Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gate to the ocean

This photo was taken somewhere on the California coastline on beautiful route 1 from Santa Barbara to Monterey. The walkway belonged to hostels that happened to be near a historic lighthouse that was being renovated (Pigeon Point lighthouse I believe).
I thought it was interesting how simple the walkway and gate were in relation to the majestic sight of huge waves crashing on the coast. Not a bad view from your backyard.
The best thing about this place (apart from the scenery) was that we saw a whale spout as a whale came up to breathe. Unfortunately the whale was probably a mile away and I didn't have a 1200mm lens with me to take its photo.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f5.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, January 30, 2006

All about shadows

What I love about black and white photography is that it really focuses your vision on the details and patterns around you. In this photo I took at the aquatic park stands in San Francisco, I was really impressed with the richness and strength of the shadows from the railing and stairs.
While the pattern on it's own was interesting, I felt that including a person in the image would draw the focus away from the trashcan and help elevate the image from a simple shadow study.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f9.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Seed in Grass

I've you've visited my blog in the past you've probably noticed that I've changed the format considerably. I thought this setup looked more clean and put more emphasis on the photos. All the information that used to be on the right sidebar is now at the very bottom of the page. Let me know what you think.
This photo is of a small seed pod from a tree in my Parent's backyard. I forget the name of the tree but it drops thousands of these spiky seeds all over the grass.
I liked the rich color from the bright natural lighting and was impressed with the detail on the seed. While they may look pretty and interesting, these seeds are very annoying to rake and to step on when you're barefoot.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 5.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Look closer

Take some time and see if you can see the point of this photo before you read this.
I took this at the tidal pool at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. I thought it was interesting how the extremely still water was transparent, reflective and colorful at the same time.
I included the rocks at the bottom to balance out the reflection of the child holding the railing in the reflection at the top of the image. Even though I intended to take the photo this way, I was surprised to notice the reflection later on when I was reviewing my shots.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f5.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, January 27, 2006

Just a peel

In order to break up some dark images I've posted recently, I decided to post this image of a clementine peel. Clementines are basically really small sweet oranges without seeds.
I like how the literal emptiness inside the peel and the emptiness of the white background contrast with the fresh and bright look of the orange exterior.
To be honest I decided to take this photo because I was impressed that I could take the peel off in one piece. And also I've never seen a shot of an empty peel anywhere else. By the way here is another even more vibrant shot of an orange I took a while back.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f3.5
[click photo to enlarge]

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Art imitating life imitating art

This is an interesting shot I took when Robyn and I were at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. I don't usually like to take photos of art because it seems more documentary than anything else.
In this case I thought the similarity between the subjects of the piece and the people in the background was worth capturing. I forget the name of the artist who created this sculpture but I wonder if he/she had in mind where it would be displayed.
I had to wait for a minute or two before people were walking in ways I thought would be good for the photo. Ideally I would have like the lighting to be a little better but light is pretty limited inside the museum.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 3.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Life and death

I'm a firm believer that in order to truly improve as a photographer you have to learn how to make the everyday and sometimes ugly look beautiful and interesting. Anyone can take a decent photo of a sunset but I think the true reward is finding the good in normally disregarded items.
And while I'm getting overly poetic, I like the contrast between the life giving sun and the dying plant in this photo.
I felt the shallow depth of field was perfect in creating a softer look and bringing attention to the details in the shriveled berries. The colors in the background are from the setting sun and a light layer of snow on the ground.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 2.8
[click photo to enlarge]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

San Francisco through the wires

This is another photo I'm very happy with. I took this shot from one of the higher streets in San Francisco (Hyde I think).
Since the color was relatively bland, I decided to switch to black and white for this shot. I think the exposure and the different tones works well. I was very happy to capture the way the power lines heading down the hill were parallel to the lines of the Trans America building. In addition to showing the steepness of the street, the wires balance the photo and give the building a place in the composition. The full look of the image differentiates it from other more simple "skyline-only" shots.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f7.3
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, January 23, 2006

