Wednesday, October 04, 2006

First attempts at photography...

I had my first photography class today. It was mostly just introductory stuff, but prior to class, everybody was supposed to take a few pictures to bring for critique and orientation. Here are the ones I took.

This one was just a shot I did for the self-portrait thread of some chat forums. It was accidentally quite good. The professor complemented what she called the "light echoes," i.e., the darkness on the right sight of my face corresponds to the darkness in the upper left corner; the light side of my face offsets the brightness of the right side of the room. I just love the melancholy mood. Somebody who saw this picture joked: "For a relaxing time, make it a Santori time" (Lost in Translation reference).

That's $7.52, in case you were wondering - there's a half-dollar in front. I was hungry for a hamburger but short on cash, so I raided my change cup and, much to my delight, had plenty. I started arranging the coins into stacks, including 50 pennies (not easy!). It was only after I finished that I saw a great photo-op, so I cleared some of the extraneous stuff away, and made sure each coin stack was the exact same length from the edge of the nightsand.

I then used the money to buy a Wendy's classic double. It was delicious.

This one took me the most work, actually. The crucifix is a gift from St. Anthony of Padua parish in Casa Grande; it shows Christ along with the instruments of his suffering and death: the crown of thorns around the center, the spear and sponge on the left, and a latter on the right. I wanted the light to shine from above instead of below, and I wanted it to be harsher for better contrast. I took the lampshade off of the porcelain lamp on my desk, and held it up with my left hand while I stretched out my right hand with the camera. Took about five shots--one of them got just the effect I was looking for. I also used the color balance tool in the GIMP to give the wood background a more oaky look.

On a different day, I walked to the park nort of the Park Mall, and took a couple creative shots of the trees. This one intreegued me (yuk) because of how low it branched into two seemingly equal sub-trunks. The preview here is a little borked--click on it to get the whole thing. I also have a portrait version. Which one do you like better?

This is one of my favorites, and after I took it I was so pleased with myself--that is, until I noted the huge freaking blade of grass that ruined the whole thing. I tried to find the location in the grass where I found this picture, but alas, all of my subsequent attempts were worthless. If you haven't noticed, I like pictures that make the viewer feel very small. It is our smallness relative to the world that makes us free to move about it.

And finally, one more self portrait, in the same park. Me, doing what I like: readin' some Copleston.


Matt of C G said...

The picture with the blade of grass is a wonderful picture. Just tweak your perspective a little bit and tilt your head. Give it a title like, "Of Mice and Men"--What? How very trite! Give me a break, man! But before you judge too harshly ask Jeff to expound upon my idea of "elegant simplicity." Then you'll know where I'm coming from.-- and think of the relevance. Think of all the correlations that could be made. It's a wonderful picture.

Hey, are you using a single-lense-reflex (SLR) camera or a digital one? Those photos are looking mighty sharp. I'd do it using the SLR camera for the sake of purity. (Remember your "imitation of worship and imitation in worship" post?)

Jeff said...

I do remember that post. I wish I had finished it. But if you recall, I made a distinction in there between mimetic technology (which is bad), and genuine developments of technology (which are good).

All of these pictures were taken with an old Sony digital point-and-shoot, with multi-point focus. I might have an opportunity to learn the intricacies of SLR, but for now I'm just focussed on composition.