Saturday, December 31, 2011

Before and After: Drastic

Okay! Now for the pictures I promised! On a side, note, third post in three days-- I think I'm on a blogging streak. We shall see. As soon as college starts back up this streak will be gonnnee I can assure you that.

Anyway, I was able to hang out with my friend today-- so glad! I was beginning to feel socially deprived; being bedridden can do that to ya. I was trying to help her with her camera, though it's auto settings really through me for a loop. Granted, when I started out as a photographer I used my iPhone; totally auto. Even when I moved onto my compact camera stage it took a lot of convincing from different articles and books before I made the plunge to full manual. It took a while to get used to; but once you go manual you don't go back. ;)

I couldn't imagine using an auto setting now; I'm too used to being able to chose where I want to focus and how I want to expose. My baby spoils me ;) On a sad note, this baby is not a boyfriend, it is a camera. o.o Oh well, c'est la vie.

Anyway! Enough talking. Now, this change is not as good as it could be. I'm not perfectly happy with the end result but what I really wanted to do was to show you what's possible. With Photoshop, everything about a model can-- and sometimes is-- changed for advertising. Notice the hair color, the finger nail color, the shape of the face, the make-up, the smooth, light skin. Model Source



Like I said, not perfect. However, I hope that you can see from the small example, how much can change. I tried to get rid of the fake flowers on her head but that was a messsss :P I did not have enough patience.

If you're interested in a more in-depth example (with more emphasis on the whole transformation, not only photoshop), check out this really cool video...

Dove Evolution


Friday, December 30, 2011

Photoshoot with the kityyy

I know, I know, I made all these promises about another drastic before and after ;) Wellll, it's taking longer than I thought it would. I can't find any of the old ones I did-- they are probably lost on a computer at my old school. It's actually really hard to find a photo to edit. There needs to be a drastic change, so the photo can't already looked polished. The best photos are pretty people who think that they only way they will look sexy are in unflattering angles and closeups. That was my last one I did, but anyway, I'm working on a couple now to post later. ;)

So yesterday I read about this thing called 'slow sync flash' which is a weird technique that I kind of understand. Anyway, I had my camera out and was just messing with it. Foster, the most adorable kitty in the whole wide world, was sleeping next to me on the couch. I started to snap photos of his adorableness

Kind of like portraits, right? Just with a furry client :P

He was an easy subject to shoot, languidly watching me as I took his picture.

Cutest. Kitty. Ever. And of course, I'm not biased at allll.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Before and After: Portrait

It has been a while since I've posted two times in row, but I'm currently sick as a dog, confined to a couch surrounded by Kleenexes and cough drops so I've had some free time. ;) In between huddling under a blanket and taking as much prescription drugs that my doctor would let me, I've been messing around on Photoshop. It seems like forever ago, but it's been less than a year, I started to get into Photoshop 'makeovers'. I knew that advertising companies did these to the extreme to create the finish products that now grace the covers of magazines and billboards everywhere. Most people have at least heard that models are airbrushed, and their beauty in debt to Photoshop. Still, hearing this, and seeing the drastic before and after are two very different things. So, I started to learn how to completely change a person in Photoshop, aiming to show that the misleading advertisements rested solely on the magic of Photoshop.

Recently, though, I've been interested in editing portraits. I've only ever done drastic changes, so I set out to edit a portrait with the aim to only enhance the natural beauty. It was hard to resist the urge to go back to what I know-- to change the facial structure, to add makeup, to change the hair color, to make the eyes larger, ect, ect. All this I was used to doing, but this time I tried to scale it back. I wanted a finished product that was just an enhancement, not a completely different person.


Now, the start out, the picture is way too dark. The main problem is the face area-- the rest of the picture is rather light. So, I used the levels function of Photoshop to lighten the picture up and then applied a layer mask to get rid of the areas that didn't need any lightening.

