Wednesday, January 28, 2009

52 Self Portraits: Week 3

I wasn't sure what I was going to do this week. I have already started running out of ideas.

I like the black background and using the smaller radius of light to fade things into the shadows. I also like having a prop, such as my guitars, in the photos. This week, I was sitting on the couch in the living room wondering what I was going to do. The guitar came to mind then, somehow, the lamp came to mind. It was fun trying to incorporate the lamp in the photo. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to achieve what I was shooting for. I wanted the light from the lamp shade to spill onto the background, creating a cone of light. It didn't work... I'll have to try it again.

Here's the photo I chose to use this week....

52 Self Portraits: Week 3 (by John Brainard)

Click Here for an additional shot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

52 Self Portraits: Week 1 & 2

I was thinking about ways I could force myself to learn lighting using my small strobes, or flashes and decided on a '52 Self Portraits' project. The idea is that after the first few photos, it will become more challenging to light myself in new ways. I'll be forced to think and work harder and experiment with things. So, I'm committing to doing 52 self portraits, one a week for an entire year.

Here is week 1:

52 Self Portraits: Week 1 (by John Brainard)

Week 2:

52 Self Portraits: Week 2 (by John Brainard)

You'll notice that if you follow the link for "Week 2", you will find some additional photos. As I process each session, I'll pick a couple of photos that I liked, but weren't quite what I was looking for. There will be something interesting to me about them and I will post them on Steve Paxton's forum exclusively.

Enjoy and feel free to comment here or on the forum.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Forum for Photographers

Paxton Prints Community Forum

A great photographer and asset to the photography community, Steve Paxton, has set up a forum to build a community dedicated to serving new and experienced photographers. Through the short time I have known Steve, he has been very helpful and encouraging. I learned a lot through his e-mails, through looking at his portfolio and through the tutorials on his website.

Take a moment to check out his forum, sign up and introduce yourself in the "Introductions" board.

Paxton Prints Community Forum

Image used with permission by Steve Paxton

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Playing With Smoke

When I first started getting into photography, I found a couple of blog entries on photographing smoke. I was anxious to try this out, but I didn't have a flash that I could use off-camera... until now.

This image, I created a grid overlay in Gimp as well as colored the smoke with a gradient.

Smoke Art (by John Brainard)

In this image, I duplicated the smoke layer and flipped it horizontally. I was surprised that it resulted in a very serious looking girl!
Smoke Art (by John Brainard)

A few things I'll try the next time I photograph smoke:

  • Shoot further away from the smoke than I was to capture larger patterns.
  • Shoot a larger quantity of images
  • Try burning two incense sticks together
If you look at Steve Paxton's smoke art, you'll see that the smoke starts and stops within the image. This is likely the result of using a snooted flash. I'll try to get a tighter beam of light next time and use a larger black background.

I learned that this is better done in a room you're not going to spend a lot of time in after you shoot the smoke, unless you like the smell of incense!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great 2008 and that it ended safely!

2008 was the year I started dabbling in Photography. I won't say I have made great leaps and bounds into it, but I enjoy every moment of it. The last few months have been slow, unfortunately. I'm looking forward to getting out and shooting more.

Here are a couple of photos of my latest toy from my quick trip out this morning.

Untitled (by John Brainard)

Untitled (by John Brainard)

Have a great and blessed new year!