Tag Archives: lynda.com

Photography prompt: Photographing light

A couple of months ago, I did some photography prompts. Recently, I reviewed these photos and was pleasantly surprised how much I still liked them. I took photos I wouldn’t normally take, and saw new things.

Now that I’m in a new place, paradoxically I am short on photo inspiration. Everything is so interesting that it can be hard to zero in, especially when work, grocery stores, bars, and walking paths are new forms of shiny distractions. So today I’m posting one of my prior photography prompts, and I hope to continue with more in the future.

Today’s prompt is “photographing light”. This is not the same as photographing shadows cast by light, it is photographing the light itself. I got this prompt from the Lynda.com photographic composition course by Ben Long. I took these pictures on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville in the early evening, not quite at golden hour, but late enough in the day that the windows were casting reflections in interesting places.

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In this picture, I liked the way the reflections from different buildings interacted, and how they contrasted with the brick pattern.

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In this photo, the windows from across the street are reflecting light onto shadowed windows. The reflections allow you to see shapes in the windows that you couldn’t see by looking at them directly, plus the contrast simply pleases me.

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A distant window cast light onto this crosswalk aid. I almost ignored it, as one does with crosswalks one does not need, but with this small and brilliant beam of light, the guide suddenly was radiant. I loved the simple colors in this one, turning it b+w would have stripped it of so much.

Merging photographs

Lately I’ve been improving my Photoshop skills with courses from Lynda.com. If you want to learn a design program, I strongly recommend them. In a year, I’ve learned so much about Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, JavaScript, CSS, photography, and more. In Photoshop alone, I learned way more than I figured out in 15 years of experimentation.

With my new learning, I’ve been able to breathe new life into old photos. Over the past several years, I took numerous sets of photos that I intended to turn into panoramas and HDRs, but then I could never get them to look right. With newfound skills come newfound confidence. Check out these beautiful images!

 

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American Southwest near Moab, Utah at sunset. Assembled from 40 24-megapixel images captured with a Sony Alpha 100. When it was assembling, it tied up over 100 gigs of space. This version is 1500×557 pixels; the full size is 19,000 x 7,000!

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Detail from above photo, center-left at horizon.

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Mount Saint Helen’s in Washington state. Assembled from 6 24-megapixel images from a Sony Alpha 100.

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Detail from above photo, center left.

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Waterfall in Central Virginia along the Blue Ridge Parkway. High dynamic range image assembled from five slow-exposures. Smart sharpen and high pass filters to add sharpness and clarity.

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Rainforest in Olympic National Park. Before assembly, I reduced noise and applied lens corrections. High dynamic range image assembled from five exposures. Smart sharpen and high pass filters to add sharpness and clarity.

 

 

 

Books and pictures and programs

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind, so in departure from something more organized, I think I’ll just list off a few of my projects. Hopefully some of them will inspire you to something; at the very least, I know I can come back here when my own motivation wanes (it always does, it always will, we just have to learn to re-energize it).

  • In the last few months, I’ve assembled a science fiction and fantasy anthology for my writing group. I did all the formatting and editing and layout. Last night we had a binding party in which we put together several handmade copies. Soon it will be available for the kindle (after a little more work), but here are pictures of the first bound copy of Bizarre Tales from the Three Notch’d RoadSONY DSC SONY DSC
  • I’m taking a watercolor painting class through a local art community. Everything I know now I taught myself, and I’m sure there are new things I ought to learn. The next Zish and Argo will be even more beautiful.
  • I’m taking the plunge and going pro with my photography. Check out my new website karenblahaphotography.com.
  • I’m learning database design, something I knew zero about before June. You can just pick up a new skill, if you give it time and realize that it will be a slog at times. I’m using this book by Michael Blaha, which as the name suggests, my dad wrote. Nearly 30 years of osmosis didn’t teach me anything, but two months with this book has been inspiringly instructive.
  • I’ve been learning the Adobe creative suite, using videos from Lynda.com. I learned InDesign for the anthology pictured above. I learned a ton about Illustrator after being unable to make even the simplest graphics in it. Although I’ve been using Photoshop for years, I’ve learned more about it in the last month than I have in the last ten years. Immensely eye-opening.
  • I made the switch from Aperture (the mac photo-managing software) to LightRoom (the Adobe photo-managing software). LightRoom ties into creative suite better, and Mac is not supporting Aperture sufficiently anymore. And I’m using Lynda.com videos to speed my adaptation to LightRoom too.
  • I discovered a wikipedia for classical music whose copyright has lapsed. Imslp.org has sheet music for hundreds of composers for dozens of instruments. It even has some free recordings. I am working on learning Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore for piano, Grieg’s  Peer Gynt for piano, and Saint Saen’s Swan for viola. The only trouble is knowing which music you want!
  • I continue to work on short stories for my Clarion Write-a-thon goal. I’m on the second one, and I need to pick up the pace. Check out my profile page here.
  • And finally, I continue to work on my 100 scenes of Vironevaehn life. I’m up to 42 color illustrations.SONY DSC

Whew, that was a lot, and time to get back to it!