Saturday, 30 April 2011

Day 144

Yesterday should have been Day 144, but I missed a day. That's my first missed day on this project, but I'm not going to let it throw me. I'll just finish a day later. :-)

Keen to avoid missing two days in a row, I got up early this morning and went outside to take some photos. I managed to stay outside for about 20 minutes before my hands got so cold I could no longer operate the camera! However, I did manage to get one shot I quite liked, so I'm throwing it up here now, so that I know today's post is done and I don't have to worry about it.

Right, I'm off to make breakfast now!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Day 143

After feeling really inspired over the last week, I had a really 'bleurgh' day today. I took several photo breaks throughout the day, but didn't get any shots worth keeping. So this shot comes from an indoors session with my tripod after dark, and counts as my 'least worst' shot rather than my best one!

I love candles, but whenever I try to photograph them I'm never happy with the results. Has anyone got any tips for shooting candles? (Needless to say, I'm already using a tripod!)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Day 142

When I came back to my desk after a break this morning I caught sight of the reflection in my reading glasses of the light coming in the window through the Venetian blinds. So of course, I had to take another break straight away so that I could take some photos!

The results aren't quite what I had in my mind's eye, but that's often the way, isn't it? I can always come back to this subject again some time and give it another go.

I did all the processing in Aperture. The colour effect is a result of using a cross processing preset on top of what Aperture calls 'colour monochrome'

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Day 141

It's wet and miserable today - one of those days when you have to have the lights on all day because it never gets properly light. Stuck for anything interesting to take a photo of I decided to play around and try a self portrait, using one of my favourite effects, selective colour.

Aperture makes selective colour so easy to do. There's no messing around with layers; you simply apply a black and white effect and then brush it away wherever you don't want it. The brush tool even detects edges for you, which is great if you were a messy colourer as a kid and found it hard to stay inside the lines!

The other thing I did here to get the bleached out skin effect (oh so necessary at my age if you want to hide the wrinkles!) was to play around with the curves tool. I wish I knew how to get rid of the reflection of the patio door in my eye, but I know if I tried to do it I'd end up making a mess of things.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Day 140

No arty pretensions today; just raw, journalistic-style 'slice of life' photography. ;-)

This one's called 'Being Owned by a Cat: The Downside', and shows what I found on our front door mat this morning! :-O

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Day 138

My failure to pull off the messed-around-with photo of the keyboard the other day was really bugging me, so today I decided to give it another go. Last time I took a single image and used the clone tool in Aperture to make the changes. This time I took multiple images and used layers in Photoshop. I'm much happier with the results!

Here's how I did it:

I took five photos: one for the background, and one each for the transplanted letters (L, O, V and E). So that every letter would be the right size and shape, I had to get each letter in the same position within the frame as it would appear in the final composition. I did this using the AF points as guides. I also propped the keyboard up so that it was horizontal, because the letters are on different rows of the keyboard, so if I hadn't done this, the letters in each row would be at a different angle to the camera when pulled into the middle of the frame.

When I'd finished shooting, I imported all the photos into Photoshop. I used the clone tool to erase the letters on the four keys on the background image where the new letters would go. I then used the magic wand tool to select the new letters on the other four images, jumped each of them onto a new layer, and then used the move tool to drag these new layers onto the background image. I found I had to ramp up the tolerance setting on the magic wand, otherwise it cut off the slight blur around the outside of the letters and they didn't look right.

Once I'd got all the letters in position (using a horizontal guide line pulled down from the ruler bar to help me) I then played around with blend modes. In 'normal' blend mode the transplanted letters were lighter than the surrounding letters, and didn't look right at all. I found that 'overlay' gave the best results.

Finally, I flattened the image, and then did all the usual processing. There was a bit of chromatic aberration around the edge of the transplanted letters, but converting the image into black and white fixed this.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Day 137

Today being Good Friday and a gorgeous, Indian summer kind of day, we took a day off and went for a wander around town. And this time, I took the Canon with me.

I spotted this litte fella on the pavement...

...and I filled up the rest of my memory card in one of the public parks. I really must start using cards that will let me take more than a few dozen shots in RAW!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Day 136

Two little birds - a pair of martins.

I tried getting closer, but they flew away. I'm going to add a paparazzi-style telephoto lens to my wish list!

I used selective colour on this because I found the green background distracting. I think the birds show up better against grey.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Day 135

Once again, I can't decide which version of a shot I prefer - the colour version or the monochrome one. Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Day 134

I know the altered lettering in this photo isn't perfect, but six months ago I wouldn't have had a clue how to do this, so I'm really pleased with the progress I've made. I'm hoping that in another six months' time my technical skills will have improved even further, and I'll be able to pull off something like this so well that you won't be able to tell it's been mucked around with.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Day 133

I didn't get my flowers home yesterday until after dark, so today I got a chance to take photos of them in daylight. I don't have any photo lights and I had to do yesterday's shoot using the task lighting in the kitchen, which isn't ideal.

