If you have read my previous post then you are aware that I again entered a Photo Scavenger Hunt. The hunt is open to 500 photographers of all skill levels who have around two months to come up with a photo for ten clues. The hunt is hosted on Google+ by Chyrsta Rae and this round was judged by Alan Shapiro, Bryan Hynes, Colby Brown, Barry Blanchard, Gordon Laing, and Stefan Riss. Last time around I only submitted four images, but this time I was able to submit all ten. The winners were announced so now I can publicly share what I entered in the contest. I received a 3rd place, and a honorable mention as well. I was bummed that I did not place as much as last time, but the judges pick em’ as they see em’. Overall I was happy with my album and I hope you enjoy it. The best shots (based on the judges voting) are at the bottom so make sure you read the whole way through. You will find each photo below with a brief discussion of my thought process, the processing which created the image, and in some cases the troubles that I endured.
The first clue was small. I have had my eye on a lonely tree growing in a nearby pond. This place has been on my “to shoot” list for quite sometime. I think it particularly works well with the tree still being bare and leaveless adding a cold feeling along with the blue tone. Post processing involved some major cleanup of other limbs in sides of each frame surrounding the single tree. Three was also an uneven color throughout the water which I did not like so I tried my best to even that out as well. After it was all said and done it seemed to be a nice minimal take on the theme. I left the swirling water because I think it helps the viewer realize that the tree has grown in water. Someone in the hunt mentioned they couldn’t decipher where the water met the horizon. There is no horizon visible in this shot. It’s all water of large pond. I was able to shoot low enough while maintaining enough space at the top of the tree to still have the water as a backdrop.
Small – Purchase Prints
The next clue was square, but with a catch…This shot had to be straight out of camera (SOOC). SOOC means that nothing is allowed to be done after the photo has been taken except being cropped. I did not know until after the reveal of the images that you were allowed to crop, otherwise I may have chosen a different crop for my below shot. I did this is my dark basement. I used two iterations of the flash to create some movement in my hands while keeping my head as still as possible. I also liked the fact that the ceiling is done in a square tile along with my plaid shirt to emphasis the square idea. I tried, with success I believe, to look as confused as possible. I never took the time to complete a rubik’s cube and it will never cease to amaze me when someone fully completes the puzzle.
Square – Purchase Prints
Next up was my personal favorite to create. The clue was laughter. I knew I could get a solid giggle out of the crew invited to my son’s ninth birthday party. After cake and presents I gathered the kids up to tell a joke.
Me – “Why was tigger looking in the toilet?”
Them – “I don’t know, why?”
Me – “He was looking for Pooh!”
Them – “Hahahaaha…
*Snap, Snap Snap*
Post processing for this one including me developing the best photo of the group I was able to fire off. I then copied those develop settings to another image in which I felt the boy in the yellow shirt looked to be laughing more. I opened both images as layers in Photoshop and masked him into the less laughing version of himself. This one was so much fun!
Laughter – Purchase Prints
Next, photographer. I originally planned on getting a self portrait of myself with my camera and tripod on boat house row with the Philadelphia skyline in the background during sunset, but the weekend I was in Philly turned out to be horrible weather. I’m not really sure about my thought process on submitting this image for the photographer clue. I really like this image but I probably could have come up with something relevant with the theme than this shot of Baltimore. This was a six shot panoramic shot of the Baltimore Inner Harbor skyline. I loved the colors of the buildings against the deep blue sky with random colors found throughout the middle and reflecting down through the water.
Post processing consisted of syncing develop settings between all of the images in Lightroom first and then merging to a panorama in Photoshop. Next I used something which I tend to use on all of my panorama images and highly recommend this as a technique to pick up. After the multiple images have the merged into one in Photoshop use the puppet warp tool. Once it loads you want to click in each of the four corners in the image and then drag those anchors to straighten out all the building vertical lines and the horizon. If a section of the image is missing and needs filled to crop to your liking you can use the content aware fill tool to fill in a portion of the sky or water which is missing. I have done this with other images but wasn’t needed with this one.
Photographer – Purchase Prints
Here we have the clue, lather, with my son getting his hair clean. He loves to ham it up.
Post processing was pretty simple on this one. I cleaned up his skin some to keep it nice and smooth. I will have an upcoming blog post that details my skin softening technique. I also sharpened his eyes while slightly whitening them as well. All of these effects were tried to be done without someone even noticing that it was cleaned up. I try to keep the effects minimal but an obvious improvement nonetheless.
Lather – Purchase Prints
Another fun shot which is the longest possible clue ever, stranger (holding a sign with a heart on it). I went down to DC to attend a Kelby One Seminar, Photoshop for Photographers. It was presented by RC Concepcion and was a great learning opportunity. I knew I would pass some folks on the streets and hoped one would hold my sign I made for a portrait and I would give them a few dollars for their troubles. After approaching this gentleman who was dancing on the side of the street he quickly took me up on my offer and then flashed pose after pose for a solid minute or two. I went with this one of him holding his heart.
I used some of the tips I picked up at the seminar earlier that day by brightening and sharpening his eyes a good bit in Photoshop along with adding some extra definition through his face and arms.
Stranger – Purchase Prints
Moving right along, here we have wildlife. I stumbled upon this fiddle head fern in the Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve. I thought this macro shot of the fern would fit fine into the theme….most plants aren’t all that wild but I think this one falls within that wild category.
Post processing was pretty standard. I really liked the light that the tall trees in the preserve diffused and eventually fell upon the forest floor. I tried multiple different compositions with this image and felt the small ferns around the edges were a nice depth factor. I also believe I added a ever so slight vignette to draw the viewer towards the center of the image.
Wildlife – Purchase Prints
Next is another favorite of mine. It is colourful. I heard of this place in Baltimore, MD called Graffiti Alley. It is an alleyway in which street artists are allowed to spray paint and express their creativity without having to worry about the strong arm of the law. It is truly breathtaking how much paint has been layered onto these walls. I’m sure you could probably have different scenery no matter how many times you decide to revisit this location. This old couch was laying there was was calling to me to be a subject along the lines of the brightly colored walls.
In post I merged three, two step exposures into HDR Efex Pro 2 while adding some extra texture to the pattern in the couch. I then darkened the floor in Lightroom using the adjustment brush. I felt it helped make the couch stand out more compared to when it had a brighter ground underneath it. It took me a while to get the angle that I liked. I wasn’t sure if I should make the light post and garage door vertical or keep them angled. I felt this image was my best shot at winning first, but only came up with honorable mention. I was still happy with the result. There were some stupendous entries by some amazing photographers in this category.
Colourful – Purchase Prints
If you have dogs you know how much their jealousy shows when you have a bowl of popcorn ready to start a movie. My dogs love popcorn. They actually lick the fumes coming out of the top of the microwave while it is popping. They drool like leaky faucets watching anxiously for some to fall to the floor or the rewarding feeling when a piece is tossed their way.
For this image I took a shot of the dogs in a well lit room and then masked them into a scene from our basement with a movie fired up and ready to play in the background. I felt the lighting of the dogs compared to the room really didn’t match up that well and black and white helped hide that fact while keeping the room very dark because you don’t watch a movie with the lights on. Don’t worry they each had several pieces of popcorn for being such patient models.
I was awarded third place with this image and give all the credit to these two maniacs. I love them but they drive me crazy… Make sure to check out some other photos of our dogs.
Jealousy – Purchase Prints