Painting bananas

Painted banana, selective colour, fun, fruit, monochrome

Apparently, according to various internet sources I’ve read, selective colour images are one of the most hated photo editing techniques known to man. They’re tacky. They’re a cliche. They’re amateurish & not something “real” photographers would stoop to. Who cares! Rules are made to be broken & although I know posting this is probably going to polarize both my readers, people’s opinions are just that, opinions. So why not give it a go yourself?

This was a very simple shot to set up. However, I did give a little thought to the types of fruit I was going to include in the bowl. Knowing the majority of the image would be in black & white I wanted to include some texture, hence the avocado & kiwi. Even the citrus fruits were placed on top with the smoother skinned apples at the bottom.

Daytime low key photographs

My previous attempts at low key images had either been taken on a darkened theatre stage or, long after the sun had dipped below the horizon. Both situations providing an almost pitch black environment making it relatively easy for me to create the desired lighting effect. This time I was shooting around 1 o’clock on a bright summer’s day & so I needed to re-think my methods.

I selected ISO 100 & set the shutter speed to 1/200 which is my maximum flash sync speed. With the speedlight turned off (mounted on a stand & firing through a white flash umbrella), I took a shot with aperture f/11. However, the resulting image wasn’t completely black. I couldn’t increase my shutter speed to make the image darker because I was already at my maximum sync speed, so I would have to reduce the aperture size (f/16 did the trick). Now I could take shots knowing the only thing illuminating the object, in this case a cymbal, was the light from my flash.

Once I had the the image loaded onto my computer the only things to do were a black & white conversion, apply minimal sharpening & that was it. Well, that was going to be it but as I continued to play around with the image I discovered I really liked this pin hole camera style effect achieved by adding a vignette.

Week 31

Gasp, layers, photo manipulation, weird, cool, monochrome

Settings: f/5, 1/60 second, ISO 400, 39mm focal length

Set up. Camera on a tripod in front of my new favourite backdrop, the chalk wall! There are many tutorials & probably many different ways to accomplish this relatively simple result on the web. I used the video from Ticknor Photography (thanks Rob).

Opinion. This is actually my first ever selfie! So I thought it only fitting to create something a little different. More Photoshop skill than photography knowledge it was easy to do (with a little help from my new friend on You Tube of course).

Week 10

Settings: f/5.6, 1/1250 second, ISO 400

Set up. This is one of the first photographs I took with my new DSLR camera. I was on a day out at Tatton Park, experimenting with depth of field in AV mode.

Opinion. I set myself the challenge of working out how to do selective colouring on a black & white photo this week & thought this image was a good starting point. Originally I’d considered highlighting all the lavender in the foreground but then chose to only bring out the colour in one of the flowers & crop the photo a little closer to make it stand out. I think the overall effect is quite good although it would have more impact if the colour was brighter (eg. a red or yellow) as this would show up better against the dark background.

Week 9

Settings. f/6.3, 1/15 second, ISO 3200, focal length 43mm

Set up. Stick a bunch of musicians in a recording studio & take some photographs!

Opinion. I operated the camera in ‘manual’ mode for this shoot & struggled initially with the settings. It was quite dark in the studio & the only way I could obtain reasonably light images while operating the camera hand-held, was to increase the ISO. I tried a couple allowing the flash to fire but it produced images which were far too bright.

Post production work consisted of increasing the contrast, converting the image to black & white, a little dodge & burn then finally some selective sharpening.

The above image is slightly grainy (due to the high ISO) but I think it captures the moment well so I’m quite happy with it. After all, isn’t that what photographs are supposed to do, capture a split second in time in order to help us relive our past?

A soft focus version
A soft focus version

Week 5

Settings: Samsung Galaxy S4

Set up. A Sunday stroll.

Opinion. There is a saying which states, “the best camera is the one you have with you at the time” & so it proved for this week’s entry.

I’ve done this particular walk many times before. I had even planned to photograph this exact shot sometime in the future when there was a more interesting sky & convert it into a black & white image. However, on this occassion, with a little snow cover, I snapped away on my mobile phone.

Back home, I uploaded it to my computer where I added a sepia tint before experimenting with a little dodge & burn. And there you have it!