Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mysterical

Camera: Sony DSC-W55
Date:12/4/2011
Shutter Speed: 2 seconds
F-Stop: f/5.2
ISO:100
Focal Length: 18.9mm
Tripod: No
 Light: Aircraft lights
When I began this project I was really not sure what I wanted to do.  I knew that I wanted to experiment in Photoshop with taking something out of another picture and placing it within my own but I couldn’t really come up with a good theme.  After brainstorming through several ideas I decided that I wanted to do something aviation related and I thought that I could do something with UFO’s.
 UFO’s are most certainly a mysterious phenomenon and a large percentage of pilots have witnessed sightings in their careers that they could not explain.  In addition aviation fits well with this subject because many of the UFO sightings by the general public simply turn out to be aircraft.  After having been around aviation I can certainly see how people’s minds would play tricks on them.  Aircraft have an abundance of different lights and when maneuvering there are times when you don’t quite know exactly what you are looking at.  That gave me the idea that maybe I could use the lights from an airplane somehow in conjunction with a UFO cut out of another picture.
After several failed attempts to capture aircraft lights for the night photography project I had a great idea.  While these shots did not make great images for the low light project I could use them for my UFO photograph.  I decided to cut a UFO out of a picture found on the internet and past it in such a way that it looked as if the lights in the photograph were from the UFO.  I first found a picture of light trails that I thought would work the best.  I then found a picture of a UFO that I liked and cut it out using the magnetic lasso tool.  I then pasted the UFO into the photo and drug it into position.  It still did not look quite right so I rotated the UFO until the lights lined up more realistically on the spacecraft.  I also used the clone to get rid of some of the extra lights that were not needed in the photo. 
I had a lot of fun trying to manipulate this photo and make it look as real as possible.  This project made me really think about how we must question everything that we see.  We must remember that even though we may have seen something, someone else or even our own eyes may be playing tricks on us.      


Landscape

Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1
Date: 10/29/2011
Shutter Speed: 1/50
F-Stop: f/5.6
Focal Length: 28mm
Tripod: No
Light: Natural


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Portrait

Camera: Sony DSC-W55
Date:12/5/2011
Shutter Speed: 10/3200
F-Stop: f/2.8
ISO:100
Focal Length: 6.3mm
Tripod:No
 Light: Natural

When I began this project I originally was trying to shoot a portrait of myself.  Who better to use as a subject when I just happen to be around all the time?  My plan was to simply carry my camera with me everywhere I went and keep an eye out for interesting scenes that I could use as backgrounds for my portrait.  I would then use a tripod and the self timer feature on my camera in order to capture a portrait of myself.   However, this proved to be much a more difficult task than I had expected.  It became clear that trying to serve as both photographer and subject was not going to work as well as I had planned.
I decided that I needed another subject to shoot so that I could focus on my role as photographer.  This would prove to be much a much easier task and probably resulted in a better portrait.  My next challenge was who would be my subjects and what would I use as a background?  Well the subject problem was solved when sitting at the aviation building talking to fellow classmates I found two students who were willing to be my subjects.  Recently Rocky installed a new sign next to the aviation building.  We have all noticed over the last few weeks how much better this sign looks and how it represents our program much better than the old one.  I decided that using this sign as a backdrop for my portrait would work great as it would give me a solid background with no other distractions in the photo.  Also since both the students in my photo are in the aviation program I thought that this setup would work very well. 
I quickly learned that shooting portraits is different from other types of photography as your subjects don’t always cooperate as well as you would like.  After reviewing the pictures I noticed that you could see the reflection of myself in the portrait.  I did not like how this looked; however, I was able to remove it with the use of Photoshop.  After completing this project I am mostly happy with how this portrait turned out.  The only thing I would like to have changed is that there is a lot of light reflecting off the sign.  I think the picture would be better if I had chosen a different time of day when the sign would not have been reflecting as much light.

