Monthly archives: January, 2009

Screencast: photomanip

To finally put the portrait and its photomanipulation to rest, I feel like a screencast (a video tutorial) is in place.

Note1: the soundtrack is made from freely licensed music by Severed Fifth;

Note2: I have the video available in its original format, at an incredible image quality, but the file is large, too large for what vide sharing sites allows, so I’m looking into the right way to publish it.

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Beyond portraits: photomanipulation

I take seriously the freedom thing so my photos are never photoshoped, they are gimped instead :p So I used GIMP to touch the portrait I made the other day.

A first step was to play with the saturation, the initial colors are a bit too strong and the black and white is not bad at all:

Portrait: photomanipulation

Another interesting operation is to play with cropping and put in the spotlight what you think is the most interesting part of the picture:

Portrait: photomanipulation

And of course, unleash the gimping extravaganza going for a "glossy magazine cover" type of photography: heal the unwanted spots, soften the skin with selective gaussian blur, sharpen the eyes, lips and hair, other important details (the ring in this case) and, why not, alter the color of the eyes and lips. And stop here, while a bit of sanity is still preserved…

Portrait: photomanipulation

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Making of: studio portaits

When doing studio portraits, the other photographer have to get themselves busy and find something to to: snapshots of the surrounding events, a so-called “making of”, a collection of candid, but technically bad, pictures.

Making of: Portraits at Cursphoton

Making of: Portraits at Cursphoton

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Model Me / Me from Hell

In the portrait session of the photography course we had to take in turns photos of our colleagues. And, as a consequence, when asked model for our colleagues. Don’t know if my beard was the reason or maybe the finger showing T-shirt, but I opened the session as a model.

Model Me

I don’t turned into a smoker overnight, the smoke is not from a cigarette behind me, but is coming straight from the Hell (sure!). Now I think I can use as an avatar for my Baldur’s Gate character (maybe after a bit of darkening and pixelation).

me from hell

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Blue eyed blonde Anca in high key portraiture

Sunday was an exciting day at the photography course: we took portraits in the studio, with camera on a tripod and studio lights. Since most of my colleagues did shoots they can’t to at home (low key, dark with strong small lights and big shadows), I went the opposite way, with a high key photographs, for which I asked Anca, a blue eyed blonde colleague, to pose.

Portrait exercise

The main light is quite close to the camera, almost like in fashion portraits, with a second light on the right to ease the shadows and a yellow backlight to give some contour of the hair and make it golden. This photo is touched just a little (saturation, sharpness, a few blemishes removed), will follow later with more photomanipulation (I need time to play with GIMP and try various things).

Studio portrait: Anca

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Energy

Obsessed with this week’s homework for the photography course I made a third composition, this time using some AA batteries.

Energy

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Balls of steel

After turning the Thinker of Hamangia at various angles, I tried another take at the homework for the photography course and shoot some balls. No, no that kind of balls, but shiny moving balls made from steel.

Balls (of steel)

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Angles

This week’s homework assignment for the photography course was to take photos of a subject from 3 different angles. I got the idea to shot a reproduction of the Hamangia Thinker and, as usually, went overboard and selected 6 angles (as the ultimate proof I don’t have self-control).

Angles

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Self portrait: Decisions, decisions…

Another self portrait experiment is far from good photography, it is more about the fusion about two type of graphics: photography and illustration. So there is the basic decision, good versus evil. What’s your bet?

Self portrait: decisions, decisions....

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Self portrait: With Toys

My home work for this week at the photography course is a self portrait so I have to experiment with a kind of photos I do rarely (I like to do portraits, not to myself). This is why here the focus is on the toys, the activity, not on my face.

Self portrait: playin' with toys

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Winter

The weather is freezing cold, the parks are empty, the benches are lonely…

Lonely benches

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Learning about apertures

Some weeks ago browsing aimlessly (I was looking at the price of various photo gear) I noticed the Photon Photography Course, the price looked right to me so I decided to enrol myself, trying to improve my skills. It started this week-end with a couple of theory lessons. Not something really new for me and not very deep, but basic knowledge for any photographer.

So after the first course, I made a couple of photo experiments showing the dependency if aperture size (F number) and the depth of field. The range of aperture values is not very large, just as my main (telephoto) lens allows (F3.5 is my limit):

Aperture experiment

Aperture experiment

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Sunset at Arcul de Triumf

My last photo session from 2008 (the New Year Eve one doesn’t count, it ended in 2009) was completely unexpected: the last working day was a bit shorter, I left the office a couple of hours earlier than usual, so I encountered a beautiful sunset. Jumped out of the bus as fast as I could at Arcul de Triumf where I hoped to get a clear view of the skyline and tried to capture it.

Sunset at Arcul de Triumf

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Sky on fire balls on ice / Fireworks for the New Year

It was not that cold, only around -7°C so my balls survived, my main problem in taking photos of the New Year fireworks was a bit different: the location. We had in Bucharest two such events organised in the street: one by municipality (read: the communist mayor of Bucharest) in Piața Consituției and another organised by some TV and radio stations in Piața Revoluției.

My lenses have their pride and refused to shot at the larger and probably better lighted event which was practically a disguised launch of a communist candidate for the next presidential elections, so I went with MTV: the lesser bad from two poisoned choices. And the price to be paid, in any of those locations, was to endure listening to boy bands. Probably my most demanding photoshot so far[*], worse than the Luxury Show, where the admission price was real money.

New Year 2009: Fireworks

New Year 2009: Fireworks

[*] what’s worse: to listen to the boy bands or to watch their desperate female fans jumping around?

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