Tag Archives: silhouette

Philadelphia Street Photography – And Quick Redbubble Metal Print Review

Philadelphia Street Photography - 0943

I decided to eschew naming (most of) my street photography photos with nifty names. I think it’s best to leave it up to the viewer’s imagination. If I name a photo, I’ve imparted my judgment and biases onto the photo. While that is fine for many types of photography, one aspect of street photography that I like is that it captures a slice of life and the human condition, but it doesn’t always offer the viewer the entire context. Obviously this is a true statement of photography in general, as you never get to see what is outside the frame. But the stage for street photography is busy and chaotic, which means there is much more going on outside the frame than inside.

And if you have perused my Street Collection, you probably noticed I like starbursts and long shadows. All of my street photography outings so far have been in the last few hours of the day, and that is with purpose, as can be seen in the photo above. That doesn’t mean I will never shoot on the street at an earlier time, but I think capturing the long shadows of late day will continue to be a signature of my street photos.

And finally, I wanted to let you know that I ordered the above photo as a metal print from my Redbubble profile. When I get it, I’ll let you know my thoughts with a mini review.

UPDATE, May 10, 2014 – Review of Redbubble Metal Print:

I received my metal print from Redbubble yesterday. I will add a few photos of the packaging and the print itself later today, but I wanted to get a quick review posted while the thoughts are fresh in my mind.

Packaging and Shipping – It shipped via UPS ground from California, so for me that means it took the full 5-days. I believe it shipped two or three days after I placed the order, so it was a relatively quick turnaround. The package itself is a flat box, and inside the metal print was very securely attached to a strong piece of cardboard with clear (quite strong) plastic and packing tape. I can’t overstate how well secured the print was to this piece of cardboard. It wasn’t going anywhere. There was also some packing paper crushed up in the box to cushion the side where the metal print would have otherwise been exposed to the outside box. Just about the only thing I can think of that would have been better, would be to sandwich the print between two pieces of cardboard before boxing. However, I believe their method of packing the metal print is sufficient and should rarely if ever result in any damage unless the shipping company bends the box severely.

The Metal Print – I have no prior experience with metal prints, as this is an entirely new product experience for me. I’m impressed at the detail level of the print on the metal. I chose matte instead of gloss (as I usually do for prints), and the starburst in the above photo is really silky smooth in appearance, and the details of the pavement and the people and buildings in the distance are quite sharp. I expected this print to work out well, and I must say it surpassed by expectations. As for the construction of the print, of course the print is just a sheet of aluminum. Attached to the back of the print is a smaller box also constructed of aluminum mounted to a sturdy foam. The box is in the middle and biased toward the top and is 1/3 the surface area of the print. This box serves as the mounting plate and the standoff that will create the floating effect when the print is hung on a wall. And attached to this box are four plastic standoffs to protect your wall and allow the print to lay flat on your wall. The overall package is that of a high quality piece of art, and I really feel it could work in any decor because of its minimalist appearance, but anybody who likes a bit of industrial design in their decor will greatly appreciate a metal print or two for their study or den.

UPDATE #2

Here are the photos I promised (click each photo to enlarge). You can see the packaging, the back of the metal print, including the foam/aluminum box for mounting, and the front of the print.

Redbubble Metal Print #1

Redbubble Metal Print #2

Redbubble Metal Print #3

Redbubble Metal Print #4

After looking at the print thoroughly under high light, my only negative critique is that there is a slight green cast, especially when viewing the print at an angle. The green tint seems to mostly disappear when viewed straight on, and is not really noticeable when hung on a wall and observed under normal home lighting conditions, even at fairly extreme angles, at least without something else to compare it to. But even in the review photo above you can see it has a slight greenish cast compared to the original photo at the top of the blog post. Granted, I did not correct the “review” photos for white balance, so this effect may or may not have been enhanced by my camera’s auto white balance.

