Scavenger Hunt #30 – Pantone Color of the Year 2021

Lists of words for the Scavenger Hunt usually contain a color. This time, the color was a bit particular: “Pantone Color of the Year 2021”. It turns out that said Pantone color had not been released yet and, although it rarely happens, this year, there were two: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating (which is a bright yellow).

My initial idea was to take a B&W picture with selective coloring of a yellow bath duck. It turns out that basic yellow bath ducks are surprisingly hard to find – I found a lot of “themed” ducks, but no… archetypical bath duck. (And I don’t own one either.) Since this didn’t happened, I was on the lookout for yellow and grey things on one of my photo walks. It turns out that the light on this parking building was a very nice golden yellow, and that the building itself was concrete grey. Neither shows much on my picture of said building:

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length24mm
Exposure time1/80 s

But a bit of editing put it back to how I saw it initially. I’m not super-satisfied, neither with this picture by itself nor by its use for the theme (it is pretty weak), but I’d much rather have a weak submission than no submission at all, so there! (Also, looking at it a few weeks later, I’m wondering what crossed my mind for that crop. It’s weird and distracting. Bah!)

And for the Scavenger album: the Color album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Upside Down

For “Upside Down”, I zeroed on the “upside down cake” interpretation fairly quickly – I just missed a recipe and an occasion, and both presented themselves during the time of the hunt. The usual “upside down cake” in France would be Tarte Tatin (upside down apple pie) but I wanted the concept to be recognizable by the larger Scavenger audience, so I went for a pineapple recipe, which looked like the most common meaning of the concept 🙂

I went for Nigella’s recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and it was (to my taste at least) absolutely fantastic cake 🙂 I messed up a bit on two occasions: a/ I used syrupy cherries instead of candied cherries (because candied cherries are actually surprisingly hard to get here – although since then I found them 😉 ) b/ I put too much of them in places they didn’t belong – which means they kind of bled through the pineapple. I also made the initial mistake of not centering the cake on the plate when I first removed it from the pan, and moving it to a more central position involved a lot of care.

Still, I made a lot of pictures, and that’s the one I ended up choosing. Some were better just after I got it from the pan because it was still steaming, but, well, see previous point about centering. It also took me a fair amount of trial and errors to get an angle I was happy with.

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensSigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG Aspherical DG DF Macro
Focal length28mm
Exposure time1/20 s

The edits were on the slightly more involved side of things because I wanted the background to be a clean black (and it wasn’t in the original picture, due to KITCHEN). I also went for a less purple aspect of the cherry bleeding, which felt better to me. I do regret a bit not seeing that I had lost significant light in the cherries on the border – could have been better on the edit there!

For all the interpretations of the word from my fellow Scavengers: the Upside Down album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Clouds

Clouds eluded me for a fairly long time – did I want to take pictures of proper clouds (very weather-dependent to get pretty ones, not something that can be relied to much in December in Zürich), make egg clouds, create clouds for a diorama with cotton? And then it struck me: we DO have a game where players control clouds, and I didn’t even have a board game-themed picture yet!

The game is called Petrichor; we mostly bought it because it had such a unique theme, but I must admit it’s still on the “pile of shame” of games we haven’t played yet. It’s a pity, though: I ran through the rulebook and played a solo game for this picture – I did mess up a rule (and my messing up of that rule is visible on this board 😉 ), but other than that the status on this board is a “real” game status 🙂 I took several pictures with different angles, and I settled on this one:

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length38mm
Exposure time1/20s

It’s mostly dark because I underexposed because I was too lazy to get the tripod out; and the processing was limited to the usual crop/light/color adjustments.

For all the other interpretations of the word by my fellow Scavengers: the Cloud album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Warming

The word Warming almost stumped me. Until, as I do every winter, I arrive after Christmas, and I go “urgh, I missed Glühwein AGAIN this year.” Glühwein (mulled wine) is a staple of Christmas markets and, while it still can be found in various places after Christmas and/or on ski resorts, it’s just not the same for me. This year, at least, there was the excuse of no Christmas market for me to miss it, and not just “getting distracted and forgetting about it”.

