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Photo: Laser Triangle

Photo: Laser Triangle

A triangle drawn with an ultraviolet laser pointer with an 8″ exposure on a tripod. It was hard to get the sides right, but I think laser pointers are a lot of fun for photos.

This was on the night of the lunar eclipse, 2010-12-21. I was getting bored waiting for the eclipse to reach totality so I did this.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 8/1, F2.5, 50mm, ISO1600, 2010-12-21T02:07:35-05, 20101221-070735rxt

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

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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: Trails of Light

Photo: Trails of Light

Photo from the passenger’s seat on I-95 from Dec. 27, 2005. The exit is Old Dixie Highway, but the sign is blurred because this was a two second exposure at 70 miles per hour.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/1, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO200, 2005-12-27T20:32:11-05, 2005-12-27_20h32m11

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: Motion

Photo: Motion

A car moving at night.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/1, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO200, 2005-11-05T18:14:10-05, 2005-11-05_18h14m10

Location: 1832 Nelson Ave., Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7228

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: Downspout

Photo: Downspout

Rain water draining out of a downspout after a storm. Photo from 2005.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/714, F4.7, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2005-11-14T16:40:23-05, 2005-11-14_16h40m23

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: Blizzard

Blizzard

It’s a blizzard! A snow day, at least.

This was a downpour of rain that started while the sun was still out. The sunshine reflected all across the newly fallen water in the parking lot, making it look like snow. I shot this car backing out of a parking space, at 132mm from about thirty feet away.

I made the water look like snow by over-exposing and adding contrast in Photoshop. I also converted to black and white. I didn’t even notice that Adobe Camera Raw 4.0 has a vignetting slider under “Lens Corrections,” but I’m using it now to darken the corners rather than burning in manually. It turned out nice here.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/500, F5.6, 132mm, ISO100, 2008-11-13T14:07:11-05, 20081113-190711rxt

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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: The Ephemeral Branch

The Ephemeral Branch —

A tree branch swaying in the wind, with a UPS truck on the highway behind it. I like how the light and blur turned out. I closed down all the way (F22) so I could use a 1/20 second shutter speed, then holding the camera steady while snapping away to get this. The branch is about to leave this world; it’s just your imagination! That’s what makes it ephemeral. :grin:

I dodged (brightened) the leaves and added contrast with the curves tool.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/20, F22, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-05-09T15:05:17-04, 20080509-190517rxt

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.

How to Use Zooming for Explosive Photos

This is an interesting technique that I used in my latest photo, The Explosion. Simply, you zoom the lens as you take the photo, and you get some cool motion blur, no Photoshop required.

The Explosion — the world pops using zooming

Now, there are some concerns that you wouldn’t face with your normal photo, where the focal length stays constant through the exposure. Namely, these are:

• You can’t do it on most compacts, because the zoom is locked while taking the photo, as it’s controlled electronically. Using the method on a DSLR, where you turn the barrel yourself to zoom the lens, is usually the only option.
• You can’t do it with a prime lens (non-zooming), such as my favorite, the Canon EF 1:1.4. There’s just no zooming to be had.
• You need a slow shutter speed. It has to be fairly dark out, or in daytime, you have to close down the aperture as far as it goes, and maybe use a filter to keep more light out.
• With a slow shutter speed, you need a tripod. Camera shake does not look good, even in a zooming photo.
• Don’t try this with film, unless you want to waste a whole lot of film. Getting the process just right will take dozens of shots, and you’ll need to see what progress you’re making immediately to have any idea how to improve. This is really a place where digital shines.

To cut down the light, I screwed on a polarizing filter for the photo above, on the Canon Rebel XTi with the kit lens. It will work just fine; any 58mm circular polarizer will do for the lens. It cuts down about 1.5 stops of light (like F5.6 to F9.5), and makes the sky dark blue, depending on how you spin the ring. You can also cut down on light with a neutral density filter, though I haven’t tried one.

I opened up to F14 for The Explosion. Granted, I could’ve gone up to F22, but there wasn’t a need to. A 1/8 second exposure was plenty slow. I turned the timer on, held the camera down firmly with my left hand, and began zooming with my right just before the shutter tripped. That’s one thing you have to watch out for—it’s easy to jostle the camera while zooming, and it usually doesn’t look good because you won’t get a sharp center. So hold it down firmly.

Try over and over to get something cool-looking. Zoom slowly and just a little through exposure, quickly and over a wide range of focal lengths, zoom in steps rather than smoothly, and try different subjects. A simple subject works best. I zoomed at a moderate speed and evenly for the trees photo, and though it’s a complex subject, it draws the eye nonetheless. Try doing this on flowers, still life such as marbles or a baseball (I should’ve tried it with those), or even a highway (that’s motion blur, but zooming could’ve worked too).

Try starting zoomed out all the way, then zoom in. Then try zoomed half way to full telephoto, or wide-angle to medium. Next, go from telephoto to wide-angle (zoom out) as you expose; the world will look like it’s imploding rather than exploding.

An example of stepped zooming

The above is an example of stepped zooming. This was with a long exposure of 2.5 seconds; since it was dark and indoors, exposing for that long wasn’t a problem. The picture is of a door at the end of a hallway, with the light from outside flooding in from around the door. There’s a brightly lit door on the left also. Instead of zooming smoothly, I zoomed from 18mm to 55mm using the in nine steps over the period of the exposure. This gives the light a cool staggered effect. I did 30 similar shots and this was the best; it’s important for the line around the center of the door to be sharp for my purposes, meaning no motion blur. I put the camera on a milk crate and held it down myself, since I don’t own a tripod. You can improvise in the same way.

If you don’t have a zoom lens, you have a digital compact, or you just want to try something different, you can hold the camera steady while walking and get a similar effect; perhaps even better. It’s going to take a lot of tries and good luck, or a tripod on wheels or tracks to avoid other types of motion blur. I can see some cool results coming about if you try this in a hallway; maybe one at school or a hospital (and you’ll get quizzical looks from passersby).

This is a good technique to add to your arsenal, and I don’t see many people doing it. I’m sure you could work something similar in Photoshop, but getting it straight from the camera is much more fun.

Photo: The Explosion

The Explosion — the world pops using zooming

This is a cool effect called zooming. While the photo is exposing and the shutter is tripped, you zoom the lens while keeping the camera steady. That way, the middle of the frame is sharp but the edges have cool motion blur. I used it here on some trees in my yard, and at the bottom you can see our clothes line (we avoid the dryer to save energy). It looks like the world is exploding!

Read more about the technique in How to Use Zooming for Explosive Photos.

Since the zoom effect is in-camera, there wasn’t much to edit here. I just added contrast and toned the colors a bit.

Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/8, F14, 18mm, ISO100, 2008-04-20T18:30:51-04, 20080420-223051rxt

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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: The Speedy Train

The Speedy Train — a clear train in a blurry world

I was waiting for this quick-moving train to pass, so I took a picture of it, moving the camera with the this car as I exposed the image. It took me 30 tries, but I got this good one. To get a slow shutter speed, I closed way down to F22. Panning is a good technique; you should try it!

Canon Rebel XTi, EFS 18-55mm, 1/13, F22, 18mm, ISO100, 2008-05-13T17:08:44-04, 20080513-210844rxt

Source image. I think there’s some dust on my sensor, but I’m not going to try removing it because it only shows up at small apertures like F22 here. I cloned it out and added some nice colors and contrast. The sky is over-exposed, but I don’t mind it here; seems to match the movement of the train somehow. :sunglasses:

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: 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.

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