Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Enchanted pool

enchanted rock

Took this shot on the top of Enchanted Rock. We've had a lot of rain in Texas for Summer. I read that it is 20 inches more rainfall than usual, so far for the year. Amanda & I took advantage of the gap in the rain to scramble up the pink granite to the top. I'd seen photos of the twisted tree at the top of the rock before but hadn't see much water there. This is actually a pretty small pool but I'm lying down quite close to the edge so the forced perspective makes it look quite a bit larger. I was trying to play with the reflections in the water and also balance the tree with the sort of similarly shaped cloud on the right hand side for contrast with the similar shape to the tree/ bush but inverted tonality. I'm not entirely happy with the sharpness in this shot, but that's what I get for not taking a tripod with me I suppose. Converted to black and white using the channel mixer, along with a selective colour layer to allow manipulation of individual colours. Mainly that was used to pull the somewhat mildly cyan sky towards a much darker blue that could then be converted to the dark black you can see here, to give contrasting clouds. The original was shot with a polariser but as I was trying to keep the water reflections, the effect ended up quite mild. Canon 1DII, 17-40 F4L

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Amanda on the rock

After about 7 years in Austin we finally made it out to Enchanted Rock State park, in the Hill Country. I have no idea why we waited so long! It is beautiful out there. The rock is a pink granite exfoliation dome (or big, bare rock in other words) that sticks up out of the surrounding trees and hills. We hiked up to the top, listening to the thunder booming off in the distance. There were a lot of people at the top, making the 0.6 mile trek from the car park and back. After taking a few shots up there, we worked our way down and around the side to the 4 mile loop trail. This was a whole lot quieter - we saw 3 people on the whole trail. You could stop, be quiet and just listen to the birds (and occasional thunder). Perfect. Clouds had rolled in and the light was much softer when we reached a sort of amphitheatre of rock half way around the trail. This rock was more orange than the generally pink batholith that the park is named after. It seemed like a perfect place to take some more portraits! For a change I shot this not with an 85mm lens. I'd finally taken that off the camera for a few moments, in favour of the 14-70 F4L (well this was a 'landscape' trip after all) so I thought I'd use that for the portrait and take in some more of the surroundings for a change. I do love shooting tight head shots with that 85mm though! I found this huge rock that Amanda is sitting on, framed with the ferns along the bottom and thought that'd make a great frame within the frame. The cracks in the rocks all lead towards where she is sitting, and the scrub and greenery to her left and right all seem to provide a good frameholder around her. She might only be about 10% of the picture but I think all those leading lines in the curve of the rock and the cracks make it clear where the subject is for this photo. Canon 1D MkII, 17-40 F4L @ 34mm. Lightly overcast sky

Friday, July 20, 2007

Noon shooting

Noon shooting

Another fine option for shooting when the sun is high is black and white. The interesting light might well be long gone. Everything takes on a less than exciting cyan tone. Shadows are dark, highlights are glaring and colour pictures just don't have much to catch the eye in this sort of bright Texas sunlight. Quiet shade can help, but so can switching your mind to a black & white palette. Those dark shadows and contrasty light can work really well converted to B&W.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shooting at Noon in Texas

Shooting at Noon in Texas

We'd been around the missions in San Antonio. The churches are in various states of disrepair and it was a hot, sunny cloudless day. Typical Texas weather even though we haven't seen much of it recently. By the time we got to Mission Conceptión it was noon. The sun was right overhead, hot and bright. Not a cloud to hide behind in the sky. So how can you take a quiet portrait in that sort of light ? Simple - find the open shade and put your subjects there. In this case, we found a 7 ft crumbling wall that cast just enough shade to sneak Kate and Amanda behind. The ground was crushed rock, brightly reflecting the sun, just like a free reflector adding a bit of warmth to their skin. The background is still in bright light but I just metered on their faces and shot away. Out in the full sun their hats could have helped too, but the top side would have been in full sun and blown out. You can see the difference in the shot of Amanda on the right here. The quiet, open shade above, makes for a much more flattering portrait, even in the brightest, hottest parts of the day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not so mellow yellow

Tim, bright as ever

Right next to the pink wall used in Amanda's portrait, was this brightly painted, lemon yellow loading dock/ roll up door. The stripes added a bit of texture to the great colour and it seemed a perfect match /clash for Tim's stripped t-shirt. Similar light again - sunlight going in and out of the clouds. I suppose this is a non-traditional cropping of the arms and legs close to joints - you might or might not like that - I was mainly focused on trying to emphasise the stripes, stripes, stripes feel and wanted to be in close. 1DMkII, 85mm 1.8 lens

Monday, July 16, 2007

Amanda rocking out in pink

Amanda rocking out in pink

After about a three month hiatus, I think it's only fair to come back with something shocking. Shocking pink at least. Something to shock my eyes back in to action. Post ironman seemed to sap my energy, suddenly I had a whole lot more time but not so much get up and go. I worked more, trained less and the photography seemed to slip through the cracks too. This weekend we went to San Antonio and I pulled out the camera and charged it up. A few shots and I realised how much I'd missed taking pictures - lots of pictures followed. We visited the Alamo, toured San Antonio, went to the missions and I'll probably post some of those images during the rest of the week. My favourite part of the whole trip was the Mexican market though - just for the amazing colours around the area. I saw the side of one museum with this shocking purple/ pink wall, some lemon yellow and vivid green sections. We made a beeline for it - me dragging Kate, Tim & Amanda along. A few seconds of posing, some playing around and I've got my new favourite desktop wallpaper shot above of Amanda, hamming it up. She just looks like she's having fun! Lighting was just a bright, cloudy day - scattered cloud, sun coming in and out. A bit of timing and finding the right place at the right time.