Stupid Camera Tricks

Posted in Photography Tricks on October 16th, 2008 by MadDog
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Sometimes I wonder where by brain is. I wrap my head with my knuckles and get that hollow sound. The most obvious answers escape me like a wild hare spying a shotgun in the gentle hands of the Governor of Alaska.

Today someone was home when I knocked. I wanted to get some shots of the overnight raindrops on the flowers in my garden. Knocking out the background of a shot can be done in Photoshop with simple tools, but it can be laborious. It takes up valuable writing time.

I remembered a little bird in Honolulu. Don’t ask me why. Okay, it was because I wished I could have knocked out the background, but it never looked right.

I thought to myself, “How could I get a black background without any work?” This is a concept that always appeals to me – the maximum result with the minimum effort. It’s probably the primary reason that I’m not rich. Other people use the word “LAZY” to describe people like me. I don’t resent it. Remaining among the living while being artfully slothful is a knack.

Anyway, as I was dressing to go outside, I selected one of my many black t-shirts (yes, an affectation, I know) and a little tangerine coloured light began to blink somewhere back in my occipital lobe.

I wonder . . .

Too, Too Red

YES, OH YES, by the sweet, pale glow reflecting from Billy Bob Thornton’s toenails, It WORKS! (I was going to say The Budha, but I was afraid it might offend someone.)

Nevertheless, I would say that the shot above is a failure. The background is black alright, but the red on red on red thing leaves nowhere for interesting details to go. It’s photographically correct. This kind of flower almost hurts your eyes, it’s so monochromatic. If I had to title it, I’d call it Too, Too Red.

The next effort pleased me more. It took less than half the time it would usually take to do this kind of thing. All of the background that I didn’t want was knocked out by the simple expedient of holding a black t-shirt behind the subject matter and tilting it so that it caught as little light as possible:

The white Somekindof flower

I don’t know what this next flower is called, but I really like it. It massages my whimsy. The black t-shirt worked a treat on it:

The Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster flower

I couldn’t be happy with flower pics without including my mysterious orange lilies. Here again, black in back is a snack:

The Orange Lily that Ate Cleveland

Time for one more. These look a bit like miniature frangipanis. I don’t know what they are. I gotta get a flower book:

The George Washington High School flower

I’m going to get a small piece of 25mm plywood and paint it flat black. Maybe I’ll paint the other side white – that might come in handy sometime. It would be so much easier than trying to hold a t-shirt up behind a bunch of flowers while snapping a shot.

It might also look slightly less stupid.

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