Night Photography/Homestead Storage


 
Camera: Sony DSC-W55
Date:12/4/2011
Shutter Speed: 10/400
F-Stop: f/3.2
ISO:100
Focal Length: 7.2mm
Tripod: Yes
 Light: Neon 
When I first set out to capture images for the night photography project I did not realize just how difficult it would be to capture a good low light photograph.  I learned very quickly that without a tripod your pictures will clearly show even the smallest movement from the camera. My first attempts at night photography were extraordinarily bad, however, they did result in some very interesting effects. 
My intent for this project was to showcase some of the interesting lighting found in the Billings area.  While most people associate exciting lights with the downtowns and skylines of cities much larger than Billings, our city does have its share of interesting illumination.  As we all know the Rims give a great view of the Billings area and there are some interesting light displays to be seen from there.  The downtown area, city streets, MSUB, and the refineries all have their own unique light signatures.  However, my attempts there resulted in mostly failure as I could not successfully capture an image that really stood out.  I also attempted photographing the lights of flying aircraft.  However, it was nearly impossible to zoom in enough to capture the image and still keep the aircraft in the frame. 
Then I decided to go for a more close up approach and shoot some of the street level lights of the city.  One of the scenes that I found interesting was the lights on the Verizon wireless building in the heights.  Again, I found that a tripod was absolutely necessary; however, I could not get the correct angle that looked good with my tripod sitting on the ground.  I finally was able to get some good shots by resting my camera on the mirror of my car.  My next picture was that of the neon sign at the self storage facility.  I found this subject interesting because normally neon is associated with exciting things such as casinos, restaurants, and nightlife, not a storage facility.  In this photo I was not going for design as much as I was the neon tubes themselves.  I wanted the sign to be legible while still providing some of the intricacies of the neon tubes. 
If I learned one thing from this night photography project it would be that shooting at night seems to magnify any mistakes that you may be making during the day. 

Night Photography/Verizon


 
Camera: Sony DSC-W55
Date: 12/4/2011
Shutter Speed: 10/40
F-Stop: f/3.5
ISO:100
Focal Length: 9.4mm
Tripod: Yes
Light: Neon

Social Commentary/Poverty

 
Camera: Sony DSC-W55
Shutter Speed: 10/3200
F-Stop: f/7.1
ISO:100
Focal Length: 6.3mm
Tripod: No
Light: Natural 
When I began this project I found it difficult to find a social cause that I could tell a story about with a picture.  After seeing the Pulitzer Prize photos it was difficult to imagine anything that dramatic in my own life.  While the United States does not face as serious of problems as many other nations of the world we do have our own problems.  As a business student I am very interested in our economy and how it affects current events.  How will it affect the election?  Will college students be able to find jobs?  Will seniors be able to retire?  Add to all these questions the growing discontent among the population as shown by the protests on Wall Street and you begin to see an interesting topic emerge. 
I ask myself, do all those grumbling about the economy really have anything to be upset about?  We are one of the leading economies in the world and we enjoy an environment where one can move up the socioeconomic ladder, an opportunity not enjoyed by those in many other nations.  In order to put our economic troubles into perspective I wanted to portray a situation worse than the one that most of us are facing.  I found just such a scene south of Custer, South Dakota while visiting over Thanksgiving.
The scene that I found was not one of your average mobile home court, but an array of homes very much rundown and indicative of poverty.  This area was so rundown that I passed it by just thinking it was some old mobile homes along with other discarded junk.  A second look however, proved this was a small community with several people living there.  I attempted to shoot this scene in a way that would show the living conditions of those less fortunate than ourselves.  I thought that the old truck setting amongst the homes added to the picture by showing a sense of abandonment.  I also found that changing this photograph to black and white added some sense of despair to the conditions. 
While I think the subject I found did a fair job of portraying the cause that I was trying to capture, I think I could have done a better job at telling the story through my picture.  Maybe a different angle on the scene or inclusion of other objects in the area would have done a better job at telling the story.  However, in the end I believe that this picture shows that most of us really don’t have too much to complain about when it comes to our quality of life and financial opportunities. 

Mammoth Springs


Camera: Canon PowerShot Pro1
Date: 10/30/2011
Shutter Speed: 1/50
F-Stop: f/5.6
Focal Length: 22mm
Tripod: No
Light: Natural