"Wood Elf" is your highest scoring image on DPC. Can you take us through the initial conception of this image, and describe any techniques that you used to achieve your vision.
Well, the minute I saw the challenge theme I wanted to shoot something in the woods at the cottage. There’s a nice clearing with mushrooms (not magic unfortunately) so then the idea of an elf came into mind. I was hoping for a bright sunny day put it rained all weekend. For about 30 mins the rain died down a bit and we rushed out and took about a dozen shots. The ear is cut out of cardboard and she’s wearing a cheap Halloween wig.
In post processing, I wanted to create a “magical woods” setting so an orangey diffuse glow on a separate layer was used then played with opacity to get it right. I also wanted it so the elf seemed to be radiating light. I did this by burning around the edges of the photo.
My personal favourite of all your images is "To spike a drink". I like the subtle humour which gives a gentle nudge rather than a slap in the face. I also love the toning and colourisation that you applied to the image. How was this done? The image clarity is superb, how many shots did it take to get this right?
"To spike a drink"
This was shot with my trusty coolpix 4500 in macro mode. I didn’t really do much to it. It looks a lot like the original. I just gave it a sepia tone (greyscale then color balance). The rest of the steps are described on the photo.
I took about 60 shots and about 10 of them were good…. This one being the best :-)
One of the types of shots that I often find difficult is the architecture style shot. You have some great images of architecture, including "Architectural curves 1" and "Straight & Curved". What is your setup for these types of shots? What time of day do you usually aim for? How do you decide on the composition?
"Architectural curves 1"
"Straight & Curved"
Well, I can’t take much credit for those 2 shots cuz the building (museum) is VERY photogenic. I usually wait till late afternoon to get good strong shadows. The rest is a joy. Composition? I’ve never really had to think much about composition with this building. It seems to scream the right composition at me. :-) I still haven’t taken any shot of this museum with my D70. Soon…
Some of your best work is with macro captures. What are aspects of macro photography that beginners should be aware of? When you are doing close-ups of eyes, how important are catch lights?
"Tear drop blues"
Like other types of photography, light plays a key factor in your macro work. After that… composition. I’ve shot so many “ok” macros but thinking things through and experimenting is the key to successful macro shots.
What has been the hardest image to photograph, out of all of your entries on DPC? Why?
"and the plot thickens…"
Hahahaha… that’s my Cat and fish shot "and the plot thickens…" To get those two to look at each other was hell!!! I got just the one shot after almost an hour of impatience.
"Preserving Champlain Park: which side are you on?" is an interesting photo not just in the execution, but in the conception. What gave you the idea of shooting a shot in daylight and turning it into night time in post-process? Can you give some more detail on this technique?
"Preserving Champlain Park: which side are you on?"
It’s actually quite simple to do. Aiming directly at the sun (metering on the sun), everything around will be dark. All I did after that was to adjust curves and some selective burning and dodging. I then added a slight blue tint for that winter feeling.
"Awaiting Enlightenment" has some magical colours with such a smooth fade it is very pleasing to the eye. How long did you know about this location before you decided to shoot it? A small amount of controversy surrounded this shot, with another similar image taken from the same spot on a different day also doing quite well. I thought it was an interesting idea to see different captures and styles with essentially the same canvas. What are your thoughts on the image?
Both shots were taken at our cottage. We have this lovely rock a few feet away from shore. She (parentx) had the idea of the fisherman and I had the idea of meditation. We actually hesitated in submitting both shots because we knew people would notice that is was the same location (even with my photo flipped). There aren’t any rules saying we couldn’t submit a photo from the same location and we both liked our photos so we submitted. And it paid off! :-)
If I could choose one of your images and give it a ribbon, I would select "Father & Son". I think there is an emotional message from this image, something that I find rare and captivating, especially when capturing something so subtle. Can you give any background to this image? Were there any technical difficulties with this shot, as taking silhouettes can be a tricky technique to master.
"Father & Son"
Thank you for the compliment! Actually, not to disappoint you but… I was just playing with my camera settings and took a few shots of my brother-in-law and his son fishing. I wasn’t even thinking of it for the June free study. It’s only after I started post processing it that I saw its true potential as an emotive photo depicting strong family values.
Your first entry was "Apple Skin". If you could critique that now, what would you say? Would you change anything?
Actually, I wouldn’t change a thing. With the equipment I had at the time, I don’t think I would be able to take a better photo today. I would probably change the composition a bit though and put the whole skinned apple on the model with the apple skin to give a better visual interpretation.
Out of the 13 images you have ribboned on, what surprised you the most?
You know how we all hope our images will make the ribbons. :-) Some you know that won’t and others you hope they will. My “Never go to bed mad” shot was one that I thought wouldn’t even come close to ribbon. It was a last minute idea and colors were awful so I submitted it in B&W. Boy was I surprised!
If you would like to explain any more of your images in more depth, please feel free.
If anyone would like detailed explanations on a particular shot, fell free to PM me. :-)