A photoblog of my life, with notes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shaky hands ruin good pictures.

Only four pictures today, because for some reason I kept taking shaky pictures. On our walk today, my dad and I stopped by a hockey rink. I managed to grab two pictures that weren't completely blurry.

Hockey Face Off.png

The composition of this picture is interesting to me, because the shape of the players draws the focus of the picture slowly to right between the two hockey sticks, where the action is about to happen. I think if I take pictures like this with a little more light in the future, they'll come out better. I guess that's what bracketing is for.

Goalies Back.png

Because the goalie seems to be on a flat line, with the net, while the top of the picture seems slightly angular and more action-filled. Assuming the goalie's on the red team, he seems to have a tough night ahead of him. There's also that spotlight-thing on the ceiling that seems to be putting him more in the center and under more stress. The back of his helmet almost looks like a mask, like some sort of strange spirit-goalie guarding the ice rink.


A huge fogbank was rolling in behind this picture like an unstoppable steamroller headed straight for downtown LA. I saw this cactus and decided that the lighting and colors (yellow, green, dark blue) were interesting and exotic. Maybe an hour earlier and I wouldn't have had to use a flash. I really don't like using a flash. I'm sure there are times and places for a flash, but to me a flash makes the picture seem like an excerpt from some twelve-year-old's MySpace snapshot album.

My Uncle Stan.png

I think I'm going to have at least one black-and-white picture for each post. I got this great shot of my uncle right after he got home from a basketball game. Oh, wait... he just stopped by - here's another picture of him:

stan with yellow.png

If you're looking at this picture on a good monitor, it's much more exciting - the background is an opaque orange, and the whole thing has a great color to it. I'll probably be taking some more pictures of him.

Taking pictures of people has always scared me. Friends, I'm fine with. It's when I go up to a complete stranger and ask if I can take a picture of them. Honestly, I haven't actually done this yet. Someday I will, and then I'm hoping you'll see some excellent portraiture. This was my last weekend in California, so we'll see what kind of pictures I take over the next week.

For now, enjoy the new week.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Still Summer, Californa Style

My dad and I went for a walk yesterday afternoon, and I brought along my new camera. It's a Sony alpha-200 (a200) that I bought for some $600 at Best Buy. Took all of my savings, but so far it's been worth it. The hardware and software are amazing on this thing, especially for a beginner-user like me.

Anyway, on to the pictures!


This one was actually one of the last ones that I took, as the sun was setting behind the Rolling hills of California's southern coast. The colors on this one are a little muted, but I like the dragonfly, and the fact that it is the focal point among all of the bright pink flowers.


This plant is one of the main reasons I wanted to get a camera out in California. It grows along a winding walkway lined with crumbling brick that my dad and I walk by often. The leaf structure has always reminded me of some crustacean creature's claws - A plant/animal hybrid, which appeals perfectly to my mad scientist personality. Photography-wise, I like the construction of this image. I used f/5.6 at 1/160th of a second to get the short depth-of-field that is so prevalent in macro plant shooting. The sun here was coming out of the west from over the ocean - about an hour before sunset.


Looking at this image, I would expect it to be found on some point-and-shoot camera. It's not particularly vibrant, interesting, or exciting. Why, then, would I put it on this blagospherical endeavor? Because I liked what was printed on the windshield:

If it's too loud, you're too old!

Let's see... what's next? Ah yes - one of my favorites!

Tree Bark.png

This picture reminds me of rough elephant skin, or the scars of some leathery old warrior. In fact, it's a Palm Tree's bark. Does anyone know if people perform some sort of bizarre 'shave' to give palm trees this kind of flat bark (as opposed to the remnants of leaves)? I've been wondering that for a while - is the skinny part of the plant manmade or natural?


This bush, which grows at 33o46'31.05"N 118o22'30.08"W, reminds me of a windswept ship - a clipper ship with all of it's various sails unfurled and catching the wind like wings.


This picture didn't come out nearly as vibrant as I expected. Even after copious amounts of retouching in Photoshop, the flower looks orange and dead instead of colorfully red. I figured I should post this because I don't like it. It's got some interesting composition; if only that darned orange would turn red.


Some pretty flowers on a shrub near a house on the Rancho Palos Verdes hill. I experimented with focusing the camera at eye level and then holding the camera above my head to get a better shot. I think this one came out well. I photoshopped in a little white-vingetteing to brighten up the edges of the picture and pull attention into the middle flowers.

Black and White 5-point flower.png

For the past year, I've worked in Black and White. Out of necessity, mostly - my school's darkroom is ill-equipped for any sort of color photography. This picture was pretty much like any of the others, but now it's a little more special. The flower was origionally in the center of the picture. Amazing how much of this "spicing-up" seems really mundane. And yet how much difference it makes!


Right before I saw this tree, I was explaining (at great length) to my dad that tree pictures were only good if the surroundings were perfect. The previous night, I grabbed a few shots of the deciduous foliage in my grandfather's LA backyard. The roof of his house was right behind the tree in all of these shots, which completely ruined them. While explaining this principle to my dad, I pointed out this tree as a perfect example of a good tree to shoot. It took me a while to realize I should probably take a picture of it.


My dad pointed this one out to me. He pointed to the bark of this tree, which is most common in these parts of California, and told me he thought the way it peeled off would make an interesting picture. I have to agree.


I think this is the same tree as the picture above. If not, it's certainly the same type. I love being a photographer - it means that I can randomly lie down on people's lawns for a good shot like I did here. I'm fond of the side-lit effect the sunset gives this one.

So, I'm hoping to keep this blog up with all the pictures I take during my Senior year at high school. I'm going to be spending time in three states - California, Colorado, and Wisconsin. Also on the agenda are some college trips and field trips to exotic places like New York, Maine, Michigan, and Washington. I only have two or three more weeks of summer vacation (I'll bring pictures of my workplace sometime soon) before it's travlin' time for me.

Here's to a good year, and a continually updated blog. Be sure to check out my comic work at www.ertyseidel.com.

Oh, and also:

f1rst p0ST!

--Erty Seidel

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