The Spirit of Old Indian

20 08 2012

We are now on the final post of the Old Indian series. While I worked at camp we participated in a tradition that started in the earliest days of the camp and will be continued for many years to come. I’ll close this series the only way the feels right, with “Scout Vespers.”

Softly falls the light of day,
As our campfire fades away.


Silently each Scout should ask,
“Have I done my daily task?


Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?


Have I done and have I dared,
Everything to Be Prepared?”

 

This post is dedicated to a great Scouter and a friend, Dale F Moseley. You will always be missed and remembered fondly. You embodied the Scout Oath and Law and were an inspiration for all those you served.

May the great Scoutmaster of all Scouts be with us until we meet again.

 

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The Motion of Old Indian

16 08 2012

A simple fun exercise is to play around with the settings on your camera and see what happens. The better educated you become, the more often “what happens” will be really cool. If you aren’t familiar with terms like “shutter speed” or “f/stop” a legend in the photography world wrote a post about it here.

Yeah, just kidding, that was my post.

A word to the wise. If you’re using a slideshow, the Word Press Reader Feature may not be teasing a potential follower with your beautiful photos.

Anyways, one fun thing to do is decreasing your “shutter speed.” This means instead of trying to freeze action, you are allowing anything that moves to become blurry. This isn’t a great idea with people or pets, but it can turn out pretty nifty if you’re shooting cars at dusk or running water like I was here.

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The gallery thing is something I haven’t tried before so let me know what you think of it. The trick to long exposures is knowing what to adjust. Shutter speed is a fraction (oh no, fractions!) So 1/2500th of a second is very fast. That means the shutter only stays open for that long. This doesn’t let much light in so you shoot at a reasonably low f/stop, I used 3.5. (again, if this is greek check out my tutorials on f/stop and exposure speed.) When I dial that down to 1/40th of a second and 1/10th, we start getting a lot of light. The image would have been completely whited out if I hadn’t decreased the aperture size to f/16. (I cheat a bit and let auto ISO do some of the work for me.)

What you end up with is a smooth and silky flow of water that you wouldn’t be able to visualize with the naked eye. This was my first go at this so the pictures aren’t incredible but it was a lot of fun to do. I fully intend to try a few follow up trips to play around with this more. In the meantime here’s a top ten list with some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Environmental Graffiti

I love to hear from you. Let me know what you liked and didn’t like in today’s post in the comment below. Thanks for stopping by and God Bless You!





Counterculture, Flowers, and Chimneys

31 05 2012

Today I’m in the process of wrapping up the last pictures from my shoot last week so I can get into a series on old cars I’ve been working on. I suppose since this post is a little scattered anyways, I’ll slip in some life stuff here and there while I’m writing.

I almost missed this shot entirely, twice. I was driving down a back road on my way to another location when I saw an old dilapidated building with a chimney, see below. I took a few shots of it that didn’t get me too excited and was about to walk back to my car when these flowers in front of this old white store front caught my eye. I played around with a few angles and aperture settings until I finally got this. I couldn’t be happier.

When I took this shot I wanted something dark and back-lit. I considered going for a silhouette but the trees in the background would have made the building almost indistinguishable. I get a little chuckle from a shot like this because it makes me think about how our society has changed. When this house was built, the chimney and the fireplace inside may have been a source of warmth, or used for cooking. Now fireplaces are considered a luxury item. I also think of hunting and fishing, it was once an essential part of our survival but now they’re used as a source of relaxation, an escape from our busy lives. I wonder if we’re really progressing or just getting away from a lifestyle we constantly try to recreate.

I just realized the past few posts have featured a lot of old things. Old buildings, tools, places. Part of that is a product of where I live. My small town surroundings don’t offer a lot of bustling metropolitan environments for me to spend my time shooting in. David made a comment on my last post that a lot of modern buildings are soulless. I’m a huge fan of modern and old architecture and I agree with him to an extent. I think we live in a world where people want to fit in, and that has even influenced architecture. Anything that is unique is though of as counter-culture. Entire movements have started to fight “conformity.” Most of the people in those movements don’t realize they’re fighting for society to take a step back into the past. Would that be bad or good though?

I don’t want to get too wordy here so I’ll go ahead and wrap it up here. Hopefully my observations have got some wheels turning and I’ll get some buzz in the comments below. Naturally I’d love to hear your feedback on the images too. I have one more post before I get to the old car series so stay tuned this weekend!

