Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘shiba

Life Without My Mid-Range Zoom

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Found an optical defect in one of the inner elements of my Tamron 17-50mm /f2.8 VC a couple weeks ago. As soon as I discovered the problem, I shipped the lens over to a Tamron service center. I promptly received notice from Tamron that the issue would be repaired under warranty, but I’m still waiting for the lens to return. At first I thought I’d have a real tough time without the lens, but I must say that so far, I don’t miss those mid-range focal lengths very much at all. I think it’s because the 17-50mm range just doesn’t give you a whole lot of control over the perception of space and distance in a photograph.

I usually like to either expand foreground and background elements using an ultra-wide lens, or compress the foreground and background using a long telephoto. An example of the latter is seen in the image above. Shot at 165mm, you can really see how compressed the elements in the frame are, giving Suki a really powerful presence in the photo. In contrast, check out a similar image shot at 78mm:

See? Not quite as dramatic, right? Even Suki is disappointed, as you can see by her facial expression. Now if you really want to isolate your subject from the background, try an even longer focal length:

Same location, only with my lens at 280mm. The background gets so compressed at this focal length that it becomes unrecognizable, which completely isolates Suki in the foreground. This is the kind of creative control that a telephoto zoom lens can give you. So the next time you’re out taking photos, think about what you’re trying to accomplish before you start rotating that zoom ring. Are you zooming because you’d rather stay in one spot instead of moving closer to your subject, or are you trying to alter the perception of space and distance in your image? It’s almost always best to consider the latter first.

Ok, so it’s not that I don’t want my Tamron 17-50 anymore. It’s usually the lens I grab first if I have no idea what I’m going out to shoot. But I know now that I can definitely live without that focal range.

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Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR

My New Photography Website

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My cousin recently convinced me to set up a website for my photography. I’ve been wanting a slick, simple way to display my photographs on the web for a long time now. While I do have a flickr page as well as this blog for sharing photos,  neither really offer me a customizable way to display my artwork in high quality, high resolution galleries.

My new website allows viewers to browse my images using a very simple but beautiful interface. Each gallery includes an awesome full-screen option, and features custom compatibility with iPhone and iPad.

So please, check out my new website! Head on over to www.jonathanflemingphotography.com. I’ll make sure to update it regularly.  Enjoy!

Written by Jonathan

June 10, 2010 at 9:54 am

Behind the Scenes

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This week’s project shot of Suki was pretty difficult. I didn’t have any time to take the shot all week, and this holiday weekend has been booked with activity. Finally had some free time in the afternoon this Sunday, and a bunch of friends wanted to get together for some hiking. So we decided to bring Suki along, and figured we’d get a shot of her while on the trail. Well, we got to the end of the trail, and I still had nothing! So I handed an SB-900 to my cousin, and took an impromptu, dramatically lit shot of Suki for week 21 of 52. See the final image on my Flickr page.

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Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 135mm f/18 ISO100 1/320 Second // SB-900 gelled warm, TTL, +2.0EV

Written by Jonathan

May 30, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Diptychs, Triptychs, and Beyond!

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I love what you can convey by presenting a spread of images together, as in a diptych or triptych.  Some people are really good at putting images together that are distinctly different yet complimentary and story-telling. I’m not one of those people (I don’t really think I have that “artistic eye”), but I did sit down last night and combined put some photos  in a way that hopefully says a little something about Suki.

One thing that can be accomplished with more than one image is the presentation of small details or fractions of a whole, that together, give the viewer a sense of the whole person, place, or object. I experimented with this concept in four images that don’t really reveal exactly what Suki looks like, but do give you a sense of her as a whole through the details that are presented. I dunno, I think it kinda sorta worked.

You can also present a sequence of events or actions using a polyptych (weird word). Suki does the most adorable yawn, but conveying what her yawn looks like pretty much necessitates that I show a series of photos in sequence.

After processing these photos in Lightroom 3 Beta, I opened each up in Photoshop to put them together. I just learned a dead simple way to do this. Assuming that each image is the same size and aspect ratio, all you need to do is extend the background layer’s canvas size by 100% in whichever direction you want to put the next image. Then, just copy and paste the next image on a new layer and drag it into place on the background layer. Sound confusing? Then head over to my cousin Josh’s blog for a video tutorial on diptychs.

