405 Living

Archive for September, 2010

My Camera Lens is My Hubble Telescope

I recently got a Sigma macro lens for super cheap on eBay, and I’ve been experimenting with it a little bit. There are some really talented and creative photographers on 1x who are really open about their methods used in getting certain shots. I had seen these sort of reflective color macro shots before and asked how they got them. After receiving instructions from a few different photographers, I decided to give it a try on my own:


No photoshop other than levels, contrast, and sharpening.

No clue what that is? I imagined outerspace with some really crazy looking planets!

Here’s what I used to get that shot:

Pyrex pan
Vegetable Oil
Macro Lens (Wide Open) exposure 1/320th of a second

The reflective color is from the lamp hitting the surface of the CD, while the shapes are from the water and oil mixed in a pan. This shot was super difficult to get, as even breathing changes the focal point of a macro lens. Tripods are highly recommended. It’s also very hard to get the out of focus components of the picture to compliment the focused parts, as only a sliver of the image is in sharp focus from the lens being wide open.

I blame my crazy experimenting lately with the lack of landscape picture potential in Oklahoma. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s landscape photography is very difficult when everything is so flat! Can’t wait to visit New York, Deleware, and take the Talimena Drive into Arkansas later next month. Hopefully some good fall color shots will be coming soon, as well as some more potentially crazy looking macro shots. Still got a few ideas I want to try..



Excitebike II

My final version of a photo taken a few months back:

The original version looked like this:

To be honest I was pretty happy with the original version but I felt it lacked impact.  The two elements (rider and sun) seemed to compete for attention.  My goal when capturing this picture was to keep everything as simple as possible, which is why I only included the sun and sky without the ramp or any ground area.  So I finally decided to enhance that goal even more with my final edit by combining the two elements.  The hardest part was getting the colors inside the wheels to match the surrounding sky.  That was definitely a challenge!


The Orton Effect

Thanks to one of my favorite landscape photographers, Darwin Wiggett, I’ve learned a new concept called “The Orton Effect”, which is a method used for creating photographs with a “painterly” feel to them. I re-edited a couple photos from California last summer that I felt would benefit greatly from this method:

Both of these shots were right behind the hotel we were staying at. 🙂 We were really roughing it:

This Next shot is one of my favorite beaches in Cali:

I’m really excited to use this technique once the fall colors start hitting the trees. Could definitely make for some interesting stuff! If you are a photographer, be sure and check out the link I included to “The Orton Effect” as I truly believe this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for photography.



I’m really pleased to announce that my Oklahoma State Capitol picture has been published on www.1x.com.  This is a site I’ve been frequenting quite a bit these past few months as my interest in photography has grown.  I originally heard about the site from Ken Rockwell and it’s intrigued me ever since.  This is an online art gallery for talented photographers around the world to try and submit their best works.  Only a fraction of pictures sent in are published on the front page.  They go through an intense screening process and are also voted on by the members.  About 500 photos a day are submitted and of those, about 5 actually get published.  The traffic on 1x is really amazing.  My picture has been published for a day and a half and has already received nearly 17,000 unique views!  I’m really excited about this and I hope to get more published eventually.

Click here to check out the Oklahoma Capitol Building on 1x.



Oklahoma “Storms”

Re-worked a previous picture taken awhile back at Lake Hefner.  Messing with “duotone” in Photoshop lately.  Pretty neat tool that gives you unlimited options vs. straight black/white.  You pick any two colors and mesh them together using curves.  In this particular picture I used black and a light muddy green color.  I thought the “duotone” colors set  a pretty eery mood.   This was actually taken on a sunny evening but these dark clouds seemed to be circling overhead, creating the look of a storm.