Monday, December 30, 2013

Japanese Garden

 Sunday I spent the day wandering around the Japanese Friendship Garden in Downtown Phoenix. It was a beautiful and peaceful spot that I hope to return to. The koy fish are so used to people feeding them that they swarm up to you when you reach the water's edge, and they beg for food very similar to a dog. Some of the fish had to be larger than a chihuahua too.

I am pretty proud of how I pulled this image together in Lightroom/Photoshop. It was a really hard exposure to capture. 

On this image I wanted to pull out the details and make the colors pop. I loved the range of colors and contrast in the fish swarming around food. I don't think it is super dramatic, but it makes the image a little more dynamic than the before shot.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Canon EF 40mm f2.8 in Pet Photography

I got a Canon 40mm 2.8 as part of a bundle and haven't really used it. Since I am in the process of cleaning things out for the new years and taking inventory, I wanted to test out what I have and see if it would satisfy my needs so I could postpone spending more money. Nikita enjoyed playing ball in the dog park while I tested the equipment.

I was pleasantly surprised at the speed of the lens for the action shots, although I prefer a more shallow depth of field. For the portraits I really wanted a different aperture, but it did yield sharp photos. Of course I was fighting midday sun in these.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

50mm f1.4 Lens in Pet Photography

I rented the Canon 50mm f1.4 lens as it will most likely be next purchase. I wanted to test it indoors as I will be using it for Christmas tomorrow with the family, and I am pretty pleased with the results. I am still working on getting "tack sharp" photos in more of my shots, and I did notice a significant improvement by using a prime lens. 

I also played around with making collages in Photoshop, although I really want to use a collage software to make it faster in the future. I saw a recommendation for this one but it won't work with Photoshop Elements 10. I am also fiddling with Lightroom 5, and I will definitely have to watch some tutorials, but I like the impact to my workflow so far. These images were also all shot in RAW, so I think I am fully transitioned from JPEG.

Left: ISO 400 ~ 50MM ~ f1.4 ~ 1/4000
Right: ISO 400 ~ 50MM ~ f1.8 ~ 1/125

It was getting a little darker out and I gave Nikita her Christmas Eve gift {which lasted approximately 3.2 seconds!} so I chose to bump up the ISO... not sure if I would do that again. My goal was to make the eyes tack sharp so I also chose a slightly higher aperture; generally I feel I achieved sharp eyes. 
 Left: ISO 1600 ~ 50MM ~ f2.2 ~ 1/100
Top Right: ISO 1600 ~ 50MM ~ f2.2 ~ 1/100
Bottom Right: ISO 1600 ~ 50MM ~ f2.2 ~ 1/100

Monday, December 23, 2013

Collars and Bridles

I spent the morning at a barn today; it was great to practice with some subjects other than Nikita :)

I think this first shot is my favorite. I added in some sun flare in post production, and I like the effect it added. I had problems with the lighting overall since the shadows were so harsh, but I like how this one ended up.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tamron 10-24mm Lens in Pet Photography

I have been seeing some great work done with wide angle lenses in pet photography and I plan to rent some to test them out. Before I went to try those out, I wanted to play around with the wide angle lens I already own. I always felt that it would distort too much and give that "fish eye" effect, but it was worth a try. Overall I was pretty impressed. While my 70-200mm lens is a dream for action shots and zooming in, the benefit of the wide angle lens is you can stand right in front of the animal and get the whole body. In order to decrease the degree of disproportion, I tried to keep her in the middle of each photo. Staying at 24mm also reduced the impact.

These shots were taken with my Tamron 10-24mm lens, on aperture priority. (Of course the appeal of the other lenses on my list is a wider aperture, I prefer a more shallow depth of field.) I am also shooting RAW images.

Here is the before and after as I learn more about Adobe Lightroom. I didn't want to do too much because the point of this wasn't to spend hours in post processing, but just see the impact of the wide angle. I like this whole body shot.
ISO 200 ~ 24mm ~ F4.5 ~ 1/1600

I feel like you can definitely see the distortion in her nose/muzzle as it is disproportionately long.

 I like this one, because I was standing toe to toe with Nikita and yet I got her whole body and background. I feel like her body is much longer than in reality, but still not clownish.
ISO 200 ~ 24mm ~ F4.5 ~ 1/2000
 The lens didn't do too poorly with action shots either, although most of them were much too far away to be useful- that is why I have the 70-200mm :) 
ISO 200 ~ 24mm ~ F4.5 ~ 1/2500

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December Days

If you ask me what I want to do on my birthday- I will tell you I want to hang out with Nikita, take some photos and play with new things in post processing. I am happy to report I am spending my 27th doing just that!

This week I watched some great tutorials on pet photography and Lightroom, so I wanted to try it out. I also came across some wonderful other photographers that inspired me to go out there and capture some canine spirit. Nikita is always such a great model and she knows that when she sees my camera, we are going to go play so I think she always looks happy. 

Here is the before image:
1/500 ~ 170mm ~ F3.5 ~ ISO 200
Taken with {what else} the 70-200mm lens
The after image using what I taught myself this week, as well as the other shots:

 Here is the above photo with some "snow" - one thing I can't really photograph in Phoenix!

Santa Paws

I volunteer with the Southwest White German Shepherd Rescue seeing as I have a soft spot for GSDs. I am on the hunt for other rescues, hopefully closer than 40 miles, that I could spend time with. The organization hosted a Santa Paws event. The holiday spirit was very apparent as dogs and people alike mingled and chatted with Santa.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

{Fast} Family Shoot

The Fast Family asked me to shoot their holiday photos this year, and what a great afternoon! The family truly has fun together and you can see it in all the images. Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 29, 2013

King of the Jungle

First of all, the Facebook page is live, so if you stumble across my blog, please like my page as well :) 

What an adventure! I traveled to Out of Africa, about 1.5 hours away on the perfect day to capture these shots. My favorite was definitely the tigers and there were so many of them there! I knew that the species is just about extinct in the wild, but it turns out there are more tigers in Texas than there are in the wild; there are only 3200 left. I really hope we don't lose this majestic animal. A couple sites I found to help the tigers are here and here.