Shutte Bug Hunger #3

I Don’t Wanna Drag This Out But…

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I think this is a pretty cule picture!  In fact, I think this, the best part of the series…  I always save the best for last! We will romp and play through a tiny world, one of mystery, craftsmanship, and three containers that are over 150 years old!

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I can’t tell you the heartache I endured picking tiny, white flecks off this thing!  The thrashing of limbs, and gnawing of teeth!  OK…  Perhaps not THAT bad… You wanted craftmanship?  Don’t forget to examine it full size in the slide show.  There’s more where that came from!

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Hears the more craftmanship…  I remember seeing the tops of these lighters in the late 1950’s…  That takes me back to the constant flow of gasoline fumes!

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These are the three that are over 150 years old.  I dunno.  I would think they’d have to have been mummified in Saran Wrap to come out looking this good!  See?  Someone’s always trying to pull a fast one on me.  And I’m always just one step behind them :O(

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Here is one of the tiny, cups from England.  It’s from the: ‘Royal Dalton’ collection.  Guys would just laugh at how tiny they are!  So ladies, you might like this one to remind you to drink more coffee.  LOL!  Notice how I have conveniently left some space on our left for icons…

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And here we have the mystery…  There’s also a close-up that shows blue flame at the bottom of the candle light…  Enjoy the sideshow…

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Shutter Bug Hunger #2

All Dressed Up…

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Where I live, it’s cold outside 8 months of the year!  It then becomes a challenge to even pick up your camera at all, without risking frostbite, just setting up and taking down your tripod outside.  Just try adjusting setting for instance without your gloves on: darn near impossible…

So you look at what appears to be ordinary things in your home, and begin asking yourself how you might make them look more colorful, interesting, unique, as wallpapers, just because you have an itchy trigger finger, and will certainly go right off your nut, if you can’t take a picture of something.  Anything, and make it work!  Not so easy as it sounds…

This plate rests upon the wall in my livingroom…  I can walk by it a dozen times and never notice the thing.  Yet doesn’t it occur to us all, one day or other, that what we possess says something about who we are, what we find tasteful or not, and how others may be enticed to connect with these objects in the same way that you might yourself?

What sets the above plate apart from other plates?  Is it the busy symmetrical pattern so common place in applets that produce mirror images in graphic programs?  Is it the bulge in the center that hints at how you may dress it up with foods, and what various kinds may be appropriate?

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Yes, you’re right!  This is a rabbit’s head that also sits upon my livingroom wall.  But there’s a story behind it, as there is about everything in this series, that trigger memories.  A neighbor of mine made this as a matter of fact, and can fashion anything you’d so desire, from any kind of brass, gold, or silver, that you may bring to him.  He has exceptional talent with this type of art form! 

And it took me all of a half hour, just to clean this picture up, to its original, pristine appearance.  If you happen to own an expensive camera, you’d be surprised at the amount of detail it picks up, that your eyes are completely unaware of, until you see the image at full size!  Then there’s a million scratches, dust mites, wall dirt, spider webs, and God only knows what else.

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Take this simple bowl for instance.  There were 6 million scratches on it!  (exactly 6 million?)  Yes!  And this was after I polished the silly thing up.  And the table I pose things on has enough scratches, to look like a map of New York’s subway system.  Yet I like the reflective qualities of wood surfaces!  So the perfectionist in me must remove them from every picture…  I quite literally rebuilt this table from scratch!

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This comes from an entire set of dishes that elaborates upon the same theme of a family of busy rabbits, made in England and are quite expensive.  The story behind this particular dish, is that Leslie gave it to her Grandson ‘Austin’ for his first B-Day…  Your icons should fit neatly on the left, which is how I’ve set up most of the pictures in this series, which DOES have a part #3 coming to a computer near you BTW…

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This too reminds me of something for a pair of little hands to more easily control and drink from…  Again, at least to me, it’s not so much the cup, as the blue reflections that set the tone for this picture.

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As with all my pictures in the ‘Photos’ section, and there are quite a few, hard copies can easily be blown up to 18″  x  24″  without any loss of detail what-so-ever, or larger if you like!  And as always, you are free to do whatever you want with them, without charge or obligation.  At the very least, enjoy the slide show: compliments of: ‘Shutter Bug Hunger…’

Shutter Bug Hunger

Introduction:

You can conjure pictures out of thin air, if you have that rare appetite to invent a theme, when the weather does not so co-operate: say, in winter, when most outdoor shots look pretty much the same.  They are mostly white with most interest buried in snow!  As in my case, this posses a significant problem when you are far enough north that the cold can actually damage your camera…

If it were not for your persistent ‘Shutter Bug Hunger’, the situation would appear insurmountable.  So last winter, I began to consider my options for indoor pictures that fall under the category of: ‘Still Life’…  And quite naturally, it requires a considerable imagination to stir up interest in non-living every day objects, scattered about your house in their various hiding places.  I came up with three sets of shots to kill the boredom of winter: the first of which, I present to you now, in trust that you will glean inspiration, bring life to the stories behind how objects about us, help to define who we are!

