Scavenger Hunt #29 – Round

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax DA 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 AL
Focal length18 mm
F-NumberF/4.0
Exposure time1/8s
ISO100

Round is the last image I got for this Hunt, and it’s my favorite one! It’s weird, it’s nerdy (there was a strong HAL 9000 inspiration.) And I could take bets on people having no idea how I made that image, and…. that makes me weirdly happy ๐Ÿ˜›

The whole process started, funnily enough, with the lens. It kind of popped in my mind that my camera is a full-frame camera, and that I do have a couple of lenses that do not cover the whole sensor. Hence: very strong, round, black vignetting. I started playing with what I had, and came to the conclusion that the strongest vignetting I could get was with the 18-55 at 18mm. This made things a bit awkward, because it’s a wide aperture… and at this point, I also had vaguely in the idea that I wanted to use my crystal ball – which is not that large (but which is round) too.

I then rummaged into my collection of random stuff, and I ended up with the following props:

A tube that’s a bit bigger than my crystal ball, a couple of tape rolls that are EXACTLY the right width to serve as crystal ball support, and one of my faithful Lume cubes with color filters. Well. It actually started with no filter, and then a green filter, and when I looked into the first images, I excitedly went “WAIT IF I TAKE A RED FILTER I CAN DO HAL”, so from there I had a precise direction.

It also took me a few attempts to setup everything in a way that made sense (I initially didn’t have the tape supports either) and to finally just plop the camera on top of the tube to make a tunnel and see what I would get there.

The final hurdle was the strong magenta reflection that’s still a bit visible in the image I submitted, but that I decided I could live with. I tried to fixed that one by trying to orient things differently and playing with the white balance, but without much success.

I had a lot of fun making this image; and it might actually only completely make sense in the context of a SOOC challenge! Still, I couldn’t resist the temptation to do an edit from RAW to see what I can get from my image source ๐Ÿ˜‰ And to see that that stupid magenta fringe was an artifact of processing of my camera! I hadn’t expected that. And if you think I wouldn’t take the opportunity of the postprocessing to edit a brighter spot in the middle, think, think again ๐Ÿ˜‰

And for the final album of the reveals on the Scavenger side: Round.

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Boats

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/11
Exposure time1/100 s
ISO125

I’m lucky enough to live near a lake that sees a fair amount of boat traffic, so I was not too worried about the Boats theme – I knew it wouldn’t be the most original shot, but I knew I could probably get a decent shot at least. I went on a walk during the Hunt time specifically to get a few shots that I knew I could get along the way. I ended up walking more than I thought I would, but it was a very pleasant walk, so win-win.

I ended up with A Lot of candidates for my Boats shot. For the SOOC constraint, I liked this one best: it’s colorful, there’s a nice reflection, the framing is… reasonable – although I don’t like that I see a bit of the nearby Badi on the top-left corner, and I think cropping would have helped getting the shot I wanted.

If not for the SOOC constraint, I probably would have tried to get a “cropable” image of this one with a shorter focal length and hoped for the best. As it is, it is still one of my favorite shots in the multiple that I have for this theme; I would either have gone back to get a better framing or more probably gone for a tighter crop in post, and probably been somewhat unsatisfied with the shot in general ๐Ÿ˜€

And the Scavenger album is here: Boats.

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Metal

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mmF2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/6.3
Exposure time1/50 s
ISO100

Metal is an instance of a picture that’s somewhat weak on the theme, but that I couldn’t resist including in my Hunt set because I loved it so much. I’m not even sure WHY I love it so much – but when I reviewed the set for that day, there was definitely an audible “oh!”.

The annoying thing is that I had a FANTASTIC find for the theme, but none of the pictures were remotely as good, at least in SOOC. There’s a botanical collection of succulent plants in Zรผrich, and this picture was taken behind that building. And a few meters away, there’s a bunch of metallic cactus sculptures. I spent a significant amount of time trying to get a good shot of these – but they’re stuck in an awkard place not far from a fairly busy road, so I didn’t manage to make a SOOC image work ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Not to mention that it was a very bright day and that there was literally no shade around at all, which didn’t help either.

If not for the SOOC constraint, I may have submitted this one:

I think it’s a better fit, but the non-edited version felt fairly bland. I also think that I may have shot differently without the SOOC constraint: I would have trusted that I could crop and turn things around, and I would probably have gotten larger angle shots with the hope of getting SOMETHING that I could use. I might go back to that place at some point, because these were fun to photograph!

