Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jaunty Angle

I don't know if this even bothers other people, but does anyone else sometimes feel like they are about to slide off their chair when they look at certain photos? Let me explain...

Th first thing people do when they get interested in photography is try to come up with ways to make their boring pictures from their point-and-shoot/cell phone camera/whatever more interesting. Good for them. I did that. I still do that. All the time. There is messing the around with post-processing, more thoughtful composition, getting high, getting low, trying to see things a little differently, and that is just the start of things. Sometimes things work, and sometimes they don't. Lest it be mistaken, I have had my fair share of photography experiments that I loved at the time and now look back on and cringe.

As an amateur hobbyist I don't have a problem with people trying out new things with their cameras. That is how you learn: by trying. But there is one thing I refuse to stop being a snob about, and that is when people think they are being creative by taking an everyday picture at a 45-degree angle. All the freaking time. I understand quirky angles, and I understand using dramatic angles for creative purposes. But, really, I don't need to see your kitchen table looking like it is about to slide out of the photo or a bookshelf that looks precariously balanced. Case and point, this photo found on Flickr. Lady on the left, your food is about to disappear into your lap.

Let me demonstrate with some pictures of my own.

This is an absolutely nothing special picture of Evan and Lena a few years ago on a dirt road somewhere in the desert in either Colorado or Utah. Poor composition, poor exposure, blah blah blah. The reason I took it is because Lena had just slid off the side of the track down the hill, and was covered in dirt, and Evan had scooped her up to bring her back to the car. I wanted to remember that moment. In all of its boringness. The mountains in the background give away that I wasn't paying any attention to the composition, as the angle is a little off, but the road seems reasonably level enough.

What happens though if we tilt it jauntily, though? (Forgive the crappy photoshopping.)

Maybe a little more interesting, or a little more sloppy, depending on how you may be feeling? Still, it is reasonable enough to assume that if this were a true angle that Evan could legitimately be walking on that track. But this one?

Oh. Em. Gee. My husband is going to fall over backwards, drop my child, and the car is going to slide off this ridiculously angled road. Look, the tire tracks even veer off down the slope.

Or another one, shall we?

This is a view to the north of Utah County on the side of Y-Mountain taken last year. The weather was spectacular, but this picture could have used some better exposure as well as a tripod, and a host of other things.

Now let's tilt it a bit.

Alright. Definitely seeing the need for proper composure especially in landscape photography, but nothing completely disconcerting.

But this one?

Holy *&%^! Good thing I was around with my camera to capture Utah Lake rapidly draining out of the valley!

Or this way...

OMG! OMG! OMG! Call the fire brigade. Happy Valley is being consumed by floodwaters. And I am about to fall of my chair tilting my head to look at this picture at the correct angle.

Seriously. Am I alone in feeling this way? I know I am far from perfect (photography included), but sometimes I feel like Scar on the Lion King... "I am surrounded by idiots." Unsolicited tips for the day: tilt your camera by all means, but don't overdo it. My neck hurts, and I enjoy keeping my balance. Your jaunty angle looks kind of ridiculous, and you aren't doing anything unique. Unless you are being purposefully creative. In which case forget everything I just said.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weeks 14-18/52

Where are weeks 12 and 13? They got lost. In papers and homework and midterms and finals. Oh well. I will do them, and I have reasoned that it was justified to miss them. And just to put things in perspective, I usually take a good few hundred pictures a month, but over the last month or so of the semester I barely took 10. Combined. (And don't even get me started on what my house looked like during that period.) Oh, and I missed week 15, too. Ugh, maybe I am more behind than I thought.

Anyway, here are the photos.

Week 14
Theme: Fusion

The theme was in honor of MCP Actions new action for Photoshop called Fusion. (As a side note, some of the examples on the fusion link I think are over-processed and fake-looking, especially the ones with photoshopped sunlight. I am pretty sure we will all look back at those types of photos in 5 or 6 years and wonder what on earth the photographer's were thinking. Sure, it is fashionable, but so was grunge.) MCP Actions did have a free Mini Fusion set to download, so I edited this picture with that. It basically warmed it up a bit. But I suppose the picture is representative of "fusion", too, with Spring and Winter colliding. I was very disappointed to wake up to the blossom tree outside our bedroom window sagging under the weight of all the snow. Partly because it meant we had to drive in it. Now the blossoms are gone, but the snow keeps coming. Something is wrong here...

Week 15
Theme: What Other's Think of You...

This was a dumb theme. So, I had no problem skipping it over studying. I don't know what other people think of me, mainly because I spend the majority of my life trying not to interact with anyone other than my immediate family. Plus, I don't think you can ever truly know what other people think because perception is influenced by knowledge, lack thereof, and understanding. We can't ever be separated from what we know, and everything gained from others becomes warped to fit in with our own understanding of how things work. So really, the assignment should have been "what you think of yourself" or "what you pretend to be... go on, you know we are talking to you... this is your moment for self-glorification", because there was a LOT of that that week.

Week 16
Theme: Furry Friends

I think they are running out of ideas for good themes, and I think I am going to start coming up with my own. Nevertheless this is our furry friend. And I kind of love that her thumbprints are uneven because she has to raise her eyebrows to look sideways.

Week 17
Theme: Princess for a Day

Oh, the royal wedding. Forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm. I did NOT watch the wedding, and it was refreshing. By the way, I am convinced that Americans are secretly more fond of the British royal family than the British are. FAR more favorable press on the wedding over here than there. And it was nice to ignore it all. So, Lena did not get dressed up in a princess dress or a crown, and I am pretty sure that Ollie was the only boy photographed for the week. The photo was staged, but he did voluntarily put Lena's headband on himself earlier in the day, and was happily wearing it around the house, although lamenting not being able to go to the park because of the rain. I will have to share some of the others because I think they are funny.

Week 18
Theme: First Thing in the Morning

I plucked up the courage and ditched the theme this week. And it was awesome. Because I didn't have to force myself out of bed in the morning to catch the dawn or the best light (and after a semester of early morning classes every-freaking-day, that was very welcome thank you very much). This was taken in the evening on our hike to Battle Creek Falls (more on that later). I don't know what these bushes are, but there was practically nothing else growing apart from some straggly grass and these little yellow pom-poms. They were really pretty. Up close at least. From the trail they just kind of looked like brown flowers. I love the trio of branches and the yellow bokeh.

Week 19 coming soon.

Truths for Mature Humans

I know that this has been floating around the blogosphere for a while, but yes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This is how...

... Oliver eats oranges.

Pretty sure he ate the skin too. Either that or buried the skin under the couch or something. Guess I had better start looking...