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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
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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
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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.

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 17

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 17 - Morning Shadows on Door on Ilford Delta 100 FilmMorning Shadows on Door - Irvine, CA
Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 8:03am
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Day 17 of my Photo a Day Challenge and I was up early to catch the first light. I decided to venture back to the Irvine Ranch Historic Park near my home because I'd yet to really explore the area in morning light. I had a roll of Ilford Delta 100 film in my camera from the previous days but with only 3 exposures left.

Eventually I found my way to the back end of the park where there are some very old homes lined up side by side. Most of them were blocked off due to renovations, but I found one with dark green walls and a white door that had some interesting shadows on it. I liked how the shadows here hinted at the overhang covering the porch and that the angle of the shadows gave a good indication of the time of day. I wanted to leave a little bit of mystery as to what might be behind the viewer's back, so I positioned myself square with the door as if walking right up to it. Perhaps there's an open prairie behind me, perhaps there's a bulldozer.

The porch was set up in such a way that I couldn't get very far back from the door and still maintain the proper shooting height. This meant that I had to use my wide angle 50mm lens on my Mamiya RZ67. I knew this lens, like all wide angles, would create at least a little bit of distortion in these perfectly vertical lines. As you can see in the shot, the door has a bit of a fisheye look to it. Normally this doesn't show except for when you have clearly defined vertical lines to reveal it. I'd rather have perfectly true verticals here, but beggars can't be choosers. A little bit of distortion is no biggie. I metered the scene at f/11 at 1/250, no filters.

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