52Frames – 2021-38 – Curves

The theme for 52Frames this week was “Curves”. I coincidentally received a bunch of small ovoid polished stones this week (props for another project!); after playing with them for a little while I got the idea of organizing them along a sinusoidal curve.

I had first printed said curve ; I then realized I could use my tablet as a background to set them up and shut down the tablet, which would avoid a significant amount of postprocessing clean-up. Assembling the stones over the tablet ended up being fiddlier than expected (these things apparently CAN be detected as fingers when moving them around… annoying!), which means the setup is not perfect (and I was too lazy to fix in post) – but that’s one more week in the box ๐Ÿ™‚

52Frames – 2021-36 – Woman

The theme for this week’s 52Frames is “Woman”, with an extra-credit of “Environmental Portrait”. So…. here, you see a Balise in her natural habitat – that’s my home office desk, with a tiny bit of clearing up/staging ๐Ÿ˜‰ but otherwise reasonably realistic! It probably lacks a mug of coffee, but I wasn’t about to make myself coffee at the time I took this picture ๐Ÿ™‚

And the advantage of working in a free software context is that I don’t have much to hide on my monitors – not that anything is actually much visible either, but eh ๐Ÿ™‚

52Frames – 2021-34 – Texture

The theme for 52Frames this week was Texture. The “regular” thing to do for me would be to grab my macro lens and hunt weird stuff around the house; instead, since I was walking in the city for another contest, I kept the “texture” theme in mind when I was shooting too.

I took this shot around the Viadukt area – I’m a sucker for industrial looks (although I suck at making good pictures of it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ), and I liked the contrast with the stone wall next to it.

52Frames – 2021-33 – Night photography

Ideally, for the “Night photography” theme, I would have gone on a walk in the city by night and tried to get a few shots. That didn’t happen, so I took the lazy option of putting the tripod on the balcony and shoot some random starry sky instead. There was a nice little cloud around – and it was going faster than the star, so I kept it because I quite liked the effect on the picture! No, it’s not a UFO ๐Ÿ™‚ And it technically counts as Astrophotography, which is the extra credit, so… there’s that!

Scavenger Hunt #32 – Grid

Grid of 3x3 images with various pictures of wooden manikins in various situations.

For the 32nd Scavenger Hunt, I had decided (even before the Hunt words were public!) to try to make a series with wooden manikins. And it worked out well, because there was an extra constraint on this Hunt: all the pictures had to be square, and the 10th was supposed to be a grid of the 9 other pictures. I like the square format, and I tend to crop in postprocessing rather than in camera, so this wasn’t much of a constraint for me – and since I had decided on a unifying theme already, this played out nicely!

I didn’t really shoot the images to “fit” a grid or a narrative (one constraint at a time ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but I was still fairly intentional in placing the pictures. The middle one (Denim) was the only one where I had the two manikins, so it needed to be in the middle. My idea for the grid was that the other pictures would represent some dreams they would be having while sleeping – and it kind of feels that these are weird enough to be believable dreams ๐Ÿ˜‰ I placed the Spaghetti and the Hairbrush on opposite sides because they were both representing hair-related topics; and the other 6 I placed by trying to have some kind of directing line to the center.

And that’s it – this concludes the 32th Scavenger Hunt – which resulted in my favorite set ever in all the sets I submitted ๐Ÿ™‚

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

52Frames – 2021-32 – Line from a Song

A couple of wooden manikins dancing. They are shown three times in the image (past, present, future; past and future are smaller and fainter); a banner of hearts at the bottom of the image symbolizes the passing of time.

The theme for this week’s 52Frames is a (as far as I remember) yearly favorite (I’ve done it at least once in the past ๐Ÿ™‚ ) – “Line from a Song”. There’s technically a generator (and the associated “extra credit” if you take the first sentence from the generator), but this time around I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love, and I thought I could do something neat with that. I pretty much had the image in my mind already; I’m not sure it completely matches what I envisioned, but I think it’s actually pretty close.

This picture is a composite of four photographies – the three of the manikins dancing, and the banner (which I made with paper and a marker ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). It took me a while to get “good enough” image cutting (I just ordered a green screen. This should help future endeavors. Hopefully.), and then I played with opacities and whatnot to finally get the image above.

Scavenger Hunt #32 – Hairbrush

Wooden manikin looking at a hairbrush, looking puzzled.

For the 32nd Scavenger Hunt, I had decided (even before the Hunt words were public!) to try to make a series with wooden manikins. Given the distinct lack of hair on wooden manikins, this made the whole concept of a hairbrush confusing… which is literally the theme I went to for this picture.

