Saturday, May 14, 2011

Macro Week

The sudden popping of beautiful spring flowers always calls to me for macro photography.



So, my lenses of choice for this past week have been my AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm 1:28G ED (both flowers above taken with this lens) and my old workhorse film lens AF Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 D which is ailing but still has a sharp focus and provides me some damn decent images. (see both flowers below)





After a week of experimenting, I stumbled on this article by Tony Sweet which I found very informative.  So, I see where he tells us that the longer lenses can bring about a softer bokeh. Oh how I love that pastel effect in the background! I also discovered that my 105mm works great as a portrait lens as well as for macro.  I shot a mature but bawdy female comedian this week who made it difficult for me to focus on my settings as she ripped off nonstop one-liners.

So, after listening to Zach Arias telling me to "know my lenses, know my lenses," I am really getting to know them quite well. And, despite the fact that the 70-300 is still able to perform, it no longer performs at an aperture wider than f4 and it no longer zooms automatically, so I've really got to start seriously saving for a replacement.  I am getting a whole lot better with the "head in a clean spot" recommendation but that IS a LOT of work!

Worked a lot on portrait retouching and playing with the ring flash.  More tk next week about both. In the meantime, happy shooting, friends!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Always learning

Got slammed by a bad cold last weekend, but life provided me a great remedy - a FREE 3 day webinar with Zach Arias thanks to CreativeLIVE.com. I only chanced upon this opportunity because a BFF photographer posted it on FB and I am so glad she did! It was an awesome, creative way to spend a beautiful weekend while I felt like crap. Arias is a good teacher, repeating mantras like "head in a clean spot, head in a clean spot, head in a clean spot" and "know your equipment!" "KNOW KNOW KNOW  your camera," and "don't do what other's do - find your own way." Great inspiration. But now I'm left with wanting to change up everything I've been doing. He showed examples of his own work where his compositions were filled with triangles, repeating lines, great use of negative space.

A former catalogue artist, he told of how he hated the job of putting transparencies over images for cover shoots but how he now realizes what a great learning experience that was in developing his own vision.  He and his wife Meg critiqued portfolio's of 6 participating class members and, as painful as it may have been for them, it made me want to re-do my main web. 

Thankfully, though, I have been busily at work creating a new site for myself that focuses on my landscape photography and I just launched it last Friday. www.HudsonValleyScenes.com is a place where I hope to showcase stunning landscapes that might sell to businesses or folks that would just like some nice images on their walls. At least I've selected a smaller body of work and presented it in a clean, easy to navigate fashion.

Even though I'd like to focus on landscapes, I still do enjoy shooting portraits. This is Aiden and Austin who, despite colic and chilly weather, managed to pose for me last Friday.
As Arias said, I love my job. Not only do I get to constantly learn, but I get to spend time with nice people and see some terrific scenery and occasionally I get to be a little creative myself.


Happy shooting!