Sunday, February 26, 2017

Global views

The other day I receive a financial prospective in the mail. It contained pages of just numbers and gave me the idea of combining the numbers in a still life image with a glass globe to convey the concept of global finance and trade.

My setup for this was quite simple. I used daylight from a window combined with the light from a single, small LED source. The camera was a Fuji X-T2 fit with a Zeiss Touit 60mm macro, which I used wide open at f/2.8. In the top photo I shifted the color temperature towards a cool blue. In the second photo I sought more of a pure, bright, white light. I also used some of the white solar bursts from my Sunshine Overlays package to brighten several areas on the images.

The bottom photo was more of a complex setup. Here I used two small LED lights and different globes photographed against a black background. I took several views showing the different continents. Later I placed three of these views in Photoshop as layers on top of one another. Since they were photographed against black I was able to use the "Screen" layer mode to allow seeing through to the layers below. "Screen" mode will make everything black disappear. Next I added two more layers of blurs taken of out-of-focus lights. One of these layers was changed to "Soft Light"; the other remained "Normal" but the opacity was dialed down. This gave me a total of five over-lapping layers. Finally, I added layer masks to several of the images so I could paint out some of the overlapping areas where they interfered with one another.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

New York snow with the Fuji X-T2

My X-T2 is no sooner back from Fuji repair as a result of my fall in the last New York snow, when I took it out again on an even worse snowy day. This time I visited the Brooklyn Bridge down by the water's edge. I used one of my favorite techniques for photographing snow, a flash to pop out the white flakes.

I used the Fuji 16-55 f/2.8 for most of the photography, resorting to the wider Fuji 14mm for one scene where I wanted extra coverage.

My first shot of the day was this one with the gull. It's easy to include flying gulls in your shots because they roost right under the nearby highway and are constantly flying by. It's just a matter of patience and timing. 

For the photo below I switched to the wider Fuji 14mm f/2.8 lens because I wanted to capture some of the snow-covered shore line.  

The technique for capturing the snow flakes with the flash requires a bit of trial and error, and is often dependent upon the scene and time of day. I varied the flash at both full and 1/2 power and tried to keep the lens aperture on the open side, ranging from f/2.8 to f/4. The more open the aperture, the larger the flakes in the foreground. Of course this also depends upon the focal length of the lens. compare the bottom photo taken with the 14mm and the one above it taken at 25mm with the 16-55mm zoom. The longer focal length results in larger flakes. The other important control for fine-tuning the balance between the brightness of the scene and the flakes is by changing the ISO.  During the day I varied the ISO from 200-400 in 1/3rd stop increments. This allowed me to fine-tune the balance for light from the flash and the actual daylight.