Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 Picture of the Week

This blog entry is a fun little challenge to myself to try to get one nice picture a week for the entire year of 2009. One of the conditions of the weekly blog is to explain the picture, perhaps why I took it, and what makes it significant to me. Some pictures will have setup information and other technical tidbits, but mostly they will just be fun and a way to entice me to think about photography at least once a week (as if I needed further enticement!).

Let the challenge start here!

Week 1 - January 7th
First major snow fall of 2009 happened on January 7th. We received something like 8-10 inches within 48 hours. Even with Christmas just passed, it brought back a little of that holiday feeling when I looked out and saw the fresh and perfectly white snow and the lights of our still decorated railing. The wind was crisp and though hard to see, it was snowing nicely at the time this picture was taken. With the exception of a little sharpening and conversion from RAW to JPG, this picture is otherwise 100% straight from the camera.
Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 800 - 1/20th - F/5 - Nikkor 24-70 @ 62mm

Week 2 - January 9, 2009
I often pick up my niece anytime that I can from her private school when my sister is not able to, or if the weather is a little harsher. This time, I did it just because I wanted to. As I am sitting in the car, waiting, I'm looking down the road that I have often looked down while doing just the same thing that I was doing now (just waiting), and I noticed the bare trees and how protective they looked as they lined both sides of the street, then also how they looked almost like a series of veins and capillaries as they wove over the street from one side to the other in such a manner, that squirrels can easily traverse the street from the tree-heights, safely away from the dangers of the cars below. I sat there watching it, studying how this picture looked to me, and then I picked up my camera and took the shot.

This picture was one that I had seen before in an oil painting almost perfectly recreated in Old Montreal perhaps 3-4 years ago. I wanted this picture to have a little bit of that oil painting feel... the details sharp, but strangely not perfectly distinguishable. It would not be black and white, yet, could not be filled with bright colours, it had to look drab, like an ordinary mostly cloudy winter day makes everything look. I am glad with the way it came out. Looking at this photograph reminds me of that long lightly down-hill distance that so many people, who are involved in either giving or receiving education, travel on during so many days of the year.
Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 200 - 1/320th - F/8 - Nikkor 24-70 @ 50mm

Week 3 - January 17th
Montreal Salon D'Auto, the annual first car show of the 2009 year. Honestly, this year's car show was very underwhelming. With very few concept cars and an incredible predominance of low performance tiny "green" vehicles that struggle to do an unimpressive 50mpg. It shows how unimpressive it is, that when in a very economically strong and gas and pollution unconscious 1988, Volkswagen was able to make the Rabbit Diesel... a car that did 50mpg in the city and well over 70mpg on the highway.

I decided to play a little with HDR with one of the few concept cars that I saw there. Bright shiney cars are hardly good choices for HDR pictures, but I decided to do it anyway and had fun with the results. HDR pics are always interesting.

Below is the original picture (and a couple of variations I tried out while playing in Photoshop). As you can see, I did not go nuts with the HDR effect, but enough to make a difference. The pictures all look better in a larger size. Click on it to see the bigger version.

Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 800 - 1/60th - F/5 - Nikkor 24-70 @ 34mm

Week 4 - January 23rd
My father. He really enjoys his computer and spends at least some time each day surfing the net (mostly on eBay, but he does use a few search engines and visit a few websites on things he enjoys, like trucks, bikes and cars) . Even then, he is without a doubt, the most computer illiterate person that I have ever known (lol).

I was playing with the camera and saw the light from the LCD shining on his face... it was a good moment to take a pic. Man, do I ever enjoy the low light capabilities of my camera/lens.
Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 800 - 1/50th - F/1.4 - Nikkor 85mm F/1.4 Prime

Week 5 - February 2, 2009
My niece's friend. I took this picture and then starting playing with it in photoshop a lot. I tried to give it an almost unreal look yet retain the feeling that this photograph had. It is one of my favorites.
Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 400 - 1/200th - F/5 - Nikkor 24-70mm F/2.8 @ 70mm

Week 6 - February 11, 2009
Self portrait time! I am just getting the framework in place for a website, but needed a couple of artsy-fartsy pictures of me for the site. These are the ones that I came up with. I am a photographer, so really, I don't particularly enjoy being on the other side of the lens. I took these while shooting into a mirror... "but the words NIKON are not backwards?" you say? Well thats because I flipped the image and made it look the way it is *supposed* to be, you silly goose!
Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 800 - 1/8th - F/4 - Nikkor 85mm F/1.4 Prime

Week 7 - February 16, 2009
What happens when you mix three vastly different aspects of photography? Here I played with a Sigma 15mm F/2.8 fisheye lens, HDR and heavy radial blur. The result? This monstrosity... lol. I sometimes get into these moods where I just want to sometimes keep throwing things on the "canvas and just see what sticks. Sometimes it comes out nice... other times, I get what I got above... something a little less.
Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 250 - 1/100th - Sigma 15mm F/2.8 (prime lens) Fisheye

An additional photo using the fisheye lens (I just got that lens today, can you tell? lol).
Nikon D700 - Aperture Priority - hand held
ISO 200 - 1/5th - Sigma 15mm F/2.8 (prime lens) Fisheye

Week 8 - February 27, 2009
We were invited back to Studio4Fun but this time, there were way more models, and more photographers. The photograph above was one of several lovely ladies that posed for me. Though she and I did not speak much, her character spoke volumes to me and I worked quickly to try to capture what I could of the moment. This was one of the photographs, and I was very happy with the final results.
Nikon D700 - Full manual mode - hand held ISO 800 - Shutter 1/125th Nikkor 27-70 at F/10

Lighting: Two continuous 200 watt lights at 45 degrees amera left and right. I varied my position around them... and in the picture above, both lights were camera left as I moved far to the right of the subject. Of special note is that I shoot only in RAW and hence, in AUTO white balance. Man, these lights were ORANGE, and had to have a consistent change across the series of pictures using this lighting.

Week 9- February 16, 2009
Working in Ottawa was interesting, but very little time to do or be elsewhere other than my room or working. At the end of the day, this was a sight that I was more than happy to see... my bed. Getting up at 4:00AM and hitting the sheets around 11:30... the hours were long, and the job challenging!
Nikon D700 - Aperture priority mode - hand held ISO 800 - Shutter 1/13th
Sigma 15mm F/2.8 Fisheye @ F/4

Week 10- February 17, 2009
Ottawa, Ontario. This is a picture of the Parliament buildings from the rear. The shot, taken on the Quebec side was taken as I was walking around after a day of working and I needed to de-stress. It was a nice shot... with the river just starting to melt and a reflection of the buildings in the water.
Nikon D700 - Aperture priority mode - hand held ISO 200 - Shutter 1/400th Nikkor 85mm at F/18

Well, I did not make it too far in 2009, did I?
Let's see if I can make it a little further in 2010!