Tuesday, September 30, 2008

274/366 Mervyn, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Monday, September 29, 2008

273/366 Cans Bottles, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

272/366 Funky Clocks, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

271/366 Throwing Books, originally uploaded by Amberture.

A freebie from the Smithsonian National Book Festival.

Friday, September 26, 2008

270/366 Obama, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

269/366 Esperando, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Once a year my nonprofit throws a big party in Washington, DC for our trustees, all the people that give us money, and all the people we hope will give us money. Oh, and the staff. I had other obligations and so politely declined the invitation.

I had wedding photography on the mind when I shot this, imagining a bride in a huge beautiful dress beautifully side-lit by lovely pale light coming through the window. When I got the picture out, though, I was disappointed by how blurry my face is. Not noticeable in the small sizes at all but certainly not clear once you blow it up to 100%. Have I damaged my camera? Could it be that it just needs a good cleaning? Or have I perhaps finally begun to notice its limitations?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

268/366 Physics, originally uploaded by Amberture.

My brilliant boyfriend was a bit frustrated last night with his homework. It didn't help when I was trying to take pictures of it. This stuff looks like Chinese to me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

267/366 The Bird, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I should have been really relaxed yesterday because I didn't have to go to class (a whole three nights for me and George!) but I was ticked because of other crap. Thus, I present the not-b&w self-portrait I promised... it's still a self-portrait but at least I'm not trying to be attractive.

Monday, September 22, 2008

266/366 A-OK, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Okay, I will really try not to do a black and white self-portrait tomorrow.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

265/366 Full Frontal, originally uploaded by Amberture.

There's this idea with photography that you have to let go of some kind of hardness or holding back - that you have to be vulnerable. The camera will see this and reflect it back. Sometimes I go through my pictures and see this vulnerability in myself that I had no concept of while I was taking the photo. Perhaps it is only because I am making self-portraits and there's no dialogue between me and a photographer because I play both roles.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

264/366 Campaigning, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This game of Risk lasted four hours before things were really shaping up. I'd say we had maybe two or three rounds left but then everyone had to leave to go to various dancing and BBQ events. I had just crushed one player (my boyfriend) and was about to wipe out another - it was world domination, as they say. Alas.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I was hoping some heavy processing would make this photo relatively interesting and I'm pleased enough with the results. As I was on my way to the damn T-Mobile store, I noticed a whole bunch of pigeons chillin' on the E*Trade sign and for some reason it seems amusing in light of the recent financial and economic crisis going on throughout the world.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

262/366 End of Summer, originally uploaded by Amberture.

On my way home I noticed this awesome light on either side of the tree. So I just balanced my camera on the ground against my backpack, framed the shot and fired away. Normally my camera does a really good job adjusting exposure for what I'm talking about. I'm almost always pleased with the result when I come back to the camera sitting on the ground. Now for depth of field, we can discuss...

I feel like this would really be pushed with some post-processing, but my skills aren't up to the task.

Also, I've been looking at cameras lately. I'll be making a purchase before Road Trip 2008 with David in October. Expect bigger, better pictures!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

261/366 Bell Peppers, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I've been in this Whole Foods before and noticed how beautifully arranged the produce is, especially at half an hour to close, which is when I get off work at my second job. I've always wanted to photograph the peppers, and now I have. Too bad they didn't put the red ones next to the yellow ones! Or even better, the orange ones next to the green ones.

Also, welcome everyone from the $50 Camera Project post - my extremely meager site saw an enormous jump in traffic yesterday. I hope you all have a pleasant stay.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

260/366 Old Glory, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Today's lesson is that certain keywords will get you much more exposure on Flickr than others. "Haircut," for example. I can already tell you that "flag" isn't as popular. Who knew!

Monday, September 15, 2008

259/366 Haircuts, originally uploaded by Amberture.

The attentive of you will notice I've a new haircut - no need to ask, it's really a haircut.

And for details, at the public request of Beyond Megapixels:
I take a lot of bathroom mirror self-portraits because they're relatively easy, quick, I can check my pose before I expose, and because there's normally lots of light. The last two points are the most key to bathroom mirror self-portraits, if I will allow myself to claim a bit of experience in this area. So I will explain both:

