Spring 2010 Portfolio, Art Show, and the UW Garage

It’s been a while since I’ve inducted photos into my portfolio, which is a shame because I’ve had some amazing experience and photographic opportunities over the last year or so. Typically, I did portfolio inductions in coordination with the Spring/Fall photo exhibit at school. Since I’m graduated, I have really had a chance to display my work (although I have made two photo books).

Seattle Academy, my alma avia1, is hosting an Alumni Art Show in the spring, and it’s been so long since I’ve done an art show that I decided to submit two pieces.

I’m planning on submitting them as 30″ x 20″ pieces, which is the largest format I have submitted to date. There are a couple of technical issues to overcome as well. First, is can I even get a decent print at that size for a decent cost? The answer is yes; Costco is on the low end at $8.99, while Kodak Gallery is on the higher end (of this little experiment) at $27.99 for Profession Matte prints. SnapFish and ShutterFly are in the middle in terms of cost. Kodak obviously uses their KODAK Professional Color paper, and Shutter fly uses Fujicolor Crystal Archive photographic paper2, but I can’t figure out what everyone else uses.

Framing is currently going to be done with an Ikea RIBBA frame, which will fit a 19.75″ x 27.5″ photo, which is only a titch smaller than the print. It also comes with a mat, although I’m not sure of its quality since it’s paper.

The other issue is can I really get away with printing at that size? Here’s the math:
My Nikon D70 takes 6.1 megapixel photos at a ratio of 3008 x 2000 effective pixels: \frac{3008 \mathrm{\ pixels}}{30 \mathrm{\ inches}} \approx  100 \mathrm{\ DPI}

Costco recommends a minimum 115 DPI, SnapFish says 90 DPI, and ShutterFly says 66.6 DPI. Ideally, I would be printing closer to 200 DPI.

However, the other thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the arc length. It would seem to me that if you maintain the same arc angle, as if you had printed it at 200 DPI, since the radius would have to increase, the DPAA (Dots per Arc Angle) would remain constant. In short, if you stand back farther, which you should do since it’s a bigger photo, it should look just fine.

This is all really perfect timing as I just got back to shooting some fun stuff, which I haven’t gotten to do in a while.

I like to wait a couple months before I add new photos to my portfolio, so these won’t make it this time. But enjoy them all the same.

A couple weekends ago I walked around the UW Quad and shoot the cherry blossoms.

48.0 mm || 1/500 || f/4.5 || ISO400 || NIKON D70
Seattle, Washington, United States

50.0 mm || 1/400 || f/1.8 || ISO400 || NIKON D70
Seattle, Washington, United States

This past weekend, I participated in the Seattle Flickr Meetup where I got to play around with some off-camera lighting, including a ring flash, for the UW Garage 11 event. I spent most of the time mentoring another fellow on off-camera lighting, so I decided to get some more practice with my 50mm and be a bit more creative in the Lightroom3.

50.0 mm || 1/125 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Seattle, Washington, United States

50.0 mm || 1/125 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Seattle, Washington, United States

50.0 mm || 1/125 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Seattle, Washington, United States

50.0 mm || 1/125 || f/5.0 || ISO400 || NIKON D70
Seattle, Washington, United States

Special thanks to the models: Vivian Luu (top) and Aisha Rose (bottom).

Anyway, I’m going to be working on selected the next portfolio inductions. Feel free to shout out any favorite photos you have from the last year or so.

  1. alma mater is Latin for “nourishing mother”, “alma avia” is Latin for “nourishing grandmother”, which seems like the appropriate relation for my high school 

  2. Have I become that pretentious? 

  3. A darkroom is the place where film is usually developed. Lightroom is a digital darkroom program made by Adobe for editing photos 

Technology for The Trip

One of the bigest things I had to figure out for this trip was all the technology I was (or wasn’t going to bring) and how I would be using it. Basically, I didn’t want to bring anything super expensive or heavy with me, and what I ever I brought needed to do its job and do it well. Here’s the list of hardware:

Additionally, I’ve loaded up my Netbook with some software specific for this trip:

  • AVG Anti-virus
  • GeoSetter
  • Google Earth
  • Google Chrome
  • iTunes
  • Skype
  • Windows Live Writter
  • TweetDeck
  • Lightroom
  • Meebone
  • Flickr Uploader
  • GPSBabel
  • Launchy
  • NotePad++

Many of the software tools on this list are standare fare, others are new to me. GeoSetter is an application that merges GPS data (from the AMOD AGL3080 GPS Data Logger) with photos (from the D70).

