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Photo: Blue Marbles 5: Diagonal Bias

Blue Marbles 5: Diagonal Bias — a line of marbles, turned to the side

This, following the first, is the best in the series. I got really close here, so you can see the terrifying details of the marbles. This also gives very shallow depth of field, so the ones far back become quite blurry. Turning the camera to the side is another stab at creative composition, but I mainly did it to keep the edges of the yellow table out of the frame. The blue colors in this one turned out perfect; not too dark nor too bright.

How come I didn’t notice all the dust and hairs on the lead marble when I shot this? It was a pain in the neck to remove, but after that, all I had to do was add a splash of light and color.

[sniplet 4×6-lustre]

Canon PowerShot A620, 1/3, F2.8, 7.3mm, ISO50, 2006-12-22T16:49:43-05, 2006-12-22_16h49m43

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

More of the Blue Marbles series.

Photo: Blue Marbles 4: 4 Blue Marbles

Blue Marbles 4: 4 Blue Marbles — light, reflections, and spacing make for three-dimensional orbs

The fourth entry in the series, containing four of the respectable spheres. You already knew that from the informative title, though.

I was innovating with placement of the still life here; one is at the front, two far back, and one back even further. It’s pleasing to my eyes, as is the contrast between the sky reflections and dark marbles, even if the table goes to white.

I added contrast, removed dust, and kept the blues under control, as normal.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/185, F2.81, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2006-05-31T14:21:36-04, 2006-05-31_14h21m36

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

More of the Blue Marbles series.

Photo: Blue Marbles 3: Smiley

Blue Marbles 3: Smiley — marble art: a smiling face

This is marble art! I made a smiley face out of a bunch of dark blue marbles. Amusingly, I ran short and used some light blue, translucent marbles at the bottom. This is on a yellow table outside; it was a challenging shoot because the wind swept through and blew the marbles away a couple times. I persevered to compose and capture this, fortunately.

I added contrast through curves, removed the worst dirt specks on the table, and cloned out the umbrella pole that was at the top-left. I’m experimenting with vignetting here: I made the left corners darker, and the right corners brighter, inspired from the less overt gradations in the original photo.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/119, F2.81, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2006-03-30T15:01:54-05, 2006-03-30_15h01m54

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

More of the Blue Marbles series.

Photo: Blue Marbles 2: Darkness

Blue Marbles 2: Darkness — stacks of marbles, with a touch of purple and black

The dark marbles, with traces of black and purple. This has colder lighting. The stacked marbles contribute to an interesting composition, as does the stray line in the background. I picked marbles that were cracked and weathered, to oppose the smooth perfection of the first photo. This is a sub-par entry in the series because the purples are ugly and without detail, but it’s been in the series for two years so it’s worthy of staying. This new edit is an improvement over the two-year old original.

I set tungsten white balance on this, over-exposing the blues horribly. I had no concept of color back in early 2006, and because this is from a low-end JPEG only camera, the detail is unrecoverable. In the new version above, I darkened the marbles, desaturated the clipped blue hues and cloned in the color of the dark marbles, giving purple, and added contrast. It’s a big step up from the original.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/8, F2.81, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2006-03-21T06:46:32-05, 2006-03-21_06h46m32

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

More of the Blue Marbles series.

Photo: Blue Marbles

Blue Marbles — shiny spheres in a line

The definitive photo of blue marbles. These marbles are my grandmother’s, and the yellow table I arranged them on is on her veranda. I get to take creative shots of them like this, of course. :grin: The evening light was just right, and while I originally intended to focus on the first marble, having the focus on the second is more nonconforming and gives a sense of depth. I went back into Photoshop today to revamp this February 2006 piece; my editing skills have improved, so I’m finding the above version especially likable.

I added contrast, removed color, and darkened the edges. Unfortunately the blues clip where the light is shining through the marbles, but I toned the colors down anyway, since subtlety is better than garishness, and because the brighter colors look bad in print. There was some dirt on the marbles and table I had to clone out, as always, but I left some on the table so it doesn’t look overly perfect. The finishing touches were to desaturate the yellow hues slightly, and to sharpen and brighten the second marble while blurring the rest of the image. The camera I was using at the time (a Fujifilm FinePix A360) would only focus to 2.4 inches; I got too close so the first one is blurry. I’m liking the depth of field in retrospect, as it seems like the natural choice with the further emphasis of the second marble.

[sniplet 4×6-lustre]

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/63, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2006-02-22T17:49:43-05, 2006-02-22_17h49m43

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

More of the Blue Marbles series.