I took the shots of the composite on a week-end morning before my shower, which you can see with the use of my superb teal bathrobe ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hand holding a hairbrush in front of bathroom tiles.
CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
F-NumberF/6.3
Exposure time1/6 s
ISO800
Wooden manikin looking puzzled, standing in front of bathroom tiles.
CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
F-NumberF/16
Exposure time2 s
ISO400

Is that mannikin standing on a piano stool standing on another stool? You bet it is. Was my bathroom full of photo material for a few hours? You bet it was. (It’s fine, we have two ๐Ÿ˜› ) Especially since this composite turned out to be particularly tricky. I had not realized how very important it was for the hand of the manikin and the hairbrush to have “compatible” angles – and I realized my mistake after having worked quite a lot on the first version of this image. For reference, this is the first version:

Bad composite of a wooden manikin holding a hairbrush in a way that's not remotely realistic.

I was, to put it mildly, quite dismayed. (The words “I ABSOLUTELY HATE THAT PICTURE” were definitely uttered in multiple places.) But oh well – back to the shooting studio, I got way more careful with my angles, and I finally got something that worked better. I’m still not entirely happy with it: in particular, I have the impression that the difference in size between the brush and the manikin shows in the fact the brush seems sharper – I tried to correct it, I don’t think I fully managed it. And speaking of sharpness, the sharpness of the hand is debatable too – the DOF is probably a bit off / too shallow (Clearly, my bathroom is not large enough ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

But I did manage to get what I wanted with the picture, which is what matters! I’m happy I stuck with it and that I made the effort of reshooting, because it was well worth it. Note that extracting the brush hair was a pain, but I think I did well there. I’m also happy with the addition of the question mark: I would have liked it if hadn’t felt necessary, but “interrogative” is a fairly hard body language to make work without ambiguity – so I think this makes the intention clear without being incredibly obtrusive.

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

Scavenger Hunt #32 – Spaghetti

Wooden manikin touching her hair made of cooked spaghetti.

For the 32nd Scavenger Hunt, I had decided (even before the Hunt words were public!) to try to make a series with wooden manikins. My Spaghetti idea comes straight out of Day of the Tentacle – if you have played it, you probably remember the reference; if you haven’t, you really should ๐Ÿ™‚

I was hoping for a slightly more dramatic pile of spaghetti, but gravity was already hard enough on me for this one! I didn’t have too many takes for this one – but most of the takes I had were re-posed between to takes because the spaghetti kept falling down.

Wooden manikin touching her hair made of cooked spaghetti.
CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
F-NumberF/6.3
Exposure time1/50 s
ISO800

In the end, that’s the picture I chose – and that was the last picture I shot for this Hunt – I was a bit afraid of staining my manikin (which would have made later shots more complicated) – but that actually didn’t happen, she still looks as new ๐Ÿ™‚ And the edits were very straightforward there – except for the fact that I need to clean my camera so that I don’t have a gazillion spots to edit away ๐Ÿ˜‰

The final image doesn’t quite fit my initial vision (because gravity’s hard): my plan was for a much larger, somewhat conical, pile of spaghetti hair. But the pose ended up working very well, and it looks fairly natural, which I like a lot! The blue background was also lucky, but a good call: I think it works well too. And I’m very happy with the daylight coming from the top of the image – this looks very pretty.

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

Scavenger Hunt #32 – Denim

Pair of manikins, seemingly sleeping, tucked each in the pockets of a pair of jeans, using folded tissues as pillows.

For the 32nd Scavenger Hunt, I had decided (even before the Hunt words were public!) to try to make a series with wooden manikins. Denim was one of the words for which I had little to no idea. I considered texturing a manikin in denim, and making small denim clothes for them, which would require far more skill than I have for them to look remotely okay – I have friends who I’m sure could have helped, but this felt a bit overkill.

When in lack of inspiration, I sometimes often turn to Google Images – a few well chosen words often help unlocking ideas or concepts. In that specific case, it came almost empty… except for a picture of a manikin hidden in someone’s jeans pocket. I started exploring around that idea, looking whether my manikins actually did fit in a jeans pocket, and what I could do with that.

I finally landed on the idea of “actually, this looks pretty cosy – maybe they sleep in jean pockets at night!” A few more experiments, getting on of Pierre’s jeans instead of mine (I have decently sized pockets because I wear men jeans, but Pierre is thinner than I am, which worked better for the picture ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), a bit of posing the manikins in sleep-like positions, adding some tissues for the pillows, and tada! a picture!

Pair of manikins, seemingly sleeping, tucked each in the pockets of a pair of jeans, using folded tissues as pillows.
CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
F-NumberF/6.3
Exposure time1/25 s
ISO1600

The edit for this one was pretty straightforward – removing the wood texture of the table, a few stray fibers that were distracting, and color toning.

I’m a bit on the fence on my decision to have that image that dark; on the one hand, I wanted to give the impression of a dark night/room; on the other hand, I wonder if maybe I didn’t overdo it a bit; and the shadows are probably too harsh too.

Still, I’m happy with the concept and the image. I absolutely love my little pillows – I think they really help selling the picture (and they’re cute!). I also like the posing of the manikins – I think it feels realistic! And I think the idea of “night” is well conveyed by the dark blue color toning. Finally, this was a more straightforward shot than many shots in this series, which meant spending less time on it, which I appreciate ๐Ÿ˜‰

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