Sojourns

Reflections on a year in 365 photographs

Posts Tagged ‘EF 24mm f2.8

365:ONE-HUNDRED-SEVENTEEN

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The light and form of a spiral staircase in the early morning light.

Shapes

Considering the image: As I get further into this project I am finding one of my goals has been at least partially achieved.  I was taking my son to school today he pointed out this spiral stairwell on the back  of a building on Daniel Island, SC.  I immediately saw an image of light and form using the curves of the spirals, the lines of the bricks and banister to play against the highlighted stairs and darker shadows underneath and on the brick wall.  I also decided right there that the image would be square format in order to play against the dynamics of the curves.  Of course black and white was a given because the image is about light and form.  Color simply doesn’t matter here.

Making the photograph: I initially grabbed the EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk I which was mounted on the camera but that proved too tight for this shoot, so I swapped to the EF 24mm f/2.8.  I took a quick test image at 0EV in matrix metering but found the highlights were just a bit blown out.  I ended up backing off to a -1eV which gave me 1/250 at f/8.0 and ISO 100.  I shot 30 different angles  and even climbed to the top of the stairs looking for just the right composition.  Post-processing after picking this image was simple with a black and white conversion, a bit of curves, sharpening, square cropping, and then saving and sharpening the .jpg you see here.  The deep shadows underneath the stairs are blocked just a tiny bit in this .jpg, but they are full-tone in the full-sized image.  I would want them to just touch black in a print, so that may take some playing with the curves to get right in print.  Some of you might also note that I’ve begun adding a black border to images.  Right now I’m experimenting with that by simply clicking “canvas size” in Photoshop and adding ~1% border with black fill.

Another refinement to the project is adding some structure to the entries with these standardized paragraphs.  As I get deeper into the project I am finding that I have to spend less time on “Making the photograph” because I am getting to the intuitive manipulation of the camera equipment and processing software.  That isn’t to say that I don’t still have a lot to learn, but now that the basic and even intermediate skills are becoming second nature, I get to spend more of my limited project time focusing on “Considering the image”, which to me is the real joy of photography.  With digital photography and a bit of technical know-how, if you can imagine an image, you can usually make it happen, even if you have to make do with lesser equipment or borrow from another photographer.  The hard part is in imagining and finding the photograph in the first place.  See the world in different ways.  See it in ways few others will.

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Written by Brian Fancher

April 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm

365:FIFTY-THREE

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A stormy view from Breach Inlet on Isle of Palms, SC

Storm at the Breach

A storm blew through the area today and I had the time to get out to the beach.  I knew there were some rock jetties at Breach Inlet near Isle of Palms which would work nicely in the images I was looking to capture.  Anyone who loves landscape photography knows that storm light often makes for dramatic photos and this image exemplifies that concept.  These were taken as the remnants of the storm headed out to sea.

For this photograph I drug the shutter a bit using a polarizing filter to slow it down so that I could get a slight blur in the water to imply the motion in the waves.  This is a black and white conversion in Photoshop with a bit of cool blue filter (#80) added on top to add to the stormy mood.

I like the composition with the strong rock at the bottom to anchor the image.  The line of the rock jetty leads the eye out to sea and to the dark storm clouds overhead.

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Written by Brian Fancher

February 22, 2010 at 9:24 pm

365:FORTY-EIGHT

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A view of the Ravenel Bridge, Charleston, SC

Reflections

Another view of the Ravenel Bridge from downtown Charleston, SC.  The lighting used on the bridge is fascinating.  You can read about it here.

I spent some time today learning new sharpening and noise reduction techniques in post processing.  I used a few of them on this image and found they are much more effective than what I have previously been doing.  With more time to fine tune, this image could really clean up well and be a fine art print.  I’ve still plenty to learn first!

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Written by Brian Fancher

February 17, 2010 at 11:10 pm

365:FORTY-FOUR

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A Palm Tree in the snow.

Paume de Neige

I went to bed dreaming of a great sunrise photo of snow on palm trees in Charleston.  Of course the skies were blue and the snow was thick in my dreams.  Unfortunately, the day dawned grey and windy, which makes for flat photos.  Still, this is a once-in-a-decade event here in Charleston, so why not try to make something of nothing.

Lesson for the day:  When the dawn is grey and windy, don’t try to hold detail in a landscape with a small aperture and ISO 100.  I did try to bump my Canon 40D’s ISO up to 400, but I’m just not happy with those results.  I should have dropped the aperture down to a nice, wide open 2.8 or so to get a reasonable shutter speed that would have stopped the palm leaves’ motion.  At least the subject would have been compelling even if the skies were mud.  C’est la vie.

On a better note, I did get to run in the snow!

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Written by Brian Fancher

February 13, 2010 at 8:17 pm

365:FORTY-TWO

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A stock shot of running shoes and gear.

