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.

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Reaction

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!

Words that relate to an abstract concept or to movement, like “Reaction”, are the ones I fear most; but for this one the idea of a chemical reaction came to me very early on. One of the most straightforward (and safe!) chemical reactions that can be done with household items is to mix baking soda with vinegar: it bubbles! I took a significant amount of takes and I went through a lot of baking soda, but when I saw the crop of this image, I exclaimed “That’s the one!”. I find the bubble details exquisite and I really like the composition with the curve in the right corner.

A white powder on the left side of the picture reacting to a bunch of bubbles on the right side of the picture.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/8
Exposure time1/250 s
ISO200

I had to think hard on whether to leave a bit of the baking soda in the picture. On the one hand, it made the image slightly more obviously “on theme”; on the other hand, the picture was better without it. So I went for the pretty picture rather than for the clearer theme – to me, it was definitely the right choice.

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

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Tin

Top of three tin cans, well aligned in a row. The left and right ones are identical, the third one is of a different model.

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 on “Tin” had to do with soldering; but taking pictures while handling tools heating at 300°C sounded like a particularly bad idea – especially since, as we all know, you already need three hands when soldering. And suddenly I remembered that cans were also called tins or tin cans, and I had an idea for the first image I shot for this Hunt!

I setup the cans on my faithful piece of black fabric and started getting pictures. It took a few back and forths between the camera and the setup, to align the cans just so and to align them with the light just so. But I eventually got my shot.

Top of three tin cans, well aligned in a row, over a black background. The left and right ones are identical, the third one is of a different model.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/5
Exposure time1/30 s
ISO1600

As you can guess, the edits were fairly straightforward on this one – apart from fixing a few details/blemishes.

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

Scavenger Hunt #33 – Party

A bunch of colorful star confetti, with a few still landing in the mass that's already set.

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!

“Party” is not exactly an easy word to photograph these days – most restrictions are lifted, but it’s still going to be a while before I will consider going to a proper party 🙂 And I did want something in the close-up/macro direction… My first thought was to take pictures of bubbly wine, but it felt uninspiring. Confetti seemed more fun! I ordered two sets of confetti, and that was a good thing, because I hesitated ordering the star ones, and they ended up being a much better fit than the other ones I had first chosen.

I setup the confetti on an oven sheet pan, and started making pictures as I was throwing them. At the beginning, I was trying to hold the camera in one hand and throw the confetti with the other; I eventually gave in and setup a tripod, a remote, and multiple shots on trigger… as I was continuing to throw confetti in my pan. I settled on this picture, which was both reasonably sharp and still had some movement to it:

A bunch of colorful star confetti gathered on a black surface; some more confetti are falling.
CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/9
Exposure time1/20 s
ISO1600

I’m not suuuper convinced by my edit there, but I think the major problem was the light, which feels… I don’t know, flat. But, it is what it is, and I have a Party shot!

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

52Frames – 2021-44 – Shot with a Phone

A Fujifilm XT-30 mirrorless camera and a Pentax K-1 II DSRL, side by side on a blue mat.

You know what’s the worst timing? Getting a brand new camera, and having the same week “Shot with a Phone” as the weekly theme for 52Frames.

On the other hand, I get to show off my new camera, and the size difference with my lovely, lovely Pentax Monster. The new camera is the Fuji on the left; it’s an XT-30 II with a 18-135 lens attached to it. That whole setup is lighter than the Pentax body, and the lens of the Pentax is again as heavy, so…

I got the Fuji as a more compact, more transportable “travel camera”, and today was the first day I properly tested it. I’m happy to report that it is, so far, meeting my expectations: I like the interface (and the two control dials ❤️, and all the proper mechanical controls ❤️) except for a couple of minor things that feel more like a question of habit than anything else. It also has some neat features such as a panorama mode, that works pretty well (but seems to take a toll on the battery). I have a first set of pictures here: Fuji XT30 Test Walk in Zürich – 2021-10.

Oh, and regarding the picture for this week’s 52Frames – it was also an opportunity for me to test the new masking features of the latest version of Lightroom. ‘Cuz the initial picture was this:

And, honestly, it’s pretty good – may avoid a few roundtrips through Photoshop in the future, which I’m quite happy about.