The Daily Focal Point

October 27, 2008

WEEK 2 RESULTS!

Filed under: Week Two — cabenelson @ 10:41 pm

Another tie this week! I give you your photo’s of the week…

KimandEmily

Cemetary 3

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October 26, 2008

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE – WEEK TWO

Filed under: Week Two — cabenelson @ 8:25 pm

First Date

Filed under: Week Two — cabenelson @ 7:32 pm

KimandEmily

For most people a favorite photograph really has nothing to do with composition, lighting, contrast, etc. It has everything to do with the personal feelings that are brought back each time they look at it. This is mine. This picture documents one of the first dates Kim and I went on. Egh… the word “date” might not be the most accurate description as Kim brought her little sister Emily. This photo was taken 2 weeks before September 11th 2001. It is strange to look at this photo over 7 years after it was taken and to think of how things have changed. I had no idea that when I was looking through the view finder on my dad’s 1970 35MM Minolta Camera that I was taking a picture of my wife. I love Kim and I am so grateful for her.

Sometimes I tend to forget that the best photographs are ones that bring back the most amount of feeling.

October 25, 2008

The Ever Crying Eye

Filed under: Week Two — cabenelson @ 12:55 pm

Waterfall3

This photo was taken back in 2004 when I was living on my own in Houston, TX. If you’re looking at it wondering, “What the heck is it?” It’s a U shaped piece of waterfall architecture in Houston’s well known Galleria Area. The waterfall is surrounded by 4 brick archways. I just framed the shot in such a way where the top half of one of the archways eclipses the top ends of the U, forming a perfect eye shape. With the water streaming down it makes for a simple but powerful shot. To me, Black and White photographs are all about contrast. How well the blacks, grays, and whites go together to create an even toned but mood rich photograph.

This picture reminds me so much of my good friend Corey who visited me in Houston and was with me during this shot! I’m sure she was sick of me taking picture after picture. This has been sitting in my photo library for over four years now and I finally used it!

October 24, 2008

Photoshop Deletion

Filed under: Photoshop Deletion, Photoshop Tutorials, Week Two — cabenelson @ 8:08 am

DSC_0357

When I take photos I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want the photo to look like even before I snap the picture. I’ll visualize what I want based on composition, lighting, color, subjects etc. I usually won’t vary from the actual photo once it’s taken. Other times I really have no idea what I’m doing! In looking through the view finder of my camera, I know I will like certain parts of the shot but as for the image as a whole, it’s not what I want. I guess more than anything I search for potential every time I look through my camera. If I feel/see that the image could have potential I’ll snap away. And most of the time, if I don’t have a good idea of what I wanted to get out of the picture to begin with, ideas usually start coming to me once I open the image up in Photoshop.

With this image in particular I loved the couple walking on the beach, not holding hands or anything romantic/cheesy, just walking close together. I loved the lighting, the ocean, the red rocks behind, the greenery on top and most of all their reflection. I loved the composition of the shot and the fact that both of them were wearing a similar orange. But as it is right now, it wasn’t an image I 100% loved. One big feel I wanted to come across with this photo was a feeling of solitude. Just two people and a large beach. However, with over half a dozen people in the shot (as well as their beach crap) it was going to be impossible to come across with that feeling of solitude. Parts of me felt like walking up to each of the people in the shot and ask them, “Could you please move? Yes. Who am I? Well, I’m a part-time amateur photographer who will use this photo for no reason other than to post this on my extremely small don’t call it a blog- blog. Now please move your crap, you’re in my shot!” and then I’d shout, “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?”

Instead I use a series of fairly easy techniques in Photoshop to remove anything undesired and to come across with the feeling I want to. After my usual touch-ups (Brightness/contrast, levels, color variations, saturation etc) I zoom in on the people/objects I want to “delete” from this photo. I select the “Rubber Stamp” tool and change my brush size to match. It’s imperative that if you do this you need to select a stamp that is faded on around it so that it feathers out the image and doesn’t look so blatantly photoshoped. Hold down the Alt button and click with your mouse on the area you want the deleted space to be filled with. Think of it more as in taking a section of the picture close by and simply covering up the undesired object with it. It’s extremely simple to do; the hard part comes with blending it in so it doesn’t look fake.

