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Photo: The Green Vortex

The Green Vortex — green leaves through a pinhole

Some leaves on a tree, through a rolled-up poster right in front of the lens. The reflections on the glossy paper inside make it look like a vortex… a vortex of doom, of course. Green and black are the colors of spring.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/160, F4.5, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-02-29T12:19:33-05, 20080229-161933rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Ashes and Embers

Ashes and Embers — fiery red embers in a fireplace

Leftover embers in my wood-burning stove. The foreground is crumpled paper that didn’t burn thoroughly; makes for some interesting folds, colors, and patterns. There is still a bit of fire left in them.

I burned in the highlights a bit, made the colors redder, and added contrast. I was hand-holding the camera and the scene was dim, so I went up to ISO1600; the original is grainy. It’s nice grain, though, which I kept, though you can’t see it except at higher resolutions.

[sniplet 4×6-lustre]

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/30, F1.8, 50mm, ISO1600, 2008-02-28T21:00:45-05, 20080229-020045rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Golden Tapestry

Golden Tapestry — a golden sun behind silhouetted branches

A golden sunset behind a mess of tree branches. Took this right across the street of my house. It’s the same location and type of tree as A Morning of Fog, but very different lighting.

Darkening and added contrast give this its feeling, though the original is more technically accurate.

Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/3200, F9, 55mm, ISO100, 2008-03-19T19:03:08-04, 20080319-230308rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Quick Post on HDR

I wrote this on high dynamic-range photography for this poll, and wanted to share it with my readers here:

I’ve seen good uses of HDR (which is actually compressed dynamic range, just not called that). But I don’t like when the sky looks darker than the land–it’s unnatural; not even what our eyes see.

I had a shot recently (RAW of course) which I turned into this; no HDR needed. You can do plenty a polarizing filter (though I lacked one), curves, dodging, and burning, and it’s easier. What I’d like our budding photographers to think of, is that if you want to make a dark patch of ground bright like the sky, it’s going to look fake and shoddy. There’s a reason your subject is dark. If the scene is so contrasty that your subject goes pitch-black when the sky is a moderate blue, your shooting in the wrong light. Instead of trying HDR, try coming back in the evening.

Though cluttered (scroll down), this is a good article on HDR photography. You take several photos of the same (static) scene at different exposures, then blend them together afterwards. You can save them including the full range of luminance values in some editing software, but only expensive monitors can display the high dynamic range (distance between light and dark). So HDR photography we see is just compressing the range to be displayed on our monitors.

The Return + Film is Pointless

I’m coming back. I mentioned way back on the 7th that I had a sore throat, but was recovering. That turned into a cold; I’d recovered by the 11th, but on Wednesday, March 12, I woke up with an awful sore throat, headache, and fever. Two days later, I noticed the white patch at the back of my throat, so Dad took me to the doctor (it’s expensive without health insurance), who proscribed one gram of amoxicillin (a sister of penicillin), twice per day. He assumed it to be strep throat, skipping the test. My Grandma notes how large the dose is; it’s interesting to read that doctors now proscribe super-doses to everyone because the bacteria has mutated, developing antibiotic resistance from decades of being slaughtered. Obviously, this can’t be a long-term solution, as just like with the Borg, the enemy’s adaptability requires an ever-changing attack strategy.

I’ve been on antibiotics since Friday; I wasn’t well enough to go to school today (Monday), though. The white patch is down to specks, and it hurts less to swallow, so I’m targeting Wednesday to return (no classes on Tuesday, though I’ll miss work). No school missed last week, because it was spring break. But plenty of lost money and grades. Instead of studying, I spent five days suffering on a couch, watching the shameful wart that is network television, sipping from a bottle of dry ginger ale when the pain of dehydration would surpass the pain of swallowing.

I’m thinking I’ll get a B in photography class (there’s no formal feedback, though). I need Monday to develop film and print, but missed today, and my teacher said I was below the standard last week because I developed one roll of film instead of two. Apparently it doesn’t matter that the roll is 36 exposures instead of 20 or 24, or that I put time and/or creativity into each image instead of shooting three dozen images of a tree. I’m so glad I’m not going into photography as a career. Not in the neo-traditional, professionalized sense. Or perhaps, I should trudge through the program, commanding worship and respect for graduating from a community college. Then, I can open a studio, get a little plaque saying I’m a Certified Professional Photographer to hang on the wall, and then print up plain-white business cards saying that I’m a qualified professional photographer and imaging specialist. There will be no images on the cards, of course. That would be unprofessional. There will only be promises of terribly professional conduct.

