52Frames – 2021-48 – Inspired By A Photographer – and 100 52Frames!

Aaaaaand 100 in a row. It shows here: all time streak, 100. I almost gave up a few time this year, and I almost accidentally broke my streak (had an upload snafu earlier this year), but it got maintained by the kindness of the Powers That Be at 52Frames 🙂

I must say that, for a 100th week theme, I groaned a bit when I saw the theme. I’m not too fond of that kind of “inspired by”: it makes me feel like crap, because I feel that anyone I’d be “inspired by” may actually feel insulted that my meager attempt may try to emulate them. I did consider getting the inspiration from a fellow Scavenger (I had several people in mind 😉 ) and decided against that for that reason because I *know* these people. (Although, considering the average Scavenger, I’m pretty sure I would have found nothing but support there!).

Anyway, I looked at the problem from the other direction. I considered what I wanted to experiment with, looked for someone working in that direction, and tried to emulate their style as best as I could. And, trying to play with still life and light and that sort of things appeals to me greatly these days. I searched for that kind of thing, and stumbled upon the work of Sharon Core. In particular, I liked the light visibly coming from a diagonal in one of the upper corners; I tried to emulate that. To the best of my ability, I also tried to take more care than usual in my whole setup (subject, tripod, light, background) – it was also the first time I used the background-holding tripod I bought a couple of months ago! – and ended up with the picture above.

I’m actually happy with it, although I still have significant progress to do to light my subject: as it is, I didn’t get what I was going for, although I don’t hate the result. It also feels “right” to have celebrated my 100th week on this project by taking a bit more time to think about what I wanted to do and how to do it, instead of half-baking something at the last minute – as it has happened more often than not in the past few months.

Anyway, now that I have the 100… I can’t leave it like that, now, can I? Here’s to a hundred more!

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Sheet

Collage of 10 pictures over a grey background. From left to right and top to bottom: close up of green bird feathers, top of three tin cans, see-through slice of lime, abstract image of small bubbles, bunch of screwdriver tips, star confettis, five resistors on a white background, close up of cow-pattern fabric, close-up of a collection of dice, close up of melted chocolate.

As for Hunt #32, there was, for this Scavenger Hunt, an “extra credit” for the people submitting all 10 pictures: presenting all the pictures on a single image – the exact formulation was “contact sheet”, but the constraints were “don’t overlap, don’t re-crop, don’t add borders; if the background is visible, black, white, or grey.

The first image I took was the one with the tin cans, and it has a fairly awkward size ratio, so I felt like I was in trouble. So, I planned.

Handwritten notes assembling 10 words into a single rectangle, with image ratios. The notes are visibly modified after the first version.

I was super proud of myself: I had created an extra constraint for the pictures because for my rectangle to work, I needed precise ratios, but that was FINE, right? Right. Best plans of mice and men. For one thing, as you can see, there’s been a significant reshuffling of dimensions… and images! as I was getting the pictures 🙂

And then I put together the image, it was pretty bad. It became very apparent that I did need a neutral background to separate the pictures; the initial plan didn’t work at all. This was pretty disheartening, because the whole geometry worked well with these ratios, but adding borders to them wouldn’t work easily 😦 I considered re-cropping the images to make them work within the ratios, and gave up on the idea: it felt like re-editing the pictures to be able to add them to a “contact sheet”-type of image would kind of defeat the purpose. So, instead, I moved things around, I aligned images as I could, and I tried to get something as pleasantly looking as I could.

It means that the 3×2 images have far more grey space around them than I would have liked – but it ended up being the best I could do – otherwise I had more space in height, and that was worse. I was quite disappointed, to be honest – when I realized I had overlooked the space for the borders. But oh well, that’s how you learn. I still believe that trying to get the constraint first and shoot within these constraints was the right move – but I didn’t get the right constraints at the beginning 🙂

The complete Scavenger album is available here – along with its winners!: the Sheet album.

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Backlight

Close-up of a slice of lime with back lighting displaying transluscent details of the lime structure.

While I used the previous Hunt to experiment with composites and story-telling, I wanted to go “back to basics” for this Hunt, and try to get maybe closer from my comfort zone, but also closer to pictures that feel like “me”. But, for the personal challenge, I shot everything with my 100mm macro lens!

The “Backlight” theme was an occasion to experiment with something I wanted to do for quite some time, namely see-through photography that would enable to see greater details and colors – it’s a fairly common exercise in macro and food photography. For all its commonality, thought, finding a (written) tutorial on the matter proved difficult, if not impossible – so it was time for me to put the thinking hat on! We almost always have limes home for, err, mixology reasons, so my subject was pretty much a given (I did consider buying a kiwi – another popular fruit to photograph that way!)

It took me an embarrassing amount of time to realize I didn’t have to prop my slice of lime vertically to photograph it. Instead, I came up with the following contraption, starring my faithful piece of black fabric, a makeshift light tripod holding a Lume cube with a funnel, two chairs holding a transparent dish (with the help of a little masking tape)… and the slice of lime.