And, for more pictures of the same word, the Scavenger album: Metal.

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Path

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length24mm
F-NumberF/9.0
Exposure time1/20 s
ISO800

Path is probably one of the pictures I like less for this Hunt. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s a bad picture, but it’s somewhat uninspired and bland. This is a path near the river not far for my place, and it’s actually fairly rare to manage to catch it that empty: there’s usually a large amount of pedestrians and bikes trying to share it with or without grumbling ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s mostly the reason why the framing is slightly “offset” compared to what I’d try to usually do (I think) – I didn’t want to be in the way, so I settled on the side on the path and started shooting. I took a fair amount of pictures, trying different combinations of depth of field and focus; I ended up liking the ones with the smallest aperture best, because the tree in the foreground was sharper and it felt better to not focus explicitly on said tree, so, there.

With the SOOC constraint, my major difficulty was to manage both framing and a picture that’s not crooked; I had pictures that I liked better in my set but that would have required some editing, so they were out by definition.

If not for the SOOC constraint, I might have gone for this:

This one is actually a composite. The person is in another picture – for which the whole picture was softer and the framinig was meh-er, but I really liked the idea of having someone there; and I also liked that the person was looking at the water (that I know to be behind the trees ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and not simply walking. It was a no-no as it was, but comp’d with the one I submitted, it would have made it better ๐Ÿ™‚

(Hi, my name is Balise and I’m compositing pictures for “what ifs” in a SOOC challenge ๐Ÿ˜€ )

And for the album of my fellow Scavenger fellows, follow the Path ๐Ÿ™‚

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Broken

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mmF2.8 W
Focal length100mm
F-NumberF/16
Exposure time1/2 s
ISO400

With the list of words that we had for this round, the idea of a broken egg took place in my mind and never moved away from it. So I broke an egg on a reasonable surface, and I started shooting. I had started shooting hand-held, but after a few shots it became obvious that I wanted more depth of field than I could shoot handheld (and not compensate for in post), so I sighed, got the tripod out, and continued shooting.

Nothing much to say about this shot – it’s was basically a matter of “taking a lot of them and choose the best one”. If I remember correctly I did add a lume cube (or maybe a led panel? I’m not sure anymore!) as a secondary source of light, but that was pretty much it.

I would have gone for the same base picture if not for the SOOC constraint, but I would have edited a bit to remove the reflection in the back (which I find distracting) and boost a bit the reflection of the egg shell.

And the Scavenger album: Broken.

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Water

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mmF2.8 WR
Focal length100 mm
F-NumberF/4.0
Exposure time1/125 s
ISO100

I did a main photo walk during this Hunt that yielded me 5 pictures – which is a great score ๐Ÿ˜‰ Water was actually one that I expected to get, considering where I was going, but I had no strong idea about what I wanted to do. I found the top arches of a ladder going into the lake and decided to play with it for a while. Of all the pictures that I took, this was my favorite under the SOOC constraint.

I have a fondness for images that imply the word by their absence, or that obviously fit the word without making it obvious, or that make the word central but still subtle, if that makes any sense. And because of that, I’m actually very fond of that image, even if it may have fit another theme better (but I think I would have liked it less for the other theme ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

My own edit from the RAW file is much bluer.

And the Scavenger album is here: Water.

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Needle

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mmF2.8 WR
Focal length100mm
F-NumberF/32
Exposure time1.3s
ISO640

Okay, this was FUN. It took me a little while to remember that we had a LEGO model of the Seattle Space Needle somewhere – so that gave me a direction. (It missed the top part, so I hadto rummage into my LEGO collection to find a way to fix it, that also took a little while, but I think it works.)

Then came the “okay, how do I set this up” question. I wanted some kind of skyline behind it, because it felt right – if only to give the “city” context that may help with the “Seattle” context (because otherwise the whole “Needle” part may be hard to see!). It turns out that Zรผrich is not exactly rich in skylines view. I might have been able to pull it off somehow, buuuut. If it hadn’t been a SOOC challenge, I might have gone for a composite of some kind… but, well, SOOC means no composite.

Unless…….