And at some point I made the connection between “warming” and “Glühwein” and my decision was there: I would make some Glühwein, drink it and be merry, and get pictures in the process. I started with the recipe of David Lebovitz – Vin chaud: Hot Mulled Wine – and tweaked it a bit. For one thing, I do want cinnamon in my mulled wine, so I added some. And for a second thing, well, the Swedish version does at least one thing right, and that’s the addition of raisins and almonds – so I did that as well. But I was quite happy to see that Lebovitz’ recipe had a star anise in there, because it makes for a visually interesting spot in the pan!

Anyway, I followed the recipe, and made pictures as it was cooking.

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length58mm
Exposure time1/20 s

The post-processing was, once again, very straightforward – crop, exposition, colors (I went for a slightly, well, warmer tone – that seemed adequate), and SHIP IT!

And for the images of my fellow Scavengers: the Warming album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Antique

I don’t own that much “old” stuff in my house – I do have a few “family heirlooms” (for lack of a better word), but nothing that felt right for this Hunt; on “Antique”, that’d be the standard take, I guess! Buuuut I do own a significant amount of older electronics, and a… fairly impressive collection of floppy disks (I don’t have anything older than 3.5″ disks, though 🙂 ). And even a floppy disk drive – although that one is probably the most recent element of this picture, it’s a *gasp* USB drive!

I must admit it amused me greatly to look at everything that was written on these disks 😉 I also expect a couple of (specific) people going “Hey, that one was mine!” when I reveal this picture 😛

The setup took a bit of time – deciding what would go on top, what would have the prime spot in the floppy drive, and how to arrange a few dozen disks to give an impression of accumulation (and hide the USB cable of the disk drive). This is the original picture:

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro
Focal length50mm
Exposure time1/80 s

Editing was pretty straightforward: I cropped a bit tighter to better give a sense of accumulation, I pulled the color in the “yellow” direction because it felt right, and I added some noise (something that I really, really don’t typically do). And there – an Antique shot!

For the other pictures of my fellow Scavengers: the Antique album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Twenty-one

The word “Twenty-One” of the Scavenger Hunt list eluded for the longest time – it was the last picture I took. I went to Black Jack, to the year 21, to 21 as “the age you’re allowed to drink in the US”, I learnt that coincidentally the end of alcohol prohibition in the US was the 21st amendment – and most of that felt quite US-centric and not very satisfying. On top of that, what I had in mind with the Black Jack idea would probably have ended up very close to what I had done for Decisive Moment some years ago, and I didn’t particularly want to revisit that idea.

While still looking for ideas, I ended up on Wikipedia (as one does) – specifically 21 (number). It did remind me two things: a/ 21 is a triangular number – which I could actually use for composition purposes b/ there is 21 trump cards in a tarot deck (and OF COURSE I own at least a tarot deck).

From there on, I knew that I had something that would not yield a great picture, but that had some chance of being unique, and that spoke to me “culturally speaking” (because, well, math, and I did use to be an avid, although bad, tarot player 😉 ). I started arranging the cards, second-guessing arrangements, grumbling about things not staying at their place, and generally speaking trying to align things the best I could; and then I took some pictures.

CameraPentax K-1 II
Lenssmc PENTAX-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro
Focal length50mm
Exposure time1/20s

And then I got lazy, which meant I did way more work than I should have ;). The large reflection and the state of my floors were NOT okay to my taste; on the other hand, rearranging these cards in another place to fix that sounded like a pain.

Which means: Photoshop time! After a few basic adjustments in Lightroom, I opened Photoshop and a couple of tutorials about frequency separation in Photoshop (I’m very glad I had run into that term before and had some idea what I was looking for!) – in particular The Ultimate Guide to the Frequency Separation Technique – and went through a painstakingly long Photoshop session to get the floor/background of my image as I wanted it to be. And, to be honest, I’m actually very happy with the result.

This is not the best image I submitted to this Hunt, but I think it’s the one that taught me most things, so it has a special place in my heart 🙂 And now it may be time for me to play some Tarot too…

For all the other interpretations from my Scavenger fellows: the Twenty-One album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Wheel

The “Wheel” topic was not particularly inspiring to me. I thought about a color wheel (an idea I had played with for the Paper Abstract theme and I didn’t feel like trying again), a Ferris wheel (that’s not much of a thing right now), doing cartwheels (I have no idea who I could ask to model that – for sure I can’t self-portrait there)…

I passed by a bike shed on a walk, so I snagged a few shots. It was almost empty: it was the shed of the local mall, on a Sunday, at a time where nothing was supposed to be opened (and yet for some reason Starbucks was… no idea how.) I still felt somewhat self-conscious taking pictures of what I knew was a fairly uninspiring subject, and taking them in an uninspiring way too! But hey, I got a shot, so there’s that.

