Photo: Blue Marbles 6: Infinity

Blue Marbles 6: Infinity — armies of marbles converge at eternity

These marbles go to infinity, but not beyond it, because they have proper boundaries… sort of. The two rows of three marbles are diverging, though your mind has to work to decide if they are parallel or otherwise. This represents infinity because it makes you think, or so I hope. I did a lot of trials positioning the marbles; this proved to hold my interest the best. The day’s light was good, helping me to get the dramatic mix of black and blue.

I enhanced the contrast, and used Photoshop’s spot healing brush on the mess of specks that are permanently affixed to my subjects.

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Canon PowerShot A620, 1/15, F7.1, 7.3mm, ISO50, 2007-01-18T14:11:46-05, 2007-01-18_19h11m46

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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: 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

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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.

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

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.