Photography setup: a black piece of fabric, a support for a funneled light, two chairs propping a transparent dish containing a slice of lemon. The setup enables for lemon slice to be lit from below.

Once the setup was done, it was mostly a matter of tuning the alignment of the light and the slice of lime, tune the exposure to avoid blowing whites, and taking a bunch of pictures to get one that was sharp.

Unprocessed version of the lime slice picture above. It has a larger black border, a reflection at the bottom, it's far less colorful and it has distracting light showing around it.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/5.6
Exposure time1/500
ISO500

Editing required a bit of Photoshop to get better masks so that I could get rid of the distracting light leaks; if not for that, it would have been “crop + color correction + removing a few dots and dust”.

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Backlight album.

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Tool

Close-up of a multitude of small screwdriver tips, slanted at a roughly 15 degrees angle.

While I used the previous Hunt to experiment with composites and story-telling, I wanted to go “back to basics” for this Hunt, and try to get maybe closer from my comfort zone, but also closer to pictures that feel like “me”. But, for the personal challenge, I shot everything with my 100mm macro lens!

Pierre recently got a iFixIt tool kit that contains aaaaall the small tool bits, so I knew that this would be a prime candidate for “macro-like-shot-of-tools”. When I opened the box and saw all the tips well aligned, I knew I wouldn’t have to look much further indeed. I got multiple shots, playing with the light to get some highlights but avoid a completely flat picture, getting reasonable depth of field and sharpness, and this is what I landed on:

A multitude of screwdriver tips.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/32
Exposure time1.6 s
ISO640

One of the other shots I had had a tilt/slant to it, which I liked, so I rotated that image in post. I also wanted the black support foam to be darker, and the image to have warmer tones, so I did that.

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Tool album.

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Temptation

Melting chocolate; the squares are still visible but are definitely on the melting side.

While I used the previous Hunt to experiment with composites and story-telling, I wanted to go “back to basics” for this Hunt, and try to get maybe closer from my comfort zone, but also closer to pictures that feel like “me”. But, for the personal challenge, I shot everything with my 100mm macro lens!

When I was first brainstorming this Hunt, I was first considering going in the same direction as the previous Hunt with all the manikins. “Temptation” was one of the few words for which I had an immediate image in mind: that of a manikin posing in a suggestive position 🤣. But I decided against it, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it would have been awesome.

Instead, I took the opportunity of Pierre experimenting with chocolate (as it often happens in this house) and took some pictures of melting chocolate.

Chocolate melting in a pan.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/4
Exposure time1/15 s
ISO1600

Chocolate is fiendishly hard to have proper colors for – I think I managed pretty well on this one. I’m not super happy with the picture in general, it could have done with more depth of field and more sharpness, which in turn would have meant more light, which in turn made things complicated. And at the time I realized it could have been better, that chocolate was more than melted! Later opportunities presented themselves, but I didn’t seize them – but oh well, it’s still a decent picture. It makes ME hungry, that’s all that matters!

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Temptation album.

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Crooked

Close-up of 5 2.2KΩ (red-red-red-gold) resistors in a row; the fourth one is crooked, the other four are straight.

While I used the previous Hunt to experiment with composites and story-telling, I wanted to go “back to basics” for this Hunt, and try to get maybe closer from my comfort zone, but also closer to pictures that feel like “me”. But, for the personal challenge, I shot everything with my 100mm macro lens!

My first idea for “Crooked” was to get an old piece of defunct electronics, find an integrated circuit on it, remove it, and re-add it with a pin out of place and crooked. That plan didn’t pan out because I forgot to take into account that electronics got smol and I couldn’t find a proper candidate for my experience (also, things would have been cut short anyway, so I’m not sure how realistic that plan was in the first place.)

But this got me into my electronics boxes, where I found a bunch of brand new resistors cohabitating with the few that had been used already… and whose leads showed it. The setup was pretty minutious, to get a square picture where the resistors would be properly spaced on the whole picture; this is what I ended up with for the final shot.

5 2.2KΩ (red-red-red-gold) resistors in a row; the fourth one is crooked, the other four are straight. The picture is dark, the paper background is visible and there's a lot of white space around the resistors.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/7.1
Exposure time1/200 s
ISO400

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Crooked album.

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Cow

Black and white hair texture reminiscent of cow spots.

While I used the previous Hunt to experiment with composites and story-telling, I wanted to go “back to basics” for this Hunt, and try to get maybe closer from my comfort zone, but also closer to pictures that feel like “me”. But, for the personal challenge, I shot everything with my 100mm macro lens!

