Thursday, December 30, 2010

Extra/ordinary

By Mark Edward Harris, Photography By Tiffini Myers Published in Shooting
Two Bottles And A Vase This image was backlit with window light at Myers’ mother’s house where she came across a blue wine bottle next to a vibrant yellow vase. She looked around for something red to add to the shot’s palette. Finding a red bottle, she turned it upside down to take advantage of its interesting surface and shape. She used the slow shutter speed to get a minimal amount of handheld blur to add more abstraction and to make the result, as Myers says, “seem even more like a painting.” Her goal wasn’t perfectly fine lines, but a sense of blur and softness created by the slow shutter speed. Canon EOS Digital Rebel, Canon 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 at 42mm, 1/5 sec., ƒ/14, ISO 400
Two Bottles And A Vase This image was backlit with window light at Myers’ mother’s house where she came across a blue wine bottle next to a vibrant yellow vase. She looked around for something red to add to the shot’s palette. Finding a red bottle, she turned it upside down to take advantage of its interesting surface and shape. She used the slow shutter speed to get a minimal amount of handheld blur to add more abstraction and to make the result, as Myers says, “seem even more like a painting.” Her goal wasn’t perfectly fine lines, but a sense of blur and softness created by the slow shutter speed. Canon EOS Digital Rebel, Canon 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 at 42mm, 1/5 sec., ƒ/14, ISO 400
Damaged Tint
Inside her house, Myers had some old tint on a window that has been deteriorating and peeling back. The color of the bushes shining through showed off the shapes of the damaged tint. She chose the widest aperture on her lens, feeling that too much detail would overwhelm the image. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 at 70mm, 1/60 sec., ƒ/2.8, ISO 1000

CREATIVE USE OF APERTURE

If you don’t control the aperture, the aperture will control you. This may sound dramatic, but when it comes to photography, it’s an important reality that can make or break a photograph—especially when it comes to creating an abstract image.

While it’s easy to understand that having too slow a shutter speed will result in blur or camera shake, many people ignore or underestimate the importance of aperture. Remember that an SLR camera keeps its aperture open to its widest setting until the depression of the shutter. What we’re seeing through the viewfinder actually isn’t what we’re getting unless you shoot at the camera’s widest opening. SLRs are designed this way to make focusing easier by letting in more light. To see what the actual depth of field (the area in focus) will be, use the camera’s depth-of-field preview function to see exactly what you’re getting in focus.

Car Wash
At the car wash, Myers set her camera to a fast shutter speed of 1/3200 sec. to capture the precise moment, texture and movement of the water being splashed in all directions. The vibrant yellow and blue colors in the background are what “drove” her to take this image. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 at 70mm, 1/200 sec., ƒ/2.8, ISO 500

Myers often creates a very shallow depth of field by using a wide aperture so that the backgrounds will become abstract. She says this technique helps her to see in shapes and colors. By training her eye, she began to notice interesting abstractions in unremarkable places, ranging from her sink to a car wash, to a park and even to her neighborhood IKEA store. The focus of this project is to investigate line, shape, form and color through photography.

CREATIVE USE OF SHUTTER SPEED

As Myers demonstrates in a number of her abstract images, she often handholds her camera with shutter speeds slightly slower than those that are effective in freezing an object. She feels that the “organic” movement created by using shutter speeds such as 1?15 sec. removes a bit more of the reality from her compositions.

MAGNIFIED PERSPECTIVE

One of the unique aspects of macro photography is that it opens up a world that’s normally out of reach of our eyes. An economical way to turn a nonmacro lens into a macro is to use close-up filters, which often come in sets with varying diopter strengths. These filters allow you to get magnification at a minimal cost. If you get into macro, you might invest in a pro lens for the purpose; I use a Nikon 105mm ƒ/2.8 Macro.

BBQ
This is an image of charcoal residue on the side of a BBQ in a park near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 at 42mm, 1/60 sec., ƒ/2.8, ISO 1250

BREAK OUT OF YOUR ROUTINE

There are a number of products available on the market such as Holga cameras and Lensbaby lenses that are particularly well suited for creative abstractions. The unique characteristics of alternative gear can open your eye to a new way of seeing. Regardless of the equipment used, seeking the abstract and overlooked is an effective way to explore the visual world around us and expands our creativity with all of our photo subjects.

To see more of Tiffini Myers’ photography, visit her website at www.tiffinimyersphotography.com. Go to www.markedwardharris.com to see some of Mark Edward Harris’ photography.

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