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Photo a Day Challenge: Day 14

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 14 - Joshua Tree in Fog on Ilford Delta 100 filmJoshua Tree in Fog - Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Monday, August 26, 2013
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For Day 14 of my Photo a Day Challenge I decided it was time to venture a little further than my local neighborhood. I'd spent the previous several days taking pictures indoors, but a rare summer storm was rolling in to Southern California and I thought a little trip out to the desert would be a good way to make my photo for the day.

I actually wrote a full recap of this trip to Joshua Tree National Park and even posted an on-location video previously. You can check that out here. With that previous blog post in mind, I won't go into too much more explanation in this write-up, but I will give a little backstory on how I executed these photos. And by the way, this was one of the only days where I broke my rule to not take more than 4 pictures a day. This subject was too damn interesting and the drive was too damn long to only take 4 pictures. I ended up shooting a total of 22 pictures. Also, this was the only day I broke my rule to only use black and white film. In addition to my 3 rolls of Ilford Delta 100, I fired off 1 roll of Fuji Velvia 50 (you can see the resulting color photo here).

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 14 - Joshua Tree in Fog on Ilford Delta 100 filmJoshua Tree in Fog - Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Monday, August 26, 2013
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I chose these 2 black and white shots to represent my Photo a Day Challenge because these, I think, are two of my favorite from the trip. But I'm also very pleased with the rest of them. For both shots you see here, I used a 3-stop solid neutral density filter and a yellow #15 filter. The solid ND held back enough light for me to use a wide open aperture so as to blur the background and the yellow filter added a bit of contrast to the scene. I didn't record the exposure settings on these shots, but I do remember that they were done handheld with wide apertures.

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

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 13

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 13 - Guinness on Ilford Delta 100 filmGuinness - Irvine, CA
Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 8:41pm
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It was Day 13 of my Photo a Day Challenge and I found myself, yet again, stuck indoors to find a picture. I had no good excuse for not finding photos outside over the past several days. I suppose I just got busy and lazy. As a result, my goal to take one photo everyday was usually shouldered off until the last possible minute.

Truthfully, there isn't much of a backstory to this photo. It was a Sunday night, I'd had a busy day of recreation, there wasn't much light to work with in my apartment, and I was about to take a load off with a nice cold glass of my favorite beer. So I figured a pint of Guinness in its trademark glass would serve as a worthy subject for my lens. And since I'd have the freedom to use a tripod, the low light was no issue at all on my Ilford Delta 100 film.

I placed the glass on my kitchen table directly under an overhead light. Behind the glass were some vertical blinds that I had no desire to include in the shot, but I knew that I would be able to blur them out sufficiently with an aperture of f/2.8 on my 110mm Mamiya RZ67 lens. I also opted for a polarizer to cut down reflections on the table surface and glass. I metered the shutter speed at 1/2 of a second. My goal was to showcase the glass of Guinness in a simple, straightforward composition with zero clutter in the background. And I opted for this table and vantage point so as to utilize a full range of tones from the white background, to the mid-tone table, to the black beer. Good contrast all around. But the real reward was that I could drink my subject after clicking the shutter.

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

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 12

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 12 - Bed and LampGlasses - Irvine, CA
Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 7:03pm
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Day 12 of my Photo a Day Challenge was another one of those days where I wasn't able to get out of the house to take a shot. I'd spent the better part of this Saturday teaching a photography class in Orange County followed by a private lesson, so I was short on time. And seeing as how it was Saturday, I was more interested in hitting the local Mexican food joint for a Margarita than venturing out to find a photo.

As we were getting ready to leave, I grabbed my camera and started searching for a quick photo. I think I tried working with some shadows just outside the front door, but that didn't work. Then I toyed with photographing my girlfriend's shadow on the kitchen wall. No good. We were ready to leave, I was ready to check off this "to do" on my list, but nothing was looking good.

Then the light from a living room window caught my eye. The late afternoon sun illuminated a drinking glass and a pair of aviator sunglasses sitting on the granite countertop. I knew the contrast created by this backlighting would render beautifully on my Ilford Delta 100 film. With my 110mm lens wide open at f/2.8 so as to blur out the background, I metered the shutter at 1/250 of a second. I adjusted my position and height very carefully to intensify the reflection of the sunglasses in the granite. I used no filters in this shot.

If I've learned one thing from this Photo a Day Challenge it's that photos really can be made anywhere. Sometimes you just have to open your eyes and force yourself to seek them out.

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