I'm not particularly keen on the results of today's shoot. I want a macro lens so that I can get closer. There's a very cute little spider living in amongst the flowers, and I took some shots of him/her, but none of them came out very well. Again, that's a job for a macro lens!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Day 132

I bought myself some flowers today. They not only cheer the place up on a grey, wet day, but they've also given me something to take photos of. Initial processing done in Aperture; matte and texture added in Picnik.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Day 131

I created this panorama using Photoshop's Photomerge feature, which I've not used before. The original panorama was made up of 7 shots, and ended up way too long and thin, so I had to crop it, which was a shame, as there was a lot of interest on either side of the image. Next time I might try doing two rows of images, to get more height and improve the proportions. After I'd created the panorama, I imported it into Aperture (the Mac alternative to Lightroom) to do the processing. Click on the photo to see a bigger version.

I've had Aperture for a couple of weeks now. It normally costs over $300, but Apple recently made it available for download on the Mac app store at a discounted price of just over $100, so Iain bought it for me to try out. I much prefer it to Adobe Bridge for managing my photos, and it's an easy to use but powerful photo editor, too. I'd recommend it for anyone who's into photography and uses a Mac.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Day 129

This is an iPhone shot, which I took using one app (Camera+) and then processed using another (100 Cameras in 1). App crazy, me?! ;-)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Day 128

Just lately I've started photographing food, which is not something I've taken photos of before. It's probably something to do with having a tripod at last, as well as the desperation experimentation that can be the byproduct of a 365 project. Of course, there's also the upside that you get to eat your subject once you've finished taking photos of it. :-)

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Day 127

Here's today's official 365 shot. I got my lens to produce bokeh! Yeah!

And here are some old shots which I put through a free iPhone app called Tiny Planet Photos. It maps your images either onto the outside of a sphere (aka 'tiny planet') or the inside of a cylinder (aka 'tiny tube').

Venice: the Doge's Palace and St Mark's Basilica from the lagoon

One of me taken by Iain

Hippy musician bloke

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Day 125

Today's shot is a bit cryptic. Can you guess what it is?

To decide the winner of the 'third of the way through' giveaway from Day 122, I asked Iain to pick a name out of a hat (actually it was a number out of a cereal bowl, but that doesn't sound quite so swish). And the winner is... drum roll, please... Justine!

Justine, when you've decided which photo you'd like, drop me a line at h(dot)whittaker(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thanks to everyone who took part (all four of you!) I think I'll probably be doing a few more giveaways before the end of the project.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Day 124

No doubt at some point I'll get bored of the effects in Picnik, but at the moment I'm still enjoying experimenting with them.

This is 'Fatso' -- a wooden carving of a happy monk which Iain's Dad brought back from Burma during World War II.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Day 123

Here's our mailbox, sixties style, with an envelope texture added, courtesy of Picnik.

And here's our bottom paddock, with thousands upon thousands of spider webs glistening in the late afternoon sunlight.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Day 122

Today I'm one third of the way through this project. To celebrate, I'd like to give a randomly-chosen person who comments on this post a full-resolution version of a photo from this blog.

If you're the winner, you'll need to choose the photo you'd like, and you'll also need to let me know your email address, so I can send you the file.

I'll keep the 'competition' open for the next three days.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Day 121

Today was spinning and weaving at my neighbour Wendy's house, and I took my camera for the first time. I'm still not confident enough to take portraits of people, but I did manage a few portraits of the wildlife!

I was just setting up the shot of this flower when a bee crawled inside. Talk about serendipity!

One of Wendy's piglets. She's a bit of a character. I ended up with pig slobber all over the lens!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Day 120

Back in December, when I first found Scully the sheep skull, I promised to post a photo of her at least once a month.

Here's one I took a couple of weeks ago, but never got around to posting.

And here's today's shot, in which she's doing a pretty good impression of a crocodile!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Day 119

Squabbling magpies

In the original shot the bird on the left was flying out of the picture, which didn't look right, so I turned her round to face the other way.

One of the other birds has a digitally-created twin; can you spot them?

I know you shouldn't waste energy wishing for things you don't have, but when I took this shot I couldn't help wishing I had a better quality telephoto lens. I would have loved to have got a close-up of the three birds at the top of the frame.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Day 118

It's passionfruit season here, and I love passionfruit, so I treated myself to one for dessert tonight. The original of this shot was absolutely terrible: poorly lit, poorly composed, poorly exposed, and with a distracting background. It's amazing what Photoshop can do. While it won't let you turn a lousy shot into a great one, it can certainly turn a 'trasher' into a 'keeper'.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Day 117

I never thought barbed wire could be pretty, but the way the light was reflecting off the barbed wire fence this afternoon caught my eye, and I lucked out when a couple of butterflies flew into the frame. It's not the most interesting shot, but I do like the quality of light. I added a few effects in Picnik: a matte, a bit of softening and a touch of 'Orton-ish'.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Day 116

Today the weather's drizzly with no wind -- ideal conditions for crop dusting. I wanted to get a crisp shot of the plane, so I needed a fast shutter speed, but the light was so low, I had to crank the ISO up to 800. This means the image is grainier than I'd like. I know selective colour is cheesy, but I felt that this shot, like the one of the cow the other day, would work better with it. As it turns out, in the web version of the image the plane's so small, you can hardly see it's in colour anyway!