I think this slight color cast is probably inherent to the printing process, since (I believe) Redbubble uses a CMYK color printing lab, which means they aren’t printing black and white prints using a black and white only print method. From what I’ve read, seeing a bit of a color cast in black and white prints is not unusual when printed this way. I figured I would mention this so that you are aware that a slight color cast is possible with any black and white prints rendered via a color lab, and this is not just limited to metal prints.

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Discarded Reflection, Philadelphia (Abstract) Street Photography

Discarded Reflection, Philadelphia Street Photography

The world we don’t see is sometimes right at our feet.

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Take Your Light With You, For It Will Show You The Way

Wherever you go, you are always connected to where you

Wherever you go, you are always connected to where you’ve been.

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How To Stage A Still Life Photo: The Cycling Profile

So how do you stage a still life photo? The answer is…well, there is no one answer, it’s entirely up to your imagination! But okay, I’m guessing you clicked on this article because you want some tips and some ideas. First, let’s understand there are two main types of still life photography, staged and organic. These are not official terms, but rather the way I like to think of it. Staged still life photography is when you manipulate objects to create a scene. Organic still life photography is any object you stumble upon (e.g. “candy wrapper on a park bench”) that happened either naturally, or as the result of a third-party, or in other words, a scene that you do not manipulate yourself.

For the purpose of this article, we are talking about staged still life, which is probably the type of still life photography people are most familiar with, as we’ve all seen the classic staples of still life photography like the fruit bowl, or the coffee mug, etc. And in this article, I’m not going to walk you through all the steps to create a final scene, because as I said, the possibilities are endless. What I will do is tell you how I created the still life photo below titled: The Cycling Profile

This is a small "cycling" sculpture I keep in my den, and it was just begging to be photographed. The backdrop is simply an abstract art picture hanging on the wall of my kitchen, the backlighting is a combination of a pendant lamp hanging over my kitchen table and a LED flashlight. That flashlight is also what is creating the foggy atmosphere eminating from the lower right corner of the photo. And the light reflection you see directly behind the sculpture is the reflection of that pendant lamp off the glass of that abstract art.

This is a small “cycling” sculpture I keep in my den, and it was just begging to be photographed. The backdrop is simply an abstract art picture hanging on the wall of my kitchen, the backlighting is a combination of a pendant lamp hanging over my kitchen table and a LED flashlight. That flashlight is also what is creating the foggy atmosphere eminating from the lower right corner of the photo. And the light reflection you see directly behind the sculpture is the reflection of that pendant lamp off the glass of that abstract art.

 

In the above photo, my featured still life subject is a “cycling” sculpture I keep in my den. Every time I looked at this sculpture it begged to be photographed, so tonight I decided it was time to do so. The location of this still life photo shoot was my kitchen, with the kitchen table serving as the base of operations. The backdrop you see behind the sculpture is a 24″x36″ framed abstract art picture hanging on the kitchen wall. The backlighting is a combination of a pendant lamp hanging over the kitchen table and a LED flashlight. The pendant also serves as an overhead light. The flashlight also creates the foggy atmosphere emanating from the lower right corner of the photo because I purposely had it aimed in the direction of the camera lens. The goal with both lights was to effectively light the edges of the sculpture to separate it from the background. Oh, and that light reflection you see directly behind the sculpture, that’s a reflection of the pendant lamp off the glass of the abstract art.

For this still life photo shoot I used a Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor DX 18-300mm VR lens at a focal length of 195mm and a 1 second shutter speed. Obviously with that slow a shutter speed, I chose to use my tripod. As for aperture, I chose to go wide open (f / 5.6) for two reasons. One, I wanted the background to be as soft as possible so that the sculpture would “pop” off the photo, and two, because I wanted to create a sense of motion in this “still” life photo. Lucky for me, the sculpture itself does most of the work in creating a sense of motion, but I also think the narrow depth of field adds to the illusion by having the back-end of the sculpture slightly out of focus. And I purposely angled the sculpture in such a way that also aided in the illusion.

So that’s it! I simply took a household object, put it on my kitchen table, turned on the light over that table, and added another off camera light using a flashlight. So what do you think of the final product? Does it create a sense of motion in an otherwise stationary object? What would you have done differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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