Monday, 12 October 2015

Week 41 - Inspired by a Famous Photographer

If there's nature and it's black and white, I can pass it as inspired by Ansel Adams. I am not sure I have used techniques similar to his, or even a subject matter that he would have approached, but I liked this misty forest so I think at least I got some interesting textures and shapes in my photo.

Oh gosh, I just realized, there are only 11 weeks left in the year!!!! What should I do, embark on year two?

Week 40 - Sound

When I thought of sound I instantly thought of music and dancing. I love listening to music, singing and dancing, so I wanted to take a happy dancing photo for the week's theme. In the busy world we live in, sometimes it's good to put your headphones on, let go of everything and dance to your own tune! Many thanks to my brother for being a perfect model on an autumn Sunday afternoon!

Alors on Danse!

Week 39 - Break the Rules

This is my daughter and the "magic tunnel" at the playground. It's been a busy week and going to the park with her was one of the few moments of calm, so I took advantage and took some photos. As far as breaking the rules goes, I think I was rather conservative, just going for a centered framing of the subject. Unfortunately it was an overcast day and the photo is not as sharp as it could be because of this, and I wish I would have payed more attention to what is behind her in the shot (to eliminate the bits of sky and foliage at the edge of the tunnel if possible).

 I do like the weird reflections in the walls of the tunnel, and my subject's excited expression! What do you think?

Friday, 25 September 2015

5 a.m.

I finally managed to get all of the photos from the 52 frames project up on this blog, so to celebrate this is one of the photos that I took for the 'night' week: a blue city scene captured from my balcony at 5 a.m. Hope you like it!

Week 38 - My Personality

I feel most like myself when I'm with friends, talking about interesting stuff and enjoying a sunny Sunday. I am a social person, I like to listen to my friends and get involved in their hopes and dreams, and help them achieve them if I can. Sometimes I can even be a little addicted to other people, when I am all by myself for long I don't feel well. So, I had coffee with friends today and thought about taking a photo of our drinks and snacks. I decided to cut three of the four circles to make the shot more interesting, and tried a little cross processing as well. All in all, a simple Sunday photo.

Week 37 - Run

As my daughter is learning to move faster and faster, she is always happy to chase us around the park. I thought I would take advantage of this and use her as my model for the run theme. Unfortunately, a bout of bad weather left me with little over an hour of bad light to shoot, and trying to use a fisheye lens for the first time left me with just three photos to choose from. I did not get the dramatic exaggerated photo I had in my mind, but I think this one is ok as a start. I am looking forward to playing with the fisheye some more in the future.

Week 36 - Dreams and Fantasies

Getting out of the subway, on the escalator, I am suddenly painfully aware of my breathing. It has become fast and I cannot slow it down, closing my eyes doesn't help, I'm only making it worse, what happened, did I see something weird on the way here? am I having a heart attack? I feel sweaty and my heart is racing. Think! I can't do it, my heart is pounding in my chest, in my head, in my mind, where am I, I cannot concentrate on anything but this empty escalator! Was it always empty, I feel like there were other people around, where are they, something horrible is going to happen, I can feel it in every fiber of my body, and it's just me and this hazy world and the escalator... help!

Week 35 - Fire

Inside a church that has no electricity, a candle illuminates a spring that people believe will heal all ails. The spring is visible mostly because of the light reflected in the water, as the whole enclosure is rather dark. The icons on the walls are blue, and the small flame burns inside a blue ceramic receptacle, and the general mood of the place is something between mysticism and eeriness. I hope I managed to capture at least some of this...

Week 34 - Wabi Sabi

I loved this wooden hay rake from the moment I saw it because it is a good symbol of living in a village in Romania. The hay rake is a very important household tool and even today villagers know how to make wooden ones, and some still use them. I love the details that break the symmetry of this one, like the imperfect curves of the wood, and the fact that there are five teeth on the left of the handle and six teeth on the right. I am not sure that I managed to get the perfect wood textures and contrast, but I am still fascinated by this object, maybe because it feels like it has been used and loved.

Week 33 - Night Photography

This is the night sky over Viscri village, Romania, captured with a 30 second exposure. I shot with a very wide angle, so there is some perspective distortion but I decided to leave the photo as it is because it adds to the strangeness. I love the weird colours of the grass and house, achieved by a combination of street light with different colour temperatures. I also like the eerie shadows from the trees, I think all in all the shot is very mysterious.