  • The light. An ideal bathroom self-portrait has a light directly above the mirror that points down enough to provide plenty of light bathing your face. You might have to put your face way up close to the mirror in order to achieve maximum lightness. This serves to throw the background into relative darkness and highlight your features, which should be the point. The best mirror self-portraits I ever took were in a studio theatre's bathroom which beauty lights on either side but I doubt anyone has those at home so we'll skip that discussion.
  • Posing. The biggest mistake I commonly see for mirror self-portraits is that people don't fill the frame. Just like with any other portrait, you don't want a lot of background junk getting in the way of everyone looking at you, the subject. Move your face or the camera around enough so that your face is taking up the majority of the frame. Remember, if you can see the opening of the lens, it can see you. Additionally, I find that it's useful to try a bunch of different poses to see what looks good - you can always delete later if you look too silly.
Other tips:
  • Try not to get the camera into the photo - that ruins the effect (in some cases - in others, it's very important to have it there). Take your picture at an angle, bouncing off the mirror.
  • Sometimes if you hold the camera the same distance away from the mirror as your face it has a hard time focusing. Put the camera close to the mirror and shoot, bouncing off the surface, at your face behind.
  • Try different angles, pointing slightly down and slightly up at yourself.
That about wraps it up. If you have any tips on mirror self-portraits, leave a comment!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

258/366 Heart of the Matter, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I was forced to dive into the guts and/or brains of my computer today in order to resolve a dispute I've been having with it. The heart of the matter is that I want it to turn on and it refuses. The computer won seemingly once and for all because I installed a new power supply but it still does not turn on. The end seems near.

Luckily, I have my very talented computer friend always sending me things (like the computer...) so I'll probably be back up and online soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy this post from work!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

257/366 French Onion Soup, originally uploaded by Amberture.

After a whole week of panic, it was really nice not to be absorbed with the crisis in Haiti. It was nice to be absorbed in a giant bowl of french onion soup, made by my wonderful boyfriend.

Friday, September 12, 2008

256/366 Three Doors, originally uploaded by Amberture.

I know you were sad to miss the picture of the day yesterday so I've included it below. Yesterday was great portrait light. And I know you're thinking I could have used some gold-toned fill to my right, but I was both model and photographer, there, so you can shove that criticism. So there!

255/366 Bonus: In the Woods

$50 Camera Project

Now I know I'm only supposed to post my picture of the day but this is a special deviation. Without further ado, my submission to the $50 camera project.

My Camera: The Olympus OM-1
128/366 My OM-1
The OM-1, at one time the world's most popular camera (I made that up) and long-time standard in the photography world. Everybody over 40 (I made that up) had one of these and everybody under 40 thinks they're so pretty and probably has no idea how they work.
I found the manual settings intriguing and also beguiling. While the manual focus was lovely my reflexes are nowhere near fast enough to put the correct subject in focus, as you'll notice in my pictures. Indeed, the DoF was often not great enough for me to capture my entire subject, which is entirely my fault.
It will also become clear if you look at the pictures that I have not yet mastered the "Sunny 16" rule which dictates how you should set your aperture and shutter speed to achieve proper exposure.
But the nitty-gritty, what Brian wants here, are the technical details. The OM-1 has a lot of moving parts compared to your standard digital model, on which you can pick the thing up and start shooting. Loading the film, winding it up and getting the camera to take a proper exposure all required reading the manual, which I had to look up online.
The aperture, shutter speed, and focus are all manually adjusted and are located on the lens. The 50mm lens I was using had no zoom. Once you've figured out how these work, it only takes photographic skill to make a great picture! I can't report any lens aberrations, processing difficulties or other mishaps. All-in-all, the OM-1 is just a great old camera.

I bought it for $25 at a church yard sale - it included a fat telephoto lens, a bunch of filters, that awesome strap you see in the beauty shot above, and a killer leather camera bag. Oh, and a warranty that expired in 1974.

My overall impression in using this camera is that it was like having to learn the fundamentals all over again - in a totally different way! Whereas I've learned I need to fill the frame with my digital camera, plenty of times I'll just shoot something as-is and go back and crop later. Tsk tsk on me! This effect was magnified in the OM-1 as I'm not using to using a viewfinder. Most of my subjects are very small, floating around a big frame.

The Pictures
These were taken during Jeff Revell's PhotoWalk in Old Town, Alexandria. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to bust out this awesome camera I never use, and I was right. These are unprocessed, even though it pains me to present them as such. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

254/366 Fountains at Night, originally uploaded by Amberture.

This is a one-second exposure of the fountain near TCS, where I work. On Wednesday evenings I go from work to stuffing food in my mouth so I don't starve while at my second job. I hobble home around 10:15 to George, who is patiently waiting for me... hrm. I am a bit in over my head.

In any case, I really like the girl on the left. She looks a bit like Jesus.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

252/366 NOVA, originally uploaded by Amberture.

Even this mashup is pretty tired. I could have done better but I was on my way to class and only had time for 10 or so frames. Nevertheless, I've got some good ideas for this shot and will be back in the same spot Thursday and every Tuesday and Thursday through the end of the year (though it will be dark by the time I'm done). You'll see something better at this locale soon enough.