BEFORE:
before

AFTER:
DSC_0357

October 23, 2008

Red Steps

Filed under: Week Two — cabenelson @ 8:27 am

color Coffins

October 22, 2008

The rule of 3

Filed under: Week Two — cabenelson @ 12:25 am

I don’t think there’s anything better than a close up shot of an old car in black and white. We’ve all seen pictures like these before (I know I have) and I would think that by this time I would be completely sick of them or consider them un-cool because of how cliché it has become. (A problem of mine my wife can attest to.)
However, I still can’t shake the look of an old rusted out car in black and white. I think there is just something timeless or striking about it, especially when it’s done right. And for some reason I’ve loved photos of colored tractors. (This was nailed perfectly here by my very talented friend Stacy.)
And who’s to say that a photo can only be one picture? When I’m trolling through my photo library trying to decide what to post here, I run across pictures that were taken in a set and I can’t separate them from each other because in my mind, it is those 3 or 4 pictures that really belong. You might have one photo stronger than another but they belong together in the set and it just can’t be broken apart.
My tip for today is that when you find a cool subject to take a picture of, try focusing in on 2 or 3 different smaller things of the same subject. If you see a flower, take a picture of the flower’s center with a few of the petals on the left or right side. If you are taking pictures of someone, snap a few shots of just the left side of their face and focus in on their eye. It sounds weird but as you approach your subject think in your head, “How can I take 2-3 different photos from just this one subject?” and when viewing it, pick apart areas of the subject that would be cool in a standalone image.

If I were to take a single photo of the ENTIRE car and not piece it apart, the photo would have felt flat. Finding 2-3 or more photos in a single subject forces you to find cool new photo ideas in ways you wouldn’t normally think of.
This car was parked on a side street just a few blocks from our home and I’ve never noticed it before. One of the greatest things that come with photography is a different perspective with how you view things. When you grab your camera and go on a walk just to take pictures, something amazing happens. You begin to view things with a different perspective, even if it’s the same street you’ve been down 300 times. You notice certain things. Like how at dusk, the sun pours through the trees and creates fun shadows on the street. Or how your neighbor’s overgrown vines are creeping up and wrapping around a nearby tree. Or how you’ll walk by and spot something so perfect for a photo, you wonder why you’ve never seen it before. This is why I love Photography. It simply provides you with a different vantage point. And sometimes, the best thing we can do is to view things in a different perspective.

October 21, 2008

Bear Dog

Filed under: Week Two — cabenelson @ 9:57 pm

Bear Dog

October 20, 2008

CROSS ROW

Filed under: Burn Tool, Photoshop Tutorials, Week Two — cabenelson @ 11:11 pm

Last year Kim and I went on what was one of my favorite drives. I don’t remember why we decided to do it other than we were fairly new to California and wanted to go explore. However, I’m sure that the whole thing was well documented by my wife. HERE
(Seriously, I love my wife. She has helped me so much with this “Don’t call it a Blog… Blog” and she’s just an amazing woman, I’m serious when I say that without her I would be living in a forest naked, with Bear of course, eating berries). Before you throw up with either the mental image of me naked or me publicly gushing over my wife, I’ll get back to the photos.

We stopped at an old Spanish cemetery and snapped a bunch of pics. I did some basic photo work on this one. I am a believer that sometimes it’s the little things in a photo that make the biggest difference.

BEFORE:
Before

AFTER:
Cemetary 3

This photo is a good example of my favorite Photoshop function, the Burn Tool. This allows you to darken 3 different shades of the picture (Highlights, Midtones, Shadows) with different amounts of intensity. If you look closely I spent about 20 minutes or so burning the lettering in the headstones to make them more pronounced and also the designs in the headstones. Focusing on bringing the little things to the viewer’s eye can genuinely make a big difference.

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