Photo of the Day: Road Warrior

Posted May 16, 2008 by foolscircle
Categories: commercial photography, Nikon D80, photo of the day, Photography, travel

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D80

F-Stop: f/5.6
Focal Length: 34 mm
Exposure Bias: 0
Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100

Untitled originally uploaded by foolscircle.

This is my other favorite photo of The Bottle from my month-long trip across the USA last year. I shot this on some fresh blacktop in the middle of the Craters of the Moon National Monument, and I’m still amazed that I didn’t get run over by one of the various RVs I saw on the road.

To me, this image became symbolic of the trip in general… for obvious reasons.

Photo of the Day: Origins & Endings

Posted May 15, 2008 by foolscircle
Categories: commercial photography, Nikon D80, photo of the day, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D80

F-Stop: f/9
Focal Length: 55 mm
Exposure Bias: 0
Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100

Origins & Endings originally uploaded by foolscircle.

I took this picture on the same day as yesterday’s PotD, about 20 feet away from the truck I’d just used as a prop.  I was looking at the bottle from almost the same angle as before, which meant there was basically no visible shadow.

As opposed to the previous image, I enjoyed how this picture’s colors are a lot more muted but manage to compliment each other.  The title, as silly as it is, seemed appropriate because it showed where the Red Truck grapes came from and where they ended up.

Photo of the Day: Seeing Red

Posted May 14, 2008 by foolscircle
Categories: commercial photography, Nikon D80, photo of the day, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D80

F-Stop: f/7.1
Focal Length: 24 mm
Exposure Bias: 0
Speed: 1/100
ISO: 100

Starting Out originally uploaded by foolscircle.

Well, I guess this week’s Photo of the Day theme is going to be product photography.  Funnily enough, most of my work in this genre has been regarding either booze or food.  Go figure.

I took this last year on the first day of my sponsored road trip with Red Truck Wines. Cline Cellars, up in Sonoma County, is rather unique amongst a group of beautiful wineries because -aside from being simply gorgeous- it embraces a feeling of fun and local history.  I shot this around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, when the sun wasn’t at too extreme an angle.  There’s an old red truck at the vineyard, which I thought would make for an interesting prop.  When I was playing with the different angles, I realized that the shadow was completely hidden by the bottle from this shot’s perspective.  My one difficulty with this image was the reflection in the bottle, which I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep.  I tried using a polarizer, but bottle just ended up looking like it was a giant shadow instead of a three-dimensional construct.  As a result, I kept the reflection; I’m pretty certain I made the right decision.

It’s strange for me to look at this picture nearly a year after it was taken.  It’s particularly strange because, to me at least, it symbolizes the start of a six month period that was spent on the road.  I sometimes wonder who I’d be if I hadn’t spent all that time traveling around the country… I like to think that I’m a better person for all the experiences, but who’s to say something equally as educational wouldn’t have come along had I stuck around the Bay Area during this time?

Anyway, I’m getting nostalgic and reflective, which are always dangerous elements to combine.  I think I’l leave you with this thought: this photo is one of my favorites, and it’ll probably always be one of them for the memories it’s tied to.  Well, that and it looks pretty.

Photo of the Day: Two Margaritas (Minus One)

Posted May 13, 2008 by foolscircle
Categories: commercial photography, macro photography, Nikon D80, photo of the day, Photography, photojournalism

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D80

F-Stop: f/3.5
Focal Length: 105 mm
Exposure Bias: +0.3ev
Speed: 1/60
ISO: 400

Untitled originally uploaded by foolscircle.

I apologize for the awful pun-y title; I just happen to like the song “Two Piña Coladas” by Garth Brooks and the damn thing’s been stuck in my head for the past couple of days.

Anyway, I shot this photo for an article about drinks at the local hotspots in Walnut Creek Magazine. The margarita in question came from Maria Maria, a Mexican restaurant owned by Carlos Santana (who, strangely enough, lived about a mile or so down the road from my house in the 1980s). Anyway, when you’re shooting photos of drinks, it’s a bit of a challenge to make them an interesting subject because they often are surrounded by a far more attention-grabbing environment, instead.

Margarita glasses are not terribly interesting on their own, mainly because they’re rather generic; to me, it’s the texture that makes a margarita visually appealing. As a result, I snapped off a number of different photos with both my wide-angle and fisheye lenses, and then I decided to play around a little with my macro lens.

