my superzoom lens for this one!

Elvis in Sepia- Originally taken in color with the Sepia added from in-camera effects....My first time using the in-camera editing tools, and I realized I need to be using them ALOT more! it drastically speeds up post-shoot editing.

Location: Los Angeles, CA (Venice Beach, Hollywood, Santa Monica)
Date/Time: 5/7/10- 5/10/10
Subject(s): Landscapes, Cityscapes, Structures, Things
Notes: very little editing work done, mostly adjusting light, saturation, and definition in I-Photo...