Reflections on a year in 365 photographs

Posts Tagged ‘blur


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The calm moments before a run, contemplating the task ahead.


Considering the image:  I missed my run today.  Sometimes life overtakes even the most disciplined of us.  However, I was able to take a few moments and consider the reasons I love the sport.  One of those reasons is the calm  I experience just before a run, focused on the task ahead.  I see my body respond to the impulses, quickening my pace and feel the exertion.  It does not matter if the run is an easy few miles of recovery pace or a PR marathon.  I love the moments before the first step, when all is possible and you stand there, connected to the road beneath you, energized and serene.  I wanted to capture something of that moment in today’s image.

Making the photograph:  This is a simple, available light shot.  I placed another pair of shoes in the road that I could set focus with on the 40D and EF 80-200mm f/2.8L lens.  I set the camera to aperture priority with f/2.8 to get a minimum depth of field because I wanted the shot background to extend to blurred nothingness.  I set the 10 second self timer, clicked the shutter button, and then ran to stand where the other shoes were.  Click.  Easy day.  I only used four exposures to get the composition I wanted.  Post processing used a High Pass Contrast layer, black and white layer with a mask to let the yellow through, and sharpening.  Easy day as far as the technical side goes.

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Written by Brian Fancher

May 17, 2010 at 7:28 pm


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Night lights for Cinco de Mayo on Daniel Island

Echoes of Past Lives

Considering the image:  Happy Cinco de Mayo.  This is a colorful reminder of past celebrations.  Its 10 PM and people are just getting started.  I’m finishing this blog entry and heading to bed.

Making the photograph:   These images are easy to create.  Simply find some colorful lights at night, frame them in some pleasing manner, back the focus off, set your aperture to its largest setting (smallest number, which in this case was f/2.8) and fire away.  Try backing off the exposure 1-2EV as well to help saturate the colors.  Post processing was all in Apple Aperture 2 adding a bit more saturation, contrast, and then sharpening before export.  Easy day, which is a good thing when you can’t head out the door to photograph until 10 PM.

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Written by Brian Fancher

May 5, 2010 at 9:38 pm


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A red flower along the road near my house.


One of our son’s young friends pointed to this plant and sang out, “Snakeberries!”  This is not the snakeberry flower that I’m familiar with.  But I don’t know what it is, so I’ll let it stand for now.  It made a nice composition against the shorter yellow flowers at its feet.  I shot this with the “Nifty-Fifty” at 1/250, f2.0 and just a hint of flash from a 1/4 CTO gelled 430EX.  The bit of light helped the red flower pop against the blue-ish shade of late afternoon.

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Written by Brian Fancher

April 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm


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Lovers walk at Waterfront Park in downtown Charleston, SC

Lovers Walk

***I updated this with a different crop based on a friendly editor’s eye.***

This is Waterfront Park here in Charleston, SC.  For this project entry I was shooting some static and boring shots down this path with an idea to frame the fountain at the end and play up the motion of the water.  I had set up my camera with ISO 100, f/8.0 and manual focus on the just forward of the fountain.  Those shots are ok.  They technically achieved what I was trying to do.  But they are BORING, and in need of a real subject.

So as I was standing there contemplating the shot, I noted a Citadel Cadet with his girlfriend were walking past me.  I knew the white uniform and her light clothing would light up as they passed the street lamp.  I immediately visualized this shot in my mind, complete with the black and white, toned processing.  I also knew I wanted the bit of ghosting/movement in the couple rather than a stop-motion static shot.  The trouble is, I had a camera set up in manual to do something completely different with the scene and I had only a moment to adjust and get the frame.  For this photograph I had just time enough to dial down to f/2.8 to minimize the ghost/blur of the couple to the effect desired and refocus.  I’m happy with the result here.  If there had been a bit more time, I would have bumped the ISO to 800 or so in order to use a slightly smaller aperture and get a bit more depth of field.

For post-processing I had to do quite a bit of burn on the right side trees that bracket the street lamp.  Other than that this is fairly straightforward black and white conversion with a vignette and quadtone added at the end.

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Written by Brian Fancher

April 25, 2010 at 9:07 am


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A close family friend has asked me to take some photographs of her older cats.  I’ve never taken planned animal portraits of any kind so I thought I should practice on our own very sweet, docile cats, Jack and Daisy.  They are so easy to please and usually will put up with what ever the hoomins wantses.  Plus they are so cute and camera friendly in snapshots.  It couldn’t be too hard to get a good picture of them.

Lesson number one in pet photographs:  You aren’t going to get a lot of shots at getting it right, so make sure each exposure is a good one.  I got exactly….ONE….shutter click before they both headed for the hills.  Hmmmmmm!?!?

Becoming something like a REAL photographer is going to be harder than I thought.

“You still have much to learn, Grasshopper.”  Kung Fu

Written by Brian Fancher

January 16, 2010 at 10:02 pm


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Sometimes things just don’t work.  I tried.  I learned.  

Lesson for the day:  “No! No different. Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned. No! Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”  Yoda  

****Updated***  So I did a little research to see where I could have improved this shot.  My first problem was the white balance discord between the strobe and ambient lights.  I had a 1/4 CTO on the strobe, but discovered I had left the camera on Auto White Balance; hence the green bridge and yellowish-orange path lights.  This should have been a 3/4 or full CTO and a custom White Balance of ~3200k.  I had done some test shots without the strobe for ambient levels and found AWB showing ~3500k.  Cool that down just a bit and then warm up the subject and I’d have been a lot closer to the shot I was looking for.   If anyone has any other ideas for color correction of this type of shot, I’d love to hear them.  

The next problem is the soft subject.  This is easily rectified by simply focusing on a stand-in subject in the composition.  Well…either that or use one of David Hobby’s patented Voice Activated Camera Releases (aka an assistant)!  

Last, I need a new subject.  This one seems a bit morose!  😉  

“Always in motion is the future.” Yoda

Written by Brian Fancher

January 13, 2010 at 4:53 am


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Fifteen minutes and a polarizer filter; that’s all it took to create this image.  Having left work later than planned, I had scant time for today’s capture so I took a quick detour through a waterfront park hoping I could find something interesting.  The park teems with art and sculpture which might have made cool images if I’d had some lighting with me.  There were no ships passing close on the water.  And the cold temperatures had driven all the visitors into their warm cars to head home for dinner.

Enter the lowly rock.  You’ve seen one rock picture, you’ve seen them all, right?  Ok.  Add a bit of water and wave action.  Toss in a bit of twilight and we’re getting there.  Of course there was still too much light to get a properly long exposure for blurring the water.  The best I could do at a ridiculous f32 was a couple of seconds.  And I was running out of time to get home to dinner myself.  What to do?  Aha!  Pull out my trusty old EF28-105 II f3.5-4.5 on which I keep a circular polarizer permanently mounted.  That polarizer is worth about 1.7 stops which translated into a 13 second exposure; enough time to blur the water into an ethereal quality.  Perfect!  Just compose on a diagonal for a bit of drama and voila…something from nothing.

Lesson for the day:  Someone commented on another project photo that I might have had the tool at hand that I wished I’d had, but didn’t use.  So today, when I was racking my brain on how to get the image I wanted, I dug a little deeper in my kit bag and came up with the right solution.

Written by Brian Fancher

January 12, 2010 at 12:37 am