It’s here!!

Like I mentioned recently, I have completed a photo book! This has been quite a fantastic experience. I was able to pour a lot of my graphic design skills and knowledge into making it, and I am rather happy about it!

The book features a good number of the images that I have posted here since January. If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, here is a link to my publisher, Blurb.

And a treat for all of you for following me, I am going to give you a preview version of the book here! Either click the image below, or the link below it to take a look! Enjoy!

And here is the clickable link!

 

March Madness

…and its quite competitive.

March has been quite an interesting month thus far. As I am sure you have noticed, I haven’t posted a lot about new images or projects that I am currently working on. Between getting my Photo-book finished, adjusting images for large printing, I haven’t had much time to go out and shoot. In addition to all of that, I have also been prepping some of the images I have taken to enter into a couple of contests. Here are two of the ones I submitted photos for, and which images I chose for each!

PHOTOGRAPHER FORUM MAGAZINE: 38th ANNUAL SPRING PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST

This was a contest suggested by one of my instructors on campus. For this contest, you have to pay to enter, but the winners would be featured in one of their monthly publications, and receive a monetary prize and camera lens (for 1st and 2nd place); definitely making the payout feel worth it. All participants, just for entering, would also receive two month’s of their publication. For more info, you can check it out here: Photographer Forum Magazine.

The following were the five images that I submitted.

 

The Ring

The last one is a new one. I did a small photo-shoot the other day, details in a later post, but I did a macro shot of an engagement ring. pleased with how it turned out, I thought I would submit it and see how it does in “The Big Leagues.”

ADOBE DESIGN ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Mock up of Bannack, Montana Fine Art Photographs
Featuring, from right to left, “The Bar”, “To The Blue Galaxy”, and “Lichen”.

As a student, this seemed like a perfect chance to submit here! The contest is designed to help art students of various fields get recognized for their work. The contest is run through Adobe, and they feature the artist on a couple different media outlets, as well as offering a chance to be in attendance to one of its bigger events later in the year. For more info, you can check it out here: ADAA.

 

For them, I entered three of my fine art images from when I was in Bannack last month (see the image caption). We’ll see how it goes!

And the winner is…

…To the Blue Galaxy!

Thank you so much for all of the comments and messages as to which of my images I should make a large print of! I got a lot of useful feedback as well from peers to help make it transition very well from screen to print. So, without further ado, I made a video where I talk a bit about it!

And just like I mentioned in the video, and in the original blog post, this was originally a bracketed shot. I wanted to show you what those shots looked like before I started editing them:

 

So as you can see here, a lot of the colors actually aren’t too well seen in any of the images, they were still rather blown out by the exposures. So as part of the edit, once combined, I went in and also adjusted the saturation of each color a little bit to bring the original colors that I had seen in life back into my image, which, as you know, got me this:

To the Blue Galaxy

Thanks once again for all of your help in making this decision, and if you are interested in getting your very own print of any of my images, or even for your own copy of my photobook, leave me a comment, or message me on any of the following places, and I will get you the info as soon as I can!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/L337producti…

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/l337product…

Twitter: https://twitter.com/L337Productions

E-Mail: al337production@gmail.com

Making a Selection

…can be very hard.

Since the start of the new year, I have taken thousands of images. I have had so many opportunities to take different types of images, and I am really grateful for them. I have seen a lot of improvement since I first started, and I see it keep on growing. What is hard now, is I am going to be making a large print of one of my images, and I need to narrow down the thousands of images to just one. After much work, I was able to narrow it down to these five. I would love for your thoughts and opinions as to which one I should choose, so please leave a comment at the end of the post! Thank you in advance! Also at the end, I have an image from my recent trip down to Utah, let me know what you think!

Rexburg Main Street During Storm
The image was taken using a 13 second exposure, f/22, ISO 100, 31mm focal length, and a tripod.
To the Blue Galaxy
The image was taken using a 1/250 second exposure, f/3.5, ISO 200, and a 24mm focal length.
Watercolor Schoolhouse and Lodge
The image was taken using a 1/250 second exposure, auto bracket, f/22, ISO 200, and a 22mm focal length.
The Native Woman
The image was taken using a 1/125 second exposure, f/5.6, ISO 100, and a 45mm focal length.
Macro Plant
This image was taken using a 1/125 second exposure, f/18, ISO 800, and a 50mm focal length.

