Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Recently I was downtown with some fellow photographers in the evening, when we happened upon a couple of men making some money by letting people blow big bubbles in the pedestrian zone. Now, anyone with small children knows that bubbles are an awful lot of fun. Photographers should also know how much fun they can be.

Granted, nighttime is not the greatest time for shooting randomly moving transparent globs, but I found that if you stick with it, you can pull some interesting pictures out of the event. As I've written here before, you can reduce the negative effects of high-ISO noise by converting the pictures to black-and-white. (All but one of these photos were all taken at 3200 ISO.) Yesterday I learned from Vincent Versace at Kelby Training that there is a plethora of ways to turn color pictures into black-and-white. However, these pictures here were desaturated using Lightroom's one-click B/W setting. Then I went back in with the adjustment brush and added selective color here and there to recreate the rainbow effect of the bubble.

Here, too, I used the same tools to recreate the bubble, but this time I framed my friend Renee Cizek in the loop. The background is, after all, nearly as important as the foreground.

Here I wanted the glow from the streetlights to accentuate the bubble. This picture did not see much post-processing.

Although there were some adults enjoying this event, this boy seemed most intent on blowing a huge bubble. This picture seems to tell his story as I saw it.

Sony A77, Minolta f1.7/50mm, f2.5, 1/125 sec, 3200 ISO
Selective color(s) and selective focus help direct our eye to the important part of a photograph. Here I was lucky to get such sharp definition on the bubble.
Thanks again to the men with the bubble juice! Don't forget to leave a tip for such street performers if you enjoy taking pictures of what they are doing.

Sony A77, Minolta f1.7/50mm, f3.2, 1/125 sec., ISO 1600

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cuddly Primates

Most of us don't think of gorillas as being very cuddly animals. But when a bunch of children hug the glass, it's hard to imagine how distantly we are really related. It may be only a few chromosomes, but when is the last time you saw a monkey driving a Mercedes?

"Beauty and the beast" comes to mind when I see this little girl's arm seemingly stroking the gorilla's fur.

This would probably be very easy to mock up in Photoshop, but after getting a few shots with my 90mm lens yesterday, I screwed on the 28-75mm today and waited for the right moment.

Sometimes the dual faces that appear in the reflections are better than one could imagine. This reminds me of the cowardly lion's face from The Wizard of Oz. And what I especially like about such reflections is that you have to look away and re-focus your eyes to see the other face.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another day at the zoo

Trying to practice what I preach, I went back to the zoo and focused on details, composition and beauty.

An unusual perspective can help the viewers see things they hadn't focused on before.

Matching the foreground and background can result in a pleasant picture. Here the subtle shadows develop unobtrusively from the highlights.

If you wait long enough, you can get some good detailed shots of the fish...

...and some interesting reflections.

Goodbye! Until next time!