Fun With Photoshop

After surfing around awhile, hoping to find a used lomo for cheap, I instead found an interesting photo manipulation technique. I first found a Photoshop action to “lomo-ize” photos—basically pumping up the saturation and vignetting (darkening) the edges. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed. But then I found a link to an article on Dooce’s page, and this made me sit down and play for a while:

Here’s a nifty photo I took of a bee on some flowers:

Here’s the same photo after tweaking it with Dooce’s not-so-secret recipe:

Works well on portraits, but I think it looks pretty spiffy here, too.

Lomography

One of the blogs I check on a regular basis is [daily dose of imagery]. I’ve been noticing that, in his technical photo info, he sometimes mentions a “lomo,” and he’s even won an award for one of his “lomographs”.

So, finally, I’m like, “OK. What is this lomo thing?” I go to the lomography page that Sam linked from his page, and it’s weird. I follow some links, check out eBay, check out PhotographyReview.com, check out the Popular Photography forums, and find mixed reviews. What I did find for sure is that the lomo:

  • is a Russian-made compact 35mm camera
  • has a fast wide-angle lens with manual focus and adjustable speed/aperture settings
  • has a lens coating which makes colors more saturated
  • receives mixed technical reviews from photo-snobs and art-snobs
  • seems to have a two or three-roll learning curve before producing “good” images
  • is currently more expensive than it should be, due to its cult status

Therefore, after obsessing over the lomo for an entire day, I have decided to purchase one—but only if I can get a new or gently used lomo for around $60. New, they cost $199.99 with the instruction manual and case. I’m not down with that… but if I can get a relatively cheap point-and-shoot with adjustable settings that can fit in my purse or pocket, I’m all about it.

Beth, was that four-pane motion-capture camera of yours a lomo? That’s not the model I’m going for, but I saw that the actionsampler looked kind of like the camera you had back in 2001 or so.

Superfast Photofinishing

Hot. Tired. Kitty on lap. Don’t really feel like posting. Going to anyway.

Got my sunset and fireworks and kitty action pictures back from Dale Labs today in a record five days. Mailed them off last Wednesday, received them today (Monday). Most impressive. The turnaround, that is, not the images. Those are just ehh, IMO. Hang on—I’ll scan a couple for ya.

*runs upstairs to pick out a few good pics*
*cleans up rainwater on floor inside open front door*
*grabs pics, scans on Aaron’s computer*

OK, then. We’ve got a couple decent fireworks photos, a couple cute pics of Mei, sunset down Ventura Drive, and a couple pics off of an old roll of Aaron’s from last year.

So, I might send off my two rolls of Wildwood pics tonight or tomorrow, and see when I get those back. That was some crazy fast turnaround time. And good prints, too. I think I’ve finally found a photofinisher-by-mail that won’t screw me over.

Field Trip

This evening, I took my camera, telephoto lens and new teleconverter, and three rolls of film to Wildwood Metropark. I burned through two of the three rolls between about 6:45pm and 8:00pm—by then, I’d lost so much light that it was time to go home. I didn’t get to use the teleconverter because the 7pm light was already too faint. I wonder how practical it’s really going to be.

My original intention had been to photograph bikers and bladers; however, there weren’t very many out tonight, and I’m just not patient enough to sit on a picnic table and wait for people to pass by while I’m losing light by minutes. So, I ended up taking lots of pictures of flowers and bumblebees and architecture and trees and just a few of bikers and bladers. Two rolls’ worth… hopefully something good will come out of it.

If nothing else, I plan to do this every week just to get my reflexes sharper and get my eye for composition trained a little better. I missed just as many photos as I took today, mainly from not getting my camera focused in time. I lost a perfectly good shot of a male cardinal, simply because I turned my focus to closer instead of farther, and didn’t manage to fix my error before he flew away. There were a few that I missed simply because I didn’t have the right lens with me—I’d planned to take long-distance action shots, and purposefully left the normal and wide-angle lenses at home.

One thing I’d forgotten about photographing in a normal public place (as opposed to a festival): it’s fun to see something that no one else sees, in a pattern or a shadow or a particular form, and have people try to see what you’re taking a picture of. Nope, there’s not a bird up in that tree; I think the gnarled tree is cool all by itself. But keep gawking, and maybe I’ll take a picture of your goofy ass. Heh.

Contest Entries… Away!

Well, I done it. I e-mailed my six selections to the Popular Photography annual contest tonight. I ended up choosing:

+ Manual, Black Swamp Arts Festival, 2000
+ Mei (June 2004 – aka “The Artsy One”)
+ Wood County Fair (aka “Wood County DMB Under The Table Album Cover”)
+ Fort Meigs
+ Signpost, Michigan Renaissance Festival
+ Rose of Sharon

Photos I ended up not choosing and why:

The other Mei pic: I hadn’t been going to even consider that one until I posted it in my cubicle at work and Scott told me it looked like a postcard. I thought it looked like a snapshot, but that made me think maybe it was better… Well, maybe not.