One of my new toys has been the SB-R200 wireless remote speedlight, which is easily one of the coolest photo gizmos around because (a) it makes lighting macro shots so easy and (b) it looks really cool when you attach it to a camera lens. In this case, I rotated the lights around to one side and angled them so they created a nifty uplighting effect for this shot. I’m particularly fond of the way the salt looks in this image.

The R200 is something I’d really recommend to anyone who’s looking for the equivalent of a ringlight system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with a 72mm adapter, so I can’t use it on one of my wide-angle lenses (I use an 18-200mm and 24-120mm lens, respectively). However, I have an older 52mm lens that I’m planning to use with the light system in order to try some new lighting techniques for a portrait or two.

Photo of the Day: PS3

Posted May 11, 2008 by foolscircle
Categories: Nikon D80, photo of the day, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D80

F-Stop: f/3.5
Focal Length: 18 mm
Exposure Bias: +0.3ev
Speed: 1/200
ISO: 320

PS3 originally uploaded by foolscircle.

I took this last week for an article about the Sony PS3 over at Ars Technica. I originally tried to put the PS3 outside, but the reflective nature of the console’s surface makes it incredibly difficult to photograph in sunlight because it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to wind up getting a shot of yourself as well. I tried using a polarizer after I realized this, but to no avail. I guess the filter doesn’t have any effect on reflective plastic.

I ended up going back inside and setting up my light tent to see if I could get some different results. I only used my speedlight for lighting, as the rest of my office is currently packed up due to a re-carpeting project that has taken over the downstairs for a couple of days. Granted, I could have dragging my floodlights out of the basement, had I been driven to perfect the technique, but I was in a rush and actually liked the way this photo came out in the end.

Photo of the Day: Climbing to the Top

Posted May 10, 2008 by foolscircle
Categories: macro photography, nature, Nikon D80, photo of the day, Photography

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D80

F-Stop: f/8
Focal Length: 105 mm
Exposure Bias: -0.3ev
Speed: 1/250
ISO: 100

Untitled, originally uploaded by foolscircle.

I’m a horrible insect photographer in that I really don’t take much interest in my subjects aside from how they look. I really couldn’t care less as to what their life cycles are, how they breed, what they eat, or what their scientific name is. Yeah, I know, it’s blasphemous, but it’s how I operate.

This level of disinterest is brought about by the fact that, well, I’m shallow. Really, I just like the way that some bugs look, particularly in the wild. That’s why I don’t bother with insect photography taken in a studio environment. Instead, I like the dynamic settings that I encounter when I go out on hikes.

I shot this last summer when I was on the road with the Red Truck Road Trip, while we were stopped over in Denver. I went on a hike with a college friend in the mountains behind her house, and the ridge features some truly spectacular views and amazing flora. Right before we headed back down the mountain, I noticed this bug atop the bush next to where we were sitting. I really liked how the pollen stood out on its legs, and I snapped off a couple of photos before it flew away. I’m not certain, but I think it’s a checkered beetle, but I’m not entirely sure. Honestly, I still just think it looks cool.

UPDATE:

Daniel Marlos, from What’s That Bug, was kind enough to help me out: the picture is of a checkered beetle, “of the family Cleridae, probably the genus Trichodes.”

Photo of the Day: Butterflied

Posted May 9, 2008 by foolscircle
Categories: nature, Nikon D80, photo of the day, Photography, portraits, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

Photo Details:
Camera: Nikon D80

F-Stop: f/4.8
Focal Length: 46 mm
Exposure Bias: +0.3ev
Speed: 1/320
ISO: 800

Untitled, originally uploaded by foolscircle.

I realize that this isn’t quite macro photography, but it’s got insects. Besides, it’s my blog, so I’m allowed to change the parameters of a theme when I want to.

I shot this last year while the Saltimbanco Bus Tour was visiting the Strong Museum of Play in New York. The place is pretty cool, in all honesty. Aside from being a great kids’ museum, it also houses the National Toy Hall of Fame and an insanely large butterfly reservation.

I don’t know why, but this has been one of my favorite pictures, even though I can never point out anything that’s particularly noteworthy about the colors or lighting. There was a request for no flash photography, so I upped the exposure bias and also pumped the ISO up to 800 while we were in the reservation.

Margot, who had a habit of giving me nothing but brilliant pictures throughout my tenure as the tour’s photographer, was doing her human statue routine when a couple of the butterflies landed on her face.