 

Utah

I went on a travel study class to SLC and Provo this last week! As I was testing lighting, I got a super over exposed image. Normally I’d throw that away; it was mostly white, with sparce, little patches of blue. Instead of deleting it, I left it in my camera till I got back to the hotel room and set my computer up. The thought came to look at it as a negative. So glad I did, and I hope you do too!

Negative of SLC Temple
This image was taken using a 1/160 of a second exposre, f/4.5, ISO 200, and a 18mm focal length. Negative image was made using an adjustment layer in Photoshop.

A Matter of Perspective…

…can distort the sense of Scale.

I mentioned it a few weeks ago about wanting to do this, but between learning how to use a DSLR camera and my trip to Bannack, and all of the editing and posting, it has been difficult. But I did not forget! I finally was able to get a photo-shoot organized where I could do some Macro photography!!!

Thank You! 

I currently do not have all of the gear and add-ons for a macro-shoot, so a big thank you goes to Caryn Esplin for providing the necessary tools and tips to make this shoot even possible. She set up the location with all of the props, lights, lenses, and the needed filters. Check out her website (by clicking her name) and you won’t be disappointed!

The Macro Shoot

For this shoot, I wanted to capture some close ups on little random knick-knacks, as well as some cool effects of water on flowers and plants. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been getting more and more away from using the automatic settings on the camera, and I finally stepped away from the auto focus. That being said, I ended up taking a lot of images, because I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to be able to capture a sharp or clear enough close up of everything. I ended up with a lot of really successful images as a happy result! I would like to now present to you my top seven favorite images! And please leave me some of your thoughts about these images in the comments! I would love to hear what you think about them as well!

Macro Plant
50mm, f/18, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Rose One
50mm, f/18, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Rose Two
114mm, f/22, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Rose Three
50mm, f/18, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Red Budda
95mm, f/8, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Thimble and Thread
135mm, f/8, ISO 800, 1/125″
Macro Time Piece
135mm, f/8, ISO 800, 1/125″

Let’s Face It…

…Its worth every of the thousand words.

Just like I promised yesterday, this is my last series of images from my trip to Bannack! And its one of my favorites. I ended my trip by taking some amazing portraits of a lot of the models that so graciously came and posed for me. I played with different types of lighting, as well as different angles and compositions that could more perfectly capture the essence of who was on the other side of the lens. This is my best of all of the shots, so enjoy! And once again, please leave me some of your thoughts about these images in the comments! I would love to hear what you think about them as well!

The Western Gentleman
High Stakes
The Cowboy
The Mountain Man
The Cowgirl
The Native Woman

 

 

Art. Photography. Together? Very Fine Indeed.

Let’s take a look at some then shall we?

Third post from my trip to Bannack! Just one more after this one, and I will be showcasing some of the portraits that I took in that one. I am a little exited to show you, because they are pretty dang amazing. But today’s are just as good! They are a series of images that I consider some of my best, non-portrait photographs, that I took that I haven’t shown you yet. I will talk about a few of these this time, because they have a little bit of a story.

Please leave me some of your thoughts about these images in the comments! I would love to hear what you think about them as well!

The Bar

When I first arrived, the first place I visited was the saloon. I didn’t want to carry around all of my equipment and props that I had brought for the entire day, so I dropped my gear behind the bar, and began to explore the one room. I took a few test shots, and got close up to a lot of the different objects in the room. I took a lot of different and odd angle shots, and this was one of the them. Running along the top of the bar was this beautifully carved design. I got up close, set my camera up on a tripod, and got in as close as I could, and snap! A beautiful image! I brought it into Adobe Lightroom and adjusted the cropping and fixed the rotation to make it level.

Watercolor Schoolhouse and Lodge

This was another from that initial stop in the saloon. There was a barber’s chair in the corner and so I played around with the different angles I could get, as well as tried out something new that I learned. This is a composite shot, made by bracketing. What that means is that I took three different shots of the same image, but I overexposed one, underexposed another, and had just the normal shot. A few different Adobe programs (I used Adobe Lightroom for this one) are able to combine and align (if needed) the three shots to make one image. The advantage of doing this allows me to go in and make more precise adjustments and keep all of the pixel quality. Its a fantastic feature that I have come to really love.

The title of this piece comes from the beautiful distortion created by the old windows on the saloon. I thought that it contrasted so complimentary to the geometric lines and shapes, as well as the primarily orange hues found inside of the saloon.

