This is the PERFECT month for the orange theme. Between the leaf colors and the pumpkins you just can't go wrong. Since our Lilah is an orange belton (coat color) English Setter, I decided to feature her, with one of the pumpkins we grew in our pumpkin patch this year, in this studio photograph.
Technicalities include: Shot with a 35mm 1.8. (f/4.5, ISO 400, 1/200s) One soft box right of camera, OCF camera left. Happy Howl-o-ween! For more orangey photos, start with Pets We Love Photography and Cynthia Wood's interpretation of the theme, then continue on in the blog loop until you end up back here again!
Photography. pho·tog·ra·phy. Noun. Greek origins. Meaning "drawing with light."
Photography is all about light. Lack of, too much, just right. It's like Goldilocks and the three bears. Sometimes light is too hot, or too cold, but when it's just right...Wow!
I have learned to recognize good light. Very early morning, and late afternoon can present some of the best natural light for photography work. But it's my experimentation and work with studio lighting, on and off camera flash, reflectors and diffusers that has given me a deep appreciation of the use of shadow and light.
It is not unheard of to hear a photographer gush over a natural light situation. These oh-my-gosh-get-the-camera-now moments are ones I watch for in my own shooting. But when they are not plentiful or readily available due to setting, time of year, time of day, we do have tools to help us out.
My photo for this week is of our dog, Danny. Danny is a study in concentration. He is always suspicious of every new thing that comes into his life. It has taken me a great deal of time to get Danny used to my photo equipment and getting him in my studio is still a work in progress. But he is comfortable on the popular outside glider and if you have a treat in your hand, he will freeze for endless amounts of time staring at it until it is finally in his mouth. This works to my advantage, and knowing this about him, I knew he would work perfectly for my "light" blog this week.
Here is the photo.
Taken at 2:15 p.m. on a sunny day this past week, the photo is a study in diffused natural light flowing through a tree. The problems with diffused light through trees can include: spotty shadows, too much sun or too little light, and/or dark areas on either side of the face. I will always use either a reflector or off camera flash depending on the situation. Sometime even off camera flash can be too illuminating if the feel you are going for is the actual "diffusion" of that light through the trees. OCF can obliterate the diffusion qualities. So I typically will pull out a reflector.
With my camera on a tripod, remote trigger, and Danny frozen in time by the very visible treat clamped to a light stand (sometimes you do what you gotta do), below you will find the original image with no reflector, the image using a gold reflector and the image using a silver reflector. The silver reflected image is the one I settled on above. But you can see the differences and nuances of each "use of light" situation.
I realize this may be a bit small, but if you look at Danny's right eye (your left) you can see the addition of light reflected in each situation where a reflector was used. The gold reflector image also has a warm tone to it, while the silver reflector has a cooler tone. The contours on the right side of Danny's face are brought out more in the images where the reflector was used. The reflector was placed just below Danny's shoulder on his left (your right) angled upward to reflect the incoming sunlight over his right shoulder. The rest is all natural light. (I have spent many hours getting Danny used to my reflectors which he now associates with jackpot treats.)
This movement and use of light is what makes photography so interesting.
Let me point out, however, that sometimes we do just get lucky--like this past weekend, where I did some candid shots of an event and stumbled upon this light at the end of a long day. Thank you Mother Nature!
We have a longer blog circle this week, so be sure to check out all of the other photographers, starting with Boston pet photographer, Blue Amrich Studio. Enjoy!
This week's project 52 theme is Texture, and my model is Bethy. We didn't set out to do a complicated shot. I wanted it to be very simple. You can't get any simpler than Bethy doing what she loves--taking a nap on a rainy afternoon on the couch. That is if she can find a free spot.
I use textures quite a bit. I am not talking about the natural textures that you find in a dog's coat or the grass or a sidewalk. I am referring to overlay textures. They almost become a necessity for me when I am photographing shelter cats, as the area I work in does not have lighting designed for photographic ambiance, and the cats are typically out of their cages for a small amount of time and up against a cinderblock-type wall. I will typically clean up that wall in post-process and apply a nice texture that works well with both the cat's fur color and lighting.
This is where going through some tutorials on applying overlays and texture may be helpful. You do need an editing program. There are many places online where you can find good textures for use in photo work. Many of them are compatible with Adobe editing programs.
