Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

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Photography is all about lights; introduce a little light from the right angle, and you start to see something totally unexpected. I was playing with some LED lights a few days back and I thought I’d experiment with how lights interact with fruits. Since oranges are translucent and the only fruit readily available then, using them was a natural choice.

Little did I know that this would yield in some interesting shadows enhancing the pulpy texture of the fruit. A slice of orange and some twenty photos later, I got this shot. Hope you like it as much as I do!

It’s.My.Life.

Tornado

Tornado

Life might be like a game of chess

But I’m done being black and white

Let’s take control, reach for the stars

And live larger than life!

(Image: Tornado at the Baker’s Fair, Coventry, UK)

Coloring The Colorful

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a nifty must-have tool for amateur and professional photographers alike. The versatility of options and ease of use makes it one of the best photo editing software available today. The best part of using Lightroom is that the more you explore, the more you discover.

The color toning and retouching features are exciting for people who want to add some oomph to their photos. I have loved this tool since I first discovered it and have been treating photos ever since. The photo above shows a original picture I took at Stratford Butterfly Farm in the UK; the two below have been retouched for a more dramatic look.

Enjoy!

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Light Painting at Barkers Funfair

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Light Painting is a photographic technique that has been around for quite some time now, the first samples dating back to 1914 by Frank and Lillian Gilberth. A lot has evolved since then and with the advent of the digital camera, practically everyone who owns a decent one (some point-and-click and most DSLRs) can help you accomplish this.

The idea behind light painting is to take a camera, keep its shutter open for a duration longer than is required to take a single static photo, and capture the movement of a light source(s). You can use LEDs, Christmas lights, flashlights, laser pointers, burning balls of steel wool (dangerous – requires great care), etc. to paint with light. I personally think that objects that have a natural rhythmic movement make excellent light painting subjects. These include amusement park rides, fireworks, children’s toys, etc.; the more symmetric, the better. For best results, I recommend the use of a tripod, however, randomness can yield interesting results too; chaos theory, baby!

In the pictures that follow, I captured the movement of some rides at Barkers Funfair in Coventry, UK using my trusty Nikon D7000 at a shutter speed that was anywhere between 1 to 3 seconds. Considering that these photos were taken without a tripod, I am more than satisfied with the results. Hope you like them too.

After all is said and done, It’s really not that difficult. Just take your camera into a relatively dark space, use the settings mentioned above, grab a few LED lights and paint away. I’m always here for you if you need help with this. Just comment on this post and I’ll get back to you.

Cheers!

p.s. If you aren’t using a tripod, don’t forget to hold your breath and try not to move for the entire duration of the exposure. 😉

Ghosts: Caught On Camera

I happened to visit a shrine a few months back and I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful tile-work and Arabic calligraphy. I sat close to the grave, waiting for the right moment, hoping to get that perfect shot, and I did, or at least that’s what I thought. Looking into the preview of my camera, I was stunned to see a ghost-like presence on the photo. Having never encountered anything remotely paranormal, I was naturally out of my wits. I had NEVER seen anything so vividly eerie, so spine-tingling in my entire existence.

Ghost caught on camera

OK! So I’m a bad liar.

Since there was no light around me and my camera was in auto mode, the shutter remained opened for a second more than I would have liked it to. It’s nothing more than a woman passing by without any regard for my artistic pursuits. Couldn’t she have spotted me and stopped for just one second?

So there you have it. A nifty little trick for you to freak out your posse. Enjoy!

Photo Tricks: The Magic of Desaturation

Ever seen photos with just a little splash of color while the rest of it is in grayscale? It’s a neat little trick photo-editors use to make certain elements of the image ‘pop’. I have tried using it successfully for quite some time now but the results still never fail to mesmerize me. All you do is use the ‘Select tool’ to make a clean selection of the region you want to keep, ‘Inverse’ your selection to select the area that needs to be converted to gray, and using a ‘Desaturation Mask’, bring the saturation levels all the way down. Here is a little example to show my point. Do give this a try and let me know how yours turned out!

After the treatment

 

The original shot

Light Painting Basics

Over the years, especially with the advancement in digital imaging, I have seen some amazing photographs using lights as paintbrushes on very high shutter speeds. This was my first formal trial (with a DSLR) and I thought the results could have been better, had my daughter not been chasing me around while I was ‘painting’ with light. Anyways, the photos below shows how easily one can coordinate his/her movements to make interesting effects. If you own a DSLR camera, you can have fun with these techniques too in just a few simple steps:

  1. Get a hold of some LED or Laser lights; these seem to work best as the light emitted from these is relatively focused on one point. Having said that, I suggest you try using some other light sources, like toys, to get some really interesting outputs.
  2. Set your DSLR camera to Shutter Priority mode (S mode), and choose a shutter speed; you may need to experiment a little with the speeds depending on what you are trying to paint, but generally, anything between 10″ and 30″ should do the trick. Remember: the higher the shutter speed, the more time you get to paint on one exposure.
  3. Set up your camera right in front of a dark wall, and take a test shot with the room lights open to gauge the ‘canvas’ area that you’ll be getting to do the painting.
  4. Turn off all the lights in your room; stand in front of a relatively dark wall, if possible, so as to eliminate any light bouncing back from it.
  5. Press the shutter release button, run and take position in front of the camera.
  6. Paint your heart out till you hear the shutter close again, signified by a barely audible click.

It was about 12 am when I started and I went through with it even though I could see my wife’s angry gaze piercing through me. So naturally, I wanted to write ‘I love you’ for this test to show my wife that I loved her more than I loved my camera. Then midway through the shoot, I decided it was more interesting to draw a heart and write the word ‘love’ in the center. I took these four photos in sequence at shutter speeds between 10 and 15 seconds, and the end-result was not bad at all, given that it was my first time (kind of). Enjoy!

First Attempt

Second Attempt

Third Attempt

Fourth Attempt

Here are a few other images I have done using my Nikon D7000 DSLR as well as my trusty old Cybershot DSC-W130, and they were creating using some of my daughter’s toys.

Outta Control

One of my daughter’s favorite toys – may it rest in peace (or should I say ‘pieces’?)

Cacophony