East Hall, BGSU: Might have been more interesting with a more interesting sky. As it was… eh, it’s BG.

Gravity Games, Cleveland OH 2003: I agree with Amy that my composition was off. I cropped this one horizontally for a desktop theme earlier, but didn’t know how the crop would translate into an actual photo submission. I may try cropping and submitting it for another contest in the future, or I may just chalk it up to a learning experience and bring more than two rolls of film to this year’s Gravity Games. And my new teleconverter.

Cleveland Skyline: Didn’t receive the critical acclaim I was hoping for. I’d kind of liked it, but I liked the others more.

Random Affirmation (Birds Know They’re Alive): This was more of a “WTF?” snapshot that I took, and doesn’t have much artistic merit in and of itself. I still think it’s kind of a funny picture, but not necessarily contest material.

So… winners will be notified in October. I’m not getting my hopes up too much, but wish me luck, anyway. Go me!

Let’s Take A Vote…

OK, I need everybody’s help here. And I do mean everybody’s. July 1st is the deadline to submit photos to Popular Photography & Imaging‘s annual photo contest. For the past few years, I’ve meant to enter, but my procrastination has gotten the best of me. This year, though, they’re allowing e-mail entries… so, I’m there. Problem is, I’m having trouble narrowing my entries down to only six.

I have an idea of which pics I’d like to submit, but I want your input, as well. So, check out my page o’ possibilities, then vote by leaving a comment here (or a tag on the front page). Vote for as many as you like, but tell me which of them is your favorite and why.

Thanks for your help, everybody… and remember, I need to e-mail these out by Wednesday night!

New stuff for Diana

Well, the 2X teleconverter arrived today, dusty but in otherwise new condition. Nothing my little lens brush with the air-puff thingy on it couldn’t handle. Wanted to go try out my new lens combo, but it was already getting toward evening when I got around to it, and there wasn’t enough light left outside. Damn that camera physics, anyway. There’s nothing to really photograph in my immediate neighborhood that would benefit from the use of a teleconverter, anyhow—I just wanted to test it out. Ah, well. Maybe some other time.

Thanks to Meijer Non-Drowsy Severe Cold medication, my severe cold is getting a little less so. I no longer have that hacking, phlegmy cough, but my nose still drips like a broken faucet. Sort of. I slept for freakin’ 10 or 11 hours last night, so that helped a little, then I got the cold medicine over my lunch break today, which has helped a lot. Hopefully I’ll be better by Saturday’s class reunion.

Now, about my new job…
(more…)

(bad) photo of yours truly

Check out this horribly underexposed digital pic of me in my oversized XXL Bluecoats T-shirt (purchased Saturday night) and my favorite shorts (which are now two sizes too big). The original point of this pic was to show how stupidly big my clothes are on me; hence, the goofy “WTF” shrugging gesture.

Also: just went to shut the front door, and caught a glimpse of a pretty cool sunset. Even though our front yard / street isn’t much for a photogenic sunset view, I ran downstairs, slapped on the new wide-angle lens, screwed on the tripod mount, ran upstairs with camera and tripod, loaded up film from the fridge, and was outside shooting sunset photos in about three minutes flat. Used about 14 exposures of a 24-roll in not even ten minutes.

This is the trying tug-of-war between film and digital. The badly backlit photo of me might have been more easily salvaged if I had actual film to scan and work with; the sunset photos I just took might all suck, and I should have changed one little thing to make them rock, and I won’t know it until I get the prints back.

I Need More Toys…

So, after making pretty much an impulse buy on eBay (I didn’t mull it over for two days before bidding, which makes it an impulse buy for me), I’m contemplating buying myself a bigger, more premeditated camera toy: a new case. My current case just doesn’t have enough room for…

+ Minolta X370s (manual focus)
+ 28mm wide angle lens
+ 50mm lens
+ 80-200mm zoom lens
+ 2x teleconverter just purchased on eBay
+ macro filters (lets me get in reeeeal close)
+ polarizer (makes the sky bluer and water less reflective)
+ hotshoe flash
+ fresh and used film
+ various manuals, lens and body caps, notepads, and other accessories

The dilemma has been whether to just keep my current camera bag and pick and choose what I bring on any given shoot (a “shoot” for me being a trip to the Ren Fest, Fort Meigs, the zoo, the Apple Butter Festival, a drumcorps show, or other interesting local flavor) or get a new bag that can hold all my gear but that has the potential to be a touch cumbersome. The jury’s still out for me, I think.

Beth, Erk, other photo-types—any help?