What I do hate most, is being told that film unlocks my creativity. It’s a lie. It LIMITS my creativity. If you use it, you’re being held back, too. It’s terribly expensive, dust-prone, time-consuming, et cetera. Non-zooming (prime) lenses limit your creativity too. Not doctoring your photos in Photoshop limits your creativity. But we’re fed the same rubbish argument from higher math: “it teaches you how to think.” Would we put up with four years of classes of brain-teasers? If any subject does anything, “teaching you how to think” needs to be secondary, lest the whole thing be a diversion. When Jefferson proscribed reading, writing, and arithmetic, he didn’t mean algebraic theory and calculus.

So how do they say film teaches us to think? First, we’re forced to learn the basics of metering, aperture, shutter speed, etc. Then, we put more time and thought into our compositions, because of the terrible expense of film. This logic is putting the cart before the horse. It’s like trying to first learn the alphabet backwards so you’ll be more prepared to learn it forwards. What we need to do, is to take a ton of photos on a digital camera (even a cheap one), without reading dozens of technical pages from textbooks. If we’re making our photos horribly blurry, or overexposed, or off center, or there’s a trash can in the background, we see it right away and correct it, and from practical experience comes expertise. What could be better for teaching us to think? The professionalized model for “learning” photography is like learning how to drive a car from a year-long technical course. It’s hard to believe that standardized education can make fascinating subjects so boring.

One note on the site: I out-sourced to FeedBurner for my email newsletter, instead of running software on my server. I’m on shared hosting, so this will be more reliable, and free up computing resources for visitors. Sign up today; it’s the same stuff that’s in the RSS feed, which is the same stuff that’s on my website.

Stock: Green Leaves and Blue Sky

Green Leaves and Blue Sky

Photo of tree branches and leaves with a lively blue sky as the backdrop. Hope you find this useful.

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/80, F13, 18mm, ISO100, 2008-01-25T10:51:48-05, 20080125-155148rxt

Photo: The Sky’s Camouflage

The Sky's Camouflage — a cloudy car in nine colors

Reflections of a vivid sky on a black car. This is my new vision for Sky’s Camouflage; it started with the blue version in the center, and the others I digitally colored for this arrangement.

I’ve been trying this out on my bedroom’s wall for a while; looking at it everyday hasn’t annoyed me yet, so it must be good.

I increased contrast and saturation on the original (blue, center), and mixed up color channels for the eight variations.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/278, F2.81, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2006-06-17T14:44:08-04, the-skys-camouflage-rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the full-resolution version (14MB, 46MP).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Leafy Droplets 6

Leafy Droplets 6 — liquid drops on an colorful orange leaf

An orange leaf decorated with water drops. It’s unconventional, but I decided to fade to white at the top of the frame, as though the scene is overwhelmed by fog. Like with Leafy Droplets 2, I changed the leaf to orange, though this photo is brighter and composed differently. This is on my point-and-shoot camera, as it focuses closer than the lenses I have for my DSLR.

I changed the colors to orange, added contrast, cropped, and dodged and blurred the top part so the photo fades to white.

[sniplet 4×6-lustre]

Canon PowerShot A620, 1/60, F3.5, 7.3mm, ISO50, 2008-02-24T10:49:51-04, 20080224-154951rxt

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

More of the Leafy Droplets series.

Photo: Leafy Droplets 5

Leafy Droplets 5 — sparkling raindrops on a leaf, in black and white

A leaf with raindrops, in black and white. The sun came out after the rain for this photo, so the contrast was high.

I converted to black and white in Adobe Photoshop, then did basic sharpening and contrast enhancements.

Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/250, F8, 55mm, ISO100, 2007-10-31T16:09:32-04, 2007-10-31_20h09m32

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

More of the Leafy Droplets series.

Photo: Leafy Droplets 4

Leafy Droplets 4 — a green leaf with dark raindrops

A leaf on a tree in my back yard, which raindrops stick to with ease. This composition was the best; the leaf looks flat, till you get to the top where it fades out like a horizon line. I like how the droplets are linked together with water resting on the veins of the leaf. It was still raining at the time; I was struggling, holding the umbrella while using my camera. :grin:

I burned in the areas that were too bright, and added contrast to achieve the dark mood. This was a fun edit, as I got it to look just as I wanted.

[sniplet 4×6-glossy]

Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/80, F5.6, 55mm, ISO400, 2007-10-27T17:13:25-04, 2007-10-27_21h13m25

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

More of the Leafy Droplets series.

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