Week 32 - Edited by Someone Else

We had a reunion with my husband's friends from college this weekend, so between drinking beer, running around with kids and hanging out with people I've not seen in a long time, I had little time for shooting. I also let my husband choose which photo he wanted to edit, but neglected telling him about the 'extra credit' for a portrait shot... this is the photo he chose

Week 31 - Magic Hour

This picturesque scene is 1 minute away from Bucharest's most crowded square. I cross the bridge in the background every day on my way to work, but I can't say I really noticed the boat and the strange structure in the middle of the river until yesterday. After spotting the scene, I walked around to get a different angle and I found some plants growing by the river. I decided to take the photo through them, for an added dose of mystery.

Week 30 - Unusual

Not much to say this week... I liked the way the colours looked like behind these glass doors, so I waited for a person to pass and give me an eerie silhouette. What do you think?

Week 29 - Street Photography

This is more of a consistency shot, as I barely had time to take 20 photos on my way to and from work this week. I tried shooting from the hip but my results were horrible, so I chose this one taken in one of the most interesting subway stations in Bucharest. I had a slow shutter speed so I am not sure about the sharpness, but I otherwise like the lonely commuter in a big industrial 'landscape'.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Week 28 - Repetition

The downside of going back to work is that it's hard to find time for taking photos when your days are filled with office-home-work-baby stuff and your weekends are busy with chores you were unable to do during the week. So for my repetition assignment, I lugged my camera in my purse the whole week, in hopes of finding something interesting. Alas, the most interesting thing I could find is pretty ordinary, a fixture in the ceiling of the cafeteria at work. I do like the repetition of lines and rectangles and the different light sources in the shot, but I don't think I would hang this photo on my wall.

Week 27 - Water

This was a 5 am shot after a crazy night partying at a wedding. The boys from our gang were set on having a swim before the night was through, so after some of the 'older' guests started leaving, they dared each other until one of them jumped in, and eventually the got even the groom to join the 'madness'. I took several shots of them swimming in the eerie blue light of the pool, but this is the one I like the most. Maybe because the subject is my husband!? :)

My one wish was for a bit more breathing space to the left side of the shot, but the pool was small and crowded and getting a sharp shot at 5 am was achievement enough.

Party on!

Week 26 - Negative Space

I am not a fan of the 'negative space' syntagma, but I loved the reference to the Japanese "ma" from our assignment email. I am far from that ma, however, since my first idea of a moody figure against the sea was spoiled: I could not find a good vantage point and the seaside was just too crowded to get my minimalistic composition.

So I went for a different approach: reducing clutter through a clear sea-sky background, all shades of blue and white. I was lucky that my subject is also wearing white, so his face stands out even more in the photo, and I used the low angle and wide frame for added drama. I like the shot because it tells a different beach story, the one of the food vendor working while others are relaxing, but I want to revisit my first idea as soon as possible.

Oh, I almost forgot! This week is the halfway mark through the one-year project! Happy to have reached it, I hope to last the whole year!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Week 25 - Dress Up

I am not a fan of costumes and dressing up, and this week has been my most hectic yet, so I shamelessly tried a knock off of an idea I saw online, and tried to 'illustrate' my baby's dreams. As a first attempt it's not horrible, but I think I still have a long way to go.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Week 24 - Transportation

As luck would have it, I was preparing to go back to work after maternity leave when transportation week came along, so I had to run around town with various errands. I snapped this in the afternoon when people were starting to go home from work, but there was still enough light to produce all the interesting reflections.

I thought a lot about whether to crop the upper part up or not. Cropping would have brought the people more into the spotlight, but would have required a "panoramic" format. On the other hand, I liked the reflections in the top window, and the alternation of window space and open space, even if it "distracts" from the subjects.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Week 23 - Focus

I don't like to photograph flowers, but I have a weakness in this respect: I cannot resist wild flowers! I simply love them. They remind me of Summer, freedom and unspoiled beauty, and if you pick them from the field all the magic is gone, so I photograph them. As it happens, I was in the vicinity of a wild flower field when this week started so I had my choice of subject. I tried to get a flower in perfect focus, with the rest of the field blurred behind but still recognizable. I also liked the natural frame of the wooden fence and its texture, and the cute shadow of my lovely flowers.