Check out Facebook and Twitter, follow the blog, feel free to reblog or use anything here provided you mention where you got it. Have a great day and God Bless! -Arley





Buildings are People Too

31 05 2012

I absolutely love old buildings. I could spend hours taking pictures of barns and old warehouses, closed manufacturing facilities. The inherent risk of going inside them is both thrilling and often illegal so always check first. Unfortunately I couldn’t get approval to go inside anything for this shoot but I got some really great stuff around this old place.

I’m not exactly sure what one would call this. It feels a bit like a barn but without the big barn doors and livestock stalls inside I suppose it was just an old storage building. I framed the sun right on the edge of the roof to get the little star-burst you see here. If you look on the right side of the picture, you can actually see the tree from yesterdays post. :) One of the really interesting aspects of this building is the foliage growing up the sides. I decided to get a closer look.

Frankly this is all a little too dead for me. The mood of this image is really dark and gloomy. A sprinkle of light could have made those dark vines interesting but I just find them a little depressing here. It’s not usually a mood I go for on shootabout but it’s good to know how to create a discouraging image. When you’re taking a photograph, you want to capture the essence of your subject. This old building is well out of its glory years and is now no more than a crumbling tribute to its former purpose. When you think about it that way, I guess this picture does the job.

This shot was my favorite of the set. In contrast to the previous image, the ivy growing on the building gives it a since of life but still respects its age. You don’t lose the ancient feeling but the subject is so filled with life it begins to feel more like an old friend than a decrepit stranger. I suppose the most interesting part of this shot is that I feel so comfortable personifying it. Once you start to think of a structure as having character and personality, you know you’ve done it some justice in your photograph.

Thanks for stopping by today. I always enjoy hearing from you in the comments below. If you’re a first time visitor I would love to have you join the circle of friends following my blog. My favorite part about the blog is when I submit a post and immediately wonder “What will Rich or Dezra or Victoria or Mary Lou or Andra say.” (Those are my top commentors and all fantastic bloggers that you should check out :) )

Anyways, thanks for stopping by! Everything you see here is the intellectual property of Arley Hendrick. Copying anything in whole or part is strictly encouraged provided you mention the blog with a link when you do it. :) Have a great day and God Bless!





Cliche Tree

30 05 2012

A backlit shot of a tree is almost as cliche as a picture of railroad tracks leading off into the distance, that was actually my first post now that I think about it. :) While cliche it still has a unique beauty. A lot of things come together well to give it the impact it has, let’s take a look.

One of the most striking things about this picture for me is the gradient in the sky. The sun behind the tree blows out the color immediately around the tree so it slowly washes back to a rich blue at the top. This is a fairly straightforward example of back-lighting but it’s a great photographic tool with a whole spread of applications.

Coming in tighter on the tree and allowing some sun to slip through really changes the mood of this photograph. You can tell the image if being distorted a little bit as I get closer to the tree. Using a longer lens from a greater distance will solve this, there’s also a number of options in Photoshop. The concrete enclosure in the foreground jumps out a lot more in this picture than the last one. I also tend to notice the trees in the background a lot more. 

For the final shot of this set I got lower and focused on some interesting old odds and ends on the brick wall. Everything here looked like it had sat in the weather for years. I think the dark detail in the foreground gives a nice contrast to the overexposed sky in the background.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’ve got a lot of pictures to go through so hopefully you’ll be seeing a load of content popping up all week. I hope everyone in the states had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. Be sure to follow the blog and you’re more than welcome to click buttons down below to share with your friends. I love responding to your comments so please don’t forget to tell me what you thought of today’s post! Have a great day everyone and God Bless! -Arley





Replacing Color For a New Mood (Photoshop)

25 05 2012

Today I will finally be doing another tutorial of sorts. This one is fairly specific to Photoshop but I’m sure there are ways to do it in many other software’s as well. If you are trying to decide if you need Photoshop, you probably don’t. There are much cheaper photo editing software’s you should start out with. The first time I opened PS I was completely lost. It took me many tutorials and failed experiments to learn my way around but it is well worth it. That being said, it is the most advanced photo editing software there is and it can do things nothing else can. If you’re a serious established photographer or if you have the money and are willing to spend some time learning it, go for it. I love it and I couldn’t imagine not having it. (Here’s an affiliate link so if you decide to buy it, you can support the blog when you do.)

