My Birthday Present to Myself (363rd new thing).

January 22, 2013 § 2 Comments

My thirtieth birthday grew nearer and I decided to reward myself for both aging and finishing the grand project of trying something new everyday. I bought myself a birthday present, something I’ve never done before. On Day Three Hundred Sixty-Three I bought a new DSLR camera: the Canon 60D.

I had been wanting to upgrade from my Rebel Xti for awhile, but couldn’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a new camera body. So I also bought a new lens, a Sigma 17-50mm which fit into my budget once I applied for a no-interest credit card (now paid off).

Although I haven’t used my camera as much as I should (the camera on my phone is so readily available at all times), I’m definitely happy with my splurge. And now my goal for 2013 can be to make an effort for more photography. Maybe on my thirty-first birthday I’ll begin a photo-a-day blog.

If I’ve finished writing this one.

Crafting with Canvas (358th new thing).

January 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Day Three Hundred Fifty-Eight’s activity was suggested by my coworker Jeremiah. Apparently he had been browsing his Pinterest Board that morning and figured I could make this photo to canvas thing as a new experience. So I did.

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Basically the idea is to print an image on tissue paper and then Modge Podge it to canvas. Sounds easy enough, right? Try printing on tissue paper. My printer jammed about seven times before I managed to scotch tape every edge of the thin paper to a piece of regular old copy paper. Even then it was a bit of a stop-and-go process.

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Once  I had my photo images successfully inked onto the tissue paper (I chose two from my HDR photography day), I carefully placed them on the glue covered small rectangles of pre-formed canvas. Unfortunately, I didn’t fully let the ink dry and managed to smudge the sky on one. Barely noticeable.

I added more of the clear drying goop over the top of the image to smooth down the paper and set it aside to dry.

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It didn’t turn out as awesome as those photos printed on canvas, but it was a cool project nonetheless. If you squint you can pretend it’s a realistic painting.

World Class Ham (326th new thing).

July 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I like taking pictures. I like being in pictures. I like manipulating motion (jump!) contortion (stick out your tongue!), and positioning (stand there!) of people in pictures. So when I discovered the photo booth at my friend Liz’s post-wedding shindig on Day Three Hundred Twenty-Six, I was excited. I commandeered it.

The photo booth was one of those open air, DSLR set up on a tripod in front of a wall type deals, my first in fact. And with the shutter release remote tucked into my palm, I directed my friends (and even strangers) into jumping and cheesing and posing. Wine helped.

In no particular order, visual proof of my cheesing:

Cheesing it up with the ladies. Liz is bemused.

“Act Surprised”

I really don’t know in which direction this was going.

Addressing the camera.

The Varsity Hats

The beginning of the series “jump!”

Matt takes jumping to heart.

Liz is shocked by my jumping skillz.

Liz joins the jump movement.

Liz’s dad joins the photobooth action.

And now for more “alternative” posing…

OMG, everyone point at the window!

And…the solo jump.

I had a ton of fun jumping around and making faces, but what I think I took away from the experience is to not be such a ham. And maybe to not watch so much America’s Next Top Model for inspiration.

Atlanta Prison Farm (250th new thing).

January 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

There’s this area of land not too far from my house which is owned by the City of Atlanta, but is in essence a wilderness. Like FOUR HUNDRED acres of uncultivated fields and woods and ponds interspersed with winding paths and trodden trails. This area was formerly the home of a prison, abandoned now and covered with the signs of time passing (mostly kudzu). While some urban adventurers wander alone onto the grounds, we joined a tour led by Scott Petersen who is trying to raise awareness about the area and who hopes the green space can be turned into something worthwhile. Patrick and I met a small group on a Sunday morning tour of the area on Day Two Hundred Fifty. Please follow the group and find out more about the Atlanta Prison Farm through their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Scott talking about the preservation effort

A grassy path

Murphy enjoyed our hike

Following the trail

Broken tiles infested with asbestos, something to steer clear of

One of the calm lakes

An HDR Lake View

Bright winter colors

Lake panaroma

Dried up creek bed, deer nearby

The prison grounds

Kudzu Couch

Emergency carbohydrates

Candy fills the tins

Marble from the defunct Carnegie Library

In a field of forgotten marble...

A Haunting path

HDR Photography (243rd new thing).

January 14, 2012 § 3 Comments

I’d first heard about HDR photography from my friend Jenny. She was showing us various pictures online where this technique was used, to eliminate parts of a photograph that were over exposed and bring out the parts that were underexposed. Except that it didn’t involve dodging and burning, but rather using an imaging editing software like Photoshop. The pictures were amazing, mostly landscape scenes with tonal variations based on the sun’s position.

I looked up how to create my own HDR picture, and the process was relatively simple. You bracket for the brightest and darkest parts of the image and take multiple shots of the same scene (trying very hard to keep the camera still). Then you load the images (two or more) into some fancy computer software and it merges the images together, creating a perfectly, although unaturally exposed final picture.

On Day Two Hundred Forty-Three I tried out the technique myself, photographing a sunset in the small harbor near where we stayed with my parents in Folly Beach.

I wasn’t able to create the final HDR image until I had the proper software. I used a downloadable software called Photomatrix for the tonal mapping process. Here is the result of a series of four images, over and under exposed, merged together.

It looked ok, but not nearly as awesome as some of the pictures I had seen online. I wondered if I hadn’t overexposed enough for the shadows.

I only discovered later that my iPhone was also capable of HDR images, without having to load pictures into computer software on my computer. I played around with those, but eventually downloaded an application called “HDR Pro.” And I haven’t looked back. Here are pictures I took the following day with the HDR Pro app:

The road to the beach

The path to the beach

The moon and the dunes

The sunset and the dunes

The moon and the beach. Full circle.

And now I understand HDR Photography. And more importantly, how awesome my iPhone can be.

Bokeh Fun (131st new thing).

August 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

In photography, “bokeh” is the blur of the light source in the background of an image. Those bright circles you see in images where the background is a brightly lit street or a Christmas tree. For Day One Hundred Thirty-One I decided to manipulate the shape of those images.

Here’s the how-to I followed, and here are the images I made. I didn’t use anything in the foreground, but I plan on revisiting this fun photo activity again.

Plain string of lights

Blurred for bokeh effect

With star effect

Outdoor twinkle light stars

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