A few months ago, I had seen a video about the filming of The Mandalorian: the green screen had been replaced by huge screens and… pretty much used as it was filmed. I suppose it popped back in my mind when I went “waaaait. I could have that skyline displayed on my monitor, that… should work, right?”. I never went to Seattle, but I do have skylines pictures – get a bit of Boston, as seen from Cambridge ๐Ÿ˜‰ I actually quite like using the skyline from another city: it’s my kind of cheeky, I guess. Here’s what the setup looked like:

You’ll note the creativity in the pile of stuff that I put under the Space Needle ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then came the second guessing – was that… cheating? The Boston picture has definitely been taken a long time ago (and outside of the Scavenger Hunt dates, obviously), and that one HAD been processed. But, hey, it’s an original picture that uses practical special effects to achieve a SOOC picture within the theme ๐Ÿ˜‰ And, as a nice bonus surprise, the reflection in the tower in the back works pretty well with the Needle in the front

Now, I’m not COMPLETELY happy with that image – in particular, the Needle is a bit crooked, which is unfortunate. I had images with a better verticality, but the border of the screen was visible… which I only saw after I had put everything back in its place ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Still, that’s… very much the same concept, with a tiny bit of cropping and cleaning up.

And for the album of my fellow Scavengers: Needle (careful, some of these are scary ๐Ÿ˜€ )

Scavenger Hunt #29 – In-camera motion blur

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length24 to 70 mm (moved it around)
F-NumberF/11
Exposure time2.5 s
ISO320

The “In-camera motion blur” item of the list was the topic of some pretty entertaining debates about what constitutes “in-camera”, what constitutes “motion blur”, and what constitutes “in-camera motion blur”. And technically, my first idea of the word was to go take pictures of moving trains, which would have been motion blur, but not in the way it was meant ๐Ÿ˜‰ My final interpretation of the word ended up being “A picture where the camera is intentionally moved during exposure”, and that’s what I did.

I had noticed this long walking tunnel a few months ago as “a place where there’s probably a way to play with a camera”, and I was thinking about it for another word. And then I started playing indeed, wondered if I could do something with the motion blur, spent a fair amount of time looking weird taking pictures of a tunnel while moving, zooming, and generally speaking trying to get some interesting picture. I liked this one most because of the faint presence of the woman walking – I thought it added a bit of interest (although she’s not necessarily that visible on first glance.)

This may be the one where I regretted the SOOC constraint most, because as it is, it lacks some contrast, I think; but I’m writing that sentence before I try editing it, so let’s see what I can do with it now!

And you know what? I kind of like it. It’s very different from what I’d usually go for – hell, it may be the first time I ADD grain to an image, but I think it actually works as an image.

As for the Scavenger album, it’s there: Motion.

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Egg

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mmF2.8 WR
Focal length100mm
F-NumberF/16
Exposure time1/20 s
ISO400

For a theme as “concrete” as “Egg”, I like to try to extract a somewhat “abstract” interpretation of the image. Macro/close-up is an easy way to do that, and that’s how my Eggs turned out. I basically took the box of eggs out of the fridge, set up a tripod, played with lights, and started shooting. Condensation started to appear pretty quickly, and I thought it added an interesting texture on the eggs – although it took me a few tries to get the light right. The egg carton also gave an interesting texture – I was happy to manage to focus reasonably on it.

I think that without the SOOC constraint I would probably have handled this one in B&W. From the same set of pictures, I think I would have submitted this one:

I think the light was slightly better, but I’ve had to fix the angles and crop before getting this one. And I also fixed a couple of imperfections that I’m probably the only one seeing ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m pretty sure I would have convinced myself that B&W was the right choice to emphasize the abstract, buuut I think I like the color one better now!

And the album with all the pictures of my Scavenger Hunt fellows is here: Egg.

Scavenger Hunt #29 – Coffee

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA MACRO 100mmF2.8 WR
Focal length100mm
F-NumberF/13.0
Exposure time5 s
ISO100

Coffee was the first shot that I got for the Hunt, just after I got the 100mm macro lens (which, by the way, I love to bits.) It took A LOT of takes before getting something I was satisfied with – and even here, the fact that the chocolate is not fully in focus is a bit sad, I think.

The major hurdle with shooting liquids is that they tend to splatter – especially when dropped from some height, as it is on my coffee machine; it took a fair amount of careful cleaning to get the espresso foam line reasonably clean without destroying it. My first shots also didn’t have a spoon; it took a while to get the spoon in at the right angle for the picture. All the things that I could have fixed in postprocessing were obviously to be fixed in camera for a SOOC challenge!

But eventually, the stars aligned enough that I decided that it was good enough; this felt like a fairly long picture session, but I like the final image!

The edited version of the same concept would be something like this:

(And yes, the chocolate got composited from a picture where it was sharper ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

And the full album of my Scavenger fellows is here: Coffee.