Week 4: Headshot (kind of)

So I decided to go in a little bit of a different direction for this week’s theme.  Never mind that I’m a little late — I’m working on that.  I think I’m going to be perpetually busy for the next few months, but I digress.  While thinking about what to do, I started Googling “headshots” for inspiration.  Low and behold!  Did you know that people aren’t the only subjects of heatshot photos?  I’ve stumbled across a whole section of animal headshot, and decided that’s just what I’ll do, especially since I had a ton of photos from Florida of animals (well, birds mostly) that I haven’t had a chance to work on.

In going to the usual places, there were the usual subjects; ducks (baby ducks!  So cute!), seagulls, squirrels and so on.  But during this visit, I was out and about with the mentality of “photographer” in mind!  So as I was walking around throughout my trip, I was lucky to snap a couple good shots of those usual suspects, and pretty close up as well.

There were a few odd balls in the bunch, however, as well as a crazy feeding frenzy that I found myself in the middle of!  As for the odd balls, the birds much have been hungry, because I’ve never seen so many fishing birds over such a short amount of time.  Maybe that’s because I’m never looking as frequently as I was during the trip, but I’m sticking with them being hungry this time.  I saw this awesome little Snowy Egret who was fishing like a pro – fish after tiny fish — he was having a feast!  While at the beach that day, I also saw one of my little favorites, a Least Sandpiper, and something I always like to find, a crab!  He was a spider crab, which is different than what I usually see in Ocean City, so it was neat to find something new.

We also made a stop by the aquarium, which is place where I’ve never taken photos before.  I’ve always had reservations about photographing animals in contained habitats.  It just seems too easy, you know?  There’s no excitement in catching them out in the wild, and hoping to get the perfect shot.  However, a girl in one of my classes last semester when to the aquarium to get photos of jelly fish, and I have to admit, I was jealous. So, off we went, and along with the jelly fish photos, I snapped a couple shark photos as well, because let’s be real, I’ll probably never swim with them in the wild.  Well, never say never I suppose.  It may be crazy, but it’s definitely on my bucket list.

As for the feeding frenzy, we went to the beach on my last day there, and my friend was wise enough (and sneaky, because I had no idea) to bring some bread to feed the seagulls. I know, I know, you’re never supposed to feed them, because they go crazy, but in this case, it was pretty amazing.  They started off pretty cautious, not getting to close to us as she threw bread in their directions.  It was only a few minutes, if even that long, before they were swarming around us, and even taking bread directly out of my friend’s hand.  So, half scared that I was going to get pooped on (because if you didn’t know, they’re notorious for that), and have really amazed at how crazy they were acting, I started snapping away.  I have to say, out of all the unusual birds that I saw, these seagulls were my favorite.  What are normally nuisances around the beach turned out to be some pretty majestic models, if you ask me!

Hopefully this counts, but either way, the point is I worked on some photos for this week. I mean, technically, there are faces, just not human faces?  So, animal headshots it is…..even though that sounds weird, like hunting weird.  Ok, so we’ll just say animal close ups, with a focus on their face?  Enjoy!

 

Tiz Past The Season For The Lights to Still Be Out

So I thought I would have some fun with this week’s assignment.  I often shoot my photos using a shallow depth of field, blurring much of the picture field, so this was not something new for me.  What was new, however, was the use of “bokeh”, or the play on light entering the lens.  I’ve gotten lucky with some of these effects in the past, and have even intentionally done it with some of my sunset/sunrise pictures in the past when it catches my eye through the lens, but have never really thought as to why it was happening.  Now that I know about it, I guess, I wanted to play with it.

Here they are.  Plugged in a waiting in the piano room.

 

Lucky for me, my parent’s aren’t so great at putting things away…like the Christmas decorations for instance.  There were a few strings of lights just sitting around in the living room, so I thought I would put them to good, artistic use, and have some fun with them!

 

I started off with just one image that fit the bill of “out of focus”  copying the above image, but just blurring the focus — you have just enough information to be able to tell that you’re looking at Christmas lights, but can’t quite make out any of the details.  Then I moved on to what I call the “classic bokeh” that I’ve seen through my researching over the past week. I Love how playful and colorful the lights shine through the lens, leaving the viewer completely unaware of what the source was.  Then I thought I would go to something which was a little more familiar to me; shooting in a shallow depth of field.  I loved the effect when shooting the Christmas lights in the darkened room — you’re able to get a combination of a strong focus in part of the image, with the blurred portion of the image having that lovely bokeh effect.  I shot nearly all of the images at an f/5, which made achieving this effect in only a portion of the image very easy.  Check them out!

As for the business assignments, I guess I’ve made a little progress throughout the week, but still have some work to do.  I’ve done some research into businesses which feature local artists’ work on a monthly basis, and will be reaching out to them — tomorrow!  I promise!  I’m excited, and at the same time nervous, about this.  Hopefully they like my work, and I can get things going!  I’ll also be at a craft fair a week from today, so that will be another great way to spread the word that I’m “open for business”!  If you’re in the area, come see me (you can read about the info here).

Out of Focus

Finally!  I feel like I have this weeks challenge in the bag!  Out of focus is the theme for the photos, which could include anything from the entire image being out of focus, using a very shallow depth of field to have portions of the image blurred, or using bokeh.  Bokeh?  What is this magical photo word that I’ve seen all over the place and never bothered to look into?  Well, it simply means the blur in an image, either the entire photo or a portion.  When researching it, it seems that it is more specifically defined as the blurred effect of light entering the lens.  You can read up more about it here in an article from Nikon, which gives some good examples of both the play on light and different portions of objects as the image focal point.  Here are a couple of images that I’ve taken in the past that fit the criteria of “out of focus”, though I do plan to take more images this week!

As for the business challenge, the task this week is to start a blog….::looks around::…yes!  Done!  I have to admit, I did cheat a little by looking ahead at what the business tasks were going to be, but I’m glad I did.  This way I’ve had a way to document everything that I’ve been working on so far, and I wouldn’t feel the need to play catch up in posting the first three week’s work this week.  I suppose I can spend this week not only shooting photos, but catching up on the business tasks that I didn’t do from week 2 & 3.  I will reach out to photographers, and for last week, I will reach out to vendors!  I have a couple in mind already, so wish me luck!