Quote of the Day 140914

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

~ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! , Dr. Seuss

Photography Challenges – Part 2

Awhile ago, I posted my first attempts at developing my photography skills. This is my next installment of continuing attempts at improvement.


Zone Ruler

One of the things most emphasised in most tutorials is the need to understand your camera’s dynamic range. This exercise is meant to get you more in-tune with your camera settings as well, and to understand the differences in light and exposure for every change in a full f-stop.

It was quite a challenge to maintain an even exposure with natural light, so I had to experiment with the placement of the 18% grey card and the time of day a few times to get the exposure consistently correct. Eventually, I managed to record values for 11-stops in my camera and combined the results into a zone ruler for my reference.

I now know that I can overexpose an image up to 3 full f-stops or under expose an image up to 3 f-stops and still retain an appreciable details in the image

My camera's dynamic range plotted in a Zone Ruler
My camera’s dynamic range plotted in a Zone Ruler

The other assignment I had was to photograph 2 different subjects to produce 2 different sets of images – one in high key; one in low key. And then, to ‘save’ the details in the images that were lost to highlights and/or shadows.

Overexposed Image

For this set, I took several photographs of the inside of my washing machine drum. To product a high key image with was pretty simple, as the inside of the drum is evenly shadowed. I only had to take a correctly exposed image and then overexpose it by 2 full f-stops. I then ‘saved’ some of the details lost to highlights by shifting the histogram just a little to the left.

The inside of a washing machine
The inside of a washing machine

Underexposed Image

This was a little more challenging because I just couldn’t find the right subject for the experiment. After hours of hunting all around the neighbourhood I finally found the subject in my own home! Talk about luck.

It was the billowing curtains that gave me the idea actually. I then thought of incorporating the light/shadows of that scene with an inanimate object in shadows. But I felt that the composition lacked something until I spotted my cat sniffing at the bicycle tyre. So I picked him up, placed him in the basket and voila!

Since I focused on my cat, the bicycle itself was much too shadowed. So I had to pull the histogram to the right just a tad. Then I cropped the image to get rid of unwanted distractions and details.

Pensive Cat
Pensive Cat

Photography Challenges

I joined a beginners photography group recently, and have been trying out some of the challenges the group assigns. Some of them are weekly challenges, and they can be quite tough. It’s a way to push us creatively though, so it’s great! I’ve added some of my entries here (just the ones that I think came out most effectively)

Curves – I didn’t take too long to find my subject for this assignment. My brother’s guitar was right there, and boy did it have curves 🙂 The challenge here was to depict the curves, so that the viewer knows that’s my subject and not the guitar itself. So I braced the guitar against a wall, and let the light cast a shadow of the guitar against the wall at an angle that will highlight the curves.


Symmetry – Ok this was tougher. I could not find/think of a subject for days, and was sincerely flummoxed. Scouring the neighbourhood, searching my entire home, the internet for any subject of interest was just a futile endeavour. Expanding my search radius didn’t yield any results either. I had almost given up the search for good when this puzzle block caught my eye. It was perfectly symmetrical any which way I turned it, and was quite nice to look at as well. Subject found! Huzzah! Oh but now comes the other part – how to photograph it to show that ‘symmetry’ was the subject? Need to think. Should I place it on a table? The floor? Should I suspend it using a string? Should it be in colour? Or will the colours be too distracting? Well..I tried all the above for the next couple of days – the table, floor, suspension, colour, b&w etc. etc. Drove my mum mad. She couldn’t quite figure out why I was so obsessed with the damn puzzle block. When I explained the challenge, she just nodded her head like she understood (but I know she didn’t, really) and left me to my own devices. In the end I realised it had to be the table, and without colour. The colour was a little distracting – you couldn’t see the point I was trying to make was about symmetry and not the block. The result was pretty good, I think. However, looking at it now, I realise I need to work on my lighting. Lesson learnt.


Shadows – My trip to Indonesia had me obsessed with shadow puppets (Wayang Kulit) for awhile. So I thought of using my experience of that for this challenge. I had a version of one of the puppets, and used my bedsheet and a torchlight to recreate the shadow puppet effect. It was quite a challenge to get the light hit the puppet and the sheet at just the right angle, so that I could see only the shadow of the puppet. It took me a couple of hours to get it all alligned properly, and awhile longer to ensure the allignment will stay that way without me needing to hold the puppet and torchlight while I took the photograph. Phew!


Body parts – Sounds gruesome doesn’t it? Yea I thought so too.

I knew what I wanted as my subject, but I wasn’t sure how to portray it in a more creative manner. Then, inspiration struck. My cat, or rather, in this instance my muse decided that he wanted to play. So, I thought why not make him a part of it? Smart eh? And the look of ecstasy on his face? Priceless. 😉

Body Parts

Minimalist – Nothing much to say about this, really. I just tried to take a shot as ‘zen’ as possible. No colour. Just a feeling of solitude and contemplation. Took this photograph outdoors, on an overcast day.