Photo: Pink and Purple Sunset 3

Pink and Purple Sunset 3 — a psychedelic, neon sky

The capstone of the series, despite nearing two years of age, Pink and Purple Sunset 3 maintains a permanent spot in my portfolio. It is beloved wherever I show it, though vocal few hate it, calling it as over-edited and “phony.” I don’t believe this; this is my photography, as is the work of a whole new generation theirs. Read The “Pure Photography” Myth for further discussion.

I’ve put more time into this photo than any other, as I strive for it to be perfect, which, for me, is to reveal no blemishes nor traces of editing, even under intense scrutiny. The contrast enhancements are high, but I did not need to shift the colors nor fabricate the clouds. The finished work you’ve seen is the third revision, the first being to remove the building on the right, the second for removing the tree on the left, and the final, only coming this month, to match the print gamut and clone out the remaining JPEG artifacts (which aren’t visible except in large copies). In the June 2006 release I’d already dramatized the colors and removed the pesky streetlights which cluttered the neighborhood, but with the finalized edits this can even be imagined as a scene out in the wilderness. If I ever doubted the value of RAW mode, I found it here; because in 2006 I only had a cheap digicam, this is a lossy JPEG. In bringing the colors out so dramatically, I struggled against compression artifacts and color banding, which would have been no issue if I’d shot it now in raw format with my Canon Rebel XTi. It is not in comparing JPEGs and raw files side-by-side that the choice becomes clear, but in the digital darkroom where the extra bits count, and the “invisible” JPEG compression becomes greatly magnified when you add darkness, saturation, or contrast. My solution for the artifacts was to clone them out by hand, a tedious process that I spent some three hours on. But if I’m working for my art, it’s always worth it.

[sniplet 4×6-lustre]

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/2, F3.07, 6.8mm, ISO116, 2006-06-11T20:39:14-04, 2006-06-11_20h39m14

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

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Photo: Pink and Purple Sunset 2

Pink and Purple Sunset 2 — bright and colorful clouds in an evening neighborhood

A beautiful and colorful sunset from my back yard. I remember taking this when I was sick with a cold; I was too tired to walk down the road looking for an open area, so the sunset is occluded by trees and power lines. It’s still pretty good, though.

I added contrast to make this pop, and cloned out stray tree branches at the left.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/20, F4.2, 12.9mm, ISO100, 2006-04-01T18:51:48-05, 2006-04-01_18h51m48

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

More of the Pink and Purple Sunset series.

Photo: Pink and Purple Sunset

Pink and Purple Sunset — vividly colored clouds and sky

An impressive array of clouds at sundown. I like how the colors turned out, and the shape of the clouds is quite a bit different than what you normally see.

This one is heavily edited. I used curves to add a ton of contrast and darkened the edges. I didn’t have to mess with the color, except desaturating parts that were too vivid; the beauty of the scene was all there, but just needed to be brought out.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F4.44, 14.9mm, ISO98, 2006-03-22T18:42:07-05, 2006-03-22_18h42m07

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

More of the Pink and Purple Sunset series.

Photo: Leafy Sunset 6

Leafy Sunset 6 — silhouetted leaves and an orange evening sky

A stately orange sunset in my yard is the backdrop for silhouetted leaves of an American sycamore tree. Some of the leaves have been chewed by bugs; as you can see on the left. This only adds to the beauty, of course. :cool: There are even some raindrops on the leaves, left over from the storms earlier that day. I didn’t notice those till way after the shoot. This is the best of the Leafy Sunset series, trailing fifteen months after the fifth entry.

Initially, I underexposed to keep the sunset’s highlights from being clipped in the red channel, knowing that the leaves would be pure black anyway. I finished this up in editing, by bringing up the colors without any clipping, and I made a shift from red to burnt orange, which I find more appealing. The edited colors also print more faithfully.

[sniplet 4×6-lustre]

Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/40, F3.5, 18mm, ISO200, 2007-08-31T19:52:43-04, 2007-08-31_23h52m43

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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 Sunset series.

Photo: Leafy Sunset 5

Leafy Sunset 5 — a terminal orange sky framed by pointy leaves

An orange and yellow sunset, framed by the silhouettes of evergreen leaves. This is from my back yard; the trees and power lines represent the fast pace of life in the modern neighborhood. :shocked:

I brightened up parts, added color, and made the gray leaves black.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/667, F4.7, 17.4mm, ISO64, 2006-02-18T18:02:56-04, 2006-02-18_18h02m56

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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 Sunset series.

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