Now Summer is almost over and I am looking forward to a long and warm Autumn (fingers crossed), but I still like to look at this simple photo and be reminded of the beauty of nature.

Week 22 - Advertisement

Week 22 had us thinking of an advertisement, or a photo that could be used for one. Since I was on vacation in a remote village in Transilvania, I got to thinking how I would make a campaign advertising the area for tourism. As we live in an age when a lot of people have no experience with countryside living (going as far as kids from urban areas having never seen a real cow or another farm animal in their lives), I thought of 'selling' a way of life instead of an area.

The idea came to me of a series posters showing real life from that village: people making haystacks, cows coming home from pasture, horse-drawn carts, chicken in the yard, milking cows, etc. - all the photos in the posters would be as 'raw' as possible, as opposed to showing an idealized image of the village. As a slogan I could only come up with "the authentic countryside experience" and for my shot I chose to photograph the cows coming home from pasture. What do you think of my poster?

Monday, 31 August 2015

Week 21 - Architecture

The newest bookstore in town resides in a beautiful building, dating from 1860 and renovated last year. It used to be a bank before it was confiscated by the communists and turned into a department store. It was abandoned after the Romanian Revolution and the owner has been trying to get it back from the state for the last 20 years. Now it is bustling with life again as the new 'hipster' spot in town, a meeting place for artists, designers, book lovers and tourists.

On this particular morning it was almost empty (10 am on a Sunday) so I was able to get a good shot of the beautiful spiraling staircases and banisters with the perfect number of people to complement the place without making it feel crowded. If you remember, I had taken a previous photo of this scene for 'black and white' week - you can see it here. For black and white, I decided not to use the shot because it felt very crowded and with no apparent subject. I have to say I am much happier about the retake!

Week 20 - Single Light Source

It's about time I started catching up on these posts, I have about 15 to go before I'm back on track...

Just my luck to have no sunshine on the one day I had free to shoot something this week, but I managed to come up with something nonetheless. The photo below is from an art fair taking place in a somewhat unconventional space with big industrial looking windows. I spotted this woman looking out the window and decided that the light coming from outside could be considered a 'single light source'. I especially liked that her posture looks relaxed, but her face is very tense / sad in the reflection, and this created a bit of tension for me. Anyway, here is the photo in question, let me know what you think:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Early Morning

Another of the shots from my day experimenting with the 'toy camera' filter:

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Experiments for a new technique - Double Exposure

I think double exposure is not for anybody. Even doing it in camera, it required a lot of post processing to get to a point where I kind of liked the result, and even so it is very easy to fall into a 'cliche', like I did here by juxtaposing some flowers and my friend's portrait.

This is the final image:

And this is the original:

I think this was OK for a first experiment, but for next time I will think of some ways to give my double exposure more meaning. What do you think?

Week 19 - A New Technique

This week's challenge was all about trying something new and experimenting. I tried playing with double exposures and freelensing (shooting with the lens detached from the body of the camera), but in the end I did not think my experiments were good enough to include in an album, so I went with my fallback plan of trying out the "advanced filters" feature on my Fujifilm X-E2 camera.

There are a lot of filter to play with, among which selective colour, 'tilt-and-shift' and soft focus, but the two I experimented with most were colour-pop and toy camera. Colour pop (obviously) gives all colours a boost of saturation, making them stand out, while toy camera produces weird colours and a prominent vignette, to simulate a cheap film camera of old. I also went one step further in my experiments and tried a lot of shooting from the hip, centered subjects and finding weird or unusual shots during mundane activities like walking in the park. I had a lot of fun and captured a few interesting shots, out of which I chose this one to submit:

I just realized this is the first photo with a portrait orientation that I submit for the 52 frames project... Anyway, I like this shot because of the sharp angles and the unbalanced feeling it gives me, I like the lines forming a V and splitting the frame in three, and I like that the guy's hands and body are also forming Vs and sharp angles.