How to Conqure The Impossible…

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I was first given to consider, what if someone doesn’t have a fancy, wide-angle lens?  Then my eyes fell on Leslie’s dusty Crystal ball.  She may claim to see the future, yet I saw a way to cram a large area into a small space, using a simple 50 mm. macro lens.  What Leslie finds interesting to collect, also defines her character, taste and beliefs…

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Another glass object shows elegance in form and simplicity of design.  The would make for an excellent still life for defining light and shadow, and how they may co-exist to animate what one might mistake for lifelessness.  I think the designer was shooting for movement within the piece, when light reflects through it.

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Or, one might hover above an object that still reflects light from the window, yet rest on a homogenous background, giving all attention to the a single object, strategically placed as a desktop wallpaper, with plenty of room for icons on the left…

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This is a cup from one of Leslie’s ‘Royal Dalton’ collection…  They come from England, are quite expensive, and surprisingly tiny.  This is actually a macro shot!  The mistake I made, was not to place something beside it that you’d know the size of, like a bag of milk or something.  LOL!  You may be surprised to know that she finds these things in Thrift shops for 50 cents each!  Delicate, with excellent craftmanship that describes an eye for beauty that many would over-look…

The upside is that I clean everything spotless so it shines and provides for less ‘clone stamp’ processing work later in Photoshop.  Enjoy the slide show, and keep in mind that this represents less than a third of what I found just laying about the house screaming: ‘PICK ME!!’  as an excellent opportunity to challenge your own imagination, in the dead of night perhaps: for one seldom knows when shutter bug hunger may strike :O)

Techniques for Blooming, Young, Photographers

Rigg The Game In Your Favor!

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You can’t improve upon perfection.  The only thing you CAN do, is accentuate features…  These Pansies are from Leslie’s garden.  That’s usless to you.  What you do need to know, is that all of her flowers are in pots!  That means I can transport them from outside, to inside, on a table near a window, to catch some outside light.  There, the plant is free from the swaying effect that wind can have on flowers.

If you’re taking a macro shot like the one above, any movement is greatly magnified, often resulting in blurry images.  Too much color can be bad for jpgs. over time, causing uneven, and unsightly discoloration.  In the case of flowers, the field is shallow, so depth of field is not so important.  This is an excellent opportunity to use: ‘contrast’ to bring out color instead!  I sometimes use a little spray bottle before I take the shot, to add interest.  Perks up the flower too!  And since pansies are small, and the droplets are big, they make a good candidate for that: ‘Fresh rain’ feeling…

Go for Lens Effects!

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Here are some pansies, using a 24 mm wide angle lens from about 5 feet away…

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Look at what happens to the perspective when you are only 1 foot away…  All proportions are exaggerated!  Now, they look like an angry mob!  Even if you’re out standing in your field because: ‘There’s a Nuke Hid in Town!’, if you love what you’re doing, and are willing to experiment, the results are bound to be good! 

A Labor of Love:

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You would not believe how small this flower is.  However, at full size, the picture is a foot by a foot and a half.  So this little guy looks enormous at that size.  And it came covered in dirt specs less than a pin head in size, so quite invisable in the sun: where I was standing when I took this shot.

All you can do, is find the larges clear spot, and adjust your clone tool to that size, and start clicking away…  It took me a full hour to get it all!  I look at it this way.  Though the task seems enormous, with patience, it can be accomplished!  Some of the others were just as bad.  Like I always say: ‘It’s what you don’t see that brings on the perfection flowers so richly deserve! 

See how this leaves a clear space on the left for peoples icons: a good idea to keep in mind, if you like desktop pictures.  Some peole do and some don’t.  So, once in a while is all that’s necessary.  These shots would all still be clear at 18″ x 24″.  If you intend to make any hard copies, be sure and convert the file from RGB to CMYK.

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Here’s the orchid from afar…  Beautiful isn’t it?  Orchids are very fussy and hard to grow!  Most people just over water them and they die from root rot.  You should water them once every three weeks, give them indirect sun, and never spray them!  This does well as an indoor plant.  Expensive though.  This one cost me $22, plus thumb tax!

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Be sure and view all these at full size!  They are perfect macros: I’m using a half life size, Canon 50 mm. lens in conjuction with tubing, to give me up to twice life size, which is pretty close!  I prefere tubbing because having no added glass between you and your subject, hence means, no degregation in quality.  Enjoy!