One of my favorites is Radiant Texture by Portrait Pizzazz. There is a fee associated with the purchase of these textures, but there are places where you can find free textures to download. Another great texture guru is Kim Klassen. Kim develops her own textures. If you sign up for her mailing list, Kim has a Texture Tuesday event where she sends you a free texture for download. I like to use Kim's soft textures for my work with children.
Back to Bethy. The cover over our couch is not exciting. As a backdrop it deserves a D-. I thought Bethy looked particularly serene on this day hiding away from the rain outside, and if I had asked her to move while I removed the cover, we would have lost the moment, so I snapped the photo. I knew immediately it was a candidate for a texture application. I chose a Radiant Texture called Pebbled Warm and applied it at 60% opacity. It helped to give more texture to our drab couch cover, and added some definition to Bethy's face and ears.
Below are some examples of recent photos I've done of shelter kitties using texture. Now hit the blog circle starting with Cincinnati pet photographer, Suzi Pix Photography, to see more interpretations of the texture theme.
There is nothing I like more than photographing pets outside doing what comes naturally. It's even better when the light cooperates and there is a natural, eye-catching landscape as a backdrop. I have been really busy this past week keeping up with shelter photography, so I'm going to use a shelter photograph for one of my images.
I've also decided to approach this from a little bit different slant--the "what if it ain't such a perfect landscape" perspective.
I hope you like the above image. It is of a dog named Troy, who resides at The Lehigh County Humane Society. Troy is a very nice dog and I am hoping he will find a home soon. When you do shelter photography, you are limited to the use of props, a small mobile studio set up, or finding a piece of land where a handler can easily manage a dog for photos. The Lehigh shelter is lucky because it has a nice piece of land adjacent to the main building. There is even a small creek nearby.
In the case of Troy and the landscape behind him, we are not quite into full-bloom Fall colors yet. The landscape is soothing enough, in my opinion, but the original copy of this photo was not as bright and mostly green. With the light being good, and the dog having a pleasing expression on his face, I decided to use my editing programs to help me make this image a little bit more colorful.
I brightened the image in Adobe Lightroom first, then moved it to Photoshop Elements to pull out the color where it already existed, just not as vividly as you now see it. I also blurred the landscape a bit, because I thought adding a leaf overlay with just a few leaves, would make the image more interesting. Now we have a moving-to-Fall landscape instead of an all green photo backdrop. There are many tricks you can use while editing to bring out color. Troy's coat color is naturally beautiful, and the added color in the landscape helps to highlight it.
In the next image, taken a few weeks ago at an event, we have both a foreground and background landscape situation surrounding a dog hunting for birds. Using much the same techniques (first Lightroom, then Photoshop Elements), I adjusted the brightness and brought out the color in the foreground environment. The background landscape was already blurred due to the lens used to shoot this photo. It was later in the afternoon, and the sky was starting to brew up a rain storm, so it provided its own color scheme. The dog (named Pi) was checking in with his owner and I just happened to capture this glance. I like the progression of focus from front to back in this shot (extremely sharp to blurred), and the late day light.
Now let's check in with some other photographers to see how they interpreted this week's theme. First Cincinnati pet photographer, Suzi Pix Photography. Enjoy!
I knew immediately, when this week's theme came along for Project 52, that I was going to have some fun with it. I originally planned to use the dramatic Lilah for this shoot, but she, like her mother, is afraid of heights, so a Director's chair was not an option. Not even with really smelly treats as a bribe.
After thinking through the list of dogs and who would be the best candidate to stay where they were placed in a higher chair, there was no doubt it had to be Moe. He is loved by his vets because he is so laid back. Moe can become a wet-dishrag of a dog when you try to move him from the couch or take him somewhere he does not want to go. I knew that if he was placed in a Director's chair, he would stay there.
I set up the shot and enlisted my husband to be the clapperboard man since my wireless remote suddenly needed a battery which I did not have on hand. This is a studio shot involving one main softbox, one filler light (umbrella) and OCF camera right. I wanted it to be bright and dramatic so the focus would be the darkness of the sunglasses and the clapperboard.
Moe is a rock star! Don't you agree?
And because this is Cinema....here's what got cut out of the reel. The main photo was taken with an 85mm 1.8 lens. The two images below with a 35mm. Moe sat through the lens changes like a trooper.
Check out Cincinnati pet photographer, Suzi Pix Photography's post next up in the circle. I think we do have a small circle this week. Enjoy!
i got the shot
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