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Friday 13 December 2013

A Personal Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

New camera in hand, I'm busy learning the ins and outs of taking good photos.  Donna's monthly photo challenge plays into that so nicely, that I'm giving it a try for the first time.  These photos are taken with my Nikon 1 J2 and a basic 10-30mm lens.  I used Picasa to bring the shadows up a bit, but that's it for editing.

Little Miss and I snuggled right up to the glass patio door to try out some new window stickers.  She was entranced.  One of the articles that Donna recommended reading talked about going into the garage to take photos with dramatic light.  I don't have a garage, so I tried the window.  It's winter on the Pacific coast, so we had a grey sky and a little drizzle to work with.  Even so, we had nice directional light coming in.  I like the modeling on Miss's face and hands, and the blurred out garden in the background.  There's a term for that blurred effect, but I don't know what it is.

Going to black and white really emphasizes the shape of Miss's face and I appreciate the contrast between the bright garden and the very dark inside of the house.  But is one eye too much darker than the other?  Something strikes me as not quite right.

I ducked outside for this one and took the photo through the glass window.  The trickiest part of this set up was avoiding my own reflection in the glass; it required just the right angle.  The light was oblique enough that everything reflected on the window.  Of course, that's what makes it such an unusual photo.

This photo reminds me of a certain artist whose works we use to see when I was young in Ecuador.  He liked to paint translucent bubbles and steam trains flying in the air above his surreal landscapes.  Here, Miss S looks out at the world -- at a wood floor and a shed with cedar siding, at trees and planters, at dining room chairs and lawn chairs -- with an expression of wonder.  A dismembered snowman floats by.  It's not my favorite picture, but it gets the imagination going.

Does anyone have thoughts on that black eye in the second photo?  I'd appreciate tips of any kind.


  1. Hi, Cristal! I''m so glad that you could join us! As a newbie, you'll have to check out all the helpful web links I put in the posts for each month's challenge. And you can go check out everybody's work too! So that should give you a lot of homework, LOL, but it should help open your eyes up to techniques, concepts, and creativity! We have a very diverse group that joins in the challenges, ranging from beginners, to moderately experienced, to pro level. And it's a good group that cheers on everybody's efforts. Well, enough of the sales pitch, on with my comments! LOL...

    You know, you can't pick a better subject to peg out on the cute meter. Miss S is positively adorable. I bet she is getting used to you taking photos of her! Such expressive eyes, full of innocence and wonder! Glad to see that you are using a mirrorless camera! You are the only one in the group that I know of with a mirrorless. (I've been tempted to get one too!) You should be able to do with it what the heavy DSLRs do, except you get to work lighter. You got a nice out-of-focus background. And the light is falling softly on your subject's cherub-looking face. I really like the perspective of the other side of the glass and seeing the reflections. That is a technique that can be used creatively. And on the light question for the 2nd photo - she has her head turned toward the shadow side and there isn't enough ambient light in the room for filling in the features on that side of her face. You can try to brighten some of it using a software editing program. But the easiest way to avoid the issue is to use a reflector on that side of her face. You can buy a reflector at a camera store, but you can achieve the same result by using a big piece of white foam board, placed on the right side (but not visible to the camera), to bounce light back to "fill in" that part of her face.

    I hope that information helps! And please consider joining us on a regular basis!

  2. Hi Cristal, I really enjoyed your little photo shoot with your darling baby girl. I like what Donna suggested above my comment and found it helpful to me as well as you regarding the light on her face. I like the floating reflections in the glass as well. Thank you for visiting and leaving your comment. Have a great weekend! Pamela

  3. She is of course, adorable. And you sound like you are really having fun.


  4. Your sweet subject is perfect for the various light situations you photographed. Interesting what Donna suggested for the dark eye in the second photo.

  5. Very cute subject matter for this months Challenge on Light!
    Lovely photos And the dark eye doesn't bother me as it is all part of the photo..
    dark and light co exist together!!

  6. Oh, you did a Super Job!!! Love you tiny subject...she's a doll!
    If you know your way around Picasa, pull the photo back up and use an enhancer for eyes. Brighten her iris just a tiny bit....and if that still doesn't look right, try to darken it a bit more...sometimes the reverse edit can clear things up! Your eye won't be pulled to see the other eye...
    But it's Still a wonderful shot!
    Well done!

  7. Welcome ! We're so glad you've joined in on the fun!! It's such a great learning experience every month!! You have one beautiful little girl there- as Donna said above - big innocent eyes full of wonder... I like all three shots. The darker eye in the second one does not bother me at all- after all, that side of her face is in shadow so one would expect the eye to be darker. You've done an excellent job of not getting your own reflection in the last one- that's not always easy to accomplish. great job!!

  8. What a cutie pie! I think I've seen her hanging around with her grandmother and little cousin. Okay, I just read Donna's response and now I have more questions than ever! = D Mirrorless? Good heavens! I have a camera with a mirror? Uh?

    As for the darker eye, I would brighten it in a photo editing program just to see if I preferred it that way. I rather like the photo as it is. Love unusual photos so I appreciate the looking in while having the reflected items show up, too.

  9. These are all lovely photos. I like the contrast in the eyes in the second photo but I'd give Donna's suggestions a try. There's so much to learn.
    Mirrorless? I looked it up this morning. Interesting. There's so much I take for granted in my camera and don't understand.

  10. She is darling but the look on her face through the glass is priceless. Love it. Welcome to Photo Challenge.

  11. Little Miss is such a sweet subject - she looks totally unfazed too - a great model!
    A beautiful threesome Cristal. Lovely to meet you at Donna's photo challenge!

  12. The black and white one is lovely.

  13. Oh these are wonderful displays of the light theme...I love the light on her face in the second shot (adorable)!