The Schoolhouse and Lodge

This was another composite of bracketed shots. This time I used Adobe Bridge to merge them together. I wasn’t as impressed with the merge, but I wanted to test it out and compare it to the merged image created from Lightroom. I had to take the image into Photoshop to bring back some of the highlights and whites that came from overexposing the image and the normal exposure. Adobe Bridge always seems to make a much more darker merged image, and it is a lot harder to bring those lights back into it.

To The Blue Galaxy 

After I left the saloon, I went across the street and entered the building directly in line with the saloon. When you first enter the building, you are greeted by this stairway in the entry room. This house was a good example of having had many different tenants over the hundred year history of the town, because there were so many different layers of wallpaper on top of each other, vinyl flooring, as well as peeling paint. But this stairway was a masterpiece all by itself. To explain why I found this stairway a masterpiece was that you could see the change in paint on the walls, and the way it transitioned from the yellows at the bottom, to the beautiful blue at the top. Standing there at the bottom of the stairs looking up, it gave me the impression that I was looking at the very stairs that could take me up into space. The blue patch looked like a little blue galaxy, inviting me to just go up. I took another set of bracketed shots of it, and combined it once more in Adobe Bridge, determined to try and master the blending. And I think I did a much better job doing so. That Blue Galaxy just popped, just as it did when I was there in person.

Lichen

At the end of the day, and the group I was with had packed up the bus, we left the town of Bannack, and made a quick stop at the Bannack Graveyard. We then held a five minute quick photoshoot contest. We had five minutes to take the best pic we could, then we would judge them while on the bus ride home. By this time, I had no battery power left in my Canon, so I went out with my Samsung Note 8. This was one of the shots that I took. It wasn’t one that I had submitted to be judged, because I wasn’t sure about it (looked a bit different on my phone). But when I brought those pics into my computer, and I could see it much larger, the more and more I loved what I was seeing. The lichen on the tombstone monument was stunning. The orange popping against the fading blue sky. The overall lack of really any color just seemed to draw me to it more.

Type, Type Everywhere

…and its pretty amazing.

So to continue from yesterday’s post, I wanted to share with all of you a series of photos that I took while I was still at Bannack. I really enjoy typography, learning about it, seeing interesting images of only type, and learning about the history of different type faces. In fact, one of the classes that I am currently taking has been focusing on finding type in unlikely places. So I decided that I was going to take advantage of the hundred year history of the ghost town to find as many different types of type as I could. I don’t really have as much to say about each one like yesterday, so if you have questions, leave a comment and I will answer them! My next post should be Monday, so look forward to it!!

Cole’s Air Tight Furnace
Kimball Upright Grand Piano
Monarch Oven
Montana Licence Plate
The Bartlett Sewing Machine
The Koken Barbor’s Chair
The United States Rubber Company stamp wood burned into a crate
Vinegar Barrel

 

 

 

Darn Tootin, Time to go Shootin

…A Photo-shootin that is!

I had an amazing opportunity this last week to travel up to Bannack, Montana to do a photo-shoot with some amazing actors. Just so you all know, over the next few days, I will be posting some of my highlights and images that I took from this trip. I will explain a few of them, and as always, if you have any questions about specifics concerning each image (like the metadata), leave a comment and I will answer them!

Today, I will be showcasing five images from the creative photo-shoot.

Just a bit about Bannack

Bannack, Montana is currently a ghost town. It established during the gold rush in 1862, and became so large that it was the Montana Territory capital for a short while. The town slowly died over the next 100 years, and by the late 1970’s, the final resident moved out Bannack. It was then made into a National Historic Landmark, and turned over to the State to operate and upkeep.

Put The Guns Down, Missy

I wanted to tell a story with this one. I was inspired by the classic western standoff in the middle of town, with a warm sun beating down on figures on the street. I wanted to take my own twist, where the two cowboys were actually trying to calm down a local woman and get her to put her revolvers down. I took this shot from a couple of different angles, and I loved just how much tension was captured from just behind her, where you couldn’t see her emotions. Is she about to pull the triggers? Was she questioning her actions, hesitating? I also loved just how calm the cowboys are, even though they have two armed weapons pointed right at them, fully committed to peacefully persuading Missy to put the guns down.

Waiting In Red

This was another fun one here. Since I was in a ghost town, I wanted to try and create my very own ghost image. I was really pleased with the result! In order to get this shot, I had to explore the town and find one of the eeriest rooms that I could, set up a tripod with a five second exposure, and instructed the actor in how I wanted her to move across the room. After a few practice shots to test lighting and the actor’s movement speed, it was time to shoot. And she did perfectly! I loved how she was able to perfectly capture a look of longing on her face for each moment we see her face.