Josh is my go-to guy for all my Photoshop needs. I only started working with Photoshop last year, but he’s been using it for easily over a decade for a variety of different art forms, including photography.  A few weeks back I asked him how to add black bars to the top and bottom of my photos, and he sent me an email with screen shots that outlined how to do it step-by-step. I told him “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if you did some sort of video tutorial on this?”

Soon after, what do you know! He posted a video tutorial on how to add black bars to the top and bottom of your photos. Cool! So I bugged him again and asked him to do another one on diptychs. The cool thing about his tutorials so far is that while there are dozens of ways to accomplish the same thing in a powerful and complex program like Photoshop, he endeavors to find and present the simplest and fastest method. I really appreciate this, as I’m the kind of person who likes to spend as little time as possible editing at the computer. You can find more how-to posts on his blog at http://jliba.wordpress.com.

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Image Top: Nikon D300s + Micro Nikkor AFS 60mm f/2.8G

Image Bottom: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 35mm f/1.8G

Written by Jonathan

February 26, 2010 at 10:17 am

ニッコリ笑う犬

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Ok Shiba fans, are you ready for one of the cutest Shiba videos ever? Shibas tend to display pretty happy-looking faces, but the Shiba  in this video takes it a step further. Her name is ちいちゃん (Chii). Isn’t she sweet?

I wonder if I could get Suki to do this…

Written by Jonathan

February 3, 2010 at 9:18 am

A Red, Furry Blur

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Yeah, She’s Fast – 4/52, originally uploaded by kaoni701.

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That’s what Suki would have looked like in this image if I didn’t use a fast enough shutter speed. She rarely runs as fast as she can, but one of the few occasions she’ll go full throttle (besides chasing my cousin’s poor rabbit in the backyard), is at the dog park. Suki is FAST. When she really goes flat out, her strides become huge, and all four paws come way off the ground and she surges forward.

She’ll often leap over other dogs much larger than her too, just for the fun of it. It’s quite a sight to see, and really makes me want to find the time to get her into agility training. Every time I see a dog doing agility, I think to myself “boy, Suki would trash that course and not even break a sweat!”.

I was happy to see this photo reach the 2nd page of Flickr’s explore page today. It was also featured on Flickr’s interestingness page!

Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 135mm f/2.8, ISO320 1/1000 Second

Written by Jonathan

January 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm

City Dog

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Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Post in Lightroom 3 Beta and Photoshop CS4

For my 52 week photographic project about Suki, I want to include images that tell a story about her life. I’m hoping viewers will see her personality and get a sense of the environments she encounters from day-to-day. This premise spawned the idea for my latest image on Flickr in this series. I’ve lived in big cities all my life, and I wanted to show that the city is Suki’s domain as well.

The final image for the project was harder to capture than it likely looks, probably harder for my light stand (wife) than me, as she needed to instruct Suki on what to do, light her correctly, and keep the flash unit from going into standby all at the same time. Definitely not as easy as working with a human subject!

You don’t have to look far to find urban artwork in the city. This entire building was covered in it, and I would have loved to use other portions of the art as well, but we couldn’t spend too much time on the shoot. Suki might have lost her patience! Nevertheless, the art made an awesome background to convey Suki’s urban life. We got a lot of smiles from passerby, and a few of them found their way into my outtakes.

Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 at 11mm f/5.6 ISO200 1/125 Second

The shot above was initially a test image to see what my flashes were up to and get a good starting point for the shoot. I ended up liking it….in a goofy kind of way. The the shot at the top of this post is the first image I’ve heavily post-processed in a while. I was going for that cross-processed look, and I really like how it turned out.

The pose in the image I posted to the project was all Suki’s doing. I was really close to her with my Tokina 11-16, and she suddenly did a “down” on all fours (like the first image in this post). I fired away. Looking at the LCD, I grinned from ear to ear:

“We got it!”

Suki got an extra helping of treats.

Please see the final image on flickr: Click Here