Saturday, January 17, 2009

Photo Studio

I'm an aspiring photographer, a newbie, an amateur at best, particularly when it comes to still life and portraits. I prefer landscapes and nature, as evidenced by my "portfolio."

I enjoy photographing my yarn as well as my finished knits and other craft projects, but my lighting is always bad. I forget to take them when the light is best or just snap the photo to get it over with and always feel like I could have done better.

In an attempt to improve my skills and give myself the tools to learn more about indoor photography, I decided to build myself a mini studio/light box. It is definitely not for portraiture, but smaller objects like skeins of yarn. It still needs some work, but for about $10 worth of materials it is a good start. I built a 2 x 2 x 2 cube with 20 feet of 1/2" PVC, 4 3-way joints, and 4 90-degree elbows.
studio test
I opted not to have a complete cube, with pipe on all four sides of the bottom, so I could use poster board or similar materials for the bottom if I wished without the cardboard bowing and with less pipe to worry about being exposed.

For today's purposes, I used a king-sized white bed sheet that I already had, and draped it over the cube, tucking it around the pipe as best I could.
studio test
Eventually, I plan to buy heavier cotton fabric and make custom panels that attach with velcro around the pipe. This would help with the problem of the wrinkles you can see all over my sheet and allow me to use different colors if I want.

I borrowed some lighting from my parents, but they are basically just simple shop lights you can buy at Home Depot or Lowe's with daylight spectrum bulbs. The ones I used were 65 watts each, but I'll probably go up to 100 watts when I replace them. The hardest part of this whole process was finding something to attach the lights to that was close enough and stable enough, which is why I want brighter bulbs.

Here are some examples of my first attempts at studio lighting. I did have to adjust the tint on these, as I apparently had my white balance set wrong, but otherwise, they are unedited.
studio test
Hand-knit mitten:
studio test
"Lavendar Gatherer" Santon from southern France:
studio test

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Inaugural Color Walk

In an effort to find fun ways to incorporate lessons into daily activities, I've instituted what I call a "Color Walk." Ethan gets to pick a color and then we go out for a walk at our favorite place, Washington Park (it is a 2.2 mile paved loop but we take the shortcut so its closer to 1.75 miles) and take photos of everything we find in the chosen color. This allows me to get out and get some exercise while giving him something to do along the way that holds his interest.

For our first color walk, Ethan chose black. Here is a sampling of some of the things we found:

My glove My glove

Ethan's pants & shoes Ethan's pants and shoes.

Speed bump A speed bump.

rocksRocks down on the beach.

trial sign 1A trail sign.

one way signA One-way sign.

And last, but not least... we saw two different families of black-tail deer. It is pretty common to see them though I think there are only 2 or 3 families in this park. The first doe we saw had one fawn. The second had her twins.Black tail deer
more black tail deerSorry about the quality on the last one, but it was taken through the windshield of my car.