Saturday, May 23, 2020

Everything has consequences

Individual ideas, theories, advice, solutions, and more are all heavily amplified with easy access to social media. Whether it's the perceived anonymity, or the buffer of non face-to-face confrontation, many people are able to speak as experts dismissing any arguments that counter their own viewpoints.

So who's wrong? Who's right? Who knows. But whatever the approach or proffered solution, there will be consequences.

The main image here is a self portrait as I balance on a stool.

I added some ants taken from an older photo and then drew the strings that would suspend me once the stool had been taken out of the picture.

After finding someone to model for me, I took a quick shot of a hand holding a pair of scissors. The hand and scissors are cut out and the retouched into the main image.

Adding shadows and toning complete the image.

Main Image
  • Location: Stann Creek, Belize.
  • Camera: Nikon DSLR, crop frame.
  • F number: f/8
  • Focal length 27mm APS lens
  • Exposure: 1/160
  • ISO: 100
  • Manual
  • Flash: On-camera flash for catchlights on sunglasses

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Worthy?

...things to do while practising isolation.
During our state of emergency we are not allowed to make journeys unless they are deemed essential. With no active cases of the virus for 26 days now, some of the restrictions have been eased slightly. One of the changes mean that we can now travel to the nearest town for paying bills and shopping for items we can't find in the village. I've not been able to ride for over a month. Trips to the village are too short a distance to be kind to the battery, but now that we can go into the nearest town to pay bills, it is a great excuse to give the bike a run :)

If you are acquainted with the tales of King Arthur, the image will be immediately clear to you. It's made of two separate shots combined together.
The main shot is the motorcycle standing next to a puddle. it's a very shallow puddle, but with the very low camera angle it starts to look like a much larger body of water. And then the rising arm also adds a sense of depth to the water. The other thing that is clear to see here is that I shoot mostly in RAW format, so an unprocessed image straight out of the camera often looks very flat and not very colourful.
View of the same scene from a different angle.
Even though I shoot RAW, I still adjust my settings as if I will only have a JPEG to output. If I process the images using Nikon software, the settings are automatically transferred to my processed images. But since I processed this image in Photoshop® I had to manually adjust the settings until I was happy with how the scene displayed.

The second image is a shot of my arm holding the ignition key. I shot this at home and used lighting to match the outdoor lighting at the scene of the main image. After getting the shot, I cut it out and sized it so that I could position it in the space I had left for it in the main shot.

For the reflection I flipped the image vertically and then manipulated it on my computer to blend in with the water.

To help with the blending I've added a fading blur rising from the base of the arm to make it more consistent to the slight blurring of the water due to the depth of field that you see.

Main Image

  • Location: Stann Creek, Belize.
  • Camera: Nikon DSLR, crop frame.
  • F number: f/6.3
  • Focal length 17mm APS lens
  • Exposure: 1/400
  • ISO: 100
  • Manual
  • Flash not fired



Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Taste Bomb

...things to do while practising isolation.
This was fairly simple to put together and is really just one shot with lighting. The pictures were taken in a darkened room and used 2 speedlites and a small red LED light.

One light is placed directly behind my head and set to half power pointing into the back of my head. The second speedlite is directly in front of me about one and a half meters away and set to half power. This second light also has a modifier attached so that it projects a spot light shaped beam which I angled slightly downward at the mango in my hand. Then just for a little interest and to focus attention, I held a small red LED light under my chin.

The ring of the grenade is the ring from a keyring and then I simply digitally illustrated the rest of the grenade detonator.

Here's the original photo below.

Main Image

  • Location: Sittee Point, Belize.
  • Camera: Nikon DSLR, crop frame.
  • F number: f/6.3
  • Focal length 17mm APS lens
  • Exposure: 1/125
  • ISO: 100
  • Manual
  • Flash fired: 2 speedlites and 1 LED light

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Note to self.

... things to do while practising isolation.

Under the current State of Emergency here in Belize, we are mandated to wear a mask or other covering over our mouths and noses whenever we are out in public. So whenever we are getting ready to go out for an essential reason, we need to remember our masks.

