The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘Hobby’ category

Includes such things as Reading, Photography, Blogging, Walking, Bicycling

How a Portrait is Made

Two photographs that were shared on Facebook earlier this year came to mind, as I read a quotation made by photographer Edward Steichen.

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.”

 

Janell-picturetakingThis photograph was taken by Allan Branthoover.
I downloaded this image from Allan’s Facebook page, with his permission.

On one side of the camera is the photographer, Janell Gable.  By kneeling down Janell is on the level of the children.  Getting on their level makes for intimate photographs of children, although shooting directly from above or below can also give a great result.

On the other side of the camera are the children — Janell’s nephew, Owen, and her daughter, Lilly.

When they posed for this photograph, Owen and Lilly were relaxed and having fun.  Janell captured some of their spirit, as she released the shutter button.  The resultant photograph appears genuine and engaging.

Janell-picture
This photograph was taken by Janell Gable.
I downloaded this image from Janell’s Facebook page, with her permission.

I, then, inserted the photograph into one of my Photobacks templates.

portrait-advantage-02

Thank you Allan and Janell for use of your photographs in this blog post.  The two photographs illustrate well the words of Edward Steichen: “A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it”.

I’ve Been Published (Again!)

A short while after publishing the “I’ve Been Published” blog post earlier today, I received a calendar in the mail.

American Milking Devon Cattle Calendar

Earlier this year, Lawrence Gilley contacted me via Flickr asking how much I would charge to include one of my photographs in his calendar.  I didn’t charge Mr. Gilley for the photograph, requesting instead that I be provided a copy of the calendar when completed.

My photograph is showcased in July 2014.

It is such a wonderful feeling to know that my photography is appreciated!

Thank you Andrew and Harold VanOrd, of Oxhill Devons, for providing permission to have this photograph published.

I’ve Been Published!

This past year I participated in the Allegheny Center for the Arts monthly photo contest. The monthly winning photograph is featured in a full-color calendar for 2014.  In addition, each monthly winner received a $25 prize.  The photographer chosen as the winner of the cover photo won a grand prize of $50.

I purchased one of the calendars yesterday.

There were nine winners in the photo contest.  Two of my submitted photographs won.

“Sunset After Storm”
July 2014

“Fall Kinzua Dam”
October 2014

Each photograph submitted was judged on the following criteria: (1) significance in terms of its relationship to Warren County, PA; (2) relevance to the month in which it was submitted; (3) photographic quality; and (4) creativity and genuineness/authenticity of the content.
My calendar is hanging in my home office, where I can enjoy all the beautiful photographs of Warren County each month.  Congratulations to all the winners of this photo contest!

Granddaughters’ Christmas Photo Shoot

“With the click of a shutter I am able to freeze a moment in time, preserve a family’s history & ensure future generations will come to know their ancestors.” ~ Beth Forester

Ms. Forester’s quotation aptly characterizes my “Days to Remember” photo journal blog.  As written in the introduction, it is my desire to capture a moment in time and place, preserving it, so that I might share a particular slice of time with others through my photographs and words.  This quotation also characterizes my zeal to photograph our family members and friends, whenever we get together.  I am a prolific photographer, both in taking and in printing pictures.   I feel that a hard copy picture is more valuable than one uploaded online. Who knows where the pictures that have been uploaded online will be 5, 10 or more years from now.  If some catastrophe happened to my hard copy pictures, I would want it to be possible to obtain printed copies once again.  This is why I feel it is important to store digital copies of images on storage devices, such as DVDs and external hard drives.

I photograph our twin granddaughters A LOT!  Since their birth in May 2012, it is a rare month that I have not taken at least one picture of the girls.  My granddaughters’ progeny WILL know their ancestors!

This past Sunday afternoon Bob and I went to Stacey’s mother and stepfather’s home to take pictures of Harper and June in front of their Christmas tree.  Both girls had not had their naps and were tired; however, the girls did cooperate most of the time during the photo session.  The photographs that follow are some of my favorite ones from that photo session.

Both Harper and June enjoy books.

June

I love their smiles and laughter.

Harper

What a treasure these girls are!  I love my granddaughters with all my heart.

Kira’s Christmas Photo Shoot

I had a Christmas photo shoot yesterday afternoon at a friend’s home. My photo subject was an adorable 3-year-old Maltese named Kira.

Kira’s Christmas Photo Shoot

My friend and Kira’s owner, Cheryl, and I worked together to get Kira to pose on a stool covered with a blanket.  I photographed Kira quickly,  before she moved.  Kira is a wild little girl; she was very excited about getting her picture taken.  I think she liked the experience, though.  As I packed up my camera to go home, Kira made boisterous attempts to get into my closed camera bag.  I think she wanted me to take more pictures!  Cheryl will be printing one or more photographs to put in Christmas cards for those who have not yet seen Kira.

An Early Birthday Present

This is my birthday month.  My birthday is still a couple weeks away; however, I bought myself an early birthday present.

My birthday present to me is a new camera–the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

I will be paying on this new camera for rest of the year.  I consider the sacrifice worth it, though!

My new camera is a lot smaller and a lot less heavy than my Olympus E-5.

I have several lenses for my Olympus E-5 camera.  My new camera will accommodate those lenses with an optional adapter, which I also purchased.  I suspect, in time, that I will purchase an additional one or two lenses specifically for the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Happy birthday to me!

Green Screen Fun

On Christmas Day, last year, I purchased a background stand and a 6×9 ft Green Chroma key Muslin Backdrop.  The background stand can accommodate larger backdrops, and I may purchase other backdrops in the future.

BackgroundStand

This is the background stand that I purchased.

I plan to use the background stand and backdrop to take photographs of family, in particular my granddaughters, and possibly some friends and then replace the green background with another background.

I do not have a lighting kit.  At the present time I do not plan to purchase one.  I will use an external flash and, possibly, reflectors to light my subject(s).

Here are some photographs that I have taken thus far with the green screen.

I need to learn how to add shadows to my composite photograph.
A shadow would provide grounding for Patches.

There is a slight green tinge (from the green backdrop) around my husband’s head, in the composite photograph.  With better lighting and by having my subject stand farther away from the backdrop, the green tinge will be minimized.

Green Tinge Be Gone!

As you can see in this photograph, I did manage to get rid of the green tinge around my husband’s head.  A careful selection and use of the hue slider took care of the problem.

Yesterday, I took a photograph of myself against the green backdrop.  Actually, I took about 10 photographs of myself against that backdrop.  It is very difficult to take a photograph of yourself, especially when you place two bowls and a mannequin head on top of the chair so that you can focus on its eye. In 12 seconds I had to remove the two bowls and mannequin head from the chair, sit myself down in the chair and strike a pose. It took at least 10 attempts before I captured a photograph that I could work with.

x

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I used digital backdrops from Photobacks for each of these photographs.  Photobacks provides an extensive line of digital image enhancement products, including digital templates, digital backgrounds, actions and video tutorials.

For those of you who are not familiar with the green screen technique, Wikipedia provides a good definition and description of the technique.  You may read the Wikipedia Chroma key article by clicking here.

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