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Archive for September, 2014

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Back in the day and even to some extent today, artists and photographers would take a black and white photo and hand color it to add richness or a more life-like presentation. I always enjoyed the look of a fine hand colored black and white image. My favorites were the ones where the artist added just a splash of color to the image. Sometimes you would see an abstract colorization attempt that pulled it off as well.bw+color-1-3

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In our modern digital age we can effectively do the same thing. We can take an image and convert it to monochromatic shades of gray and then add color as we see fit. This can be a tedious task just as hand coloring was for some of us. Although if minimal color in a specific area is the goal this is an easy method using a simple mask and paint brush. The photo of the woman with only the green eyes is an example. The football picture was done in a pixel editor like Photoshop or Corel and used a specific mask to separate the one player from the rest. There is another way to have some fun with hand coloring but it is simple and kind of in reverse.

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Using Adobe Lightroom you can take a full color image and begin removing all the color saturation from specific colors. By moving the sliders to remove color and leaving others a similar albeit less precise effect can be had in a fraction of the time. Lightroom is very limited on masking so this may create an abstract image. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When it does it can be a really amazing take on an otherwise morose scene.

This desaturation technique can be most effective at changing the mood of a photo. Black and white can often conjure up a gloominess that color would struggle to capture. The limited and creative use of color in the scene can keep the somber feel while providing a splash of color. Play a round with your images and have fun creating something very different from what your camera produced.

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Our Pets for Posterity

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Socks, my fuzzy cat

Pets make great subjects for photos. Of course they can be difficult to photograph if they are easily excitable or fidgety. None-the-less our pets are part of our family and as such we may find ourselves taking lots of pictures of them. Of course Facebook is where most of them end up, right? Who doesn’t like a good kitty shot or puppy pic?

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Maggie Mae, my wife’s Sheltie

Our pets provide us with comfort and joy. We provide them with security, good chow, a warm bed, and love. Why not make images of our pets for posterity? Dogs and cats are the most common pets in America. They however have lives of brevity. A dog gives us more love and affection in ten years than most people give in a life time. Dogs are not judgemental. A dog’s love and affection are unconditional. Cats? Well, they actually are a bit judgemental; but they make up for that shortcoming by being more self-reliant and really fuzzy 🙂

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Lucy, our former Lab

I enjoy utilizing my photo gear to image my pets. In the digital age, I have the luxury of making many images. No film or processing cost. I tend to rip through a couple of dozen images just to get one decent one. But it is always worth the effort. I love my pets and my pets love me.

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Photo by Graham Law

My good friend Graham Law, Owner of Seawood Photo, Inc. is the best dog photographer I know. He is not an animal photographer by trade. He does it because he enjoys it and it helps save the animal’s life. He and his lovely wife, Melissa take in shelter animals. They work tirelessly to find homes for these abandoned dogs so they might provide joy and happiness for a family rather than the sorrowful notion of being put to sleep. Graham and I have both trekked across the country, cameras in hand, and produced images we still cherish today. But how can any of that be more satisfying than making an image that captures a dog’s soul. Images captivating enough to bring someone forward that will save that animal’s life and give that dog joy and a meaningful purpose.

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Photo by Graham Law

Graham does a great job capturing the character and charm of these wonderful pets. This is no easy task. He also uses top grade gear! He and I have been collecting and using photo gear for over 30 years. His status as a camera shop owner is a bit too much for me to compete with however and I often find myself just a wee bit over the envy line 😉 Graham typically uses a Sony A7s mirroless body with a 35 megapixel full-frame sensor and a very interesting variety of lenses. Last time I saw him, he was running around with a Zeiss Biogon 21mm lens on it! I don’t think he’s using that glass for the awesome pet shots we see here. Despite the fact that the two of us are cruising along in our sixth decade, he still seems to do a great job on manual focus. Something I am nowhere near as proficient at anymore. I would like to thank Graham for giving me permission to use his images.

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Photo by Graham Law

In closing, don’t forget to make great images of your pets. They will continue to warm your heart long after they are gone and well done images can conjure up powerful emotions. After all, isn’t that why we do what we do? OH, and next time you think about getting a new dog or cat… yeah, animal shelter or rescue organization 🙂

Here are a some more cute pet pics from Graham and I.

 

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Photo by Graham Law

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Muffin the cat, Rod Sager, EOS-M with 22mm f2.0 pancake

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Photo by Graham Law

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Kyle and Maggie, 12/23/2008, Rod Sager

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Photo by Graham Law

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pookie (2 of 2) Pookie the cat, Rod Sager 1993 (1990’s scan)

 

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