I began with a straight forward selfie using the light from a window and the on-camera flash.

Afterwards I took another selfie which would replace the original reflection in the mirror.

Since this would be seen as a reflection, I posed so that once the image was flipped everything would be facing in the right direction to complete the illusion. Once I had a shot i was happy with, it was a simple matter of making it into a cutout and then retouching it into the main image.

The final thing to do was to get a shot of a surgical looking mask and retouch that into the composition in a position I was happy with.

Main Image

  • Location: Sittee Point, Belize.
  • Camera: Nikon DSLR, crop frame.
  • F number: f/5.6
  • Focal length 17mm APS lens
  • Exposure: 0.8
  • ISO: 100
  • Manual
  • On-camera Flash fired 1/4 power

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Reality Check And Choices.

...things to do while practising isolation.
Hoax or Real,
Pandemic or Conspiracy,
New Corona Virus or Flu,
Vaccine or Herd Immunity,
Mask or No Mask,
Stay At Home or Business As Usual,
Essential or Non Essential,
Life or Death.
The Red Pill or The Blue Pill...

Some of my friends from time to time have described situations as being "clear as mud." With the plethora of advice, voices, theories, and increasing angst, our 2020 vision seems to have become as clear as mud - which in turn makes good choices just a tiny bit harder at times.
The main image for this piece is an afternoon shot taken on our beach. To get the shadow contrast I wanted I spot metered the the areas of sand that were catching the sunlight. 

Next I cut a pair of flaps in the sky by manipulating the image on my computer and then painting in shadow and light to enhance the effect.

Back in the house I took a selfie and posed in a position that I thought would match the 'tear' I had created in the sky. The selfie is a simple shot using the on-camera flash to get some highlights. Once the selfie had been cut out from the background, I felt it worked better in the space when flipped horizontally.

To blend the image into the main scene, more shadows have been painted in, reflections painted in the water, and then the yellow pills have been repainted to be blue and red respectively.

Later on I added the flying pelicans from my library of shots that I have taken here in Belize.

To finish off I added one more selfie in a yellow shirt to complete the scene.


Main Image
  • Location: Sittee Point, Belize.
  • Camera: Nikon DSLR, crop frame.
  • F number: f/4
  • Focal length 17mm APS lens
  • Exposure: 1/1600
  • ISO: 100
  • Manual
  • No Flash fired 


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Everybody wears a mask.

...things to do while practising isolation.
The Covid-19 driven State of Emergency continues here in Belize. It has now been mandated that any essential movement outside of our properties can only be done while wearing a face mask.

First I took a clear shot of the wall furniture I would use for the main background. My initial work was to place additional wooden panels onto the fascia of the unit to create a large enough area to hang all the 'masks'.

This was done digitally by sampling wooden areas from other parts of the unit.

The camera has been focussed and locked in place on a tripod and light readings, focus, and exposure have been locked in place with 2 speedlites included in the set up. There is one speedlight 40º right of camera and one speedlite 45º left of camera.

The next shot I needed was a selfie which I exposed with a remote shutter release. After taking a hand-full of shots I chose one that would work for the final image I had in mind.

Once the two images had been merged together and retouched, it was time to add the choice of 'masks' to the image.

Using the remote release, I sat in front of the camera and made differing faces, of which seven images were chosen to use for the final image.

Each 'mask' was made by cutting out the face and eyes from each headshot. Hooks were added to the wooden panels in the main image and each 'mask' was placed in position with a pair of hooks retouched into position.

There is some retouching and illustration work done to my face in the main picture and another face has been retouched being held in my hand. Shadows and final retouching were done and the image completed.




Main Image
  • Location: Sittee Point, Belize.
  • Camera: Nikon DSLR, crop frame.
  • F number: f/7.1
  • Focal length 20mm APS lens
  • Exposure: 1/125
  • ISO: 100
  • Manual
  • Flash fired - 2 speedlites.