One important thing to remember when you use any editor is that it’s not made to make a bad picture good. Sometimes you can use it to correct your own mistakes, but you really aren’t getting everything you should out of your hard work if you start with a crummy picture. The above picture was one of my favorites but I wanted to play around with it and see if I could make it something more.

Photoshop does a nifty trick called “Replace Color.” You can find it under Image>Adjustments. This will open a dialogue box where you can select the color, or colors you want to affect, then change their hue, saturation and brightness. Many effects in Photoshop can be attained at least two or three different ways. You can do this one manually with layer masking and selective color but this is the easiest way. I selected the blues in the sky and water, changed the hue slightly and pushed them darker to make the details pop.

Next I did the same thing with the wood but I pushed it very dark to give it an almost painted look.

This step was pretty tricky. I did a few things here. The trees looked a little neon so I used the brush tool with the darken color to get them a little more natural. The biggest step here was transforming the image so I could get a clean crop on it. I didn’t like the wood post on the left side But I couldn’t crop it out without losing part of the sign. I used the Free Transform>Perspective tool to drag the bottom of the image to the right and straighten the sign post, then I used the distort tool in the upper left to get enough image inside the rectangle for a good crop.

Finally, I realized the image was getting a little too dark so I adjusted the exposure slightly. I also spent a little more time taking care of the white spots in the wood that were bothering me. Overall, most of the changes were subtle and served only to enhance the original image.

I hope you enjoyed today’s tutorial. Feel free to re-blog if you think your readers would enjoy this. Please comment, I love hearing from all of you! Happy Friday everyone, have a great weekend!

 





The Mystery Lies Beneath The Surface

24 05 2012

Sometimes as I’m driving, something catches my eye. I stop and take a few snaps but it just isn’t what I thought it would be. One of the things I’ve learned through trial and error is that everything doesn’t naturally make a good picture. I’ve found out though, the worse that first picture is, the more I want to capture something closer to my vision.

Today I used something I haven’t used much since I started shootabout, my 17-35 lens. For those of you less in tune with how lenses are rated, this is basically a really wide lens. Wider lenses give a lot more distortion than a 50mm, one of my primary lenses for this blog. The reason for that is long and complicated but it basically deals with the perceived distance from the lens to the subject. If you’re using a wide angle lens, you’ll get much closer, as you get closer, the relative distance from you to the front of your subject vs the relative distance from you to the back of your subject is much larger than if you use a medium zoom lens. That’s why good portraits are shot with longer lenses. If the relative distance from you to the tip of your subjects nose is drastically closer than the relative distance from you to your subjects cheek, you can get a Pinocchio effect. If however you’re taking pictures of a building for instance, you can use this creatively.

That first shot didn’t turn out to be everything I hoped so I decided to try one from a bit closer focusing on one wall of the building. One of the most important things in photography, possibly the most important aside from light, is your perspective. Perspective is what makes you a photographer. Anyone can take a picture of anything. It’s how you take the picture that defines you. You won’t get it right the first time, don’t get discouraged, learn to move around and try a new angle to get what you want. Well, this still wasn’t quite doing it for me but I noticed something, there was a little gap between the wood door and the wall.

Turns out this old abandoned building has a torn up roof and a little forest growing inside. This I like. It’s a peek into a window to an entirely different side of this building. The building by itself is great but when you mix it with some mystery, then the picture starts communicating emotion. You see the door and the wall but you see something more lies within, something strange and unusual. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the door is stuck. I couldn’t see any more of what was inside this building. It’s a mystery. A world I may never get to explore, except with my imagination.

I hope you’re as curious as I am. Now that I have a taste of the mystery I may show back up with a ladder and try to get a few shots from above looking down. I suppose I should figure out who the building belongs to first though!

Stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow (hopefully.) I promise I’ll get a few more of those tutorials you keep asking about put together soon. Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up with what’s going on. Please comment, it’s the highlight of my day to read and respond to your feedback. If you think your followers would enjoy this or any other post on shootabout feel free to reblog me. Thanks for visiting and God Bless! -Arley





Rebirth

21 05 2012

To those of you who followed me closely until I dropped off the face of the earth a month and a half ago, but love me enough to show up again when they saw the new post email, I sincerely thank you for bearing with me. I offer no excuses and ask no forgiveness.