Strange Turbulent Sunset

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Here are the rest of the sunset pictures I took when I took the star pictures.  Why I’m snapping away at the sunset,  I glance, (for some reason I can’t explain) to my far right, and here was this very odd cloud configuration happening…

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Though clouds did intervien and prevent me from capturing an actual sun, the colors were really breath-taking!

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This is about as close as I got to actually including the sun…  LOL!  Anyway, enjoy the slide show:

Photographing Figurines

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Setting Up

I had fully intended to take macro shots of all these glass figurines.  It turns out that I hadn’t accounted for my 50 mm macro lens as it is.  It will take clear shots from 1.8 feet away, without any help from tubing at all.  That means that some of these figurines, although small, were not suitable as macro shots.  I did take 3 or 4 macro shots with just the smallest tube attached.  Even so, when you can get close, every little speck shows up so you have to shoot for a super clean environment.

So wouldn’t you know it…  Just as I was about to start taking pictures, Cody came out and wanted to cook something in the oven.  I tried to tell him it was no good, that food particles would float through the air and land on my work-zone.  He just looked at me funny and said: “Well, I’m hungry…”  Oh you dirty!!  It was 2 in the afternoon!  So I was a little peeved through the whole thing.  Stuff did land on my table.  I took some of it out, but there’s just too much to get it all, without a knife and a fork…  I did my best though and I think these are good enough to display.  The above shot was taken from 6 feet away, using a 24mm to 105mm zoom lens, just to show you the original layout.

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Reflecting light through glass

I had to clean off every figurine with Windex glass cleaner and used a flash to reflect back some of the light through the glass.  Even that there is ambient light through-out the house, you won’t get this kind of brilliance without a flash…  Or, you can always just take it outside.  That’s allowed.  People will look at you funny, come up to you and ask all sorts of dumb questions…  So use your back-yard for that if you don’t have a flash…  Most cameras come equipped with them.  Of corpse I had to buy mine separately for $500.  Never the less, it has good coverage.  And this is my favorite lens for clarity: 50 mm. macro.

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Playing with light

Opening the aperture of your lens to even 5.6 and you can make a dazzling light display like this.  Obviously, light is reflecting everywhere!  That was just the effect I wanted to achieve…  So the flash and all that cleaning really paid off in spades.  Although, I never knew the surface of this stand had the chicken pox, there are so many lumps and bumps…  You’ll see, as we move along here.

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Intricate Patterns

With this one, I liked how the glass was all woven together and also, the two birds at the top.  Here, you begin to see some of the lumps and specks on the table, even though I cleaned it with the best No Name furniture polish on the market; “With a brand new fruity scent!”  Little things show up now that wasn’t in plain sight to me before…  The bottom mirror looks all scratched up on one side, and there’s a couple of moon-sized craters around the rim!

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Expensive Stuff on Display

These two figurines above, are “Royal Dalton’s” and go back about a hundred years!  They cost $40 each back then.  I’m sure today, they’d be worth well over $200 each…  They are beautifully crafted, even for back then!  I can appreciate the work that went into them; all hand painted…

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Making Major Repairs

This fairy was filthy!  Even that I cleaned her, there were all these tiny black specks all over her legs and arms that made this picture look like a disaster.  Not so…  We may summon: “The Smudge Tool”.  It hangs out with the blur tool if you click the drop-down arrow on the tool bar.  I just dragged it along her legs, making sure it was the same width, and I was able to build muscle tone with the specks and smudges and recue the day.  When specks are too compact to remove with the healing brush, the smudge tool is the tool to turn to.  I even used the smudge tool to quickly go over the walls in the above shot, to vanquish any stains lines or pock marks.  It’s a very versatile tool!

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I Polished Up The Silver

I thought these looked quite interesting, so I got out the silver polish (Made from a unique blend of special pond water) and shined up some silver as well…  Consequently, Photographers don’t get paid for this.  It’s considered natural at home, to polish up the silver-ware anyway.  Again, the lid on the left container was full of spots beyond human visibility, so I was able to us the smudge tool once again, to create a natural looking, shiny effect.  Here’s a gallery of the shooting.  lol!  Is there a Doctor in The House?  And here, I forgot to remove the discoloration from the edge of the table.

Then, if things weren’t bad enough, I noticed a smudge on the table, I guess that I made moving stuff around, a problem!  And I think I ruined the last picture trying to fix it up…  Nothing seemed to go right at all, after Cody insisted on cooking a Brontosaurus, just when I was ready to begin!  OH I GET SO MAD!!!  So here is a gallery of my dirty, stinky, pictures… lol!