#Take52 Week 5: Against

Last week I finally succumbed to my inner voice and subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service. The service gives you access (for a monthly fee either paid upfront for the year or deducted on a monthly basis) to Adobe’s Lightroom, Lightroom Mobile and Photoshop applications. Although I had already purchased the single license for Lightroom, the subscription service became paramount after I received my birthday gift last week, a brand new MacBook Air! Now I can use Adobe’s applications between my desktop (Mac Mini) as well as my mobile devices (iPad and MacBook).

The reason I mentioned this is because my image for this week’s assignment is my virgin attempt at using Photoshop. Yes! Finally I am on board the much despised Photoshop bandwagon and I have to say, I am simply blown away! The types and levels of image manipulation possible within Photoshop are simply mind boggling! I’m sure i’ll need another lifetime to learn every one of them, but I certainly will be learning as much as I can to make the most of my photos moving forward.

Coming back to the image I shot (and edited!).My first thought was to take a shot of a rising fist which seems to be the universal symbol of striking “against” the establishment. You can do a quick image search on Google for the word Against and you’ll see numerous variations of “The Fist”. However I wasn’t too sure whether I would be able to get the lighting right and so I abandoned that perspective.

My next thought was to use props and convey the theme through action figures. I chose the scale model Batman action figure (another birthday present!) to depict Heroes against crime and shot this image with an overexposed background.

DSCF2552

Of course the image felt a tad dull with just the action figure in focus. So I decided to spice it up a bit using my newly acquired Photoshop software. Thanks to this great video by Terry White I got a basic primer on the commonly used tools within Photoshop. I decided to use layers to add a background to my original image. Instead of scouring through my image database (I am still in the process of tagging and organising the 20k plus images) I chose an appropriate stock image from the site freeimages.

I won’t go into the specifics of what I did within Photoshop because quite frankly I was simply following instructions from Terry’s video. In a nutshell though, using layers and blending I ended up with the image that would become my submission for this week’s assignment – “Hero Against Crime”
Week 5: Against

Technical Specifications (My Image):

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-E2
  • Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
  • Aperture: f/6.4
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/180
  • Focal Length: 27.7mm

It’s not the best example of Photoshop usage since it’s my maiden attempt. But I’m certain I will leverage Photoshop to achieve some pretty unique compositions that were nearly impossible for me to attempt before.

Until next week.

#Take52 Week 4: Glass

The theme this week was a lot more difficult that I had initially anticipated. Primarily because focussing on transparent glass is a challenge in itself. Let alone compose a shot that is artistic and well balanced.

A number of the participants though were able to deliver some stellar shots. I did get some great tips on future shots and I intend to use them and hopefully get a chance to explain my process in more detail as well.

I ended up with a shot which is a homage to the Christopher Nolan movie, Inception. Well, just barely! In one of the scenes the water in a glass seems to be defying gravity since the dreamer is experiencing movement in the real world. This is the screen grab from the movie Inception –

glass

And here is my crude attempt at recreating the shot.
Week 4: Water Defying Gravity

To achieve the water tilt look I stuck the glass to the coffee table with Blu Tack and then placed the table on an incline. The shots were then rotated in Lightroom and cropped in a manner to achieve the illusion that the water in the glass alone is at an angle defying gravity whereas the glass itself is lying flat on the surface. A few tweaks on the exposure and shadows helped bring focus on the glass and balance out the colours.

Technical Details

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-E2
  • Lens: XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
  • Aperture: f/3.6
  • ISO: 250
  • Shutter Speed: 1/180
  • Focal Length: 31.5mm

Not the best emulation of the shot, but it helped me flex my muscles (both physical and mental) and isn’t that what the challenge is about as well?

There were a few other shots that I considered uploading for this theme but decided to relegate them as runners-up. You can check them out on my flickr site –

Runner Up Image 1

Runner Up Image 2