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In The Blink Of An Eye: John Stone's Photography Journal

Discussion in 'Media Threads' started by John Stone, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Thanks, Doug. :)

    I also love that shot of the two toads. I knew when I took it that it was the best photo of the morning.

    When I composed the shot I purposely put the two toads in the center of the frame. I know this goes against photography 101 (rule of thirds and all that), but I felt the framing I used worked best. Like they say, learn the rules, but then don't be afraid to break them.

    Having said that, I did some second guessing in post-production and considered cropping the photo to re-frame the toads off-center. Ultimately I decided to stick with my original composition, and I'm glad that I did. I really don't like cropping my images in post.

    What do you guys think? Do you think a different composition would improve the photograph?
     
  2. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    MD, no need to be jealous. You have a fine piece of glass.

    John, here's are representative pictures of true 1:1 macro. Hand held 1/125 sec. @ f/11, ISO 400, 100mm. For size perspective that's a pencil point on the right. There was enough light that I could stop down to f/11, but even with that moderately wide aperture the DOF is very thin.

    _MG_1122.jpg

    Here's the little fella stretched out in all his glory.

    _MG_1132.jpg

    I completely understand when you wrote about certain photos conjuring up an emotional response. I have many "keepers" that are not technically great, but bring back pleasant memories of the circumstances surrounding when the picture was taken.

    I'll go back to take a look at the picture of the two toads later this morning.
     
  3. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I can't believe that's f/11! Great photo, and the pencil tip really helps puts things in perspective (unintentional photography puns seem to come fast and frequent). Now I'm jealous. :dreamy:
     
  4. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Thanks John. Regarding lenses and camera bodies I'm in the opposite position of you. I have a lot of really nice and expensive glass, but am shooting with a Canon 20D that I bought in 2004. One of these days I'll be able to justify buying a new body, just not yet. As has been pointed out, this is a hobby after all.

    I should have written in my last post that f/11 was a moderately small aperature, not wide. :o

    What do you think of this crop? I took out the dead space on the right, which led my eye away from the stars of the picture, but kept enough of the rocks so that their surroundings were evident. I also did a selective curves adjustment to separate the toads from the background. It took about 30 seconds, so it's no masterpiece effort on my part, but hopefully useful enough to start a discussion.

    baby-toads_IMG_1056-Edit.jpg
     
  5. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Sorry, Paul - looks like we're talking about two different images. :lol: I was talking about the image of the two toads mating in the pond. :o
     
  6. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Oh, those two toads. :bang:

    I think the composition is fine with them in the center. While there may be some benefit to a tighter crop I think that's debatable. I really like how the shadows from the backlit vegetation are framing the two of them.
     
  7. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Cool, that's also one of the things I loved about the photo, and why I didn't want to tighten up on it.

    As for the other toad photo I'm undecided on the edits you made to it. I've been looking at your edit vs the original and I keep waffling. There aspects of both photos that I like, but if I had a gun to my head I think I'd go with the original (speaking purely from a compositional standpoint). I'm curious to hear other thoughts, as perhaps some personal bias is altering my perception. :p
     
  8. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    The two "conversing" toads clearly catch the viewer's eye, but I also found my attention drifting toward the water between the two rocks toward the center of the original image. Almost like a leading line that, at least for me, detracted from the focus (pun intended :)) of the picture.

    Fun stuff to discuss. Much more fun than the work I should be concentrating on. :lol:
     
  9. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I shot this video with my Canon 60D @ 1080p. The quality is not too bad considering how dark it was.

    Sorry about some of the focus issues and shaky shots: In addition to the camera I was also holding the light, trying to balance on the rocks, not fall in the pond and avoid stepping on the baby toads.

    Click "720p" after you start the video to bump it to 1080p.

     
  10. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    When I finished the pond late last summer we saw lots of Dragonfly nymphs and Dragonflies. This spring I've yet to see a Dragonfly nymph in the pond, but I've seen dozens, if not hundreds, of Damselfly nymphs.

    Here's a young Damselfly on one of the Pontederia Cordata.
    Damselfly_IMG_1103-Edit-Edit.jpg
    Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens. 1/320 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 160, 250mm.

    Paul, I suspect you'll take issue with the loose framing. :) I tried tightening up the shot, but I liked the looser composition better (actually, this is also a crop). Maybe that's just my style? :lol:
     
  11. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    John, believe me when I write that I'm far from being a pro. Very far, but I enjoy discussing the hobby. That said, we all have our preferred styles and I don't think that it's a right versus wrong situation. That's where the "artsy" part comes in; if it was formulamatic (not sure that's a word) then virtually anyone who cared could read a book or two and produce great photos. As you know, it doesn't work that way. Thankfully, I might add.

    Getting back to your latest picture I like the composition for a number of reasons. Given that I suspect you're trying to stay with the 3:2 aspect ratio, which is what I normally do, the vertical crops that I toyed with didn't thrill me so I agree with your horizontal choice. What you have nicely captured is a natural border on the upper left with the unoccupied leaf that not only gives context, but also draws the viewer toward the subject. As for the right side of the picture, I really like it because it gives the viewer a sense of what the insect is looking toward. Obviously we can't see what that is, but there's enough space so that one doesn't get the sense that the damselfly is looking looking out of the picture. Just as with action shots where I like to position my subjects to have room to run "into" the picture although I rarely capture where their destination is. Is this technically correct? I think so, but really have no idea and I'm sure it's dependant on what the photographer is attempting to achieve. To use your phrase, it's my style, which is why I like what you did here. I hope some of this makes sense. :) Getting back to the bigger picture :-)o) I'm really enjoying the pictures you're posting so keep 'em coming and continue to enjoy your new camera.

    Hopefully some members with strong photo backgrounds will chime in.

