Jun 25, 2009

owego strawberry festival

The strawberries were as big as your head!

Last Friday we made our first venture to the Owego Strawberry Festival. And we had a super time. Kettle corn. Lemonade. Fresh strawberries. Jugglers and magicians. It was a nice family night. Even before we left, I had an idea of taking a photograph to make a strawberry look 'as big as your head.' And I knew just what to do.

I needed to take advantage of lens distortion. Have you seen those images where a dog's nose looks super big? Or maybe you notice that a lot of closeups that you take of your children, they look a bit off? It could be due to lens distortion. The wider your focal length and the closer you physically put the lens to the subject, you get distortion where what's closest to the lens looks larger than it really is. So, I sat the girl down, handed her a strawberry and told her to hold it at arms length in front of her. I lowered the camera so that the strawberry was in line with her face. SNAP.

See how the strawberry is blurred but the background is in focus? I realized that in order to get close enough for the distortion to play into the image, that I got so close that the camera was unable to focus. Your camera (and your lens if you have a SLR) has a minimum focusing range. If your lens is not at least that distance from the subject, the camera will not focus. So, I switched to macro mode on my camera and was able to get in closer. Usually macro mode is designated by a flower.

Okay, now I'm getting somewhere. When I had switched to macro mode, I also turned off my flash. That's because I know from past experience that I do not like the combination of macro + flash with my p&s. It tends to over expose the subject and drastically darken the background. So much that I don't like the results. But without the flash, I needed the subject to be still so I didn't get any movement blur. Since the girl has a hard time being still, I called in the boy.

Now, I had already repositioned myself so that I didn't see the green garbage can in the background, had the boy relatively still, lowered myself so that the strawberry was lined up right in front of his face and SNAP. But, bummer, see the guy walking in the background?

So, I had to take another image. This time I got what I was going for. A strawberry as big as your head (notice that the strawberry had to be held away from his face and I had to get physically close to the camera ... I was at the widest angled and moved myself in ... I did not zoom in the lens as that would not provide the distraction I was going for). Just did a quick curves adjustment in PS to pop the color, cropped and tada.

Fuji FinePix F50fd
Shutter Speed: 1/120 s
Exposure Program: Normal Program
F-Stop: f 2.8
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 8.0 mm (35 mm)
Flash: Did not fire
Macro Mode

Jun 18, 2009

new purpose of the blog

Okay, so I've been trying to figure out how I want to use this blog now that I don't have a photography business. I am not enough of a domestic diva to have a 'mom' type blog where I talk about how frugal I am, share recipes, and keep my kids entertained.

I am not a decorating queen and need help! Kendele, why do you have to be so far away?!?

I was thinking of trying to use the blog for some kind of online ministry but I'm just not feeling that either because I'm not sure where my gifts are.

So, what I am going to attempt to do is what I've always done. Photography. And teaching. I've decided that the RRPD of Rebecca Redman Photography and Design will now stand for RRPD meaning Rebecca Redman Photographic Diary or maybe even Photographic Diagram. Here's my thought. The blog will just be little photographic snippets into my life which should keep family and friends updated on the goings on of the Redmans in New York. And in the process, I'll try to explain how I arrived at said picture. What camera did I use. What lens. What other shots were taken in attempt to get "the" shot.

So, I'll try to poast 2-3 times a week and keep it interesting. I really enjoy reading comments so please, don't email me ... just post them here. If you have a question, just ask. And if I find the time, I'll answer.

So, let's give it a go with The Peony.

I'm realizing I'll need to do a post to introduce the two cameras I have but for now, let's just let you know that these were taken with my Fuji P&S (that's point and shoot for all not familiar with the photo lingo!)

First, the peonies were really looking beautiful so I ran out to snap a few pics before the kids showed up home from the bus:

Not bad, but closer is better so I zoomed in:

Then I remembered hearing about how photographers would place a piece of white posterboard behind flowers in the garden so I ran back in and grabbed a white piece of paper. Realizing this would be too flimsy, I grabbed the cardboard photo paper box, too. Ran back out and held it behind the flower.

Noticed that I was having a hard time getting rid of the green foliage on both sides of the peony, I zoomed in to photograph the peony off centered with just the white background. This turned out to be my favorite composition. All I did for post processing (I use Adobe Photoshop) was to clone out the line you see (that's from where the paper did not cover the cardboard box completely) and bump up the curves a bit.

Ta da. Didn't even need to crop this baby. This is an in-camera crop and I am digging it. Digging it so much I even incorporated it into my new blog header!