 

 

 

 

 

Which Is it?

Between the different types of photo-shoots that I did, I had some free time to go and explore around the town. I took a few shots of random objects here and there (fun fact, I organized the images in folders on my computer, and called the random objects, oddities). This one surprised me after I took it! And I loved it! I was standing outside one of the buildings and saw an old sewing machine in the window. I took a quick snap of it, and poof! I looked at the screen and saw that the way the camera took the image, made me question what I was trying to capture. Was it the snow covered lawn reflected in the window, or was it the sewing machine on the other side of the window? The two subjects blend together, fading into one another, creating such a beautiful piece of art.

Mary Poppins of Bannack

One of the types of images I was needing to try while out here was a levitation shot. Levitation images are rather interesting to make. You pose your subject and objects on stools and/or wires, snap the image, take everything down and take a shot of everything in the background by itself. Or first, depending upon how you want to do it. Then you take the two shots (or more depending upon your shot) into Photoshop and remove the wires, stools, etc., leaving a final image of what appears to be a gravity defying object.

I wasn’t really inspired when I was planning for this shoot the week leading up to the trip, so I just banked on getting an idea once I saw what I could work with, and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a slight breeze, and an actor and props to recreate a scene from the classic Disney film, Mary Poppins.

An Ad for I.B.C. Root Beer

The last one that I will showcase today is a commercial shoot image I did. In planning for this trip, I had seen a couple images of some of the actors who were going to be there, and when I found out about this shoot, I immediately knew what I wanted to try to do. I brought the I.B.C. with me and set the props, actors, and myself up in the saloon. I did a few light test shots, and then went to town shooting different types of shots that would complement the root beer. I had a few that I really liked, some without the actors, but I just kept coming back to this one. I wanted to really sell that the company has been around for a while, so I put a texture on the image to make it look more like a tintype or daguerreotype, and softened it in a vignette around the product and bartender. I then aligned the text along a vertical board on the back wall, put the company’s logo in the lower left corner, in color to make it pop, and called it good. (My watermark is just there to say I did it, it wouldn’t be on the one the company would print)

Till next time

Hopefully I will have another post up tomorrow with another set of images that I took! So look forward to it!!

Finding A New Perspective…

 

…through a camera lens.

This week I went out with the intention of capturing something on film from a lot of different angles. As many as possible. When I was planning on where I was going to go, and what I was going to photograph, I remembered a little park my wife and I had walked along during the summer. I remember looking across the lake there on that warm summer day and seeing a beautiful mirror image of the trees and bushes reflecting brilliantly. I wanted to see if I could capture that same brilliance that I saw that day. With that intent, I watched for a day when there was going to be a break in the constant winter gray overcast sky to make the shoot possible. I got lucky, and yesterday was the first day that I was able to get out and do it. I left my home and began to walk towards the park, but I never made it to the spot I had planned on going. Before one can walk into the park, there is a common area with a playground, tennis courts, pavilions, etc. This year, we have had a really warm winter, so most of the snow has melted, and all over this common area were the perfect, lake like puddles. In fact, these puddles were so fantastically large, that they reminded me of that summer day so much that I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shoot right there. And so I did!

The subject that I focused my efforts on was a particular tree (the center most tree in the featured image above), and I included it in every shot. It was rather interesting. Some of the shots I had to lay in puddles, mud pits, and one of them I had to balance myself on a sheet of ice in order to get the image I was wanting. I’ll let you guess which those were, but needless to say, my wife wasn’t the most thrilled when I finally came home afterwards… but it was totally worth it.

Below are the top nine of the hundreds of images from the shoot. If you click on the images, you will be able to see it a bit larger as well. (If you want to know any of the metadata, like I have been providing the last few weeks on my images, leave a comment and I will be happy to get that right to you!) I will talk about one of them at the end, so don’t leave once you flip through them!

 

If you are still reading, I want to talk about that last image. Notice something different about it? This last week I had also been learning about applying different textures to images in Photoshop in a course I am taking. I wanted to try it a little bit on one of my images from this shoot. So, I went to one of the last remaining snow piles in that common area, and took these two images. Using Photoshop, I then went in and laid the two images on top of the tree, angled them to match the direction of the tree trunk, and then lowered the opacity of the two, making them almost completely transparent. I then applied a mask on the trunk and major branches to make them pop a bit more from the background. I was just experimenting, but let me know what you thought, and as always, any tips for improvement are always welcome!