Conversation on a drawbridge

I took this shot of a railway drawbridge in India last summer. The bridge runs from Soutern India to the isalnd where Rameshwaram is. This island is the closest part of India to Sri Lanka.
The history of the railway bridge is somewhat interesting. It was made in order to replace a similar bridge that was wiped out along with a train full of passengers by a typhoon about 40 years ago. Normally the water looks relatively calm but it's a fragile balance building on water.
What I like about this photo is the fresh and vibrant color of the water contrasting with the worn and aged drawbridge. Also the presence of the two men on the tracks gives the image a sense of scale and mystery as to how they got there. I like the downward angle of the shot which I was able to do shooting from the newer and taller automobile bridge. This angle allowed me to include the concrete pilings which lined the shipping lane.

Canon 20D, 50mm 1.4, AV f 3.2
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Eye in silhouette

This is photo of Robyn I took when I was in the Philadelphia area during break this December. I was going for an abstract, highly artistic image that wasn't instantly recognizable. I silhoutted The side of Robyn's face against the faint lighting streaming in through the window.
What I like about this photo is the detail shown in Robyn's eyelashes and the slight reflection of the window light in the lens of her eye. While this photo technically breaks two basic rules of photography, (not using a 50/50 composition and not having detail in the dark areas) I think it brings the viewer to the details in the image and simplifies the presentation. To me the end result is very balanced and peaceful appearance.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV f3.5
[click photo to enlarge]

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Alarm clock

For most people this is the last thing you want to see in the morning. I took an extreme close up of my alarm clock to challenge myself to make something common look interesting.
In order to get this look I used a longer exposure and altered the focus so the image would be a little fuzzy. The result is a sun-like glow around each of the digits. Also you can see the light emitted by the 'off' sections of the numbers. To differentiate the shot even more from real life I tilted the frame.
I think the image has a stark and almost eerie look to it. Much different than what a typical alarm clock looks like.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, Macro mode, TV 4 seconds
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, January 20, 2006

Faucet by the ocean

There are some photos which just look interesting without a concrete reason. This to me is one of those photos. Something about the rich color and the bright appearance of the faucet makes me like this photo.
I took this photo on the Pacific Coast Highway, a few hours north of Santa Barbara, California. Despite it being an overcast day with rain and rough surf, just enough light leaked down to illuminate the faucet and the plants. This was just part of a little state park beach and overlooked the Pacific Ocean. I'm not really sure what it's purpose is but it looks odd right near the water.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f5.6
[click photo to enlarge]

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Old switches

This is a closeup of switches and knobs on an old amplifier my Dad was about to throw out. I added some strong lighting from underneath in order to create strange, almost ghostly shadows. The strong light made the ends of the switches seem to glow. I used a shallow depth of field in order to draw the eye to the switches and to blur the distracting background.
This photo reminds me that no matter how advanced a piece of technology is, eventually it becomes more valuable as a reminder of the past than for its original purpose.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 2.8
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Signs of Times Square

When I was in New York last December we were walking through Times Square when I thought of this interesting relationship between the sign and the huge advertisement. I've always wanted to capture the wild and over-commercialized nature of Times Square but most shots seem simple and boring.
By including the crosswalk sign I tried to add a little humor and interest (hopefully). Even at 9pm lighting wasn't really an issue due to the intense floodlighting in the square. The only tough part was to expose the darker areas like the street sign correctly while capturing the light from the crosswalk sign.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV 5.6
[click photo to enlarge]

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The King of Drops

This is another photo from the 'water drop' shoot when I took this other photo. Of something like 550 attempts I got about 20 quality shots.
I liked this particular one because the splash has the look of a crown. I think the crown effect happens after the column effect seen in my previous drop photo. I was happy that the drop fell right in the middle of where the light was brightest. For the lighting I used 4 lights and shot the drop in a metal mixing bowl in order to get the strange colors and reflections.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, TV 1/6400
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, January 16, 2006

