My Places Of Peace

The final Visual Assignment that I chose for this week is called Places of Peace. This assignment was really fun to-do for me because I could go through my photos and find some pictures that really made me happy. I chose two photos that were taken on a recent trip to Maui with my sister. One is Waimoku Falls, which lies in a hidden location near the eastern tip of the island. The second picture is from the Pali Trail hike in Maalaea. The other two pictures were taken at my house in Spotslvania, Virginia. The first was laying on the couch with a sleeping pup and the second was my patio that is a great place to relax after a long day.

What I Have Learned About Photography This Week…

Photography has really never been a particular interest of mine. I mean I would take pictures to capture my favorite memories but I would never consider it to be something I really took serious. So, needless to say I had a lot to learn going into this week.

Personally, I found the Becoming a Better Photographer section from the DS106 Handbook to be the most helpful on my journey. Below is a video I found very helpful in explaining what light means to a picture.

One technique that I found to be very helpful from the handbook was about lighting. It sounds simple from someone who doesn’t know much about photography, but let me tell you, it was much more complex than I had once thought. See, it turns out that using the light to your advantage can give you control of things like shadows which can really round out a picture. As the article puts it, “Good light makes every photo”. So after reading a bit more in depth about how to use the light to my advantage, I tried to take a before and after picture. The first will be without taking lighting into consideration and the second will not neglect the lighting. We will see if we can tell a huge difference for ourselves.

For this experiment I grabbed an old wine bottle off of our win racks. As our control, I first took a picture with no changes to the lighting what-so-ever and it came out like this:

Nothing really special here with this picture, pretty much turned out as expected. Now for the next picture I will be using some front lighting. This is when the light source is illuminating the subject from the front. Here is how that one turned out:

I was sort of shocked when I first saw this picture. I really underestimated the amount of improvement that something as small as lighting can make. It doesn’t even look like it was taken on the same camera. Another variation of this method that I think would be very interesting to try would be to back-light the subject of the photo. Essentially, I could try to hide the light behind the subject of the photo.

Other notable techniques that I learned from the DS106 Handbook are better contrast makes better stories and changing my perspective by changing yours. The first technique with contrast can be accomplished many different ways in a picture. Whether it is through a difference in lighting, colors, or subject matter these things in combination will make a photo more interesting. The changing my perspective technique is used to find different angles that are not always used in pictures to change things up. For example, for the picture above instead of taking the photo from the table level I could take it from the top facing downward.

In conclusion, this week I have already learned so much about what goes into the visuals of storytelling. These are elements of pictures that I don’t believe I had thought mattered as much before. It sure has changed my mind after looking at what the lighting tips did to improve my photo.

How-to guide: Averaged Portrait

This assignment required even less Photoshop knowledge than the previous assignment I have done on averaging Flickr pictures. This was on a much smaller scale, only using 7 pictures rather than 50. To start you will first need to take 7-10 self-portrait pictures changing one aspect of the picture with each next picture. When you’re finished simply create a separate layer for each picture, select all the layers, and “Convert to a Smart Object”. Then, you can go into the Layer menu and select, “Smart Objects”, then “Mean”. This will essentially average all of the layers in the smart object. Here is what my completed picture looked like from 7 self-portraits.

Averaged Portrait

This visual assignment was very similar to the averaging Flickr pictures assignment that I have done previously. I took 7 self-portrait type pictures and then averaged them together in Photoshop. I would definitely say that the result was a very very unconventional portrait. Here is the result.

How-to guide: Averaging Concepts Using Flickr

When I initially started this assignment I was very worried if I was going to have the Photoshop skill to be able to average these photos together. To my surprise, that was actually easier then downloading 50 pictures. This is a super easy way to create some very unique abstract art. First, you need to pick the phrase you will search on Flickr. Once that is done, you need to download the first 50 pictures that pop up. Next, you will need to open a new Photoshop project. You will open every picture on its own layer, so you should have 50 layers at the end. Then, select all the layers, right click and press, “Convert to Smart Object”. This will combine all the layers into one. Next you want to go to “Layer”, then “Smart Objects”, “Stack Mode”, and finally, “Mean”. This will essentially average all of the layers in the smart object. Here is what my completed picture looked like for 50 images of creeks.

Here is a helpful Youtube video that I followed to create my final product.

Averaging Concepts Using Flickr

This visual assignment seemed really interesting to me. Photo averaging is something that I don’t have any experience with. The overall goal is to stack 50 pictures from Flickr on top of each other and average all of them together essentially creating an abstract piece out of all of them combined. The word I chose to search on Flickr is “creek”. Below is the result of 50 creek pictures averaged in Photoshop.

One thing that could’ve been improved from this assignment was to make sure the pictures you get have a common size.

How-to guide: Creating a Spubble

Creating your own Spubble was actually so much easier than I thought. The only resource that I used to create it was my IPhone. First, I selected the perfect picture that I needed to convey my story. Next, I opened up the picture in Snapchat. Once it was in Snapchat you can very easily add a chat bubble by searching for one in the top search bar. Simply drag and drop it into the correct position on the photo and all that is left to-do is add text. Finally, tap the middle of the screen and type whatever caption you want. When you are finished, just as you did with the bubble, drag and drop the text into position. You can then either save this new photo directly on Snapchat or screenshot it to bring it into your camera roll.

Here is an example of mine.

As an additional resource of information: This is a helpful guide on Youtube I found for creating a Spubble on Pixelr.

My Very Own Spubble…

After a long day of work, I really love to come home and take a nap. Plenty of room to spread out on my bed alone…

Oh wait, I have two dogs that insist on laying on top of you every time you go to lay down. This makes getting up from a nap extremely hard. I still love them though.

Photo-reflection: My Best Photo

After all the pictures I have taken today, this picture is my favorite. I think one of the big reason’s that I love it so much is because it combines to different forms of the lighting suggestions given in the DS106 Handbook. This picture not only takes advantage of front lighting that comes from the camera itself but also back lighting behind the wine bottle. It seems to add a warm glowing effect around the bottle while simultaneously making the label crystal clear with front lighting. The contrast in this photo makes it very interesting to look at. On the left hand side there is a clear warm atmosphere, while on the right hand side things are rather dark. One improvements I believe could be made to this photo is to balance the contrast better between the two sides of the bottle.

Reflection on the Photo Safari

I had a lot of fun doing this Photo Safari 15 minute challenge. I found that I actually could come up with many more photo ideas in fifteen minutes than I had expected too. I chose to do this in my basement as I felt like it had the greatest opportunity for diverse subject matter.

The two photos that I believe really came out great for me were the bright light photo and the converging lines photo. The bright light photo I thought looked really cool because it wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. It turned the bright light into somewhat of a warm flat color. The converging lines photo I thought really turned out well because I myself felt my eyes following the lines deeper and deeper into the photo. This was a really cool feeling because I don’t really think I did too great of a job on this but with limited resources I could still get some of the effect I was going for. This picture was by far my most inventive one that I have taken so far. For reference I will include both of these photos below.