It's hard to explain every little thing I did to enhance to the photo-- but if you have any questions, just ask. I will draw your attention to how I got rid of the brown roots, enhanced the eyes, and lightened the area underneath the eye. Also, I made the teeth whiter, and got rid of some minor blemishes.

*drumroll* and the final result is....


The changes I made weren't overly drastic, just enough to enhance what was already there. I tried to stay true to the original-- it was hard not to turn the eyes green, or blue. ;)

In the next post I'll show you a drastic before and after-- how advertisement companies drastically change a model to fit societal 'ideals'.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Change of pace

Merry belated Christmas! :) I spent Christmas day at my grandparents house. It was so nice to see family, and eat far more than I really should. It's sort of like a second Thanksgiving.

Anyway, we took a walk around a nearby lake to work off all that food-- so worth it, but I'm going to have to live at the gym next semester.

It had recently rained, so there was an abundance of puddles, and thus reflections. Which are like my favorite subject to shoot. The trick to the flip the photo are you take it-- so that the trees are pointing in the 'right' direction. What I want to do is include people in my reflections. Reflections always seem like a glimpse into another world, so crisp and clear. The only problem is sometimes they are too crisp and clear, and people don't realize that they are reflections.

We came upon the cutest little duckling. It was just a ball of fluff. I slid along the mud of the shoreline, trying to get a closeup of the baby. It chirped and complained, ran to hide behind its mom, before it admonished me from this safe location. It's mother didn't share the worry, and placidly continued to clean itself. I didn't want to actually lay down in the mud to get the picture, but I did want that ground level perspective.

This Christmas was the first one that I took pictures at. All of the pictures of my cousin's two kids were taken with compacts-- nothing wrong with that-- and with heavy flash. Heavy flash just kills the shot. It gets rid of all the natural lightening, makes the background too dark, and the subject too bright. It just doesn't look natural. I was looking at those pictures and thinking 'hey, I could do better than that' so I grabbed my camera and started shooting.

The lightening was awwfuulll. It doesn't look dim when you're there, but when you try to take a photo, you have to up the ISO or your shutter speeds will be farr too long. So, most of the pictures I took while we were opening presents are grainy. And even then the shutter speeds were long enough to get some motion blur-- but I was all for it if it meant no flash.

He is a cutie! About 80% of the photos I took of him were of him with something or other in his mouth. At one point he was just gnawing on the presents themselves. ;) The light hurts his eyes-- another reason why I really want to avoid any flash.

This was outside-- it was amazing the difference it made. It was cloudy, so I didn't think it would be bright, but it was far brighter than inside, making shooting photos a lott easier.

I've never really taken photos of people; my main subject is nature. This is mostly because that's what has always been available to me-- I just have to step outside. Shooting people takes a lot more work...yeah that does sound wrong. Um, anyway, this was my first time to focus more on the people than anything else. And I have to say, I enjoyed it. I never thought that I would be into portraits, but I would really like to try my hand at it. Free portraits anyone? :P

Recently I saw someone my age who is also an amateur photographer has a photograph page on facebook. It's something that I've thought of but I also figured that was a little bit down the road, when I'm a better photographer with a better portfolio. Besides, who would like my page now? While I've taken a lot of photos, and improved a lot, I still have a loonnnnggggg way to go.

But that's what makes it fun ;)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Morning Light

Well, kind of. Even though it is noon, the sun had this soft, light glow about it, nothing harsh at all. Guess that just comes with winter. Sorry about the delay in posting-- I just haven't taken any photos, so no posts. ;) However, as I was about to sit down to watch some tv a single red leaf, stubbornly hanging onto a bush caught my eye. I had dismissed the yard as soon as I had come home. It looked dismal and dull-- what could I possibly shoot? Still, that one leaf had caught my attention so I bundled up and grabbed my camera.

The leaf that started it all ;)

And then I caught up in the wonderful light and tried to do self portraits-- which I absolutely suck at. However when you're the photographer, there are never any pictures of you-- only pictures of everyone else. So, often times the only way to get a picture of yourself is to take it yourself. Regardless, that took up most of my time-- experimenting with different settings, different angles. I learned that back light is the way to go-- it painted the scene with a soft diffused light.

