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.

Week 4 - Complementary Colours

Hi all! I have been very lazy in posting photos from the 52 frames project, but that is not because I didn't take them... it's just that I always found the time and mood to write when my photos were on another computer, or late at night when it felt better to just go to sleep.

So, week 4's theme was about complementary colours, how they interact and emphasize each other. It's still Winter in Bucharest and everything is bleak, so I wasn't drawn to going outside to find my inspiration. Instead, I turned to my friends (whom I was meeting for drinks), and asked them to try and dress in complementary colours for me to shoot.

It was a fun but also challenging evening, and for the future I must remember the following:

1. When taking photos in a crowded place, make sure you pay attention to the background. We were in a crowded bar, and I think I threw away lots of shots because there were coats on chairs behind my subject, or people walking or whatever distraction.

2. It pays to know the location beforehand (or scout it when possible). It was the first time I had gone to that bar, so it took me a while to think about where it was best to shoot .

3. In an indoor shot, pay attention to shutter speed values and use flash if necessary. This seems like a no-brainer but it's something I find myself struggling with more often than I'd like. Again, lots of shots I ended up discarding because of motion blur or other shutter speed faux pas. Unfortunately I don't have an external flash for my X-E2, so using the built-in one posed an even bigger challenge and in the end I ended up choosing one of the photos I had shot without a flash. Just goes to prove I need more practice in poor lit bars :)

4. Work on guiding your model! I find I am more on the observing side, letting people do their own thing and just taking photos when a pose strikes me. But when the subject is in a non-natural position and deliberately posing, more help might be needed from the photographer, and I feel I haven't done such a good job in this respect.

Here is the photo I chose for the project

I liked it most because I like the background as well as the portrait, and I like the fact that part of the "story" is only seen in the mirror (the cocktail glass), and because I managed not to botch the white balance too much.

Here are the runners-up:

This was taken at our table by the big windows of the bar. I did a poor job at eliminating distractions from the background (this is a pretty severe crop from the original) so in the end I didn't like the photos taken there, although I feel the setting had potential.

I deemed this shot too direct. Plus, it makes me want some Aperol Spritz!

This is another one I liked, because of all the interesting elements in the background. I am not to happy about how I cut off her feet, nor about the open doorway on the right. By the way, these shots are all taken in the corridor in front of the ladies' room ;)

Of the photos that didn't make the cut, I like this one the most because it has the cleanest composition, but I think the colours are less emphasized in this version, plus the one I chose has more mystery and more interesting things in it.

What do you think? Which one do you like?

Many thanks to my dear friend and beautiful model, Andreea! I hope next time I will spend more time photographing and less time fooling around and feeling awkward.