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


Debbie said...

Awesome picture. Looks like a "perfessional" took it. You should contact the organizers of the festival and sell it to them for their promotional materials. Nice work.

Ruth said...

And the strawberry looks sooooo juicy and delicious! Makes you want to reach out & snatch it from his hand! Great job!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm pretty sure the Strawberry Festival gets enough people submitting free photos so that it would be difficult to get any kind of compensation. But, you never know.