Recently I dyed my hair red, and started just messing around to see if I could capture the way the light hit it.

And I rather liked the results ;)


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fun with Lights

Christmas lights that is ;) We set up our Christmas tree yesterday. The only trees left to buy were skimpy, sad looking ones, but hey, it's still a Christmas tree.

Recently, I wondered if it was possible to take a double exposure with a SLR camera. When I looked online, everyone was just like 'oh, do it in photoshop'. However, I believe there is merit to unedited photos. I love photos that are magical straight from the camera, the ones that don't need hours of photoshop work. So, I was playing around with my camera last night around the christmas tree. It was rather dark in the room, so I had a long shutter speed.

So, I started to just mess around with the camera, seeing what would happen. I found that I could make the lights turn into whimsical streaks of light that I could command.

Then, I lowered the ISO to a crazy low number-- like 100-- just to give me more time to play around. I ended up with a shutter speed around three seconds. On the mantle of the stone fireplace sat a key. I have no idea where this key came from, or if it opens anything, it was just lying there. Probably a souvenir from France, bought at a Sunday market. Anyway, I had already been experimenting with what I called 'manual double exposures'. I had three seconds to shoot, so for half the time I would point the camera at one spot then spin around and point it at another spot for the rest of the exposure.

I loved the results-- almost like a double exposure, except there were no clean lines, as the shutter speed was so long everything was blurry. I might check to see if I can remotely set off the flash, and possible freeze an image before moving....create some clean Ah, my winter break will be busy ;) Anyway, back to the magical key. It was lying there so I picked it up and balanced it against a picture frame. Then, I took a picture, with around 1.5 seconds of the key and around 1.5 seconds of the Christmas tree-- way out of focus, since the focus had been on the close tree. The resulting picture was my favorite of the bunch. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Break

...has officially begun :D I'm finally back home with my family, ready for a month of relaxation. My body waited until the moment finals were done before deciding it wanted to make my life suck. Fever/sore throat/the works. Anyway, I'm just glad I didn't have to go through this during finals.

Now I don't want to just do before/afters buuuttttt there was this dramatic one that I just had to show you. My friends and I were walking through this meadow, it was overcast, and getting dark. None of the pictures turned out as I wanted them to; I just wrote all of them off as hopeless. Then, I just started to play around with one of the pictures, just seeing what I could create. I came up with this beauty ;)



This was taken when I first got my SLR-- I wasn't used to all the settings and such; I think my white balance is off. Anyway, I thought it was just hopeless until I opened in photoshop and started working on it. I tried to recreate what the scene looked like to my eye. I don't know if I prefer the after-- I don't know how true to reality the image ended up being. I just kept editing and editing :P

Still, I like how drastic the change is ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Before and After

So yesterday, after it really hit me that school was over for the semester, I started to edit all the photos that I didn't have time to touch during school. I came across one that while cool, seemed hopeless. It was too dark; hard to tell what was going on-- I wasn't sure if I was going to post it on facebook or not. ((Sad side note, that's where my pictures are put. Facebook. Where no one ever looks at them. I put some up on DA but it takes forever to upload one photo-- and you have to name every one.))

Anyway, I just started to mess around on photoshop, trying to salvage the photo. I remember what the scene looked like to my eye-- I tried to recreate it. Below are the fruits...haha...of my labor. :)



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

...c'est finis?'s over.

First semester. Over. Gone. Done with. Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic that finals are over. I have never been through something so stressful and difficult. I just finished my last final. And I just checked my grades-- I have that one A, calculus, required to keep my scholarship.

I guess I'm just in shock. It hasn't hit me yet that it's all over. It'll probably hit me tomorrow night, or the next day, as I drive to my grandparents house. It'll hit me that all my friends that I made this semester will be gone, and I won't see them for a month. O.O Granted, I'll get to see my friends back home, so that will be fun too.

