The Colors of Pittsburgh [WPC #47 – black]

 1/125  f1.8  50mm  ISO400  A

Tasked to take a photo of the color “black” this week I took my camera to work in hopes of finding an inspiring subject.  My lens landed on this miniature Steelers football helmet that rests atop a coworker’s cabinet.   While post-processing I decided to bump up the saturation, which transformed the background bokeh into a golden hue.  That gave the photo an extra pop, as black paired with gold is a color combination taken very seriously in Pittsburgh.

How to Photograph a Rhinoceros [WPC #46 – silhouette]

1/2000  f6.3  164mm  ISO100  EV-3  A

I read various tips on how to create a silhoutte photo.  The most popular one being to set your subject up in front of direct light (ideally, sun) and expose for the brightest part of the photo.  I found this technique to be a challenge while taking photos at the zoo over the weekend.  It was a bright sunny day, around the noon hour.  I had my telephoto lens which made it near impossible to get the sun and my subject in the frame together (this may have worked with a wide angled lens though).

So I instead experimented with another technique – exposure compensation.  I dialed down to -3 or -2, and shot at different angles.  My chosen photo above is a partial silhouette.  You can see some details in the rhinoceros foot and ears, but I think it adds some interest.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a version of that photo without the exposure compensation adjusted.

1/320  f6.3  175mm  ISO100  A

Perhaps it’s not the rhino’s best side that I photographed (poor guy!), but I think this is a good example of when a silhoutte can make for a more appealing photograph.

Zoo Animals in Telephoto Lens Closer than They Appear

1/125  f4.2  62mm  ISO100  A

Wanting to take advantage of the sunny weather – and use some free passes – Tom and I visited the Pittsburgh Zoo over the weekend.  It’s located in the outskirts of the city, so at certain spots you see this interesting contrast of city and wildlife.

1/320  f6.3  98mm  ISO100  A

But a majority of the animals don’t get to enjoy the city scenery, and have a much more typical view for a zoo.

1/1000  f4  55mm  ISO100  EV-2  A

This was the first zoo visit for my 55-200mm lens .  With a telephoto lens, getting great photos of the animals is almost effortless.  And a ton of fun.  Here are some favorites from the excursion.

1/320  f6.3  200mm  ISO100

1/250  f6.3  92mm  ISO100  A

1/400  f6.3  200mm  ISO100  A

1/160  f6.3  190mm  ISO100  A

1/320  f5.6  200mm  ISO100  A

1/400  f5.6  200mm  ISO100  A

Fun with 80’s Figurines [WPC #45 – mischief]

What a challenging subject we were prompted to photograph this week:  mischief.  I kept thinking back to photos that conveyed mischief to me, and it seemed they all happened naturally (a devilish look captured on a child’s face, or a puppy getting into something it shouldn’t).  Before I knew it, the week was almost up and I needed something to photograph.   Having no immediate access to a puppy or child, I turned to something childish – my old toy box that my niece and nephew bring out everytime they visit.  As I poured through the box of old favorites, I began to see a trend.  And so my inspiration was born.

There’s one in every group.

In the Rescue Rangers, it was Dale:

1/30  f4  50mm  ISO800  A

For the McDonald’s Fry Guys, this blue dude:

1/80  f2.8  50mm  ISO800  A

Waldo was always disguised and hiding IN a group:

1/100  f2.8  50mm  ISO800  A

These McDonald’s Transformer Fries are no doubt up to something:

1/50  f3.2  50mm  ISO800  A

And from what I can remember, Red was the wild and crazy Fraggle:

1/50  f3.2  50mm  ISO800  A

Yes, there’s one in every group.  I chose a shallow depth of field in most of the pictures to pull your attention to the mischievous one in the group.  I like the choice, since the photos are taken in character “families” you can deduce who/what the others in the background are .. if you are familiar with 80’s nostalgia that is.

The Candy Bowl [WPC #44 – half]

 1  f10  48mm  ISO100  A

This candy bowl has been on my desk since last Halloween.  It entertained enough people that I decided to make it a permanent fixture throughout the year.  “Creepy Hand”, as my co-workers affectionally call it, does just what you might (or might not) expect.  Upon removing a piece of candy from the bowl, the hand moves and says one of it’s choice phrases – “Not that piece!” or “It’s moooo-vvving!” are two favorites.  By using a tripod and slow shutter speed, I was able to display the movement and creepiness in this next photo.  You’ll have to insert the voice on your own.

2  f16  28mm  ISO100  S

How does this satisfy a photo requirement of the word “half”, you ask?  It depends.  This could be a photo of “half” of a limb.  Or, is the candy bowl “half” empty or “half” full?  You decide.

First Snowfall of the 2011 Season

1/400  f5.6  55mm  ISO400  A

It seems way too early for this post.  The contrasting images in my yard prove this statement true.  Such as the light layer of snow found on my adirondack chairs…

1/80  f5.6  55mm  ISO100  A

1/125  f5.6  55mm  ISO100  A

Brilliant colored leaves serving as a backdrop to a winter wonderland scene…

1/100  f6.3  30mm  ISO100  A

Yet this is what we woke to this morning in Pittsburgh.

1/4000  f1.8  50mm  ISO400  A

A reminder that winter is not far away.

1/2500  f1.8  50mm  ISO400  A

In my house, that’s not such a bad thing – back sledding anyone?

1/4000  f1.8  50mm  ISO400  A

Yes, if he could talk, I guarantee he would exclaim “this is my kind of weather!”

1/3200  f1.8  50mm  ISO400  A

A Second Look at the Third Jerseys [WPC #43 – blue]

Full disclosure, these photos were not taken within the past week;  I took them during the warm-ups of the October 15th Pittsburgh Penguin hockey game versus the Buffalo Sabres.

1/4000  f1.8  50mm  ISO400  A

However, this week’s photo challenge subject of “blue” inspired me to take a second look at a batch of photos I originally considered ho-hum.  Photos that weren’t awful, but just not great in my mind.  Something was missing.

1/4000  f1.8  50mm  ISO400  A

That something turned out to be the spotlight effect you see in all of these photos, the same technique I used to create my happy photo a few posts back.  Though it also took the inspiration of a deli and a run to realize it.

1/1000  f1/8  50mm  ISO400  A

Earlier last week, I noticed a picture of our quarterback superstar on display at a local deli.  It was a profile of Big Ben, the entire photo being black and white except for his helmet and jersey.  That photo just oozed with emotion to me.  Then, while out on my weekend run, I thought back to that photo.  And I had my idea for blue – I would apply the same effect to my almost forgotten hockey shots of the Penguins in their third jerseys.

1/2500  f1.8  50mm  ISO400

The results you see here.  These photos really tell a different story from the originals. The background noise has all melted away – even for the photos taken with a shallow focus.  I feel they all pop with a high impact of emotion, and I now love these photos. Plus, since I edited them within this week, it’s totally acceptable to submit the above shot of Matt Cooke to the weekly photo challenge!