All in all, playing with this filter has been fun, but I don't know if I would use it on a day to day basis. The colours are interesting, but the vignette is a bit too much for me most of the time.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Week 18 - Behind the Scenes

I took this shot in an unused exhibition space of the National Library. I liked how the empty exhibition panels let some of the light from the doors through and created long shadows on the floor, as well as coloured glimpses of the world outside. A mom and her baby wandered off from the main exhibition into this empty space and peered from behind the panels, and I took the chance to use them as a back-lit subject. I also tried a cross-processing technique which worked better than I expected in such a high contrasting scene.

PS. My photo got featured on the group page, with the following caption: This image was carefully planned and executed by Irina Dodea, for this week's "Behind the scene" challenge for our framers. Take a moment to read the story behind this shot, or alternatively, admire with us the multiple lines, pleasing symmetry, and excellent use of contrast in this scene (underline by me for bragging)

Week 17 - Macro

This challenge was a bit of a chore for me so I have been postponing this post for a while, and lagging behind on the subsequent weeks as a result. I don't know why, but macro is just not for me. I really like what other people can achieve with macro photography, but moving a tripod around a subject to try and capture its most interesting minute details is not my cup of tea. I'll take waiting for hours in a spot on the street over it in not time!

The fact that I am trying to exclusively use my mirrorless camera added to my frustration, because I cannot get a decent macro shot with this camera and my kit lens. I tried a few close-ups, but in the end none had the intimacy of a 'real' macro, so I caved and got out the big guns: Nikon D300 and an old macro lens that no longer works in auto focus. I armed myself with all the patience I could muster, set up the tripod and started circling one of my blooming orchids. I did get a few shots that I consider decent, and in the end I ended up using a big colour and sharpness boost to create a 'symphony in pink' (I know, pretentious title):

What do you think?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Week 16 - Through a Child's Eyes

Also known as 'tutu time' :)

It was not easy trying to photograph my daughter playing, but I did have fun.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Week 15 - Nature

I tried experimenting this week, because 90% of my nature shots were cliche and I didn't like them. I liked standing under the blooming cherry tree and watching the white flowers blowing in the wind, and with the sun in my eyes I had to squint a bit. That's how I got the idea of an unfocused shot of the blooms.

After seeing the photos, I thought that the colours do not really matter so I turned to black and white:

Here is the colour version as well, you tell me which fits your mood best:

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Another Levitation

This is what happens when you have time to post process your work...

Week 14 - Abstract

I'm running out of excuses for my uninspired streak, but I guess it was inevitable in a project where consistency is needed. This was abstract week, which means there were a gazillion ideas to choose from, and experiments to try. I tried my hand at some 'impressionist photography' (to be presented in a later post), some macros and creative use of blurring, none of which made me feel like I had a 'wow' shot. Finally, I chose my husband's favourite from the bunch and called it a week. I like the play with shadows and shapes, and the fact that there aren't many colours in the photo. What do you think?

Phew, I'm finally posting this week's theme without any delays! Hopefully I will be able to keep up from now on. Until next week, Happy Easter my Orthodox friends!

Week 13 - Levitation

This theme was difficult for me, as I was still on holiday and had limited time and options to set it up. My somewhat unoriginal idea was only made better by the zen feeling of my sister in law's living room and some help with post processing from my husband. A big thank you to everybody for the support!

PS. Note to self... next time use a tripod and manual settings!

Week 12 - Straight out of Camera

Straight out of camera week found me on a skiing holiday so I had my pick of beautiful landscapes to photograph. I just had to be careful not to fall on my camera while skiing. As far as using shots without processing, my most common mistake was not paying attention to the edges of the frame and finding myself wanting to crop the raw shots. Alas, it was not permitted, so the offending photos were just discarded.

At last, I chose a shot that shows off the many perks of Winter holidays in Austria: skiing, relaxing in the sunshine and enjoying beautiful picturesque landscapes.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Industrial sunset

Last night we drove around for an hour because we didn't want to wake the baby <3

Week 11 - Ritual

My most rushed week, in between packing for a skiing holiday and treating my family for a cold. I tried to capture the steam from the hot coffee, but I didn't do such a good job.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Week 10 - Reflection

Just a reflection in a puddle turned upside down, but it makes me think of Alice's Wonderland.