Me (left) and My Nieces and Nephews

The brief explanation I owe you is after having my wisdom teeth removed and my work schedule intensify with a huge shift of responsibility onto my shoulders, most of my evenings have been spent with my family, my church, or my bed. To my most devoted followers and friends, Mona, Mary, Andra, Victoria and others, thank you for continuing to share and inspire with your photography and writing. You all coaxed me out of hiding helped encourage me to pick up the camera after work and do what I love again. To those of you who are here for the first time, I assure you such a lull in content shall not be the norm moving forward and you are well welcome company in this circle of friends and photographers.

Today after work I started a load of laundry and decided an appropriate theme for my return from absence would be rebirth… My Junior year of high school, we found out parts of our building were “unsafe.” Over the course of a tumultuous weekend our community and neighboring schools came together  to create a portable school in our Award Winning Band’s practice field. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but we made it work.

Portable Row

Above is a look at the portable row today. It’s a nearly stifling environment, one teacher went so far to describe it as our camp of concentration. Naturally, I hate to look at the dismal grey rows of buildings so I found the part that caught my eye and did what I do best, I got in close :)

This was hanging outside one of the buildings. I really liked the contrast of green on the otherwise grey background. My f/stop was very low, f/1.4, so the sun and the sky gave me a nice white glow to fade into the deep blue sky in the upper left. I thought about playing with this in Photoshop for a while, but maybe I’ll do a tutorial on that in the next post. This is the image exactly as it came out of my camera.

I got my fill of the old site and moved over to the edge of the new construction. It’s been nearly 5 years since we moved into the practice field and the new building is finally a reality. Of course you can’t tell in the above image. :) I ran my f/stop up to a fast f/1.4 and my shutter speed up to a quick 1/8000th of a second to get the DoF (depth of field) and brightness I wanted in this. I love an artistic shot of nature in the midst of an urbanscape or a construction site.

The building is a lot closer than it looked isn’t it? With my f/stop down to f/16 we can see the new building a lot better but the plant is definitely still the hero of this shot. A few fluffy clouds in the background add a lot to this image but you probably didn’t notice them until I said something. Some elements of a photograph appeal to us more sub-consciously than consciously. The same is true in the advertising world (yes I’m on a Mad Men kick along with the rest of the young male in a desk job populace.)

Finally here’s a look at the front lawn of the new school. I definitely prefer sprinkler row over portable row.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a slightly more local peek into my photography experiences. I appreciate you visiting and hope I get to hear from you all. I live for your feedback so feel free to fill my comments section with your thoughts. I do my very best to respond to all of them. If you think your reader’s would enjoy this or any post you are always more than welcome to press me. Social links for FB and Twitter are around here somewhere. :)

God bless you all and have a wonderful week! -Arley





I Almost Forgot to Title This Post, That Would Have Been Embarrassing

24 02 2012

The great thing about shooting the natural world is it’s always unique. No two scenes are exactly alike. That being said, sometimes we try to approach different natural scenes the same way. We, as photographers, have to strive to find a new angle or a new way to portray whatever we’re shooting. The same thing can happen when a photographer’s client work becomes stale. Look through your photos, if you catch yourself shooting everyone the same way, maybe you’ll please the people who come to you for that one look, but it’s also important to offer a diverse portfolio.

When I looked at the scene above I thought, “that’s interesting.” I took a few snaps but wasn’t too pleased. The images looked bland so I wanted to try to change it up. Jessica watched in shock and confusion as a climbed across a ditch and started working my way inside this mess of twigs, branches and vines. Have I ever mentioned I have a bad habit of taking pictures of things that tend to poke me? :)

The two shots above are of the same twigs and branches, just viewed from within the thicket looking out. Remember to think of what someone or something else may see when they interpret a scene. Find the other side of your subjects perspective and explore ways to capture it that will leave whoever is looking at your pictures intrigued.

Thanks for stopping by! I always appreciate hearing from all of you in the comments below! Have a great weekend!





Happy (this area intentionally left blank) Day

14 02 2012

For myself and the rest of you single folks out there, it’s just another tuesday. Before you feel bad for us, you should realize that we don’t have to spend any extra money today and X-Box, Cold Pizza, and Soda is a completely valid option for our evening. Not as bad as you may have thought ehhh? So Happy (Tues)Day! I myself am again happily single on this February 14th but I’m not complaining and I’m certainly not trying to give you love birds a hard time. In fact if you want to enjoy a nice Valentine’s post check out Andra‘s story of her first date with MTM, or my new friend Alicia’s post on God’s love for all of us. Also I just saw a touching picture on Mary Lou’s Blog. If you want something  really heartwarming, visit the Angel Medflight Blog and read their Valentine’s post. Angel Medflight is a full service provider for medical ground and air transport. I had a number of friends work with them when I was invloved in aviation but that’s a whole different story.