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length24mm
Exposure time1/25 s

The edit was straightforward: a bit of crop, exposure correction, I went for a warmer/yellower coloring because it felt better; I also removed the pedal on the right that felt distracting (after pondering if it could make sense to not have it there 🙂 ). And bam, an uninspiring, but very much in theme, picture for Wheel.

And for the images of my fellow Scavengers: the Wheel album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Count

The word “Count” of the 30th Scavenger Hunt list was, I think, the first one where I knew where I wanted to go – and obviously I went to Count Dracula. I usually pose for my portrait work, but for that one I definitely wanted a male model – and my husband gracefully accepted to pose for me 😉

This probably felt more like a theater endeavour than a photography one! We got him in a shirt (mandatory), I fought with cufflinks (cufflinks make no sense), we poured some cherry juice (“surprisingly not wine”) into a somewhat-chalice-looking beer glass (Kasteel, if you’re wondering), and I recycled the piece of fabric I use whenever I need a portable black background into a cape thanks to a safety pin. A bit of fiddling with the lights (I think this ended up being a white light top right and a Lume cube with a red filter bottom left), and voilà, we have a decent base for Dracula!

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length36mm
Exposure time1/5 s

Processing involved the standard light, color and crop adjustment, as well as adding pointy teeth – who would believe in a toothless Dracula? I also fixed the “cape” because my black fabric doesn’t have a proper hem and is quite fringey 😉 All in all, I’m very happy with the result – it was also the first time I tried to “direct a model” – “Show me more teeth!” 🙂

And, for the pictures of my Scavenger fellows: the Count album!

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Hope

The second word that gets revealed for the 30th Scavenger Hunt is “Hope”. The publication of the list happened roughly at a time where vaccines started being a thing that we were seeing as “folks: this is happening!” and my first idea was to try to play on that. And, I don’t know, I didn’t manage to find something that would work as a concept beyond that initial idea of “hrm, vaccines…” and I kind of gave up on it.

And then I went for a camera walk, and I stumbled on this.

CameraPentax K-1 II
LensPentax D FA 24-70mm F2.8
Focal length33mm
Exposure time1/30 s

It doesn’t look like much, but… I don’t know. Seeing that branch of ivy climbing along that tree, seemingly against the odds… it moved me. The issue, however, is that it was pretty tough to both get the context of that place and to highlight what I wanted to show – because it’s actually a fairly busy scene! So I resorted to some light and saturation work to emphasize what I wanted to show.

In all fairness, I’m not very happy with the final image, because it doesn’t really match what I wanted to convey. On the other hand, given the scene, I also don’t know what I could have done better – and maybe what I saw could not really be captured on my sensor. Still: I like that ivy growing on that tree.

And for all the pictures of my Scavenger folks: the Hope album.

Scavenger Hunt #30 – Positive Space

The reveals for the 30th Scavenger Hunt start with the “Positive Space” album. “Negative space”, as a photography or composition tool, is a well-known concept. “Positive space” definitely got my brain gears stuck for the first few days/weeks that we had the list for this round. My initial train of thought was to go in the direction of a “filling the frame” picture; or to go in a completely different direction with a space that would happen to be positive (but no idea how to convey that properly).

And then we went for a walk with my husband, and we sat on a bench, and when I looked above me, I saw… that.

And it felt like such a good fit for the theme that I took a couple of pictures with my phone, and I kind of knew that I would submit the picture. It felt like it was the precise meaning I wanted to convey with this word, without being able to put my finger on it – but seeing the image, it got better. And while I’d define negative space as “the interesting shape of the space left by an object”, I’ll put “the interesting shape of the space taken by an object” as “my” definition for positive space – and that’s exactly what this picture is for me.

CameraPixel 3a
Focal length4mm
Exposure time1/100 s

The processing was pretty straightforward – I didn’t even have to crop much, and it was mostly a matter of making things more contrasted/striking (hence the choice of B&W).

For all the interpretations of the word from my fellow Scavengers: Positive Space album.