Week 9 - Black and White

I took advantage of a trip to the contemporary art museum and took a shot in its empty halls (it was Wednesday morning). The coat in the background was part of an exhibition, and the woman walking through the frame is the custodian.

I liked the rectangular lines, and the rectangles of different shades of grey, the shadow serving as a kind of leading line and the reflection in the floor.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Stay tuned...

For week 9 - black and white...

Week 8 - Make a statement

This week I had a clear statement in mind, but not so many ideas about how to illustrate it. Sadly, time was not on my side either, because my model slept through the few hours of light. So I was left with little over half an hour in bleak afternoon light and I had to make do with that. I took some shots using the built in flash, but they didn't turn out right, so I just upped the ISO and hoped for the best.

I find the end result to be a decent shot (with a really cute model if I may say so), but maybe not really everything I had in mind:

And my statement...

Parenting is Hard

Becoming a mom, I noticed one thing: when it comes to parenting, no matter what you do, there is someone out there to tell you that you are WRONG! You can read a ton of books, listen to a ton of advice and in the end be left utterly confused about the choices you have to make for your baby. No wonder parents today are feeling stressed and pressured into accumulating information instead of just enjoying their babies.

So, to illustrate my concern, this is my daughter browsing through some of the 'baby-themed' books I have in my house, with a background filled with different pieces of opinions: sometimes contradictory, and almost always harsh.

What do you think: is my statement well illustrated? What could I have done differently?

Week 7 - Rule of Odds

I'm glad I waited to post this shot, because now I can gloat a little and tell you it got featured in the screencast critique. I can't tell you how happy I was to get my one minute of fame, which you can watch too (do it right now!):

Be sure to check out the whole video, because it is interesting and educational (and there's also a part one, here).

This week I have no alternate shots because the one I chose is really the one that spoke to me the most. So here's the photo in question, without further ado... Hope you like it!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Under Construction

The beach can be a melancholic but interesting scene this time of year

Week 6 - Love Story

So, the theme called for "telling a story" about love through a photo. Being in a somewhat romantic mood and still on "house arrest" (too bleak and cold to go out anywhere, especially with a 6 month old baby in tow), I dug up an old notebook where I had copied a bunch of poems that I like, set up my tripod and got to shooting.

I took a few shots but they all seemed childishly romantic and made me feel a little bit sick :)

So I then thought about portraying lost love, at least there's more of a story there. I wrote a "love letter" using words from love poems and songs and then proceeded to tear it up into little pieces. I also used the flower decorations on my daughter's baptism candle as a withered bouquet, and sprinkled a few drops of water on the torn paper (yes, tears are shed when love is lost).

So here you have it, my fake lost love story:

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Week 5 - Greetings from...

I took all the shots for this week's theme in 2 hours on Saturday, while we were visiting family in Cluj-Napoca. My initial plan was to shoot something from Bucharest but I simply had no time during the week... When we got to Cluj, I tried to wander the streets alone for a mini photo shoot, but I had to return empty handed because my battery died on me. I just have to remember that having a mirror-less camera means less battery life than my DSLR, it's something I 'discover' the hard way every now and then...

So in order not to miss the week, I ended up sneaking away from my nephew's one year old party to take some photos. Good thing the scenery around the party venue was nice enough to qualify for the theme.

Well, greetings from Cluj! Here is a beautiful lake, just outside the restaurant where the party was taking place:

This is actually the spot where my husband took me for our first date, but that is a story for another time... I chose this photo for the project because it is the 'cleanest' of them all. It has both foreground and background interest, the subjects are doing something mildly interesting, and the sky features some 'dramatic' clouds instead of being bland blue. All in all, it is a decent shot, though not the type of shot I usually take.

More photos from Cluj:

These were shot from the hill known as "cetățuie" (an old fortification), incidentally another spot I visited with my husband on said first date. This hill is a well known spot for seeing Cluj from above. I like the church tower and the panorama as a whole, but I thought that there were just too many rooftops for my taste in these photos, and the main subject (church tower) doesn't stand out enough.

This is the same lake as before, shot at sundown (yes, I took my tripod to a kid's party!). I had my husband stand in as subject for the first photo. I like them enough, but in the end they seemed to dark to choose as a "greetings from" photo.