Glowing fence

I took this photo when I was back home in the Philadelphia area in December. The sun was about 10 minutes from setting and the dry grass and the wood of the fence really picked up the strong lighting.
I thought the warm glow and the positive look of the image was appropriate for the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. day in the United States. If you haven't had the chance to read Dr. King's Letter from Birmingham Jail , I highly reccommend it. For anyone who appreciates excellent writing and thoroughly thought out arguments the letter should serve as an inspiration.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AV f11.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Me in New York

I realized that other than the mysterious sunglasses shot in my blogger profile I haven't posted any photos of me.
Robyn took this photo of me when we visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. I like this shot because of the color of the art in the background and the strong lighting. Also the inclusion of the other people in the frame adds interesting elements.
By the way Hops our rabbit just celebrated his 3rd birthday. You can check out photos of his 'party' on Robyn's blog.
Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV f5.6
[click photo to enlarge]

Friday, January 13, 2006

Rusty chain in paradise

I took this photo on 17 mile drive on the Monterey Pennisula in California. It's a loop through cypress groves and along the rocky coast of the Pacific Ocean. There is a little walking trail (stop #5) where you can walk along the coast and see the huge waves crashing against the rocks and sand. As you can see from the rust deposits on the chain, the crashing of the waves creates a lot of spray which covers anything close to the shore.
I like this photo because it shows that no matter how hard we try to contain or control the earth, nature always finds a way to overcome. It's an interesting contrast between the constant and ageless ocean and the temporary and fading fence.

Canon 20D, 24-8524-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV mode f5.6
[click photo to enlarge]

Close to change

I decided to change things up a bit and include a macro shot (In case you haven't noticed I really don't like to post two similar photos in a row).
I liked the composition in this photo and how the light and focus on the dime in the bottom left brings attention to the detail.
I look at macro or close-up photography as a way to bring attention to things we normally overlook.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, Macro mode AV f8.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Boats in San Francisco

I'm really happy with how this photo turned out. I took this around the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. If you've ever been there you know that is a very touristy area with tacky gift shops and restaurants. I tried hard to create an image that reflected the real wharf by including the traditional boats rather than the modern signs.
I like this compostion as it balances the boats and their reflections well. The shape of the boats seem to melt into the reflection in the still water. This balance and the great lighting make this more than a standard shot of docked boats.

Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV mode f8.0
[click photo to enlarge]

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shapes of a persimmon

I took this shot of a freshly sliced persimmon because I thought it was interesting how the fruit held its shape even after cutting. I included the long shadow to give the simple scene a more dramatic look.
As usual I used a very simple setup, just the fruit on a white plate lit by a desklamp.
And if you've never tried a persimmon they are pretty good and tough to describe. They look like a cross between apples and tomatoes and taste like spiced pudding.

Nikon Coolpix 5400, AV f5.6
[click photo to enlarge]

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mutant Starfish

I noticed this starfish stuck onto the inside of the kelp forest tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Apart from the interesting way it seems to float in the water I also noticed that it seems to have 6 arms/legs instead of the normal 5. Also the extra arm/leg to the bottom right seems to have spikes on it.
If there are any biologists out there maybe you can explain the extra appendage. And as I've said before the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a truly great aquarium, you can easily spend a weekend there and still have more to see.
Canon 20D, 24-85mm 3.5-4.5, AV mode f5.6
[click photo to enlarge]

Monday, January 09, 2006

Back to the blog...

So I'm back from a long break from blogging. I was fortunate enough to get a good amount of photos from New York City, Philadelphia, and all along the California coast. Also I took some snow and landscape photos from some parks around the Philadelphia area.
This photo is from New York City and I liked it because the lines of the building create a sort of optical illusion as they aren't level with the frame. Also the size of the flags and the fact that you don't see the edge of the building create a question as the building's size.

Canon 20D, Tamron 28-75mm, AV f 5.6
[click photo to enlarge]