March Video Games

Spelunky!  (5 hours):

Proving the worth of Let’s Play videos to anyone on the publishing side who still doesn’t believe, when Dan first told me about Spelunky! it didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. When I got around to watching Dan’s Let’s Play videos, I decided it was indeed something I’d enjoy. Five hours later….I’m still enjoying it – mostly because of the endless variety that comes from the walls that are constantly shifting.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2 hours):

My second XCOM run ends as I defeat it with the Enemy Within expansion pack (as we used to call DLC back in the day).

Civilization V (PC) (1 hour):

Our multi-year multi-player games continue!

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth (45 minutes):

I play a session as I get back into this game.

 

The Dancer on Stage

After getting the shots for the black and white challenge (see my youtube channel), Scarlett wanted to take more photos while jumping and dancing. I thought the background along with the beauty dish in the frame just worked so well, like she was on a stage and dancing.
After getting the shots for the black and white challenge (see my youtube channel), Scarlett wanted to take more photos while jumping and dancing. I thought the background along with the beauty dish in the frame just worked so well, like she was on a stage and dancing.

One of the photgraphers on Adorama’s channel has a show called You Keep Shooting. That advice worked rather well when I took Scarlett into the studio with me for a photo shoot that would be used for my Black and White Conversion Challenge. (While the videos are already live on Youtube, the blog post that ties it together has not yet been published) Scarlett tends to be a pretty awesome model for a four year old amateur. She was patient and took direction for about 10 minutes or so. Then she wanted to do her own thing. Mostly that involved jumping and dancing and asking me to photograph her doing it. I zoomed out to get more of her body on the jumps and in doing so ended up with the beauty dish in the frame. While it would be only of a medium difficulty to remove it in Photoshop or GIMP (and trivial to crop it out), I felt that it added to a feel of performance when combined with the red background. The only thing would have made it more perfect for that theme would have been if she’d been wearing a dress or tutu.

By continuing to shoot and indulging her for another ten minutes or so, I was able to capture a great moment of pure joy on her part and an example of a time we worked together to create something.

Samgyeopsal-gui (Korean Pork Belly)

As an adult I have discovered a love of cooking. Sure, it can get mundane on a day-to-day basis, but I enjoy creating something tasty. I especially enjoy learning how to cook food that is much more expensive to eat out. Recently when I went to Costco, I was in the pork section and noticed they had pork bellies. So I wanted to try and recreate a  Samgyeopsal-gui dish. So I found a recipe that included the sauces that go along with the dish and tried it out. It was a hit on the first try. Enjoy some images of my cooking:

Easter Portraits of the Kids

You never know what’s going to happen when you try to take portraits of babies. Throw in the extra unpredictability of kids of any age and it’s a crapshoot whether a photo shoot is going to turn out to be fun with rewarding photos or a series of photos of your children crying.

One thing we have on our side with the studio being in the basement is that we can take photos when the kids are ready, not on a hope and prayer that they’ll be ready when we get to Sears, Target, or wherever people are getting portraits done nowadays. So we started off with easy portraits in the morning on the “Baby Portrait Couch”. Hey, it’s a tradition started with Scarlett!

Then, when the kids were awake again later, we did the studio shots. They were extremely cooperative and only started crying near the end, which is pretty amazing.

After the kids went to go nap, Scarlett and I stayed in the basement so I could use my newly learned Speedlight Gel techniques to get a great purple background behind her. I still need a little practice to get more consistent with it, but one thing I’ve learned is not to trust the back of the camera. This is one of those situations where it’s much, much worse than what you can get with a a proper tone curve in your Raw processor of choice.

Without further ado, enjoy the photos.

Scarlett colors some Easter Eggs

You’re never 100% sure what kids are going to enjoy. We know that Scarlett loves painting. Would she love coloring Easter Eggs? The answer was YUP!

Exploring Photography with Eric: Ep 01- Gels on Speedlights

I’ve been watching Gavin Hoey’s GREAT series on studio lighting. While he has a better studio than I do, he still has a small home studio so I find his advice and tutorials match what I’m able to accomplish. When I saw this video (https://youtu.be/PIoWwx-elCE) I really wanted to try it out.

So join me as I figure out what it takes to replicate the results in my home studio. My intention with the Exploring Photography series is for you to see me figure out how to accomplish my task. I figure that by seeing me figure things it, it’ll help you learn instead of me just telling you what I’ve done without showing what didn’t work and why it didn’t work.

Thanks to the guys or gals on reddit who helped me know that I was on the right track and help me figure out what to do on my second day. (https://www.reddit.com/r/AskPhotograp…)

Here are the images from the video:

Removing an Object from a Photo in GIMP

You might remember the photos from Scarlett’s birthday party. For some reason Dina wanted to hide when holding Sam. Her shoulder and back ended up being incredibly distracting in the photo. It would have been better if she would have just stood up and held him normally rather than pretend he was sitting on his own. Since we weren’t planning for this shot, I didn’t have a corresponding shot of the blank wall. Because she was not surrounded on both sides by the wall, it was hard to use the healing brush. So the guys over at Pixls.us helped me figure out this technique.

Flowers in the Rain

It was raining and a solitary flower had bloomed in anticipation of a spring that ended up being delayed by a sudden cold front and snow just before the first day of spring. I went out with my macro lens and the ring flash mom got me recently for Christmas.

This Was A Lot Easier with Just One (Part 2) – Variations on a Theme

Just in case the captions for the photos don’t appear on your RSS reader or on Facebook, here’s what I wrote as the caption to the photos:

“Inspired by title I chose for my photo for the twins’ four month photo which didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to, I decided to do this image. I love how it came out.”

I also usually don’t post more than one version of a photo – I have a definitive version and just go with that, but this time Scarlett came up while I was trying to to figure out which one I preferred and she insisted on a different one than I would have chosen, so I decided to share them all.

Here’s my fave:

Inspired by title I chose for my photo for the twins' four month photo which didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to, I decided to do this image. I love how it came out.
Inspired by title I chose for my photo for the twins’ four month photo which didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to, I decided to do this image. I love how it came out.

Here’s Scarlett’s fave:

Inspired by title I chose for my photo for the twins' four month photo which didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to, I decided to do this image. I love how it came out.
Inspired by title I chose for my photo for the twins’ four month photo which didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to, I decided to do this image. I love how it came out.

And here’s a straight, normal color version:

Inspired by title I chose for my photo for the twins' four month photo which didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to, I decided to do this image. I love how it came out.
Inspired by title I chose for my photo for the twins’ four month photo which didn’t come out quite the way I wanted it to, I decided to do this image. I love how it came out.

This was so much easier when it was just one baby! (4th Month Portrait)

This was so much easier when it was just one baby!
This was so much easier when it was just one baby!

I wanted to do this earlier – somewhere around 2 month portraits. I was re-energized to try the idea after seeing someone do a photo that made it look like their kid was bounding out of the crib with her stuffed animals. I did not take the Sam and Stella images from some other random image. They were right there where you see them. All I did was erase my body (or I’d be in here thrice). Still, if I were to do it again, I’d have Sam and Stella flying near me rather than against the wall. They end up too small and it lessens the impact of the shot. Well, there’s always next time. (And there’s always less edited shots!)