Anyways, this year, it’s just a Tuesday for me so I’m gonna share some just a Tuesday kind of pictures. :)

At the risk of digressing to a “Guess What this is a Macro Picture of” sort of a post, let’s see who can guess what this is a picture of. :) First comment to get it right wins a gold star in my book. I saw this off the side of the road and thought it might be cool as the foreground for a landscape shot. It wasn’t. I didn’t want to walk back to my car without a shot so I started moving around. I played a few angles, got in close, got far away, changed the backdrop, and finally decided on a tight macro shot with a short depth of field (you can get that with a low f/stop if you’re just joining the blog.) I was pretty happy so I started the march back to my car.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to take good photographs is to look for cool things to photograph then find a cool way of looking at them. About halfway back to my car I saw this hedge row with some thorns in it. (I don’t know what it is about subjects that have sharp points that makes me want to get close and take pictures but I’m sure the BandAid industry is appreciative.) I took a few shots at a few different f/stops and was pretty happy with this one. 

Here’s a deep dark photography secret for you, one of the things that makes “professional” photographs so cool is they’re a little bit different. Your camera is smart, it’s not creative. Get out of “Automatic” every now and then and try twisting some knobs. There are a couple rules of thumb that help you expose images well in Manual modes but I recommend spending some time just playing around with it before you even bother studying it. Get a feel for what your camera is doing… then learn why it’s doing it. Different cameras do it differently but a lot of cameras have an Aperture Priority Mode. It’s usually abbreviated A or Am on the little dial that has sport, automatic, etc. This will let YOU change your f/stop to control your depth of field and the camera will pick a shutter speed to make it work. It’s a great step in the manual direction and a simple way to learn a bit about getting more creative with your pictures. (sound Greek to you? Μην ανησυχείτε! Don’t worry, I’ll do a super simplified talk about f/stop and all that fancy stuff soon. Especially if you ask for it in the comments.)

I liked this picture because I like mixing an interesting texture in the foreground with unique, but out of focus, elements in the background.

I also like the subtle contrast of the ground on the left with a tree line

To an old road on the right with a street sign.

I honestly wasn’t trying to write rhymes,

So now it’s sweet gum ball pic time. :)

This is almost exactly where the last picture was taken. I just shifted my focus down and took a shot of this sweet gum ball. Sometimes I like framing a shot to block out distractions. With a texture shot, a lot of background adds to the effect, but sometimes it can take away from a shot of a small object like this. It goes from an “intriguing picture of a sweet gum prickly seed pod,” to a “blurry picture of a road and what’s that little brown thing in the bottom there?” I feel it prudent to clarify that isn’t a rule of thumb, I will break that rule many times to get the shots I want. It just happens to be my thought process for that picture.

It’s important to take your pictures one at a time. when you’re getting ready to take a shot there are a few things I like to consider…

  1. How can I make my subject interesting?
  2. What can I incorporate that will add to the shot and not take away?
  3. What should I frame out of the shot because it doesn’t add anything?
  4. What would this look like with different settings?

Equally a few things not to think while taking a picture…

  1. I wonder what I can take a picture of next? (sometimes important for clients but less so for personal work)
  2. I can just fix that in post?
  3. Did I turn the coffee pot off? (I want to elaborate on this because I’m bad about it. In the words of John Cooper, we live in an OCD generation. I get distracted by tiny insignificant things while taking pictures and I stop thinking about what I’m really doing. I have to reign that in and look at my surroundings and be in the moment to really capture the moment best.)
That’s a baby pine cone and a growed up pine cone…

It’s always a pleasure writing to all of you and I look forward to hearing your feedback. Dont forget to guess what that first picture was of and…

I need your help. Well, I want your help. I have tons of ideas about things to write about and to take pictures of. I have a huge wish list of places I want to go and a page full of things I want to ShootAbout but I would love to hear from you guys and gals. If you have any photography questions, or photography answers email me. I want to hear what you have to say. I’m also looking to try sharing some stuff with other blogs so if you need fresh content from a different perspective don’t be afraid to ask. I’d love to write you an article and share a few pictures. Email arleyseth@gmail.com or just ask me in a comment, I read every comment I get and reply to just about all of them too. Thanks for stopping by and God Bless!








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