I almost got stumped with my general “feel” for this round’s pictures for the word “Cow”. It’s a bit ironic, considering that Switzerland is, in all fairness, cow-land: I wouldn’t have to go far to go get cow pictures! But I wanted to evoke the cow without having an image that would be wildly out of place compared to the others. Hence, I rapidly zeroed on the idea of getting some cow-spot pattern fabric for this image. I was lucky enough to find a craft shop that had two different cow print fabrics, and was selling it by length of 30cm only; I ordered both and they arrived a couple of days later. (Be aware that I now own a tiny bit of two different cow print fabrics – they may come back 😀 ). I think I preferred the print on the other fabric, but the texture of this one was significantly better for my purpose, so that’s the one I ended up getting in my picture.

Black and white hair texture reminiscent of cow spots.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/8
Exposure time1/20 s
ISO1250

You’ll notice that the “pre-edit” and “post-edit” pictures are eerily similar: this may be the least edits I’ve done on a Hunt picture of recent memory 🙂 (Well, except for the SOOC round, but that doesn’t really count!).

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Cow album.

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Two shades of green

Macro photography of green bird feathers, one shade dark/blue, the other light/yellow.

While I used the previous Hunt to experiment with composites and story-telling, I wanted to go “back to basics” for this Hunt, and try to get maybe closer from my comfort zone, but also closer to pictures that feel like “me”. But, for the personal challenge, I shot everything with my 100mm macro lens!

For my “Two shades of green”, I first wanted to shoot some malachite, because malachite is pretty, AND usually two shades of green. But I don’t have any malachite around. So I looked on the Internet, and ordered a bunch of small gemstones that did contain one malachite stone. They were very pretty, but the (presumed) malachite one was not bicolor 😦 I still got a 52Frames “Curves” shot out of the set, and I managed to get a shot for two shades of green too:

Four small oval gemstones, aligned on the four corners of a square, on a grey cardboard background. The upper right and lower left stones are white, the two others are dark green and light green.

Despite significant effort (aligning these things has been a challenge), this picture was my least favorite of the set at the time I took it. In particular, I wasn’t happy with the grey background and was considering re-shooting it on black.

Buuuuuut we happen to be doing some bird-sitting for friends (who have a bird and went on holidays), and that bird is…. mostly green, and two different shades of green at that. So I took some shots at a time where it was standing on Pierre’s arm (which is, like, its favorite place in the whole word, or so it seems), and managed to get this one.

Body of a green bird with different layers of feathers.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/3.5
Exposure time1/60 s
ISO1000

I exctracted the close-up and played a bit with the colors to match the theme a bit more closely, and that was it!

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Green album.

52Frames – 2021-45 – Face a Fear

Sepia picture of a mug of coffee, reading glasses, and a Kindle showing the cover of The Stand, by Stephen King

The theme for this week’s 52Frames was “Face a Fear”. My major fear is fear of crowds, and, well, in these days and age, it’s actually a fear I’m not about to face recklessly 😉 So I went for a much tamer one for this picture!

I don’t deal well with scary books or scary or violent movies. I did, however, read The Stand twice – once around high school, and once more recently. I wouldn’t re-read it today: stories that have a background of plagues are not very enticing right now.

I also claimed the “New Photography Technique” credit. My new Fuji comes with neat filters and great JPEG processing, so I’m trying to see if I can make that work with, well, less processing on my end. I don’t think I ever will – I boosted the contrast and exposure of this one, and I re-cropped it too, but the color toning is all Fuji 🙂

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Collection

Close-up of a colorful collection of RPG dice.

While I used the previous Hunt to experiment with composites and story-telling, I wanted to go “back to basics” for this Hunt, and try to get maybe closer from my comfort zone, but also closer to pictures that feel like “me”. But, for the personal challenge, I shot everything with my 100mm macro lens!

It took me a little while to decide what I wanted to shoot for “Collection”. My first idea was to get a picture of my collection of piping bag tips, but it felt a bit too close from another picture for this Hunt. I also have some collections of stationery and writing implements, but I felt like I had done a lot of these already, so this was not very motivating. I even considered the collection of chocolate bars on the shelf… before I remembered I had a fairly decent collection of dice, which was also at a scale that would work well with the 100mm!

As often in these cases, it starts with “urgh I’m going to try the lazy way and not add lights or anything”, it continues with “okay, I’m getting one light, but I’m holding it on my own”, and it finishes with “FINE, I have two LED panels (and their cables because I forgot to charge their batteries AGAIN) and if it’s not enough to get a sharp shot I’ll get the tripod”. After a significant amount of shots and dice reorganizing, I finally got a shot I could crop and light up (because even with the lights, I wanted some depth of field AND I still got too lazy to get the tripod, so hand held it was, so short exposure it was):

Underexposed box of dice.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/11
Exposure time1/160 s
ISO1000

And that’s basically what I did for the processing – nothing too fancy there. The only thing is that I played a bit with the various sliders of color saturations to get nice colors without having the reds bleeding everywhere.

The complete Scavenger album is available here: the Collection album.