Still...after all the stress...after all the hard work...first semester is over. It's odd-- I had just constructed a new routine that I'll now miss. I'll miss have physics three times a week with all the guys I met. I'll miss having Calculus with Lauren four times a week. I'll miss my amazing Cal teacher. I'll miss my journey's class, and all the amazing people I had it with.

Though I must say, I am really looking forward to a month full of sleep and relaxation. I feel like I need it-- finals really killed me. I've gotten so little sleep, and so much stress lately. And now all I can do is wait for the grades to be posted.

But until then! I figured that I would post a couple pictures of our decked out for Christmas dorm room. I never did post any pictures of the dorm like I said I would....;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Snow Pictures

So this morning was my Physics exam. It actually was better than I thought it would be-- I think I did decent on it; though it will probably be a while before I know my grade.

Anyway, before we head home to pick up a friend, I had some down time and decided to finally get around and edit my snow pictures. ;)

I had to take an out of focus picture simply because I love the dreamy way it paints the scene. It gets rid of all the small distracting details and presents you only with the large picture.

We had only got a dusting of snow so our snowman was a baby one ;)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Snow Day

At least that's what today felt like. ;) In reality, it wasn't like college was closed for the brief dusting of snow we received. However, class are over....and finals have begun. I'm lucky as I have until Friday for my first final-- and reading day started on Tuesday. So both Tuesday and Wednesday and most likely Thursday were comprised of a weird combination of sleep and intense-- or at least the attempt there of-- study. My hardest final, physics, is on Friday and I'm worrieedddd. I would love to have a later post saying how the final really wasn't my worst nightmare in hellish reality and that in fact it went rather well, and I escaped with a B in the class. However, while the teacher did assure me that most likely I would end up with a B in the class, providing I didn't bomb the test, I'm still worried.

After all, I'm supposed to be a Physicist. Are they supposed to be good at Physics? It's just so different from everything that I have ever done. I love it. I love the moments when all the fog flies away and I realize that I can describe the physical world with math. I keep telling myself that's what matters-- that I enjoy it, not that I don't have a natural knack for it.

We watched Water for Elephants last on Monday night. Also, I died my hair red Monday night. Hahaha I may post pictures last. Anyway! The point of this was to say that while watching the movie all I could do was think 'that could have been me'. Not the whole circus act but Robert Patterson's character. The vet. That was almost me. I wanted to be a large animal vet until I was like sixteen. I had it all planned out-- I wanted to work outdoors, I wanted to go from farm to farm, doctoring the cattle, the sheep, the horses, goats, chickens, whatever need help.

And now I'm on my way to become an Astrophysicist and quite possibly an astronaut. Sometimes I wonder if I was really sure when I turned down the idea of being a vet. What I wanted, was really James Heriot's job. He was a farm vet in the 1930s over in England. I told myself that things had changed, that my job would be different. Vets have become crazy specialized since then. I heard the horror stories about how arrogant horse people are. Eventually I fell in love with the heavens and everything changed. I can barely imagined what things would be like if I had kept true to my first dream. I wouldn't be at Hendrix; I think there was one school in Arkansas that had veterinary sciences. I wouldn't be surrounded by the people I am now-- it would be a lot more country folk. It's not like I ever thought that the job would be glamorous so I wouldn't be surprised by the blood mud and guts I would have to deal with.

It's just so weird to think about how everything could be totally different. Normally I don't think about it, but watching the movie, as Robert Patterson's character doctored the horses, it just reminded me.

That could have been me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

So close

...and yet so far. Finals are coming up-- the end of the semester is coming up, Christmas break is coming up. It seems like we are just so close to leaving, yet so far, seeing how finals are the barrier standing between me and break. o.o


Anyway, I thought I would post some pictures in an attempt to procrastinate from studying for finals. ;)

I love the dreamy, out of focus vibe on this one...

I love the vintage feel of this-- as if it was shot during WWII and not a week ago.