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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.

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

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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

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 Sunset series.

Photo: Leafy Sunset

Leafy Sunset — bright yellow leaves against a serene sunset

Yellow leaves against a blue and pink sky. This is an early piece, re-edited (January 2006). I took generic photos of the sunset, but wanted to experiment with including other elements of nature, which gave way to this. I used the flash to brighten the leaves, which also made the sunset appear darker and more vivid.

I added contrast and moved the colors from orange to pink to make this look good.

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Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2006-01-04T17:54:53-05, 2006-01-04_17h54m53

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 Sunset series.

Photo: Illumination

Illumination — a scary face lit up on black

My self portrait. Where there’s light, there’s darkness, and that darkness, surrounds me. I lit this with a bunch of cheap flashlights, using my camera’s timer. This is how I look after journeying into The Night of Eternal and Unrelenting Darkness. They’re really the same photo, if you look closely.

I removed blemishes, darkened a lot and added contrast, burned the edges of my face to make it more round, re-centered my face in the bottom-right third, and finally converted to black and white, with a bit of blue. The XY coordinate (512,332) in the above is RGB (18,16,21) now, where it should be (17,17,17) for black and white, for example. This adds subtle coldness, which is the best type, anyway.

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Canon PowerShot A620, 1/15, F2.8, 7.3mm, ISO50, 2007-01-29T17:19:17-05, 2007-01-29_22h19m14

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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.

Photo: Liquid Suspension

Liquid Suspension — water droplets floating in a spider's web

Tiny raindrops, levitating in a spiderweb. Most people don’t realize it’s a spider’s web, but if you’re observant, you can figure it out from the stray dirt and threads. I shot this in January 2007 with my old Canon A620 (this is the first release here); I focused as close as it would go (one centimeter) for this, as the drops were really tiny. To increase the depth-of-field, I closed down to F7.1 (the range on the A620 is F2.8-F8). I kept taking photos after this, but disturbed the web mistakenly, causing all the drops to fall. This one, while dull at first, came to life with my editing. The reflections in the drops are my favorite element, each representing a microcosm of the world we know and love.

If you haven’t figured it out, spider webs aren’t pretty. There were pieces of dirt and dead bugs strewn in the web. My purpose as an artistic photographer is to present a realistic ideal of the world, through whatever means necessary. My job was to remove those, both from the web and the droplets’ reflections. I only did this in a couple; in the other droplets, I decided that the reflections pass for branches or leaves above or around the web. I used Adobe Photoshop CS2’s spot healing brush and clone stamp to take out the offending elements, while double checking that there were no smudge marks by making the image much darker using the Levels tool, followed by checking the integrity of the highlights. The last step was to crank the contrast into overdrive (curves), because the scene was really dull to start; it was a dreary, overcast day, after all. It all came together in the post-processing stage.

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Canon PowerShot A620, 1/320, F7.1, 7.3mm, ISO50, 2007-01-18T13:16:43-05, 2007-01-18_18h16m43

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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.

Photo: Speed

Speed — speeding down a city road at night

This is the second-anniversary edition of Speed, a photo I took from the passenger’s seat of a car in motion. We were moving at 30 miles per hour, but with the one-second exposure, the center is sharp but the edges are blurred. While I posted this on deviantART back in May 2006, I’ve added nice orange text, a border, and a bit more contrast to this revised version. The street is Derbyshire Road in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Call, an English band, put this photo on the cover of their album, Missing Pieces, from October 2007. I enjoy the songs, and though the band broke up last month (April 2008), they will be forever missed.

The photo-shoot for Speed

As you can see above, I took eight photos to get this one. All the others were blurry (camera shake), but I got the highlighted one just right by bracing the camera against the dashboard, and so it became Speed.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1″, F2.81, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2006-05-12T20:33:44-04, 2006-05-12_20h33m44

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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.

Photo: Fly Away

Fly Away — an escaping balloon against an inviting sky

A helium balloon, escaping into the great blue beyond, in black and white. I got this balloon for my sixteenth birthday (2007-08-17), and by nine days later, it still was trying to get away, so I set it free and photographed it. I’ve given out print copies, but this is the first online publication. I hope you enjoy it.

I switched to black and white, cropped out tree branches that snuck into the frame, and made the sky and balloon almost black with the curves function.

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Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/100, F16, 18mm, ISO100, 2007-08-26T14:52:54-04, 2007-08-26_18h52m54

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: The Beautiful Country

The Beautiful Country — a cloudy blue sky over a waterfront town

A town near the sea, with a blue sky overhead, filled with clouds and chemical trails. This is at one of the most beautiful locales in Florida; Oak Hill (scroll down), where the white pelicans congregate. This shot is from the peer overlooking Goodrich’s Seafood Restaurant, which you can see at the bottom-left.

After adding contrast, gradating the sky, and darkening the corners, this became The Beautiful Country.

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Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/400, F8, 18mm, ISO100, 2008-03-05T13:41:17-05, 20080305-184117rxt

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.

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