Meebone is desktop version of Meebo, which is a web-based instant messaging program.

GPSBabel is a program which can take GPS data (again, from the AMOD AGL3080 GPS Data Logger, which is in NMEA 0183 format) and convert it into any other format, such as Google’s Keyhole Markup Language (KML).

Launchy is a program used for quick access to programs. I just press ALT + Space and type in the name of the program I want to run.

Windows Live Writter is a desktop program for composing and publish blog posts. I’m using this because there will often be times when I cannot connect to the internet, but still want to write up posts. This will let me compose posts and then publish them when I hit a WiFi spot.

One of the other things I’m working on is a revised workflow for photos. I need a workflow that will quickly let me merge GPS data, import photos to Lightroom for processing, export, and upload. I’m still working out the kinks, but the basic process goes like this (based in part on Bryan Villarin’s My new geotagging workflow with the Amod AGL3080 and Lightroom (Windows):

  1. Move photos from D70 to Netbook
  2. Move GPS data from Data Logger to Netbook
  3. Use GeoSetter to merge GPS data with photos (data added to NEF file, not sidecar XMP)
  4. Import/Move photos into Lightroom
  5. Pick good photos and apply Auto Tone and/or Punch filters
  6. Export filters to JPG with High Sharpening for Screen
  7. Important photos to Flickr Uploadr
  8. Add photos to group(s), add tag(s) to photos
  9. Upload photos
  10. Delete JPG version of photos

We’ll see how that works. My other option is to just backup the RAW photos to my server and not process them until I get home, which I don’t want to do.

  1. No, I’m not making that color up 

Sunrise and Moonrise plus Dunstan

I was up early this morning and ended up shooting both the sun and moon rise. I’d be curious to know how often the sun and moon rise in the same quadrant of the sky. It’s a bit hard to see in this first picture, but the moon is rising in the upper right corner (moonrise was at 4:21 a.m.1, sunrise wasn’t until 6:46 a.m.). I don’t often say this, but I’d recommend you click on the pictures to see the bigger version (click on the picture, then click on All Sizes, then click on the size you want to see).

With the two sunrise images, I also tried using a new filter technique. I was looking to mimic a graduated ND filter so I could get a nice range of color in the sky. Fortunately, Lightroom has such a graduated filter. I applied the filter, dropped the expose a bit, and all was good.

In case you’re wondering, the crop ratio for the sunrise photos is 2.39:1. I’ve always had an issue with cropping. How much is too much? How much is too little? How does cropping in post affect how I take pictures? I decided to take an engineering approach and setup several predefined crop ratios that I would work with. I typically just stick with the native aspect ratio of my camera, 3:2; I also sometimes use a 1:1 ratio. After working with videography in high school, I really liked using the widescreen ratios, so I also use 16:9 (typical HDTV ratio) and 2.39:1 (typical anamorphic ratio…aka Panavision). There are a couple of other ratios I use, but the aforementioned ratios are the ones I use most of the time.

With Dunstan, I was testing out some new photographic gear I got for my birthday, mainly my new umbrella and Cactus Wireless Flash trigger. I decided to try it out on the only subject I had available at the time, Dunstan, my cat.

Nikkor @ 18mm || 1/15 || f/5.0 || ISO200 || tripod

Nikkor @ 18mm || 1/100 || f/13.0 || ISO200 || tripod

Dunstan Melting Your Heart
Nikkor @ 70mm || 1/200 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || shoot through umbrella off-camera @ 1/8


Surprise! It’s Snow!

We got a surprise snow on Monday that caught most people off guard. I think it only snowed an inch or so in the Denver area, but we got at least eight inches up here in the foothills (which is at least 500 feet higher in elevation).

Plowing the Snow
Nikkor 50mm || 0.4 seconds || f/4.5 || ISO1600 || tripod

All That Snow
Nikkor 50mm || 0.8 seconds || f/4.5 || ISO1600 || tripod

I tried a couple of new editing techniques on these sets of photos. The first involves how I adjust the exposure and black settings to maximize the contrast ratio. Ideally, there is at least one black pixel and and least one white pixel. I also tried using a new workflow process where I export from Lightroom into Photoshop and then use Smart Sharpen in Photoshop to, uh, sharpen the image smartly.

See the rest: Surprise Snow

Also, don’t forget that Andrew Ferguson Photography will go live tomorrow. Check back here around noon (Mountain time) the post.