Monday, October 14, 2013

Santa Cruz

Spent the weekend in Santa Cruz and took my camera with me.  The whole time there I was thinking of Scott Kelby's Shoot Like a Pro tour and thinking of travel photography.  What things are iconic.  What are interesting.  What tells the story.  I don't know how successful I was as a whole, but I think a few moments I was pretty close.  I think I'll take a stab and putting these in a mini photo book.

Here are a few of my better shots.

from our bed and breakfast; tucked away behind a garden and really cute grounds.

a pseudo pano of a church from far away.

I thought this wall was cool with the texture.

Also from the bed and breakfast.  The waterfall was very small.  I got to use slow shutter speed.  Not bad for my first attempt.

from the B&B - the water wheel in the river

RR Tracks to nowhere

I was amused

Saw some OK surfing going on.

It was hazy, so I couldn't get a good shot of the boardwalk.  And when I found a good location, I was done shooting for the day.

Sea lions under the pier on the wharf.  they let you get really close to them (and safely behind a fence)

My seafood tacos for lunch

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fun with Flash

Thanks to the Scott Kelby, "Shoot Like a Pro" tour, I bought a flash and accessories for it.  I was pleased that he gave us suggestions for flashes and things that won't break the bank.  I was able to get a flash, a wireless trigger, and a softbox-tripod kit for less than $150.  And now I've been playing with them.

Due to our busy schedule, the only models available to me are my daughters after bathtime.

These aren't going to win any awards and I won't ever put them in my portfolio.  But I felt like I got a good start to shooting with a flash.  I started by just shooting with some backlight and using the flash to brighten up their faces.  But then when I wasn't content with it, I grabbed my reflector/difuser disc and put the black side on, put it on a chair, and had them sit in front of it.  It worked well enough for my purposes.  Couldn't do it all the time ... especially since you can totally see the wrinkles.

One of the first I took.  I think it's OK.  I'm struggling finding good focus when working with a flash cause it's too dark for the camera to focus on it's own and my eyes suck.  I think there might be too much shadow on the camera left side.  She's not dark and mysterious enough for half-lit face.

love the catchlight here

GOOFINESS!  I wasn't sure where to put the flash, so I went for over and lit all of her.  I love the catchlight in her eyes.

starting to go over to the side again, but not as far as before.

I think this is the best photo with her.  Decent focus, good exposure on the face, good smile, good catchlight, realistic coloring.

I couldn't get her to do a real smile, so I had her sing.  Again, I think the flash here is pretty good.

lighting 2 is a lot harder than just one.  Especially when they can't keep their hands down.  This isn't bad, but I think Audrey is a bit overlit.

She got really mad at me when I said it was almost bedtime.  Then we took this.  And I love it.  I wish the focus was on her face and not her hair, but otherwise I absolutely LOVE this photo.  The flash was directly in front of her face; I would've loved to try it from the floor shooting up, but didn't really have time to move things and get her to do this again.

So I moved to the floor.  This totally overlit her arms and her face was dark.  I LOVE Lightroom.  I really feel like I did a great job in post-processing of this photo. 

And in B&W, to add to the edgy mood of her pose.

Scott Kelby Photowalk

Last Saturday, Scott Kelby hosted his annual Worldwide Photowalk.  My friend and I attended in Crockett, CA, which is underneath the Carquinez Bridge and home of the C&H Sugar Factory.  It's a very old town, run-down in places, not yuppified.

I was feeling totally uninspired.  I took what I think are technically decent photos, but really struggled with any sort of creativity and something that would make me go "WOW!"  (I really should go out and do photowalks more often so I'm not struck so blank when I go.)

At any rate, here are some of the best of what I took.

This was one of the more charming spots of the town.  I'm a sucker for long staircases with plants and bushes.

I kept seeing these little (no ... big) guys all over town.  On businesses, houses, fences.  It was definitely a unique part of the town.

A piece of the old and still charming (vs. the old and rundown)

The Carquinez Bridge(s)  I believe the truss bridge is the old and the suspension bridge is the new one.  Fun Fact ... when I moved here, only the truss was open.  I've lived in California long enough to see the new replacement bridge be finished.

These railroad tracks were the beginnings of what allowed the C&H Factory to be built here.  They go right by the front door of the factory.