Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos

CONTACT
 

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 20

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 20 - Rocks on Ilford Delta 100 filmWave-Polished Rock - San Onofre State Park, CA
Sunday, September 1, 2013 at 6:45pm
Click to Enlarge

For Day 20 of my Photo a Day Challenge, I had plans to go out shooting with a photographer friend of mine at sunset. Finally, I'd get to take some photos outside of Irvine! The original plan was to visit a pier in Oceanside, but we quickly realized our mistake in timing once we arrived. On account of the Labor Day weekend, the beach, streets, and pier were packed with beach goers - way too crowded for the type of photographs we were after. Plus, we looked ridiculously out of place with our big backpacks full of gear and tripods slung over our shoulders.

So scrapping Plan A, we ventured back to familiar territory at San Onofre State Beach. The nice thing about San Onofre is that it's pretty much empty year-round. The rock-lined beaches aren't ideal for sunbathing but they make for great photography. This was one of the few nights where I broke my rule of "only shoot black and white film" during this challenge. I finished off one roll of color film at sunset, but I'm still deciding whether or not I like the results.

Before the sunset, though, I exposed a roll of black and white Ilford Delta 100 film in 6x17 format. My subject of choice was the rocks at my feet. Polished and smoothed by the constant pounding of waves, the mosaic of stones creates some gorgeous textures and tones. With my Nikkor M 300mm f/9, I framed up a shot towards the wet rocks below. I chose the wet rocks over the dry rocks because I knew the reflections created by the wet surfaces would add even more interest in B&W. The contrast was very low here on account of the soft-ish light and the fact that the rocks didn't vary widely in tonality. So to help introduce some contrast and, thus, enhance the varying tonalities and textures, I utilized N+2 developing which is a technique wherein I underexpose the film a bit to darken the shadows and then develop the film longer than normal to lighten the highlights. I was pleased to see this technique worked perfectly here. My exposure was 1 second at f/64.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 19

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 19 - Salt and Pepper Shakers on Ilford Delta 100 filmSalt & Pepper Shakers - Irvine, CA
Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 6:45pm
Click to Enlarge

It was the end of a long work day on Day 19 of my Photo a Day Challenge. With a fresh roll of Ilford Delta 100 film loaded up, I set out to find a photo in the confines of my kitchen. Truthfully, I would have liked to find a subject outside the city limits at least, but I was just too damn tired to invest that kind of energy. My salt and pepper shakers sitting on my counter caught my eye. The late afternoon light poured in from a window to the left, creating some great shadows and specular highlights on these metallic sculptures.

As I'm starting to realize upon reviewing the results of my Photo a Day Challenge, I seem to have a penchant lately for ultra-simplistic compositions. So that's what I did here: just the shakers placed perfectly in the center of the frame. The symmetry is what really spoke to me here, and the best way to highlight symmetry for a subject like this is to place it smack dab in the center of the frame.

I opted for an aperture of f/5.6 because that put the granite backsplash just out of focus enough to draw more attention to the shakers. This also created a nice blurry "floor" in front of the shakers at the bottom of the frame. The dim lighting from the single window meant my shutter speed had to be pretty slow at 1/8 of a second. That's far too slow to handhold the camera, but rather than use a tripod, I simply placed the camera on the countertop and triggered the shutter with a cable release. Easy peasy.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 18

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 18 - Tree Reflections on Ilford Delta 100 filmTree Reflections - Irvine, CA
Friday, August 30, 2013 at 6:42pm
Click to Enlarge

For Day 18 of my Photo a Day Challenge, I had a new lens to play with on my Mamiya RZ67. I'd just purchased an excellent condition 180mm f/4.5 lens off eBay (which is about equivalent to 90mm or so in 35mm format). This is high-quality glass for a whopping $66.65 including tax and shipping. Man, I love buying film gear. The digital guys can keep lining up to pay $2,500 for a new lens with less resolving power than this, I'll stick to my cheap old gear.

Anyway, I digress.

My girlfriend and I ventured to a nearby park here in Irvine with a small artificial lake. Surrounding the "shores" of this lake are some beautiful eucalyptus trees so common in this area. My plan was to photograph some of the water foul or the fountain in the center of the lake. But when I arrived, I was immediately drawn to the reflections of the trees in the water. From our vantage point the trees were backlit, which created some awesome contrast in the water surface. At first, I didn't want to take this photo because I'd just recently done something with a water surface and plants reflected in a body of water. But the contrast and abstract shapes were just too enticing.

I didn't want any rocks or animals disturbing the reflection but I did want some ripples to create interesting lines out of the tree trunks. I moved along the edges of the lake, trying different shooting heights all the while, until I found the right framing. Reflections can be a little tricky to meter because of the movement of the water, but I was able to calculate my exposure at 1/250 of a second at f/11 with no filters.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.