    On an unrelated to this subject note, your knowledge of the plants and animals around your home is extremely impressive.
     
  12. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Perfect sense. In fact, some of your observations are things I may have sort of intuited while I was messing with the photo in Lightroom, but had not consciously considered at all. Thanks for taking the time to articulate your thoughts, because those are things I'll continue to think about. I'm sure much of what you said will stick with me and help me to make better choices as I move forward and (hopefully) improve.

    I was rushing to get this photo edited and posted because I still had some work to finish up. Looking at the final image now I'm not at all happy with it from a color correction standpoint. It's pretty dull and lacks punch and contrast. :(

    Thank you. I've raised, built, grown and/or nurtured almost everything you see the photographs from around my home, so that's why. :)
     
  13. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    I was just about to go to sleep, but I decided to go down to the pond for one last look. Something I've longed to see ever since I built the pond was waiting for me: a frog on a lily pad. I'm tired, but I just had to get my camera. I'm glad that I did, this photo came out great.

    I got the shot hand-held and without a flash, too!

    Young-Toad-on-lily-pad_IMG_1132-Edit.jpg
    Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens. 1/30 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 1600, 63mm.
     
  14. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    "Absolute Bliss". Not a great photograph, but I like it anyway. :nod:

    I noticed some small bright specs above and to the right of Loki's right ear and thought, "Shoot, my lens is dirty!" When I zoomed in I saw that those specs are actually where light is being reflected off a long stream of Lokin-drool that was slung skyward when he jumped up.

    I had to give in and use a flash to get this photo. :( I needed a high f-stop to keep Loki and all the popcorn in focus, and also a fast shutter speed. Even at a very high ISO there was just not enough light up there to get the shot without a flash (at least not that I could figure out).

    loki-popcorn.jpg

    Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens. 1/250 sec @ f/13, ISO 320, 28mm.

    I probably could have dropped the aperture a stop or two and still had Loki and all the popcorn in focus, but even f/5.6 was too dark in my test shots.
     
  15. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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  16. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Paul, I've had a change of heart about the framing of the two young toads. I wasn't even thinking specifically about it; I was just scrolling through this thread looking at all the photos, and when I came across your edit of my original photo I realized I liked it better than mine. I really like how the closer crop makes the "conversation" between the toads feel more intimate. Also, your color correction improves on my original, which was too dark.

    I sure appreciate all your input in this thread. It's really making me think about things I might not otherwise considered.
     
  17. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    A little food porn for a change. :)

    Tonight I made 93% lean beef grilled burgers with raw spinach, onions, spicy brown mustard, feta cheese and tomatoes on a garlic-rubbed toasted Kaiser roll. I served it with a fantastic butter, fresh dill and garlic red potato dish. I got this Greek burger one dialed in a while ago (use lamb if that's your thing), and I think it's time I posted it on JSF. ♥

    Feta-Burger_IMG_1174-Edit.jpg
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. 1/40 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 800, 50mm.
     
  18. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    That speaks directly to the discussion yesterday about an emotional attachment to certain pictures regardless of technical merit. You know how fond Loki is of popcorn and the picture is a reminder to you of that. To my way of thinking getting that image was more important than missing it because you couldn't get a prize winning worthy shot.

    I'm not in any manner saying that one shouldn't, if they want to make photography a hobby, try to hone their craft. I'm just stating that I believe it's better to have a less than great picture that will bring back fond memories for decades to come than to miss a shot because it had to be "perfect." Sometimes snapshots, a somewhat pejorative term among photo elitists, are okay. Blasphemy in certain circles I'm sure, but the result of me thinking this way is that since I bought my first camera while in college I now have a multi decade photographic diary of almost everything that and everyone who was important to me since I was about 19. I can also say with certainty that my snapshot photos of today are far better than those when I first started.


    Thanks for letting me know about your reconsideration; since you asked, even if it was about a different photo :o which I eventually commented on, I thought I would throw my two cents in. Along with exercising and cooking, it's a hobby of mine and I enjoy discussing it.

    That looks and sound delicious. :eat:
     
  19. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
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    Pictures from the Apopka Art and Foliage Festival. We had a fantastic day!

    This was the first time I've taken pictures of strangers on the street, and I got a few photos that I'm very pleased with. I tried to be discreet, but I did get a couple of weird looks. Also, one guy told me to stop taking pictures of his "Redneck wine glasses", which were Mason Jars mounted on glass stems. Don't worry dude, your goldmine of an idea is safe with me.

    All photographs taken with the Canon EOS 60D with a Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF lens.


    The Bromeliads were jaw-dropping, so I took a few different kinds of shots.
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1192-Edit.jpg
    1/100 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100, 210mm


    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1195-Edit.jpg
    1/80 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 160, 43mm


    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1202-Edit.jpg
    1/60 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 200, 63mm


    I love Orchids, and there were some incredible ones on display at the festival.
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1211-Edit.jpg
    1/60 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 320, 120mm


    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1214-Edit.jpg
    1/60 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 320, 50mm


    Ever see an ear of corn give directions? Now you have.
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1229-Edit.jpg
    1/60 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 160, 63mm


    Remember days when we were so young...
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1251-Edit.jpg
    1/640 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 100, 178mm


    ...and old.
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1260-Edit.jpg
    1/250 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 200, 250mm


    Lisa, doing what she does best.
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1284-Edit.jpg
    1/320 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 320, 63mm


    This guy was an outstanding guitarist.
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1269-Edit.jpg
    1/200 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250, 95mm


    My sunshine. :)
    Apopka-Art-Fest_IMG_1243-Edit.jpg
    1/160 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 200, 80mm
     
  20. daciz2

    daciz2 Well-Known Member

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    John, your camara is kick ass. Such high definition.
     

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