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PIXelations 5

dilemma or paranoia?

by fotofinish , 08-11-2005 at 02:23 PM (325 Views)

The following essay is the result of a discussion with a fellow photographer.

In this sad commentary on the human condition, as photographers we have a responsibility to protect our children. We are forced into the dilemma of having to decide whether we take the picture of the perfect child’s expression we saw on the street for use only on our website, or pass the opportunity by because we have fears. We have fears that if we post an innocent not-for-profit picture on our website that some internet predator may use that child’s photo for some ill use. (Obviously, if we knew we were going to sell this picture, a signed model release would be expected.) We also have fears that if we do post the picture on our website and if the parent sees it, that parent may request we pull the picture, or at worst, take legal action against us.

Let’s use another example. Suppose it is not a child we see, but rather an adult who’s expression will make the “perfect” picture. We still have fears that if we do post the picture on our website and if the adult sees it, that adult may request we pull the picture, or at worst, take legal action against us.

Or, we post the adult’s picture and there is no objection. Now some stock company wants to purchase this picture, but we have no signed model release because at the time we had no intention of selling the picture. And we of course do not know the person or how to even get in touch with that person.

Bottom line, except for family, why should we even bother taking these kinds of people-related pictures? Or do we throw the dice anyway because the odds of something negative occurring is small? Or do we all just become landscape or nature photographers? I don’t know what the answer is. And I don’t know how I will respond when I am in the field faced with the “perfect” people shot.

Food for thought…


by fotofinish , 08-14-2005 at 01:08 PM (348 Views)

I finished processing the photos I took with my 100-400mm L IS lens of my nephew’s baseball game from last weekend. His team was in the Cal Ripken league’s regional tournament for eleven year olds. My nephew was the starting pitcher and made it to the fourth inning before they pulled him out. He did great but gave up a couple of runs. They eventually lost the game but it was very enjoyable to see my nephew play. He is a hard worker and very talented for an eleven year old. He should have great games in his future.

I took 179 pictures, and screened out the duplicates, over exposed, and under exposed, reducing that number to 88. As I began my post processing, I finally finished with 43 pictures. I couldn’t capture full frame photos of the kids since there was a chain link fence all the way around the field. And where there were a few spots to get full frame, the crowd would not allow me to stand there, and rightfully so. But I still managed to squeeze in a few shots. The rest were crops.

Because the day was bright and sunny, and fortunately the fielders had the sun in there faces, I was able to nail the correct exposure for most of the pictures. This enabled me to perform the batch action which I made for just such an occasion. I outlined what I did in my batch in July 27th’s pixilation. Basically, it opens all my raw photos, accepts the raw setting defaults, opens them in CS2 and applies a resize for the web and does the final sharpening. It then saved each to my output subdirectory. I did this for about 23 pictures. The rest I had to crop.

What Worked: my exposures due to setting a high 1/300ish shutter priority. This lens with image stabilization and a monopod is fabulous!

What Didn’t: Because of the angles from which I had to sometimes shoot, I was cutting off feet or hands in some of my frames. Also, once again I got caught up in the moment of trying to capture the ball leaving the hand of my nephew.

I also tried to use AI servo to track some of the base runners in continuous shot mode. Unfortunately, I didn’t use it correctly and so was not able to take advantage of this great technique. I think I was not activating it properly. I use custom function 4 where I press the (*) button to autofocus and use the shutter button to set auto exposure.

There were two pro photographers at the game. Although they were literally on the field, by each dugout, they handheld their big lenses.

To Do: practice handholding my lens at the next baseball game (probably not till next year). I bet I won’t feel so encumbered with the monopod.


by fotofinish , 08-15-2005 at 07:59 AM (375 Views)

My nephew Phil’s baseball tournament game provided me a few pictures I could use to assemble a collage. I have never done one before and I wanted to give my nephew something special for his upcoming 12th birthday in a couple of weeks. I found a great photoshop collage how-to article here.

I had to plan my approach. I wanted an 8×10 portrait-sized as the finished work, so that is what I selected as a blank document. I had already processed the five pre-selected five pictures I wanted to use. The two main photos where 4×6 portraits which I staggered, side by side, the right one coming down from the upper right corner of the document, and the left one from the lower left corner. That left me with room for two 4×4 crops for the gaps above and below the two 4×6’s.

As it turned out, I made each photo slightly larger to cover any gaps and to allow me the chance to have some wiggle room for positioning. Since I had dragged each photo onto the top of the blank document with the move tool, I now had a layer for each. As I repositioned each picture, I used a mask on several of the layers to “paint out” some of the overlap as needed with a brush set near 100% using black as the foreground. I set the brush to dissolve mode. This produced the effect I was looking for. I then cropped my last photo to 2×3 and placed it at the center of the document, on top of the other four. I then dissolved its overlap into an oval shape to blend it in with the other dissolves I had used on the other photos. Finally, I put in some text.

I guess I had not really understood the power of masks until I did this collage. Using a brush to paint in or paint out the underlying layer is very powerful, something I will have to experiment with again later. The only thing I had used masks for to date was to use it for some dodging and burning. Its one thing to read a lot of the wonderful tutorials out in this forum and elsewhere, but it is quite another to actually have your own example application of this technique to use and learn.

Oh, and here is the finished product:

Do you think Phil will like it?

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