Paraphernalia

I am addicted to running.  Or so the story goes among a few of my friends and family.  Heck, even some scientists recently claimed that excessive exercise could be as addictive as heroin.  Now I don’t know anything about that.  I just love running.

Perhaps I’m in denial.  Is it normal to feel exhilarated after a 31 mile jaunt?  How do I explain that the best periods in my life usually coincide with 50+ mile running weeks?  Does anyone else find the answers to life are best found 8 miles into a forest trail?  Now that I’ve written those things out, I recognize I’m definitely in a minority.

But is that addiction?  Should I take the hint and blame it on all those endorphins?  Or is it a healthy love of a life affirming action?  I run most days.  I run when its hot.  I run when its raining.  I run in the desert.  I run up mountains.  I run when I’ve got less than an hour to spare.  I run 3 or 4 hours if I’m left to my own devices.

I’m often asked what I think about while I’m running.  Or why do I not wear the ubiquitous iPod?  Do I think about the act of running?  Do I have to focus on ice cream or beer or listen to music to distract from the “pain”?  No.  I don’t need music to distract me.  I don’t often feel “pain” when I run.  When I do, it’s usually a sign I should stop.  I rarely even think while I’m out on the roads.  It’s more like a feeling…experiencing my body as it floats over the ground.  Ironically, that lack of thinking often brings clarity to tough issues elsewhere in my life.

There is nothing like the feeling of running strongly, powerfully, efficiently.  When every fiber of my body feels as though it is contributing to the forward flow.  I am most alive when I have brought my body to peak condition and it responds to everything I ask of it.  Steve Prefontaine spoke of running as a gift.  I believe it.

I don’t run for the awards, t-shirts, or accolades.  I don’t run for water-cooler bragging rights.  I don’t run to lose weight or get in shape.  I don’t run for all the rad gear.  Really, how cool can it be to parade around in tights, smelly shirts, and garish shoes?

For me, running is freedom.  Running is joy.  Running is life!

About the image:  My original concept involved tossing these items in the air and doing some stop-motion strobing.  One hundred frames later, I still hadn’t gotten the composition I was looking for.  I’m stubborn like that.  But eventually I decided upon a different tack and came up with this shot.  The post processing is deliberate to give it a bit more edginess.

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Written by Brian Fancher

February 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm

365:THIRTY-NINE

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A photograph of the old power station on the Naval Base at Charleston, SC

Lights Out

Here is another of the old buildings decaying on the abandoned Naval Base at Charleston, SC.  This is the old power station and I suspect it will remain in place, but abandoned for a long time due to asbestos issues.  The building is clearly from another time where ornamental architectural appointments were de rigueur.  Today, the exterior might have been simple corrugated metal or solid concrete at best.  As it stands, the building makes an imposing presence square in the middle of the former Naval Base property.  In this particular image I love the way the clouds create an illusion of energy and mystery around the cold, dead Power House.

For this photograph, I used my 24mm f2.8 prime but found it was not wide enough in the available space to capture the entire building since my camera is a 1.6x crop sensor Canon 40D.  I was not happy with the horizontal shots, even when converted in HDR.  The composition just didn’t work.  So I stayed with the vertical, cropped to 8×10 format and went with black and white for the final image.  I like these kinds of images but will have to work toward a true wide-angle lens if I want to capture the truly stunning wide-angle shots.

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Written by Brian Fancher

February 8, 2010 at 8:53 pm

365:THIRTEEN

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Blown Away

This one is for the strobists out there!  More, umm, “vintage” readers out there will well remember the Maxell ad that provided today’s inspiration.  I had a lot of fun with this one, especially after yesterday’s trials.  I tried to ape as many of the original details as possible, but play on strobe light and not sound.  I managed to include just about everything except the spilling drink, which isn’t an option if I want to continue sleeping INDOORS!  If I’d had more time I would have clothes-hangered a tie like the original, but instead I opted for tying one end of a scarf to the door handle behind me.  Plausibility, not exact copy, was my aim for the image.

The photograph and lighting are fairly straight forward.  Camera low and shoved against the opposite wall with a 24mm lens to give as much space as my kit will allow.  I put the 580EX II on the stand to my front and then used the 430EX bounced from the rear with white fill boards to direct plenty of light into the subject.

I count at least three and probably four lights in the original, so I knew I couldn’t get shadowless.  Then it hit me that this is a strobist LIGHT, not invisible sound image.  The hard shadows of the 580EX II from the front are congruent with the concept.  And I knew it had to be black and white with a bit of grain, just as the original.  Add curves, contrast, crop, sharpen, and noise.  Perfect.

Comment and critique welcome….

Written by Brian Fancher

January 14, 2010 at 1:22 am