16. March 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: Photography · Tags: ,

I was a little bored this afternoon as Lisa and Abi had gone out for a girls day out, and James was really engrossed in his XBox game.  So after lazing around all morning I went for a run and then decided to get the camera out.

It was a little miserable outside so I decided to photograph something indoors.  But what to shoot?  In the end I went for a self-portrait.

Now I’ve taken a few self-portraits before, but quite frankly it’s a pain to do.  You have to set up the lights without having the subject in front of you (because the subject is actually fiddling with the lights), then you have to turn the camera onto timer mode and run backwards and forwards and well take LOADS of pictures.  Getting good focus is a nightmare, you have to go to manual focus and then adjust, shoot, adjust, shoot etc., until you nail it.

I thought I’d do something a little different and as I spend my life in front of my computer I thought that might be a fun picture.  So out came the Mac, out came the lights and the setup began.

One of my favorite photographers is a guy called Joe McNally (he really is amazing).  Anyway I’ve been to some of Joe’s classes and one thing I saw him do was take a portrait picture of a guy on his computer.  What he did was place a piece of white paper on the computer screen and fire a light against the white paper that reflected back on the person’s face, this made it look like the computer was lighting the person – and it looked cool.

So that was light one.  I wanted to shoot the portrait kind of in the dark so I needed a back light behind me to provide separation for my hair and t-shirt.  So that was light two.  Things were looking pretty good, but the front of the computer was really dark, so that was light three.  The last problem was the Apple logo on the computer wasn’t bright enough, so I had to take a second picture without lights with a longer exposure to get the logo, and then put that into my picture in post processing!  Fun eh?

So that was the setup, next I had to take the picture.  So you’re probably wondering how many pictures is LOADS to get the focus right.  Well this afternoon it was 79 pictures.  79 attempts to get a picture in focus that I liked.  In reality focus took around 40 pictures, then nearly another 40 to get a picture of me that I was willing to share – hey, photographers don’t like being in front of the camera either!

Once I got the shot I had to do some tidying up in Photoshop and of course add that bright Apple logo to the front.  I didn’t do too much here, brought back some of the shadows in my t-shirt, sharpened the image and added some clarity (another form of sharpening) that makes me look all manly :-)

Here’s the end result, and I’m pretty pleased with it too.  In the end it was a fun afternoon and well worth the time.

I’ve been posting images online now for a quite a while and over the last year I’ve made a lot of new friends on Facebook, predominantly because of my “Picture a Day” posts.

Well one of the people I met on Facebook (is that what you call it) is a guy called Mike Arntzen.  Mike and his wife Rosalyn are involved in a Redmond City board that’s advertising the city through a campaign called OneRedmond.  If truth be told I don’t know much about the campaign but Mike reached out and asked if they could use some of my images in a brochure and website for the city.

Obviously being an armature photographer I was delighted by the request and of course said yes.

There were a couple of images though that Mike suggested would look great in the campaign and asked if I would take the pictures.  I think I actually offered to shoot anything else they wanted but either way Mike came up with some suggestions.

The first idea was I guess pretty obvious for a campaign like this, Mike wants a shot of the City Town Hall.  The second idea was pretty cool and something I hadn’t thought of before.  Mike came up with the idea for me to shoot one of the fire stations in Redmond.

So today, being dry was the ideal time to go out and see what I could get.  First I went to City Hall and got some shots from around the building.

The building is pretty new and quite impressive, but unfortunately one side of the building was spoilt by a large crane in the background.  So I had to shoot from only one side.  Still the pictures came out OK.

Next I drove over to the fire station on 185th.  If I’m going to shoot something with people in it, I kind of think you have to ask first (only polite I guess).  So I knocked on the door to the station and some of the guys came out.

I told them about the campaign and they were incredibly helpful and opened up the doors and let me get some great shots.  I took loads of pictures and am uploading some of my favorites tonight.

Of course when I got home Lisa was furious that I didn’t come and get her first.  She really liked the idea of accompanying me to the station to get some shots, perhaps acting as my “assistant” (her words).  Either way she missed the opportunity.

Anyway, check out the pictures and I’ll let you know when the OneRedmond site goes live so you can all check it out.

Here are the pictures of the City Hall.

And here are the fire station: