Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mid-Day Shooting

Parenting sure is a wild ride! Just when you think you've adapted to life with them in it, they change and you have to adjust to a whole new set of challenges.

A few months ago Logan learned to crawl. He's easier in a lot of ways now--he doesn't cry as much, I don't feel like we change as many diapers, and he's getting funner to play with every day. BUT, he's mobile now, and requires a lot more supervision (almost constant). No more sitting him on the floor with some toys and turning your attention to something else.

It's much harder now to find free time to enjoy more 'stationary' types of relaxation like reading, editing photos, or writing blog posts. It would also be asking a lot more of Jess now for me to leave her with Logan and go out shooting. So things have been pretty quiet on the photography front for a few months now.

I was whining to Jess yesterday about how I really wanted to get back into it, but didn't know how to make it work; right now I'm really needed at home at sunrise and sunset to help get Logan up and to help put him down. But Jess raised an interesting question: can I really only shoot at sunrise or sunset? My first response was yes; the light and the adventure during those hours is a big part of what I love about photography. But, she made a good point, and I decided that for the sake of getting back into the hobby, I'd find ways to shoot during the day.

I spent some time on flickr looking for inspiration (click here for a practically endless slide show of 'interesting' photography posted to flickr in the last 7 days). Here's what I came up with.
  • You still want nice diffused light. You can find this anytime of the day if you look in shade from plants (the light is diffused by the trees) or light fabrics.
  • A cloudy day will also diffuse the light, though it means you can't count on a blue sky for your image.
  • You can take a relatively bland image, then play with different effects during processing to create something interesting.
  • You can work with the harsh light to create a high-contrast image with both very bright and very dark areas.
There's a beautiful home nearby that has this awesome "cottage in the woods" feel to it. I thought it'd be fun to snap a pic of it, good-light-be-damned, and then play with the image to enhance that fairly tale feel.

I just cropped the photo down and used a Lightroom preset called "Aged Photo" to achieve this.

Here's the un-cropped original. Cropping really helped me out here--I was having a tough time framing this photo and was feeling discouraged, but a little cropping and I think it turned out great! The white security camera sure is distracting, too, so I cloned that out.

I took this next photo on some trails behind the Santa Barbara mission.

My wife gets the credit for editing this one. She cropped it, took the shadows way down, and added a vignette.

Here's the original.

I'm glad I've found some ways to get back into photography; hopefully you'll start hearing more from me!

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